Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum banner
1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
2001 F250 SD crew cab, short bed, 4WD, 7.3L, AFE intake, 4" exhaust, FTE resonator. Edge monitor
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of lowering a lifted F250 for the purpose of towing a 5th wheel.

I have a 2001 F250 SD crew cab, short bed, 4WD, 7.3L, auto trans. I bought the truck to tow a 5th wheel. The truck met my criteria in every respect but one. It came with a custom lift and oversized wheels and tires.

I have already corrected the wheels and tires. I went back to stock 16” Ford wheels for my model truck. The wheels are actually off of an Excursion. I then put stock tires on it. It now has Michelin Defender LTX M/S LT265/75 R16 tires on it.

I am planning on going back to stock level springs, but I am open to suggestions. My understanding is that, because the truck is 4WD, most 5th wheels are going to sit a little high in the front at stock truck height and going with any lift in the rear would only make it worse.

I will probably buy a 15 to 20 year-old 5th wheel trailer between 27 and 29 feet long with a dry weight around 8,000 lbs. and a GVW of 11-12,000 lbs. The hitch weight will be around 1,800 lbs.

I intend to add air bags in the rear and will probably go with Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 or Firestone 2071, but I am also open to recommendations.

Here are my questions:

Does anyone have any recommendations on spring manufacturers or resellers? So far, I have identified Michigan Truck Springs and SD Truck Springs.

Should I consider adding a few leaves? It appears that 4, 5 and 6 leaves are common.

Should I consider a 2” lift in the front?

Does anyone have recommendations on shocks? I currently have Bilsteins on the truck and have used them on a number of past vehicles. The truck rides a little too stiff for me, but that could be due to the springs. The truck currently has 6” Deaver springs in the front and Atlas springs in the back. I am not sure of the lift in the back, but the truck sits dead level, so I am guessing that it is a 4” lift.

Any recommendations on air bags?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
i like factory ford shocks and firestone load leveler rear air bags. i have stock rear springs
foto was taken before air bags were installed. 32 foot 14k tralier.

Automotive parking light Wheel Sky Tire Vehicle
 

·
Premium Member
2004 F250 SD 6.0
Joined
·
498 Posts
04 250 Supercab 4wd here. Tow a 12,500-13k pound fifth wheel. Factory springs, Bilstein shocks, Timbren springs. Rides level and comfortably for the past 3 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
516 Posts
Looks like you are on the right path. I did go with SD springs for my air bags. Don't forget the compressor.
I saw great reviews for B&W hitch. Have you decided which hitch your going with?
 

·
Registered
2001 F250 SD crew cab, short bed, 4WD, 7.3L, AFE intake, 4" exhaust, FTE resonator. Edge monitor
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Zmann - Thanks for warning me about SD Springs and for the recommendation on the 7500 vs. 5000.

Doubleslottedflaps - How much weight are you carrying on the hitch? I see that you have a F350. I was contemplating putting the equivalent of F350 springs on the back of the truck.

6LiterTeter - Thanks for your input, especially since you tow something very similar to what I want to tow. I have heard about the Timbrens and have googled them and saved the link, but have not researched them yet because I am not that far along. I will make sure to check them out.

The Bone - I picked up a used Pullrite Superglide 2700, which is rated at 16K. The seller mistakenly thought it was the 2300, which is rated at 24K. I was disappointed when I discovered the discrepancy, but I got a great deal on it and it should still work well. It is already mounted. I installed it myself and will be taking it to a local hitch specialist to have them inspect my installation and the hitch itself. Regarding a compressor, I will not have a dedicated compressor for the airbags, but I will be carrying a good 12V compressor on the truck with adequate hoses to reach all tires and the air bags.

I will be spending a lot of time boon docking in places like the Sierras, Mojave National Preserve, Kofa Wilderness and the wilderness areas on the north side of the Grand Canyon. I installed a Weatherguard toolbox at the front of the bed that sits just below rail height and I will be carrying extensive tools, belts and parts that commonly break as well as two full size spares for both the truck and the trailer. I am getting ready to install a Warn M8000 hitch on the front of the truck and will be carrying snatch blocks, straps, shackles, recovery boards, land anchor, etc.
 

·
Registered
06 6.0 drw 635 rwhp (retired) 08 KR build in progress
Joined
·
547 Posts
Not sure where you’re located but check with heavy truck spring shops, my old 6.0 kept breaking factory ones and contacted a shop in the city that does semi springs. They made me a set in a day and I picked them up, never broke one. They were cheaper than the options available to buy online or the dealer.
 

·
Premium Member
2004 F250 SD 6.0
Joined
·
498 Posts
6LiterTeter - Thanks for your input, especially since you tow something very similar to what I want to tow. I have heard about the Timbrens and have googled them and saved the link, but have not researched them yet because I am not that far along. I will make sure to check them out.
I am partial to the Timbrens because they just hold up and seem to be the perfect density for a comfortable ride and nice, level rear ride height. I forgot to mention I’m at the factory height as well; no lift kit. I plan to refresh our 03 2wd CC soon to make it our towing vehicle. Will definitely add Timbrens to that truck too. Keep us posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
Zmann - Thanks for warning me about SD Springs and for the recommendation on the 7500 vs. 5000.

Doubleslottedflaps - How much weight are you carrying on the hitch? I see that you have a F350. I was contemplating putting the equivalent of F350 springs on the back of the truck.
There is 1500-1900 lbs verticle weight on the hitch. I weigh it with a Sherline hitch weigher. My receiver is 2.5" and rated for 2000 lbs verticle and 20,000 lbs horizontal. I use a Curt ball mount. F350 springs would be the way to go. I also have a B&W removable gooseneck/5th wheel hitch.


 
  • Like
Reactions: 6LiterTeter

·
Premium Member
2004 F250 SD 6.0
Joined
·
498 Posts
Timbrens are ok if used within the limits ,, but mine had issues when at the upper range of their capacity
Timbren did upgrade them for free so no complaints ,, but I still run airbags
Aside from adjustability, what are the other advantages IYP? Do you feel like the ride quality is better with airbags vs. Timbren? “Cushier”? Tell it all…
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
All my Ford 7.3 and 6.0 trucks rode and ride great. Factory springs , factory shocks , Firestone ride rite load level air bags on the rear. I have driven 900-1000 miles a day many many many times on long trips. Thats 15-17 hours sitting in the most comfortable car seat I ever sat in. I only stop about every 350 miles for fuel. I pull over to the shoulder to go 10-100. I take a 30 minute supper break in a truck stop. Tires and tire pressure make a difference in the ride. I have run General Ameritrac tires , BFG Rugged Trail T/A , Nitto Dura Grappler , Toyo Open Country HT and HT2. All ride and handle great. I keep 60 psi in the front and 45 in the rear when empty , 60 in the rear when loaded. I only use 235-85-16. The tall sidewall also acts a cushion. Cloth seats are more comfy. If your seat foam is going away get new foam from the Ford dealer. The air bags didnt affect the ride and even with 20psi empty I never felt a difference in ride after I put them on 3 trucks. I have had aftermarket shocks and they dont ride as good as factory ford shocks. I have gone over 100.000 miles on a few sets of Ford shocks. Factory shocks are not crap. Ford wants the trucks to ride good and handle good and they are not going to put crap shocks on that might cause a buyer to go by a chebby or a dodge. And for the last "its a truck", It aint a mercedes or a rolls royce. It has to have stiff springs. It has to have tires with strong sidewalls and it will never ride like a luxury car.


I didnt buy the Firestone compressor. I carry a little compressor that plugs into the power port. It will put the 100 max psi in the air bags in less then 30 seconds. I use separate air lines for each bag. I use a tire pressure gauge to check air in the bags.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6LiterTeter

·
Registered
Joined
·
610 Posts
I’m happy with my current setup. Stock f350 leafs with a block and fox 2.0 performance series shocks. Shocks are way better than the previous bilsteins. Also my 18” wheels allow for a tire rated at 4,080lbs each. No air bags currently

Wheel Tire Vehicle Sky Motor vehicle
 

·
Premium Member
2004 F250 SD 6.0
Joined
·
498 Posts
I’m happy with my current setup. Stock f350 leafs with a block and fox 2.0 performance series shocks. Shocks are way better than the previous bilsteins. Also my 18” wheels allow for a tire rated at 4,080lbs each. No air bags currently

View attachment 783892
Takes a real man to pull a triple axle fifth wheel with a manual transmission. Kudos. Any trouble stopping that thing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
610 Posts
Takes a real man to pull a triple axle fifth wheel with a manual transmission. Kudos. Any trouble stopping that thing?
6 speed definitely makes it interesting, Not really any issues stopping, little learning curve at first. First trip out coming down a 6% grade with a cross wind and warped rotors on the truck made it a little white knuckle. Since then I’ve upgraded to hawk pads and use 3rd gear coming down that grade and no issues. I’ve had the plug lose brake connection on the freeway, I knew right away by the flashing Brahe controller. Still not really bad stopping on the freeway off-ramp without trailer brakes, definitely no panic stopping without them though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6LiterTeter

·
Administrator
Joined
·
33,908 Posts
Aside from adjustability, what are the other advantages IYP? Do you feel like the ride quality is better with airbags vs. Timbren? “Cushier”? Tell it all…
the timbrens were stiff so fire roads made life suck ,, i run the timbrens at all 4 corners on mounts that can be lowered 2.5 inches by a pin ,, in the low position they are just jounce stops ,, it the raised they hold the truck level when i have the slide in camper in ,, the airbags take the harshness out of the timbrens so together they all work together
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
My 02 F250 4x4 has a 2000 lb payload (see sticker in drivers door), that includes the driver and everything you put in the cab and on the bed, including the 5th wheel hitch thing. putting 1800 lbs hitch weight directly over the rear axle would almost certainly overload that axle, so yeah, you want F350 rear springs. AFAIK, 1st gen SuperDuty, the 250 and 350 had the same frame, same axles (except final drive ratio), and same brakes.

The 350's have a higher final drive ratio which translates to a slower speed at the same RPM, or a higher RPM at the same speed.

I am running Rancho 9000XL adjustable shocks on my F250 and they are /way/ nice. Tuned them to about 5 in front and 7 in the rear for towing my 4500 lb 21 foot fiberglass Escape camp trailer, which has about 500 lb tongue weight.

oh, I had Firestone ride-rite airbags on my Tacoma 4x4 TRD, and they were awesome. could run them at 5psi minimum when running around relatively empty, then pump them up to 35-40 PSI for max loads, and the truck rode WAY better heavy than it had before them. I've toyed with installing them on my F250 but I hardly ever get heavy enough to need them
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6LiterTeter

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
problem with being overweight is, if you're in an accident, and the insurance investigators determine you were overloaded, they could well deny the claim, even if it was the other guys fault.

With a 5th wheel, you could be under the trucks GVWR, and still over the rear GAWR (axle rating). Or, you could be over the GCWR (gross combined weight rating, which is the truck + trailer). The only way to be really sure is to drag the rig to a CAT scale, and get the 3 weights (front axle, both truck axles, and combined weight of truck+trailer) and do the math to figure the rear axle (2nd reading - 1st) and teh trailer axle weight (3rd weight - the 2nd). many CAT scales will calculate that for you and print it on the weight slip

me, I tow a 4500 lb GWR 21 foot fiberglass Escape, has a hitch weight of 500 lbs give or take, so I'm likely NEVER overweight no matter how much camping gear ends up in the truck.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top