My Ford F-150 2.7 liter V6 Long Haul Mountain Towing Experience

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So took the the new F-150 on it's first towing trip this past Saturday, but I should add the caveat that the truck was bought not with the intention of frequent towing, only occassional and then only light to moderate. Anything more and I would've went with the 3.5 liter. We rented a 6' x 12' U-Haul enclosed trailer which shows to be 1920 lbs empty weight. We loaded it with about 500 lbs of furniture (educated guess). So it was a light load for sure, ~ 2500 lbs, but again, this type of occassional light tow is the only foreseen mission spec so there you go as far as buying the 2.7 goes. Our trip took us from SW Indiana to extreme southeastern West Virginia along I-64, I-79, and I-81 with a small foray into Maryland on I-81 as that was the quickest route time wise. Google maps puts it at about 10 hrs but it was closer to 11 with fuel/bathroom stops. As expected, the truck consumed fuel at a much higher rate. At destination the mpg readout, which was reset upon departure, showed 11.8 mpg. Equipped only with the standard 23 gallon (US) tank, this equated to frequent fuel stops. Again, if the mission spec for purchase had been for frequent towing, the optional 36 gallon tank would've been bought. The trailer tongue assembly on the U-Haul is long and sets the trailer back but I doubt this worsens or improves the already brick-like aerodynamics which no doubt were a factor. We set out out at o'dark-thirty in heavy rain with ambient temperature about 55 deg F. Rain of varying intensity for approximately the first two hours along I-64. Although midwest this cannot be called a flatlands haul as I-64 through this area has frequent gentle grades until past Louisville KY and then the grades pick back up a ways down the road and never really go away,only increasing as you approach the mountainous area. Maryland on I-81 was straight up mountain driving as mountain driving exists east of the Mississippi, with warning signs posted for grade %'s and emergency exits for runaway semi's on the down grades. Add to this in areas near towns, local's driving like bats out of [censored] (I'm looking at you Cumberland, Maryland). Truck was loaded well within limits which for my truck optioned as it is as a base model XL with the STX sport trim pkg, 4x4, 3.55:1 axle ratio, and 2.7 V6 (325hp/400tq) is GCVW 12,900 lbs and max tow 7600 lbs (as within GCWV). There was zero payload in the bed and the cab (ext cab, not crew) held me @ 220lbs, wife @ 150, and maybe 40 lbs luggage. I will say yes I could feel the trailer back there and I'm not going to be a fanboy and say it was like there was nothing there. However, we were never lacking for power on the up hill grades and braking was without drama (surge brakes on the trailer). I used the Tow/Haul mode of the 10R80 10-speed transmission and it worked well-- engine braking would hold the truck to speed on down hill grades there were only a few occasions on 7% grades where I needed to augment engine braking with the brakes. I especially appreciated the low end torque peak of the 2.7 which hits max 400 at 2700 rpm. Except for the frequent fuel stops necessitated by a 23 gallon tank and 11.5 mpg, the trip was, dare I say, an enjoyable adventure in our new truck. The return trip home yesterday (Tuesday) was me solo, as the wife is staying on to babysit the newborn and 2 yr old this week while her daughter gets back up to speed in her Realtor job. MPG for the trip home with cruise set to pace with traffic (same route in reverse) settled in at 22.4. I will say that the return trip's mpg was re-assuring since this was the truck's first real trip of any decent length. Not the truck's factory sticker claim of 24 mpg highway, but traffic on the interstates rarely pace at the posted speed limit ... Side notes: Fall foliage color in KY and WV was somewhat muted, and I don't know what was going on in Maryland but the foliage there was noticeably more vivid and the weird thing is it was like as soon as you crossed into Maryland it was notably more colorful. On way home witnessed a Honda Accord in front of me by about 200' strike a deer on I-79 in WV. It hit square on t-bone, went over hood, ricocheted off windshield, went airborne and turned a full 360 flip, and to my good luck it flew rightwards out of my path still airborne and went over the guard rail into the ravine. I pulled off with her (no one else did and plenty of traffic), it was a woman about 60 something by herself. Being about a 75mph hit I expected more damage but all it did was about a 15" x 9 x 3" dent impression into grill with no apparent radiator compromise, spider webbed the passenger side of the windshield and completely broke out passenger front door window. All she got was a minor cut on her right arm from flying glass of the passenger door window implosion. I stayed on until WV State Police arrived in response to her 911 call. Here's a BIG shout out to Honda for that Accord's deer hit integrity, looked to be a few yrs old maybe a 2013 (?...) or so.
 
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Nice, not too shabby at all for that small, "weezy" little V6! I'm from up around that area and frequently drove around Cumberland MD and I68, that place certainly has no lack of idiot drivers! lol
 
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I would assume just about any full size pickup should be able to handle that small of a trailer without an issue. I occasionally pull a trailer to a car show loaded with my 442 in it without any problems, and that's probably north of 5500 lbs trailer & car weight. Even with that tiny engine in your Ford it still should do okay for no more of a load than you had. The big difference is that I still get 18-19 mpg on the highway when I tow, even going north in the bigger hills. Unloaded I get 22 or so on the highway going to our condo in Orange Beach.
 
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Isn't the 2.7 supposed to have greater tuning capability than the 3.5? So even though in stock form it's not as powerful, something about the block design means you could really push serious boost in it. Nice trip report.
 

LoneRanger

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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Thanks LoneRanger... 1 question: Knowing what you now know, would you buy the 2.7 or 3.5?
If I was going to tow frequently and heavier (say, 5000 lbs+) I'd certainly buy the 3.5 instead. For once in a while towing sub 5000 lbs I'd stay with a 2.7. When the truck would downshift on uphill grades it went into mid 3000's and I could feel very good pull instantly, I'd turned the gear stack display off in the Maryland mtn's which were more serious grades, because I knew my inner geek would be distracted by wanting to track how it was selecting gears and I needed to keep my eyeballs out over the hood and in the mirrors.
 

LoneRanger

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Originally Posted by Fawteen
Even with that tiny engine in your Ford it still should do okay for no more of a load than you had.
I detect some fanboyism spinning up, please try to remain objective. (bold emphasis mine)
 

LoneRanger

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Originally Posted by Reddy45
Isn't the 2.7 supposed to have greater tuning capability than the 3.5? So even though in stock form it's not as powerful, something about the block design means you could really push serious boost in it. Nice trip report.
I don't believe so. The 3.5 is used in the Raptor and Limited F-150's in high output trim and something like 550 hp stock. Or maybe that was torque. This helps the "regular" 3.5 remain more tunable. The 2.7 is kind of like a hybrid between a gasoline and diesel when you think about it, given the low 2700 rpm torque peak and low redline of 5600 rpm. I think it's 5600 on my tach, if not, it's near that. The 2.7 uses an upper block of Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) same as Cummins uses for their next gen diesel going into the RAM's. Lower block is aluminum. No sleeves in the cylinders of the 2.7, the hone is put directly onto the CGI block material. CGI is lighter, stiffer, stronger and has better thermodynamic characteristics than conventional iron block, this is why Cummins and Ford use it.
 
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thanks for the post! that's a very sharp truck! I could live with the unloaded MPG! clearly aerodynamics are horrible on that trailer; and anytime I've towed pontoon boats. perhaps automakers and the NTHSA should start running deer crash simulations! I have a friend who has had 13 car/deer accidents over the years. He travels to work at 4:30am ….
 
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That 2.7L turbo working hard is begging for HTHS 3.5 in a full synthetic.
Originally Posted by LoneRanger
So took the the new F-150....... Again, if the mission spec for purchase had been for frequent towing, the optional 36 gallon tank would've been bought.
Dude: A Syrian special ops raid has a "mission spec", not buying a PU truck. Most people just go in and say "woo-hoo gimme the King Ranch with the $600 per month payment". A 36 gallon tank would be sooo nice for everyday driving since it'd be annual gas fill ups. And it'd get you the farthest away during the coming zombie apocalypse.
Originally Posted by LoneRanger
We set out out at o'dark-thirty...
The movie Zero Dark Thirty had a real mission spec. For a ten hour drive, how do you stay awake leaving at 12:30 am, and why do that to yourself? Maybe you are special ops after all.
Originally Posted by LoneRanger
On way home witnessed a Honda Accord in front of me by about 200' strike a deer on I-79 in WV. It hit square on t-bone, went over hood, ricocheted off windshield, went airborne Here's a BIG shout out to Honda for that Accord's deer hit integrity, looked to be a few yrs old maybe a 2013 (?...) or so.
Sloping hoods make all the difference. But don't tell the NHTSA or they will require cow-catchers on the front of all vehicles:[Linked Image from upload.wikimedia.org]
 

LoneRanger

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Constructive reply paoester, 'preciate it. And here's hoping " 'preciate it " is not misuse of protected terminology, too. LOL
 
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Originally Posted by LoneRanger
Constructive reply paoester, 'preciate it. And here's hoping " 'preciate it " is not misuse of protected terminology, too. LOL
Strange to lecture someone on terminology and use "Dude" while doing it!
 
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Originally Posted by ammolab
Originally Posted by LoneRanger
Constructive reply paoester, 'preciate it. And here's hoping " 'preciate it " is not misuse of protected terminology, too. LOL
Strange to lecture someone on terminology and use "Dude" while doing it!
I'm still trying to decipher that post. Good trip report. It sounds like the 2.7 suits your needs.
 
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Originally Posted by LoneRanger
Originally Posted by Fawteen
Even with that tiny engine in your Ford it still should do okay for no more of a load than you had.
I detect some fanboyism spinning up, please try to remain objective. (bold emphasis mine)
He gets 18 while towing his 442? I detect more than fanboyism. I just did a 400 mile round trip with my Tundra and enclosed trailer, no real weight (1,600lb unloaded, less than 1k stuff on the return leg? also had wife and kids both ways), no real hills though, and got about 13 mpg. 65-70 mph for the first half, 65 for second half. I haven't calculated by hand, just off the SGII. I just would downshift to keep above 2k on the tach as mine has nothing below 2k--it really doesn't wake up until 3k. A 26 gallon tank that has the light come on with 6 gallons left, that was the worst part. In our cars I can make the trip without refueling at all, the truck needs topping off--but as luck would have it, I had to fill on the way down, and then again on the way back. 20 gallons goes real quick!
 
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We pull a ~4500 (loaded) TT with a larger front profile with our 2.7. I quite enjoy that it mostly keeps to lower RPMs for everything except hill climbs, and even then seldom touches 3K. There can be some "turbo drone," which while faint, can at times be a headache if I'm not feeling great, but it's far easier to live with than high-RPM long pull. I test drove both - used 3.5 and new 2.7, and found the 2.7 to be a "quicker" motor, maybe less T-lag. After leaving our TT at the campsite, the 2.7 would equally be at home in a sports car. In never-ending mountain twisties, it's quite at home locked in 3rd-5th gear in and out of constant turns. I hope it proves more reliable than the vehicle's HVAC. -m
 
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For the occasional tower, the 2.7 is a fantastic engine. My 2016 is at 51,000 miles and does everything I ask of it, including towing a 4500 lb boat. It delivers similar towing mileage as the V8 it replaced, gets 4 mpg better in all the rest of the driving, and does it all in a much more pleasurable to drive manner. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat for my use.
 
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We averaged 14.5 mpg on this trip, running 65-72mph, from south of Chicago to Branson, Missouri,,, and back. Truck was a 2018 with a 5.3 liter V8, and 11,000 miles on the odometer. I was more than pleased with 14.5mpg. It even kicked into V4 mode on flat ground. [Linked Image]
 
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I remember when the Ecoboost engines first came out in the F150. The hysteria over its longevity was huge. That was in ‘11. Well here we are with most of Fords vehicles touting turbos, especially the F150. They're pretty sorted now with only a few demands: good gas, good oil and filter, 5k OCIs. Turbocharged vehicles have been around for a long time but I credit Ford with bringing turbocharging the into mainstream status. We've had 6 since they came and nary a problem. Not a fanboy, I'm a torque addict.
 
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