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Towing Interstate With My Fg Xr50 Turbo – Beware Super Long Post


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All,

Firstly I do apologise for the super long post. I wanted to document and share my recent experience and also wanted contrast it with my towing experiences from the past. Also I have posted this story on another Forum but considering my recent car of choice I also wanted to share my experience with everyone here at FordXR6turbo.com. If this is inappropriate I do apologise. Before you start reading you might as well grab a coffee or a tea as you will be here a while. Hope you get something out of it.

Just completed my first interstate trip with my XR50T towing my boat.

The trip itself is nothing new to me, being an avid sports / game fisherman who loves fishing remote destinations. One of my favourite destinations is the Spencer Gulf in SA. To date the furthest I have towed my boat was from Melbourne to Port Lincoln. In total I would have driven over to SA towing my boat some 15-20 times over the last 10 years.

During this time I have used several tow vehicles, all with their pluses and minuses. My boat of choice is a 19ft Hines Hunter. It is without a doubt my other “Pride and Joy” having recently completed a 2 year restoration and rebuild.

As my wife is originally from Adelaide my family always joins me for the Melbourne to Adelaide leg of the trip. Therefore the boat and tow vehicle is called upon to carry extra gear as we go way for 2-3 weeks at a time. My boat empty (and dry, I.e no fuel) weighs in at 1,600kg (weigh-bridge certified), with extra gear on board this goes up to 1,800 – 1,850kg (I always make sure there is very little fuel is on board before leaving to minimise the towing weight). When you factor in 2 adults, 2 kids and extra gear in the boot my tow vehicles are called upon to carry / drag along somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 – 2,100kg.

To give you an idea I have listed the tow vehicles, there good and bad points and some of the destinations:

1. Ford BA XR8 (fitted with Factory WDH)

DSCN1115_No_RLV2.jpg

Melbourne to Adelaide, Melbourne to Port Pirie & Melbourne to Port Lincoln. It handled these trips easily. Found the ride to be a little on the firm side. I do recall feeling a little sore arriving in Adelaide and again in Port Lincoln. Nothing major I might add.

The only problem I had with this setup was the car tyres. After some 30,000km the rears were shot due excessive wear on the inside. I partly blame myself and a lack of experience as I never got the car wheel aligned. Looking back I should have got the car wheel aligned after each trip, as I feel this would have made a difference. As for fuel economy it would average from 18-21L/100km, not bad considering certain sections of the journey are a killer on fuel with huge hills to negotiate. Car was great when it comes to reversing the boat as it has a decent turning circle.

2. Landcruiser 100 series, 6cyl on duel fuel

Borrowed my brother’s Cruiser as I was in between jobs (had to hand the XR8 back to the lease company). Only used it once. It certainly is a very stable towing platform. Performance wise it was sluggish although that was largely due to the power loss associated with the LPG system. Also one of the thirstiest vehicles I have ever towed with.

The other thing that stood out for me was the car/boat combination was not very manoeuvrable due to the large turning circle of the Cruiser. I would often find myself having to correct the boat when reversing by pulling it forward (hope this makes sense)

3. Ford Territory Ghia (with factory WDH)

DSCN2003_No_RL.jpg

Over a 3year period I would have completed approx 7-8 interstate trips with the most popular trip being Melbourne to Whyalla (still love going there). The Territory was a good compromise between the Cruiser and the XR8. Excellent ride, very comfortable and decent power to boot.

As for fuel consumption she was a thirsty sucker coming in 2nd behind the Cruiser. She would often average in the low 20’s (L/100km) and peaking as high as 23-24l/100km on the toughest leg of the journey.

4. Nissan Navara D40 (2.5L TD)

IMGP1504_No_RL.jpg

Decided to give Crew Cabs ago. Tricked up with a nice set of 18” wheels and full leather interior I completed around the same number of trips as I did in the Territory. The Navara had a lot going for it, heaps of space, very versatile, very good ride and commanded the boat well.

Now this is where it gets a little interesting. Performance wise it took a little getting use to being my first diesel. With plenty of low down torque she could pull away from a standing start with ease, however overtaking from 90km was possible as long as I got on the gas early. Having said that most of the time I would just wait for an overtaking lane as the little diesel had bugger all top end power.

What also surprised me was its fuel economy. Now I must admit when towing my focus is not on getting the best economy as I am more focused on getting to my destination as quick as I can. Having said this the Navara would average around the 18-20L/100. Its fuel economy would really take a dive when pulling my boat through the big hills as I would often have to gear down to maintain speed. In fact at any speed below 110km (unless the road was dead flat) I would have to sit in 4th gear (5 speed auto).

5. Ford FG XR50 Turbo (fitted with a Hayman Reece WDH)

IMG_0440_No_PL.jpg

What a surprise package this is. Firstly after jumping out of the Navara the first thing I noticed is its manoeuvrability. With a decent turning circle reversing my boat is a breeze.

As for performance this car is truly scary (in a good way). It’s not just a case of towing with a car that has heaps of power and torque; it’s the way she delivers that power that makes it an absolute joy to tow with. The highest RPM I used whilst towing was 3,500rpm and I would often change gears between 2,500 – 3,000rpm. On top of that I could tackle most terrain sitting in 6th Gear. To be honest I didn’t have the courage to tramp the XR50T when towing as I genuinely feared the stress it would put on my boat / trailer would cause something to break.

Looking back I shouldn't have been that surprised when I worked out its fuel usage (using a program called GasCubby on my iPhone). One of the toughest legs of the journey is from Adelaide to Bordertown (around 250km), you burn through a heap of fuel tackling the monster hills between Adelaide and Talem Bend (around 90km). Well the XR50T ripped its way through this leg of the journey consuming 18.5L/100 under full load. To contrast this I noted my fuel usage during one of the real flat legs of the trip (Port Wakefield to Adelaide, around 75km). As I reached the outskirts of Adelaide my trip computer was showing 14.5L/100km. To say I was gob-smacked was an understatement.

The reason why she used such little fuel hauling such a big load at first may not be so obvious. When you tow with a vehicle that delivers the majority of its power and torque at 2,000rpm, then add in the fact that she can cruise along under full load between 1,500-2,000rpm sitting in top gear it shouldn't be such a surprise. Having said this I was quite genuinely blown away.

The ride in the FG has changed somewhat compared to my BA XR8. It never felt harsh and I certainly didn't pull up sore after a long tow. Best of all I took my car back to the dealer after this recent trip for a wheel alignment. I am happy to report that they found no abnormal tyre wear and no adjustment was required. It’s still early days, however it was relief to get a clean bill of health on my tyres.

In closing when I left Melbourne I really wasn’t sure what to expect. In fact I was half prepared to accept my FG would possibly be an ordinary tow vehicle. What I found was the complete opposite. At this stage I can’t see myself going back to a 4x4 and unless Ford comes up with a better sedan that the FG I am sticking with it.

Again sorry about the super long post, just wanted to share my experience.

Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Cheers,

Chris

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Great write up thanks for sharing.Sounds like you like your FG as much as I like my BA2. Cheers

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:stupid: s

They really are full of awesome :buttrock:

Only one piece of advise as you mention top gear a few times, should really lock it out of top gear (leave it in performance mode) when towing heavy loads I believe.

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:stupid: s

They really are full of awesome :buttrock:

Only one piece of advise as you mention top gear a few times, should really lock it out of top gear (leave it in performance mode) when towing heavy loads I believe.

Hi tab,

Sorry I forgot to mention I always tow in manual mode as I like to always be in full control. Apart from having precise control on the gear change I also use to slow down by down shifting.

I tend to use 6th gear when towing at 100km + and only when the terrain is fairly sedate. I always keep a close eye on my instant fuel usage through the trip computer as its an easy way to tell when the engine is beginning to load up, in which case I'll shift down to 5th.

I do agree with you however. If you are not accustomed to long distance towing best to leave it out of top gear.

Cheers,

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Very good write up,plenty of good information.Tell me,do you run an external transmission cooler or does the fg already come with one fitted?

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Hi,

I haven't modified my trans cooler in anyway. I do believe the FG does run a trans cooler as standard on the ZF box, from what I gave read its located near the gearbox itself.

Hopefully someone here can verify this.

Agreed thanks for sharing.

All that Torque has to be good for something icon_ford.gif

How very true,

This is truly the first time I have ever owned a car where I did not have to ring the its neck when overtaking.

Interestingly this also has a direct link to your stress levels associated with towing big miles.

Putting it simply I felt more at ease with this trip than any of my previous ones and that has to so with the fact that I don't have to push this car hard when overtaking.

I'll be the first to admit 4x4 will always have the upper hand in the towing stability department due to there sheer mass and, wider stance / wheelbase, however strap a set of load levellers on to your Ford and the upper hand is reduced.

Cheers,

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  • 2 weeks later...

I to think this is a great write up.

I was wondering what to think when I first started reading. Hoping only good things.

Its good to know I will be right to tow anything with my XR50T now.

If only I could convince the guys at work that your pic was actually my car with a boat.

Colin

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Yeah that's the other thing 4x4s are used for towing boats, its so they can get up slippery/sandy boat ramps. I used to have a few traction problems trying to pull my jet ski out of the water. that's when the front wheels are needed to grip.

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How does it go pulling out from a greasy ramp?

Hi Tobey,

I have used a hand full of ramps around Melbourne, but have used numerous ramps around Adelaide and regional SA.

So far I have had no issues.

The best advice I can give when it comes to retrieving is:

When you are ready to pull your boat out, switch to Manual Mode, select first gear but leave DSC on.(I prefer to leave it on in case I do get it horribly wrong it will cut out the excessive wheel spin, well that's what I am hoping will happen) I tend to use both feet at this point (one foot on the brake and one the go pedal), Push you revs up to just over 1,000RPM (or until I can feel there is enough torque going to the back wheels that my car wont go backward when I release the brake), ease of the brake apply a Little more gas until I get some forward momentum going (My speed at this point would be at about walking pace). At that point I keep the accelerator dead constant until the boat and trailer are on flat land.

The trick I have found is get some forward momentum going (at walking pace) and keep it there until you are clear of the ramp.

Having said this I only ever recall launching of one greasy ramp over at SA (this was with my XR8), The back wheels didn't go crazy mainly due to the low and steady RPM I was using.

To be honest most ramps I use are pretty decent and apart from encountering the odd ramp full of sea weed that's been about it. Not sure if this really helps.

In the end 4x4 will always have the added advantage when retrieving a boat. Having said this running into a really greasy ramp has been a very rare occurrence.

Hope this helps.

I to think this is a great write up.

I was wondering what to think when I first started reading. Hoping only good things.

Its good to know I will be right to tow anything with my XR50T now.

If only I could convince the guys at work that your pic was actually my car with a boat.

Colin

Hi Colin,

Appreciate your feedback.

What are you planning on towing with your XR50T?

The one point I didn't drive home in my original post is to always use Manual Mode when towing.

Having control over when you change up and down makes a huge difference. On the way up I prefer to hold my RPM a tad higher for the same throttle setting in Manual Mode then would otherwise occur in "D" as this prevents placing to much load on the engine once you have changed gears and your RPM dips. On the way down I use it always for its engine braking. Being able to wash of some of your speed by changing down a cog has so many advantages.

Not sure why your mates at work didn't believe you. Come on, how many black XR50T are cruising around dontknow.gif:)

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The closest anyone came to believing it was my boat was a few comments anking "who's boat I was towing"?

Atleast they rocognised the car type.

Im only intending to tow light loads but have towed furnatur trailers with the BA XR6T I had last.

Colin

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At least it was worth a try.....lol Thanks for the compliment, I am quite proud of the ol' girl, she just turned 19.

Seriously though your XR50T will do it with ease. The biggest thing that stands out for me is how little of the car's rev range you end up using.
They way they are setup / tuned makes towing an absolute delight.
Just remember to keep an eye on your tyres and consider getting your car wheel aligned after a long haul (I would consider getting it wheel aligned after completing a series of shorter trips as well.)
I have yet to cost up a set of new tyres but if they are anything like my BA getting it wheel aligned is very cheap insurance.

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Thanks for the writeup! Just assessing the merits of an XR6T for towing, and this has confirmed what I have thought about the ability of the vehicle.

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  • 2 months later...

nice car, I was looking for a black 50th xr6t but they sold out :crybaby:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the write up, been tossing up between an xr6t or grange for towing my toy car around with... seeing as it will be around similar weight your write up was very informative

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Thanks for the info

Did you get a heavy duty tow pack from factory or did u get it fitted aftermarket?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Snapper,

Love the name, caught some thumping big reds in my time :)

Thanks for asking as you have prompted me about something I should have mentioned in my original post. I briefly touched on my tow setup for each car but there is allot more to it.

My XR8 and Territory both had the factory HD Tow pack (includes the Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH))

I found the factory kit to be OK however there were several issues, namely:

1. The black paint peels of easily leading to surface rust if you did not repaint them regularly; and

2. The WDH varies between different Ford Cars. As an example the Load levelers on the Territory were longer than the XR8. This gets very annoying each time you change cars having to redo your tow setup. This issue is quite specific to my trailer setup. Due to space issues on the draw bar I have had to weld my "A Frame" adapter to my winch post. Generally speaking its less of an issue when towing "A Frame" trailers (I.e. Caravans or car trailers) as all you have to do is readjust the load leveler mounting points.

On the XR50 Turbo I chose to go with the a Hayman Reece HD Tow Pack. Price wise they are pretty much the same. The Hayman Reece setup is heaps better quality wise, the hitch is fully height adjustable (great if you are thinking about lowering your car) and I plan to keep ordering the same kit on future Ford cars negating the need to having to reset your tow setup.

Having said that there is ONE issue I came across you need to be aware of (although some might argue its a minute issue).

The Hayman Reece WDH (the hitch you fit on when using load levelers) is substantially larger than the standard ford version.

As such it interferes with the reverse park sensors. This only occurs when you have the big hitch fitted to your car but you do NOT have a trailer connected. (the reverse park sensors are disabled the second you connect your trailer lights).

Having said this the reverse park sensors will go nuts, constantly beeping when you are in reverse.

In the end I quickly got in the habit of removing my WDH immediately after a long tow and would fit the small hitch for towing short distances or leave them both of the car.

Hope this helps.

Chris

nice car, I was looking for a black 50th xr6t but they sold out crybaby.gif

Crikey!!!

It wasn't that long ago you could still get one new. Did a quick search on Car Sales and they were all 2nd hand except for a newy in Sunburst.

There was a 2nd hand black XR50 Turbo with a bugger all Km's that might suit.

Other than that I would try Strapp Ford on the off chance they may have one in their holding stock.

Best of luck, I would keep trying as they represent such awesome value

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey man dont apologise for a long post, its a positive note that all Ford fans love to hear and share. Thanks for the info. :)

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  • 10 months later...

Hi All,

Sorry it’s been a while since I have posted.

I can't believe this post is still a sticky. That is very humbling, thank you.

Since I wrote this post I have completed two more long distance towing trips and racked up a total of 36,000km +. Thought I would take the time to update my experience towing with my FG XR50 Turbo and at the same time take a closer look at its fuel efficiency whilst towing.

My car has performed brilliantly with next to bugger all issues. The only one that comes to mind is my tires. After 36,000 km my rears were well and truly shot (yes I have been gentle on the throttle for most of the time) however after several wheel alignments I have now been informed my fronts have worn abnormally (on the outer side) and will also need to be replaced.

Now getting back to my last two big trips. I have been using an iPhone app called "Road Trip". After using "Gas Cubby" for a while I gave Road Trip a go and found its additional features quite handy.

September 2011

Took off with the boat in tow heading for Adelaide. On the way over I averaged between 17.9 and 19.58L/100km. A few days later I towed the boat over to Port Vincent achieving a similar economy rate.

During this trip I also drove from Adelaide to Whyalla (without my boat). The drive from Adelaide to Whyalla is very mundane, sitting on 110km for most of the trip.

I do recall running into loads of traffic including heaps of B Double Semis. Despite having to execute a ton of overtaking manoeuvres (not that I am complaining as the FG Turbo is insanely quick when it comes to overtaking) I still managed a fuel average of 9.2L/100km.

Heading home with my boat in tow my fuel burn improved slightly starting out with an average of 18.96L/100km tearing up the Adelaide Hills and rounding out the trip with the final tank hitting 17.05L/100km. Overall another impressive towing performance

April 2012

This time we planned to drive from Melbourne to Whyalla, stopping for only a short while in Adelaide to pick up supplies. This trip was also different in that I didn't have my family with me; hence I was not as heavily loaded. The difference weight wise would be approx 300kg (1 adult, 2 kids and the additional luggage / toys to boot).

From a fuel consumption point of view the change was noticeable. From Melbourne to Adelaide I averaged 16.11 - 17.84L/100km. Heading out of Adelaide and across to Whyalla my fuel consumption improved further reaching 15.84L/100km.

Three days later the weather caved in preventing us from going fishing. So we used the downtime to pop into Port Lincoln (approx 250km away). This cruise saw my FG sip along at 9.65L/100km, not bad given the driving conditions etc...

Heading home a week later we encountered strong head winds at the beginning of the drive and a heap of traffic once we crossed the border into Victoria.

Having said this, my fuel consumption range was between 17.33 to 18.54L/100km.

So after 3 major trips I can now confirm that my beloved FG XR50 Turbo is not only the most powerful towing platform but also the most fuel efficient I have EVER owned (I have averaged two major trips towing my boat interstate over the last 10 years).

Whilst big 4WD will always provide a more stable towing platform I have grown to appreciate just how versatile a big sedan like the FG Falcon can be. It has proven itself as a very competent towing platform, performing flawlessly and at the same time it’s one heck of a daily driver.

That’s it for now. Please feel free to ask any questions.

Cheers,

Chris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great read. For various reasons I bought the manual. What I was not told at the time was the limit of 1200 kg on the manuals even with HD tow pack. Bugger. At least its a lot of fun the rest of the time and 1200 covers most tow jobs, cant even feel the weight behind at most times.

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I towed a big trailer full of a stack of rubble with my G6e turbo - over a tonne - and I could barely feel that I had a load on the back compared to my uncles Nissan patrol diesel with which I towed a similar load the week before and was constantly aware of the load.

The biggest danger is forgetting you have a load out back and having an accident as a result. Love this engine!

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  • 6 months later...

I tow a 1750kg boat with mine and it knows its there.Sorry guys but my tuned D40 navara does it so much easier its not funny.Sure they can tow but there in no league to a tuned 4wd diesel...

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  • 5 months later...

I initially started towing our new caravan with a new Toyota Prado 3 Lt. Diesel in 2005. The Prado was the top of the range Grande and towed very comfortably, however, power wise it was a dog. The slightest rise and it struggled, to overtake a slower vehicle (80-90) you would need a ten klm straight, down hill run. Fuel economy wise also terrible, simply because it had to work so hard.

Traded it in for the BA XR6T after going for a test run in the standard Falcon and the standard XR6. We actually went in to buy the standard falcon and I saw the XR6T and thought it would be a buzz to take it for a run. The salesman said yer, you can take it for a run and off we went. Now remember, I am in my 60's, the wife and I took the damn thing for a run, returning over an hour later. We had zoomed all around the bottom of Mt Wellington on the twistiest roads and then back via the freeway.

My comment to the wife was "At last, Ford have actually made a vehicle that is balanced in all departments, it goes, it handles, and it looks the real deal, but I am not paying this for a tow car."

We got back to the dealership and asked could we take an ordinary XR6 for a drive as we liked the seats and handling of the Turbo. The salesman smiled and siaid "no problem" Off we went again, after 5 minutes the wife said "You can take this heap of junk back" which I did, the salesman saw us coming back so soon and laughed. he knew he had just sold a Turbo.

With that said, we then went about towing our caravan with it, it did not disappoint. Apart from having to be aware of the road clearance problem (lack of) the thing is simply brilliant. Power to burn and fuel consumption figures that do compare with the Prado.

We planned on doing a trip from Hobart to Adelaide and up the centre to Queensland with the caravan in tow and I was concerned about the ground clearance. So I purchased a Mercedes Benz ML270 AWD. Once again, comparing it wwith the Prado and XR6T, the Benz was up to the task, not quite as powerful, but certainly OK. Fuel economy was great 14.1L/100 ride, comfort, handling, etc very good.

I had planned on getting rid of the Benz or the Falcon when we got back, all I had to do was choose the best, between the two of them. I couldn't. When I told the wife I couldn't decide which one was the best, she said "Well, why not keep the Falcon as you do like it"

This year I have finally made the decision and we have traded the MB back in on a smaller car for the wife and we are back to towing with the XR6T.

Leaving in three weeks time for the annual trip from Hobart to Queensland, only thing I now have to decide is do I fit Polyair bags to the rear of the Falcon for that extra insurance of ground clearance?

The van weighs in at 1700kg and the car is fully loaded with junk.

Over the years I have towed boats, racing cars, etc with a lot of different type of vehicles, the three best in my opinion, Falcon GT, Mercedes Benz ML270 and the XR6T.

I do believe that the later model XR's are even better.

Oldtimer

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