Advice on tow vehicle: F-150 with Bigfoot 5th wheel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 6
Advice on tow vehicle: F-150 with Bigfoot 5th wheel

Hi there,

I have a couple questions that I hope someone may be able to help me with.

Tow Vehicle:
1993 F-150 4x4 ext cab.
5.0 L
3.55 Gears
Automatic
170k on motor
Has air bags
Says it can tow 6600lbs roughly

5th Wheel:
1987 Bigfoot
20 foot
3500 pounds dry roughly, although i've read that its more than that.
Single axle


I do not expect to win any races, I took the 5th for a tour around where I live the other day and she seemed super heavy behind my truck. I've never hauled a 5th wheel before.. is it normal for the truck to feel that way? Is my truck too light of duty for the application I am trying to use it for? I am taking it on the highway next week so I guess that will prove if it will work or not, but any advice would be great.
Kinda scared lol..

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Name: jim
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape19 Prairie Schooner pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
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Welcome to FGRV, Mike
I'm sure you will get several responses, soon....what are the spec's on your truck as far as capacity for carrying, not pulling, and the weight of tongue of the Bigfoot
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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The description is great, but some more information that is likely to be found only on the truck itself would help. On the edge of the driver's door (or sometimes on the door jamb) is a placard or sticker showing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for each axle. The other information would be the weight of the truck itself... and of course of the trailer.

3500 pounds dry sounds pretty high for a 20-foot fifth-wheel, but that may be right... three of the five heaviest trailers in Trailer Weights in the Real World are this model, with actual loaded weights when travelling of 4660 to 5080 pounds. Since the 6600 pound limit probably includes all passengers and cargo in the truck, the rig is probably within limits but not by much.
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 6
Thanks for the help guys,

GVWR 6250
GAWR Front 3450
GAWR Rear 3777

And thanks for the hospitality
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Old 08-03-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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Name: Jared
Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
Kansas
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From what I could find online, you have (had, when new) 195 hp, and 270 ft lb of torque. Yeah, you're going to feel it. I'm pulling a 19' scamp (fair amount lighter), with roughly 350 hp and 400 ft lbs torque. It pulls it great, but it's there.

Here's where I'm afraid you'll have a problem, I would *guess* your pickup weighs 4500-5000 lbs. Throw in the roughly 1,000 pound tongue weight the trailer weight guide is showing, and you're almost maxed out, with nobody in your pickup, and no gear in it. How much you choose to follow that, is up to you.

0ne way or the other, you're close to maxed out, so you're going to feel it, no doubt about it..
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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No need to be scared, 5th wheels tow better than trailers (they just back up a little weird). My first run with a 5th wheel (tandem Bigfoot) was through the Crowsnest pass in the southern Canadian Rockies. I'm a flatlander, and while the views were thrilling, the 5th wheel towed like a dream. I did later upgrade the truck tires to 6 ply. Enjoy your new trailer and your trip. Let us know how it went.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:55 AM   #7
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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You didn't mention the experience you had with the TV mentioned, how long you have owned it, maintenance records and overall condition but, IMHO; I would not start out towing a fairly heavy FGRV with the rig described without a really good road service membership card and a few good credit cards in my wallet.

Me thinks that the slight issue of 170,000 miles on the engine just might contribute to the feeling of the trailer being "Super Heavy". Those original horsepower and torque specifications may be distant memories.

But, just as a suggestion, did you have the cooling system checked out and maybe a new radiator installed and a transmission cooler added. And are the trucks tires all rated for the load as well as being less than 6 years old???? And about the brakes and front suspension etc. etc. etc.

Again, unless I knew a whole lot about a truck with 170,000 miles on the clock, I would be very, very hesitant about setting out on a first adventure with a fairly heavy load on board.

Just added: The 5.0 V8 is the 302 c.i. inch engine and is rather small for that size 4x4 truck in the first place.....
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:30 AM   #8
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Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
Kansas
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Well, people pull scamp fifth wheels with tiny four cylinders, so it will do it, it's just going to work at it. Good idea on making sure the tires are rated for it. I don't get it, but plenty of people throw passenger tires on a truck, not the greatest for towing (or anything a pickup is designed for).

The vehicle definitely needs to be in good shape working with that tight of a margin.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
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The same question was asked some time back (2003) on a FORD truck site, here's the reply:

Towing Capacity for 1993 F150 4x4 Automatic
I would say that you need to stay under 5000lbs loaded with a travel trailer. In no way, would I recommend trying to pull a 5th wheel.

I was talking with a gentlemen the other day that was going to tow a S-10 Blazer on a trailer with a F-150 about your year with the 302. He had a lot of problems. He probably had about 5500 with truck and trailer.

You can call a RV dealer, and they can help you with the total weight. I didn't find anything online. I would be real cautious and investigate as much as you can.

Sorry, but a 302 and 3.55 gears are not meant for towing.

I'm sure that isn't what you want to hear. But, that's just my opinion. Do all the research you can.

Good luck
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And that didn't take into account that the TV is now 20 y.o. and has 170,000 miles on the clock. If it was a bad idea in 2003 it ain't gonna be any better today.

And while there are a few newer 4 cylinder trucks that can tow a Scamp 5er, it's not the best of ideas. I just sold my 4 cylinder Sonoma to get a V6 for towing our 13' Bigfoot & Hunter and I would have never attempted to tow a Scamp 5er with the 4 cylinder truck.

And again, towing at or above the maximum limit with 170,000 miles on a 20 y.o. Ford doesn't ring in as being the best idea.

Being "Kinda scared" sounds like a good idea......
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:08 AM   #10
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 6
It's 170,000 km. Not miles :P, and yeah I have brand new tires on it, new brakes all around, tuned up. Am thinking of installing a trans cooler. I am taking it on the highway either today or tommorow so I will keep you posted. That will decide if I will stop spending money on the truck or find something else all together.
It's also got brand new shocks, and rear airbags.
I had a camper before, like two weeks ago, and it was rotting out badly, so decided a 5th wheel would be a good idea and assumed all bigfoot campers were on the lighter side. The truck hauled the camper fine, went up some crazy hills, mind you not fast but still.

Thanks for all the advice and help, and thanks to the admin who changed my title .
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:09 AM   #11
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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And yeah that Crowsnest is a nasty piece of highway lol
I used to travel it year round for my previous job.. and the Osoyoos Hill? Hahah my truck would explode.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:16 AM   #12
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Definitely invest in a transmission cooler and gauge. This truck should do the job, but not set any speed records.
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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Name: Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
The 5.0 V8 is the 302 c.i. inch engine and is rather small for that size 4x4 truck in the first place.....
By today's standards, yes. Consumer vehicles all have far more power than they need now, and pickup trucks are a prime example. If you expect your tug plus trailer to accelerate like a race car of a couple of decades ago, you're gonna need a bigger motor.
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
The same question was asked some time back (2003) on a FORD truck site, here's the reply:

Towing Capacity for 1993 F150 4x4 Automatic
I would say that you need to stay under 5000lbs loaded with a travel trailer. In no way, would I recommend trying to pull a 5th wheel.
...
With no link or other context I can't be sure, but I'm pretty confident that the writer thinks that "5th wheel" implies a trailer much bigger and heavier than any Bigfoot fifth-wheel (or Escape 5.0, or Scamp 19'). The discussion I linked above shows that of the three Bigfoot 5ths which Frederick has weighed, only the heaviest is as much as 5000 lb when loaded for travel.

While this quote provides an interesting anecdote, that (the S-10 on trailer example) describes a rig heavier than the Bigfoot is likely to be, with unknown other load in the truck. It provides no real information.
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