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After reading these forums for a few years and having some issues towing in the desert southwest I decided to upgrade the capabilities of my F-150 for better towing. I have a 2016 Lariat Supercrew 3.5. Bought it new with regular tow package and brake controller. I love this truck, but it doesn’t like heat. I routinely tow at higher altitudes with temps north of 110 and long steep grades. Never went into limp mode, but certainly did get the yellow temp gauge a few times. I decided to attack my project in several phases:

1). Suspension. Added Helwig rear anti sway bar. Airlifter 2000 air bags and a level kit. Obviously the level kit doesn’t help performance, but since it’s part of the suspension I listed it. Thinking of trying out the RAS kit, wish I knew about these before I bought the air bags. I did some research and you can use them together. Mostly the RAS would help with axle wrap. Air bags would stay at a minimum unless towing. Also put bilstein 4600 all four corners.

2) tires and brakes. Put on power stop z-36 pads and rotors all 4 corners, and upgraded to E rated LT tires.

3). Air induction. Mishimoto intercooler, AFE hot and cold charge pipes, AFE cai with dry filter, BBK throttle body. The idea was to make the air flow as smooth as possible and be cooled more efficiently. Some of the upgrades may or may not help. But they won’t hurt. There is one issue I’m working on. Where the factory cold air inlet meets the hood, it seems extremely restrictive and the air flow is not as direct as it could be from the grill. Any suggestions?

4). Cooling the fluids. Besides the Mishimoto CAC this is where I’ve seen the biggest impact. I switched out the transmission cooler for a 13 row cooler that fit in the factory mounts. I mounted an 8 row stacked plate engine oil cooler down where the license plate would go. I removed the license plate and all the shutters for better airflow. I have the upgraded radiator, but just received the full race radiator which is larger than the factory tow radiator. Installed an B&M differential cover to help cool rear differential. Next will be a B&M transmission pan, adds more fluid and transfers heat better.

5) next project is the exhaust, CR performance exhaust manifold ceramic coated. Not looking for power gains, but the factory ones have a history of warping and ceramic coating to help keep heat out of engine compartment. Better downpipes. Increase flow and hp for long hills.

Last project will will be either a fender vent or hood vent and the rear of the hood. And try to upgrade the fans. I know the fan issue doesn’t seem to have a solution. I’ve seen some people talk about a Taurus fan but other than that nothing......

If anyone has any suggestions feel free to post away.
 

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About half of those upgrades aren't going to do squat for your "heat". Beyone the CAC, radiator and trans cooler upgrades, the next step IMO would be the oil cooler/coolant diverter delete with aftermarket oil cooler.
 

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Agree with Purfection and DNA Dan. What are you towing? and I didn't here you say anything about handling problems. I'm not going to upgrade my cooling of anything untill the need arises like your having. Hope you find what fixes your issues. :)
 

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While no matter what you do the Ecobeast will still be a challenge keeping cool in the extremes (altitude, hot ambient air, and towing up grades), I still love your strategy!

Afterall, you're simply addressing everything that can be addressed.

And since that is your strategy, you may as well not stop until you do the very few things left to do. Those fans you referenced maybe? Also a few fellas did what is necessary to modify the fan behavior so that it goes to maximum cooling BEFORE the Temps rise.

Once you've done all that, you simply use your right foot and transmission gear selector to manage any margin left.

Keep us informed.

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Looks like a great plan of attack. I’m curious how it works out for you. I still have a theory that eliminating the stock oil cooler and diverter pipe are a contributor.


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Discussion Starter #8
I’m towing a 26 ft 6500lb travel trailer. As far as handling problems, no I really haven’t had any. Some of those upgrades were done simply because of reading theses boards. The sway bar being the first. I had 45000 miles in my tires and they weren’t bad. But a piece of construction debris in the road solved that, so I just decided to upgrade during the replacement. Airbags were based on recommendations on this board also. I do have a after market engine oil cooler on. And as far as the sd goes, didn’t want one. Specifically wanted the 150 eb. Some of the things I’m doing are also a well let’s try it and see. The worst case scenario is that the upgrade did nothing.
 

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Most powerful towing ½ton in all the land.
It might have its limits, but you can get it to yank 6500 without being forced to move up.

1000's have done so.

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Ding ding ding. Hit the nail on the head. All that money spent and could've just upgraded to a proper tow rig.

Also, IMO larger capacity trans pan and diff cover do nothing for cooling other than delay the inevitable.
My truck gets hot towing a 5500 GVWR trailer, litterally half of my rated tow capacity, does that mean i should upgrade to a HD.
 

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If you don't want to deal with overheating, then yes.
Touché

But every towing Ecoboost doesn't overheat.
Or, for the specific circumstances that do start to throw a lot of heat, the driver can make some "adjustments to demand" in order to keep the truck within safe parameters.

Inconvenient at that moment, but makes the SD upgrade unnecessary.

Honestly, 7 or 8 years ago I would definitely have an F250 doing what I now do with an F150. And not even consider it a negative. But man today's F150 has ruined me. I want my cake &...

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It all comes down to the environment these EcoBeasts are operating in. I can run 10k in 47 minutes in 27°C temps. Now put me in 40°C temps and I would be lucky to run 5k without having problems. I have a 2017, 3.5 EcoBoost with every towing option I could get at the time, including the Max towing Package and it is rated for 11600lbs . As you can see in the picture we currently have snow! So our temps don't get that high. I tow our 7600lbs Jayco camper over 2300kms every summer. My wife and I are teachers so we have 9 weeks off each summer and we camp over 45 days each summer. I have pulled that camper up 4km long 12% grades in 32°C heat and had no issues! My trans temp has hit 205 on one occasion and I was on the 12% grade holding af 110km/h. These trucks are amazing work horses but when used in extreme heat we need to give them a hand. If I was operating in the extream temperature you are I would have to upgrade the cooling components too. Honestly, I would just trade it in for a f250 and be done with the issues. Good luck.


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I have read numerous times the weight of steel body helps a lot vs alum. Alum gets pushed around more.
Hmmm...Wonder where ya read that...on the Internet? Must be true.
 

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I have read numerous times the weight of steel body helps a lot vs alum. Alum gets pushed around more.
I could see that when compared to a lighter truck. But a steel truck isn't heavier than a loaded aluminum truck.

I know what you are saying and I think you know what I'm trying to say.

My 2012 Screw feels heavier when it's empty than my 2018. And I admit it holds itself against the wind gusts a bit better than the oem 18. Or it felt that way from the drivers seat. But when I had passengers and stuff in the cargo box of the 18, just like every light duty vehicle you can feel the weight. And if the suspension isn't burdened, the additional weight adds a bit of stability, in a straight line anyways.

What I will add though is that I still think the aluminum trucks come with a noticeable difference in oem dampening. While the earlier trucks didn't come with high quality shocks and struts, they just seemed to ride more like a truck, even when empty. These aluminum trucks are so dang soft for a truck.

I think that might have more to do with the impression they get pushed around more.

Don't know if that's all of the reason, but it sure seems like a good chunk of it. Throw some good dampers on the Aluminum and I think they are just as stable or more than the oem steel.

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If you don't want to deal with overheating, then yes.
Sounds reasonable. I should sacrifice all the benefits of a 1/2 ton and take the loss trading on an HD instead of improving the truck I have?
 

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Touché

But every towing Ecoboost doesn't overheat.
Or, for the specific circumstances that do start to throw a lot of heat, the driver can make some "adjustments to demand" in order to keep the truck within safe parameters.

Inconvenient at that moment, but makes the SD upgrade unnecessary.

Honestly, 7 or 8 years ago I would definitely have an F250 doing what I now do with an F150. And not even consider it a negative. But man today's F150 has ruined me. I want my cake &...

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It seems to be high temperatures at elevation, which is 100% understandable. At 6500' my truck is making the same HP it does at sea level based on the Airflow PID, even on the stock tune. There is not one other engine in the half ton market that can do that. You go to 6500' and you just lost 20% of your cooling air mass flowing through the radiator. You lose 30% by 11,000 ft.

So for Ford to have made this truck stay cool 100% of the time, they would have had to have overbuild the cooling system by like 100%.
 

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Hmmm...Wonder where ya read that...on the Internet? Must be true.
Mass is mass. The more mass you have, the more force is required to accelerate it. If you have the same trailer you have the same force.
 

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I could see that when compared to a lighter truck. But a steel truck isn't heavier than a loaded aluminum truck.

I know what you are saying and I think you know what I'm trying to say.

My 2012 Screw feels heavier when it's empty than my 2018. And I admit it holds itself against the wind gusts a bit better than the oem 18. Or it felt that way from the drivers seat. But when I had passengers and stuff in the cargo box of the 18, just like every light duty vehicle you can feel the weight. And if the suspension isn't burdened, the additional weight adds a bit of stability, in a straight line anyways.

What I will add though is that I still think the aluminum trucks come with a noticeable difference in oem dampening. While the earlier trucks didn't come with high quality shocks and struts, they just seemed to ride more like a truck, even when empty. These aluminum trucks are so dang soft for a truck.

I think that might have more to do with the impression they get pushed around more.

Don't know if that's all of the reason, but it sure seems like a good chunk of it. Throw some good dampers on the Aluminum and I think they are just as stable or more than the oem steel.

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I don't believe that is true. A supercrew 4x4 6.5' bed ecoboost had a base curb weight of 58xx lbs in 2014. I don't think I have ever seen any 2015+ scale over 5700. That would be 1300 lbs of payload on a 2015 which is unheard of. My truck scales in at just shy of 6200 lbs and I only have a Lariat. A platinum 6.2L would be 6400-6500 lbs which is absurd for a half ton truck.
 
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