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by Nick Olson

There is a lot of speculation in the offroad industry when it comes to buying a truck that is suitable for this lifestyle. Whether you’re offroading, towing, or daily driving, finding a good truck can take time and a lot of research.

I’ve had my 2017 Ford F-150 for a few years now and have put a hard 50,000 miles on it since I brought it home. It has towed roughly 9,000 lbs up and downhill with the Chupacabra box trailer fully loaded and done just fine!

This truck has been great, but it has come with a few issues here and there! Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a diesel…What do you think?


Welcome back everybody and today we’re trying to answer that question that’s up in the title which is can a half ton take it in this lifestyle tone your side by side all your toys maybe your toy hollow around I just want to share my experiences with you about the truck that I’ve owned for a little while now I own a 2017 f-150 it is the 10-speed transmission and I picked this truck up used in January of 2018 at that time I had about 22 000 miles on it and now it’s got about 78 so had a good 50 000 miles so far of using it for the lifestyle and right after I picked it up I lifted it I did end up lifting the front end about four and a half inches it’s a two wheel drive so it has some lift spindles in the front with some bilstein shocks and it’s got 35 inch toyo tires which I initially started out with some vfd which tires along with of course some 17-inch method wheels because they look awesome now the truck does look great lifted and all that but one big mistake I made when I purchased it I didn’t realize that this did not have the tow package and it only has a 22 gallon fuel tank so I can’t believe I did that I can’t believe ford would even make you know basically their biggest most powerful motor for the f-150 without the tow package but after visiting a website e-trailer it’s a really good website they have really good prices and some tutorial videos I was able to install the tow hitch the brake controller myself and other than having to stop every 130 140 miles for fuel it gets the job done I did also install some airbags which have two schrader valves or on the back left and the back right corner of the truck which I basically felt with my bicycle pump up to about 100 psi when I’m loaded down towing my heavy trailer so definitely my setups more on the budget but that was the budget that I had at the time of this truck I really thought it was going to be able to last me for a while and that I would move on to a motorhome for camping that this would be the ideal around town truck where I could also tow an enclosed trailer and my razor for day-to-day rides so again to answer the question can the half ton get it done we’ll share experiences that I’ve had while towing my biggest heaviest trailer which is a chupacabra branded trailer it’s a 26 foot mission aluminum trailer and that thing is about 2 900 pounds dry now the heaviest I’ve pulled it which has been several times which has been both razors loaded down with extra gear generator that type of thing or when I’m hauling inventory for our products from los angeles back to arizona and in both situations I’m around eight to nine thousand pounds completely loaded down trailer weight included now I’m not near the max capacity of the truck which is rated for 12 000 pounds but you know the truck is lifted it does have bigger tires I don’t want to push it to its absolute limit but you know I am pushing it fairly close so for the first few years I really didn’t have any issues it’s worked quite well I have done my maintenance sooner than required in terms of using top tier synthetic lubricants and then getting the rear diff and the transmission changed out before ford recommends as well as the oil changes so I’ve kept up on those type of things and it wasn’t until recent where I was having some issues now since I’ve been towing and really using it basically after I hit about 65 000 miles so the first issue is going into low power mode when I’m climbing hills towing now basically I will have to slow down like I said it’s got a 10-speed transmission you can stay down in third fourth gear I’m going up hills at about 35 to 40 miles per hour this has even happened to me towing my big trailer empty particularly of course when it’s hot now once we do get to the top of the hill and crest it the motor does cool down right away you get your full power back but it is pretty annoying it is scary when it’s 115 degrees you know you’re going from point a to b the last thing I want particularly if I have my family with me is to have a truck issue or a breakdown when it’s scorching hot like summer temps here in the southwest now I haven’t really looked in to see if there’s a resolution for that something aftermarket I can buy to help with that but that’s just what it is what I’ve been experiencing as of late moving on to another issue I had I ended up having a valve cover that started leaking it was really bizarre because I wasn’t leaving an oil spot in my driveway but once I started driving I could smell oil which was the result of the valve cover leaking the oil would drip onto the header and the header would burn the oil off I did have that fixed it was about 700 bucks the truck’s been running fine since then and I thought it was just a weird issue since I’d owned an f-150 in the past and it worked okay felt like it was a little weird to have it on a truck that doesn’t even have 100 000 miles on it and the third issue that I’ve had with it recently is this rattle upon startup now I’ve done a little bit of research I’m going to be taking it back to my local shop I’m not sure if that’s related to the timing chain or some other thing I’ve only done a little bit of research um my truck’s out of warranty of course so I’m gonna have to eat it out of pocket whatever it is I’ve heard this is an ecoboost problem on particular model years and and different motors from ford so it’s an annoyance it only started about five to seven thousand miles ago but particularly the truck will sit for more than a day or two it’s pretty loud right when you turn it on so as we head into desert season we’re gonna be doing a lot of events we’re doing a lot of towing I’m really concerned about I’m gonna make sure I get it resolved and find out what the issue is so again I’m not having any issues when I am on the road trying to make it to all these events since I’ve been telling one thing I’ve been really worried about is the brakes now I did do a brake inspection a little while ago they said the pads were good but recently I was noticing a spongy feel so I took it to the brake shop ended up replacing the master brake cylinder it ended up only being about 350 bucks with labor so it wasn’t that big of a deal the pad still looked okay for the most part it was just something that was weird as the truck wasn’t throwing a code but it was definitely disconcerting that something that’s definitely the scariest part I’d say with towing with a half ton is not getting up to speed but but slowing down when the trailer is loaded down particularly you know at a stop light or down a steep hill so that’s quite a few more issues than I really anticipated especially with a truck that doesn’t even have a hundred thousand but I haven’t really owned a truck before where I’ve towed and worked it this hard so definitely changes a lot I used to own a chevy where I didn’t really tow and I got a several hundred thousand miles out of it with no issues kind of always been a ford guy you know I do love the look of the f-150 I love the space in the back the back seat how the seats fold up it’s a basic xlt plain jane model there’s not much to it maybe in the future I will upgrade and get something with leather seats because it’s easier to clean up of course if the the kids make a mess or I make a mess but I was on a budget and really wasn’t thinking I was going to need to buy a diesel until recently so honestly after having these issues after kind of changing my game plan up I think the new direction is that I will be purchasing a diesel so all you diesel lover guys chime in in the comments let me know what you think I’m thinking a couple year old used ford or chevy again I really kind of always been a ford guy I like the look of the super duties let me know your thoughts guide me one way or another but I’m really thinking of course four wheel drive f250 so I can maybe get into a toy hauler fifth wheel for glamis trips and of course tell my trailer much easier than what I’m currently experiencing now so I hope that answers the question for you this is just one man’s opinion and experiences but as you can tell a diesel is on the horizon for me to answer the question can I have to get it done yes it does it’s kind of like having a snack I think for this lifestyle you really need a diesel I always love the enclosed trailer a big trailer because these toys just keep getting bigger now I’ve got kids maybe there will be a little mini razor or a mini quad in the future you’re always going to want more space for these toys as they get bigger heavier more expensive all of that so you know it’s hard to do it without a diesel I’ve been able to do it it’s worked pretty good try to keep up on my maintenance and get these repairs taken care of as soon as they happen but you know when it does come in tone like I said it’s a it’s nerve-wracking I really kind of keep it below 70 miles an hour even though I can go a little bit more here in arizona or when I’m in utah but I’m towing that big trailer especially loaded down I just try to be really careful take my time take a lot of space and I do get past quite a bit going on the hills but it just it is what it is so it’s worked okay for me I’m hoping that when I do upgrade to a diesel I’m not gonna have a lot of these issues I know um I still could or potentially have more and they’ll be more expensive my fuel economy is only about eight miles to the gallon when I’m towing and I’m only about 15 or 16 miles around town you know as soon as you get on that turbo with these ecoboost the fuel economy isn’t that good I did own a dodge before and I will say that the dodge ram definitely got better fuel mileage than this f-150 so I hope this helps you guys out if you’re on the fence I know we’re all on a budget and we’re all trying to figure out how much we can get away with but honestly I don’t think I would try to buy a toy hauler or I could squeeze my turbo s into it and then try to tell it with a half ton even though on paper it’ll say that it’s got the towing capacity I know with a setup like that you’d be really at your limit especially if you’re like me you have some bigger tires on it I wouldn’t recommend it I just I think there’s probably a better way to skin the cat so hope this helps you guys if you’re thinking again comment below if you’re a diesel guy if you had a similar experience let me know what you thought thanks for tuning in again if you guys want to know more about our company or check out our products check out our website chupacabrafroad.com or find us on social we do a lot of this content I hope it provides a lot of value so if it does please consider liking and subscribing we’ll see on the next one you.


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