It’s no secret that your new truck can make a lot of power and be very quick with an engine and transmission tune. What happens when you hook up a heavy trailer? Can the tuned truck still deliver smooth and satisfying performance. We decided to torture test three trucks to find out.
This episode is brought to you by our friends at 5 Star Tuning. They specialize in tuning Ford trucks and more. Check them out.
Performing hard launches with a truck on a prepared drag strip surface is already hard enough. The rubberized surface is very sticky. The guys at 5 Star provided a toy-hauler camping trailer that weighs in at 8,600 lbs. This is a relatively heavy trailer for a half-ton truck. Doing a hard acceleration launch with this load is a torture test.
Once again, there are three trucks in this comparison test. A crew cab with a 5.0-liter V8. An extended cab F-150 with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and a crew cab truck with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. All three trucks are equipped with a 10-speed automatic and 4WD.
This time we are using a 5 Star towing tune, while still running 93-octane. This tune is not providing the highest gains, but it is adding power and can also improve fuel economy (when not racing down a drag strip). This test is focused on outright acceleration performance. We did not verify fuel efficiency improvements during this comparison.
The 5.0-liter Coyote V8 stock and tuned runs went without any glitches, and we measured a 1.9 second 0-60 MPH improvement with the trailer. The 3.5-liter V6 showed a big 0-60 MPH acceleration improvement of approximately 3 seconds.
Take a look at all three of these trucks drag racing without the trailer.
(Front-Wheel-Drive) Ford F-150
The 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 ran great all day. We also did many runs with all three trucks without a trailer. The smaller EcoBoost is very quick off the line, and shows big acceleration improvements with a tune. Imagine my pain, when I launched the truck with a trailer hooked up and a trailer in tow and wheels started to hop. The truck gave a little jump during a 4-wheel-drive launch, and the stress of coming back down on the sticky surface snapped the rear drive shaft yokes.
Interestingly, there was no other damage to the truck or the trailer. The engine, transmission, transfer case, and the rest were all in one piece. In essence, this truck became a rare front-wheel-drive F-150. After unhooking the trailer, we drove the truck off the track under its own power. I feel very bad about this ill-fated launch.
We also tested a tuned F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost on the Ike Gauntlet – world’s toughest towing test. The 5 Star towing tune also adjusts the transmission mapping that help when coming down the mountain.
Check out our Ike Gauntlet run below.