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View Full Version : Towing with a F250 (5.4L V8) ?



fleur de duc
Feb. 11, 2010, 07:42 PM
Well I am buying a truck. I don't have a terribly huge budget to spend, but I am really looking to get all I can with my money. And I will admit, I really don't know much about cars or trucks other than how to drive them.

I came across the truck I am fond of. I am looking at a number of different ones, but this one seems ideal. Only issues is my mechanic friend is saying the engine is smaller than ideal for what I want, to pull my 2horse adams trailer (all aluminum) trailer, granted I do have a fairly large horse (17h, 1200lb-ish) that would be in it.

I just don't want to regret getting this truck. But looking around, they all seem to all have 5.4L engines. So do I really need bigger??

I am looking at a few diesels as well, so obviously they are bigger, but all gas F250s on my list are 5.4L in exception of one.

If you had around $10,000 to spend, what exactly should I be looking for?

monstrpony
Feb. 11, 2010, 07:47 PM
I have a friend who pulls a 3-horse slant GN with an F250 with that very engine. She doesn't set any land speed records going up long hills, but it gets the job done totally adequately.

I don't think Ford is using a larger gas engine, except for the V-10, which is a professional gas guzzler. Having a diesel is really, really nice, but for the $$ you're talking about, the 5.4L should do the job for you.

MistyBlue
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:00 PM
What year? The F250 V8 5.4 is probably the most popular trailer towing truck around here in CT for 2horse trailers, both GN and BP. They do fine in traffic, on hills, etc. You do lose a little "pick up speed" taking off from a stop or merging on the highway...but then when you have a horse or two behind you, you really don't want to take off fast anyways. :winkgrin: Pisses the horses off. :lol:
However if you really want to make sure you have more take off speed and not worry about slowing down going up hill...Ford makes an F250 6.8L V10 gas engine...360 hp I think? Give or take, might be 365 hp. You'd think I'd remember, it's what I have, LOL! I have a 2005 V10 F250. Sucker takes off like a bat out of hell if I have weight in the bed...without weight in the bed the tires peal out and we go nowhere fast. ;) (and look stupid doing it) But there is a V10 6.8L option...we took that over the diesel for three reasons:
1) There was a $6000 price tag to add diesel on the wish list. :eek:
2) At that time diesel fuel went from being the cheapest fuel to the most expensive when oil prices skyrocketed. And they haven't dropped down since. :no:
3) The tow rates were the same.

So for the extra $6000 to pay more for fuel, have the same tow rating and only improve mileage by a teeny tiny fraction...well we went with the V10. Otherwise the diesel would have had to last 200,000 miles to cover the $6k in saved fuel mileage. And I never keep a vehicle that long to save money. AND...my truck starts even in -20 degree temps. :D :yes:

Only downside to my truck is that I got one with bad ju ju or a curse on it...or somewhere in it is a massive magnet because everyone and their freaking cousin has hit the thing since I've bought it. I'll have had it 5 years in May...it's been hit 4 times. 3 of those times I wasn't even in the freaking truck, it was parked!!! So do watch out for the extra magnetic invisible-to-other-drivers models.

chemteach
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:05 PM
We have one with that engine and love it.

BuddyRoo
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:09 PM
250?

Braggart!

LOL

Yes....that is a good one.

fleur de duc
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:33 PM
thanks for the reassurance ... I thought it would be big enough as I think a bunch of people around here have it. I just was worried with my friend's concerns. I am looking at a 2000, the one I LOVE is a 2001 with only 54k miles, and the others are 2005s.

molliwog
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:52 PM
As others have stated, you won't set any land speed records, and the truck with the V8 will do the job.

However, if you are looking at slightly older used trucks, the 7.3L diesels used in the F-250's in that age range (last used in mid-2000 Ford models), are reliable, will last forever, and will provide some low-end torque when pulling that you'll appreciate if you live in hilly terrain. We have two trucks of this vintage, and Mr. Molliwog and I plan to drive them until they no longer go.....we're just not impressed with the newer ones.

Depending on your area, you might be able to find one for about $10K. We didn't pay much more than that for my 2000 F250 with the 7.3L diesel a couple of years ago, and I love it- had less than 100K miles on it when we bought it. (And don't miss the F-250 with the 460 that it replaced for even one minute.)

McVillesMom
Feb. 11, 2010, 09:59 PM
I have a 2003 F250 extended cab with the 5.4L V8. I also have the 4.10 rear end in it, which helps with low-end torque. It has 90,000+ miles on it at this point (was my primary vehicle for a long time) and is still <knock wood> going strong. I drove it to Virginia and back this past summer, and it did fine through the mountains (although I did only have one 1200# horse, I had a LOT of crap with me, including 10 bales of hay and a whole lot of equipment).

I pull a 1999 Thorospirit New Yorker - 2H bumper pull with dressing room, steel frame with aluminum skin.

fleur de duc
Feb. 11, 2010, 10:10 PM
I guess I should also mention that I don't haul very far or long. Generally the terrain here isnt too hilly. I can only think of one place where it is bad and lets hope I dont have to go up that again anytime soon (its to New Bolton where both my horses seemed to be frequent flyers all last year!)

I will be hauling to KY this summer when I move out there, but thats all I can think of besides local shows.

IFG
Feb. 11, 2010, 10:27 PM
I have the 1999 F250, I thought that it was a 5.3L, but it might be 5.4.

I really like it. I have had it for nearly 4 years or so. Mine has about 120,000. I think that $10,000 might be high. We paid $10,400 in 2006.

I have hauled 2 horses all over, including in VT, and it is a bit slow accelerating, but has hauled great.

I won't say anything more or I will jinx myself.

I will say that I had a hard time finding a good used truck. They were all too new to be affordable or too old to be useful for long hauls.

MistyBlue
Feb. 12, 2010, 08:32 AM
I won't say anything more or I will jinx myself.

LOL...I shuddered a bit typing out how many times my truck has been hit in this thread. Now I'm just waiting for my truck to get hit again because I mentioned it. And it's parked in my driveway, but with my luck a tree will fall on it now. :eek: :lol: :sigh:

CapitolDesign
Feb. 12, 2010, 10:58 AM
Check out my Dressage Today blog post (http://special.equisearch.com/blog/hilarymoore/2010/01/i-was-not-born-to-shop-for-trucks.html) about this same engine. I bought an F-350 with the same engine and EVERYONE has ok'd the towing capabilities. Check your truck's specs for towing capacity and compare it with your trailer's - that is the only way to be sure.

wildlifer
Feb. 12, 2010, 01:27 PM
I think it would do ok. You will get absolutely abysmal gas mileage though. We have a 1999 5.4 V8 F250 as a work truck at the office, you have to fill that thing up about every 5 minutes, it feels like -- and we rarely tow at all, only occasionally a small johnboat, which basically weighs nothing. My personal truck is also an F250 but it's the 7.3L diesel (2001) and I would HIGHLY recommend this for towing instead unless you just like pouring money into your fuel tank. These 7.3's are routinely going 300,000 miles or more with good maintenance and I really do think it's the best engine Ford has ever used (having owned three other Fords). There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of on a higher mileage diesel as long as it has been maintained properly. I bought mine at 107K and have zero complaints and it runs beautifully.

McVillesMom
Feb. 12, 2010, 03:58 PM
Re: mileage - my truck in its prime got about 10 mpg towing. At this point it probably needs a tune-up, and the mpg has dropped a little bit.

Agree with what others have said about the 7.3L diesel. I have NEVER heard anyone say anything bad about that engine. They last forever. :yes:

pluvinel
Feb. 12, 2010, 05:29 PM
I would not have a diesel. More expensive to buy. More expensive to fuel. More expensive to maintain. I haul just fine with an F250 small block. Have had 2 of these trucks. Love 'em. Instead of the diesel option, I would spend money onf 4-wheel drive. The 2-wheel drive PU's get stuck in wet grass. If you're towing a horse trailer in a rutted field, there is nothing like 4WD to help out.

SmokenMirrors
Feb. 13, 2010, 12:15 AM
I drive an F250 V8 diesel and we haul a 24ft goose neck stock trailer with ours, loaded with two 17.2H draft mares, all my tack, cart, harness, etc. with ease. It is a 2006

BasqueMom
Feb. 13, 2010, 12:37 AM
We have both an older 7.3L F250 diesel and a newer Dodge 1500 with the
5.7 Hemi engine. There is no comparison--the F250 barely knows there is
anything behind it. The Dodge does and gas mileage drops approximately in half. The Ford diesel gets better mileage without towing and only drops 3-4
gallons when hauling. So it probably averages out on the fuel bill with the
F250 a little ahead overall. Engine has about 260,000 miles, bought it with
22,000 miles 12 years ago. It just keeps on trucking...so to speak!

pluvinel
Feb. 13, 2010, 10:01 AM
For $5,000 or so cost to pay for the diesel option, you have to haul many miles to justify it. In addition, in areas with cold winters you need to have a block heaters and to add anti-gel to fuel. Oil changes for diesels is about 2-3x oil (if I recall one of the Cummins took like 3 GALLONS -eg., 12qt- of oil at each oil change vs 6-7 for gas). I won't argue that some diesels have good torque (pickup power) but considering one needs to accelerate gently pulling horses, then pickup is not that important in my book. I'm not doing wheelies in the truck and I hope never to explore top end speed pulling a horse trailer.

Like I said, for limited funds, I would look for a gas truck with 4WD.

I have had a 2000 F250 extended cab and haul 13-14 hrs up and down I-81. Truck got 10mpg regardless of speed on interstate and 14-15mpg around town. I used the aftermarket Teknosha Prodigy brake controller. Loved that truck. I also did the same trip in a 1998 F150. There is no comparison between the half-ton F150 to the bigger, heavier F250 for hauling a horse trailer. The F150 moved all over when a semi passed. The F250 doesn't know the trailer is back there even when running at 70mph. I would consider a half-ton (F150 or Chevy1500) for local hauling only.

I now have a new-used 2007 F250. Haven't had much experience with long hauls since I just got it (great deal). I do find that this truck has an electronic brain that I don't like. If you put the 2007 F250 in "tow-haul" mode it does funky stuff with downshifts for engine braking going down hill. The 2007 also has an integrated trailer brake controller. I prefer manual control to downshift and use trailer brake to adjust brake balance. In the 2000, the tow-haul mode just shifted the transmission out of overdrive so it would not be hunting.

So, for limited funds, my personal preference would be to get an older, lower mileage F250 small block (5.3 or 5.4L) with 4WD....automatic hubs would be nice, but manual hubs will do. Loooove the F250......

starkissed
Feb. 13, 2010, 01:02 PM
F250 is a good truck. We have one. I don't know what the L is. But we pull a horse aluminum goodneck. No problem. You should be fien w/ a little 2H

pluvinel
Feb. 13, 2010, 01:37 PM
....... I don't know what the L is. .........
"L" is for Liter......5.4 Liters = ~330 cubic inches. It is the 8 cylinder engine Ford offers.
The 6.8 Liter engine (415 cid) is a 10 cylinder gas engine.....

The diesel options are priced $6,000-$7,000 depending on whether you look at "invoice" or "MSRP" pricing....not cheap and IMO not worth it.

Here is the F250SD 2010 info
http://www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/

Engine ............ Horsepower(hp@rpm)....Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm)
5.4L gas (8cyl)......300 @ 5000 rpm...........365 @ 3750 rpm
6.8L gas (10 cyl)...362 @ 4750.................457 @ 3250
6.4L diesel............350 @ 3000.................650 @ 2000

Diesel has lots of low end torque. Fine for pulling heavy boats out of water. It only has 50 additional horsepower (think top speed). Unless you want to sit your horses on their butts pulling wheelies off from a light, then diesel is not worth it. If the choices are diesel+2WD, guarantee you will get stuck in flat wet grass. The smaller gas engine+4WD (on low range if needed) will get you out of most pickles.

mvp
Feb. 13, 2010, 06:43 PM
.....F250 but it's the 7.3L diesel (2001) and I would HIGHLY recommend this for towing instead unless you just like pouring money into your fuel tank. These 7.3's are routinely going 300,000 miles or more with good maintenance and I really do think it's the best engine Ford has ever used (having owned three other Fords). There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of on a higher mileage diesel as long as it has been maintained properly. I bought mine at 107K and have zero complaints and it runs beautifully.

These ROCK! The engines are big, simple and tough.

If you want a reliable hauler for years and years, this is a great truck. IMO, the problem with gasoline anything is that you will be in the truck market more often. You lose money each time just to get the same job done. Why would you choose to do that when you could buy a loyal brute of a truck just once?

Now if you can find a babied 7.3L F250 diesel in this day and age....well, send if over here. I'll give it the sweet lovin' it deserves.

wildlifer
Feb. 13, 2010, 09:29 PM
The OP is looking at buying a used truck, not put a diesel option in a new one. Yes, the fluids are more expensive, but that engine will run FOREVER and you will usually have fewer repairs. Also, you can use oil testing to figure out if your oil change intervals are appropriate -- those who are using testing are finding out, especially with quality synthetic oils, you can go 7,000 miles or more between oil changes with no loss of engine protection. There really is a reason that when you go to a horse show, you hear the constant rumble of diesels firing up -- over the long haul, their bang for the buck throws the gassers out of the water. This from someone who started with diesel, went to gas for 10 years and has now come back to diesel land.

But in the end, it's a personal decision -- I would recommend going over and checking out www.ford-trucks.com (not affiliated with Ford, just folks who own the vehicles). They will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about trucks and engines from people who haul with them, work them, and work on them every day.

Watermark Farm
Feb. 14, 2010, 12:58 AM
After looking at newer Fords and planning to spend $25k on a truck, I wound up buying a '96 F250 with the 7.3L diesel engine. I paid $6000 for a cherry Grandma & Grandpa truck with only 118k miles on it. It hauls a big load incredibly well, not fast but very strong. Mileage is great!

The only downside about the diesel engine to me is the noise when driving.

pluvinel
Feb. 14, 2010, 09:18 AM
The discussion between diesel and gasoline is like a discussion on religion. There is no "right" answer. Different strokes for different folks. For me the points that count are:

People want a premium price for diesel engines. Diesel engines create additional complexity for a vehicle that may not be used as a daily driver. The diesel does not justify (for me) the premium in purchase cost, (used or new); it is not worth it in the additional maintenance; It is not worth it in operating costs (diesel fuel around here is substantially higher than gas) or operating procedures (2 batteries, block heaters, fuel additives); it is noisy; and it does not buy you any distinct performance advantage for pulling a horse trailer. For the money, I would not have a PU truck without 4WD. In our area a 2WD pickup truck has potential to get stuck in anytime one ventures off the road and is worthless in snow.

For the same amount of money, I would take a 4WD gas truck with lower mileage. People who tout the benefits of diesel and how they run for 100's thousand miles seem to forget that diesel engine is attached to essentially the same truck as one with a gasoline engine. The engine may run for 500,000 miles, but a truck with 200,000 miles is a beat truck. Bearings wear, ball joints wear, bushings wear. Regardless of how well maintained, at some point the repairs cost more than the truck is worth.

So....for me, I look for a lower mileage (less than 30k) gas F250 with 4WD. Other than longevity of the engine, I have yet to hear what additional specific advantage the diesel brings......and there is no reason a well-maintained gasoline engine cannot last the same.

wildlifer
Feb. 14, 2010, 11:25 AM
HAHAHA, you are right, it IS like religion!

Location is definitely a factor. Living in the south, I don't even have a block heater, so that's not an issue. Cost per mile is less for me than with a gasoline engine because it IS my daily driver as I can only afford to own one vehicle and the mileage difference is significant (I also tow frequently). I traded in the 4WD for a 2WD because to me it wasn't worth the extra maintenance cost, weight, and front end issues and I don't need it. The only time I am not on some sort of road is parking at horse shows and then I am surrounded by other trucks and tractors so it's not like I will be stranded. We don't get frequent extreme weather, so there is no use or need for the 4WD. For someone up north, the considerations will be different.

As for parts, the cost is generally about the same or cheaper because many people own these trucks, so the parts are easy to come by and because International made the engine, you can often find cheap parts from your IH dealer. So for me the main advantages of the diesel aside from longevity are mileage, torque, and frankly, I love the diesel rumble and the noise! Hee hee!

But again, it's a personal choice, based on your unique set of circumstances, your research, and your priorities.

2bee
Feb. 14, 2010, 11:28 AM
The discussion between diesel and gasoline is like a discussion on religion. There is no "right" answer. Different strokes for different folks. For me the points that count are:

People want a premium price for diesel engines. Diesel engines create additional complexity for a vehicle that may not be used as a daily driver. The diesel does not justify (for me) the premium in purchase cost, (used or new); it is not worth it in the additional maintenance; It is not worth it in operating costs (diesel fuel around here is substantially higher than gas) or operating procedures (2 batteries, block heaters, fuel additives); it is noisy; and it does not buy you any distinct performance advantage for pulling a horse trailer. For the money, I would not have a PU truck without 4WD. In our area a 2WD pickup truck has potential to get stuck in anytime one ventures off the road and is worthless in snow.

For the same amount of money, I would take a 4WD gas truck with lower mileage. People who tout the benefits of diesel and how they run for 100's thousand miles seem to forget that diesel engine is attached to essentially the same truck as one with a gasoline engine. The engine may run for 500,000 miles, but a truck with 200,000 miles is a beat truck. Bearings wear, ball joints wear, bushings wear. Regardless of how well maintained, at some point the repairs cost more than the truck is worth.

So....for me, I look for a lower mileage (less than 30k) gas F250 with 4WD. Other than longevity of the engine, I have yet to hear what additional specific advantage the diesel brings......and there is no reason a well-maintained gasoline engine cannot last the same.

Very well stated. I have used both over the years, I currently have a diesel. I am in no way enamored with it, just what I wanted this time around.

The only exception I would take; there are situations where the diesel's power advantage is clear....with the heavier trailers. Hook a small block V8 to a 10,000 lbs trailer and head out west, you'll see what I'm talking about. With grades that go on for miles, and elevations that cause loss of power in gas engines, diesels will earn their keep. Not to say a gas engine can't perform in those situations, just that a diesel engine can "buy you any distinct performance advantage" in the right scenario.

Of course on my side of the country, it won't really matter if my Duramax makes it to the top of the hill a few seconds before my gas truck driving companions. :)

pluvinel
Feb. 14, 2010, 12:10 PM
.....
The only exception I would take; there are situations where the diesel's power advantage is clear....with the heavier trailers. Hook a small block V8 to a 10,000 lbs trailer and head out west, you'll see what I'm talking about. With grades that go on for miles, and elevations that cause loss of power in gas engines, diesels will earn their keep. Not to say a gas engine can't perform in those situations, just that a diesel engine can "buy you any distinct performance advantage" in the right scenario.
......

Ok....Touché.....some of those supercharged, twin-turbo puppies really do rock and roll., especially at elevations over 5,000 feet....

For us who don't live in the left coast, and have small mole hills to climb gas is ok.....worst I've seen is Black Mtn off I-40.....and my lowly gasser did ok.

2bee
Feb. 14, 2010, 12:55 PM
Ok....Touché.....some of those supercharged, twin-turbo puppies really do rock and roll., especially at elevations over 5,000 feet....

For us who don't live in the left coast, and have small mole hills to climb gas is ok.....worst I've seen is Black Mtn off I-40.....and my lowly gasser did ok.

Yep. I'm in NC, take Saluda grade--6% for about 3 miles. If I did the math right, my buddy with the V8 running 45 mph takes about 4 minutes to get to the top. IF I don't get stuck behind a car poking along I can easily run 65 mph, takes 2:45 minutes. Another guy we run with has a Ford V10......he rarely even falls behind.

All depends on where your at and what your doing.....but the vast majority don't "need" a diesel.