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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fourteenth vehicle - 1995 Ford F-150

Buying this vehicle was a mistake.  Let me start with that statement.

The big blue Ford was not a *bad* vehicle.  It never gave me a problem or any trouble whatsoever.  The problem was how it was configured, and that led to really poor results.  I had gotten married and the little Bronco was aging, and I liked the idea of having a real, full sized 4x4 truck.  We test drove it, liked it, and within a few days, bought it.

The truck looked about like this one in color and in backdrop :)

For the first year, I thought it was pretty good truck.  I commuted in it, and it ran fine, although the gas mileage left quite a bit to be desired.  But here's the deal.  This was an extended cab, long-bed, 4x4 truck.  The little 302 V-8 engine should not have even been an option for such a big heavy vehicle.  When we bought an RV the following year and actually started using the truck like a truck instead of a commuter car, its failings as a truck and tow vehicle became very obvious.

The 302 put out 195 horsepower and 270 ft-lb of torque.  The horsepower peaked at about 3800 RPM.  I learned the hard way the first time we towed the RV up a hill that you had to keep that motor wound up, or you would end up driving up the hill at a walking pace in first gear, with the gas pedal on the floor.

We got to the point where if we were towing on any sort of grade, we would shut off the A/C so there would be an extra horsepower or two to help maintain speed.  Going over the grapevine on Interstate 5 we were slower than the big rigs.  Pathetic.  Now the 302 V-8 is a fine engine for flinging a light, small unibody Mustang around.  The Mustang wont drag its puny torque curve into the ground like a big-ass truck with a 4x4 transfer case, extra front axle and differential, 8ft bed, and a loaded RV will.

So while the truck was pretty, an excellent commuter car, and not even a bad off-road truck, it sure as heck wasn't any good for hauling a smallish RV up a hill.  Note to people who don't live in California - you don't get to hot-rod your engine there.  If you start bolting on hot rod parts, it won't pass the visual portion of the smog inspection, and you won't be able to register your vehicle.

You are better off replacing the vehicle with a different one with a more powerful engine, which is what happened next...

1 comment:

Domingo said...

I too learned the hard way that this particular Ford wasn't able to tow a huge trailer. I traded in my older Ford for this one without even thinking about towing capability because I have never had issues before with all my Ford trucks. You really have to look at the specs these days to be sure if you need to tow.