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  • F150 Towing 2800BH

    Hi Everyone,

    My wife and I are brand new to the TT world and just took our first 4 day camping trip. We towed about 300 miles on both interstates and smaller highways. It was a mixture of hills and flat lands.

    We are pulling with a 2018 F150 Lariat 3.5 eco boost with trailer tow package and a Blue Ox sway pro with 1000lb bars. I’ve got the WD hitch tuned pretty well everything sitting nice and level. We’re under all of the weight specs of the truck and in regards to power it tows the trailer very well. However the handling left me with some white knuckle moments. Being passed by big rigs was fine but cross winds really gave me trouble. We had gusts of 20 mph which would push the rig around and make it feel like it was sliding side to side and pushing the front of the truck towards the wind direction. I assume this was sway but I’ve never felt it before so I’m unsure.

    I think the 150 should be adequate for this setup but now I’m second guessing it. Can something be done to help the setup handle better? Jumping up to an F-250 would be a bit of a stretch at this point but I think we’d consider it if we really needed to. I can post my scale weighs both unloaded and with the loaded trailer if that would be helpful. I haven’t measured tongue weight yet but plan on ordering a scale this week.

    We really love the trailer and had a fantastic time!

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    Originally posted by MikeG90 View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    My wife and I are brand new to the TT world and just took our first 4 day camping trip. We towed about 300 miles on both interstates and smaller highways. It was a mixture of hills and flat lands.

    We are pulling with a 2018 F150 Lariat 3.5 eco boost with trailer tow package and a Blue Ox sway pro with 1000lb bars. I’ve got the WD hitch tuned pretty well everything sitting nice and level. We’re under all of the weight specs of the truck and in regards to power it tows the trailer very well. However the handling left me with some white knuckle moments. Being passed by big rigs was fine but cross winds really gave me trouble. We had gusts of 20 mph which would push the rig around and make it feel like it was sliding side to side and pushing the front of the truck towards the wind direction. I assume this was sway but I’ve never felt it before so I’m unsure.

    I think the 150 should be adequate for this setup but now I’m second guessing it. Can something be done to help the setup handle better? Jumping up to an F-250 would be a bit of a stretch at this point but I think we’d consider it if we really needed to. I can post my scale weighs both unloaded and with the loaded trailer if that would be helpful. I haven’t measured tongue weight yet but plan on ordering a scale this week.

    We really love the trailer and had a fantastic time!

    Thanks for the help!
    Hello Mike and welcome to the forum,
    Please post the numbers you referenced.

    FYI, "nice and level" is great (see this thread,https://gdrvowners.com/towing-and-hi...wing-a-315rlts, for my extensive efforts to get mine right) but tongue weight is the #1 critical number. After that it's how much weight (or lack thereof) that's off of the front tires.

    Howard
    Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

    Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

    Comment


    • #3
      MikeG90
      Hi Mike,
      Welcome to our owners forum!

      I also tow with an F150 . . . but, I tow a 5th wheel with the HDPP (Heavy Duty Payload Package) version of the F150. Your "Trailer Tow Package" gets you the OE hitch and brake controller . . . but, does not get you the suspension and tires that would make your F150 more capable for towing a heavy trailer. The HDPP F150 seems to be Ford's "best kept secret". Many dealers don't seem to know about this option . . . although it is described in the brochure sitting right in front of them on their desks.

      First step. Get your truck weighed with and without the trailer. Per Howard's advice, you don't want to be "unweighting" the front axle of the truck with the trailer attached. This is not a problem with my 5th wheel, but can be a problem with a TT attached at the bumper. A light front axle will negatively impact steering feel.

      Next step. Look at what Ford adds to the HDPP to make it better at towing heavy trailers. The most significant upgrade is LT (light truck) tires running at much higher pressure in place of the P (passenger car) tires on your "Trailer Tow" package. HDPP also has an extra leaf in the rear springs and differently tuned shock absorbers. Both of which could be added to your truck quite easily.

      Note that no changes that you make to your truck will change its label payload . . . but, copying what Ford does for HDPP will help your towing stability. Make sure that you are within the payload spec on the tire pressure label on your driver's door. The "combined weight of occupants and cargo must not exceed ???" number. Also, on the bottom of your hitch frame, there will be a label with its capacity. Probably about 1200 lbs with a WDH. You should be OK here, but weigh your trailer tongue to be sure.

      Rob
      Last edited by Cate&Rob; 02-09-2020, 10:39 PM.
      Cate & Rob
      (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
      2015 Reflection 303RLS
      2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
      Whitby, Ontario, Canada

      Comment


      • #4
        You can't make a regular F-150 into a HDPP version. The HDPP is built on a heavier frame, has a F-250 rear end, and different ratio in the steering among with a few other enhancements.

        Putting "LT" tires on my F-150 took out the squishy-squirmy feeling even though I was running 44PSI in the stock tires.

        Could you post your weight ticket and a pic of your yellow payload sticker? That's weighed with passengers and full camping gear on board. The Lariat is about the heaviest trim package, and do you have the full crew cab?

        Side note - It's just my wife and I but I was 200# over on my gross and rear axle with my steel-body '12 F-150 EB.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks guys for the replies. I’m glad to hear about the tires. I was thinking as I was driving that a stiffer LT tire would probably help that wobbly side to side feeling.

          I realize now that I didn’t weigh my truck properly to get a baseline. I didn’t have my wife or dogs in the truck. It had a full tank and just me at baseline. When I weighed it with the trailer it was at 3/4 tank with dogs and wife. Everything was within spec of the door tag but it does no good to know what my tongue weight is. I’ve attached them for what it’s worth but I’ll have to re-weigh. Also I’m going to order a tongue scale so I don’t have to visit the scale to check my tongue weight.

          I looked into the HDPP and it looks like the frame is slightly thicker, added springs, a heavier duty axle (with different gearing), and the LT tires.

          Since upgrading the frame and axle would mean a new truck I’m thinking air bags and some LT tires would be good. Am I thinking right?

          I’ll post my weight results as soon as the scale comes in.Click image for larger version

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          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Mike,

            Your weigh numbers look good. The small differences that you list will not change these numbers very much. Your steer axle weight goes up with the trailer, so you are not un-weighting the from axle and must have the WDH bars well adjusted.

            I would agree that starting with LT tires is a good first improvement. My 2014 steel body F150 HDPP came with E spec (80 psi max) tires. The later aluminum body HDPP come with C spec (65 psi max) tires. If you use your OE wheels, you should make sure that the wheels are rated for whatever tires and pressures you plan to run. (This is usually not a problem). When not towing, you can go back to lower pressure settings to smooth the empty truck ride. Tire manufacturers usually have load/pressure tables for LT tires. Since you know your empty and towing weights, you should be able to dial this in very accurately.

            I run Airlift brand airbags with an onboard compressor and controller. So, I have tried lots of different pressures while towing. I usually tow at 30 psi bag pressure. This stabilizes the back of the truck, but only lifts it less than 1 inch.

            A Sherline tongue weigh scale is a great tool to have. You can easily see the affect of how you load the trailer.

            Rob
            Cate & Rob
            (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
            2015 Reflection 303RLS
            2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
            Whitby, Ontario, Canada

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cate&Rob View Post
              Hi Mike,

              Your weigh numbers look good. The small differences that you list will not change these numbers very much. Your steer axle weight goes up with the trailer, so you are not un-weighting the from axle and must have the WDH bars well adjusted.

              I would agree that starting with LT tires is a good first improvement. My 2014 steel body F150 HDPP came with E spec (80 psi max) tires. The later aluminum body HDPP come with C spec (65 psi max) tires. If you use your OE wheels, you should make sure that the wheels are rated for whatever tires and pressures you plan to run. (This is usually not a problem). When not towing, you can go back to lower pressure settings to smooth the empty truck ride. Tire manufacturers usually have load/pressure tables for LT tires. Since you know your empty and towing weights, you should be able to dial this in very accurately.

              I run Airlift brand airbags with an onboard compressor and controller. So, I have tried lots of different pressures while towing. I usually tow at 30 psi bag pressure. This stabilizes the back of the truck, but only lifts it less than 1 inch.

              A Sherline tongue weigh scale is a great tool to have. You can easily see the affect of how you load the trailer.

              Rob
              A Sherline can be instructive for comparison, but it is not definitive for a travel trailer using a weight distribution setup like the Blue Ox.

              MikeG90 -- below are weights from a spreadsheet I've used to track the changes to my trailer and the effect of different link settings. While your setup will be completely different, the purpose is to show you what happens to the steer axle, drive axle, and tongue weights as the number of links used on the Blue Ox are changed. This is what I mean by the Sherline not being "definitive"--you can't measure these changes unless you are using a CAT scale.


              Click image for larger version

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              If you haven't checked it out yet, the CAT Scale App is awesome. https://catscale.com/cat-scale-apps/
              Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

              Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

              Comment


              • #8
                howson Thanks for showing that. Makes perfect sense. I’ve got a similar spreadsheet that’s setup a bit different for running weight scenarios but I think I’ll mimic yours for the testing.

                So with the WD hitch is the goal to get the front axle weight as close to base line as possible while maintaining the 10-15% tongue weight? Or should the tongue weight of the trailer be measured off of the WD system to be within 10-15% and then adjust the WD system to get close to baseline on the front axle? Sorry I’m just a little confused as to which measurement you’d go by.

                Also I have been using the app and it is very handy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MikeG90 View Post
                  howson Thanks for showing that. Makes perfect sense. I’ve got a similar spreadsheet that’s setup a bit different for running weight scenarios but I think I’ll mimic yours for the testing.

                  So with the WD hitch is the goal to get the front axle weight as close to base line as possible while maintaining the 10-15% tongue weight? Or should the tongue weight of the trailer be measured off of the WD system to be within 10-15% and then adjust the WD system to get close to baseline on the front axle? Sorry I’m just a little confused as to which measurement you’d go by.

                  Also I have been using the app and it is very handy.
                  I found the hardest aspect was getting the weight back on the front tires. The first time I towed my camper (from the dealer) the front was too light and I knew it! Felt like the front end was "skating", if that makes any sense. Angle of your headlights and, of course, braking power are the two other critical factors with getting the front planted again.

                  For the tongue weight, if you start (without any weight distribution) "in the zone" everything else should work out OK. Tongue weight is critical to keep your trailer from "wagging"--a really scary situation you don't want to personally experience.

                  The thread I linked in post 2 goes into a lot of detail (if you watch the embedded video).

                  A little OT, but if you haven't read my Straptek review the Blue Ox system give it a read. Your bars are much lighter than mine, but I *hated* the Blue Ox's system. LCI's Straptek transforms them into something a human being can actually use. https://gdrvowners.com/towing-and-hi...st-impressions
                  Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                  Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by howson View Post

                    I found the hardest aspect was getting the weight back on the front tires. The first time I towed my camper (from the dealer) the front was too light and I knew it! Felt like the front end was "skating", if that makes any sense. Angle of your headlights and, of course, braking power are the two other critical factors with getting the front planted again.

                    For the tongue weight, if you start (without any weight distribution) "in the zone" everything else should work out OK. Tongue weight is critical to keep your trailer from "wagging"--a really scary situation you don't want to personally experience.

                    The thread I linked in post 2 goes into a lot of detail (if you watch the embedded video).

                    A little OT, but if you haven't read my Straptek review the Blue Ox system give it a read. Your bars are much lighter than mine, but I *hated* the Blue Ox's system. LCI's Straptek transforms them into something a human being can actually use. https://gdrvowners.com/towing-and-hi...st-impressions
                    Understood. Sounds like I’m on the right track. I just watched both your videos and want to thank you for the leveling video. Very helpful. Also those strapteks look awesome. Way more fine tune adjustment among other benefits.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      MikeG90,

                      Your getting some good advice here. Your 2800 is similar in mass to my 2600RB and I also tow with a half ton. You may want to experiment to throw in some additional bar to transfer some mass to the front wheels. Also even though your factory tire inflation is at 35psi, you can go up to a few pounds below the max sidewall pressure of your factory tires and experiment a bit. What you are experiencing is not sway but normal motion from side winds that can have a profound effect on all that surface area of the camper. In cases such as this, its usually best to slow down. In strong cross winds I can tell a big difference in slowing down from 65 mph to 60 mph so it does not take much to improve handling in windy conditions. What speeds were you towing in the high winds?

                      Also over time, you will learn to relax with towing once you realize many of these motions are very predictable. One example is a passing semi that will pull you in, forcing you to add in right steer. Once his bow wave moves in front of you, a left input will be needed to return back to the same position as before the truck passed. It becomes so predictable, it will become second nature to you.

                      Also does your 2800 sit nose down, level or nose up?

                      Also for a larger truck towing a TT. As the mass of the tow vehicle approaches the trailer mass or even exceeds it, the tow will be more stable. However HD trucks running empty cost much to feed in terms of fuel so it may be good to see if some adjustments can me made to help in the handling before you take on the expense of a new truck.

                      Jim
                      Last edited by MidwestCamper; 02-10-2020, 07:17 PM.
                      2017 Imagine 2600RB
                      2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                        MikeG90,


                        A passing semi that will pull you in, forcing you to add in right steer. Once his bow wave moves in front of you, a left input will be needed to return back to the same position as before the truck passed. It becomes so predictable, it will become second nature to you.
                        The passing semi doesn't actually "pull you in" . . . his bow wave (a good term) pushes the high sidewall of the trailer away from him. This pushes the front of the trailer (and back of your truck) to the right . . . making it feel like the front of the truck has been pulled in the opposite direction, to the left towards the semi. I feel this to a much lesser degree with the 5th wheel, but it is there. The amount of "push"depends on the speed differential. If the semi is blasting past you, there will be a lot more side push. This is the most noticeable situation where the right pressure in the rear airbags on the truck have a significant stabilizing affect.

                        Rob

                        Cate & Rob
                        (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
                        2015 Reflection 303RLS
                        2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
                        Whitby, Ontario, Canada

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Rob,

                          Understand how this works but if I did not counter with right steer, I would hit the semi. Another theory is the increase in air velocity moving past the truck causes a low pressure region as defined by the Bernoulli principal that pulls the truck/camper in.

                          Jim

                          2017 Imagine 2600RB
                          2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                            Rob,

                            Understand how this works but if I did not counter with right steer, I would hit the semi. Another theory is the increase in air velocity moving past the truck causes a low pressure region as defined by the Bernoulli principal that pulls the truck/camper in.

                            Jim
                            Hi Jim,

                            I completely agree that I have to counter with right steer, but when this happens the bow wave of the semi is beside the front on the trailer, not yet up to beside the truck. I have never heard this application of the Bernoulli principal (low pressure from air accelerating to get past the semi). Interesting !! I can see how that could apply. I learn something new on this forum, every day.

                            Rob
                            Cate & Rob
                            (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
                            2015 Reflection 303RLS
                            2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package
                            Whitby, Ontario, Canada

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                              MikeG90,

                              Your getting some good advice here. Your 2800 is similar in mass to my 2600RB and I also tow with a half ton. You may want to experiment to throw in some additional bar to transfer some mass to the front wheels. Also even though your factory tire inflation is at 35psi, you can go up to a few pounds below the max sidewall pressure of your factory tires and experiment a bit. What you are experiencing is not sway but normal motion from side winds that can have a profound effect on all that surface area of the camper. In cases such as this, its usually best to slow down. In strong cross winds I can tell a big difference in slowing down from 65 mph to 60 mph so it does not take much to improve handling in windy conditions. What speeds were you towing in the high winds?

                              Also over time, you will learn to relax with towing once you realize many of these motions are very predictable. One example is a passing semi that will pull you in, forcing you to add in right steer. Once his bow wave moves in front of you, a left input will be needed to return back to the same position as before the truck passed. It becomes so predictable, it will become second nature to you.

                              Also does your 2800 sit nose down, level or nose up?

                              Also for a larger truck towing a TT. As the mass of the tow vehicle approaches the trailer mass or even exceeds it, the tow will be more stable. However HD trucks running empty cost much to feed in terms of fuel so it may be good to see if some adjustments can me made to help in the handling before you take on the expense of a new truck.

                              Jim
                              I may mess with the PSI of the stock tires but I think I'm leaning towards LT E rated tires just for extra peace of mind. Glad to know that the feeling is not sway but just feeling the trailer. I agree that if we slowed down things were less noticeable. I never towed over 65 and ranged anywhere from 55-65 depending on the wind gusts. The 2800 is sitting pretty level to the eye. I need to back and take some real measurements to have an accurate answer on that.

                              I think getting a bigger truck is not in cards and thanks to the great advice here I think the 150 will be just fine with the right tweaks.

                              My plan is to get the LT tires put on and install some airbags to help stabilize things make some fine tune adjustments and see how it pulls.

                              Comment

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