Help please! F150 towing question...

I am looking at a used 2010 4.6 L V8 F150 3 valve.

According to Ford’s Towing Guide from 2010, the 2 valve’s have a max towing capacity of around 5,500 lbs. The 3 valve’s have a max towing capacity of around 8,000 lbs.

I’d only be hauling a small aluminum 2 horse trailer, and 90% of the time would only be hauling 1 horse. Mostly flat highways, and about 3-4 times a year would be pulling over a mountain.

Is this safe? Opinions? Everything I’ve read suggests a 5.4L engine, but the deal I’d be getting on this particular F150 is amazing.

Thanks!

You do not want to tow a horse trailer with a gas engine under 5L. Trust me. DO NOT WANT. If you are going for the gas 1/2 ton, do not compromise on either the 5.4L Ford V8 or the 5.7L Chevy V8.

Unless you like going 10 miles an hour and replacing engine parts every year. And you’ll never see the other side of the mountain.

I had a 5.7L V8 Tahoe for a while, had a ONE HORSE ONLY EVER rule. It did ok, but the transmission was not going to survive, replaced the radiator (that’s a $600 part), and it worked HARD. It got traded in for the 7.3L diesel. I get much better mileage now too, even without the trailer.

I have a 4.6L Silverado right now for work (like my job, not owned by me). It works pulling a 14’ aluminum john boat on a trailer that I can pull by myself with one hand. If I ever put a horse behind it, I think the engine would just disappear in a puff of smoke. Not to mention it’s pretty new, so has so much plastic on it, I think a stiff wind would blow it into the ditch if I blinked at the wrong time.

TL;DR - NO. Things are cheap for a reason.

[QUOTE=wildlifer;7360112]
TL;DR - NO. Things are cheap for a reason.[/QUOTE]

So do you believe I would be okay hauling with a 5.4 L F150?

I’m also thinking about a Chevy avalanche with a 5.3 L V8

Sorry to be asking stupid questions but I have been told so many things by so many different people my head is starting to spin!

Nope…not with a 4.6. A 5.4 should be okay but check for a tow package (transmission cooler, etc) to keep it going up the mountains.

I think you’ll be fine. I do have a 5.4 but I haul in hilly country and have draft crosses. No problemo! Remember…99% of it’s use will NOT be hauling and you’ll save some gas $$. I don’t know where horsewomen get this crap about bigger is better when it comes to trucks. You can haul with a Jeep! On my 3rd F150 w/smaller engines and no problems! Hauling 1 horse in a 2 horse trailer on flat? Absolutely no problem.
I guess our society is all about the bigger is better thing…I know men are!! :wink:
Gas mileage issues are significant for many of us. Good luck JMHO!

[QUOTE=wateryglen;7360608]I think you’ll be fine. I do have a 5.4 but I haul in hilly country and have draft crosses. No problemo! Remember…99% of it’s use will NOT be hauling and you’ll save some gas $$. I don’t know where horsewomen get this crap about bigger is better when it comes to trucks. You can haul with a Jeep! On my 3rd F150 w/smaller engines and no problems! Hauling 1 horse in a 2 horse trailer on flat? Absolutely no problem.
I guess our society is all about the bigger is better thing…I know men are!! :wink:
Gas mileage issues are significant for many of us. Good luck JMHO![/QUOTE]

Because at a certain point, bigger IS better when you’re talking trucks and towing. You don’t see Tacomas pulling tractor trailers. :wink: I have no idea how the claim can be made that it’s not…I suspect it’s from someone who has never run into troubles. You can haul with SOME Jeeps, not all.

For the record, my truck is towing 85% of the time it’s moving. I have a small, gas-efficient car for actual driving.

OP, the 4.6L engine is just. too. small. It really is. You’re going to feel it struggle on almost any terrain.

Do the math. Depending on the axle ratio and cab/bed size/length - your tow capacity is between 7,700 and 9,500. Since you said 8,000 - I’m going with that.

So - if you has a single 150 lb. driver and no other people/stuff - you can tow 8,000 lbs. Common recommendation is to never tow more than 80% of capacity. That drops you to 6,400 lbs. A standard 2-horse might weight 2,800 lbs. (if you already own one, use the real weight). That gives you 3,600 lbs. for horses, people and gear. Only you can decide if that will work for you. If you have one horse, no friends and limited hay/water/tack you will be well under. If you have two friends in the truck and two large horses with all their stuff - you will be well over.

It’s only magical thinking that would make somebody think the 5.4 is safer than the 4.6. The truck will have the same brakes and suspension, just less power.

I don’t know what you call a mountain, but the 4.6 will definitely have to work hard to tow two horses up a steep grade. If you do a lot of towing you want the bigger engine. The 4.6 is not significantly more economical to run, so the only real advantage is purchase price.

[QUOTE=tangledweb;7361100]It’s only magical thinking that would make somebody think the 5.4 is safer than the 4.6. The truck will have the same brakes and suspension, just less power.
[/QUOTE]

You just gave the answer right there…more power. That’s what makes it safer.

It is not always about the braking. Sometimes you need to GO, and you want that power to be there.

It’s also just no fun to be that person crawling up hills at 35mpg 'cause your truck just doesn’t have the balls to get you up any faster. My diesel Suburban could pull a house up a hill, but it would do it at 30mpg, and it just got to be ridiculous. 'Course, sounds like OP has less hills than here in MA.

For the record I’m not sure I’d tow with a 5.4 gas either, but you’re talking to the girl who tows with an 8.1/454 big block. :wink:

Some interesting observations here. I guess everyone has their own experiences. From mine, we haul just fine with the 3.5L v6 F150 Ecoboost. We live on the hilly side of VA and usually carry 2 large (Warmblood/Percheron) horses. So far we’ve towed them over 6k miles. Power wise, the engine is just fine. It’s never struggled to get up hills and we’ve never been ‘those people doing 35mph’ anywhere. It accelerates just fine, and passes slow moving traffic with ease. We do have the tow package (different axle and brakes) and everything on that side works great.

Personally I won’t heed much attention to the 5L v8 / dually or bust folks - it just doesn’t match up to my experience. That said, if I were going to a bigger trailer I would want a bigger truck too. The weight, power, transmission and brakes all need to match your needs. If you think that you might want to tow more in the next few years, then I’d maybe reconsider.

I know nothing about the truck that you’re looking at, although I believe that the v6 Ecoboost engine is a bit stronger in HP and torque than the old 4L v8. Still if it drives well, is a good deal, and is safe - then I wouldn’t rule it out. Bear in mind that in other places in the world, horses are mostly towed in bumper-pull trailers by assorted SUVs. We have better options here, but the displacement of the engine or the number of cylinders does not always translate to performance.

I trailer 2 17H+ warmbloods with a 3.5 litre V6 Ecoboost, in a 2 horse steel gooseneck. You people are nuts. My old 90’s F150 4x4 pulled a Chevy Crewcab Dually + a 25 foot stock trailer full of polo ponies, out of a muddy pasture. It’s all in how you do it, not what you use !

See what I mean about MIXED OPINIONS??? :slight_smile:

Ok so I have the 4.6 L V8 in the back of my head, but after doing some extensive searching online in my (somewhat) area I am going to go look at a Nissan truck this weekend. A little more miles than the F150 but it has a bigger engine, and more bells and whistles which I will like since this will have to be my daily driver.

FYI I’m in Richmond, VA and will be hauling to Lexington, VA every so often so the mountain I’m talking about is Afton Mountain. Other than terrain here in Central, VA is pretty flat.

Thanks for everyone’s help so far!!!

I wouldn’t worry about going up that hill. It’s a perfectly safe road and easy for people to pass you if, for any reason, the engine does struggle. I’d be more interested in how it brakes under load. So long as the brakes work and you’re operating well within the limits of your truck & trailer then I’d say you were good. You have to like it though!

Bear in mind that all horsey people want a bigger truck given the option…

Just be careful with the nissan transmissions (I speak from very expensive personal experience). They have an issue where the radiator coolant gets mixed in with your transmission fluid, causing (obviously) your transmission to fail. BIG EXPENSIVE MESS!! I know the link below says up to 2010 model years, but my poking around some nissan forums revealed people with 2012/2013 models still having this issue.

http://www.nissanassist.com/web/Radiator/index.php?menu=20

Just wanted to add that this issue is significant enough that there was a class action settlement… and Nissan customer service was not helpful at all in my case. I had a customer service rep tell me I should be glad my truck went past 120,000 km as that is plenty :eek:

[QUOTE=Iain;7361328]Some interesting observations here. I guess everyone has their own experiences. From mine, we haul just fine with the 3.5L v6 F150 Ecoboost. We live on the hilly side of VA and usually carry 2 large (Warmblood/Percheron) horses. So far we’ve towed them over 6k miles. Power wise, the engine is just fine. It’s never struggled to get up hills and we’ve never been ‘those people doing 35mph’ anywhere. It accelerates just fine, and passes slow moving traffic with ease. We do have the tow package (different axle and brakes) and everything on that side works great.

Personally I won’t heed much attention to the 5L v8 / dually or bust folks - it just doesn’t match up to my experience. That said, if I were going to a bigger trailer I would want a bigger truck too. The weight, power, transmission and brakes all need to match your needs. If you think that you might want to tow more in the next few years, then I’d maybe reconsider.

I know nothing about the truck that you’re looking at, although I believe that the v6 Ecoboost engine is a bit stronger in HP and torque than the old 4L v8. Still if it drives well, is a good deal, and is safe - then I wouldn’t rule it out. Bear in mind that in other places in the world, horses are mostly towed in bumper-pull trailers by assorted SUVs. We have better options here, but the displacement of the engine or the number of cylinders does not always translate to performance.[/QUOTE]

Totally agree with above.

Another F150 EcoBoost owner (with the tow package). I tow a 2H aluminum and steel bumperpull, it tows beautifully. I never feel underpowered at all, and I live in a very hilly area. In the winter I am towing a few times a week.

I just wanted to add this is the same truck I have. I haul locally mostly on flat road and my longest haul has been about 3 hours away. My trailer is a steel two horse that is about 2300 lbs unloaded and have hauled up to two horses with no problems. I do not push my truck and have hauled in heavy traffic. I do have trailer breaks. I use my trailer anywhere from 4 times a month to once a month. I have never had any problems. I usually only haul one horse.
Also wanted to add this is my first truck and at the time was all I could afford. We have owned the truck for several years- it is an 04 and have had no engine or parts problems with it. It is an everyday use car also with over 100,000 miles. No it does not have the power a bigger truck has and I never rev my engine but it fits my needs.

Because I’ve been behind the wheel of the F150 with the 2H bumper pull when the big horse leaned on the side around every turn on a windy day and the rig began to sway and there was a danger of the truck being pulled across the lane lines if I was a less experienced driver.

Because I’ve been in the F150 in the rain where a car in front slammed on the brakes and the truck brakes were on the floor and there was no more braking power left as we prayed for friction to save us from killing someone. We were lucky it stopped two inches from her bumper, but the Ram 1500 behind us had to swerve off the road to avoid the trailer and hit a stop sign.

Because I’ve been in my previous rigs (2H BP with 98 Expedition and 96 Tahoe, both with 5+L V8 engines and factory tow package) coming down the side of the mountain, smelling the brakes overheating and using the gears as much as possible to get us to the bottom safely, while feeling the trailer weight relentlessly pushing. Or when that impatient person cut us off in traffic and I once again had the pedal on the floor praying for friction to be on my side.

Because I’ve driven my current rig, a 7.3L F250, with the same trailer and come around the nose of a semi on the highway to be slammed broadside by a 50 mph gust of wind. Only the weight of the truck kept us on the road, with my old gassers, we’d have been in the ditch or dangerously out of control.

Because I’ve seen the faces of several people who hauled their horses “with no problems for years” with a Jeep or an Explorer who finally got to that ten seconds when it really matters and because the small vehicle could not outmatch the physics of the trailer, their horses were dead. There’s no taking that back and it breaks my heart.

Because I’ve also paid the price of getting an average of 5 mpg hauling with the gassers and wearing out brakes and radiators and transmissions and suspensions over the years. Don’t forget the $800 worth of 10-ply weight rated tires. Some people have disposable income and that’s ok. I do not.

I only can afford one vehicle, so yes, fuel costs are a concern. That’s why it’s a diesel and gets 21 mpg on the hwy empty, which is BETTER than any 1/2 tons I owned, which got 15-17 mpg hwy empty and maybe 7 mpg towing on a good day. Many people are “fine” for a long time, but that’s not the part that matters. It’s those ten seconds that you can’t predict in which I want to know I did everything I could to ensure that my horses and I make it out alive.

No, I’m not a “dually or nothing” person. Although it is not my choice, if you pay attention to the numbers, you can haul a horse safely with a 1/2 ton vehicle with sway control, an appropriate trailer, and good driving. There are no guarantees, but there is a thing called “mitigation of risk over time.”

I learned the hard way, starting too small on the vehicle with a trailer too short for my horse. I was lucky and no one got hurt except my bank account. Others have had the much harder and more painful lessons. After the last 8 years of hauling experience all over NC and many places from MD to GA and TN, I wish I’d known what I know now and just bought my beloved diesel and saved myself a lot of money and repairs.

PS I have hauled one horse in a BP from not-too-far-from-Richmond to Lexington, VA. That’s a big climb and the trucks work HARD. I used to live in Lynchburg, VA, so am familiar with the terrain and now I live just about 20 mins S of VA border and have hauled up to MD and to Lexington, VA Horse Center.

Wildlifer, no one is decrying your personal experience. However, I suspect that having a 5L V8 engine, vs a 3.5L V6 engine (with similar HP and Torque - in the same vehicle) would make very little difference to your experiences above. No engine will make as big a difference as good driving.

I agree with you regarding making sure that your brakes etc are appropriate. One of the reasons that we wanted a factory tow package was that it addressed more than just the towbar. Changes are made to the axle, trailer brake and sway control system, transmissions, cooling systems and brakes are beefed up etc. To me, a 4L with a comprehensive factory tow package is a better idea than forgoing the tow package in order to get an extra liter of displacement.

Likewise, I agree that weight is a big issue. You really want the pulling vehicle to be heavier than what it’s towing, otherwise there will be trouble ahead - that’s just physics.

Finally, moderating your driving habits and being aware of your surroundings will make everything much safer. Knowing that your slab sided trailer is really going to catch any kind of crosswind, and driving accordingly makes a big difference.

My feeling is that all of these elements are more important than an extra little bit of HP or torque.

There’s some good information here if anyone is interested…
http://tinyurl.com/kspvxmm

[QUOTE=Iain;7372328]
My feeling is that all of these elements are more important than an extra little bit of HP or torque.

There’s some good information here if anyone is interested…
http://tinyurl.com/kspvxmm[/QUOTE]

Iain, we are on the same page, I was simply replying to that particular statement for the benefit of future posters/readers. I keep making a resolution to stop reading these threads, obviously I suck at committing to that, LOL!

Aside from the obvious weight/safety/physics/driving issues (well, ok, to people with math skills and common sense they are obvious), my main point in this thread with my OP was a matter of vehicle durability and weight. There has been a lot of tweaking of HP and torque in recent models, allowing them to jack up the tow ratings.

I agree that you should ALWAYS get the factory tow package, even when buying used, it has many important elements. However (and I’m referring to engines that do not have the most recent booster systems) a smaller engine by its design has to work harder to produce the same amount of power. Running the engine under heavy loads means you will spend more $$$ on fuel and reduce the engine life dramatically because operating closer to its limits will wear out parts much more quickly.

My work 4.6L will downshift TWO GEARS in cruise and roar to maintain speed up a teeny, mild hill on a smooth interstate. That means the RPMs leap, it gets terrible mileage, and it creates more heat and pressure. Thus, I am very grateful it’s not my personal vehicle, because that combined with the extremely light weight (new designs have more plastic to increase mileage by reducing weight) make it fine for zipping around town, but very annoying to tow with and I suspect my horse trailer could pull IT.

Just remember math is more than purchase price –
Only one trip to Southern Pines area for me (a normal 1.5ish hr haul) is 100 miles. With my F250, that costs me about $70 round trip, burning about 7-8 gallons of diesel each way (ScanGauge on the dash calculates all the things!). With the 5.7L V8, it was about $140 round trip, burning about 20 gallons of gas each way. I don’t miss it.