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Thread: Tow Vehicle

  1. #1
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    Tow Vehicle

    I am looking to buy a new pickup and I see that they offer a 3.73 axle ratio and a 4.30 axle ratio. Does anyone have an opinion as too the pros and cons of each? Want to tow a 5th wheel travel trailer.

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    The 4.30 would be best I believe as a 5th wheel is big and heavy and a low ratio would be best for hilly terrain also, my GMC Suburban had a 4.11 ratio and with the big engine would handle hills and mountain terrain with ease, talk with the new truck salesman as they are most knowledgeable.
    Quote Originally Posted by craigt View Post
    I am looking to buy a new pickup and I see that they offer a 3.73 axle ratio and a 4.30 axle ratio. Does anyone have an opinion as too the pros and cons of each? Want to tow a 5th wheel travel trailer.

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  4. #3
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    There are a lot of variables involved here. The weight of the trailer, the engine in the truck, average travel speed, traveling through hills/mountains, etc.
    In the same vehicle assuming the engine is up to the task that you're asking it to perform 3.73 will give you more speed at the same rpm than 4.30 (never heard of anyone with a 4.30 but 4.10/4.11 used to be fairly common in heavier duty trucks).
    For example: I was always a huge fan of the old 300 straight 6 that Ford used in its pickups from the early 70's through the mid 90's. The engine was a work horse. The first one I had was a 79 3/4 ton with 3.73 gearing. It handled most anything I wanted to put behind it, but was turning too many rpms for me to be happy with it at freeway speeds though it had no trouble pulling the horse trailer at any reasonable speed. The next truck I had was an 84 f150 that was geared 3.27 (IIRC) I could haul the stock trailer with my horses in it, but it took considerably longer getting up to speed. Hills were difficult with the trailer. When empty the half ton truck would roll down the interstate comfortably at 75 with a 3.27 dif.
    The third pickup I had was a 93 f150 with a 3.55 differential. This was the middle ground/compromise between the first two. It could haul the horses down the interstate with no trouble as long as you kept your rpms in the right range when you encountered large hills. It was also the only pickup of the three that had a manual transmission.
    Ford built trucks with that engine that were geared from 3.11 to 4.10/4.11. That was not a particularly powerful motor, but it did have more torque than most people gave it credit for. Geared properly it could handle most tasks I needed it to. With a more powerful engine (as most are today) you can get by with gearing that allows your engine to turn fewer rpms. Not sure I cleared things up for you, but I tried. Its already been a long day.
    j. gravy and tigershark like this.

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    Less strain on all of the drive train with the lower gear,folks will say less gas mileage with it but maybe not depending on if used for a lot of driving besides towing. Speed and towing and terrain all play a part

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    I have 2 F150 the 02 is single cab 4.2 with 355 gear.6-8 mpg towing my 28' camper,11 4 door with 5.0 355 gear 10-12

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    With today's 7+ speed transmissions, the differential ratio and final drive ratio vary between manufacturers. I have a 2018 Nissan Titan 5.6 litre V8 truck in my family with a 2.93 differential, but it has a 7 speed automatic and the first three gears are very short, giving it great towing ability. It actually out tows my 2014 Silverado 5.3 litre with 3.73 differential ration with only 5 forward gears auto transmission. I also have a 2003 Silverado with 4.10 gears and it doesn't hold a candle to either of the other 2 when in theory, the lower gears should give it a mechanical advantage. Not sure how it all works, but the truck with the tallest rear end is our best puller and the truck with the shortest rear end is our worst, as counter-intuitive as that sounds

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