Towing Trailers is Dangerous

JJLEBOATBABE

Member
Jun 20, 2018
34
This seems like an odd question, but I keep getting different answers: I just purchased a new 2018 F-150 truck, tow package, integrated brake controller, etc. My question is, can I start towing my 2,024lb A-frame pop-up camper right away, or do I need a break in period for the brand new Ford F-150, supercab, 2.7-V6, eco-boost, gear ratio 1.55? The dealer says one thing, the vehicle manual says another thing, and the online Ford.com site says another thing....
 

Raycfe

Waterford Ct.
Oct 3, 2007
18,209
Waterford, Ct
Boy bear.jpg You are not towing much with a big enough TV. Take it easy you should be fine.
By the way you should have 3.55 rear axle ratio.
 

JJLEBOATBABE

Member
Jun 20, 2018
34
Opps, I do have the 3.55 rear axle ratio. So much for the "by memory" thing! lol Ok then, that is pretty much what the car dealer said. You are not pulling anything that heavy, so you should be fine. No break-in for the engine needed. Then the manual said, should not tow before having 1,000 miles on the vehicle. I have the 2018-17ft Rockwood Forest River A-122, hard side camper, coming in at 2,024lbs. without any gear, etc.
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
You know, my new GMC manual said the same thing, basically. In my case it reads; "no towing for first 500 miles, and then 50 mph or under up to 1,000 miles". Luckily, I drive quite a bit for my work so the miles add up rather quickly and I wasn't affected either way. However, it should be pointed out that when a Manufacturer makes a statement like this, they will absolutely use it to invalidate a warranty. I know it's a "Long shot", but should the transmission break and it's found that the vehicle was towing anything when there was only 400 miles on it, they are withing the scope of the law to deny warranty repairs. People say all the time, "but how would they know?"..I, for one, don't want to be on the wrong side of the conversation should it be true.

Having said all that as a warning of sorts, it should be also noted that today's vehicles are made entirely different from 30+ years ago, and a lot of these ideas are holdovers from an era past. My first car, a 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air, I'm sure needed a specific plan of "break in" in order to have a chance to get to 80k miles, which at the time would've seem like a miracle. Most of it's parts were screwed together by hand, however. These days, robots put together most of the stuff and a vehicle that doesn't make it 200,000 miles is considered a "lemon". I think the initial oil change is important, but odds are you're using (and they used) Synthetic Oil so even that isn't the same concern as it is either. I can't see why a truck built to today's standards and with current processes need any time to break in, but what do I know?
 

WVhillbilly

Super Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
841
WV
Opps, I do have the 3.55 rear axle ratio. So much for the "by memory" thing! lol Ok then, that is pretty much what the car dealer said. You are not pulling anything that heavy, so you should be fine. No break-in for the engine needed. Then the manual said, should not tow before having 1,000 miles on the vehicle. I have the 2018-17ft Rockwood Forest River A-122, hard side camper, coming in at 2,024lbs. without any gear, etc.
I wouldn't worry about it. You're towing about 20% of the truck's capacity.
If you were towing 75% or more then I'd wait until the break in period is over.
 

erond

Member
Aug 10, 2018
73
Northern Virginia
I can't see why a truck built to today's standards and with current processes need any time to break in, but what do I know?

The engineers (and the lawyers, and the finance folks) generally have a good reason for establishing and publishing break-in requirements. Manufacturers "could" deny a warranty claim for not performing break-in, but the cost of investigating to maybe avoid a payout would likely be more than the cost of the repair. On the other hand, if you are towing and are in an accident, it's almost certain that gross trailer and vehicle weights, loading, and safety equipment will be checked.

While "cars aren't the same as 20-30 years ago" for reliability and technology, it's a double-edged sword. The same technology likely "learns" your driving style and how all the power-train components interact with each other and adjusts future behavior. Break-in is generally so short that it's a case of "why not, it's not going to hurt."

One additional reason for towing break-in is that it puts a lot more stress on engine/transmission/brakes//steering. If there is a latent defect and it shows up under stress, you can have a catastrophic failure. Using the break-in period can, potentially, reveal a defect in a more controlled/less dangerous environment.
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
Your owners manual should tell you what oil the factory put in. I can only speak to GM, but they use synthetic in every vehicle. I switched DWs Camry to it as well.
 

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,473
South Carolina
Also double check anything you are hauling on your camper/trailer. I've seen more people loose stuff off the trailer or out of their truck than I've seen loose trailers. Bikes, boats, grills, and other items need to be secured and rechecked from time to time.
 

Halford

Super Active Member
Sep 28, 2011
3,563
Santa Clarita, California
This seems like an odd question, but I keep getting different answers: I just purchased a new 2018 F-150 truck, tow package, integrated brake controller, etc. My question is, can I start towing my 2,024lb A-frame pop-up camper right away, or do I need a break in period for the brand new Ford F-150, supercab, 2.7-V6, eco-boost, gear ratio 1.55? The dealer says one thing, the vehicle manual says another thing, and the online Ford.com site says another thing....

YYYYEEEEESSSS! go 500 miles under 55 mph and no hard braking. take it easy for first 500 miles then go wild after 500 miles. Absolutely no towing during break-in period. I could not help wonder if the previous owner of my 2014 explorer was careful during the break-in. I bought the Explorer at 24k miles.
 

Halford

Super Active Member
Sep 28, 2011
3,563
Santa Clarita, California
I had a sudden sway when I went downhill toward Phoenix on Interstate 17, the popup was going faster than my old Explorer. I applied electric brake manually and it straightened the popup. Good thing I could apply the brakes manually.
 
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penny

Super Active Member
Nov 9, 2017
769
This seems like the right place to have a conversation about something I've been spending too much time thinking of. Before we bought our 2016 starcraft 18QB, we had just purchased a 2005 toyota 4 runner with a 4L 6 cyl. Before we bought the new trailer, I did a fair bit of research on it's weight and our toyota's towing capacities. I had also done research on towing a trailer, and approached it with a very healthy respect and caution--and fear. I've used several of those towing calculators on the internet, called toyota got all the numbers to plug into the calculations. An experienced and honest rv shop installed and set up the hitch, and installed the anti sway bar and we already had the brake controller installed. I believe our 4 runner has the factory tow package, as it had the receiver for the hitch and the plug for the brake controller under the dash as factory equipped. The ratio of TV to trailer length is well within the safety margins.
The new trailer is 7' wide, 21'8" from tongue to rear and dry weight is said to be 3071# and tongue weight is 335#. I haven't weighed the trailer and 4 runner on a scale, but plan to. We don't carry a whole lot of heavy stuff but I'd still will weigh it when it is loaded to camp.

Towing it is so easy. It pulls steady and straight, it brakes well, we do not ever seem to lack power going up hills, or feel squirrelly going down them. I am starting to actually relax and enjoy traveling with the trailer. Our first trailer was much shorter at 14' and 2100# and it used to bounce and jerk, and was more prone to wag a bit. I am so perplexed about why the new trailer is so much easier to tow. I wonder if there is a better balance to the new one, or if the place we got it just set up the hitch perfectly.

We have taken several 300+ mile trips with the combination involving some pretty challenging grades and mountain roads, and all have been reassuringly easy. We are not in a hurry and get very respectable milage keeping it around 60 mph on the highway.

This summer we plan some long trips, and I keep reading warnings about towing with a v6. I doubt if we would be in the position to trade tow vehicles or trailers without some valid reason.
I suppose I'm just looking for some reassurance from people more experienced than we are about towing. All I can find is to add tranny cooler, air bags and WDH. The guy at the hitch place cautioned us that our set up does not need WDH, it would in fact, be wrong for our factory installed hitch, and that the amount our vehicle lowers when hitched up is minimal, and the rear suspension is fine. He said he wasn't the one to ask on the tranny cooler. I don't know if we have one already, but I will check on that. The brakes seem plenty good, we use lower gears more than brakes on downhill grades.

So I'd be glad for any input, I'm already a worry wart, I guess I'd like good advice or reassurance. Of course nobody has a crystal ball, there are plenty of things that can go wrong with any trip. Maybe I should just stop reading all the frightening things about towing, be alert and aware and enjoy our adventures.
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
I pull a similar sized camper that is probably at least 1,000lbs heavier with a rear slide, plus it’s 8’ tall using my V6 Canyon. I figure I’m around 5k loaded and the truck is rated for 7k. When I brought the camper home, I didn’t have a WDH, and the truck didn’t sit down an inch I don’t think. Having said that, I added the WDH because it just feels more secure. My truck has a factory tow package that includes the transmission cooler and that’s one thing I wouldn’t tow without. An anti-sway bar affords some extra piece of mind as well, especially if you’re traveling long rang and will encounter some elevation. The wind can get up in a hurry and reek havoc on your towing without warning. Outside of that, I’d say you’re doing great and going through everything most of us have. Keep up the good work!
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,162
Ontario
1) what is the GVWR of the trailer ? forget the fictitious dry weight..
2) when hitched up, does the rearend drop more then 3-4 inches? does the front end raise more then 2 inches? (measure the height from the ground to the center top of the front and rear wheel wells, then hitch up a fully loaded ready to camp trailer and remeasure).
3) double check and make sure your trailer can use/handle a WDH, not all of them can.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
As I pulled out of the yard onto a short dirt driveway that led to a 4 lane highway, my trailer passed me...With over #5000 pounds of construction materials it zero'd in on the front door of a restaurant across the street.

I know this is an old thread, but I'm curious why the braking system didn't prevent this. A trailer loaded up to 5000# certainly should have brakes and a breakaway system. Did it fail?
 

penny

Super Active Member
Nov 9, 2017
769
sure appreciate the input!
The toyota dealer shop and the owner's manual both say not to use a WDH unless you install a different style of hitch that bolts on in more places, like the v8, which has a much higher tow rating. Also, the Rv sales place told me it wasn't right for our TV or necessary with the trailer. The anti-sway bar is an absolute necessity though, as is the brake controller. I can tell when we need to tighten the lever on the anti sway bar, so I know that is a huge help, both in windy conditions and with trucks passing on the highway.
I asked the toyota dealer where we bought the 4runner if that model had a tranny cooler. He said it didn't need an auxiliary cooler, which isn't the same thing as saying it has one. So I don't know. He did say it was rated to tow 5000# and that means it shouldn't need one. He said just change the tranny fluid more if we put it under heavy towing situations. But we very often travel in 100*+ and some steep grades, so I can't see how it would be a bad idea to have one installed. We will look into that some more. my sis has a 04 v8 4 runner that they pull a much heavier trailer with, and she said her very good mechanic said pretty much the same thing as the dealership shop here said.

GVWR is 3750# I don't remember off-hand the limit for tongue wt. on the 4 runner, but do know it is easily higher than the 335# the trailer claims to have. The rear might lower 2" when hitched up, we still need to measure the front end. Visually it is negligible, but we do intend to measure it as well as weigh all loaded up.
thanks so much again!
 




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