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MetroMPG 03-05-2021 02:04 PM

If I get an old Ford F-150, do I have to resign?
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Two or three times a year, my brother and I need to move a ~5500 lbs sailboat + trailer. Not very far (<10 km = mi.), and not very fast (typically <20 km/h = 16 mph, though sometimes up to 65 km/h)

Years ago, we used to use my brother's Honda Ridgeline. Things were a little bit beyond the Honda's towing rating (5k lbs), but it was fine.
(From: Honda Ridgeline MPG vs speed graph: fuel economy with & without cargo trailer )

Unfortunately, someone smashed into the Ridgeline in a snowstorm, and his replacement vehicle is only rated for half the Honda's towing ability. So, no go. (Not my brother's actual smashed Ridgeline, but pretty darned close to it! White, too.)

Since the Ridgeline's premature exit, we've been begging/borrowing numerous friends' pickup trucks. Always repaid with beer/gas, but we hate asking. We've rented trucks too, but it's $$$, and the local rental company no longer has half-tons available.

Enter crazy idea: the neighbour of a good friend has a running & driving but otherwise beat-up 1985 F-150 that he parked in a field about a dozen years ago.

Something close to this:

Lately I've been watching too many episodes of Vicegrip Garage, so obviously I'm thinking the ideal thing to do is drag said pickup from its field/grave and fix it up to use as our 2-3 times per year tow vehicle.

It'd definitely need a battery, and brakes & brake lines, and fuel lines, & parking brake cables, and exhaust, and probably tires, and a tune-up, and bodywork, and mouse removal, and miscellaneous other repairs, and an air freshener. But it might be a fun project, right?

Probably not. Well, probably initially.

What am I thinking?!

I should be trying to cull the herd, not add to it!

freebeard 03-05-2021 03:06 PM

That vehicle would fit right into my neighborhood. ....lifted. :thumbup:

It should clean up real nice. Bump the metal and keep the patina. I vote stealth [underbody] aero and an eAssist altermotor/battery pack.

Cd 03-05-2021 03:18 PM

Just slap an Ecomodder sticker on it.
That's worth an easy 10+ MPG.

I knew you piloted sailboats, but I had the impression you meant single person sail boats.
It's huge !
Also, that's a beautiful boat !

freebeard 03-05-2021 04:15 PM

it's like a blank canvas.

I've a [now-distant] friend who in the 1980s built a shingled egg-shaped lift-off cabin on the back of a Ford flatbed. A custom flatbed with curved but not tapered sides.

You can stack the shingles and plane them into wedge shapes en mass for a lift-off aerocap. I'd layer them like fish scales, horizontally.

Three-camera assist for those elephant-ear mirrors.

edit: Have you got it home yet? :)

MetroMPG 03-05-2021 04:37 PM

You guys are supposed to be DIScouraging me!

PS: that's not our boat. That thing probably weighs 50 tons, not 5000 lbs! It is a looker though.

PPS: too much snow to rescue said vehicle from the field just yet. It'd have to wait until after spring thaw and after the fields dry out some. Honestly, I dunno if it's even still there. I haven't laid eyes on it in years, and for all I know the guy might have scrapped it.

Just mulling over bad ideas.

MetroMPG 03-05-2021 04:41 PM


Originally Posted by freebeard (Post 643614)
I vote stealth [underbody] aero and an eAssist altermotor/battery pack.

Ha. This thing MIGHT get driven 300 km a year! (~180 miles.)

freebeard 03-05-2021 05:36 PM


PS: that's not our boat. That thing probably weighs 50 tons, not 5000 lbs! It is a looker though.
Dang. I had recalibrated my eyeball. All in vain!

That trailer alone would be quite the tow.

Vman455 03-05-2021 06:23 PM

I say go for it. I'm doing the same thing, with my late grandfather's 1991 Toyota pickup (that I drove from 2004-2009) which has been sitting at my parents' since 2017. I'm having it towed to their mechanic next week who will make sure it turns over, then starts and runs, and then I'll fly out in a few months and do whatever else it needs (timing chain, ignition, complete fluids, tires, etc.) so I can drive it from Washington to Illinois.

If it's been sitting for a dozen years, how long has it been since it was started?

ksa8907 03-05-2021 07:00 PM

Hang on a second... you're proposing that a neglected 35 year old f-150 is going to be capable of pulling, controlling and, more importantly stopping a 5500 lb sail boat?

MetroMPG 03-05-2021 07:18 PM

Well, we'd be aiming it towards water, just in case.

Worst case scenario: good YouTube content! Silver lining.


In all seriousness, it'd clearly need brake and other work to be driveable. (See the 2nd paragaraph under the truck picture in post 1.)

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