What should i expect towing in the rockies

rkjpierce

Member
Never pulled a trailer through the mountains. Not sure what to expect. Windage, brakes overheating, transmission overheating etc.
 

Bob&Patty

Founders of SoCal Chapter
For one...fuel mileage will suck. You did not say what TV or what coach you have. That all will make a difference. Does your TV have an exhaust brake? Have you adjusted your trailer brakes? Just need more info on your rig.
 

rkjpierce

Member
Trailrunner 24sle towed by a 2014 Ford F150 5.0l 3.31 rear end rated at 7900 lbs with tow package installed. Has factory brake controller. TT is going to be brand new.
 

travelin2

Pennsylvania Chapter Leaders-retired
Depends where in the Rockies and if you're only doing the interstates. Obviously you're going to go over the mountain passes and some are higher and steeper than others. The interstates are designed more for the big rigs but IMO there's not much to see other than concrete and billboards. The US Highway routes are more scenic but are typically steeper windy and narrower. Your choice.
Take your time going up and really pay attention going down. Use your engine brake and lower drive gears and use your brakes sparingly. You'll do just fine. We've crossed the Rockies from southern Colorado to northern Alberta without a hitch!!


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Bob&Patty

Founders of SoCal Chapter
His F150 will not have an exhaust brake and brakes on the truck are probably not that big. The OP needs to take all the down hills very slowly and use the brake lightly and use a lower gear in the trans.. Alternate between using all the brakes and use just the trailer brakes to keep everything under control.
 

codycarver

Founding Wyoming Chapter Leader-retired
Trailrunner 24sle towed by a 2014 Ford F150 5.0l 3.31 rear end rated at 7900 lbs with tow package installed. Has factory brake controller. TT is going to be brand new.

If it's a four wheel drive you can use 4x4 low range to help control your decent. Be very careful to not overuse/burn up your truck and trailer brakes. And don't let impatient travelers "push" you down the hills!!!!
 

rkjpierce

Member
I am not sure of heartland trailrunner quality. First time buyer from heartland. Also i am uncertain whether my truck is enough to pull that trailer. Truck is rated for 7900 lbs towing, gvwr on trailer is 7500 lbs tow gcwr limit for truck and trailer is 12900. Pulling in mountains with two heavier than normal adults a child and a corgi plus luggage about 650 lbs has me thinking we might be overloaded. I weighed the truck with just me and a half tank of gas and was about 5200 lbs.
 

Shortest Straw

Caught In A Mosh
Alternate between using all the brakes and use just the trailer brakes to keep everything under control.


That is not good advice at all. It is best to set up your brake controller so that everything stops evenly and leave it. Telling the OP to use the weakest, IMO, link on an rv to slow the TV down is setting them up for disaster.

A good rule of thumb is do not go down the mountain any faster than you climbed it, use your transmission and engine to help slow you down, do not ride the brakes but use them intermittently. When going down hill pick your speed of decent before you start down. Gear down your transmission to assist with the speed you want to keep. When braking you want to apply the brakes in such a way that they are allowed time to cool down. Depending on the hill I will let my speed go 5 to 10 mph over what I have decided I want my descending speed to be. I will slow to approx 5 mph under what that speed is and release the brakes. Repeat this process all the way down. Again it all depends on the severity of the grade.
 

Shortest Straw

Caught In A Mosh
I am not sure where you got the gvwr on the trailer, but Heartland is advertising that number at 6900 with a dry weight of 4546.
 

rkjpierce

Member
Base weight without options is 4546, however gvwr i did mark wrong. Dealer added options is where i got base weight. I figured my numbers this way. Weight without adults half tank of gas was 5200, add on 650 for passengers another 50lbs for fuel i am at 5900 lbs on truck. Dry weight on trailer is 4850. i figure in about 800 lbs in cargo. No water in any tanks so about 5650 on trailer. 11550 pulling down road in mountains truck is rated for 12900 gcwr can it work or will my truck fail me.
 

Shortest Straw

Caught In A Mosh
IMO your pick up will do just fine. As long as you do not get in hurry to go up or down and you do not abuse your brakes. I see folks pulling more with less up here. I would recommend an anti sway/leveling hitch addition as well. My parents pulled their 31 ft Airstream with a tad more weight than what you will be towing for years with their F 150 without issue.
 

justafordguy

Well-known member
You will be close to max by the time you get everything loaded, but that's OK. You need to have it weighed fully loaded with the trailer ready to camp. This will tell you for sure if you're OK. Your F150 is a great tow vehicle and has really good brakes, just use tow/haul mode and pick the right gear going down hill, that will help keep the brakes cool.
 

Lynn1130

Well-known member
If it's a four wheel drive you can use 4x4 low range to help control your decent.

4 wheel low to control speed downhill? If it is anything like mine in 4 wheel low your top speed will be maybe 10 mph. And since you have to stop, put the transmission in neutral to shift in and out of 4wheel low, I am not sure that it a good recommendation for speed control on a highway. If you have to resort to that you probably should not be pulling anything down that hill.
 
Checkout the videos on this website, they conduct real world towing tests in the Rockies going up and down Ike Gauntlet. You can get a good feel for what it will be like towing your target weight. I have reviewed them all and it is very eye opening, although I feel there is a little bias here and there. Oh well it is the Internet take with a grain of salt! http://www.tfltruck.com/tfltruck-hall-ike-gauntlet/


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Bgthomas

Well-known member
Max torque at 4000ish RPM in maybe 2nd gear on the inclines. Ford Tow mode will automagically downshift to control downhill speed. It's not an exhaust brake, but it works pretty well. You'll do fine. Just be patient going uphill and be ****** patient going downhill.
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Max torque at 4000ish RPM in maybe 2nd gear on the inclines. Ford Tow mode will automagically downshift to control downhill speed. It's not an exhaust brake, but it works pretty well. You'll do fine. Just be patient going uphill and be ****** patient going downhill.

2014 Ford F150 5.0l 3.31 rear end

Does an F150 have Tow Mode that acts like an exhaust brake?
 

codycarver

Founding Wyoming Chapter Leader-retired
4 wheel low to control speed downhill? If it is anything like mine in 4 wheel low your top speed will be maybe 10 mph. And since you have to stop, put the transmission in neutral to shift in and out of 4wheel low, I am not sure that it a good recommendation for speed control on a highway. If you have to resort to that you probably should not be pulling anything down that hill.

Probably right. What do I know, I've only been pulling grades with a trailer since I was 16.
 

RoadJunkie

Well-known member
Let's see, what can you expect. You can expect beautiful scenery, fresh air, gorgeous sky and friendly people. I suggest you don't over analyze the towing, you'll do just fine...relax. Have fun.
 

olcoon

Well-known member
You'll probably do fine, pulling in the Rockies isn't close to pulling the worst hills in TX, though. Be careful using your brakes, like has been said you don't want your brakes to overheat as then you won't have any! Instead of applying light pressure on your brakes like you would normally do, use somewhat heavy pressure to slow you down below what speed you want to go, then take your foot OFF the brake, & use the lower gears to help slow you down. Be wary, because even though the curves in switchbacks are well marked, they can sneak up on you, especially the really sharp ones. Also there are runaway truck ramps so that if your brakes do fail, you "should" be able to make it to one in an emergency. But don't use them unless it is an emergency, you'll need a tow truck to get out, and I understand the state makes you pay to repair them. People in the mountains are used to slower vehicles and for the most part have the patience when following one. If you think your brakes are starting to fade & overheating, find someplace to pull over & let them cool off.
 
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