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2.3 5 speed 09 towing?


Ferris Bueller

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The towing capacity I see in the Ranger brochures for my 09 2.3 5 speed manual Ranger seem very low. It is all stock with 39,000 miles, longbed, 3.73 ratio axle and a factory class 3 frame hitch. It does have the smaller 9" rear drums instead of the 10" drums. I want to tow a trailer for when I restart my lawn service. I'm wondering if this truck will handle towing up to 3,000 pounds. I am considering building a trailer and putting brakes on it even though it wouldn't legally need them. I have also considered swapping over to a 4.10 rear axle and/or rear disc brakes or maybe a 2010 or 2011 rear axle that is disc brakes from the factory.
 


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RonD

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3,00lbs is about twice the capacity for the 2.3l with manual transmission.
Can you tow it...yes
Very hard on the clutch, brakes and engine, trailer brakes and higher gearing will help on hills.

May you tow it...no
If, heaven forbid, you are in an accident and the trailer is attached you could be found 100% at fault, even if you weren't, insurance companies look for any "illegal operation" loopholes to get out of paying, not to mention the fines for operating over capacity.
So IMO it is not a matter of the physics of "can" you do it, there are no bolt on upgrades that would make this truck legal to tow a 3,000lb trailer.

I would sell the '09 and get a few years older truck with larger engine and automatic for the same money, before I would put any money in a rear end or brake upgrade.
Gas mileage is not your concern if you are dragging a 3,000lb trailer around the city
Look for one that came with towing package, 3.55 rear end or higher and extra trans cooler would be nice.
Ranger with 4.0l, automatic and 3.55 rear end is rated for 6,000lbs towing, standard rear end(3.08) is rated for 2,700lbs
 
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Captain Ledd

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From someone who tows a lot with his 2.3L I'll chime in on this.

Is it technically illegal? well, technically, yes. You are over the max rating. HOWEVER, all models ran the same brakes (with the exception of 9" drums vs 10" drums), same frames, same suspension, same everything. Having extra brakes on the trailer will be a huge bonus as well. It may be slow, but it'll stop just as well as the more powerful trucks with higher weight ratings. Personally, disk brakes are a bit overrated. The drums stop you plenty, my rear axle chirps quite a bit now since I put the Explorer axle back there, nice to know the ABS still works.

A 4.10 rear axle will definitely help, and while not a huge difference gearing wise, you can easily factor in a L/S differential and the 10" brakes with the swap too. All 3 of which will provide a much better axle. You probably have a 7.5" currently as well, this should also upgrade you to the 8.8"

If you can deal with the way the truck looks, try small tires too. This will also help with starting out loads. Just make sure they've got the weight rating to handle the trailer and bed load, and try to get a set with some multi-ply or at least stiffer sidewalls to help control the trailer.

Even though the manual is the lesser rated transmission, it's universally considered to be far more reliable. And it's the same manual behind the 4.0L, which holds up just fine except for the most abusive of drivers. Most people don't know how to drive a clutch, and will easily burn one out trying to tow.

Dropping off (both pics before axle swap, with 3.73's)


~180 miles in the middle of the night. Just South of Flint Mi. to Big Rapids Mi. We also put the front clip back on, stacked my bed flat. Stacked a bunch of stuff in the J-10. AND had my friend in the passenger seat.
 
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Ferris Bueller

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Well the DOT in Minnesota is very strict. I have never posted a business name, numbers or stuff on my trucks or mowers when I had a lawn service in the past. They target the ones who do look official. You don't need DOT numbers if you don't haul anything for other people and charge a fee for it. I was targeted by cops from several local towns from 01 to 06 after calling the cops of an ex cop. They tried to frame me for not having insurance in an accident where the other driver was 100% at fault. I went over their heads and got some of them in trouble. I try very hard not to do anything that would draw their attention. I also deliver pizza at night and need something that gets decent mileage doing that. I have thought about an 2011 or newer F150 with the 3.7 V6 but I haven't found anyone that can tell me what mileage they get in town. I do own a 94 F250 HD with a heavy duty ZF 5 speed manual and a 4.10 rear. It needs a clutch, rear brake work and rear shackles replaced. I can do all of that work but would not look foreward to doing the clutch work. I also have a 16' car hauling trailer that needs a new floor and the brakes checked. The reason I am thinking about hauling 3000 pounds with a Ranger is if I used the F250 I would be spending another $100 a month in car insurance. I parked the F250 2 years ago.
 


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