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Discussion Starter #1
Which would be the single best bang-for-the-buck-for-towing-RV upgrade, new Bilstein 5100 shocks, or new tires with stiffer sidewall? Only rear, or all 4?

Currently all stock 2018 F150 SCrew, 2.7L, 2-wheel drive, 3.55 rear, 145" wheelbase, 6360 GVWR, 9900 GCWR, 7700 tow capacity, 1710 payload.

RV is 5497 UVW, 6995 GVWR, hitch weight 515. All numbers according to mfgr, not scaled at this time.

Thanks.
 

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I would say tow with it as is first, then only spend money if there are any issues you feel like addressing. Then, at that time, you can decide what upgrades will help the most.

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Good advice from Madmax, but my first instinct after reading your post was without hesitation.

Rear shocks. (at least)
But I'm actually a balanced suspension guy, so I'd do both ends just because it improves an F150 substantially, in my opinion. Especially with a big fat 800lbs sitting just behind the rear bumper.

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Agree with @mwemaxxowner but I don’t believe you’ll receive a single recommendation to only switch out the rear tires. eliminates the ability for tire rotation to accomplish the goal after 5-7k miles. If you’re using a WDH you’ll still be transferring some weight to the front


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Discussion Starter #5
I would say tow with it as is first, then only spend money if there are any issues you feel like addressing. Then, at that time, you can decide what upgrades will help the most.

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That's the problem, I don't know which will help the most. I've towed a few times, and had sway almost every time. First time was 70 miles from dealer to home, RV was empty. Tows 2 and 3 were 7-9 miles to and from campground. Truck and trailer were loaded, as we were selling the house. 3rd tow was 375 miles to new home, trailer and truck empty, some sway, but not much. Last tow, we tried to evacuate for hurricane. Both loaded again, probably overloaded, and unbalanced. Lots of porpoising and swaying. Haven't towed since then.
 

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My vote is air bags for sure, than E rated truck tires, rear Hellwig & Bilsteins.
20190806_132109.jpg


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Discussion Starter #7
Agree with @mwemaxxowner but I don’t believe you’ll receive a single recommendation to only switch out the rear tires. eliminates the ability for tire rotation to accomplish the goal after 5-7k miles. If you’re using a WDH you’ll still be transferring some weight to the front


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DOH! Didn't think of tire rotation in the equation. Thanks.
 

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Wait! You didn't mention tow experience in the first post. But now you mention sway a few times. :)

First, kill the sway. Good WDH, set up, and loading techniques.

Then address stiffening the trucks hiney left/right, as well as the up/down pogo.



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Discussion Starter #9
Wait! You didn't mention tow experience in the first post. But now you mention sway a few times. :)

First, kill the sway. Good WDH, set up, and loading techniques.

Then address stiffening the trucks hiney left/right, as well as the up/down pogo.



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Well my thoughts are better, stiffer tires and/or better shocks will help address sway. Maybe not stop all the sway, but kill some of it. No?
 

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Well my thoughts are better, stiffer tires and/or better shocks will help address sway. Maybe not stop all the sway, but kill some of it. No?
In my opinion, sway is helped by tires (sidewall) and rear sway bar.

But shocks and other aids to vertical movement (air bags or helper springs) also tame the trucks manners too.

Basically that trailer is the tail wagging the dog, right? So anything that gets that truck's rear chassis better planted and damped in both axis.
But, some WDH impede sway better than others.

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Well, your trailer should not "sway" at all if it's balanced and has a properly setup WD set..

Too light TW will cause a trailer to sway. I once put about 4 bags of dry cement bags in the back of a my little 8' utility trailer because I was too lazy to put them in front of the axles because I only was 2 miles from my house.. Well, those 2 miles, even at 30 mph had that little trailer swaying all the way home!

I've got basically the same weight TT and tow with my 13 F150 and it's solid as a rock with just a simple WD setup (no built in "sway control")

I do have the 5100 shocks all around (fronts are set to 1.25" level) and the OEM 20" tire size, but they are an "XL" load rated tire at #2800 @ 50 psi tire. I also put on some Hellwig overload springs to help with the sag since I did the 'level' thing with the 5100's.. I wish I had only gone the .75" level, but it is what it is now... :)

These and the 5100's were the best upgrades for the weight and the Power Stop brakes have been great too..

Good luck! Mitch



 

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That's the problem, I don't know which will help the most. I've towed a few times, and had sway almost every time. First time was 70 miles from dealer to home, RV was empty. Tows 2 and 3 were 7-9 miles to and from campground. Truck and trailer were loaded, as we were selling the house. 3rd tow was 375 miles to new home, trailer and truck empty, some sway, but not much. Last tow, we tried to evacuate for hurricane. Both loaded again, probably overloaded, and unbalanced. Lots of porpoising and swaying. Haven't towed since then.
Have you considered that your hitch is not set up properly or that maybe you need a better one?

What hitch are you using?

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OP you're asking the impossible. The truth is all these things, shocks, tires, bags, springs, WD hitch etc. will help towing. Some more than others, but that depends on each situation. Also these things have much different costs. So if two things are equal in their ability to reduce sway, the cheaper the upgrade the more "value" it has. It's also very difficult to quantify just how much these upgrades contribute. Best you can do is make a list and hit them one after the other until you are comfortable with how it tows.

I'd start with:
Tires (Might need them anyway)
Shocks (cheap)
Revisit your WDH setup, because tires and shocks works for 80% of the folks out there. If not move on to -
A different WDH
Air bags/Helper springs
Etc.
 

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Also, you mentioned the last time, when sway was the worst, it was "probably overloaded and probably unbalanced". If you're unbalanced AND overloaded, I don't think much of the stuff we're discussing is going to matter much.

Sway is generally a result of being unbalanced, not enough tongue weight, etc. It sounds more and more to me like really checking out the WDH setup and maybe heading to a scale to see if your distribution is correct is going to do more for you than anything else.

At the very least to get you to the best starting point. I have a similar truck but 4wd towing a travel trailer and so far haven't had much swaying. I paid a lot of attention to hitch selection, and hitch setup, and checked out my weights at a scale to see if I had enough tongue weight and how I was on my truck axles.

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Discussion Starter #15
Have you considered that your hitch is not set up properly or that maybe you need a better one?

What hitch are you using?

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My WDH is a FastWay E2, 10000 pounder. Dealer provided.
 

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The e4 is a much better hitch but I don't think the e2 is a bad one. I don't think it offers as much sway control as the e4. Do you have any friction sway bars?

I'm assuming the hitch was set up by the dealer also, and not ever adjusted at all by you after loading the trailer and the truck?

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Discussion Starter #17
Also, you mentioned the last time, when sway was the worst, it was "probably overloaded and probably unbalanced". If you're unbalanced AND overloaded, I don't think much of the stuff we're discussing is going to matter much.

Sway is generally a result of being unbalanced, not enough tongue weight, etc. It sounds more and more to me like really checking out the WDH setup and maybe heading to a scale to see if your distribution is correct is going to do more for you than anything else.

At the very least to get you to the best starting point. I have a similar truck but 4wd towing a travel trailer and so far haven't had much swaying. I paid a lot of attention to hitch selection, and hitch setup, and checked out my weights at a scale to see if I had enough tongue weight and how I was on my truck axles.

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Heading to the scale, with RV loaded as we plan to load it for camping, is planned for next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The e4 is a much better hitch but I don't think the e2 is a bad one. I don't think it offers as much sway control as the e4. Do you have any friction sway bars?

I'm assuming the hitch was set up by the dealer also, and not ever adjusted at all by you after loading the trailer and the truck?

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Yes, the e2 has friction bars. Yes, the dealer set it up, obviously with an empty trailer. I have made one adjustment, but have not towed since doing that. Headed to scale next week with RV loaded as we plan to use it camping. Just under 14 miles to CAT scales.
 

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I don't mean the spring bars, I mean a separate friction sway bar. I think with the NEW a bracket has to be welded on to add the ball to use one. The e2 doesn't have the spring loaded detents in the head like the e4 to offer extra sway control. Attached is a sway bar like some folks use. My hitch has sway control built in. If your weight is distributed right it's probably not necessary, but might be as or more effective than truck mods we've mentioned here.


How do your wheel well heights (measured from the ground) compare between loaded heights and unloaded?

With the hitch adjusted to the trailer as you load it, I bet things will be much better.



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I'm just using a 16 year old #1000 EAZ-Lift bar and chain WD setup.. No addition friction "sway bar" or any of that mess...

If you do feel any 'sway' just hitting your brake controller manual slide bar will usually get the trailer back behind you. But again, if you are swaying just going down the road, especially once you hit a specific mph then the trailer is unbalanced or too light TW.

Been towing trailers since the mid 80's and most of those overloaded, but in all cases, putting more weight up front to increase the TW always helps the handling of the rig.

Mitch
 
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