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Old 01-18-2021, 12:07 PM   #1
Adventurous
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Question F-250 Diesel || 2017-2019 vs 2020

Hey everyone! I'm new here, but I'm hoping to get some help from someone who may have experience with multiple model years of the F-250. I've already determined that the F-250 is the truck for me, but deciding on the model year has been a bit more of a challenge. As I'm sure many of you have, I got some pretty major sticker shock with the 2020. My instinct was to get one a few years old to drive the price down $20-30k. HOWEVER, I'm really interested in the 10-speed transmission and the Pro Trailer Backup Assist offered only in the 2020. The former because I plan to travel all over the US and having so many gears to keep me in the right place and help with fuel economy is a win-win. The latter because I'm new to fifth wheel world and the more help I can get with backing the better. I also really like all the camera angles for lining up the hitch (mine is a gooseneck). I'll be getting the crew cab to fit the whole family. I'd like to go with a long bed, but short bed is an option.
Anyway, if anyone has an real life comparison of these model years, please let me know. I just can't decide if the transmission and the backup assist are really worth shelling out $70k.
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:09 PM   #2
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For reference, my current tow vehicle is a 2001 F-350 7.3 DRW with a manual transmission. If not for the the manual, I'd probably keep it around for several more years. I know that any model year 2017-2020 is going to be an improvement in comfort and technology.
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Old 01-25-2021, 04:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Adventurous View Post
... because I'm new to fifth wheel world and the more help I can get with backing the better.
You might check, but I'm fairly certain that backup system does NOT work for fifth wheels. You have to put stickers on a typical trailer tongue/frame.
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Old 01-25-2021, 06:28 PM   #4
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For a point of reference, I had a 2019 F250 Diesel Crew Cab King Ranch and the 6 speed was just fine. I just changed out to the 2020 F350 Diesel Crew Cab Platinum. I did have the Pro Trailer Backup on a 2016 F150 and NEVER used it - more hassle than it's worth and if you are towing a 5er you will become an expert with your mirrors and will not need any assistance. I do believe CaptainPalapa is correct and it will not work with a 5er. As for the 10 speed, I'm a bit indifferent about the extra gears but honestly I haven't made my mind up yet as I just got my 2020 in December and have only pulled twice on short runs of about 75 miles each. If you decide on the 6 speed I promise you will not be disappointed. Also, the reason for my quick change on the 250 to 350 is because I was right on the margin with payload capacity on the 250. Remember, your kingpin weight plus all of the other stuff in the bed and passengers CANNOT exceed your cargo payload capacity. I noticed the higher premium trucks have a bit less payload capacity because of the additional options and technology. If you are close on the numbers, which you probably are with a 5er you should just jump to the 350. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-25-2021, 06:59 PM   #5
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I have had the pro trailer Back Up Assist on my last 2 trucks and never used it once... Was NOT gonna put the black and white checkered strips on my fiver... and Not sure it would work on a fiver anyway >???
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Old 01-25-2021, 11:31 PM   #6
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One thing to consider an F250 will run out of capacity for a 5'r real fast, so be careful mating a 5'r and a F250. The dealer that I bought my 5'r from, told another customer who was looking at the same used 5'r I was that his F250 could handle it, he lied, just wanted the sale. I bought it and my F350 dually is almost maxed out with it. It can be very expensive to buy a truck and find it will not handle your trailer and have to trade one or the other for something that works.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:15 AM   #7
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Honestly, we have literally owned dozens of different pickups in the last 40 years. 40 employees in a service oriented business brings that out. My advice? Stick with the big three, Nissan and Toyota don't even enter into the conversation. Ignore all the 3/4 ton and go straight to the one tons. You probably aren't ready yet for a dually, but your day may be coming.
There are way too many 3/4 ton owners with the "Hell, yes, it'll tow 17K! I don't even know it's back there..."
Listen to the knowledgeable folks on here. We might be old and crotchety, but we have ears behind us making the mistakes we're telling you about. (Man, am I turning into my dad?)
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:30 AM   #8
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I would like to throw in my 2c for what it's worth. First off, sticker shock? Oh yeah! We are right now into our 8th Ford truck over a 46 year period. We started with new one at $2K (1972) to the current 2020 F250 7.3 10 speed at $58K!
Bought it for almost the same reasons as you want. Economy, power, & 10sp trans. It's a beast! I don't however have family or pets we are hauling, & our 5th wheel is 8,800lbs
Now, about your wish of the "Pro Assist" and "I could use all the help I can get"
Here's a real life drama: IF, you could use it for a 5'r, and, IF it failed on a trip & you never did your "due diligence" to learn to back it up without it. Now what? You're in a real sticky-wicket!
I taught all 3 of my children at a very early age to back up trailers as my father did to us siblings way before the age of driver's licenses. For some reason my middle one (now 43) never needed it until 3 years ago. I told him he could use one of my trucks to pull an enclosed trailer. Daughter-in-law called and asked me to help him as he hadn't done that since I taught him. I took him on a weekend to a local high school parking lot & we worked for a couple of hours on several different scenarios of backing that trailer.
My father's thoughts, as were mine later in life is this: You wouldn't let your teenager take your car to a shopping center, follow her/him there, then, back the car into a space for them would you? I know, I'm being a smart ass right now, but that "assist" is just another false sense of security. Kind of like the lane drift option in today's vehicles which, (IMO) is an "OK to text" while driving pass.
I am really sure you can find someone, either neighbor or relative who has a 5th wheel that would be more than willing to help you! I would be more than happy to help anyone practice in a safe place before the real life scenarios.
BTW, I'm in SE Mich in case that's near you to help?
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:37 AM   #9
Adventurous
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Originally Posted by CaptainPalapa View Post
You might check, but I'm fairly certain that backup system does NOT work for fifth wheels. You have to put stickers on a typical trailer tongue/frame.
It works with fifth wheels. There's a sensor that attaches to the fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch. You can see it in action in this video. https://youtu.be/t43PVS_1H8A
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JC 5er View Post
For a point of reference, I had a 2019 F250 Diesel Crew Cab King Ranch and the 6 speed was just fine. I just changed out to the 2020 F350 Diesel Crew Cab Platinum. I did have the Pro Trailer Backup on a 2016 F150 and NEVER used it - more hassle than it's worth and if you are towing a 5er you will become an expert with your mirrors and will not need any assistance. I do believe CaptainPalapa is correct and it will not work with a 5er. As for the 10 speed, I'm a bit indifferent about the extra gears but honestly I haven't made my mind up yet as I just got my 2020 in December and have only pulled twice on short runs of about 75 miles each. If you decide on the 6 speed I promise you will not be disappointed. Also, the reason for my quick change on the 250 to 350 is because I was right on the margin with payload capacity on the 250. Remember, your kingpin weight plus all of the other stuff in the bed and passengers CANNOT exceed your cargo payload capacity. I noticed the higher premium trucks have a bit less payload capacity because of the additional options and technology. If you are close on the numbers, which you probably are with a 5er you should just jump to the 350. Hope this helps.
I've done the calculations. I'm not here to figure out which Ford model to buy, just looking for experience with model years. My inexperience with towing and therefore backing is why I'm interested in this feature, which does work with fifth wheels.

I will be interested to hear your updates on how you like the 10 speed in comparison to the 6 as you continue to use your 2020.
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jetjockey99 View Post
One thing to consider an F250 will run out of capacity for a 5'r real fast, so be careful mating a 5'r and a F250. The dealer that I bought my 5'r from, told another customer who was looking at the same used 5'r I was that his F250 could handle it, he lied, just wanted the sale. I bought it and my F350 dually is almost maxed out with it. It can be very expensive to buy a truck and find it will not handle your trailer and have to trade one or the other for something that works.
Thanks. My fifth wheel is small. The 250 has plenty of payload and towing capacity for it and all my gear/passengers.
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:52 AM   #12
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I appreciate the tidbits. I don't intend to skip out on learning to back unassisted all together. However, the benefits of that pro backup assist are pretty awesome. All those cameras to ensure no one jumps out in front of me? Awesome. The ability to so finely tune my backing if I get into a tight spot? Awesome. I don't think if the only difference between the 19 & 20 was the pro backup that I would even blink an eye to save the cash. But that coupled with the 10 speed is another story.
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:55 AM   #13
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Adventurous , Point taken to your benefits on using the Pro Assist! I guess I'm a bit like Notanlines said, I am like dad now, and shouldn't sound like I jumped to an "assumption" that you wouldn't learn without it! My grandsons are the worst example of wanting it all before they learn to not have it all! At 20 & 21 they both feel they "need" a truck like grandpa. Ha Ha!
The cameras are a dream come true for hookup to a 5th wheel! Even for parking or tight areas & being able to see a low stump/concrete curb etc.
Now, on to the 10 speed: It will, because of what it is, shift a lot when towing depending on terrain. If you use the towing mode, it will stay pretty much in 8th and shift down as needed from there. I understand it's function, & the reasoning, but the truck is very capable of running in 9th and 10th on the hwy without strong headwinds, or elevation changes. And it will react very quickly to a slight pedal pressure to downshift if needed.
As far as driving every day, cruising around 65mph it runs at 1,500 rpms. That's enough to love along with around town 16-17mpg!
As for the ECO mode, I am not convinced that it's even worth the money invested into the programming. If using it while also using CC, we have experienced a wide drop in mph before it will downshift to get back up to speed. This shift will sometimes be from 10th to sixth, or even fifth speed! That's asking for a little whiplash!
Not sure if you're going diesel? We have the newer 7.3 gas, which I'm guessing gets a bit less economy mileage than the diesel?
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:03 AM   #14
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Something not mentioned to date, and it may not apply to the F250's, but newer models of trucks of the Big 3 have taller bed rails. That might cause an issue with clearance between the top rail of the pickup bed and the underside of the fifth wheel's nose. This has been a particular problem with the F350/3500 series trucks and above, enough so that some fifth wheel manufacturers and now adding "risers" of 2" to 3" to the frame of the fiver to gain clearance.


Sadly, I can't address the newer truck's capabilities as you are asking, but a number of things can make a difference in one's choices.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:23 PM   #15
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Something not mentioned to date, and it may not apply to the F250's, but newer models of trucks of the Big 3 have taller bed rails. That might cause an issue with clearance between the top rail of the pickup bed and the underside of the fifth wheel's nose. This has been a particular problem with the F350/3500 series trucks and above, enough so that some fifth wheel manufacturers and now adding "risers" of 2" to 3" to the frame of the fiver to gain clearance.


Sadly, I can't address the newer truck's capabilities as you are asking, but a number of things can make a difference in one's choices.
I think I saw that the 2020 F250 had a slightly shorter bedrail than previous years. My fiver is on a gooseneck and has a ton of clearance on the 2001 F350. Hopefully it's not an issue!
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:45 PM   #16
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Trivia more than advice: My vehicle registration in Minnesota is based on MSRP for an F-250 resulting in $700+ annually the first couple years. My F-350 Dually (or single) is a flat $120 each year.
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:21 PM   #17
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Adventurous , Point taken to your benefits on using the Pro Assist! I guess I'm a bit like Notanlines said, I am like dad now, and shouldn't sound like I jumped to an "assumption" that you wouldn't learn without it! My grandsons are the worst example of wanting it all before they learn to not have it all! At 20 & 21 they both feel they "need" a truck like grandpa. Ha Ha!
The cameras are a dream come true for hookup to a 5th wheel! Even for parking or tight areas & being able to see a low stump/concrete curb etc.
Now, on to the 10 speed: It will, because of what it is, shift a lot when towing depending on terrain. If you use the towing mode, it will stay pretty much in 8th and shift down as needed from there. I understand it's function, & the reasoning, but the truck is very capable of running in 9th and 10th on the hwy without strong headwinds, or elevation changes. And it will react very quickly to a slight pedal pressure to downshift if needed.
As far as driving every day, cruising around 65mph it runs at 1,500 rpms. That's enough to love along with around town 16-17mpg!
As for the ECO mode, I am not convinced that it's even worth the money invested into the programming. If using it while also using CC, we have experienced a wide drop in mph before it will downshift to get back up to speed. This shift will sometimes be from 10th to sixth, or even fifth speed! That's asking for a little whiplash!
Not sure if you're going diesel? We have the newer 7.3 gas, which I'm guessing gets a bit less economy mileage than the diesel?
I'm nearly 40, so I've been around the block enough times to know better than to rely solely on technology! I'm definitely looking at the diesel. Too much time in the mountains. Thanks for the feedback on the transmission!
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:21 PM   #18
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Trivia more than advice: My vehicle registration in Minnesota is based on MSRP for an F-250 resulting in $700+ annually the first couple years. My F-350 Dually (or single) is a flat $120 each year.

Same model year? Yikes!
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:31 PM   #19
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Yes. Same year. I’m not a lobbyist so rather than explain it - I exploit it.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:08 AM   #20
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Really like the Ford Super Duty

I had a 2016 Ford F-350 crew cab, dually, Lariat and really liked the truck. I traded a few months ago for a 2020 F-350 crew cab, dually, King Ranch and it is great! Really like it so far, gets 1-2 mpg better than the old one and the power is amazing coupled with the 10 speed trans it is hard to beat. Yes it did cost a bucket (or two) of money.

You can get the backup assist for 5th wheels, it's a module that attaches to the RV just above the hitch. It actually works pretty well, I don't use it a lot as I've been backing trailers for years. It works as claimed and it is amazing how easily you can back in a straight line with it. I'm hoping it will help the wife if she has to back the 5th wheel.
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