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Old 01-14-2021, 11:27 PM   #1
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2018 F-150 "regular" tow package vs. max tow package

I am beginning to shop for a 2018 F-150 (3.5 EB or 5.0 V-8 w/driver assist options). I see a lot of trucks on the market that meet my driver assist options needs with "just" a regular tow package plus the larger fuel tank. I had hoped to find a 2018 F-150 with max tow package just for added capability. But, they are less common. I will be towing a 7,900 lb., TT which I have already towed over 26,000 miles very well with a 2007 Ram 1500 Hemi. I would appreciate any Ford owners who have either the "regular" tow package or max tow package to offer any advice they think would be helpful based on personal experience with 2018 or similar F-150. Generally, the TV is loaded lightly with just the wife and I and few lawn chairs in the bed so we don't have a very loaded down TV.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:52 PM   #2
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I am beginning to shop for a 2018 F-150 (3.5 EB or 5.0 V-8 w/driver assist options). I see a lot of trucks on the market that meet my driver assist options needs with "just" a regular tow package plus the larger fuel tank. I had hoped to find a 2018 F-150 with max tow package just for added capability. But, they are less common. I will be towing a 7,900 lb., TT which I have already towed over 26,000 miles very well with a 2007 Ram 1500 Hemi. I would appreciate any Ford owners who have either the "regular" tow package or max tow package to offer any advice they think would be helpful based on personal experience with 2018 or similar F-150. Generally, the TV is loaded lightly with just the wife and I and few lawn chairs in the bed so we don't have a very loaded down TV.
Unless you add them separately, the regular tow package doesn't come with the 36 gallon fuel tank, an integrated trailer brake controller, and an upgraded front stabilizer bar. Not sure if the regular tow package has the auxiliary trans and engine coolers.
Is that 7900lbs weight the TT's GVWR or its dry weight?
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:52 AM   #3
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Unless you add them separately, the regular tow package doesn't come with the 36 gallon fuel tank, an integrated trailer brake controller, and an upgraded front stabilizer bar. Not sure if the regular tow package has the auxiliary trans and engine coolers.
Is that 7900lbs weight the TT's GVWR or its dry weight?
The 7900 is actual on the scale weight ready to head out for extended RV trip cross country. The 2018 F-150 "regular" tow package has pro-trailer backup assist, upgraded front stabilizer bar, high capacity radiator, high capacity cooling fans and is rated for towing up to 11,200. The max tow package has the integrated brake controller, engine oil cooler, locking 3.55 capability, 36 gal tank, upgraded rear bumper, upgraded front stabilizer bar (and I assume the high capacity radiator and cooling fans) and is rated at up to 13,200 towing.

My 2007 Ram 1500 Hemi simply had a tow package that, at best, resembled the "regular" Ford one, and we did fine with that for 26,000 miles traveling right at it's tow rating of 7,900 lbs. and GCWR of 13,000 lbs. Hence my question. I still hope to find a Ford with the max tow package just for the redundancy, but still have the question about its real need.
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Old 01-15-2021, 03:51 PM   #4
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There's no point getting an F150 without the Max Trailer Tow Package, IMO.

I also highly recommend putting a good sway bar on the rear.

A lot of people don't realize that one of the things that makes a SD or HD truck handle towing better is that they come with rear sway bars. Most 1/2-tons do not. I can't think of any that do

I highly recommend one if you're gonna tow.

If you go off-road, they can limit traction a tad. Most people won't notice, it's such a minimal difference. But if you tow, you should put one on, IMHO.
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:47 PM   #5
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There's no point getting an F150 without the Max Trailer Tow Package, IMO.

I also highly recommend putting a good sway bar on the rear.

A lot of people don't realize that one of the things that makes a SD or HD truck handle towing better is that they come with rear sway bars. Most 1/2-tons do not. I can't think of any that do

I highly recommend one if you're gonna tow.

If you go off-road, they can limit traction a tad. Most people won't notice, it's such a minimal difference. But if you tow, you should put one on, IMHO.
Help me understand your recommendation, if you will. Do you have an F-150 with the max tow package? If so, do you have any comparison experience with 150/1500 trucks with the "regular" tow packages? I don't do any off road towing, nor any boondocking. I just drive down the road at about 55-60 mph. Stop at mostly commercial campgrounds. Unhitch and do the tourist thing or visit family in the area. Absolutely no plans ever to get a bigger TT. If I go with the 2018 F-150 with basic tow package, I get roughly 3,000 lbs. more towing capability than my 2007 Ram Hemi. I really need to hear from folks that are out there who are towing something about my weight with the Ford F-150 basic tow package to see what there experience is. And/or folks like you that may have experience with both. My goal is to have a truck with all the driver assist options (I am 76) and will bring me a little more under the published towing capacity and GCWR top figure. If I get a little less "road drama" when 18 wheelers fly by or I go over a pot hole, I'll be happy. Now, all that said. I do hope to find a truck with the max tow package. I just need to know what that max tow package translates into in terms of road experience. You mentioned a sway bar on the rear of the truck. I have been looking at inflatable suspension air bags that I could adjust up for towing and down for non towing situations for more comfort. How would a rear sway bar compare with the adjustable air bags in your experience? And thanks for your assistance on this. I appreciate it. I would just like to flush out a few more details if you have the time.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:26 PM   #6
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I had a 2014 platinum 4x4 with the 3.5. I towed a 36 long 9k plus trailer. I never had any problems pulling the speed limit in Texas. Towed on extreme windy and hot days never a problem.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:56 AM   #7
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I had a 2014 platinum 4x4 with the 3.5. I towed a 36 long 9k plus trailer. I never had any problems pulling the speed limit in Texas. Towed on extreme windy and hot days never a problem.
Did your 2014 Platinum have the regular tow package or the max to package?
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:27 PM   #8
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I have a 2018 F150 with max tow package. I ended up ordering it from the factory in order to get the towing mirrors. For some reason they don't come standard with max tow package. In order to get max tow you will need the 3.5 not the V8. I love the 3.5 EcoBoost, all the power you will need. Our camper is 2606ws Rockwood ultra lite. I see it is about 1 ft shorter and a little lighter than your rig. With a good weight distribution hitch you should be fine. Try to find one with the factory towing mirrors you won't regret it.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:28 PM   #9
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My brother has a 2016 F-150 with max tow and pulls about a 7000lb TT. He is absolutely maxed out on cargo capacity. I've driven his truck and I wouldn't want something much bigger on the F-150. I have the same truck and about 6000lb TT. Drives better and brakes better. I'd think about a F-250 above 7000lb. Doesn't mean you need to but many people on this forum will say you will be happier with the drive of the bigger truck.

With that trailer you are looking at 950lb hit to the cargo capacity. Are you going to get all your gear into the TT? Put 4 people in that truck and I'll bet you max out the cargo capacity.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:28 PM   #10
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ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS look at the truck’s payload sticker.
Even the Max Tow optioned F150s, can have a much less payload capacity than you’d expect from all it’s options. Only the Heavy Duty Payload Package gets you the extra leaf spring and is available in mid grade XLT & below trim levels.
Upgraded bumper means some extra reinforcements & welds on the the hitch which is integrated into the bolt on rear frame support, give about 2000# more hitch capacity.
Only the MaxTow came with integrated trailer brake controller (TBC), optional otherwise, REALLY EASY to install one after factory.
It appears certain dealers like to order in the 36 gallon tank separate option. Only standard with MaxTow & HDPP.
MaxTow until 2021 required the 3.5EB, now available with the 5.0.
Rear axle ratios vary and have a huge effect on various capacities. Sticker marked Towing Package comes stock with a 3.31, MaxTow comes with a 3.55 (available separately optioned), HDPP comes with the 3.73 (also available separately optioned). 4.10 is Raptor only. Ford gets away with this using the ten speed transmission.
Max Tow is well worth it if you find a used one. That year MaxTow cost about $995 to get the upgraded hitch, 3.55 gears, TBC, 36 gallon tank. How do you know it’s a MaxTow without the window sticker? Look at the hitch. If the safety chain hole steel is angled to the rear about 30 degrees, Max tow hitch/bumper. If they’re flat, it could be the heavy duty towing package (towing package on sticker) or receiver & wiring package on the sticker. The receiver/ 7 pin wiring package only comes with just that, equivalent to bolting on a receiver and running wires on any non towing equipped vehicle and is not considered a towing package by the Ford Towing Guide. It’s limits are strictly base on engine. However, in some discussions it is called the medium duty tow package and the bumper ball/4 pin electrical standard on all F150s is referred to a light duty towing.
Note: upgraded front roll bar means same size, just solid. Standard is hollow. Upgraded with HDPP, MaxTow, & HD tow.
All that said, Ford F-150 forum contains a wealth of knowledge all things F150 and has a separate Tow/Haul sub-forum.
Your best bet when investigating a truck is to finish with pictures of all the door stickers. GVWR, GAWRs, axle code, engine code, payload capacity. Took me 65 years to learn this ;(
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:42 PM   #11
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I have the 2018 F150 with tow package that you are interested in. I pull a 33ft TT with a tad more weight. I use an Equalizer wdh hitch. I LOVE mine, and the way it pulls, both up and down hills. Power forever, Tow/Haul keeps me stable in the down hill run. Worst part is the smaller fuel tank. But i just stop a little more often (the wife appreciates that, lol). Mine also is 4X4 which give me more fishing opportunites. This truck sounds like a good choice for your situation (btw left a Ram 1500 in the dust. He had passed me on the flat, lugged on the hill, when I had to pass him.)
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:51 PM   #12
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Help me understand your recommendation, if you will. Do you have an F-150 with the max tow package? If so, do you have any comparison experience with 150/1500 trucks with the "regular" tow packages? I don't do any off road towing, nor any boondocking. I just drive down the road at about 55-60 mph. Stop at mostly commercial campgrounds. Unhitch and do the tourist thing or visit family in the area. Absolutely no plans ever to get a bigger TT. If I go with the 2018 F-150 with basic tow package, I get roughly 3,000 lbs. more towing capability than my 2007 Ram Hemi. I really need to hear from folks that are out there who are towing something about my weight with the Ford F-150 basic tow package to see what there experience is. And/or folks like you that may have experience with both. My goal is to have a truck with all the driver assist options (I am 76) and will bring me a little more under the published towing capacity and GCWR top figure. If I get a little less "road drama" when 18 wheelers fly by or I go over a pot hole, I'll be happy. Now, all that said. I do hope to find a truck with the max tow package. I just need to know what that max tow package translates into in terms of road experience. You mentioned a sway bar on the rear of the truck. I have been looking at inflatable suspension air bags that I could adjust up for towing and down for non towing situations for more comfort. How would a rear sway bar compare with the adjustable air bags in your experience? And thanks for your assistance on this. I appreciate it. I would just like to flush out a few more details if you have the time.
1/2 ton trucks (a misnomer but we'll use it for these purposes) really aren't meant to be heavy duty, kick-'em-in-the-pants towing machines. Keep that in mind.

But a properly set up F-150 can tow as much as many gasser 3/4 tons. Key words being 'properly' and 'set up'.

If you go out and buy a Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel, all you gotta do is hook and go. Don't even really need a WDH.

But if you want to tow with an F150, there are certain things you gotta have (IMO).

One, is the right engine. Gotta be a 3.5 Ecoboost. Gen II (2017+) is more gooder. The 10 speed transmission isn't a must but it's really nice to have. A WDH is a must. If you need airbags or Timbrens, get them. You can't be driving down the road with your nose pointed into the air. But you don't ALWAYS need airbags or timbrens. Also, you don't NEED the HD Trailer Tow Package but I wouldn't have a truck without it. I mean.... What's the point? You can get by without it but..... Why? Tires matter, too. You shouldn't need E rated tires for your purpose but make sure they're good tires. And a good rear sway bar really, really helps. You hear people talking about how their trailer sways in the wind or around Semis? A sway bar sure won't stop it but it can minimize it.

Reading your posts, I think you've got a pretty good handle on what you need to do.

The reason why I tell people they can tow more with an F150 than they think is.... They can. Been there, done it, sold the T-shirt. But there's a point where it starts to get a little scary and you need to stop. Depending on the truck, I think it starts around 10k.

And I've seen too many people miss out on enjoying camping beccause they got priced out by well-meaning, but unschooled, opinions telling them to run out and buy a $60k HD truck that bounces like a pogo stick on steroids. I know, I've got one. Love it. Absolutely love it. But if I had it do over, I should have waited until now and got the 2021 F150 that makes more power and torque than a 7.3l diesel, which is considered one of the best diesels ever made.

And this is important: If you don't think your truck can pull it? --

Don't pull it. Regardless of what I or anybody else say. Don't do it.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:27 PM   #13
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Towing

It sounds like you do a lot of towing. I think you are close to the max on long term towing w/ a f-150. I would look at a F-250 gas VS the rare duck max tow F-150 in the used market. I have had to replace two turbos on my 3.5 I bought used in 60 K miles. I want to know the service has been done on any turbo. Mine had all service records., but still you can buy a lot of gas for the difference in gas milage VS turbo replacement. W/ a f-250 you have a stronger frame and better brakes.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:04 PM   #14
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It sounds like you do a lot of towing. I think you are close to the max on long term towing w/ a f-150. I would look at a F-250 gas VS the rare duck max tow F-150 in the used market. I have had to replace two turbos on my 3.5 I bought used in 60 K miles. I want to know the service has been done on any turbo. Mine had all service records., but still you can buy a lot of gas for the difference in gas milage VS turbo replacement. W/ a f-250 you have a stronger frame and better brakes.
That's the problem with buying used (which I refuse to do).

I would say the prior owner drove the truck like it was a Honda Civic: drive it to Aunt Clara's and stopped at ten different gas stations and stores (Dad! I gotta pee! Honey, let's stop up ahead so I can go, too. [Me, "Look, there's a power tool sale!!'']) on the way there without letting the turbos cool down for a minute or two each time.

Or drive it hard in town, stop and immediately get out. Turbos need to cool down a bit if they've been run hard at all. Not a long, long time. But a couple minutes. It's in the OM, I believe.

Not as bad as in the old days when generic motors swore they'd never make another turbocharged engine after their debacle of 1980 and '81. And, believe it or not, I'm not gonna blame gm for it. Customers were fore-warned about it but they just wouldn't listen.

On the Ecoboost, they say it's not a problem. I'd say you're living proof that's wrong. I'm not talking a LONG time, just a minute or two. And only if you think the turbos are hot.

I always take it easy once I enter my neighborhood. Drive like an old lady so my turbo can cool down a bit. If I'm cruising on the Freeway and I pull into a gas station or rest stop, I sit and idle for a few minutes.

If I'm pulling heavy, I sit and idle for several minutes after a stop.

I mean, your turbo is spinning between 150,000 and 300,000 RPMs. Show it some respect and let it cool down for just bit.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:06 PM   #15
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But a properly set up F-150 can tow as much as many gasser 3/4 tons. Key words being 'properly' and 'set up'.

If you go out and buy a Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel, all you gotta do is hook and go. Don't even really need a WDH.

...


.
Bad info sir...

First off no F150 compares to any 3/4 ton gas truck today. Not in payload and not in towing capacity. I had a 16 F150 with over 2200 payload (don't remember the exact number) ...in no way did it compare to a 3/4 ton...in any regard. No F150 is rated for my trailer...(1450 tongue and 9500 wet)

About the WDH. A 2500 Ram with a Cummins diesel did not perform well without a wdh in the last generation. Truck are tested for handling without a wdh under SAE J2807 and the last time I looked the 2500 Ram had the lowest weight on the ball number for all 2500 series trucks before requiring a wdh due to manufacturer limits or handling issues during testing.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:38 PM   #16
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Turbo

They have definitely gotten better on the turbos by water cooling the turbo bearings. I had a friend that was in charge of all heavy equipment for the city of Fort Worth in the 80's. They paid someone watch trucks coming in to insure that the drivers gave the large trucks 5 minute cool downs to allow that 30k RPM on the turbo bearing to cool down. My daughter's BMW has a thermal activated electric water pump that continues to run when she shuts her's down. After 130K, same turbo. W/O the cool down time on the turbo bearings, the oil burns and "Cokes" the bearings. Over a period of this time, this is what kills the turbo.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Big Toe View Post
There's no point getting an F150 without the Max Trailer Tow Package, IMO.

I also highly recommend putting a good sway bar on the rear.

A lot of people don't realize that one of the things that makes a SD or HD truck handle towing better is that they come with rear sway bars. Most 1/2-tons do not. I can't think of any that do

I highly recommend one if you're gonna tow.

If you go off-road, they can limit traction a tad. Most people won't notice, it's such a minimal difference. But if you tow, you should put one on, IMHO.

My 2019 F350 does not have a rear sway bar.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:48 PM   #18
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7900#'s I would get a 3/4 ton and save your motor and transmission.
I had a half ton towing the same and went to a 3/4 ton and fuel mileage was better with the 3/4 ton diesel towing and really for every day driving. my duramax is a 2016.
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:35 PM   #19
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You might be interested in responses here https://www.f150forum.com/f82/
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:39 PM   #20
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My brother has a 2016 F-150 with max tow and pulls about a 7000lb TT. He is absolutely maxed out on cargo capacity. I've driven his truck and I wouldn't want something much bigger on the F-150. I have the same truck and about 6000lb TT. Drives better and brakes better. I'd think about a F-250 above 7000lb. Doesn't mean you need to but many people on this forum will say you will be happier with the drive of the bigger truck.

With that trailer you are looking at 950lb hit to the cargo capacity. Are you going to get all your gear into the TT? Put 4 people in that truck and I'll bet you max out the cargo capacity.
Appreciate the feedback. Fortunately, it is just the wife and I with no toys in the bed or back seat, so I think the truck could handle my tongue weight which is closer to 800 at most. The driver assist options are critical for me at this point in life, and finding those on a HD truck is so far out of my price range, I just can't manage that. I am sure the HD TV would be nice, but it just isn't happening. The hard concept I am having to get past is that some folks seem to be saying that a 2018 F-150 with EB won't even match my 2007 RAM 1500 Hemi which towed my TT fine for over 26,000 miles twice cross country from Florida and five times to Michigan. Do you really mean that, or are you comparing it to a HD ride?
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