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Old 08-08-2020, 11:51 PM   #1
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ANYONE USING A 1974 F250 RANGER or equiv year spec to tow?

Have a 1974 Ford F250 truck. Just would like to know how reliable and safe it will be as a tow vehicle for a travel trailer coming in about 6349 UVW. The engine is a solid and sturdy 460 CID (7.5 L) 385 V8 with new radiator. I will stop there as I am sure there is someone out here who either is laughing their head off and can scare me straight or someone who is hopefully having great success marrying the old and new...safely!
Thank you!!
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:16 AM   #2
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Have a 1974 Ford F250 truck. Just would like to know how reliable and safe it will be as a tow vehicle for a travel trailer coming in about 6349 UVW. The engine is a solid and sturdy 460 CID (7.5 L) 385 V8 with new radiator. I will stop there as I am sure there is someone out here who either is laughing their head off and can scare me straight or someone who is hopefully having great success marrying the old and new...safely!
Thank you!!
Just like any tow vehicle question the big question is what is the payload rating on the tag inside the driverís door? Now, Iím not sure if these existed 45 years ago, so that may be an issue. The other thing to consider, besides the engine, is the condition of the rest of the vehicle, due to its age. If it is in exceptional shape then you will know how reliable it is in general, and can extrapolate the reliability it will exhibit towing a load. In general, vehicles of that age are somewhat suspect, in terms or reliability, for the length of trip typical of RV use, so that is why I used the term ďexceptionalĒ earlier. The prior life and lifetime maintenance of a truck of that age, and even where it has lived its life will be deciding factors in if this is a truck thatís good for a weekend cruise to the ice cream shop or extended trips on the interstate.
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:37 AM   #3
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Just like any tow vehicle question the big question is what is the payload rating on the tag inside the driverís door? Now, Iím not sure if these existed 45 years ago, so that may be an issue. The other thing to consider, besides the engine, is the condition of the rest of the vehicle, due to its age. If it is in exceptional shape then you will know how reliable it is in general, and can extrapolate the reliability it will exhibit towing a load. In general, vehicles of that age are somewhat suspect, in terms or reliability, for the length of trip typical of RV use, so that is why I used the term ďexceptionalĒ earlier. The prior life and lifetime maintenance of a truck of that age, and even where it has lived its life will be deciding factors in if this is a truck thatís good for a weekend cruise to the ice cream shop or extended trips on the interstate.
Thank you Mr Towed. All comments duly noted. Truck has lived its whole life in southern california. The sticker on door jam states gvwr of 8100, gawr front 3300 and rear 5300. Going to have a my mechanic do a complete eval of undercarriage, engine, radiator etc...was hoping someone else had specific experience with using older trucks to weigh in too..just to give me some perspective...wouldnt want to get out into the hills, wind and heat and find out hard way.
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:31 AM   #4
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Thank you Mr Towed. All comments duly noted. Truck has lived its whole life in southern california. The sticker on door jam states gvwr of 8100, gawr front 3300 and rear 5300. Going to have a my mechanic do a complete eval of undercarriage, engine, radiator etc...was hoping someone else had specific experience with using older trucks to weigh in too..just to give me some perspective...wouldnt want to get out into the hills, wind and heat and find out hard way.
Well, a life in SoCal is a good start to a truck that is probably not very rusty, so thatís a good start. If you get the weight of the truck and subtract it from the GVWR youíll have the payload. Iíd guess youíre in the 2000 range, though. Yes, getting a mechanic to go over the truck thoroughly, with your intended use in mind is a food idea. Figuring out common parts that may fail and carrying some spares and a good tool kit is a good idea. All new hoses and belts would be a good step towards making sure the cooling system is updated, a brake fluid flush wouldnít be a bad idea, and on that note you will need to add a brake controller and 7 pin connector which that truck is most likely not equipped with.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:19 AM   #5
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Thank you Mr Towed. All comments duly noted. Truck has lived its whole life in southern california. The sticker on door jam states gvwr of 8100, gawr front 3300 and rear 5300. Going to have a my mechanic do a complete eval of undercarriage, engine, radiator etc...was hoping someone else had specific experience with using older trucks to weigh in too..just to give me some perspective...wouldnt want to get out into the hills, wind and heat and find out hard way.
I like older trucks. My current tow vehicle is 16 years old. Not as old as the Ford but given time I'm sure it will be.

Older trucks are often paid for. That leaves room in the budget for maintenance and even overhauls as necessary. If the body is good and no apparent problems, there's no reason it shouldn't be reliable if maintained.

Important areas of course are power train and suspension. I'd pay close attention to cooling system. Old radiators can either be plugged with accumulated scale or corroded and suddenly spring leaks. Next would be water pump that might have a seal failure if it's OE. I'd also consider replacing all belts and hoses if they haven't been recently.

Transmission should be checked and serviced. Don't overlook U-joints and differential. Ford differentials have a reputation for being strong but if neglected they still have problems.

Wheel bearings and brakes need inspection as well.

Tending to all these will pretty much cover common issues that can be "trip interrupters", especially the cooling system when towing.

It's obvious that an old truck like this won't have the creature comforts that a newer truck has but it also won't have a large price tag with associated payment.

There's a lot to like about older trucks.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:11 PM   #6
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Yes. It should be fine.

If itís maintained, itíll be fine. Every so often I see an old Ford or Chevy 3/4 or 1 ton pulling a 5th wheel or TT. I love seeing those old trucks still doing what they were designed to do.
Post up some pics if you donít mind!
Happy travels in your classic truck.
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:51 PM   #7
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Should be fine but have a gas tanker follow you as you travel.
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:11 PM   #8
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Those trucks were made to work. Ford(and the others) didnít care about the appeal of the trucks as they were never intended to go to the mall. People bought trucks to use. Back then most people did not have one and now most/ a bunch do. The front end design wasnít the best they had... but they can be made to work if properly maintained. Find a front end shop that has been around forever and have them check and replace the stuff thatís worn out. The twin eye beam suspension arms have to be bent to align the truck(enter old shop with tools).
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:28 PM   #9
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Those trucks were made to work. Ford(and the others) didn’t care about the appeal of the trucks as they were never intended to go to the mall. People bought trucks to use. Back then most people did not have one and now most/ a bunch do. The front end design wasn’t the best they had... but they can be made to work if properly maintained. Find a front end shop that has been around forever and have them check and replace the stuff that’s worn out. The twin eye beam suspension arms have to be bent to align the truck(enter old shop with tools).

Actually, the Twin-I beam suspension was the best there was at the time for a work truck. It would stand up to the nastiest farm or logging road.

It just wasn't a super comfortable ride design. Just one designed for WORK.


Then the pickup truck world made a left turn and everyone wanted a creampuff ride in a vehicle designed to haul filled oil drums, hay bales, bags of concrete, etc.

FWIW, Ford eventually changed the I-Beam suspension to make it adjustable with an assortment of bushings. Aftermarket suppliers manufactured adjustable bushings so only one bushing was needed. The bending tools were relegated to storage rooms.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:48 PM   #10
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The old F250 trucks are very good at pulling trailers. I had a 76 F250 and pulled a 24 ft Terry with it and a 12 ft. sears alum. boat and 9.9 Merc motor ,bikes and toys etc. I would install a Ford engine oil cooler from a turbo-0- charged 76-78 T-Bird or police interceptor. ( see THE Ranger Station site for details ) The engine will run 20- 30 degrees cooler.Do a good safety check on it and change all the fluids if they have not been changed in the last year. If its an automatic have the bands adjusted and install a HD transmission cooler if there is not one on it now. The engine oil cooler and the HD automatic transmission oil cooler are very important Have fun Robert
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by AllisonWildwood View Post
Have a 1974 Ford F250 truck. Just would like to know how reliable and safe it will be as a tow vehicle for a travel trailer coming in about 6349 UVW. The engine is a solid and sturdy 460 CID (7.5 L) 385 V8 with new radiator. I will stop there as I am sure there is someone out here who either is laughing their head off and can scare me straight or someone who is hopefully having great success marrying the old and new...safely!
Thank you!!
If it's still in good shape, it's somewhat sought after in Ca. It's just old enough to be smog exempt. You can put whatever engine and power mods you want on it.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:29 PM   #12
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imo. keep your top speed at 60-65mph and get tire minders. You should be fine IF you go over the truck and look at all maintenance and wear items. ie. flush the radiator, transmission, brakes, tires, fluids, belts, etc.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:55 PM   #13
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If it's anything like my dads 66 Two door Impala 396 CI. we towed an early 70's eight sleeper Starcraft popup, with 5 people in the car...two weeks every year and it covered from Maine to the Oregon coast. They knew how to build them back then. Saw a 60's chevy pickup pulling a 30+ foot Cherokee on I-29 today. They were coming from a weekend car show. Truck was probably reworked a little. Like others mentioned, good look over by a Mechanic....Good Idea !
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:45 PM   #14
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I learned to drive in a 76 Ford 250 and have a 74 150 in the back yard. Like ANY vehicle new or old their are no promises. My grandfather owned a monument shop and we hauled a trailer full of granite and marble stones not to mention the ones in the bed with the hoist connected. I never broke down with him but he did more than once. Get the truck checked and go enjoy your trip I see new cars that break down So anything can happen.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:14 AM   #15
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Well maintained, like new, older trucks are more impressive than a shiny and new F250.
You'll attract a crowd of envois onlookers at every campground.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:17 AM   #16
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Here's a '64 F-250 with a big camper. Not sure I'd do it, but it's loaded up. Hope you like it:
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:42 AM   #17
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Here's a '64 F-250 with a big camper. Not sure I'd do it, but it's loaded up. Hope you like it:
I wonder if those upper front windows are still glass. I'm sure they wouldn't be easy to replace anymore. My grandparents had an old camper with a glass front window and somehow never got hit by a rock, even going down highways back in the day that were only gravel.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:48 AM   #18
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Older F-250's

I'd drive that truck anywhere and pull it hard. Check out the front brakes on it there are two versions of the front brakes depending on the front axle gross weight. The light duty brakes are a standard Ford single piston caliper. The heavier brakes are the Dayton dual piston calipers, these are big brakes and the earlier versions like yours 74 had anodized caliper pistons, and if the brake fluid is not changed out regularly the anodized coating on the caliper pistons could fail and corrosion would start. The caliper bolts can get stuck also causing the calipers to be unable to slide.

So check it out, and I would have a mechanic with rebuilding knowledge (or yourself) rebuild those calipers. These are heavy duty brakes.
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Old 08-10-2020, 01:11 PM   #19
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Thank you EVERYONE! Your feedback has been extremely useful. I am going to invest in all I need to into this truck to give her every chance to get back on the road and do what she was made to do! Will definitely keep all posted and send pix! This is the trailer we picked out. Also attaching pic of our tow specs on truck.
https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/x-lite-northwest/273QBXL/2812
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Old 08-10-2020, 08:37 PM   #20
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ANYONE USING A 1974 F250 RANGER or equiv year spec to tow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonWildwood View Post
Thank you EVERYONE! Your feedback has been extremely useful. I am going to invest in all I need to into this truck to give her every chance to get back on the road and do what she was made to do! Will definitely keep all posted and send pix! This is the trailer we picked out. Also attaching pic of our tow specs on truck.

https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/trave...t/273QBXL/2812


Heck thatís almost a 75.... you are good to go.

The caliper pistons offer a steel replacements in most cases. The rebuilt calipers come with hardware normally and new parts. Just make sure the ones you order have steel pistons... easy option. Stuck on rebuilding? Pop out the piston and make sure they arenít pitted real bad inside.... 45 years is a long time to rust.

In case you havenít planned on it. I would replace all brake hoses and thoroughly inspect all steel lines.
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