towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by donohue, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. donohue

    donohue New Member

    I would like to know of any performance hop ups to gain a little better gas mileage besides buying a diesel, i just bought the truck and use it as a work truck every day, so i cant afford to sell it
     
  2. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Donohue,
    Welcome to the forum :) I think you are going to have to do a lot of hop ups to tow 8000lbs with the f150 4x4 :eek: and better put a chute on it for stopping :8ball:
     
  3. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Donohue,
    Welcome to the forum :) I think you are going to have to do a lot of hop ups to tow 8000lbs with the f150 4x4 :eek: and better put a chute on it for stopping :8ball:
    WOOPS!! Don't know why it came up twice :blush:
     
  4. Gary B

    Gary B Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Hi donohue, there is no magic bullet / hop up thats going to get you better mileage, the only thing that will help is to slow down, tow at 55 mph, at 8000 lbs your about at gross wt for the F-150 and the 5.4 is working its heart out. Unless your towing thousands of miles every month it really doesn't cost that much. Good luck :) :cool: :bleh: :approve:
     
  5. donohue

    donohue New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    thanks alot mr nash, sure you're not a comedian? anyway, the truck pulls the trailer just fine, but im only getting between 6-9 miles per gallon,thats with the a/c on in about 115 degree weather. the truck will pull it up a long 6% grade at about 50 to 55 miles an hour in drive right towards the top it will kick into second and tach up to about 3000 rpm, from what i understand thats not too bad on the engine. i was thinking about an electric fan and a chip,and maybe an exhaust system. with you're mechanical background what do you think, i spent a year at UTI in phoenix for automotive, from 91 to 92.
    the weight of my trailer loaded on the scale is 7830 and ford says my truck can tow 8800 lbs, so what do you think? :laugh:
     
  6. austint

    austint New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    donohoe,
    I had the light duty F250 extended cab, 5.4 with automatic. It had the factory load leveling air bag suspension. I don't remember what axle ratio it was but am thinking 3.73, it was ordered with towing in mind. I did tow my Mobile Scout 27 RKFS which is a little over 9,000 ready to roll. Short trips did fine but when making 500+ mile trips through rolling hills had some problems. I had K&N filter but no chip. Ford dealer is a friend, into performance, said there wasn't a lot of improvement to the level I wanted that would work (I wanted to maintain 65-70 up minor grades.) I did get about 9 mpg on that trip however (unloaded avg.about 15-16 mpg.) He did say a chip would give some additional performance however. What I did was sell it get a F350 crew cab, single wheel, 7.3 psd and put a Diablo chip in it. Best move I ever made. Good Luck whatever you choose.
     
  7. John Harrelson

    John Harrelson New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Donohue, Some of the replies you are going to receive on this post are going to make you feel bad... but don't let it get to you.

    We the full timers with many years of RVing under our belts tend to get a little "too knowledgeable" with some subjects like 1/2 ton trucks towing heavy trailers. We mean well and honestly want to help folks with their questions about RVing.

    That said, I believe that you will find most people saying "no-way" when they see a 1/2 ton truck trying to pull more than a 4 or 5 thousand pound trailer. It's not so much the trucks ability to tow the trailer as it is the ability to stop in an emergency..

    Yes, the trailer has brakes and should stop itself... but if the brakes are set correctly on the trailer they will engage a second or so AFTER the truck brakes engage. With a light weight truck like the 1/2 ton, this could be dangerous. In that split second of time, the trailer could push the truck into a "jackknife" with the trailer.

    Plus think of what will happen when going down a steep hill in the 1/2 ton with an 8000 lb trailer pushing it from behind. You can't ride the brakes all the way down, it could cause a fire.

    Example:: I have a small Mitsubishi "Mighty Max" truck with a 4 cylinder motor that can pull your trailer around town on level streets, but what about when I start uphill or down hill ??

    I know you don't want to hear this and I hate to be the one to tell you, but the combination you have, 1/2 ton truck with 8000 lb trailer is a dangerous combination on the open highway at higher speed limits of 60 plus mph and lots of hills and valleys to cross.

    I do sincerely wish you the best of luck,

    John
     
  8. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Donohue,
    Really didn't think the f150 4x4 was rated for that much. 3000 rpm will not harm the engine and i doubt you will improve the milage much while towing. The chip will help performance and a K&N filter might help. As a racer I always think of better breathing and exhaust first but, so of the new exhaust system are pretty good and will work as well as headers. Well, gotta have the cam, roller rockers, port and polished, blue printed engine, forged pistons and while we are at it give it a shot of NOS. Sorry got carried away and thought you was going to the drag strip :bleh: . I visted UTI in Huston Tx and it was a frist class school. Not a comedian, just a crazy old retired Auto Instructor :laugh:
     
  9. ralphie

    ralphie New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    You can chip it, but as far as I know, all chip mods will require you to use premium fuel. Go over to an F150 website to discuss mods. I have an '02 SuperCrew with the 5.4 engine. My tow weight is a bit lower than yours since I have all that cab. I towed a Honda Civic on a dolly for 200 miles. Not much weight there, but I knew it was back there. I know its a matter of opinion, and we've all got 'em, but I would not tow that much weight with a half-ton pickup unless I were desperate. Of course, I'm 54 and a lot wiser now than when I was 24 and would do just about anything. :clown:
     
  10. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    That tow rating is for a stripped (no options) truck, with a 150 pound driver, a gallon of gas and nothing and noone else in it. Generally you will want to keep a trailer pulled by a 1/2 ton to under 6000 pounds. Note that the 4x4 feature, although sometimes useful, reduces the amount you can really tow due to the weight of this option.
     
  11. sp

    sp Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Hi,

    Like John H. said, it's all about the brakes. I used my F150 4.6 to pull my 6400# TT. No problems until I traveled from CT to DE and my brakes were hot from too many stop lights on RT13. Well, she didn't stop till I got half way thru an intersection and the folks coming at me served out of my way. Really, Really lucky that day cause there was a train of cars at that intersection heading my way.

    The F150 is out in the grass for sale.

    The new 2500 Hemi with a tow package has no issues except for the TT screaming trying to keep up.

    Dump it before it dumps you and your loved ones. No smilies allowed for this case.

    Sorry,
    Steve
     
  12. Bug

    Bug New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    I happen to agree with the others that your 1/2 ton is NOT adequately equiped to handle a 8000 lb trailer. But, one thing the others have not mentioned is your transmission. Your truck already has too much power for your transmission to handle when pulling your trailer up steep grades (and that is with no preformance enhancements). In my opinion, your transmission is definitely not capable of handling that load if you are trying to go as fast as you can up hills.

    I live next to a small pass on Interstate 80 in Wyoming. Our Ford and Chevy dealers each replace 4-10 transmissions per week on 1500 series and F150 series pickups trying to pull full-size RVs up the pass at 60 mph. Even if the engine doesn't puke - the transmission will.

    If you are interested in reading more about this topic, check out the forums on Edmunds.com. I have seen and read many discussions about towing capacities. I have never seen anyone who thought a 1/2 ton vehicle is capable of towing 8,000 lbs.
     
  13. Gary B

    Gary B Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Iam sorry Bug, but I don't buy any of your story, I just recently returned from a trip to Alaska and I seen every possible combination going up and down the road, IE at Ford Exploer towing a 28' TT, F-150's and Chevy/GM 1500's Dodge 1500 all with 8.5' slide in campers some towing 5er's and of cousre long TT, I see 4/4 tons towing huge I mean BIG 5er's and TT's. In over 10000 miles I didn't see one being towed to a service center(did see a couple of DP's getting a tow), tranny shops didn't have them lined up waiting for transmissions. I can assure you that there are more than a few pas's & long tough grades along the way. 1/2 ton pickups towint 7000 or 8000 lbs are no more dangerous or over loaded / worked than 3/4 tons towing 36' / 14000 lb trailers or 1 tons towing 40 / 42' trailers. The key is to stay within the load limits, have the brakes up to snuff, an excellent Brake Controler, know how to drive, and not try to do the speed limit just because it is posted to 70 / 75 MPH. Any one towing at those speeds is a fool and dangerous. As for trannys a large cooler and temp gage and common sense while climbing a grade is a must, raoring your engine at redline in 1st or second gear is not good. :( :disapprove:
    PS no one knows how the orginal posters truck is set up or what he really is towing, he wanted to know about more power and better fuel mileage. If thats a sin then what are all the folks that buy diesels and rechip them, install Banks systems etc commiting? :angry:
     
  14. donohue

    donohue New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    well, well, theres a lot of different opinions out there on what my truck can and cannot tow, so lets get some facts, the truck is a 2003 f-150 xlt supercab 4x4 fx4 5.4 liter engine with 260 horsepower at 4500 rpm and 350 foot lbs of torque at 2500 rpm and 265-70-17 tires.
    the trucks curb weight is 4,224 lbs with a maximum TOWING CAPACITY OF 8800 POUNDS. Now as for my brake control unit, it's a hayz-lemmerz inertia switch unit, professionaly installed and set up at a QUALIFIED SHOP BY ASE CERTIFIED MECHANICS. as for the brakes on my vehicle, they are 4 wheel vented discs, better than most 3/4 ton trucks a few years back. my truck doesnt weigh much less than an f-250 with the identical engine and tranny,I got almost all of my information from www.automotive.com. so all you naysayers, the challenge is out there to prove the techs at ford wrong, they probably dont know a thing about this truck, after all, all they did was design and build it.
    allright, here we go again, the trailer is a 2002 nomad 267 toybox tt. loaded with my bikes, fuel, propane, water, and gear,the trailer weighs in at 7,960 lbs. I'm really glad it has a fuel station since hertig says i should only hold a gallon of fuel in my truck to keep the most tow weight available to me, i was thinking of having my wife take the bus, it would save me another 135lbs. and as for SP, get out of my way partner, because i probably cant get it stopped even if i wanted to, which i dont. I used to tow a 30foot 5er with a 94 dodge ram longbed 2500 with a 360, to the desert( about 50 miles) with no trailer brakes for 8 years, and didn't know that i didn't have them.
    I never ever tow over 55mph! not in arizona, not anywhere, so bug, cnash, sp, hertig, ralphie, and john herrelson, sorry we dont see eye to eye on this, but i think you are all wrong! I would like to thank a couple people for really helping me out,gary b, and austint.
    I talked to a transmission guy john woods, that only works on fords and he said my truck wont have any problems towing that trailer.
    So i think i'll take his word over bugs any day :laugh: AND BY THE WAY ALL I EVER WANTED TO KNOW WAS ABOUT POWER AND GAS MILEAGE!!!!!! ;)
     
  15. Dave J

    Dave J New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Mr Donohue,

    Just so you don't go feeling like the Lone Ranger I just completeed a trip from Central In. to Mt Rushmore, on to YellowStone, south to Ogden Utah, east accros Wyoming, Nebraska, St. Louis Indy! 4197 miles and 26 days. WELL I had a lot of sceptics also befor I started the trip IN what is also considered a half ton towing a 7000# 24' 5th wheel I was also in the company the whole time of an 03 duramax/allison pulling a 28' 5th wheel,AND a powerstroke 1ton dualie pulling a 32' prowler TT. well my half ton was staying right there with them and there was even times I could have passed them both on some real grades!! My truck? 03 Sierra with 6.0 vortec and 4:10 axil!! what makes it even more likely (in some opinions) to have problems is this! I am also driving AWD! and NOT ONLY THAT, but Quadrasteer!!!!!!!!! so my truck has the name on the door>>>>>>> "Denali" I say it everything a 3'4ton and more. only a few have found the benifit of Quadrasteer and they like me are thrilled to have it. One simply has to forfit milage when towing! ya gotta pay the price or leave it home! how does $1.88 a gallon grad ya? that is the price at north entrance to Yellowstone in the town of Gardiner Mont. and that is regular.
     
  16. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    You are right, I know absolutely nothing about the 2003 F150. I know that >in the past< all truck manufacturers fudged their towing numbers by subtracting a stripped truck, not a normally loaded truck from the combined total weight to come up with an unrealistic, but appealing tow weight. I know that >in the past< you really could not tow more than 6000 pounds safely with a 1/2 ton truck. If Ford is finally building a 1/2 truck truck which can really pull 8800 pounds, hey its about time and more power to them, maybe the rest of the truck manufacturers will follow suit.

    If you have done the research, and you have not exceeded any of 3 important weight limits of the truck, then our opinions on the safety of that setup are moot and can/should be ignored. If you have actually towed this setup up (and down) the steepest grades you will ever encounter without problems, than our experiance with similar but older engines does not apply. I'm sorry I assumed that you could make the same mistakes I did.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I have no interest in proving anyone wrong. And I am sorry for wasting your time babbling about stuff which is not only not of interest or value to you, but no longer relevant, thanks to the Ford techs, whom I suspect would prefer to be called engineers. Then again, that may have changed too...

    All I can plead is that some people, without your abilities, listen to the salesmen who say, 'sure you can pull this 21,000 pound trailer with your 1964 VW bug', and I (and I suspect the other offenders in this case) just want to let them know that they are putting themselves in a potentially unsafe and/or unpleasant situation. Certainly I didn't realise that you were already on top of things, and I let my knee-jerk reaction lead me to answer a question you hadn't asked (perhaps because I don't know anything about the question you did ask). Sorry, and I hope I have not presented a wrong impression of the people on this forum.
     
  17. John Harrelson

    John Harrelson New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    DONOHUE,

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and who to believe on what subject and I respect yours..

    So I wish you the best of luck..

    Hopefully your mechanic is correct... by the way, how long has your mechanic been towing an 8000 lb trailer with his 1/2 ton truck ??

    Just curious if he has reached the half million mile mark like a lot of us full timers have.
    Does he live in the west where everywhere you go is either up a mountain or down a mountain or does he live in the east where it is mostly flat land ??

    Again, best of luck ...

    John :)
     
  18. donohue

    donohue New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    john, my mechanic owns 3 powerstrokes, one of which is for sale on ebay, we both live in the desert in southwest california.
    he has a transmission shop and does almost all of the 7.3 liter engine upgrades in the valley, chips, exhaust, turbo impellar upgrades, intake, lifts, airbags, electric fans, and transmissions.
    so he's been around the block, he was a trans tech for ford for a lot of years before he started his business. he's done a lot of work for myself as well as my family and friends. well if you ever make it this far south check him out.
    thanks for the response.
    jd
     
  19. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    Donohue,
    Sorry I ruffled your feathers :) but I thought you were wanting opinions and just not agreement.

    "towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton"
    When I read your subject I assumed you were wanting better power and gas milage while towing. Remember the same techs that built it for towing should know what is best for power and gas milage also so don't guess you can do anything to better it. I also towed with a 1/2 ton but traded for a dually and would never go back to the 1/2 ton for towing but thats just my opinion based on nothing more than experience. I even towed a 31 ft airstream 35 miles with a s10 blazer because I wanted to go camping and had nothing else to tow with at the time :( . Phoned ahead so I would know when to start stoping. I also repaired wrecked rvs and the biggest cause of wrecks were driver error, improper tow vehicle, over loading, hitches. I did not look up any of your specs so its like John said "if you have done your research you should be ok" and you don't need our opinions. Drivers ruin more transmissions by lugging them which creats heat. I have never had a transmission go out on any tow vehicle now having said this watch this old ford let me down. Oh, by the way I had a friend that had his brakes hooked up by a ASE certified tech last week and they worked real good when he turned his lights on. We all make mistakes. :) Good luck and keep us posted
     
  20. klolsen

    klolsen New Member

    towing 8000lbs with 2003 f 150 4x4 with 5.4 triton

    OK, to all you old and wise travelers who crenge at the sight of a undersized truck pulling a oversized load. To repeat the question (at least for me) I've just purchased a 2003 F250,7.3 psd, auto trans, std rear end. I pull a 27' TT with gross wt of 7600#. No plans on going west of the Mississippi but do venture through the Smokies. I use the Prodigy break controller. I haven't retired yet so only make 2 or 3 trips a year. Is my rig adequate, or should I give Banks a call.
    Previously I used a 1/2 ton Suburban but didn't like the struggle starting or stopping.
     

Share This Page