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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Update - 2012 GAS F-250 with Trailer Tow Experience

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slarsen

Indiana

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Posted: 04/02/12 05:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just got home from a 2450 mile round trip from southwestern Indiana to the Outer Banks, with a few minor side trips over the course of about 12 days, such as Asheville on the way and Cincinnati on the return. I drove my new GAS 2012 F-250 pulling a Mountaineer 5th wheel trailer with a gross weight of about 11,000 pounds. The F-250 has the 6.2 liter engine with a rear axle ratio of 3.73. I have air bags.

I traded off a 2006 F-250 diesel for reasons I’ve given elsewhere in these threads, so I won’t go into that now. I had some concerns about the gas engine’s performance through the ‘mountains’ to the east, having read some other posts. I feel better now: even on 4 to 6 mile inclines of 4 degrees or more, I had no trouble maintaining highway speeds of about 60 to 65 mph, depending upon the curves that accompanied the hills. That is to say, my own pucker factor.

I do think that the transmission often ‘gives up’ and drops to 2nd gear much too readily, which means a screaming engine at 5,000 rpm’s for awhile. Seems like forever, but is probably a minute. Redline is just under 6,000. Eventually, I got used to it. Mostly, anyway. Third gear seems capable of maintaining speed if the slope inclines gradually, permitting the transmission to prove it to itself, but if the slope comes up fast, it drops from 4th to 3rd to 2nd all in the span of about three seconds. Not a fair test! I think Ford needs to tune this.

Gas mileage: over the whole trip, 8.8 mpg. The odometer is accurate to less than 0.5%, by the way. The speedometer exaggerates speed by a couple mph, but I use my gps to watch speeds.

I can state that the Tow/Haul feature is very effective with the gas engine. I loved that feature with the diesel, and wondered if it would do the job with a gas engine. Coming down long, steep hills, it required about the same braking as the diesel did: not much. I also locked out 6th gear consistently; it wasn’t effective anyway, when towing.

I would say that under the same driving conditions with my diesel, I would have gotten about 10 mph, maybe as much as 10.5. Not a trivial cost difference. I calculate that a 1.5 mpg difference on this trip would translate into 39 gallons. That’s a price I am willing to pay, given that my two primary concerns were met: keep up with the traffic going up the hills, and not needing to ride the brakes coming down. I was usually driving about 65; my wife drives about 60, but she only does about 1/5 the miles.

So that’s it. My main concerns were met. I may ask the Ford dealer if they can do adjustments to the transmission to give 3rd gear a better chance to maintain speed, as it seems to do so if given the chance. Otherwise, it was a smooth, quiet and comfortable trip.

I hope this will be helpful to someone out there, weighing the decision as to gas vs diesel. Both have their pluses and minuses, but now I am assured that the minuses aren't as big as I feared. At least, not with the equipment I tow.

fla-gypsy

North Florida

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Posted: 04/02/12 05:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice comprehensive report.


This member is not responsible for opinions that are inaccurate due to faulty information provided by the original poster. Use them at your own discretion.

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agesilaus

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Posted: 04/02/12 05:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So they have engine braking on the gasser? I didn't know that.


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LimogesMan

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 04/02/12 05:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the input.


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MackinawMan

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the report...these "newer" gas engines are more than capable of towing heavy loads pretty darn well from what I've gathered reading the various reports.

I agree with the poster on here that said diesels may have jumped the shark. More than likely the next truck we buy will be a gasser.


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boogie_4wheel

SLC, Utah

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

agesilaus wrote:

So they have engine braking on the gasser? I didn't know that.


Characteristic of a gas motor... They have throttle bodies that regulate the amount of air in to the engine. Don't apply any throttle and the engine generates vacuum and slows the vehicle. A diesel doesn't have a throttle body of any kind (they will not draw a vacuum) so when coasting without throttle application a gasser will slow down more quickly than a diesel. This is why diesels are now available with exhaust brakes. The exhaust brake is similar to a throttle body in the fact that it restricts air flow, except the exhaust brake pressurizes the engine to slow it versus drawing a vacuum.


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Dave&Monica

Ontario

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

slarsen wrote:

I do think that the transmission often ‘gives up’ and drops to 2nd gear much too readily, which means a screaming engine at 5,000 rpm’s for awhile. Seems like forever, but is probably a minute. Redline is just under 6,000. Eventually, I got used to it. Mostly, anyway. Third gear seems capable of maintaining speed if the slope inclines gradually, permitting the transmission to prove it to itself, but if the slope comes up fast, it drops from 4th to 3rd to 2nd all in the span of about three seconds. Not a fair test! I think Ford needs to tune this.


I thought that the auto transmission has a manual mode. Wouldn't downshifting manually earlier than in auto mode have solved the problem you're talking about. I've test drove the F150 with the manual mode and loved it.

Dave


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skipnchar

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Doesn't your truck have a "SELECT SHIFT" function? I never considered that the SD wouldn't have them but they're GREAT for mountain towing both up and down. don't have to worry about programming, just do it yourself with a flick of your finger.


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slarsen

Indiana

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Boogie: I didn't know that; nice concise explanation. Thanks.

Dave: Yes, it has manual. Don't know why I didn't at least try it, suppose I will on the next time out. Basically, though, I just don't want to fool with it. I'd rather drive somewhat mindlessly, or lazily, take your pick. But I should at least give it a try.

nohurry

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Posted: 04/02/12 06:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for that report. I don't want a deisel either, and these posts help reassure me that it will work.

I might suggest that if your going to let the trans go on its own, get a tune set up for towing. I did this with my F150 right after I got and and have never regreted it. I do have to burn at least 91 octane gas, but it's worth it.


Carl
2007 National RV, Sea Breeze

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