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Old 07-11-2008, 09:06 AM   #1
RBV Technical Advisor
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: East-Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,886
Vehicle Year: 1987... sorta
Vehicle Make: Ford
Vehicle Model: Ranger Supercab
I use this vehicle for: Roadtrip Warrior
Rep Power: 61
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Default TOWING a Ranger as opposed to towing WITH a Ranger

I was recently asked a question by a new member and it struck me that there should be a sticky on this topic in this forum.

The question is about towing a Ranger, as-in towing one on all four wheels behind an RV/Motorhome.

First I'll get directly to the point, if you are shopping for a Ranger to be towed behind a motor home it is important to get a 4x4 with a manual transfer case.

Automatic trans Vs manual trans is purely personal preference, because in either case the transmission isn't going to be spinning.

Ford's recommended towing method for a 4x4 with a manual T-case is
to tow with the transfer case in neutral and the transmission in
Park (auto) or in gear (manual)

a 4x4 with an electronically shifted T-case has no user accessable

The thing is the T-cases used in Ranger Based Vehicles have
positive pressure lubrication from an internal oil pump that is
driven by the output shaft.

The manual transmission does not, the output shaft, the
splined gears for 5th and reverse on the mainshaft and
the "floating" gears for 5th and reverse on the countershaft
all spin, however the input shaft and cluster gear whch are
responsible for most of the transmissions splash & Funnel
lubrication do not. this will cause the manual transmission
to spin the "pocket bearing" at high speed with NO lubrication
at all when it is towed in neutral.

essentially the same thing applies to the automatic transmissions and in either case (2wd vehicles) Ford recommends only towing them with the driving wheels on the ground for a maximum of something like 50mph for 50miles. Frankly I think even that much is asking for trouble
unless you intentionally overfill the transmission.

Or tow it while it's idling in neutral... but then there's the chance
that a pothole, expansion joint or frost heave could jounce it into gear... "that would be bad Egon"

There are "gimmick" driveshafts that have a disconnect device that
you can get from RV suppliers, but they are expensive, potentially weak...

I think that swapping a 4x4 trans into a 2wd truck and fitting
a manual t-case behind it would vbe preferable, because then
it's just pushing the steel lever forward to resume normal vehicle

but it's likely that a transporter trailer (and all the headaches that involves)
that would tow our ranger with all four wheels off the ground might be cheaper. and would have the additional benefit of having BRAKES under your towed vehicle, unfortunatly you'd also have an additional 1500-2000# of trailer to tow around and eventually stop.

what would be more preferable would be simply getting
a 4x4 with a manual t-case in the first place.

There are systems that allow the towing RV to activate
the brakes on the towed vehicle, but they aren't cheap either.

Then there are the issues with making the tail, brake and turn
signals on the towed vehicle work, but that is deserving of a
stickied topic all it's own...

These two short sentences sum up the US government's views and ideology:
1) The government tells us NOT TO JUDGE ALL MUSLIMS because of a FEW lunatics.
2) The government ENCOURAGES US TO JUDGE ALL GUN OWNERS because of a FEW lunatics.
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