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Tow Ratings With Manual Transmission

wildbill23c

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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
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There may be some merit to the comments about the manual transmissions not being as strong as the automatics. I also think the main driver behind the drastically lower tow rating is because of the lack of experience the majority of the United States population has with a manual transmission. I do agree that if you are towing at highways speeds, that you should never go into 5th gear. Think of it as a manual version of tow/haul mode.

As far as what the real tow rating should be for manual transmission equipped Rangers, I haven't a clue. Perhaps looking at what the Europeans have for ratings would be a good idea. I know their tow ratings are generally higher for vehicles built the same way as U.S models. Sometimes that limit is only higher if the trailer is equipped with brakes.

Of course, one should also consider that if there is an accident, insurance companies and those on the legal side of things would be working off what the U.S. ratings are. So, there would be some legal liability taken on by the driver if they choose to use something other than what the owners manual says. They won't a crap what the Europeans can do, even if the vehicle in question is identical to what you are driving.
I'm going with the don't tow anything with it idea. Can't go wrong there. On the side of caution, I'll skip the towing idea altogether with it. With all the lawsuit happy morons we have in this country anymore, its not worth it. Just would have been nice to be able to pull a 4x8 utility trailer or similar occasionally, but I guess I'll do that with the Bronco 2.

My grandparents pulled a 14' Nomad travel trailer all over the country with the 84 Ford Ranger that they gave me when they upgraded to a larger trailer and truck and the 84 Ranger pulled that trailer just fine but it had a C5 automatic in it though...have no idea how much that trailer weighed, its been so long that nobody remembers and nothing I could find online really helped either.
 


RonD

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Look at how a manual transmission works

All the power/torque is transferred from the input shaft to the output shaft thru the smaller dog gears and this is the weak point, what the maximum weight rating is based on
It's just math on the amount of surface area and stress these can take before failure.

Automatics have planetary gears so much more surface area to spread out the power/torque, again its just math

At no time, in the past or future, will driver ability be used in this calculation :)

We that drive manuals because they are "simply the better transmission" find this hard to swallow, but that doesn't mean its not true
 

wildbill23c

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Vehicle Year
1987
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
0
Tire Size
215/70-R14
Look at how a manual transmission works

All the power/torque is transferred from the input shaft to the output shaft thru the smaller dog gears and this is the weak point, what the maximum weight rating is based on
It's just math on the amount of surface area and stress these can take before failure.

Automatics have planetary gears so much more surface area to spread out the power/torque, again its just math

At no time, in the past or future, will driver ability be used in this calculation :)

We that drive manuals because they are "simply the better transmission" find this hard to swallow, but that doesn't mean its not true
I think the "Simply the better transmission" would probably make more sense to say "less complex" not necessarily better LOL.

I thought the weak link with a manual transmission would be the clutch itself? Then possibly the internal gearing.

Regardless, I think I'll stick to not towing anything with it, hauling building materials occasionally and a trip or two to the dump every few months.
 

sgtsandman

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For me, it's a mute point. The only towing I do is with a 4X8 utility trailer that will eventually get brakes installed (for off road driving control ability more than anything). For the 2011, I'm riding the edge of the permissible envelope when the trailer is fully loaded. For the 2019, it ain't nothing to it, braked or not. It probably won't even know it's back there.

If this can tow it, the Ranger won't be a problem.
 

wildbill23c

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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
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Transmission
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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
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Tire Size
215/70-R14
For me, it's a mute point. The only towing I do is with a 4X8 utility trailer that will eventually get brakes installed (for off road driving control ability more than anything). For the 2011, I'm riding the edge of the permissible envelope when the trailer is fully loaded. For the 2019, it ain't nothing to it, braked or not. It probably won't even know it's back there.

If this can tow it, the Ranger won't be a problem.
That's about all the trailer I'd want and need for most cases. I'd love to get a little travel trailer at some point but I guess I'll have to leave that to pull behind the Bronco 2 or the Jeep, most likely the Jeep as it has the highest towing capacity at 5k. The Ranger is 2k and the Bronco 2 is supposedly rated for 3.5k (yeah maybe on flat ground in perfect conditions).
 

RonD

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Well manuals are less complex but they are better because they are more fun and just better for driving

I mean which is better, 1 Million dollars tax free(manual), or a poke in the eye with a sharp stick(automatic), I rest my case :)
 

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i have 2 ranger
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Only problem I see with this auto Vs stick shift the Auto's And this is mostly for the ones that come in are rangers from 1990--2017there too small to do the job and for Long Periods. I've seen more 5 speeds last longer than any automatic. If you look at any ford ranger or explorer in Craigslist you will see tons of fords in the mid-size ranger to the explorer and the f150 F250 that all have the same problem BAD Auto trans. Now if you came across a ford product with a 5-speed manual. They will say it needs a clutch Big wow you know what an automatic cost to R&R nowadays I rather do 50 clutches over 1 automatic rebuild the cost is way better
 

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i have 2 ranger
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Transmission
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Most of the guys I know and work at transmission shops tell me the automatics in the ranger and the explorer are too small for the job they are expected to do Now you put the AOD that comes in behind the mustangs No problems the Ranger and explorer transmissions are weak transmissions and asking them to town a heavy trailer the trans never holds up. You burn them up
 

stsalvage

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Ok, I must be getting this wrong why for the most part have stick shift in all big and small trucks be around longer than any auto in the world. I have a 1991 ford ranger with a 4.0 5 speed trans with a 4.10 positraction rear end. I drove this truck for 15 years pulling a 14X5 tandem axle junk trailer. There is no automatic ford makes with an overdrive that was put into the midsize rangers that could take that kinda beating like the 5-speed transmission that came in my 1991 ford ranger in that 15 years I changed the clutch 1 time. I was told long ago witch is easier to change the clutch or the Brake pads and rotors. Use up the brakes never down shife unless you need to stop. Any moron that does with an empty trailer is a Moron
 

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One of the reasons you see so many with bad auto transmissions is because people are too cheap and/or lazy to change the fluid or don’t know they are supposed to because reading things like the owners manual is too much like work.

People with manuals are just as guilty but manuals have less items to mess up due to old and worn out fluid.

The worse thing a vehicle owner can ever say to me is “It’s been great! All I’ve ever had to do was change the oil!”. If I hear that, I walk. The thing is going to be a maintenance nightmare.
 

wildbill23c

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2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
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Tire Size
215/70-R14
One of the reasons you see so many with bad auto transmissions is because people are too cheap and/or lazy to change the fluid or don’t know they are supposed to because reading things like the owners manual is too much like work.

People with manuals are just as guilty but manuals have less items to mess up due to old and worn out fluid.

The worse thing a vehicle owner can ever say to me is “It’s been great! All I’ve ever had to do was change the oil!”. If I hear that, I walk. The thing is going to be a maintenance nightmare.
Definitely 1 of the largest problems is people never keep up with maintenance. Sure they might have the oil changed. But when told their transmission fluid needs changed at $100+ usually around the $200 mark, they say oh hell no it don't need changed that's too expensive...and before you know it that $3,000 transmission has blown because the cheap ass owner decided a $100-200 fluid change every 3-4 years was just way too expensive, but they'll spend that much every week or 2 getting their nails done, hair done, beer, wine, movies, etc. Nope that well today's transmissions are far more expensive so that poor transmission with now they call "lifetime" fluid just burns itself up, but most people today would never know because they change cars more often than they do their underwear.

Yeah when you hear I just change the oil, well you have to think further than that LOL. Most people today have no idea what gets done to their car at the service center, they take it in, and pay the bill. Or they absolutely refuse to have services done after their free oil changes are used up LOL. Many have no idea the transmission fluid, differential oil, etc. need changed because the moron dealers are all about boasting that their fluids are lifetime fluids...too bad they don't stand behind that when the transmission fails due to that bullshit.
 

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but most people today would never know because they change cars more often than they do their underwear.
That's definitely the case with me...
 

sgtsandman

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Dirtman

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Technically I "own" underwear...
 

don4331

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No, there is an actual difference there. An automatic uses planetary gears, which are constant mesh gears, and have a much larger contact area, so the gears are physically stronger. The torque converter provides torque multiplication when engine speed is high and input shaft speed is low, this gets more power to the wheels to get you rolling, without smoking a clutch,

Then there is the issue of driver competence. It doesn't take any intelligence at all to put something in D and hit the tow/haul button.
The manual transmission in pretty much everything built since the '40s have constant mesh gears - you shift by dis/engaging synchronizers to shift gears. And the larger distance between shafts, larger individual teeth, better steel means the gears are more/less the same strength between 5R55E and M5ODR-1. I've done the engineering calculations.

And a torque converter which is "stalled" proves basically zero torque multiplication.
As a torque converter is a fluid connection, output never matches input, so there might be 2% multiplication after slippage above stall speed.​
Stock torque converters "stall" about 700 rpm ± 100 rpm below torque peak (about 2k rpm in most Rangers).​
3.slows and Duratecs higher as their torque peaks are higher as well.​
Stall speed is function of load, age, temperature, etc so not a constant value.​
So, the input torque on a stock automatic is never significantly higher than torque rating of engine.*

*Note: This assumes one isn't being malicious and doing things like shift the automatic from N to D at high rpms.

And trailer brakes are required in pretty much every state/province if trailer >3k lbs gvwr. https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/
Those states/provinces with 40% caveat require a towing vehicle with >7,500 lb gvwr - which rules out Rangers (and most F-150s too).​
 

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