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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I bought my 2012 Ecoboost 4x4 Supercrew with the trailer package and 3.53 axle in February. I love my truck so far, but I'm afraid I may have made a big mistake this week. I bought a Coachman Freedom Express TT and now I'm afraid I bought too much trailer for my truck. I haven't been able to weigh it yet so this is just based on manufactures weights. Dry wt. is 6800# and the hitch wt. should be just over 900#. So loaded I'm guessing the GTW will be about 7600# if I don't fill the fresh water tank and hitch wt. about 950#. The towing capacity calculates out with about 1200# to spare but with that hitch wt. the payload capacity of the truck is very close to the max. So far I've only towed it from the dealer home and had a lot of sway. The dealer threw in a used Equalizer WD 10,000/1000# hitch. I'm hoping the towing problems were because the hitch isn't adjusted right and not that I have too much trailer. I had plenty of power, but I was not comfortable with the handling especially over 60 mph. The steering wheel was off center while towing and driving straight.

This is a great forum. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.
 

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Having looked at the specs for the Coachman on their website, you should not have a problem towing it. The hitch weight seems to be fine. As for the sway control, having a good hitch helps but it mostly takes practice. While I have never towed that specific trailer, I have towed some large trailers. Learning your shift points for hills and knowing how to deal with the wind gusts, road angles and other conditions that you may encounter while towing is something that takes time. what you can do is take the trailer to the dealership and see what they say about the whole situation.


Edit: A good person to PM bout this is m361, he tows a trailer like the one that you bought.
 

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I have a 25ft Raptor Toy Hauler that has a hitch weight of about 1130 pounds when empty. I normally stay between 55-65 when towing and it seems fine. Anything above 65 and it feels a little out of control especially if its windy. I'm using a reese weight distribution hitch along with one sway bar. I know I'm right at the limits so I take it easy with the trailer is unloaded. Now with a ATV in the back, the hitch weight drops to about 950 pounds and the total weight of the trailer is around 8000 pounds. Still under what the max towing capability is for the truck.

I have the 3.73 gears, but I don't think that would make much of a difference on handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I wish I had bought a little less trailer. I'd be more comfortable with more cushion, but I really like the floorplan of the trailer and since I spend 3-4 days a week in it comfortable living space overrode my better judgment. I think that if I tune the WHD a little better and work on how I load the trailer to reduce the tongue weight I'll can improve the handling. Are there any after market upgrades that would increase the payload capacity?
 

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You can try an add-a-leaf springs in the rear. Autospring has some that "advertise" to increase payload.

Now you can get the lift you need plus additional carrying capacity. Due to popular demand. Auto Spring Kits now has available a rear lift add-a-leaf kit for the 2009-2013 F-150 2wd or 4wd. This kit will raise the rear 1-1/2 to 2 inches and increase your factory carrying capacity an additional 950 lbs.
2009-2013 FORD F-150 Rear Add-A-Leaf Kit - $129.95 : Auto Spring Corporation, Idaho's Largest Inventory of Auto and Truck Springs.

^^ I've been temped to purchase a set.

Also, I picked up one a Sherline LM1000 Trailer Tongue Weight Scale so I know exactly what the tongue weight is: Sherline LM1000 Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - Amazon.com
 

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Did you read my post on tips to "Newbies" below yours especially about the angle of the trailer front to rear. A ball & hitch trailer must be slightly lower in the front to avoid swaying. Sometimes level works, but never have the front of the trailer higher. You may want to add another friction sway bar on the other side for bad wind conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I had just Googled the helper springs and will look into it. I do plan to get a Tongue Weight Scale. I think it would be very useful.
 

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Check out my signature below and search my trailer. I am about the same weight as you dry, and I have zero towing issues with my EcoBeast. Wind related sway is just sometimes unavoidable and you just need to slow down or park until conditions get better. Your truck is more than capable of towing that trailer well. Just dial in the hitch and work on your loading, and all will be fine.

Keep us posted on your progress and happy travels.

SPPD
 

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It's not the weight that is causing the problem. You got to think of your trailer as a big sail and when the wind pushes it, it in return pushes you the opposite direction. And because the truck is only a half ton it is lite and easier to push around.
I also tow a big trailer (35ft) and when I first started towing I though I may have made a big mistake. But now 2 years later I feel a lot better.
Read the tips for towing on here, they are great. Set your trailer up right, use a equalizer hitch and anti sway bar, take your time and learn what your truck can do and what it can't.
 

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Did you make a mistake..NO. Could you have matched the trailer and truck better.....Yea, maybe. But, now that it is done don't worry about it. Hitch up and go enjoy.

Pay attention to how you hitch and find that sweet spot. Pay attention to how you load your trailer. If filling the fresh water tank take into consideration where the tank and weight of the water are located IE: behind or ahead of the axels. Load smart, tow smart.
 

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Oh Well... here we go!

1. Adjust the trailer jack until it measures level to the ground from the front of the frame to the rear of the frame & measure the ball socket on the hitch/or get the accurate ball height from the manufacturer.

2. If... you have an adjustable hitch head adjust it to as close as you can to that ball height. When in doubt go to the next highest adjustment hole. 3. Hook the trailer on to your ball and let it down enough to free up the hitch lock, & will let the hitch lock slide forward & lock. Make sure it is locked

3. When locked securely, put on chains for safety & then lift up the trailer & rear of truck a few inches with the trailer jack to make it easier to lift up the equalizer bars. Stop when it gets hard to turn the jack crank.

4. Pick a link that your are going to put on the hook of the bracket on the trailer frame & (then straighten the chain & "drop" the other links down while holding the link that will go on the bracket hook in your fingers) so the links drop out of the way and don't get jammed in the chain. When both equalizer bars are on, raise the trailer jack and let all the weight rest on the truck.

5. Stand back and look at the trailer & truck. The goal is to have the frame of the trailer "slightly" lower in the front & the frame of the truck level. Try repeating the process and "dropping" different numbers of links to get to that goal. If a ridiculous amount of pressure is necessary to get the front of the trailer & the rear of the truck up you may not have enough spring for the tongue weight. Hopefully that will not be a problem, not likely. If it is, I recommend a set of standard overload springs like you find on 1 ton trucks. Why? Because overloads will not affect the ride of your truck until enough weight is put on the hitch (the trailer weight) while you are driving around town. Other types of springs stiften up the ride all the time!

6. One last note, make sure the angle of the adjustable head is right vertically. Hopefully the people who sold you the trailer should have set that up right. The angle of the head will make the equalizer bars more or less parallel to the ground and therefore put more or less pressure on the chains lifting the trailer. The more the hitch head leans forward towards the truck bumper & 90 degrees the more level horizonally the bars will be creating less lifting pressure on the chains. Usually you want the hitch head tilted away from the truck a little and the bars running slightly downward from the truck. A good hitch place can help you with that if you get confused.

7. Get a friction sway bar (or two if necessary/ they go on reversed in position on each side of the "A" frame) and learn to adjust it based on wind and driving condition. I keep them fairly tight when windy! Loosen it completely when backing up the trailer or turning very sharply or it will fight you especially in dirt or gravel.

8. Make sure the hitch on the truck is rated for the tongue weight! I bent the hell out of a GM hitch and had to replace it on a trip because it would not hold a 900 lb. hitch weight!

Do this and you'll find out what's what! It will probably turn out just fine!

Hope this helps! An old friend who is gone now helped me years ago when I started. Now, it's my turn!

Trailer#2.jpg
 

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Your truck should be good to 9600# gross trailer weight. If you haven't pulled a travel trailer before, it takes some getting used to. I considered myself trailer savvy based on towing my boat a lot and when I pulled my first travel trailer home I was pretty white knuckled for the same reasons you describe. The sway that you describe, and offset steering wheel makes me guess you were fighting some cross wind. I think that you are on the right track looking at the hitch set-up to minimize those effects. The motor is very capable and you will be very happy with that.
 

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Also...the hitch weight of your trailer needs to be at least 10% of the total loaded trailer weight. Anything less than that will add to the sway. Twelve percent would be better.
 

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If your truck has the max tow package it should have a 3.73 axle. I have a toy hauler that I have taken to a scale and it weighs 7,800 dry. It holds 150 gallons of water 1,245 pounds, 70 gallons of gas 441 pounds, 15 gallons of propane 63 pounds and I carry a polaris rzr s which is 1,100 pounds and my 2013 F-150 4X4 ecoboost pulls it better than my previous tow vehicle a 2002 F-250 4X4 crew cab V-10. I did change to michelin load range E tires and firestone ride rite air bags on the ecoboost.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I just have the regular tow package. It's a 2012 4x4 SuperCrew with the 3.53 axle. I think I have more than enough power and torque to pull it. The total weight isn't a problem either. Unless I fill all the holding tanks and throw in lots of extra gear the gross weight of the trailer will be fine. I could use up all the cargo capacity of the trailer and still be under the 9600 lb max towing capacity and 15500 lb GCVWR of the truck. It's the truck' payload capacity and the hitch weight that worries me. The truck's GVWR is 7200 lbs. Subtract the 5800 curb weight (that's with a full tank of gas etc.) of the truck, my weight and my wife's weight, and a little extra for any other cargo in the truck and I'm only left with about 1000 lbs for the hitch weight without exceeding the GVWR. So I'm cutting it very close. Dry hitch weight is 875 lbs, so I'll have to put most of the cargo in the trailer either on or behind the axles. Loaded I should be at about 7600 lbs. That's with a little fresh water and clothes, food, etc. Figuring 12% of that as axle weight would put me at about 910 lbs. So I only have about of 90 lbs of truck payload capacity left over.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the advice and support. I'm taking it out today to work on the hitch setup and practice pulling it on some low traffic roads. We're taking it to a campground at a lake about 20 miles from home for the weekend. Monday is the big test, I'm towing it 300 miles.
 

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Planning on putting air bags on my new F150 FX4. Does adding airbags help at all with sway or are they only helping out the ride?
They will help with sway because it will get your truck back up to level.
 

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Planning on putting air bags on my new F150 FX4. Does adding airbags help at all with sway or are they only helping out the ride?
The springs on the truck don't effectively do much to help the sway of the trailer! Trailer sway can exist even if you have stiff truck springing. Of course weak rear springs make everything worse. Keeping the trailer with the front "slightly" lower than the rear eliminates sway. If the front is higher than the rear it will cause sway!

Rear springs and your hitch equalizer bars should not be any heavier than necessary. Too heavy rear springs or too heavy equalizer bars just ruin the ride of a truck & trailer combination on the road and can jar the suspension making it more dangerous. Heavier is not better! With my 23' trailer I use 500 to 800 lb. equalizer bars (which are 800 lb bars) based on the tongue weight and it rides great. RV stores may try to sell you 1200 lb. springs because they are in stock and claim bigger is better. Wrong! Buy no more than what the tongue weight requires. That's why they make the different weight bars!!!

I don't like air bags because they limit travel of the suspension tremedously and hurt the ride alot. They will carry lots of weight for sure, but in my opinion are the wrong way to go. I've also seen accidents caused by a sudden air bag failure on heavy campers. Not likely, but it does happen. "IF" you need extra weight carrying capacity get the standard 1 ton overloads style that have separate brackets on the frame that engage them after heavier weight is put on the suspension. They don't don't affect anything until you put alot of weight on the rear suspension. If arced right they maintain the original ride of the truck when not towing. Other types of springs and air bags hurt the ride. They also can be re-arced, or built by a good spring shop to tune them to a specific weight situation and will last nearly forever without any maintenance.

A ball hitch type trailer should look like this: That is, the trailer is "slightly" lower in the front and the truck is close to level! This rig drives like a dream. You could forget the trailer is even there.... which is not a good thing! :(
 

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