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Towing with a F250 (5.4L V8) ?

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  • Towing with a F250 (5.4L V8) ?

    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?
    True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
    ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
    ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~

  • #2
    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.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.


    • #3
      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. Pisses the horses off.
      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.
      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.
      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.

      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.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • #4
        We have one with that engine and love it.
        Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


        • #5



          Yes....that is a good one.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • Original Poster

            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.
            True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
            ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
            ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~


            • #7
              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.)


              • #8
                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.

                Adams Equine Wellness


                • Original Poster

                  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.
                  True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
                  ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
                  ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~


                  • #10
                    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.


                    • #11
                      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.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!


                      • #12
                        Check out my Dressage Today blog post 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.


                        • #13
                          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.
                          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                          We Are Flying Solo


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Adams Equine Wellness


                            • #15
                              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.
                              Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                              Alfred A. Montapert


                              • #16
                                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


                                • #17
                                  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!


                                  • #18
                                    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......
                                    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                                    Alfred A. Montapert


                                    • #19
                                      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


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by starkissed View Post
                                        ....... 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

                                        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.
                                        Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                                        Alfred A. Montapert