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3.55 or Other Gear Ratio for F150

hayesdt
Explorer
Explorer
I have towed my Springdale 28 ft travel trailer (around 7000# loaded) for the past ten years with a 2004 Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4WD with a 3.92 axle ratio (tow rating was 8700# for the truck as equipped in 2004). Also, I always use Tow/Haul when towing and actually only tow the trailer about 3-4 times per year for a grand total of under 2500 towing miles annually. Never had any problem towing my trailer with the truck -- seems well matched. But at nearly 12 years of age, and though the truck has only 57,000 miles on it, I'm just no longer confident with it -- too many MAJOR expenses the past 2-3 years. So I'm looking at selling/trading the Ram and buying probably an F150 5.0L V8 Supercab Std Bed 4WD.

Just wondering, though, as I'm assuming a 3.31 gear ratio (9100# tow rating) would not be as desirable for towing the kind of weight I'll be pulling, whether I can get by easily with the 3.55 gear ratio (9200# tow rating) with the new F150 as opposed to the 3.73 gears (11000# tow rating). Would I really need the 3.73s?

Are any of you with the new 2015 (or even the 2014) F150's 5.0L V8 Supercab towing the approximate weight and size trailer I would be towing with the 3.55s rather than the 3.73s. Have you and your tow vehicle experienced good towing with the 3.55s?
DTH
2014 Ford F-150 STX, 4X4, 5.0 engine, 3.73 gearing paired with 2018 Keystone Hideout 202LHSTravel Trailer
18 REPLIES 18

snowedin
Explorer
Explorer
I had a 2013 F150, 4x4 5.0 V8, Supercab with 3.55 gearing, pulled a TT weighing about 4800 lbs empty, and while I loved the pickup when not towing I felt it was a little overwhelmed while towing. Others may disagree but that was my experience and possibly if it had the 3.73 gearing it may have worked out differently. For 2015 the 5.0 engine has some changes to add power and that along with the lighter weight of the F150 would help. I did not want the Max Tow Package that went along with the 3.73 gearing as the mirrors stuck out so far that getting into the garage posed problems. My objection to the 5.0 was that while it pulled the trailer, it took more shifting and greater RPM's to do so. Can't say that the gas mileage was bad as it was about 10 mpg and that is about the range of every other tow vehicle I have had. I ended up trading for a 2014 with the 3.55 gearing and the Ecoboost engine and that thing pulls like a diesel with the RPM's staying lower and hardly any shifting. It would be nice if the dealers would let us hook up the trailers for a demonstration ride and then we would know what combination we liked. I did like the 5.0 other than the towing, great engine and it seemed to make about the same gas mileage as the Ecoboost regardless of what it says on the window sticker.

Oldme
Explorer
Explorer
For towing I like lower gears.
They get things going and I doubt I will drive
100MPHoften, anymore.

The small MH on E450 chassis has 4.63:1 gears.
Pulling the car dolly I have to check if it is there.

Also with OD transmissions by the time you are up to
highway speed your RPMS have significantly dropped.

Lower gears make a big difference pulling in 1St and 2nd.

pappcam
Explorer
Explorer
I have the 3.55 in my TV and from all the research I've done it seems that with these 6 speed trannys, the ratio isn't as meaningful as it used to be.
2023 Grand Design Imagine 2970RL
2011 F150 XLT 5.0

Fordlover
Explorer
Explorer
I don't believe the 3.73 gears are available in the 2015's, unless you get the heavy duty payload package (typically available as order only). The V8 will come with 3.31 or 3.55 gears if you opt for the FX4 Off road package.

With the 6 speed transmissions, the significance of rear end gear ratios has been marginalized. With the 2015's I'd grab 3.55's and with a 2014 I'd grab a 3.73 or 3.55 and not give it another moments thought.

Oh, and sorry your Ram has been giving you so many troubles. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
2016 Skyline Layton Javelin 285BH
2018 F-250 Lariat Crew 6.2 Gas 4x4 FX4 4.30 Gear
2007 Infiniti G35 Sport 6 speed daily driver
Retired 2002 Ford Explorer 4.6 V8 4x4
Sold 2007 Crossroads Sunset Trail ST19CK

Sport45
Explorer
Explorer
You drive less than 5,000 miles a year and half of that is towing. I'd get the best setup for towing and take my lumps (however small they may be) while not towing. I recommend the 3.73 ratio.
’19 F350 SRW CCLB PSD Fx4
'00 F250, CC SWB 4x2, V-10 3.73LS. (sold)
'83 F100 SWB 4x2, 302 AOD 3.55. (parked)
'05 GMC Envoy 4x2 4.2 3.73L.
'12 Edge 2.0 Ecoboost
'15 Cherokee Trailhawk

dockmasterdave
Explorer
Explorer
Sorry to bring this up but, there is no question which is better for towing. Look at the numbers. the ecoboost is stronger and at lower rpm's.
As for the huge difference in price, I think it was about $500 or $1000 when I bought mine.
The 5.o is an upcharge itself.
I have a 4.3 and an ecoboost. Whenever we are towing, it's with the ecoboost.
I bet I'll get some of the money back at trade in too.
Not trying to start another 5.0 vs eco fight here. Just giving an opinion.
2014 F 150 ecoboost
2008 Chrysler Aspen
09 Amerilite 21 (modified)
2013 Bendron 14' enclosed cargo
2011 4x8 open cargo

humblerb
Explorer
Explorer
I tow a 7400# travel trailer with my 2012 F150 Ecoboost and 3.55 gears. It tows like a champ. I will buy this same vehicle again when I need to replace it.
If you find trucks that have different gears and virtually no other difference, then buy the 3.73.
If the truck with 3.55 is a better deal, then don't hesitate.
And my Ecoboost is awesome. Even when not towing, it runs like a bat out of he**.

APT
Explorer
Explorer
I was just curious. I wouldn't recommend the 3.5L EB over 5.0L for any fuel savings, but for the torque. Both would do well towing your TT.
A & A parents of DD 2005, DS1 2007, DS2 2009
2011 Suburban 2500 6.0L 3.73 pulling 2011 Heartland North Trail 28BRS
2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R
2x 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV (Gray and Black Twins)

hayesdt
Explorer
Explorer
From what I've read, the 3.5L Ecoboost is a great engine, better non-towing mpg than the 5.0L, great power for towing ... but I'm not really strongly considering it for this reason: My total annual mileage with a new truck will only be around 5000-6000 miles per year, with only about 2500 of that towing. Given the difference in price between the 3.5L Ecoboost and the 5.0L, and given average mpg differences for both engines annually, it would take me years and years to where the 3.5L Ecoboost engine would actually save me any money overall.

The 3.5L Ecoboost is a great, innovative engine, but I'm not sure in my case of limited driving that it would be more economical and better for towing. For now I'm just planning on sticking with the 5.0L, most likely with 3.73 gearing if one is easily available from a dealer.
DTH
2014 Ford F-150 STX, 4X4, 5.0 engine, 3.73 gearing paired with 2018 Keystone Hideout 202LHSTravel Trailer

APT
Explorer
Explorer
Ford's 6-spd trans has far better gearing than your 2004 Ram. First gear is shorter than you have now helping the engine get into its peak torque quicker. 6th gear is taller for better non towing cruising. And the gears are spaced more evenly. Ram's 8-spd is even better than Ford's 6-spd in the same ways.

My opinion is to always buy the shortest (numerically highest) axle ratio. The real world difference in fuel usage cannot be measured. The difference in power/seat of the pants between 3.31 and 3.73 is noticeable.

Have you considered the 3.5L Ecoboost?
A & A parents of DD 2005, DS1 2007, DS2 2009
2011 Suburban 2500 6.0L 3.73 pulling 2011 Heartland North Trail 28BRS
2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R
2x 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV (Gray and Black Twins)

Dog_Trainer
Explorer
Explorer
Why do you ask. If you will be ordering a truck or comparing available trucks with the 2 choices then take the one with the 3:73. If you have found a very good deal on a truck with 3:55 don't let it stop you. The load you are pulling will not greatly benefit from the difference. Again if it is about choices the 3:73 will be the best.
2016 Newmar Baystar 3401
2011 HHR Toad
Daktari & Lydia Cavalier King Charles , Annie get your guns, our English setter (fur Bearing Children)

time2roll
Nomad
Nomad
The only reason to get 3.73 is because no 4.10 available.

ScottG
Nomad
Nomad
Terryallan wrote:
Honestly. According to the engineers at the gear factory where I work. There is only 100 RPM difference between the 3.55, and 3.73 at 60 MPH, And 100 RPM will not be that big of a difference in power.


It's a bit more than than 100RPM and even that seemingly little amount is significant when it comes to towing.
I had TV that I've changed the gearing by less than 200 RPM and it was a substantial change in performance.
Don't underestimate the difference in gearing.

MFL
Nomad II
Nomad II
You may as well get the most tow rating. With the 6-speed, you'll hardly notice the gas mileage difference, when not towing. When you are towing, in hills, or wind, you will appreciate the lower 3.73 gears.

Jerry