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Discussion Starter #1
About 2 months ago I bought a new 2018 3.5L Ecoboost F150 Super Cab, 6.5 bed. I bought it specifically to tow a travel trailer. I had a 2011 Nissan Titan Pro 4X. I tow a 7,000 lb travel trailer. The Nissan Titan towed very well with very little sway at speeds of 65, 70, or even 75 mph, even in high winds (30+ mph). I towed that trailer over 10,000 miles with no issues other than losing a vent of the roof due to high winds, and the truck lacking power going up steep long grades (i.e. the grapevine on I5 California). Since getting the 2018 F150 I have towed almost 2,000 miles with much swaying and bouncing. Can't tow over 60 mph without scaring the hell out of the wife (co-pilot and navigator). I've adjusted the front weight bias, adding water weight (tank is in front of the trailer axles), and tightening down on the anti sway control friction control bar. After doing this I still got a lot of swaying, and the wind was only about 15 mph at the time. I just changed the rear shocks to Bilstein model B6 4600 (same as 5100s but no height adjustment) on the rear, but have not tested with trailer yet. I am also going to add another friction control bar to the tow set up. I read on the internet if you have over 26 feet of trailer you should probably use two friction bars to help stop the swaying. I will update this post later if all this works, but it just irritates me that my Titan towed very well and this F150 does not. Other issues include a chugging or un-smooth shifting of the 10 speed transmission. I don't know if this is because the transmission just shifts badly, it has a problem, or the 6 cylinder engine in just a bit shaky in the low RPMs when going through the gears. I just noticed I also have a bulge in the upper portion go the dash on the passenger side. This may be just how it looks or it warped due to heat of the sun. I would appreciate any comments, and will update this post in July after my next trailer trip, and after discussing with the Ford Service Department about these problems. Thanks.
 

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Interesting read. Since I have no real world experience to base my opinion off of I will refrain from speculating. However, I’d prepare to start receiving a lot of feedback pointing to some sort operator error (driving, trailer set up, weight distribution, etc) bc there’s no way a titan is going to out perform a new Ecoboost when properly set up.

Do you have the right size ball?


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I tow about 7K, 33' end to end and don't have any sway issues with an Equalizer 4 point. Both bars slide at the tongue on plates they rest on. My truck is a '14 with the shorter wheel base 5.5 box so it's possible. The 3.5 is as smooth as silk at all rpms so if you are getting "chugging" it's possible that the torque converter is in the locked mode. Maybe Ford has a programming revision for the transmission. The control module for the transmission is able to learn so maybe it needs more time towing. I don't use the tow/haul mode, the up shift points are delayed too much and there's not enough displacement in the engine to be a very good at slowing the vehicle on down grades so I just pay attention and do my own shifting via the manual mode.
 

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In all fairness, it's widely claimed that the pre 15 iron F150 Ecoboost is easier to "dial in" for towing +5000lb (WDH) loads.

Maybe that Titan was underpowered, but needed less dialing than his new Aluminum powerhouse?

My advice is follow through with the current strategy to get things sorted. If you simply transferred your hitch portion of the WDH, I'd certainly start there!

And while the Bilsteins will certainly gain you a percentage of towing composure, there's still potential gains from tires and airbag support. (airbags with a WDH require changing the normal role of airbags to a lesser "support" role to the WDH)

And finally, it's been documented that some, few, Aluminum F150's epas can be out of spec. When it is, it can present towing frustration that I would dread myself.

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I’ve only towed a TT twice, it was when my brother bought it so didn’t get to set anything up when he first bought it. It towed so bad that it felt un safe and I couldn’t go much over 55. Once we got it back home I spent a few hours with the hitch manual and got everything set up how it was supposed to be and towed it to the rv park it was going to be staying and it was night and day difference. It pulled like any other trailer I’ve pulled in the past and was very controlled and could go as fast as I wanted. Tell you that so you take extra time and redo your setup. Hitch setup can completely ruin how a TT pulls.

As far as the trans problem I’m not sure. It’s been so long since I’ve had stock trans tune in my truck I don’t remember what it feels like but i did like the 10
Speed more than the 6 speed in my 2011 and 2013. Might need to get truck checked out.


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There's a TSB for the warped dash. They'll change it out. I need to get this done too. I never had luck with friction bars. Get a better sway control hitch (Equal-i-zer, Blue Ox, E2, Andersen etc). The EcoBoost engine does not like lower RPM's while towing. I try to keep them in the 2000 - 2400 RPM range. Generally lock out 9th and 10th at sane highway speeds.
 

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It really sounds like SOMETHING isnt dialed in or isn't functioning correctly. My current truck (2009 XLT, 4.6 with 5.5 bed) tows my 27' 6000lb TT like a dream and it doesnt have near the performance specs of the 3.5 engine. I cant see how going to a stronger truck and longer frame is creating a worse towing situation. I've never needed more than a single friction anti-sway bar for my TT, even with 40MPH cross winds.

Can you post pics of the WDH, sway bar and trailer hooked up? Seeing its stance might give an insight.
 

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welcome fellow booster


Lets see a picture of your truck and trailer hooked up?

What hitch system and anti way are you using?

My 15 and my 19 has zero sway..... trailer info in my sig
 

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OMG-lol; I remember the good ole days towing with my 04` Titan pulling my than 33' 8k loaded Springdale TT. Approaching a long grade than revving it to 4k rpms+ at over 70mph;...Jet chipped, JBA headers & 3" Magnaflow screaming! I must admit she sounded great but the drone got old after a few years.
I put E rated tires on the Nissan & Springdale. Added Firestone airbags, rear Hellwig swaybar and adjustable Ranchos all around truck.
Husky WDH w/1sway control bar (which I currently run on my 14` Boost).
IMO-airbags helped 100%.


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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Appreciate the reply from all. I'm also thinking I have not set up the trailer towing correctly for the F150. I will be checking tongue weight to ensure I have a 10 to 15 % bias on the front of the trailer (this would be about 680 lbs to about 1,000 lbs on the ball). The ball is the same ball I used to tow with the Titan. The hitch/sway control set up is the Pro Series type with the round bar weight distribution kit with friction sway control (just google Pro Series 49903 Round Bar Weight Distribution Kit to see setup). I have set up the bars and hitch to level both trailer and truck when hooked up, and the friction sway control is pretty basic in adjusting. I have not changed trailer tires, I believe they are Goodyear and they worked good with the Titan. I do use the "Tow Mode" when towing. My trailer is a 2008 Keystone Cougar 268RLS, dry weight 6,780 lbs. I am assuming that WHD means weight distribution hitch? I don't know how to lock or unlock the torque converter; didn't know that was possible. Also I don't know how to lock out 9th or 10th gear. I have plenty of power, no problem there and that is why I bought this truck. I don't have pics at this time, but will post a pic in July (next scheduled trip). Thanks for the tip on the TSB for the dash. I will look for that. Thanks again for all the comments, I do appreciate them.
 

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Yes, a WDH is a weight distributing hitch. Your hitch looks basically like mine. My bars are a diff configuration but that shouldnt matter. If your trailer is level when hitched, and you have good tongue weight, I'm at a loss for for a physical help. You have proper tension (and equal) on the WD bars? If all thats good, you might have problem with your trucks computerized anti-sway sensors. They could be hitting your brakes when not needed or incorrectly, making small sways worse. speaking of the braking system, does your trailer have surge brakes or integrated brake control? An error in your trailer brake controller could cause you problems too. Just spitballing ideas here. I tow but I dont claim to be an expert with all the new tech in our trucks.
 

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I'm watching this carefully...
I have an '18 SCREW 4WD XLT with 5.5' bed. 3.5 ecoboost with the max trailer tow package package. My travel trailer is a 2017 Open Range Light 272RLS (dry weight about 8,000, GVWR 9,900). I've experienced the same horrible sway conditions described by the OP, and had the truck to the dealership multiple times for service. The service manager said "that truck is your trailer's b!tch" to describe the situation. Nothing has been done by the dealer or by Ford, but there is a pretty extensive service record on it. Next time I tow (not often), I am taking it to a scale.
 

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To answer the locking out gears question. When you have your truck in D for drive you can push the + or - button on the gear selector to take gears away or add them. IE is when you are driving down the road and the truck is in 10th (you can tell because on the display in between the speed and tach 1 trough 10 will be illuminated) push the - button on the selector a the 10 will go at and you will feel I downshift to 9th, ect.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In all fairness, it's widely claimed that the pre 15 iron F150 Ecoboost is easier to "dial in" for towing +5000lb (WDH) loads.

Maybe that Titan was underpowered, but needed less dialing than his new Aluminum powerhouse?

My advice is follow through with the current strategy to get things sorted. If you simply transferred your hitch portion of the WDH, I'd certainly start there!

And while the Bilsteins will certainly gain you a percentage of towing composure, there's still potential gains from tires and airbag support. (airbags with a WDH require changing the normal role of airbags to a lesser "support" role to the WDH)

And finally, it's been documented that some, few, Aluminum F150's epas can be out of spec. When it is, it can present towing frustration that I would dread myself.

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Just noticed you mentioned an “epas” as a possible issue. What is an epas?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
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Well, a couple months ago I said I’d post a pic of my trailer and truck when I took it on another trip. This is how it looks. Just for background I’ve continued to have towing sway and bounce issues, but not as bad. I’ve completed one trip to Yellowstone and am now on another trip in Colorado. So, I’ve claimed the Rockies twice since my last post. I’ve been able to tame the beast down a bit but have issues. I’ve put the Bilstein 4600s on the rear, I added a second friction control bar, I added a pair of helper springs to the rear (to help keep the truck from sagging too much). The results are less sway (wag) when being passed by semi trucks or other big trailers, and the truck sits more level due to the helper springs and going one link tighter on the WDH. Unfortunately all is not good, except of course the power, I have plenty. Now the steering acts up when towing. It’s as though it has a mind of it’s own. In one instance when I exited the highway and made a left turn onto a straight level road, when I turned the steering wheel to it’s normal position for driving, the truck still wanted to go left, like it was out of alignment. I had to turn the steering wheel almost a quarter turn to the right to get the truck to go straight. After about 10 seconds it went back to normal but that was very concerning. On a different occasion when I went over over a bumpy road and the truck began to bounce, and I was turning left to follow the road, the skid cotrol or something kicked in to stop the bouncing and swaying, it actually cut of the engine power for a second or two. I know I must sound like a nut case, but has anybody have any experiences as I have described?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
There's a TSB for the warped dash. They'll change it out. I need to get this done too. I never had luck with friction bars. Get a better sway control hitch (Equal-i-zer, Blue Ox, E2, Andersen etc). The EcoBoost engine does not like lower RPM's while towing. I try to keep them in the 2000 - 2400 RPM range. Generally lock out 9th and 10th at sane highway speeds.
FYI, so far the dealer has replaced my dash pads once on both sides, and it is still warped. I asked if I could upgrade to the leather dash pads, paying the difference, but the dealer said no. So, I am currently awaiting a new set of dash pads. The factory has authorized the repair, but parts are on back order. They are no sure when they will be available.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, a WDH is a weight distributing hitch. Your hitch looks basically like mine. My bars are a diff configuration but that shouldnt matter. If your trailer is level when hitched, and you have good tongue weight, I'm at a loss for for a physical help. You have proper tension (and equal) on the WD bars? If all thats good, you might have problem with your trucks computerized anti-sway sensors. They could be hitting your brakes when not needed or incorrectly, making small sways worse. speaking of the braking system, does your trailer have surge brakes or integrated brake control? An error in your trailer brake controller could cause you problems too. Just spitballing ideas here. I tow but I dont claim to be an expert with all the new tech in our trucks.
Sorry for the late reply, but I had no changes to report. But the last time I towed I noticed that the more I tighten the friction control bars (I have two) the more the steering resist returning to center after a turn. So, I have to loosen up on the friction control to “free up” the steering and it acts normal going back to center as one would expect. I find this irritating but necessary. The challenge being to find a safe balance between proper steering control and trailer sway control. I will be upgrading my front struts before my next trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
FYI, so far the dealer has replaced my dash pads once on both sides, and it is still warped. I asked if I could upgrade to the leather dash pads, paying the difference, but the dealer said no. So, I am currently awaiting a new set of dash pads. The factory has authorized the repair, but parts are on back order. They are no sure when they will be available.
Oh, on the transmission gear lockout, I believe that in the tow mode it automatically locks out 9 and 10 gears. But, thanks as I now can lock out gears as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I tow about 7K, 33' end to end and don't have any sway issues with an Equalizer 4 point. Both bars slide at the tongue on plates they rest on. My truck is a '14 with the shorter wheel base 5.5 box so it's possible. The 3.5 is as smooth as silk at all rpms so if you are getting "chugging" it's possible that the torque converter is in the locked mode. Maybe Ford has a programming revision for the transmission. The control module for the transmission is able to learn so maybe it needs more time towing. I don't use the tow/haul mode, the up shift points are delayed too much and there's not enough displacement in the engine to be a very good at slowing the vehicle on down grades so I just pay attention and do my own shifting via the manual mode.
You right about the compression braking of the 3.5, almost useless, basically just get higher rpm on the downhill coasting. I gave up on the chugging issue even though the dealer transmission mechanics admit that there is slight roughness in normal traffic (not while towing), but they claim that it is “normal” for the 10 speed.
 
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