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Towing For questions about towing or to show off your tow rig.

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Old 01-26-2018, 10:20 AM   #1
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Default Need help understanding tow capacity

Hey all,

Just got a 96 2.3 4x4 Ranger and I'm wondering how you go about calculating towing capacity. I'm sorry if this is beating a dead horse but I did some searching and didn't find solid answers. I don't have an owners manual to consult.

Is there a formula to calculate towing capacity?

In terms of equipment it has, I have a 4.10 7.5 open rear axle, Dana 28/35 hyrbid axle up front, 5 speed trans, brake code D (9" I believe?), spring code BTB (2+1 leaves).

I will be replacing the rear springs for 1750 lb 5 leaf springs in a few weeks and I think the front springs are from a 4.0 Ranger, they look to have been swapped in and the front sits a bit higher than my brothers stock 97 3.0

I'm not looking to tow anything crazy, I really just want to know if pulling a small light duty landscape trailer with a mower and some other tools is safe and legal, lol.

Thanks
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:01 PM   #2
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The owners manual would likely have the information you need...

You can get pretty close though by subtracting the stock unladen weight of your truck from the GCWR figure found on your door sticker (unladen weight is probably between 3300-3500lbs for yours if it has a standard-cab).

Given the specs you gave, I would guess your truck's trailer rating to be around 1500lbs, but I suggest verify that just for legal reasons (if there's ever an accident, you don't want it to be determined you were over the rated limit).

Regardless, a small low trailer hauling some landscape maintenance equipment should not be an issue for the truck to tow (as long as it doesn't have a large wind-drag profile).
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:57 PM   #3
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GVWR - vehicle weight will give you what you need. Remember you have to subtract passenger weight, and anything else you've thrown in the cab or in the bed.

A 4 cylinder Ranger isn't really going to have much of a towing capacity, maybe a couple thousand pounds and with that little engine that would really be pushing it. The Bronco 2's were rated I think for like 2500 pounds and I don't think I'd want to try that either.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:48 AM   #4
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Bronco II max tow ratings were in the 5K pounds (but did vary depending on trans & gear ratio options).
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Old 01-30-2018, 06:39 AM   #5
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I used to drive a 2002 which was rated for 2300 lbs which is what you are rated for legally although you will probably find someone who has towed 4000 with your setup but I would not recommend it.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:31 AM   #6
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When in doubt, RTFM.

http://www.therangerstation.com/manuals/ '96 version, p.207

Trailer capacity 0-1,300lbs. For legal purposes, the 1,300lbs is minus any options (a/c, radio, big tires, heavier springs, etc) or stuff in truck.

I did a quick google search: Lowes 5x8 trailer is 375lbs empty, gives you about 900lbs for mowers etc.

Don't even think of something like a BigTex landscape trailer, the baby one weighs over 1,100lbs empty which would allow you zero payload for all intents and purposes. Nice wooden deck adds 170lbs; 15" wheels weigh 2X the 12" ones do; 50% higher capacity (and quality of construction) adds weight; front jack (@13% tongue weight, you would have ~400lbs on hitch - more than I care to lift anymore); you get the picture..

The 2.3 Lima in '96 isn't as powerful as the '02 2.3 Duratech (by a significant margin). The older TTB trucks aren't rated as high as the newer IFS ones.
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Old 04-08-2018, 09:41 PM   #7
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It's not rocket science. Ford want to sell you more truck. In third world countries a Fiat Panda is a commercial truck. In the US you need a $50,000 F250 to do the work of a Fiat Panda.

Yesterday I was involved in flood clean-up. This is a 5,200# single-axle steel-deck Load Trail 14' trailer that weighs 1,950# empty. It has 260 sandbags filled with river mud--50# apiece--on it. That's about 15,000# on a frame hitch on a Ranger. I went about 10 miles, on the state highway. The trailer tires were flat, basically. It didn't want to move from a stop, but once it was going it was fine. Has trailer brakes and an inertial controller so I didn't notice the weight stopping it. It's not something you want to do every day, but it makes the 2,000# limits you see on things absolutely laughable. I think the published limit on my truck from Ford is 2,000#.

Any Ranger can handle 5,000# easily. You need to have the right equipment--frame hitch, inertial brake controller--and patience. You have to have knowledge of what your engine wants to do. If your engine says 150hp at 4,600rpm--that's a pretty fast speed to spin it at. But it doesn't have 150hp unless you do that. You can pull 5,000# with a 3.0 or even a 2.3, but you have to drive it like a truck, not a KIA. You have to get into your road tractor mentality. Where is the torque peak? You have to get above the torque peak on hills so when the motor starts to load down, the torque rises. On hills with this 15,000 trailer, I was in second with the motor at 3,000. That's screaming for an old pushrod 4.0. But with the torque peak at 2,400, as the motor slows with the pedal to the metal, the engine torque increases and it fights off the slowing. That's how you tow with a truck.

Or you can get a 6.2 F250 or whatever like Ford wants you to get and it will never feel a 5,000# trailer.


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Old 04-08-2018, 09:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
It's not rocket science. Ford want to sell you more truck. In third world countries a Fiat Panda is a commercial truck. In the US you need a $50,000 F250 to do the work of a Fiat Panda.

Yesterday I was involved in flood clean-up. This is a 5,200# single-axle steel-deck Load Trail 14' trailer that weighs 1,950# empty. It has 260 sandbags filled with river mud--50# apiece--on it. That's about 15,000# on a frame hitch on a Ranger. I went about 10 miles, on the state highway. The trailer tires were flat, basically. It didn't want to move from a stop, but once it was going it was fine. Has trailer brakes and an inertial controller so I didn't notice the weight stopping it. It's not something you want to do every day, but it makes the 2,000# limits you see on things absolutely laughable. I think the published limit on my truck from Ford is 2,000#.

Any Ranger can handle 5,000# easily. You need to have the right equipment--frame hitch, inertial brake controller--and patience. You have to have knowledge of what your engine wants to do. If your engine says 150hp at 4,600rpm--that's a pretty fast speed to spin it at. But it doesn't have 150hp unless you do that. You can pull 5,000# with a 3.0 or even a 2.3, but you have to drive it like a truck, not a KIA. You have to get into your road tractor mentality. Where is the torque peak? You have to get above the torque peak on hills so when the motor starts to load down, the torque rises. On hills with this 15,000 trailer, I was in second with the motor at 3,000. That's screaming for an old pushrod 4.0. But with the torque peak at 2,400, as the motor slows with the pedal to the metal, the engine torque increases and it fights off the slowing. That's how you tow with a truck.

Or you can get a 6.2 F250 or whatever like Ford wants you to get and it will never feel a 5,000# trailer.


You also need to be aware of weak points in your power train. A properly cooled auto will handle a heavy load like that nicer than a manual will.

About two years ago, the last time I moved, I hauled down a load of fire will on a 5x12, trailer. I am sure it did not weigh 5000 lbs. I had a trailer brake controller, but the brakes on the trailer were not working (in fact they were in my back seat). The 4-wheel discs on the Ranger stopped the load nicely, with some planning, and the route I took was mostly flat, although I did learn about some slight slopes in a few places I always thought were flat.

But I did manage to actually fracture my clutch disc in a few places. Not just smoke or strip friction material, that held up surprisingly well actually. I broke the metal disc in a few places, mostly around the damper springs.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
It's not rocket science. Ford want to sell you more truck. In third world countries a Fiat Panda is a commercial truck. In the US you need a $50,000 F250 to do the work of a Fiat Panda.

Yesterday I was involved in flood clean-up. This is a 5,200# single-axle steel-deck Load Trail 14' trailer that weighs 1,950# empty. It has 260 sandbags filled with river mud--50# apiece--on it. That's about 15,000# on a frame hitch on a Ranger. I went about 10 miles, on the state highway. The trailer tires were flat, basically. It didn't want to move from a stop, but once it was going it was fine. Has trailer brakes and an inertial controller so I didn't notice the weight stopping it. It's not something you want to do every day, but it makes the 2,000# limits you see on things absolutely laughable. I think the published limit on my truck from Ford is 2,000#.

Any Ranger can handle 5,000# easily. You need to have the right equipment--frame hitch, inertial brake controller--and patience. You have to have knowledge of what your engine wants to do. If your engine says 150hp at 4,600rpm--that's a pretty fast speed to spin it at. But it doesn't have 150hp unless you do that. You can pull 5,000# with a 3.0 or even a 2.3, but you have to drive it like a truck, not a KIA. You have to get into your road tractor mentality. Where is the torque peak? You have to get above the torque peak on hills so when the motor starts to load down, the torque rises. On hills with this 15,000 trailer, I was in second with the motor at 3,000. That's screaming for an old pushrod 4.0. But with the torque peak at 2,400, as the motor slows with the pedal to the metal, the engine torque increases and it fights off the slowing. That's how you tow with a truck.

Or you can get a 6.2 F250 or whatever like Ford wants you to get and it will never feel a 5,000# trailer.


Man im glad someone underatands it, but i always thought you were strictly by the book? Maybe im confused with someone else.

Either way, to the OP....

Use your common sense, Im not sure whst state your in, but the DOT is to busy harassing truck drivers who are 45 minutes over their drive time then to worry about a ranger running around witb 5 or 600 extra lbs on it.

Its been my findings that these little trucks will run out of braking/suspension long before you have to worry about the engjne.

Most "ratings" are what i call idiot ratings. Your truck may only be rated for 1500 lbs, but what that means is any idiot can hook 1500 behind it and not kill themaelves. Someone even remotly skilled in towing a trailer should eaisly be able to do 2500-3, someone skilled, 3-4k shouldnt be an issue.

The BIGGEST problem people run into is trying to go to fast. Like will said, trucker menality. I am a trucker, abd when i tow my 32ft travel trailer with my F250, even though its rated for it, i still run 60-65, right lane, etc. Why? Because physics.

Either way, a small trailer with a rake, mower, and weedwacker, i wouldnt even blink an eye behind your truck
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:00 PM   #10
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It was me you spent a decade arguing with, Dustin. This isn't the type of stuff we argued about.
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