New truck dilemma

lynneh1lynneh1 Member Posts: 6
edited March 2014 in Ford
Hello. My husband and I are going to buy a new truck. We've pretty much decided on Ford, but the decision we're bogging down on is, which one?
We have an F250 Power Stroke Diesel. We need the truck for hauling horses on trail rides. This consists of usually parking in someone's pasture for a couple of days and then moving to someone else's pasture. The 3/4 ton doesn't have any trouble actually pulling our trailer (a 3 horse slant load aluminum Sooner with living quarters). Full weight is probably somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds. The problem is that we keep getting stuck. So, we think we need the 4X4, but do we need the 4X4 dually or the 4X4 single rear wheel? What's the advantage or disadvantage of a dually over the single wheel.I want the crew cab; hubby wants the super cab. I've been told the crew cab is only about 16 inches longer and I like the extra sitting space. We need the 8 foot bed for hauling lumber, etc.
So, what do all you truck people out there think?
The Ford F250 4X4?
The Ford F350 4X4 Single Rear Wheel?
or The Ford F350 4X4 dually?
I'd love to see all of your responses. Thanks!


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    There is not much difference in the price of comparable 250's and 350's, so that shouldn't be a concern. I believe the GVWR for both is 20k pounds, so the weight of the trailer shouldn't be a concern either. What you should look for is how much trailer weight is being placed on the fifth wheel/goose neck. An F-250 4x4 CC PSD full of people and fuel doesn't have a whole lot of bed capacity left before you overload it. This truck is going to be very heavy to start with. Now, I personally have not run the numbers, but I have read in several publications that an F-250 4x4 CC PSD can only put about 2k pounds in the bed before you overload it. I'm sure the F-350 4x4 CC PSD SRW would have more capacity, but not sure just how much. I have an F-350 SC PSD DRW that I used until recently to haul around a 3,500 pound slide-in camper. With the truck and camper fully loaded, the rear end didn't even use the overload springs. I'm sure the F-250 or F-350 SRW would do the job, but I prefer the dually because of the rock solid stability when towing in less than ideal conditions such as with high cross winds. It takes a lot of force to push the rear end of a dually around, so I get very little sway in 30mph cross winds with passing semi's. The down side is the fender wells. They don't bother me, but I can't say the same for everyone. I agree with your choice for the CC, I got the SC and wish I had a CC.

    One last thing. You didn't say whether or not you wanted an automatic or manual. Go with the manual tranny, you'll be happy you did.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    In my experience, a SRW has better traction in off-road situations. I've seen DRW 2wd trucks get hung-up on spots a SRW 2wd truck can go through. I can't really compare 4X4 though, they all seem to do much better regardless but common sense would say the SRW would still have better traction. The shorter wheelbase will also have better traction, but with a load on, it shouldn't be a noticable difference. On-road however, the DRW is more stable with the bigger loads so that's the flip side. When I was buying I knew I would be in alot of mud/snow so I went with the SRW. But now the truck is on the highway alot more than I planned so I wish I would have had the DRW. I've pulled some pretty heavy trailers through nothing less than a mud pit and no problems, just alot of mud flingin. If you know your not going to be on the highway much, I'd spring for the SRW with some grippy tires.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Definitely go with the F350 - with passengers, luggage, fuel, etc. plus the 5-er you'll easily be over the limit of the 250. I've got 350 CC, LWB, 4x4, SRW, V10 and can carry 3800 lbs. - I think heavier PSD lowers rating 300 lbs. A dooley has higher load capacity yet, but is only available on 350.
    X Cab Superduties are pretty big inside, but back seats are not comfortable for long rides except for kids. I've got Crew Cab and it's huge inside. Everybody's happy! I really like the four doors for getting stuff in and out, lot easier than half doors on extended cabs. Lot of Superduty X-Cab folks I've talked to regetted not getting Crew Cab, but not the other way around. One note - Crew Cab w/ 8 ft bed makes for a really long beast - get the Reverse Sensor, it makes backing up in parking lots less of an adventure. (Bad Point - Reverse Sensor detects you trailer. It has to be manually shut off every time you put it in reverse. You learn to hate it when towing, but it's otherwise its a real neck saver.)
    Sebring and Mullins already talked about srw vs drw traction/stability, so I'll just add a couple things to think about . As for getting stuck, extra weight of diesel tends to makes the truck front heavy when in the muck. PSD 4x2 has to plow it's way out; at least 4x4 can help that heavy motor pull itself out. I don't use my 4 wheel drive that often, but when I've needed it I never regretted the extra money. (In blizzard last year, neighbor gal went into early labor - my 4x4 ended up being a life saver.) When you need it, it's priceless. If you don't get 4x4 at least consider a limited slip rear end; they shift torque to the wheel that has traction. A lot of hard core off-roaders aren't thrilled with the Ford LS, (I haven't had any complaints with it myself,) but it prevents you from sitting there with one wheel spinning uselessly in the mud. Better yet with 4x4 and LS you'll always have 3 wheels getting traction. Not saying you still won't get stuck some times but at least you'll have a fighting chance of getting out. I always liked phrase - "4wd will only get you stuck farther away from any help."
    Good like with your truck shopping.
  • jcave1jcave1 Member Posts: 137
    Sorry to say I settled for standard differential in my last truck, F-150 4X4. What a mistake, and my own at that. Truck was very nice, for a half ton. Stop in the snow and get stuck in it's own tracks, and with weight in the bed. 4X4? More like 1X1, one driven in the front, one driven in the rear. Made darned sure the PSD was limited slip. Certainly agree the extra bucks for 4X4 are worth it, there when you need it.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    jcave1 and wpalkowski have a very valid point. I settled for a standard differential on mine, what a mistake. I've been stuck in wet grass before and once couldn't climb a gravel drive. Admittedly it was rather steep, but how embarassing to get stuck in a gravel drive with no snow or mud, it was the middle of the summer. The DRW just will not dig enough for anything off road. I do take mine off road on a fairly regular basis but I do so very cautiously. I have found that a little speed goes a long way, literally! But that heavy PSD front end will sink if given half a chance.
  • lynneh1lynneh1 Member Posts: 6
    Well, this has certainly been informative! Thanks to you all for responding. My husband and I have noticed that most truck salesmen/women want to sell whatever they have in stock(can't actually blame them), therefore, that's the "deal for you!" I trust them all about as far as I can throw them, so it's nice to have a source like this chat room thingy to get consumer's ideas and comments. By the way, I won out on the crew cab vs supercab dispute. Thank goodness! I hate climbing around in that tiny backseat, even if it's just to pack stuff! I think we've settled on the 1 ton 4 X 4 long wheel base crew cab. I would like to get some more feedback on the manual vs the automatic transmission. I think that we'd both really rather have the automatic- we don't like hauling horses with a manual- and we've "heard" that the new Fords have the Allison transmission which is supposed to be really nice- not like the old "fix-or-repair-daily" transmissions. I read some of the other message categories (goodness, some of those guys get testy!) and there seems to be a huge debate about transmissions. In one product you get a good transmission, but terrible torque, and in another the opposite, etc. Comments, folks?
  • jcave1jcave1 Member Posts: 137
    This PSD is my first auto tranny. Don't tow or haul often which made the decision a bit easier. Maintenance with the auto is critical for longevity, particularly when towing or hauling. Proper maintenance includes flushing the tranny, tourque converter, and lines. Ford has this as a 30k mile service. Burnt transmission fliud is the number one tranny killer so all the old stuff has to go. To date the auto has worked just great and is loads of fun to drive.

    Something you might look into. Just met a guy with an F-350. Comparing notes, we started talking trannies. This is his first auto too.
    His was purchased simply because of his dear wife. She experienced great difficulties pushing a strong clutch. Don't recall what the spring tension is on the Ford, but I guess it takes a strong left leg. You might want to test this for yourself. Would a "Popeye" like clutch be troublesome for you?
  • kg11kg11 Member Posts: 530
    Sorry,no Allison in the Ford.Allison is owned by GM.If you've read enough of the other catagories,you've seen some of my complaints about the Allison,and probably seen me get testy too.(sorry about that)Allison is SUPPOSED TO BE the best A/T available in a pickup and when it's working right it's great,but you have to buy a chevy to get one.The cluch in the F350 IS very stiff(chevy too)
    Get the F350 with the A/T and maintain it well and maybe an extended warranty.Single rear wheel trucks don't get stuck as easily.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    The clutch in my 2500HD Duramax ZF 6-spd is definitely not stiff. In fact the clutch in the Ford PSD I drove did not seem stiff to me either. Maybe I just have strong legs.

    I think manual transmissions are well suited to diesels, and possibly more comfortable to drive than manuals in gassers. Why? Because diesels don't have a throttle butterfly. The intake tract is always fully open to the atmosphere. What this means, is less compression braking on decelleration. When you lift off the throttle, the manual equipped diesel has less of a tendency to throw your forward in your seat than a gasser, due to less compression braking, i.e. less jerky.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Jcave1 has it right - heat is the number one killer of automatic transmissions. Best investment if you tow alot is an aftermarket transmission temp gage. Don't let it get too hot and an auto should serve you fine. I see the most tranny heat when I'm trying to back 8000 lb trailer uphill into a tight space. On the open road with exception of some big hills in upstate N.Y., the temp doesn't fluctuate a whole lot after things have fully warmed up.
    Ford upgraded transmission cooling in newer Superduties, and it serves the majority fine. But reading posts on you see folks adding supplemental transmission coolers, and even transmission fluid filters for added measures of protection. However, some of these same gear heads hop up the Powerstroke's power and torque beyond what stock transmission can reasonably handle and then complain when it breaks.
  • lynneh1lynneh1 Member Posts: 6
    Okay, more info is better. How reliable is an aftermarket transmission temp guage, and why can't I just order it when I order the truck?
    What else do I need to ask for when I order it? Oh, and how stable are the rotating gooseneck balls? My husband kind of wants one so that we can use the flat bed when we need it, but I'm worried that somehow if it's not welded, it won't be as stable when I'm hauling horses and something might happen. Thanks in advance for all the advice!
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    I'm not sure what you mean by rotating. The kind you can move around to help line up the traier? No idea on strength. But if you just want something you can take off, there are several with removable balls. Mine has a pin that has to be pulled up and over and then the ball pulls out of the bed. Has a magnetic piece that fits over the hole. Mine's rated at 30K or something like that. Alot more than you'll want on a 1-ton anyway.
  • lynneh1lynneh1 Member Posts: 6
    To: Sebring95
    Maybe I should have called it a "disappearing" ball. They rotate down under the bed or something. I presume that's what you have. So you've never had any problems with it?
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    The ball actually comes out of the bed. It has a spring-loaded pin that I can pull and then pull the ball out. The pin folds down below the bed and then I slap the magnetic cover over the hole. It is extremely stout and accomplishes the same as what you're trying to do. The only difference is I have to find something to do with the ball, which I stick under the back seat. I've not used one like you're mentioning so I can't comment on it's strength. I'm sure it's rated to haul ample weight, just not sure I like the sound of how it works. The only moving part on mine is a very thick pin that slides out of the ball to release it.
  • lynneh1lynneh1 Member Posts: 6
    Ok- I've got the picture. That sounds okay and I'll suggest it as a possibility to hubby. Thanks again for the input.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I don't have one of the gooseneck balls that you are talking about, but I do have friends that do. As long as the mounting hardware is secure, just like any other hitch system, you won't have any trouble with it. IMO, your system is better than sebring's because your ball is self storing. The one my friends have just pull up slightly, you push a pin, and the whole assembly lowers out of the way. They also have a magnetic cover for the hole that is left. One guy I know had a hinge attached to the piece of bed that had to be cut out. Now when he lowers the ball out of the way, he just flips the bed piece over to cover the hole. You almost can't even tell a hole is there.

    I'm sorry I can't help you with the tranny temp gauges. Any competent shop should be able to install then for you, or you or your husband could do it fairly easily. They are not that difficult.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    I don't trust gauges that automakers put in their vehicles, most are no better than idiot lights. I found out the Oil Pressure gauge in my old F-150 moved the needle to middle whether there was 4 psi or 14 psi. I have a buddy who's a PSD fanatic - he got me into after market gauges.

       As for Transmission temperature, I've got an Autometer #2552 Transmission Temp Gauge - it reads from 100°-250°F. Kit came with gauge, sending unit, fittings, etc. (It was a gift - so I don't know the price off hand.) Their web site is I've seen them in auto parts stores. I guess your dealer could probably install it before you take delivery of new truck.

       I don't know how reliable it is - I've only had it in about a year. As far as accuracy: we checked it against a Mercury thermometer in hot water- it seemed to read within a degree or two of the thermometer

      My 350 will usually run about 145 degrees running around town, empty. Towing, up long hills it gets up around 170. I've gotten it up to ~195 trying to back trailer up an incline and having to jockey back and forth alot. It went over 200 once, when I got stuck (stupid me, in my own backyard) and tried to rock it out shifting quickly between R and D about 50 times. I let it cool down for about half an hour (while I cleaned off the mud).

      I've been told that transmissions can handle brief periods above 200 degrees, but it degrades the fluid. I think there's about 15 quarts in tranny (including torque converter) so there's a lot of heat to get almost 4 gallons of fluid that warm. If average temp is 200, I'm betting there's some areas that are much hotter. I've been told that if it goes over 225 you should change the fluid ASAP - the friction characteristics of the fluid have been ruined and the tranny will begin to devour itself. The fluid change/tranny flush is much cheaper than a new transmission.

      The gauge will tell you if you're pushing the limits and help protect your $35-40K investment.
  • bamatundrabamatundra Member Posts: 1,583
    You should try backing your rig in 4-lo It is much easier on the tranny.
  • fordtuffordtuf Member Posts: 101
    I have a 99 F250, auto, 4x4, V10.

    I have a 02 F250 auto, 4x4, V10 on order.

    In 02 Ford got rid of the alternator gauge and replaced it with a tranny temp gauge. At least on mine, might be because of towing package though. I', sure your getting towing package.

    As for 4x4, without a doubt get it. As silly as it sounds make sure you get the limited slip. Most trucks on the lot have it but if you order the truck don't forget it.

    The should have to call them what the are, a 4X3 or a 4x4!!!

    Auto tranny, only way IMHO. The SOF option is what you should consider as well.
  • jrs400fjrs400f Member Posts: 9
    fordtuf; How does your v10 pull? Have you had any problems?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Backing while in 4-Lo may be easier on the tranny, but it's heck on the driveshafts and differentials if you are doing any twisting and turning. There are huge rolling differences in the "arc" that the front and rear axles will travel through a turn. This difference will put a tremendous amount of strain on your U-joints and spider gears.
  • bamatundrabamatundra Member Posts: 1,583
    I guess you've got to choose your poison. Many times when maneuvering a trailer you will be on a surface such as dirt or gravel. Even if you are not on a surface with slip, you will be traveling for a short distance at a low speed and the tires should have enough give to avoid damaging drivetrain components. I agree that this is not typically what you would want to do.

    My '78 Dodge powerwagon's transfer case had a choice between Hi-lock, lo-lock, neutral, hi, and low. In this case you could choose the low range without locking the differential. That sucker would go anywhere!
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    This is where manual front hubs are handy. Put it in 4lo without locking the hubs and you've got a rear-wheel drive running in low-range. Of course, nobody wants to pull a lever to put their truck in 4X4 these days, let alone get out and lock the hubs. I think Ford still offers manual hubs, but I haven't seen many in the last few years.
  • jcave1jcave1 Member Posts: 137
    Mine came with manual hubs. Don't believe I'd have it any other way, for the reason you mentioned. That low range comes in very handy when you don't need four wheel drive, such as boat ramps. Locking the hubs really isn't a chore. Of course for winter driving, leave the hubs locked just in case you need them. Will certainly agree, seems like most are electronic.
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    Just bought a 2002 F250, It is my understanding that all F250 & up that come with an auto have tranny temp guage instead of alternator guage.
  • jcave1jcave1 Member Posts: 137
    A useful tranny temp guage should be a nice improvement. Isn't the alternator guage simply an indicator, just like the oil pressure guage? An idiot light disguised as a guage. Real guages....... Now there's a need.
  • tbundertbunder Member Posts: 580
    all 4x4 super-duty's come with manual/auto locking hubs. you can have either way. at least my dad's '99 SD V10 4x4 did. no inside lever though.
  • jcave1jcave1 Member Posts: 137
    Somewhere I read a similar post, probably the F-D site. My '01 is completely manual. Complete with shift lever. Not sure I'd care for the auto.
  • jdtopperjdtopper Member Posts: 58
    locks on the hubs, but I've yet to use the manual locks. The automatic locks have been working fine so far. Every time I want 4WD it's available with nothing more than the turn of a knob.

    Not that I'm CJ-5 had a 4-spd box, with granny and low range, a Warn OD unit and manual hubs; lots of levers and knobs; and it was great fun too...but I don't have a clue why Ford would want to have an auto/manual feature on the hubs. Do any of you know the why's and wherefore's of this feature?

    The worst part I've found is mounting 4 sets of chains in the mud. If only they could automate THAT task...!
  • whatsachevywhatsachevy Member Posts: 136
    Manual hubs are handy when you are stuck in 2-wheel drive and can't move. Auto hubs can't engage unless the front wheels can turn slightly. Manual hubs, when locked, don't need the front wheels to turn to engage, thus allowing you to have instant power to the front wheels. If you can't rock the vehicle enough to get the auto hubs locked, you are most likely going to remain stuck. With the manuals, you get out, lock them in, and drive off!
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