Today we’re gonna go over every feature, upgrade, accessory and modification we‘ve made to make our Ford F-450 the perfect tow vehicle for our full-time RV living setup.
This blog is a bit longer than usual because I wanted to cover the truck from top to bottom, inside and out. I included a few photos throughout for reference, but make sure to check out the video above if you want to see more details.
Let’s jump right into the factory specs.
This is our 2022 Ford F-450. We chose the 4X4 Crew Cab configuration in Agate Black with a Black Onyx Interior. The 450 also includes an 8-foot bed by default, which I love because it allows a full 90-degree turn when hitched up to the RV without the nose hitting the cab.
It has the 6.7 Powerstroke V8 diesel paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and a 4.30 rear-end gear-ratio.
With the 4×4 setup we also chose the FX4 Off-Road Package which includes controlled hill descent and skid plates underneath.
We also chose the 40 Console 40 Leather Seats instead of the bench seat that goes all the way across.
We opted to fully load the Lariat trim on this 2022 instead of going with the Platinum trim we had on our 2019. We did this because it was the only way to get black paint instead of chrome on the door handles, window ledges, mirrors, tow hooks and the tailgate. The Platinum trim looked nice on our 2019, but we’ve always been a fan of all black, so this is actually much more our style.
2019 Platinum (left) vs 2022 Lariat (right)
To get the Lariat back up to the Platinum level of comfort, we added on optional equipment individually which included:
- Adaptive Steering which adjusts steering sensitivity based on your current speed.
- Power Running Boards which automatically retract and deploy when opening and closing the doors.
- Panoramic Power Moonroof which offers a full view of the sky even from the back seat.
- Adaptive Cruise Control which automatically adjusts speed based on vehicles in front of you, and yes it DOES work when towing and is absolutely awesome!
- Ultimate 360-degree Trailer Tow Camera which gives a bird’s-eye-view of the truck and allows you to easily back your trailer with the turn of a knob instead of using the steering wheel.
Then we added the Lariat Ultimate Package which includes:
- LED Lighting in the bed of the truck
- Remote Start
- a Tailgate Step
- Driver Memory Seat Settings
- Heated and Cooled Front Seats
The Lariat trim also comes standard with a lot of tech features like power seats, windows, a cellular modem, blind spot and collision monitoring, navigation, a premium sound system, Apple CarPlay, dual zone climate control, things like that. It also has an integrated electronic trailer brake controller that you can use to adjust the braking power of your trailer.
Other options we chose to add on were:
- Quad Beam LED Headlamps which are much brighter and whiter than the standard yellow halogen lights.
- Snowplow Prep and Camper Package which upgrades the alternator and maxes out the load capacity of the front and rear axles.
- Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers that automatically turn on and adjust speed based on weather.
- Rapid Heat Supplemental Heater which is an electric heating element in the duct work so you get warm air even before the engine heats up.
- Engine Block Heater because you never know when you’ll get caught in sub-freezing temps.
- Rubber All-Weather Floor Mats that make cleaning super easy.
- Upfitter Switches which allow you to easily wire in different accessories and control them all from one place.
- Garage Door Opener because, why not?
- Front Plastic Wheel Well Liners which look better and are also much easier to clean than the standard ones.
We also added the Spray-In Bedliner but Ford was unable to install this due to supply chain constraints so they removed it from our window sticker and invoice and we simply had one applied at a LineX installer after we took delivery of the truck and it looks and performs just as good as the factory one we had in our 2019.
2022 VS 2019
So all of these features are pretty much exactly the same on this truck as they were on our 2019, but there are a few minor differences.
First are the awesome model year upgrades.
– LARGER DISPLAY
The most noticeable is this much bigger and sharper 12” glass display that’s just as crisp as an iPhone screen. The old one had an 8” display which had a lower resolution image and was a bit softer to the touch.
And with that extra size you now have the ability to run two windows at a time. So for example you can have Apple CarPlay up while you’re also keeping a live view of the bed. Or you can keep this side on Google Maps while also seeing the music controls over here, etc.
2019 screen (left) vs 2022 screen (right)
– WIRELESS CAPABILITIES
And CarPlay is also now wireless so I don’t even need to plug in my phone anymore. I can hop in, crank up and Apple CarPlay seamlessly starts with no hiccups. Which is probably my favorite upgrade. It also has a wireless charge pad in here so if I need some juice I can just lay my phone there and it’ll start charging.
– MORE GEARS
We also now have a 10-gear transmission vs 6-gears in the 2019. So that gives us a lot more torque in the lower gears, but I’ve found it also increases the miles per gallon from around 16 on the highway to now 20, which I think is pretty insane for a 10-thousand-pound dually. It also took our towing from around 7.5 miles per gallon up to over 9 miles per gallon, which might not sound like a lot, but on a full travel day, that it saves us around $25 in diesel.
– DRIVING MODES
We also now have a few different driving modes, with a new eco mode that we didn’t have before. Not sure how much that helps but I use it anyway when we’re not towing and just driving around town.
– PRO TRAILER BACKUP ASSIST
It also came with this Pro Trailer Backup Assist which I haven’t had a chance to try out yet because you have to install some equipment on the trailer before it’ll work and I just haven’t gotten around to it. But apparently it lets you back and steer your trailer using this knob instead of the steering wheel.
Then we have the small differences in appearance, including the black handles, ledges, mirrors, tow hooks and the tailgate. The front grille has been updated which I think looks pretty nice. And even though we had the upgraded LED headlights on the 2019 as well, these are much nicer and look really awesome in the dark. The edges are outlined with a really aggressive bar of light, which the 2019 didn’t have.
– THE ONLY THING MISSING IS…
So since we fully loaded the Lariat Trim from top to bottom, the only thing we’re missing out on compared to the Platinum trim is rear heated seats, which we never used in our 2019 and then massaging front seats, which were pretty much a gimmick on the first truck.
I was super excited about those at first, but I could set them on full body massage at the highest intensity and I’d barely feel anything at all, so didn’t care about losing that feature either.
And that’s about it for the features and upgrades from the factory.
ACCESSORIES AND MODIFICATIONS
Next up are the accessories and modifications we added ourselves.
5th Wheel Hitch
The first add-on was a 5th wheel hitch so we could hook up with our RV’s pin box. Back in 2019 we ordered the Ford OEM version of this hitch, which was a Reese Elite rated for 27.5 thousand pounds, which was plenty for our 20-thousand-pound RV.
To mount this this hitch, you’ll need the Ford 5th-Wheel Hitch-Prep preinstalled in your truck bed, which comes standard on all F-450s and is an add-on option for the other models. You simply drop the 4 feet down into the holes, rotate to secure, and that’s it.
We’ve used this hitch for almost 4 years now in both the 2019 and the 2022 and it’s worked perfectly.
We also added a low-profile tonneau bed-cover so we could utilize the entire 8-foot bed as additional covered storage space any time we might need it. It also protects the hitch from the weather when we’re not using it and slightly improves our around-town miles per gallon.
I did a lot of research before picking out this bed cover specifically because not only did I need one with an extra low-profile, so we wouldn’t lose any clearance between the truck rails and the bottom of the 5th wheel, but I also wanted it to be a soft roll-up style for a two reasons.
#1 – Roll-up style covers don’t block the view out of your rear window like fold up covers do when they’re opened, which was important for us on travel days.
#2 – Soft-style covers take up much less space behind the cab when rolled up vs the mechanical retractable-style covers which was an important factor for us because of the next thing we wanted to add, which was a combination tool box / fuel tank.
If you want to learn more about the cover, view the full blog post HERE
This is our FuelBox and it’s an absolute game changer when it comes to refilling the two 30-gallon gas tanks on our RV, which feed our generator when we’re dry camping out in the middle of nowhere.
We started out with six 5-gallon gas jugs but realized pretty quickly this wasn’t going to work for us. The very first night we spent dry camping, in 90-degree Tennessee weather, we tried refueling manually with the cans in the dark, and it was a nightmare.
I didn’t realize this beforehand, but 5 gallons take a LONG time to dump from a jug, not to mention 6 jugs! So after about 30 minutes of constant spilling, mosquito bites and arm fatigue, we finally got almost 30 gallons into the tanks.
But with this thing we can now pump 30 gallons within 2 minutes! And it holds 57 gallons total, so with all tanks full, we can run our generator for up to 200 hours before having to head out on a fuel run.
If you want to learn more about the FuelBox, view the full blog post HERE
Next up was a Tire Pressure Monitoring System or TPMS which allows us to monitor the pressure and temperature of all tires on the RV and truck in real-time and alerts us if there are any issues.
Considering we’re moving 30 thousand pounds at 65 miles per hour, a blowout could not only be potentially dangerous to us and everyone around us, but it could also cause some serious damage to our equipment.
So being able to monitor in real-time for any temp spikes or losses in pressure allows us to quickly pull over and take care of any issues BEFORE we have an actual explosion.
For the past 4 years we’ve used the TST 507 system and it’s worked great. We have 6 flow-thru sensors on the RV, which allow us to add air without removing the sensor, and then we have 6 cap sensors on the truck because the flow-thrus don’t fit in-between the dually rims.
RV Rear Camera Monitor
Another safety item we wanted was a rear camera for the RV so we could monitor what’s behind the 43 foot trailer. We’ve used the Furrion Vision S Wireless RV Camera System for the past 4 years and it’s been great. It runs continuously when we’re driving so I can use it when making lane changes and to stay aware of everything around me. I can also use it when backing up.
I used to have the monitor mounted to the windshield with the included suction cup, but I recently discovered I could keep it here in this sunglasses holder which gives me more visibility out of the windshield and allows me to quickly secure it out of the way when I’m not using it. It’s totally wireless other than the power cord for the monitor, which I just ran through the ceiling and side pillar so there are no visible cords.
RV GPS System + Mount
Another very useful tool for us is our Rand McNally RV-specific GPS navigation system. We have the weight, length, and height of our RV saved in the unit, and it automatically avoids any roads that we won’t fit on. This includes weight restricted bridges, tunnels and any low overpasses.
I have it mounted above the dash here with this included magnetic charger so we can run it in tandem with Google Maps, giving us two layers of information. We usually set the McNally to the final destination and then use Google Maps for keeping tabs on real time traffic info and navigating to fuel stations and any other stops in between.
I also have this cord routed behind the dash so hooking up and charging is completely wireless.
The final safety/security related item we added is this dual facing dash cam. Not only does it record the interior and exterior of the vehicle during driving, but it also detects and records any motion inside and out while parked, providing an additional layer of security monitoring.
As you can imagine it does take a bit longer to stop when hauling an RV, so if somebody tries pulling out in front of us to get a payday or doing anything else stupid like that, this can at least be some proof that we were paying attention and not the ones at fault.
Plus it also helps us effortlessly document our travels and catch all of those split second moments that you never want to forget.
Then, we needed to carry our bikes with us on travel days, but considering the garage of the RV is full with the car, and adding a bike carrier to the rear of the RV would block the ramp door, I decided our best option was to add a hitch receiver to the front of the truck and carry them there.
I leave them uncovered so the airflow isn’t restricted and with both of them facing this direction, it leaves a gap at the bottom that allows the radar to function as normal, so we still have full use of our adaptive cruise control.
Tint, Bumper Wrap & Ceramic Coating
We also had Tint Wizard in Jacksonville, NC install a clear, heat-rejecting, ceramic tint on the windshield and then darker tint on the side and rear windows, all of which blocks 78% of the sun’s infrared heat and 99% of all UV rays, keeping the interior cool, comfortable and safe.
We also had Tint Wizard wrap our chrome bumpers in a protective black film and then perfectly polish and correct any paint imperfections before they covered the entire truck with a 5-year ceramic coating.
Over the years we’ve tried a ton of different waxes, protectants and coatings on our black vehicles, and so far, a professionally applied and cured ceramic coating has been the best thing yet. Almost nothing sticks to it and water simply beads right off. So when things get dirty, we can simply spray the truck off with plain water, wipe it dry with an edgeless microfiber towel and a little Chemical Guys HydroSpeed Ceramic Detailer, and it leaves a mirror finish every time.
And that’s about it.
After 4 years of full-time RV living in our 43ft 5th wheel toy hauler, this is our perfect tow vehicle setup.