Ford F-150 2.7 or 3.5 EB best for towing a 5.0TA?? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-27-2017, 08:24 PM   #1
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Ford F-150 2.7 or 3.5 EB best for towing a 5.0TA??

New person on the forum here, with a question! In trying to decide on an RV, my spouse and I (both experienced but aging tent campers) have gone from a pop-up pickup camper to a hardside pickup camper to a camper van and then on to some sort of a trailer, and we have finally settled on an Escape 5.0TA as exactly the right RV! We are close to making a deposit, but first need to make another big decision, and that is what is the right tow vehicle. We currently do not own a pickup. After doing a ton of reading, including a fair amount on this forum, it seems to me that the 2018 F-150 3.5 liter EcoBoost offers the best mix of capability and efficiency in a gas engine. So the question for all you F-150 aficionados out there (and anyone else who wants to weigh in), would the 2.7 liter EB with 3.55 axle ratio do the job as well?? I'm a firm believer in investing in a pickup with capability to spare, in other words, not pushing the specified limits for towing, payload, GCWR, etc... and I definitely don't want to be tooling down the highway worried about full tanks and whatever gear we've brought compromising our safety because of weight. But at the same time, I don't want to buy more truck than we need... towing the 5.0TA will be by far the biggest job our truck will do. Ford says the 2018 2.7 EB has 25% more torque than the 2017 and earlier models, and a loaded 5.0TA is well under its max tow rating of 7,600 lbs. We live in Idaho, however, and are planning to travel all over the western US and Canada, so pulling up and down mountain passes every time we take it out is a given. I'm certain the 3.5 will do the job beautifully, but would the 2.7 do it as well?? The 2.7 costs less and gets slightly better non-towing mpg, which are the main reasons I'm still considering it. I know there are many experienced folks on here with lots of good thoughts and advice, they are much appreciated and so far I have learned a lot from all your posts!
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:06 PM   #2
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I believe the 2.7 will be quite adequate. I know members here use one, including Carl (C&G in FL0. I went for the 3.5 only because I wanted a SuperCrew AND a 6.5' box, which is not available with the 2.7.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:17 PM   #3
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You're really not settling for less either way. Either engine will do a superb job towing anything Escape makes. You needn't worry about that. If a little more power is more important to you than a little more economy, the 3.5L EcoBoost would be the logical choice. Concerning towing capacity and payload however, although the 3.5L configuration maxes out higher, it's not so much a function of which engine you go with, but which axle, and whether or not you go with the max payload package or the max trailer tow package. And as Jim mentioned, I would recommend the longer bed for towing a 5.0TA. Gives better cab clearance and more flexibility on where to mount the hitch.
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Old 12-28-2017, 03:51 AM   #4
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I concur with all above, and also want to throw out a slightly off topic recommendation for the 36 gallon fuel tank option. It brings peace of mind knowing you can go a long, long ways if needed without running dry.
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Old 12-28-2017, 05:27 AM   #5
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I concur with all above, and also want to throw out a slightly off topic recommendation for the 36 gallon fuel tank option. It brings peace of mind knowing you can go a long, long ways if needed without running dry.
Yes, love the big tank, as much for eliminating the pain PITA of refueling as the concern of dining out.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:09 AM   #6
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I started towing my 5.0TA with a 2012 3.5. It had a 6 speed transmission and the smaller fuel tank. I traded it for a 2015 2.7 because I wanted better gas mileage, the larger fuel tank, and a different color (white rather than silver). I got all 3.
The 3.5 was a beast. When towing at @ 60 mph (@100 jpg), if I punched it it would pin me back into the seat and be up to 80 mph in almost a heartbeat (First pickup truck I ever drove that responded like a Corvette). It would easily increase forward speed when going up hills, steep or otherwise. With the 2.7, I get a similar response. It will do all the aforementioned things, though with somewhat less “mind blowing power.” I consistently get 1.5 to 2 mpg towing with the 2.7 than I did with the 3.5, but that was with a 6 speed transmission rather than the 10 speed now available. Not towing, the increase is 4 to 6 mpg. Mileage, of course, varies with conditions. I have looked long and hard at data Ford publishes about the 10 speed, and have come to conclusion (hypothesis, because no real world experience) that at the top end it may be better on fuel than the 6 speed, but I am not sure the 3.5 with 10 speed will surpass the mileage I get driving/towing the 2.7 with the 6 speed transmission.
I strongly concur with the expressed sentiments regarding the larger fuel tank option. I cannot heap enough praise on this option. Get it, regardless of whichever drivetrain you select.
In summary, the 2.7 has more than enough pep for the 5.0TA. If you are inclined, however, to enter trailer towing drag races, the 3.5 would be the winning choice!
One final point. I do have the 6.5-foot bed, and had it on the previous F150. To reduce vehicle length, I opted for the extended (super) cab rather than the crew cab with the 5.5-foot bed (both are the same overall length). The doors are not as convenient for passengers but since 2012, I have had passengers in the back seat exactly 2 times, both times on short trips. Like many other 5.0TA owning couples, we use the back seat to transport gear when towing.
Good luck in making your decision.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:30 AM   #7
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It's a tough choice, one I didn't have to make in 2012.

If I were getting a new truck today for $1700 and 2 mpg I'd probably stick with the engine I know and get the 3.5 again. I do like having more truck then I need.

Do pay attn to the payload on whatever you choose. Everyone looks at towing capacity when the payload is the weak point.

You won't go wrong with either engine, get whichever makes you feel better.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:45 AM   #8
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It's a tough choice, one I didn't have to make in 2012.

If I were getting a new truck today for $1700 and 2 mpg I'd probably stick with the engine I know and get the 3.5 again. I do like having more truck then I need.

Do pay attn to the payload on whatever you choose. Everyone looks at towing capacity when the payload is the weak point.

You won't go wrong with either engine, get whichever makes you feel better.
Bob, when you mention $1,700, you are referring to the added cost of the 3.5 EcoBoost option.....correct?
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:55 AM   #9
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Bob, when you mention $1,700, you are referring to the added cost of the 3.5 EcoBoost option.....correct?
yes, on top of the 2.7. That's the difference for our area according to the Ford site.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:59 AM   #10
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If I were getting a new truck today for $1700 and 2 mpg I'd probably stick with the engine I know and get the 3.5 again. I do like having more truck then I need.
I would as well, though for me it is my work dump trailer that needs it. I have towed 9.000 lbs a few times with it, and it performed great, way better than I would have thought.

If I was using it to just tow an Escape and was not such a stickler for having both a Crew Cab (for Jasper and gear), as well as a 6.5' bed, I would buy the 2.7.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:38 AM   #11
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2018 is supposedly the last year for the 2.7L. It didn't stop me from ordering it however. They added port and direct injection which increased the torque, and finally paired it with the 10 speed. It ought to be a great combination, even better than my 2015 2.7L with the 6 speed.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:20 AM   #12
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2.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmo7000 View Post
New person on the forum here, with a question! In trying to decide on an RV, my spouse and I (both experienced but aging tent campers) have gone from a pop-up pickup camper to a hardside pickup camper to a camper van and then on to some sort of a trailer, and we have finally settled on an Escape 5.0TA as exactly the right RV! We are close to making a deposit, but first need to make another big decision, and that is what is the right tow vehicle. We currently do not own a pickup. After doing a ton of reading, including a fair amount on this forum, it seems to me that the 2018 F-150 3.5 liter EcoBoost offers the best mix of capability and efficiency in a gas engine. So the question for all you F-150 aficionados out there (and anyone else who wants to weigh in), would the 2.7 liter EB with 3.55 axle ratio do the job as well?? I'm a firm believer in investing in a pickup with capability to spare, in other words, not pushing the specified limits for towing, payload, GCWR, etc... and I definitely don't want to be tooling down the highway worried about full tanks and whatever gear we've brought compromising our safety because of weight. But at the same time, I don't want to buy more truck than we need... towing the 5.0TA will be by far the biggest job our truck will do. Ford says the 2018 2.7 EB has 25% more torque than the 2017 and earlier models, and a loaded 5.0TA is well under its max tow rating of 7,600 lbs. We live in Idaho, however, and are planning to travel all over the western US and Canada, so pulling up and down mountain passes every time we take it out is a given. I'm certain the 3.5 will do the job beautifully, but would the 2.7 do it as well?? The 2.7 costs less and gets slightly better non-towing mpg, which are the main reasons I'm still considering it. I know there are many experienced folks on here with lots of good thoughts and advice, they are much appreciated and so far I have learned a lot from all your posts!
My 2016 2.7, 3.55 axle easily tows our 5.0 TA. Never lacking power even passing uphill. Its a super cab with 6.5 box that has enough room to comfortably carry the two of us and our 90 lb dog. Its a 3 seater now because I removed 2/3 of the rear seat so the dog has plenty of room to turn around as he is pretty old and not too flexible. Towing from CT to the Canadian border thru the hills of VT and NH with cruise set at 60 I got 15.5/16.5 mpg if i stayed on the highways. Even on secondary roads I could get 14 mpg. Non towing I've gotten 22 mpg.The newer version has got to be even better.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:22 AM   #13
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The newer version has got to be even better.
That's what I'm hoping Cliff. The EPA estimate is about the same for mpg. But having more torque and a 10 speed should be great.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:35 AM   #14
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Congrats on ordering a new Escape Katherine. I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it. To all other Escape Forum readers, if you’ve never driven Idaho 95 between Grangeville and White Bird you owe it to yourself to do it once in your driving life. Hairpins, switchbacks and plenty of Tranny and brake work. And that’s the new highway opened in the 70s. North Central Idaho is so beautiful and historically interesting that I could camp in just Idaho County for a whole season. Katherine, I envy you. And I don’t say that very often. As a summer US Forest Service employee working out of Fenn Ranger Station I installed this sign with another college student near Selway Falls in the summer of 1969. It’s a little worse for wear but was still there in June of this year. Supported by wood posts, we use iron spuds to make holes 4 feet deep in solid rock. Dynamite would have been faster.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:12 PM   #15
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Wow, thanks for sharing Dave!! Yes I totally love where I live, we are on the road between the Salmon and Snake Rivers (to Pittsburg Landing). And I second everything else you said! There was a previous post this week in which someone kept saying, no don't come to Idaho it's terrible! I think they were trying to be funny... it's incredible and a great place to bring your Escape. Mountains, rivers, wilderness, and endless awesome places to camp. I love it that people want to vacation in Idaho! Since you know about White Bird grade, you can understand my reasons for asking about the 2.7 versus 3.5, we will have to tow our Escape up that hill any time we want to go north!
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:22 PM   #16
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Thanks, that is great information and advice! We are looking at the 6.5 bed with the supercab. It will be just the 2 of us, with 2 40-lb dogs who can ride in the backseat.. If we go with the 2.7, we will be getting the payload package for sure. Payload was one of the main considerations that caused us to go with the F-150 in the first place... again, I don't want to have to worry about pushing the limits there. And no desire to set speed records with this crew, whether towing a trailer or not!
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by salmo7000 View Post
Thanks, that is great information and advice! We are looking at the 6.5 bed with the supercab. It will be just the 2 of us, with 2 40-lb dogs who can ride in the backseat.. If we go with the 2.7, we will be getting the payload package for sure. Payload was one of the main considerations that caused us to go with the F-150 in the first place... again, I don't want to have to worry about pushing the limits there. And no desire to set speed records with this crew, whether towing a trailer or not!
Might try removing 2/3 of the seat for the pooches

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Old 12-28-2017, 08:15 PM   #18
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Thanks, that is great information and advice! We are looking at the 6.5 bed with the supercab. It will be just the 2 of us, with 2 40-lb dogs who can ride in the backseat.. If we go with the 2.7, we will be getting the payload package for sure. Payload was one of the main considerations that caused us to go with the F-150 in the first place... again, I don't want to have to worry about pushing the limits there. And no desire to set speed records with this crew, whether towing a trailer or not!
Your reasoning sounds similar to mine a year ago with a 5.0TA on order and deciding on a tow vehicle. My wife ruled out the the supercab and the 2017 2.7's didn't have the 10 speed transmission yet so I ordered a 3.5eb 10spd with a 5.5' box (needed it to fit in the garage.) It has been great for towing and as a daily driver however if I was buying now I might very well get the 2.7. I was like you wanting plenty of capacity and discovered the base 2.7 has a lower GVWR so only considered that engine with the payload package even though I didn't want the 3.73 rear end but the parking brake gets upgraded which is the weak link in the 2.7's GVWR. The max trailer tow package in 2018 includes options I ordered separately but now I would order that package. Enjoy your adventure.
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:37 PM   #19
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Your reasoning sounds similar to mine a year ago with a 5.0TA on order and deciding on a tow vehicle. My wife ruled out the the supercab and the 2017 2.7's didn't have the 10 speed transmission yet so I ordered a 3.5eb 10spd with a 5.5' box (needed it to fit in the garage.) It has been great for towing and as a daily driver however if I was buying now I might very well get the 2.7. I was like you wanting plenty of capacity and discovered the base 2.7 has a lower GVWR so only considered that engine with the payload package even though I didn't want the 3.73 rear end but the parking brake gets upgraded which is the weak link in the 2.7's GVWR. The max trailer tow package in 2018 includes options I ordered separately but now I would order that package. Enjoy your adventure.
What would be the drawback of the max payload package with the 3.73 rear end?? Would you order the max tow package instead of the max payload?? Thanks, all this information has been tremendously useful -
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:56 PM   #20
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I had the 3.55 rearend in my 2011 truck . I have the 3.92 rearend in my 2014 truck . I like the 3.92 for towing but the 3.73 may be a good compromise with the 10 speed transmission.
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