ultraclyde Dork
8/8/12 11:24 a.m.

Okay, I have a 1997 Explorer with the 302 and towing package (trans cooler, 3.73 rear). The factory manual says it will tow a max of 6750 (or something rela close.) It's pushing 200k and has some minor issues, but on the whoe it's in good shape and I put it on the road regularly. We tow a 2500 lb camper with it all the time and it's stable and happy at interstate speeds.

Someday I'd like to get a flat trailer and perhaps trailer my Mustang to a road course. If I do that, you're talking 3500# car, 1500# trailer, and at least 250# tools & stuff, maybe more. My concern is that I don't want to be unstable or even real close at interstate speeds. I want something that feels stable and safe and won't mind climbing over a hill. The combination of weight would be bumping up on the max rating and the GVRW, not to mention out weighting the truck (3500#s).

I would certainly be adding a weight distributing hitch, better brake controller, and probably airshocks on the back to handle the tongue load. Maybe sway control as well?

SO what do the GRMrs think, would that much weight on the hitch make for a scary ride?

My competing plan is to buy a low mile, late 70's long bed F100 and use towing as an excuse to have a nice old truck with some modern improvements. Of course, I already own the 'Sploder, but the long bed truck does have some other plusses as well.

Whaddya think?

belteshazzar UltraDork
8/8/12 11:36 a.m.

i'd make sure the brakes were up to snuff. flush all the fluid, put some high-quality semi metallic pads in there. i'd also probably do an external tranny cooler, unless it came with one, in which case i'd consider going bigger. too often the factory cooler is just a loop in the radiator, and not very effective.

Ranger50 UltraDork
8/8/12 11:42 a.m.

I dunno, had a racing buddy tow a FULLY loaded 24' ENCLOSED trailer with his 91 or 92 V6 Exploder all over DeToilet at speeds greater then posted......


stumpmj Dork
8/8/12 11:52 a.m.

A 70's truck will be terrible comapred to towing with the van.

I'd check the brakes, make sure the brake controller worked, and I wouldn't sweat it. You're under the tow rating so don't worry too much.

Raze SuperDork
8/8/12 12:17 p.m.
Ranger50 wrote: I dunno, had a racing buddy tow a FULLY loaded 24' ENCLOSED trailer with his 91 or 92 V6 Exploder all over DeToilet at speeds greater then posted...... YMMV.

I agree you can do a lot more than most ratings, I've towed the XR4 on a dolly with my Ranger that has a max rating of 1500lbs, that's 2700 lbs of car, and 350lbs of dolly...

I also think I was a berkeleying idiot for doing it, after reading about accidents that occured while towing beyond max ratings, the legal liability and how most insurance companies will deny your claim, I'll never do anything like it again, ever.

That all being said, I'd be very careful regarding your max ratings and limits and either tow within them with some margin, or else get a bigger tow rig, your life, and someone elses' just might depend on it.

sachilles Dork
8/8/12 12:32 p.m.

If your brake and tranny fluid are good. Brakes in good order. Tranny in good order you should be fine. Suspension should be in good shape. Tires should have the correct load range. Good trailer brakes and trailer brake controller are worth their weight in gold. A good tranny cooler might be a worthy investment.

Can you get by without some or all of that....yes. However, all those items make a more comfortable tow for the driver. Nothing sucks more than a white knuckle tow for several hours. My old tow rig was horrid, and it made towing to events more stressfull than driving at the event itself.

Towing advice largely varies by region of the country for good reason. Some folks live and tow in relatively flat areas of the country that can get away with less power for tow duty. If you live in hill country expect more abuse on every component.

dean1484 UltraDork
8/8/12 12:43 p.m.

My experience with towing with my 94 explorer is that I would not tow a car with it again. The short wheelbase of an explorer as compared to a larger truck really comes into play as the loads get bigger. I did it once back from West VA with a Z car on a heavy steel flat trailer and let just say I was glad when it was over. One of the big reasons I stepped up to an Expedition. The deficiencies of the explorer really became apparent at highway speeds. The inertia of a big trailer and the weight of the car really is magnified at highway speeds.

sachilles Dork
8/8/12 12:57 p.m.

For what it is worth, I have a friend with a ford f-250 V10 and his own car trailer. He often prefers to borrow our friends Jeep liberty diesel, with an admittedly lighter trailer, but it has sway control on the trailer. Having towed both trailers minus any sway control, there are very similar and no apparent difference with my race car on them. My point is that I think a good sway control system can make a big difference with smaller wheelbase tow rigs.

poopshovel UltimaDork
8/8/12 1:29 p.m.

I'll add: I towed a good little bit with our 97 6-cylinder with no problems. Back and forth 500 miles each way twice. Then a buddy of mine said "Awww dude, be sure and have the transmission flushed & change the filter and gasket."

Apparently I'm retarded and am the only one (well, me and the guys at the shop I took it to) who didn't know that FLUSHING in it's most literal sense, was a really bad idea. Thing never shifted right and made noise after 3 trips back to the shop, and multiple phone calls/emails with the regional manager. Oh, berkeley Tires Plus by the way.

alfadriver PowerDork
8/8/12 2:21 p.m.

Load it right- that solve most trailer stability problems.

iceracer UltraDork
8/8/12 4:57 p.m.

Towed a 3900lb. trailer/car with my Liberty. Never had a problem. thousnadsof miles all over the NE.

Added rear air bags which improved things some what.

Carro Atrezzi
Carro Atrezzi HalfDork
8/8/12 6:22 p.m.

Big Dumb Loads


there's some scary $hit in there

novaderrik SuperDork
8/8/12 9:25 p.m.

get the real truck.. you will be happy with it.. step up to an F250 if you can find one..

curtis73 SuperDork
8/8/12 11:29 p.m.

It also depends on how far you tow. Mrs Curtis73 and I used to full-time in an RV. I had an F250 Powerstroke and a 31' travel trailer. It was fantastic for about 500 miles. If we had windy conditions or poor road conditions it was a white-knuckle day and it sucked.

If you're towing twice a year for 50 miles, no worries. If you want a serious, long-distance tow rig, go bigger.

Vigo SuperDork
8/9/12 3:24 p.m.

There's no way i would tow 6750 lbs with an explorer.

Ive towed ~4000 lbs multiple times behind a 3000 lb fwd sedan, but that was on a dolley with little tongue weight and much less tendency for sway.

I used to have a 75 f150 that i towed ONCE with. It went pretty well. IF i was going to tow 6000 lbs id prefer to do it with a 70s ford pickup than an explorer.

Tom_Spangler HalfDork
8/9/12 4:27 p.m.

I did a fair bit of towing with an 06 Exploder with the 4.6, and it was fine. My trailer (18" steel car hauler with a wood deck) isn't exactly light, probably closer to 2000 pounds than 1500, and I towed my Fox Mustang on several long trips and didn't feel the need for any white knuckles. I also towed a Neon and an Escape on that trailer on shorter (30-50 mile) trips. I will say that it needed some time to get going, the 4.6 isn't exactly a torque monster, but it was adequately fast and got 12 mpg. Was it as nice as my Ecoboost F-150? Well, no, but I wouldn't call it scary or inadequate, either.

jimbbski Reader
8/9/12 6:01 p.m.

I towed an open trailer with a Ranger PU. It had the 2.9L & 5 sp manual. It was under powered with a heavy load, like with my Mustang race car so I replaced it but I never felt unsafe just slow. I towed my Fiesta race car for 8 years and it was fine since I was like 1500 lbs lighter vrs the Mustang.

Getting the weight on the trailer balanced is very important. To much transfered to the tow vehicle and it's white knuckle time the whole trip.

iceracer UltraDork
8/9/12 6:35 p.m.

As I recall with my 3900 lb trailer, I had app. 450 Lbs on the tongue. Worked very well and made for relaxed towing.

8/9/12 8:21 p.m.

I towed a 5000 lb boat/trailer combo with my V6 Explorer. Including in a 40 mph cross wind while running 70 mph.

Yours with the V8 should be a fairly competent tow rig.

Yes a 3500 diesel LWB dually pick-up will be better, but a Ferrari would be a better track car then your 'Stang.

What you have will work.

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