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  1. #1
    Site Sponsor SammyB's Avatar
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    What actually provides towing stability in 3/4 vs 1/2 T?

    Hi all - general question here... What is it in the 3/4 T trucks that provides the towing stability vs. 1/2 T -- tires, shocks, wheelbase, etc.? Not power or towing ability, that much is clear, but the feeling of "wind? what wind?" or "18-wheeler coming up, meh, no truck suck to worry about here!" I'm sure the answer is D) all of the above...

    The real question - we love our F150, it's great for the family and serves our needs just fine. I'm well within my limits when towing, the performance is adequate (I'm not expecting power/performance of a 1T diesel), but the trailer does get a little squirrely in the wind and I notice when going by a real truck. Is there something I can adjust on the F150 that would provide a little more stability without upgrading to a 3/4T?

    We currently camp maybe 1 weekend a month at a handful of campgrounds that are <100 miles from home, with a longer trip or two (<500 miles still) throughout the summer - in other words occasional camping/towing, not significant distance or terrain, so hard to justify a TV upgrade at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I've tried the pitch, "But if we had a bigger truck, think of all the trips we could take!" Insert eye roll

    Anyway - spending a little $$ on shocks, tires, air bags, etc is doable, but a new truck is a bit of a stretch for our current needs.

    What do y'all think?

    Cheers,
    -Sam

    PS - if the experts tell me it can't be done (hint hint), maybe an upgrade wouldn't be so hard to sell
    Sam & Kay, 2 kiddos and the dog (rescue pup - lab mix)
    2021 RAM 2500 6.7L I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel
    2020 Grand Design Transcend 243BH

  2. #2
    Big Traveler
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    My new F150 SuperCrew with the 2.7 Ecoboost weighs about 4700 lbs. My F250 diesel crewcab weighs almost 7000 lbs. The aluminum bodied current 1/2 ton Ford has a much lighter frame and suspension components. Of course the diesel engine weighs 450 lbs. more too. It's the weight that provides stability. But I do have air bags and heavy shocks on the 3/4 ton.

    If you're within your weight limits with your F150, just enjoy your truck. You might want to check to see if there are other methods to control sway better without having to go to a completely different (expensive) weight distributing hitch like a Blue Ox or Hensley. Air bags and heavier duty shocks as well as LT/E tires might help your towing but at the expense of a good ride quality.

  3. #3
    Site Sponsor OurNewEra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyB View Post
    Hi all - general question here... What is it in the 3/4 T trucks that provides the towing stability vs. 1/2 T -- tires, shocks, wheelbase, etc.? Not power or towing ability, that much is clear, but the feeling of "wind? what wind?" or "18-wheeler coming up, meh, no truck suck to worry about here!" I'm sure the answer is D) all of the above...

    The real question - we love our F150, it's great for the family and serves our needs just fine. I'm well within my limits when towing, the performance is adequate (I'm not expecting power/performance of a 1T diesel), but the trailer does get a little squirrely in the wind and I notice when going by a real truck. Is there something I can adjust on the F150 that would provide a little more stability without upgrading to a 3/4T?

    We currently camp maybe 1 weekend a month at a handful of campgrounds that are <100 miles from home, with a longer trip or two (<500 miles still) throughout the summer - in other words occasional camping/towing, not significant distance or terrain, so hard to justify a TV upgrade at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I've tried the pitch, "But if we had a bigger truck, think of all the trips we could take!" Insert eye roll

    Anyway - spending a little $$ on shocks, tires, air bags, etc is doable, but a new truck is a bit of a stretch for our current needs.

    What do y'all think?

    Cheers,
    -Sam

    PS - if the experts tell me it can't be done (hint hint), maybe an upgrade wouldn't be so hard to sell
    Hard to say without knowing your numbers. I can say that I pull our Imagine 2970RL with a Chevy K3500 LB SRW 4x4 7.4L Gas. I still feel the semi truck push and suck. Unless the trucker is nice and scoots over to the line when passing. Yes it happens occasionally. I constantly monitoring for approaching trucks. It's not bad unless I get surprised by a truck. But even then I know what it is. I'm no expert but here are some things I would consider.

    1) Check your weight distribution setup and your trailer weights to be sure your not taking too much weight off of the TV steering axle. If you are transferring too much weight off the steering axle the TV is going to want to 'float' and could be harder to control, less responsive steering, and reduced braking. It doesn't matter what else you do if your WDH is not properly setup it will never be right.
    2) Add weight to the trailer when towing. You say you are well within your limits so maybe consider towing with a half full or full water tank. If you can get your weight on the trailer properly distributed I know that helps a lot with sway and the effects of wind with my setup.
    3) Get some beefier tires on the TV with stiffer sidewalls.
    4) Possibly some airbags or sumo springs on the TV. I don't have experience with these but a good number of folks on the forum run one or the other and could speak to benefits other than correcting sag.
    Mike & Lisa
    Central Florida
    2021 Imagine 2970RL
    1996 Chevy K3500 Crew SRW 7.4L Gas

  4. #4
    Seasoned Camper jleonard's Avatar
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    What Newera said above.
    And do go to a CAT scale at some point and get the numbers. Then if you are marginal or overloaded you must decide what your tolerance level is for the added risk.
    That's something only you can work out.
    Happy towing (and camping).
    Jay Leonard
    New Port Richey, Fl
    2022 Imagine 2600 RB, 2021 Ram 2500 CC Bighorn 6.7L Cummins

  5. #5
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    IMO I wouldn't add band aids to your truck. BTDT. Had a 2010 F150 Max Tow with 1857 lbs for CCC and towed a 31' 7200 lbs TT. I tried all the tricks. Michelin LT tires, Super Springs, Rancho 9000 shocks. I used an E4 hitch for the most part until I found a used Hensley Arrow. All the changes before the HA helped a tiny bit. Fact was the truck was too light for the TT.
    The HA turned the combo into a great towing combo. In the end we moved up to a Ram 2500 diesel and just the shear weight of the truck was enough to ditch the HA and just use a standard EAZ-Lift. Ended up with a small 5th wheel for the next 6 years. I will say though that the HA and the F150 towed just as nice as the 2500 and the 28' 5th wheel.
    As I said I wouldn't waste money on a bunch of upgrades. If you really want to travel farther then go bigger on the truck or get a Pro Pride or Hensley. All those other upgrades will make you truck not as nice as a stock F150. With the HA or PP you retain the same ride qualities of an F150 but get the towing stability of a 3/4 ton truck. Spendy yes but trading in is worse.
    Last edited by goducks14; 04-26-2021 at 10:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Seasoned Camper BeerBrewer's Avatar
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    I agree with what many have said above. You really need to weigh the truck trailer so you can see where you are at. Having said all that have you thought about using a Hensley or ProPride hitch? They are designed to eliminate sway and they really do work! I know they are expensive, but they are a lot cheaper than upgrading to a 2500. We use a Hensley Arrow and have never experienced any sway at all when towing with it. They are both quite heavy so you'll need to recheck your numbers (payload, tongue wt, etc.) making sure you can handle one of them. Google Hensley hitch and watch a few videos, it may be exactly what you are looking for.

  7. #7
    Site Sponsor SammyB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OurNewEra View Post
    Hard to say without knowing your numbers...
    Good call... Numbers below, and dealer gave me a Husky Centerline W/D hitch setup (rated for 12,000 lbs)

    My current F150:
    GVW: 7,000
    GCWR: 16,100
    Payload: 1,656

    Trailer:
    GVWR 7,495
    Tongue Wt: 600 (per sticker)
    Length: 30' 4' (incl. spare)

    Last trip to the CAT scale:
    Total: 12,800
    Steer: 2,980 (-180 lbs lighter vs. no trailer)
    Drive: 3,620
    Trailer: 6,200
    Calc'ed tongue wt: 700


    Looks like my steer axle is ~200 lbs lighter than without the trailer. Perhaps that's a good place to start, getting that closer to 0?

    I didn't have the fam w/ me on that last trip through the scale but was otherwise loaded up w/ gear and gas.
    Last edited by SammyB; 04-26-2021 at 11:48 AM.
    Sam & Kay, 2 kiddos and the dog (rescue pup - lab mix)
    2021 RAM 2500 6.7L I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel
    2020 Grand Design Transcend 243BH

  8. #8
    Seasoned Camper Chewwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyB View Post
    Good call... Numbers below, and dealer gave me a Husky Centerline W/D hitch setup (rated for 12,000 lbs)

    My current F150:
    GVW: 7,000
    GCWR: 16,100
    Payload: 1,656

    Trailer:
    GVWR 7,495
    Tongue Wt: 600 (per sticker)
    Length: 30' 4' (incl. spare)

    Last trip to the CAT scale:
    Total: 12,800
    Steer: 2,980 (-180 lbs lighter vs. no trailer)
    Drive: 3,620
    Trailer: 6,200
    Calc'ed tongue wt: 700


    Looks like my steer axle is ~200 lbs lighter than without the trailer. Perhaps that's a good place to start, getting that closer to 0?

    I didn't have the fam w/ me on that last trip through the scale but was otherwise loaded up w/ gear and gas.
    How did you calculate the 700lb tongue weight?


    2020 2600RB,
    2017 Silverado Crew Cab 1500, 6.2L

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor SammyB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewwi View Post
    How did you calculate the 700lb tongue weight?
    Weighed the truck with and without the trailer:

    Weight of just the truck (plus me, mostly full fuel, gear in the bed, etc): 5,900
    Total weight of steer + drive axles with trailer connected: 6,600 (2,980 + 3,620 for steer/drive axles)

    6,600 - 5,900 = 700 lbs

    Hopefully this was a correct approach! If not, please let me know
    Sam & Kay, 2 kiddos and the dog (rescue pup - lab mix)
    2021 RAM 2500 6.7L I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel
    2020 Grand Design Transcend 243BH

  10. #10
    Seasoned Camper BeerBrewer's Avatar
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    Based upon those numbers your trailer seems within your trucks capability, but I think your tongue weight should be closer to 950 lbs. You may want to shift your "stuff" around so more weight goes on the tongue. Again, I'd seriously look at a Hensley or a ProPride hitch.

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