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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > 6.8 3-valve towing FW

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Hemling

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Posted: 07/19/21 09:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Been doing a lot of research on Ford gas HD trucks these past few weeks and here are my observations. I've been poring over towing guides and brochures, and it seems like the 3-valve v-10s were a real bright spot (2005-2010), and then the HD gas engine market died when diesels started really making serious power in the 2010s. Then, the 7.3 came out when lots of people didn't know if they needed 1000 ft. lbs. to pull a 10K camper. On paper, the 6.2 that held the fort down in the 2010s doesn't look much worse than the 6.8 it replaced, but I wonder if it really pulled as well or was torque deficient. What I'm getting at here is that I'd like to know what people's real-world impressions are towing a 12-13K FW with a 3-valve 6.8. Seems like they only came SRW. I'm not cheap, but I'm not made of money either. Do I need a $55K new truck with the 7.3? No, I mean, I COULD get one, and I know it would do everything I need and then some. There is always the voice in the back of my head that says to pick up a $15-$20K 3-valve 6.8, stick $5K into it with tune and gears and whatnot, and make more power than a stock 7.3. Now, I know the transmission is a HUGE deciding factor. Also, a 15-ish year old truck compared to new. I feel like it's kind of like the hot rod mentality. There were guys who just bought a new Mustang or Camaro, but then there were the gearheads who bought old stuff and built it to what they wanted. I know it's not a perfect analogy, but if the 7.3 came stock with 550 hp and 600+ ft. lbs., I don't know that it would be a decision. 10 years between the 3-valve and 7.3, and the output just doesn't seem to justify the massive premium in price. Am I writing off the 6.2 throughout the 2010s too easily? Towing guides still give the old 6.8 better FW capacity than the 6.2 throughout.

Grit dog

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Posted: 07/20/21 12:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having either assigned or driven most every model of super duty gasser up through a couple 6.2s, the 6.2 doesn’t feel like it gives anything up to the V10 but a lot of the v10 miles I put on were at very high altitude.
Bottom line, both will do the job similarly and I wouldn’t want to pull a 13 k fiver with either, but they’ll both get you there. Better in the flatlands than mountains for sure.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 07/20/21 03:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 5.4L 3V has a TERRIBLE durability reputation ! While it does make good power, not many live a long life. Issues with phasers, timing chains, tensioners are well known and expensive to repair. Also, cam and cam bearing issues send many to the scrap yard.

Lantley

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Posted: 07/20/21 04:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your trying to compare a 10-15 year old drive train and price to a brand new truck.
The brand new truck will cost a lost more, have superrior features vs. the old and perform better. For all of this you will pay the price for a new vehicle.
However you should not consider this price a premium as though you are paying a surcharge.
Fast forward 15 years from now and those vehicles and technology will be superior to the 2021/2022 models of today. There price will also far exceed the value of a 15 year old 2021 truck. The lateset greatest will always cost significantly more.
A 15 year old truck will often be capable of getting the job done but trying to compare it t the latest technology in price and performance is futile.


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Posted: 07/20/21 05:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While the 6.8 was considered a good engine for towing, the transmission mated to it was lacking, even compared to the 6.2 with 6-speed. If you don't want to spend a lot, a 2011, or newer 6.2 would be a better choice. IMO, a 12-13K FW is going to be at the upper limit, even with 4.30 gearing, but will do the job.

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Posted: 07/20/21 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 2008 with 215k miles and were towing a 12k 5th wheel for a while.

The engine was fine but it would downshift at every little overpass.

We switched trailers for unrelated reasons and are towing a travel trailer around 7.5k and it's much better.

With the newer 10speed transmissions, I suspect it will be a much better driving experience...of course for $10k vs $60k, I can live with the older truck that get the job done.


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ReneeG

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Posted: 07/20/21 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we first purchased our FW in 2010, we towed for a year with our '99 F250 6.8L V10 4.3 rear axle. It was a short bed and SRW. The towing power was good, but lacked power. What may have been the problem was the short bed and SRW. We added air bags, but those kept failing. The FW ( 13K fully loaded ) was too much for it. It towed, slowly, but steadily, up hill, but was sometimes a challenge descending those same grades. All that was our reason for upgrading to a diesel and we never looked back.


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Groover

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Posted: 07/20/21 07:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Both engines would probably serve you well if you don't have too high of expectations on performance. A lot of V10s went into motorhomes and seem to have served well. You don't hear much about the 6.2 but you almost never hear about it breaking down either. A six speed transmission will help quite a bit.

I towed quite a bit with the old 460 when it was the most powerful engine available at 230hp. No speed demon with a load by today's standards but I always got where I was going. I later had a 2 valve V10 that pulled a little better. Either the 3 valve V10 or the 6.2 would offer 20% more power than the 2 valve V10.

dodge guy

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Posted: 07/20/21 09:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 2012 Class A with the V-10 and 5 speed performs well
For as heavy as it is. Loaded for a trip towing our 13 Explorer I’m at 24,500 approx GCW. My only complaint was the lack of power, And mileage. I fixed those 2 with a tune from 5star. This got rid of the too intrusive bribe by wire which would pull throttle back when you needed it the most. And also changed the shift strategy. It now performs remarkably well for its weight, and I went from a stock average last year of 5.2 to a tuned average of 5.7 mpg.

If your truck has the 6 speed auto it will perform even better.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 07/20/21 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Groover wrote:

Both engines would probably serve you well if you don't have too high of expectations on performance. A lot of V10s went into motorhomes and seem to have served well. You don't hear much about the 6.2 but you almost never hear about it breaking down either. A six speed transmission will help quite a bit.

I towed quite a bit with the old 460 when it was the most powerful engine available at 230hp. No speed demon with a load by today's standards but I always got where I was going. I later had a 2 valve V10 that pulled a little better. Either the 3 valve V10 or the 6.2 would offer 20% more power than the 2 valve V10.


This. Buddy has an old moho with a 2V V10 and 4 speed auto.
Of course it’s got 4.88s or something in back, but tows a 7klb boat behind it 70mph no problem. Bout 40mph up 4-5% grades though.
About 24klb gross combined and 6 mpg.
He carries a spark plug kit and has needed it once so far….

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