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Old 07-10-2014, 10:12 AM   #11
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A numerically higher axle ratio will help you off the line. But if you're already pulling away from stoplights OK now, you don't need any more help in 1st gear.

At speed, a numerically higher axle ratio will help you hold a specific gear longer before a downshift is needed. With older 4-speeds, this was a bigger deal because a downshift meant a huge increase in rpm, and potential drivetrain shock (?). But with the modern 6-speed transmissions (or more), the rpm jump is much less, and is also better controlled.

I would hate to make an axle change like this, and never know if you would have been OK without it. Taking this 4000 miles trip is not going to hurt your truck, and you already said you've already handle some pretty good grades. Take the trip as is, and use it to decide whether you want to make the change. Until you have a concrete reason to change, don't bother. Fact is you are still at least 1000 lbs under your GCVWR.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:21 AM   #12
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Once you go west of the TX Border, you will find a basic truth: All the "Mountains" you have driven in in TX & East of the Mississippi are REALLY overrated hills

When you hit NM/CO/UT/WY and make those 3% grade climbs for 10-20 miles only to come to the final twisty-turny 7% 10 mile last leg to the crest...THEN you know what a mountain is

You will learn to drive the extra 60 miles to the pass, rather than taking the more direct over-the-crest route

Just go slow and take breaks, keep your truck apps on and watch your tranny/oil/water temps. If you have to pull over a big'n (classified as a 9K or more ; best do it in the morning, late evening, or overnight if you can. Summertime temps in the high desert can easy be 110 deg with blacktop surfaces being 120 deg.

I have a couple of friends that have similar rigs to ours towed by a F150 EcoBoost; they are not reporting any problems but gas milage is @ 8-9mpg-7 on the steeper grades @ 4K RPM.

(We lived in NM for 10+ years and towed a Coleman Niagra Popup behind a pretty much stock Ford Aerostar minivan - the big popup was probably right at the Aerostar's GVWR-- or over we did not have any problems in the mountains though)
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:54 AM   #13
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Hey, BamaBob,
I have family in the Huntsville area. Never heard the "HuntVegas" thing, although I haven't been "down home" in a while. What's that about? Casinos taking over?
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:19 AM   #14
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CAT BACK

BigBaron - love the Carson photo! I am mainly interested in the better exhaust system. Mandrel bent is smoother flowing than crush bent from the factory or what you get from local muffler shops. Should pick up about 10 HP per several of the reviews I have read; better bang for the buck than going full header-back duals with an added cat needed.
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