F250 as a tow vehicle

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:19
ThreadID: 120645 Views:3355 Replies:15 FollowUps:0
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From reading the messages I note that a number of Bushtracker owners are changing over to F250s. Can members advise the advantages of this vehicle over the usual tow vehicles i.e. Nissan patrols and landcruisers. I guess the F250s have the 7.3litre turbo diesel engine. What is the fuel economy of F250s while towing and not towing. What are servicing/running costs compared to Patrols and Toyotas. Are spare parts readily available in Australia including panel parts. Talking to a explorer owner one day some time ago and he wasn't at all impressed by the wait time for obtaining panel parts etc for accident damage. Any other info that you think may be of interest to a potential buyer. I also note that the F250 available in Australia is vastly different to that available in the US.
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:22

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:22
Having had a 100 series 4.2 T/D cruiser and now towing with a Twin Cab F250, I have found that as a tow vehicle there is just no comparison. The F250 is just so superior that it is not funny. With the Toyota towing our 21ft BT with gross of 3200 to 3300kg with all water tanks full, I felt a safe speed was about 95, and I noticed that when overtaken by a flat fronted truck that the wind force from the truck tended to cause the van to wag the Toyota. Behind the F250 I have towed at up to 130 while overtaking and it still felt completely safe, and behind the F250 I have never felt any movement caused by overtaking trucks, not that many overtake us now that we travel that little bit faster at 100 to 105 on highways. Fuel economy was 25lts per 100 behind the Cruiser and this trip so far for over 8000km we have averaged 23lts per 100 and that includes some 4WDing and very slow driving in Kimberleys. With factory servicing the Toyotas will cost upwards of $500- 600 for a service, while Ford charge just over $200 for normal services including oil and filter. We have now travelled 93,000 km without any problems and had it serviced at several locations and they all charge about the same. Power wise on some big hills we slowed to 40 with Cruiser and F250 tows the same van up the same hill at 65 to 70. On highway trips we often get caught behind cruisers and patrols towing smaller vans that slow down because of hills, and where there is an overtaking lane we are able to pull out and overtake without a problem. I have found that the longer wheel base plus a bit heavier vehicle in front of the van makes for a much more stable towing vehicle. As Anthony has said, they are a pain to go shopping in, but that will go most places that most people want to take them in 4WD situations. I have also found that having a ute with canopy is far superior to a wagon when it comes to carting all those extras along on a holiday. All the fuel smells stay out of the cabin. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:23

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:23
Anthony, You have said that " I can legally tow 3500kg whilst carrying 1020kg on board the vehicle which has to include ballweight." Are you sure about this? The reason I ask is that the F250 brochure and the Ford website both have the GCM limitation for the F250 as 7369kg. Therefore, if you had a 3500kg van (as I'm sure many boggers do) the GVM allowed is 3869kg. With a kerb weight of 3146kg (for the Super Cab XLT TD) the payload then decreases to 723kg. regards Larry
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:24

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:24
Larry, Sorry Larry you're right .... I apologise if I led anyone up the garden path. I keep thinking as I'm set up ...that is, my BT has only 3000kg suspension (ATM) so I get the full payload. GCM is the over-riding limitation with a 3500kg max tow. Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562573

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:25

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:25
Had my F250 serviced in Broome today by the authorised Ford service centre here, and while talking to him the subject of performance CHIPS came up. He said that Ford had sent out a memo to all its service centres saying that "Ïf a chip has been fitted, then the warranty will no longer be in place". He said that the extra power was causing problems with the transmission and other parts of the drive line. Not worth risking for the extra power in my book. Mine has plenty of power for what I need. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:26

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:26
Brian, Don't know where you got the $400~$500 Service price for Toyotas! I have had 5 cruisers since 1980, each traded at about 150k or 6 years. Usually the service charge is around $180 to $250 depending on '000 km. The dearest I've had was $660 for the 120,000 service in the LC100 TD where there is a $350 wheel bearing re-pack included. We did take a long hard look at the F250 before buying another LC100. Liz didn't like the "truck feel" about it and said she would not feel comfortable driving it - even without the BT. My biggest problem was the 17.41m turning circle (compared to the Cruiser's 12.0m). I don't think I'd like to challenge roads such as Bunroy Junction on the upper Murray, or the southern approach to Bunya Mountains NP, Qld. where the hairpin bends were so tight for the Cruiser/BT rig. There is no doubt that the F250's 7.3 TD has the grunt over the cruiser, making towing a BT easier. However, the cruiser, whilst struggling at times, (like we do as age increases) will get us around this country over the next decade or so. When Anthony says "do it easy" he's refering to the Bushtracker.....not the tow vehicle! Sometimes it's only little things that help make a decision on a vehicle, such as.... My Toyota dealer will supply a complete compliment of spares (filters hoses,belts, etc) when we go on a long trip. No charge.... bring them back after the trip and pay for only what you use ! Not bad eh? cheers..............Rob.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:27

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:27
It really is horses for courses, the independent front end Cruisers are a very capable vehicle (with some mods) as is the Patrol especially when running lockers and lift kits. That does not mean the F250 is a lousy off-road vehicle. An acquaintance of mine owns an F250 and 18ft BT and regularly goes to Double Island Point via the beach cuttings at Noosa. He usually goes on the beach at cutting 1 drives 20 odd k's to then park near a stream on the beach for a week or two .... last time he exited via cutting 3 which is difficult to say the least ..with nearly 7 tonne. He often has a go at me for not following !! [smile] The F250 is stock in its drivetrain (no lockers, no lift kit). He also owns two late model Cruisers with one very modified and has stated he would be hesitant to take the BT on the beach with them for fear of getting off again. Paul says " The people sure gather at the blow to watch an F250 and Bushtracker do a flat out run off the beach !". Imagine a BT rally on the one of the best beaches in the country ! [grin] My wife has no problem with driving the F250 but understands why some would, they certainly take some getting used to if you are a first time pilot. Cindy has driven Land Rover Defenders for some 14 yrs so is used to larger 4x4's. Quite a few times we been in a paddock with a colic horse and had to use low range to get out ....why is it always pouring rain when trying to pass a stomach tube down a horses throat ...why it always 2.00 in the morning !! [smile] You really have to weigh up what you want to do with the vehicle and where you want to go. For my situation I didnt want to hold traffic up on a single lane road ..as little as possible anyway. We looked at both extensively, as we had a 8 month wait for the F250 to arrive, and both of us came to the conclusion that we felt safer towing at highway speeds in F250 which is 85% of our BT travel. As I stated .. they are bad in turning circle, mediocre rampover clearance and wide but the towing ability/power and safer feel (still having ABS, Cruise Control, Airbags, 4 wheel discs,Auto, LSD rear, and a huge tray) gave it the tick for our kind of BT travel. Down the track when the kids no longer travel in the BT with us and we want to see more of the hidden places I wouldnt hesitate to swap to a Cruiser/Patrol as my BT is an 18fter I can tow it easier that a 20 or 21. I can then unhitch at say Cooktown and then get to the Cape easier in the Cruiser. If Toyota or Nissan introduce a diesel V8 in their line-up that will certainly change the goal posts. Then Cindy comes along and says " What about the places Brian and Margaret, Bob and Jude, Paul and Kerry ( Double Island) get to ....". I'm almost positive that a BT has been right in to the Mitchell Plateau in an effie ? I'll check on that one ! And yes Rob ! I'm refer to the BT in the post signature not the tow vehicle ! [smile] At least we all like the best off-road van .... Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562576

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:28

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:28
Rob, my daughter has our old 100series T/D and when I took it back to dealer last year for warranty job, (Mornington Vic) they had the schedule of fees on display in service area. The cheapest service for a large 4WD was $500plus and the dearest over $1000. Paul had his 80,000km service done a couple of months ago before he bought the F250 and it cost him about $900. That is where I was getting my figures from. You must have a good dealer who is giving you mates rates. Up until 2 years ago I have owned Landcruisers continuously since 1981, but have had them serviced elsewhere since 1984 because of the high cost of Toyota Service. As for driving the 2 types of vehicles, for towing you just cannot beat the extra stability you get from the bigger longer vehicle. It just feels so much safer to drive. Anthony, the reason I say not to take BT all the way into Mitchell Falls is because the road is narrow and limited passing oportunities for on coming traffic. I have towed ours over worse tracks but only for short distances. The Bushtracker could easily be towed into Mitchell Falls, and some probably have, but they would cause everyone else problems having to back up and get right off the track to let the van through. It is just not the right thing to do, unless you are the Kedron Crew doing a promotional video. Having owned the 100 series T/D and now the F250, if your main use for the vehicle is towing, then the larger F250 would be the best vehicle. If you only do a small amount of towing and losts of city parking then the Landcruiser would probably be best. Like Cindy, Margaret has stated that she finds the F250 easier to drive than the Landcruiser was but she flatly refuses to take it shopping where small car parks have to be used. We also believe that the ride that you get in the F250 is more comfortable than in the Cruisers. Brian
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Reply By: Whatsnew01 - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:29

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:29
Having instigated this subject I must thank the subsequent correspondents for their input and valuable information. This type of forum is incredible for exchanging info. I already have a current model Toyota L/C100 turbo diesel but have found it wanting at times particularly when climbing hills. My BT is 18ft. I generally turn off the overdrive when towing the BT except if I have a flat road with tail wind and then I will switch it back on. (Some people say leave the o/drive on and let the gearbox decide which is the best gear). Do F250 owners find it necessary to turn the O/Drive off when towing with the F250. Thanks Roy
AnswerID: 562578

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:30

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:30
I only turn mine off when the road conditions are such that it is changing up and down regularly, which is not very often. At the service yesterday they said the transmission oil looked like it could do with changing, so I had it changed. This is the first time in 93,000km of which 60,000 would have been towing the van. Anthony will be able to give you the good oil on which gear is best and why. I noticed on the Caravan Forum that someone did the transmission in a Jackaroo, and blamed it on towing in overdrive. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:31

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:31
Hi friends, Anyone using an F350 or give me some feedback on one. Thanks in advance macka
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:32

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:32
Brian, Could you please provide directions to the Caravan Forum that you mentioned. Many thanks Kate.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:33

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:33
I can add some info about the non-overdrive/overdrive question when towing. To go into the why or why not you have to understand torque converters to some degree and why the overdriven gear was placed in there in the first place. I'l try to keep it as un-tech as I can ....Sorry if it deviates a little !!! [smile] The over-riding reason an overdrive has been placed in is to reduce fuel consumption and reduce trans heat and wear by way of a lock-up clutch in the torque converter. It simply reduces engine rpm for a given road speed. This will usually take the engine rpm far enough away from decent torque production so it will be harder to accelerate than in drive (3rd). Auto transmissions when they first came out with overdrive only had the torque converter lock up in overdrive. They still produced heat by way of slip (stall speed) in drive (3rd). The more weight you carried the more engine rpm went up for a given speed. When a torque converter locks up via its clutch mechanism the engine rpm and torque converter rpm are the same which reduces heat because there is no slip. In these trans it was recommended that you get to overdrive to lock up the converter to reduce slip to markedly reduce the heat produced form slip when towing heavy loads (vans). Most trans now have torque converter lock-up in Drive (3rd) and Overdrive (4th). Some in 2nd as well. You can feel the converter lock up and see the rpm drop slightly if you look out for it. If you back off the throttle going down a hill and the engine rpm drops to idle the converter is not locked .... if you back off down a hill and the engine rpm stays virtually the same the converter is locked and you will get engine braking from an auto trans. Because most if not all autos now lock-up in Drive (3rd) and overdrive (4th) heat or more correctly trying to cool the trans a bit by reducing slip is now done in both gears so we are back to saving fuel via dropping rpm as the prime reason to be in overdrive. Because it is a higher gear making the torque multiplication less the engine can labour when going up hill etc so your foot get pushed further down until the trans selects Drive (3rd) by itself which can be a little while coming and a bit harsh with the converter unlocking and the engine rpm climbing sharply. I feel it is better for the trans to try and prempt this by feeling the engine labouring a bit or seeing a hill coming etc. That way you can flick it back into Drive (3rd) with a light throttle opening .... then allow the converter to lock again in Drive (3rd) and then plant foot a bit when needed to climb hill etc .... smoother transition then from overdrive to Drive. On my F250 I use (as a guide) it will differ slightly on the weight carried ....this is with BT on ..... Once my road speed reaches 95 kph (rising speed going through the gears) and if a relatively flat road (no incline) I flick it into overdrive and hover around 100kph. If by way of hill, incline or traffic my road speed comes down to 90 kph I flick it out of overdrive manually with a light throttle opening ... let the converter lock and then get ready to climb hill or bring road speed up when traffic allows. Basically I'm not labouring the engine and not using a wide open throttle in overdrive to maintain speed when a lower gear will do the job with less strain and less throttle opening (less fuel) but a bit more rpm with the revs in a fatter part of the torque curve. Also ...once down to 85 kph or below I shift out of overdrive permanently, if travelling at that speed for some time, as my overdrive engages at 70 k's ...too low with BT on and it will hunt between the two. Modern transmissions have enough logic in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to just leave it in Overdrive (4 th) and let the trans do its stuff. It is not hard though especially after driving your rig (even for a short time ) to engage and disengage the overdrive seeing the road ahead which your PCM cant ....making for a smoother shift between the two. So my bottom line is .... on a flat road at good speed let overdrive save you some fuel ... if you feel you are pushing foot to far down before PCM shifts it down ...do it manually for a smoother shift and keep road speed higher because you are in a gear more suited for the road ahead, earlier .... Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:34

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:34
Woops ! Prempt should have read ... pre-empt ! Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562583

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:35

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:35
Kate, it is in General : Mixed fortunes on tour started by From: <NOBR>mikndoff</NOBR> (Original Message)
Anthony, perhaps you might like to cut and paste your bit on Torque converters to this thread for their information on how and Auto Transmission works. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:36

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 03:36
After re-reading my post I might have given the impression that if the converter clutch is locked up "no" heat will be generated. As 80-90% of trans heat is generated by the torque converter there is still heat generated by other means. There is heat generated from mechanical movement and some from oil being pressurised. Load and speed conditions can unlock the converter when needed as well. Auto trans contain clutch packs that engage and disengage every change. Towing near Gross Combined Mass i.e. BTs on the back is the most severe service a trans can see. I have always advocated fitting a trans temp gauge to monitor the temp of the trans when towing heavy loads. This gives real world temps and allows you to pull over and cool the trans if it gets near critical temp. Fit a gauge to see if it gets hot ..then take steps to bring the temp down while towing. In the case of going up a mountain range you could see the temp rise and when over the range back off enough to let converter lock and see temp come down. If it gets to critical you can pull over and cool trans then move off when temp lowers. Extended towing at GCM places the trans in the severe duty category and shortens the service interval markedly. The best thing you can do for your trans when towing is to change oil and filter at "severe duty" specified times. Particulate matter (metal particles ... and friction material particles from clutch packs) are trapped in the filter and they need changing. There is an old adage .... for every 11 deg C temp rise above normal operating temp the trans life is halved. Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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