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Old 10-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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01' F150 XL 4x4 w/ Triton V8-What can you do?

I recently obtained a 2001 model F150 XL 4x4 with a triton V8 in it. It is necessary for my work. I need to haul a tractor weighing between 2500 and 3500lbs on a 1500lb trailer. Just like half the country, gas prices are killing me but I also want to do a little just to save gas in general aside from cost concerns. So, where do I start on a truck like this?

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/2429/0002208ks5.jpg -side view.

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/7985/0002210uw4.jpg -front view.

The engine runs nicely. There is a sensor malfunction causing the check engine light to stay on which is a non-issue. It has 173,000 miles on it but was owned by a company which had every one of their trucks serviced correctly and at the appropriate time. Aside from a tiny ding in the left front quarter panel and a cracked/broken panel under the bumper, there is no body damage.

I'm wondering if a fuel warmer and HAI will even be worth the money since I live in GA. For 7+ months a year it is 85-105 degrees outside.

I know the bed needs to be closed up and several places have bed covers for sale. I also know that I need fender well modifications, especially to the HUGE ones in the rear. The cracked front panel, which is some sort of plastic can also be replaced by a fabricated piece without the three holes in it and that kind of "slicks" back a little more.

The gap between the bed and the body is larger than it looks. It's actually about 1.25" wide and I can hear the wind biting at it as I drive. How could I close this up without attaching the bed to the body?

The mirrors cannot be disposed of since I haul a trailer but if there are any ideas as to how I can modify the existing mirrors, I'm very open to that. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Is there anything obvious that I'm missing here? I think the biggest gains are going to be aerodynamic but I don't know a lot about chopping up vehicles and fabricating parts. Any and all advice is welcome.. well, except for "sell it and go Isuzu". lol

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Old 10-14-2008, 04:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd lower it, pull the front shaft if its a 4WD. You might want to check into getting that CEL fixed since on some ECUs if the light is lite, it switches to a richer fuel map to prevent engine damage.

Duck tape and cardboard could close off the bed gap

Fuel warmer is not going to do due much, if the lines run over the exhaust manifolds they are already getting headed some.

WAI could help

Hows the gearing? Since you actually tow, deep gears are fine, else running a numerically lower ratio would help but it could take you out of your power band.

Then the usual trick of airing up to the max psi on the sidewall
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention it has an automatic transmission.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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How many miles per year will you put on this vehicle?

What what percentage of those miles will you tow ~5000 lb tractor trailer combo?

As to the gap between the cab and bed, start by asking a body shop if the bed is properly mounted on the frame. Closing some of the gap may be as simple as: loosen a few bolts; slide bed forward; resecure previously loosened bolts.
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestDrive View Post
How many miles per year will you put on this vehicle?

What what percentage of those miles will you tow ~5000 lb tractor trailer combo?

As to the gap between the cab and bed, start by asking a body shop if the bed is properly mounted on the frame. Closing some of the gap may be as simple as: loosen a few bolts; slide bed forward; resecure previously loosened bolts.
That depends on some things so there's no accurate number I could give. Right now, I have next to no work, so hauling the trailer only happens once or twice per month and the furthest I've had to drive for a job so far is only 25 miles one way. Town is only 5 miles away and we only go if we have to. Groceries, mail, electric payments...etc... (no mail box out here-vandals) and we try and take care of all those things at once if possible.

As an estimate I would say I drive twice as far hauling the trailer as I do not hauling it. so, at this time 65% hauling/35% not and that also seems accurate at the moment as far as mileage is concerned. Approx. 100 miles per month, 1200 per year.

This will change in late winter/early spring and the percentage will be reversed as I intend to start tech school (at 39 yoa. lol). Mileage will also increase at that time to approx. 280-300 miles per month.

That's a good idea concerning the bed. Most of the trucks from that company have been used to carry various things in the beds since the day they purchase them. I would think that things sliding back into the tailgate and toolboxes filled to the brim could have caused the gap to widen over time to begin with. This happened for seven years. Maybe I'll crawl up under there and see what I can see. Never know, I may be able to do it myself.

As I was searching the net this morning, I saw a plastic/foam like material with a sticky side that appeared to be about an inch think. It's possible this could be a nice, lightweight filler if I can't move the bed forward. It was designed as a seal for the base of a tailgate although I don't know why one would need that.

Last edited by Blister; 10-14-2008 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lowering it doesn't sound like a bad idea since I saw an ad of the Eibach Pro-Kit for the new f-150 and it helped Fuel Economy by something like 1.5 mpg. I don't know how much of that is true, but since it sits so high up this might help. Also if/after you lower it, you might want to get rid of those step rails. This might help aerodynamics, since from the picture they look like they stick out a bit.

Also you might want to look into this: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...d-cap-583.html

Even though I don't think they are for sale yet.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lowering a 4x4 probably is not in the cards.

My recommendations:

Get a flat tonneau cover. Hard or soft. Both work.

Get some low rolling resistance tires. Goodrich Long Trails are excellent in that size. air them up to the sidewall max. I overinflate by 25% but that's for me.

Covering the cab/bed gap is good. Covering the wheel wells, even partially is better.

Towing a heavy load with an automatic probably forecloses any gearing benefits.

Slow down. Drive the limit and no more.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can probably snug the bed up yourself. Haven't worked on any newer pickups, was pretty straight forward on older models. Maybe Ford has had a better idea (special tool required) in the mean time. If you've got doubt's, ask for free advice at a body shop.

300 miles per mo or 3,600 miles per year.
10 mpg means 360 gallons @ $4 per = $1,440 per year in fuel
12 mpg means 300 gallons @ $4 per = $1,200 per year in fuel
15 mpg means 240 gallons @ $4 per = $960 per year in fuel
20 mpg means 180 gallons @ $4 per = $720 per year in fuel
Definitely best to concentrate on low hanging (least expensive) fruit

I agree with red, you want to find out exactly what's keeping the check engine light on. Various auto parts will scan the codes and turn the light off for you for free. Just be aware the codes don't tell you which part is broken, they only tell you which readings are out of spec. The codes are just a starting point to help decide what to test first.

If you can live without 4 wheel drive, I'd pull the front differential and front drive axles if possible (was doable on older Fords, should still be unless something has drastically changed). Once that's done, the combined 5,000 lb tractor and trailer really isn't all that much so put taller gears in the rear if you can get away with it. What's the current gear ratio anyway?

If you must have 4 wheel drive, badly mismatched front and rear gear ratios are not a good idea - lots of excess wear and tear!
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ankit View Post
Lowering it doesn't sound like a bad idea since I saw an ad of the Eibach Pro-Kit for the new f-150 and it helped Fuel Economy by something like 1.5 mpg. I don't know how much of that is true, but since it sits so high up this might help. Also if/after you lower it, you might want to get rid of those step rails. This might help aerodynamics, since from the picture they look like they stick out a bit.

Also you might want to look into this: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...d-cap-583.html

Even though I don't think they are for sale yet.
Wow, that's an awesome bed mod! I see that guy's posts were made in january. I hope he found some funding and a market. What a nice piece of workmanship that was. A lot of truck owners like me are going to be either looking for these things or trying to build them themselves just out of necessity pretty soon. 4mpg savings on the highway. That's nice, very nice. My hat goes off to Brett Herndon.

You guys are right about the height of the truck too. It doesn't need to be that high. Next time I load up, I guess I should see how much the load sinks the tail end. I'm thinking somewhere around 4 inches but can't be quoted on that yet.

Good ideas guys. If you have anymore, I'm listening.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestDrive View Post
You can probably snug the bed up yourself. Haven't worked on any newer pickups, was pretty straight forward on older models. Maybe Ford has had a better idea (special tool required) in the mean time. If you've got doubt's, ask for free advice at a body shop.

300 miles per mo or 3,600 miles per year.
10 mpg means 360 gallons @ $4 per = $1,440 per year in fuel
12 mpg means 300 gallons @ $4 per = $1,200 per year in fuel
15 mpg means 240 gallons @ $4 per = $960 per year in fuel
20 mpg means 180 gallons @ $4 per = $720 per year in fuel
Definitely best to concentrate on low hanging (least expensive) fruit

I agree with red, you want to find out exactly what's keeping the check engine light on. Various auto parts will scan the codes and turn the light off for you for free. Just be aware the codes don't tell you which part is broken, they only tell you which readings are out of spec. The codes are just a starting point to help decide what to test first.

If you can live without 4 wheel drive, I'd pull the front differential and front drive axles if possible (was doable on older Fords, should still be unless something has drastically changed). Once that's done, the combined 5,000 lb tractor and trailer really isn't all that much so put taller gears in the rear if you can get away with it. What's the current gear ratio anyway?

If you must have 4 wheel drive, badly mismatched front and rear gear ratios are not a good idea - lots of excess wear and tear!
I don't know the current gear ratio. I'm not sure how I would find that out either. I can say this though. I can do without 4WD AND air conditioning. The only problem with no air is the windows will be rolled down- it's hot here. I'm not sure if the drag from open windows will negate the savings from getting rid of the A/C or not.

Pulling axles and stuff is pretty new territory for me but our mechanic charges us very reasonable rates.

The engine light: No sooner had I posted the post stating it was a non-issue, my wife returned from town and was mentioning something about an idling problem. She said acceleration was "ify" and that it was having a noticeable idling abnormality. It didn't do this with me but then again, I didn't drive it far. We'll see how it does with a mechanics checkup in a week or two. The truck is new to us, only a week old on this end.

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