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Old 04-28-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
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Default Ford Expidition 5.4L 4x4 without HD tow kit

Hi All,

I am new to this and could really use an unbiased opinion. I have limited towing experience hauling ATVs and construction equipment.

My question is what is the largest practical TT with a 2011 Expidition 5.4L 4x4, non-EL and without the HD tow kit. I realize one of the main limiting factors is the hitch weight but I am also concerned about sway.

Looking at installing a Ford brake controller that integrates with the trucks electronic Sway Control system and at least a transmission cooler. Also looking at a Hensley style WD hitch to prevent sway.

Is it realistic to expect to comfortably tow a S-280QBS or V-28BHSS with 3 kids all under 8 and a wife that likes to travel heavy?

Another less favorable option is a S-261BH. Basically I am looking for the largest bunk house that will be safe to tow with the Expidition.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:39 AM   #2
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I probally should add some details about the TTs.

S-280QBS: 32' with a yellow sticker dry weight ~5,400lbs

V-28BHSS: 32' with a yellow sticker dry weight ~5,500lbs

S-261BH: 30' with a yellow sticker dry weight ~4,700lbs

Of course a WD hitch and loading would be used to adjust the hitch weight to ~12% of loade TT weight.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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Without the HD tow package your Expedition is only rated at 6000 lbs. The lightest of the trailers you are considering is 4700 lbs which only leaves you 1300 lbs for 'everything else'. Keep in mind that the 4700 lbs doesn't include the weight of all of the extras like propane, batteries, awning, food, water, pots & pans, dishes, etc. Consider that the tow vehicle rating is based on the vehicle with driver only meaning you also have to take into account the weight of your passengers and any other gear in the truck and you'll likely be over your rating.

Trailer 4700
Propane 60
Battery 40
Awning 100
Tongue weight 450
WD Hitch 75
= 5425 lbs

That only leaves 575 lbs for your passengers, food, and all your gear. You say your wife likes to travel heavy - so my guess is that you will be over your limit with any of these trailers.

Here's a good website that will help you figure out what you can safely tow, it has a calculater to estimate what you can tow and links to the manufacturers tow ratings where you can find the data to plug into the calculator.

http://changingears.com/index.shtml
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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Hi LJAZ,

Thank you for your reply. The HD tow kit brings the Expy up to 8,900 lbs. The HD Kit adds a trans cooler, 7 wire connector, and bigger radiator/oil cooler. I am looking at the first two as a minimum and will consider the radiator as it is a "drop in" replacement.

The frame, engine, brakes, and axles are rated at 8,900 lbs for a 4x4. The Expy is supposed to be the most towing capable vehicle in it's class. Although, I must admit that the independent rear suspension is of concern.

Considering that I can upgrade to a HD tow kit, my vehicle can be rated for 8,900 lbs. It seems that a 7,000 lb load would not be an issue. My main concern is hitch weight and the size of the trailer. The max tounge load rating with a WD hitch is 920 lbs and I would like to stay around 12% of the loaded trailer weight and have a safety factor.

Even with a 4,700 lb trailer I am not sure how a 30' trailer would tow. The horror stories about uncontrollable sway have convinced me that a Hensley style hitch is worth the investment. I would like to confirm that it is realistic to tow a 32' trailer with a dry weight of 5,500 lbs but maybe I am dreaming.

If anyone has other suggestions for TT that sleeps 7 (or at least 5) and can be towed with an Expy I would be happy to hear any input. I might just give up on buying a TT if I can't tow anything of a reasonable size for a growing family of 5. After all, there are more affordable ways to travel with your family and see the great outdoors.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Are you sure can upgrade to the HD components and still keep your warranty in tact? Then there's computer settings for tow/haul mode and other computerized tow settings that I wouldn't think yours would be set up with. When you start looking into the cost to buy & install the extra parts it may be cheaper just to trade up to an HD model.

Of course at an 8900 lb tow rating you'd probably be fine.

To be honest, I've never pulled a trailer longer than the 21 footer I have now so I can't really comment on the stability. However, I have to think that a tow vehicle that is towing a trailer that's within it's designed limits and properly set up would be perfectly stable. The horror stories likely come from either tow vehicles that are undersized or improperly set up or both.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
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LJAZ,

Thanks for your input.

I am working with the dealer that I bought the Expidition from to get the truck upgraded to be sure warranty is not an issue. At this point a new truck is not an option. From my research it seems that HD tow package trucks have the same computer. It is just a matter of upgrading the wiring harness and fuse/relay to a 7 wire connector to allow for the brake controller.

On paper it seems that a 5,000 lb TT would not be an issue. I am just worried about the length. I suppose it is somewhat subjective to the driver. A little extra caution can go a long way. I just don't want to end up with a TT that I am not comfortable towing or worse, put my family in harms way.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:20 AM   #7
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LJAZ has explained the situation pretty handily. My first obvious concern on your numbers is that you are trying to keep tongue weight to 12%. For that long a trailer (30' and up) 12% is going to be, IMHO, way too light. A more realistic and stable tongue weight is most likely going to be in the 15-16% range...it is tongue weight (along with a good WDH with sway control) that adds stability. With a trailer that long, I don't think 12% is going to be heavy enough. When I pulled my 210WBS, I was in the 16% range and I was only at ~21' and almost 6,000 lbs heavy with a weighed tongue weight of 976 lbs.

My best guess, is that while you may be able to stay under the max tow rating for GVW, you'll exceed the GCVW and/or the tongue weight limitation, or, in trying to keep under the 920 lb tongue max, you'll wind up with not enough tongue weight for a stable tow. Realize that towing up to 8900 lbs on a utility style trailer is much easier than towing 7000+ lbs of a 30'+ travel trailer and is much more difficult than the numbers make it sound. 30'+ of non-aerodynamic box is much more prone to "wind" and "buffeting" than a smaller heavier "mass" on a utility trailer. 30 feet of "sail" is fairly large and unwieldy, particularly for the non-EL short wheelbase. 30' and up in travel trailer also increases the amount of "leverage" that a light tongue weight can apply to the rear end of your vehicle. If you look around, you'll find that most that tow 30' and up are towing with a much longer wheelbase "truck" that has a higher tongue weight and GCVW limit than what your Expedition is rated for.

You can make the numbers work, but, I don't think it will be easy, nor will the tow, depending on towing conditions, be that stable. 30' of trailer is a lot of trailer... My Cougar is 35' and with ~4' of it in the bed of the truck, it is like a 31 footer...but, I tow with a 3/4 ton Ram pickup with the high output Cummins turbo diesel and the pin weight is in the range of 1900 lbs., if it weren't for the fact that it is a 5th wheel, it would be a handful even with that truck. I am not one to scream "get a big truck" for towing, but, in this case, I think you are very borderline with your tow vehicle and will most likely cross over into the far side of that "iffy" gray area... IMHO, I think a 24-26' Ultra-light trailer is going to be easier to "make fit" the limitations of your Expedition. Finding something in that size range to fit your needs will be the hard part.



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Old 05-09-2012, 12:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info Webslave,

Most of what I have read recommends 10-15% hitch weight. The only reason for targeting 12% was obviously for a heavier trailer but also to stay closer to the middle. I have also read that exceeding 15% can cause problems. However, 16% seems like a reasonable target. The 920lb hitch weight and a at 16% equates to 5750lb. From what I figure that leaves about 4,250lb for a dry trailer weight. Assuming the Expy has a curb weight of 6,000lb the GCVW would be around 12,500lb. The standard Expy is rated for 12,000lb and the upgrades to a HD tow package takes it to 15,000lb.

Does it seem reasonable that I could keep the trailer load down to around 1,000lbs, including food and supplies?

Also, does the listed length for Cruiser RVs include the hitch?

If so, would a 30' TT be comparable to what some might consider a 27' TT?

Do Hensley type hitches really "eliminate" sway.
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