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  1. Default Seattle to Detroit - "Flattest" Route?

    So my husband, my daughter and I will be driving from Seattle to Detroit this August. My husband has a 1986 F350 Utility Truck that will be towing a 35' Travel Trailer.

    Flat lands - No problem.
    But his truck struggles uphill, and downhill curvy roads are just a little scary towing that much weight.

    I'm looking for the best route to get cross-country while avoiding uphill/downhill. Basically the best way to get through the mountains.

    Time isn't an issue. We are planning on making a 2-3 week trip out of this.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    There really isn't a way to avoid mountains, but I-90 to I-94 through Minneapolis is going to be the least strenuous.

    As a note - a 35 footer is way above the maximum ratings for a F-350 of that vintage.

  3. Default

    Thanks GLC,

    From what I've seen, the max towing capacity increases if you have electric trailer brakes installed (which we do), is that correct information?

  4. Default

    Also it's not the original engine, just the body. The engine was replaced brand new in 2005.

    (Not sure if that changes anything either... But I guess I should have been more specific about truck specs in my OP)

  5. Default

    I meant to hit the "reply" button so you would get a notification... Oops 😳

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    GLC is much more knowledgeable about the details of towing capacities, but it sounds to me like your description of the tow itself kind of answers the question. If it's a real struggle to go up hill, and it's scary coming back down, that's should be a big red flag that you're trying to do too much with too little vehicle.

    GLC is correct on the route recommendation, I-90/I-94 would be the best choice. You'll still have to climb a 6,300 ft. mountain pass, but there really isn't a better option. The only route that would be lower would require you to go all the way down to I-10 - where you'd still have a 5,000 ft. pass in Arizona - and would have multiple mountain passes to deal with heading down the coast (not to mention, several extra days of driving).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Electric brakes do not increase the towing capacity, but they are mandatory in all states for a trailer that size.

    Which engine and transmission does the truck have? Is it single or dual rear wheel (dualie)? How much does the trailer weigh, loaded up for the road? Is it a 5th wheel/gooseneck or conventional bumper pull?

    It's not just the brakes or engine that defines towing capacity - it's also the transmission, chassis, axles, and tires. An F-350 is a strong truck, but it's 30 years old!

  8. Default

    Engine is a 351W, truck is a dually, trailer is attached to a 2" Pintle hitch. Transmission was just replaced about a month ago - but I'm not sure exactly what transmission it is.

    That's all the stats I know, but when my husband gets home I'll have him tell me the rest and I'll post it here.

    Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate the help.

  9. Default

    Ok, transmission is a C6 automatic, it's a service truck (with rear boxes), tires are 215/85/r15

  10. Default

    So what would you recommend pulling it with? What kind of truck would pull this?

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