Check it Out!
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index]

Re: RC: Trailer weight

At 06:12 AM 4/4/00 -0700, Dyane Smith wrote:
>Anybody had their truck drop to 15 mph over a 7% grade when they were towing
>within their rated weight.

Considering that our new trailer is huge, I've been getting lessons, both
normally, and from the school of hard knocks on this one.

>I just got my new trailer.  It was supposed to weigh 5200#, but actually
>weighs in at over 6100#.  I've got an old (1989) Ford F-250 with a
>heavy-duty towing package that is rated to tow 18,500 GCVW.  

This is more a measure of the chassis and brakes than anything else.  It
says nothing about how much you can pull up a hill how fast.  It does say
how well the springs and brakes will hold up to the load.

>The truck and
>trailer (empty) together weigh 11, 800.  

OK, so now we add a couple of people, a couple of horses, some hay, a bunch
of tack, water for the ride, and pretty soon we're talking 15-16,000#.
Given a GCVW of 18,500, it says you ought to be able to stop going downhill
reasonably well.  This part won't degrade so long as you maintain it
properly.  Brakes, for the most part, either work or not.

>I've had the truck checked out and
>we can't find anything wrong with it.  

You told me the problem just a minute ago:
"I've got an old (1989) Ford F-250"

It's an old truck.  The motor is worn.  It probably produces around 75-80%
of the power that it did new.  A motor will wear down and lose power
without always truly malfunctioning - the valves get crud on them, cuts
down on incoming air.  Rings wear, and compression drops a little.  A 7%
grade is pretty steep, too.  If it is an automatic, and a gasoline motor,
the wear on the motor starts to cause the transmission to misbehave a little.

Ask your mechanic to run a full wet and dry compression test.  I'd bet the
cylinders are all down from what you'd see new on the dry, and when you do
it wet, it will come back up some - tells me the rings are worn (which is
normal at that age for anything except a Mercedes engine).  Since it is
what the mechanic considers normal for that age of a vehicle, they're going
to tell you nothing is wrong - they're mostly right - it is just old age.
Now if one of them comes up zero, or maybe 1/2 what it is supposed to, then
that cylinder isn't doing anything for you and it is indeed broken.

If I'm guessing right, your only option to fix it is to either overhaul the
motor, or replace it.  Neither option is cost-effective on an 11 year old
vehicle, and your mechanic probably knows that you don't want to spend that
much.  Unless a vehicle has been maintained perfectly, it doesn't make
sense to replace major components on an older vehicle - something else is
just going to break, and you can end up with a $2000 motor in a $1500 truck.

>I'm not in a normally high elevation
>(3-4000').  I know Teddy recommends a Freightliner, but the truck is old
>because it took me so long to get trailer money together.
> Any ideas?

A Freightliner is a really expensive way to go, and a friend of mine had
nothing but trouble with hers and made them take it back under the lemon
law.  YMMV (Your Milage May Vary).  Considering that your trailer really
isn't all that heavy, a new F-350 has a GCVW of 20,000#, and that's what
I'd try to do if I were you.  I'd also go diesel - what really truly
matters in pulling things is torque, and Ford's strongest diesel produces
about 30% more torque than their strongest V10 gasoline motor.

OTOH, I'm counting the days until the F-550 shows up <g>

David LeBlanc

    Check it Out!    

Home    Events    Groups    Rider Directory    Market    RideCamp    Stuff

Back to TOC