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Increasing towing capacity

StoneyTexasRanger

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Hey guys, I was curious if anybody here had any insight into increasing the towing capacity on a 96 Ranger 4.0 4x4. I'd like to be able to tow 3500-4000lbs and I think it's rated at around 3k.

Ive already been planning a 5.0 swap (maybe even a hotrodded TDi or Om617 if I'm feelin spicy), if I did that, upgraded the brakes all around and put disc's in the rear, regeared the rear end and added an extra leaf to the rear pack do yall think it'd be safe towing roughly 1000lbs over stock rating or do I just need a different truck? I just don't wanna get into a situation where the tail starts wagging the dog and tosses me off the road, but the fact that modern diesels can tow like 4 times their weight makes me think it's at least physically possible to do.

I really like the size of the Ranger and would have far less use for a full size truck where I live, but I also wanna be able to yank a modern ski boat over the mountains to the hot side of my state so I'm not sure what to do, hoping you guys have some thoughts on this.

Thanks yall.
 
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sheep herder

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You cannot legally increase the towing capacity of any vehicle. The truck might handle it ok with some upgrades though.
 

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If the truck is rated to tow 3,000 pounds that's the LEGAL maximum. No modifications you do to the truck will change the legal tow rating. You can add bigger brakes, bigger springs, bigger engine and it will still only be legal to tow 3,000 pounds.

Also wheelbase and width matter ALOT in towing and no matter what you do, it's still a small truck.
 

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I would check your tow ratings. Here is a site, and there are some others I haven't checked. This one says the rating for your truck is 5700lbs with a 3.73 rear gear, auto trans, super engine cooling, and payload package #2 whatever that was.

 

Dirtman

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I would check your tow ratings. Here is a site, and there are some others I haven't checked. This one says the rating for your truck is 5700lbs with a 3.73 rear gear, auto trans, super engine cooling, and payload package #2 whatever that was.

Manual trans cuts that in half right off the bat...
 

StoneyTexasRanger

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Yeahhh i know it's the legal max but I also drive 10 over the speed limit everywhere I go lol. Not saying I'm gonna do something stupid that'll cause a wreck, just wanted to be able to haul around a bit over rated occasionally. And as for the 5700lbs I think that's in reference to total gross weight isn't it? That seems like a shit ton for a Ranger
 

RonD

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1996 Ranger 4.0l 2wd MANUAL trans max towing is 3,400lbs, GCWR, Combined weight, is 7,000lbs

1996 Ranger 4.0l 2wd AUTOMATIC trans max tow weight is 5,900lbs, GCWR is 9,500

So you CAN change to an automatic and legally tow the higher weight, trans type is NOT in the VIN, so its a 1996 automatic 4.0l Ranger which has the legal limit of 5,900lbs

GVWR is the weight of a Loaded vehicle, no trailer, that rating is on drivers door label

GCWR is the weight on the road, Ranger(3,300lbs) + occupants and any cargo in the truck + trailer and any cargo in the trailer, so total weight if you pulled onto a truck scale
Total weight must be under GCWR of the vehicle

Legal is for two reasons, one is so if the police see what they think is a unsafe load they can pull it over and inspect it, and there are "wheel" scales that can calculate total weight

2nd reason is for insurance, and the bigger downside of towing over legal limit, if there is an accident, not even weight related or your fault, say some rear ends you, totally their fault, 100%, your insurance company can say "thanks for the payments, see ya later"
Because all policies have the "operate a motor vehicle in a legal lawful manner" so as far as they are concerned you should have not been on the road in the first place so why should they pay out anything
It wasn't an "accident", it was an "on purpose"
 

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RonD beat me to the two reasons you shouldn’t do it. Not that you can’t but if something happens, you'll be left high and dry.

When it comes to the legality subject, the forum could be held liable. So promotion of such is greatly discouraged.
 

don4331

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If the truck is rated to tow 3,000 pounds that's the LEGAL maximum. No modifications you do to the truck will change the legal tow rating. You can add bigger brakes, bigger springs, bigger engine and it will still only be legal to tow 3,000 pounds.
Not quite - the truck is rated for x,xxx lbs GCWR - which is combination of truck and trailer weight.

You can legally increase GCWR by modifying your truck to the combination which has the highest rating from Ford, based on your VIN. In OP's case that will be 4.0/Automatic. Note: Ford rates GCWR for regular and Super cab Rangers same - so, regular cab, short wheelbase has highest trailer towing capacity as its 300 lbs lighter.

Then you can decrease the empty weigh of your truck. The easy one is clean out all the junk that collects in cab/box, which can be several hundred pounds.
Replace existing transmission/transfer case/TTB with 2wd transmission/TIB - reduces weight of truck by almost 400 lbs - all of which can be applied to the trailer. (Dana 28 TTB is ~50lbs lighter if you must retain 4wd, swapping to single speed transfer case saves weight of low range planetaries).

You can get another 500 lbs if you are creative, but it comes nickel & dime. Replacing the stock 235/75R15 tires (40 lbs apiece for BF GoodRich Mud-Terrains) and rims with 195/70R14s (<20 lbs apiece for Uniroyal Tigerpaws) on light rims (you need to watch rim - aftermarket aluminum ones are often heavier than stock steels) can net 100 lbs. Replacing the stock group 65 battery with group 22r (Mustang II battery) saves 20 lbs. 7.5" open rear differential with 9" rear brakes saves 20 lbs over 8.8 l/s with 10" brakes. Pre '95 small TIB brakes are 5 lbs/corner lighter than later models. Removing power steering saves 30lbs. 60/40 bench + jump seats are 150 lbs heavier than open cubbies and Escort bucket seats. Air conditioning weighs 45 lbs for condenser, evaporator and pump. Ford sold a paper thin replacement hood to replace your steel one. Roll pan in place of rear bumper (if legal in your area) nets >50 lbs.

For me, getting down to weight I was at high school grad would be 50 lb increase for trailer.

What are you willing to sacrifice just to tow something?
 

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Not quite - the truck is rated for x,xxx lbs GCWR - which is combination of truck and trailer weight.

You can legally increase GCWR by modifying your truck to the combination which has the highest rating from Ford, based on your VIN. In OP's case that will be 4.0/Automatic. Note: Ford rates GCWR for regular and Super cab Rangers same - so, regular cab, short wheelbase has highest trailer towing capacity as its 300 lbs lighter.

Then you can decrease the empty weigh of your truck. The easy one is clean out all the junk that collects in cab/box, which can be several hundred pounds.
Replace existing transmission/transfer case/TTB with 2wd transmission/TIB - reduces weight of truck by almost 400 lbs - all of which can be applied to the trailer. (Dana 28 TTB is ~50lbs lighter if you must retain 4wd, swapping to single speed transfer case saves weight of low range planetaries).

You can get another 500 lbs if you are creative, but it comes nickel & dime. Replacing the stock 235/75R15 tires (40 lbs apiece for BF GoodRich Mud-Terrains) and rims with 195/70R14s (<20 lbs apiece for Uniroyal Tigerpaws) on light rims (you need to watch rim - aftermarket aluminum ones are often heavier than stock steels) can net 100 lbs. Replacing the stock group 65 battery with group 22r (Mustang II battery) saves 20 lbs. 7.5" open rear differential with 9" rear brakes saves 20 lbs over 8.8 l/s with 10" brakes. Pre '95 small TIB brakes are 5 lbs/corner lighter than later models. Removing power steering saves 30lbs. 60/40 bench + jump seats are 150 lbs heavier than open cubbies and Escort bucket seats. Air conditioning weighs 45 lbs for condenser, evaporator and pump. Ford sold a paper thin replacement hood to replace your steel one. Roll pan in place of rear bumper (if legal in your area) nets >50 lbs.

For me, getting down to weight I was at high school grad would be 50 lb increase for trailer.

What are you willing to sacrifice just to tow something?
I get the theory of the above, but I think you went a little too far recommending reducing tire size. If I was going for the most hauling and towing capacity and piece of mind, I would make sure I had the proper factory size and that they were LT tires, not P's. LT's are going to be heavier than P's.
 

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The two most important things you can do to increase safety when towing, are trailer brakes, and - very important!!! - correct load balance on the trailer including tongue weight. My truck came with a "towing package" (97) part of which was the rear sway bar, and lower axle gearing.

Just like the old adage about falling off a building - it isn't the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end. Make sure you can stop your load!!!!!
 

don4331

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I get the theory of the above, but I think you went a little too far recommending reducing tire size. If I was going for the most hauling and towing capacity and piece of mind, I would make sure I had the proper factory size and that they were LT tires, not P's. LT's are going to be heavier than P's.
I actually forgot - ditch the spare and jack which gets you at least another 50 lbs; AAA membership card is much lighter.

And legal doesn't necessarily equal smart or safe.

If the OP asked the question: How can I more safely tow to GCWR.

Then I answer with recommendations like the LT tires, ensuring that the truck as large brakes as possible - as OP has '96 - the upgrade to Dana 44 front hubs is useful, then narrow an F-150 8.8 to match bolt pattern will get best load carrying and stopping. 5.0 with 4R70W/BW4406 will survive much 4.0 with 4R44E/BW1354 at GCWR.

But you will have "lost" a couple hundred pounds of legal trailer capacity.

Trailer over 3k lbs GW requires brakes to legally operate in Washington state (OP has Seattle location), so I was assuming that requirement.
 

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Need increased towing capacity = BUY A LARGER MORE CAPABLE TRUCK...
 

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I increased my towing capacity to 10,500lbs and the GCWR 16,200lbs. It only cost $60k...

45423
 

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