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2000 Ford F150 - Overdrive

My Ford is a 5.4 Liter V-8, 3 speeds and overdrive. For camping, I pull a Casita travel trailer, loaded weight about 4,000 lbs. My routes are sometimes on mountain roads and sometimes on more or less level roads. I only disengage the overdrive when going uphill and downhill (engine braking). Two friends and a Service person at the Ford Dealership recommended that I always disengage the overdrive when pulling my trailer. My thinking is that when on the flat, automatic shifting will kick down to 3rd gear when it is necessary. Your thoughts, please. Thanks, Will

That advice is correct and it might even be in your owners manual.

The advise to disable overdrive while towing is from the 1980’s. Transmissions and cooling systems have improved since then, that is why the owners manual does not state to switch off overdrive while towing.

Trucks and SUVs today have 2 to 3 overdrive ratio gears. There is no clear way to lock out overdrive, these vehicles may have a switch for tow/haul mode, the transmission ECU selects the appropriate gear for the load.

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Thanks, but… my F-150 is from year 2000. There is a button on the shift lever that locks out/keeps the automatic transmission in the 3 shiftable gears. When not locked out, it shifts automatically depending on the need. I was a little concerned that when pulling the trailer at around 60 mph, the rpm is just over 1500 - not a lot of power there, but as I am an easy driver nothing seems to be straining. It easily shifts down as needed, or I press the button and lock it out of overdrive when driving on anything but flat highways.


According to your owners manual (page 146) you are doing it correctly.