Tow Ratings With Manual Transmission


Dirtman

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So friggin big!
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ExploreNW

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235/75/15
My Ranger is a long way from stock... That said, I have the 2.3L 4 in RWD and the M50D tranny is still stock. Highway diff too. I've used it to drag a couple cord of wood out of Oregon (1 cord each time) in my 4x8 harbor freight trailer and it does great. I have recovered our 3500# tool trailer a few times with it when the SD was in the shop. With that big of a trailer you'll smell your unhappy clutch the whole way home but you'll get there. I'd say 3,000# is the heaviest I'd do on a manual with the 4 cylinder, but if you get in a wreck with that much weight & don't get murderized, your insurance will screw you.

Is it fast with a trailer? Can I go 70 on flat level ground with 3500# hooked up? Absolutely not. Does it get the job done? Sure as hell does.
 

wildbill23c

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Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
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205/75-R15
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My Ranger is a long way from stock... That said, I have the 2.3L 4 in RWD and the M50D tranny is still stock. Highway diff too. I've used it to drag a couple cord of wood out of Oregon (1 cord each time) in my 4x8 harbor freight trailer and it does great. I have recovered our 3500# tool trailer a few times with it when the SD was in the shop. With that big of a trailer you'll smell your unhappy clutch the whole way home but you'll get there. I'd say 3,000# is the heaviest I'd do on a manual with the 4 cylinder, but if you get in a wreck with that much weight & don't get murderized, your insurance will screw you.

Is it fast with a trailer? Can I go 70 on flat level ground with 3500# hooked up? Absolutely not. Does it get the job done? Sure as hell does.
I don't think I'll have to worry about towing anything with my Ranger it can't move under its own power long enough to do anything, even when it does make it out on the road it can't seem to run properly and now I've got a timing cover coolant leak so back under the bucket of wrenches it goes. I love driving the truck, but it obviously hates me.

I don't think I'd try towing anymore than one of those 4x8 trailers behind my Bronco 2 either, although some have said the Bronco 2 was rated for about 3500lbs, yeah I don't think I'd try that especially with the crap they try to call roads here in Idaho, that trailer would have that Bronco 2 changing lanes without me moving the steering wheel LOL.
 

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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.
Better torque multiplication with an automatic and it's stronger. First gear in a stick Ranger ain't all that low.
My first Ranger was a 3.0/stick and it towed my 1000 lb jetski* no problem but I'd still put it in low range on the boat ramp so I didn't have to slip the clutch as much pulling it out of the river.

* jetski is about 700 lb as I recall but with the trailer and a full tank of gas it's about a half ton.
 

wildbill23c

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
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0
Total Drop
0
Tire Size
205/75-R15
My credo
19K, 19D, 92Y, 91F
Better torque multiplication with an automatic and it's stronger. First gear in a stick Ranger ain't all that low.
My first Ranger was a 3.0/stick and it towed my 1000 lb jetski* no problem but I'd still put it in low range on the boat ramp so I didn't have to slip the clutch as much pulling it out of the river.

* jetski is about 700 lb as I recall but with the trailer and a full tank of gas it's about a half ton.
Why does it seem like its so dang low geared then in 1st with a manual? Just due to the more direct connection to the engine without the torque converter and internal band slippage stuff or? I have 3.73 gears in the rear diff in my 87 Ranger maybe the difference?

Like I said I doubt I'll ever be able to do any towing at all and given its current state it can't seem to make it across town without something going wrong right now LOL. However, if I ever did tow it wouldn't exceed 1,000lbs, maybe one of those little 4x8 harbor freight type trailers to the dump and that would be it, but that's why I have the long bed so I don't have to pull a trailer...I was just curious what the reasoning was for drastically different towing ratings, and I'm sure like other's have been told and/or heard its just because people have no idea how to drive with a manual but have learned most of it has to do with like many have said here the way the gears are in a manual and the clutch. Glad I learned the real reason before doing anything stupid. I honestly before asking this question thought well my Bronco 2 is rated for 3500lbs max towing with weight distribution. So the Ranger should do that just fine being a larger vehicle and a manual transmission it should do better...this is why this forum is so great, people here know the answers to these questions and aren't afraid to break someone's heart and mind with the true answers.
 

ExploreNW

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yeah I don't think I'd try that especially with the crap they try to call roads here in Idaho,
No problems in Kootenai county ID, all new up north but they use real salt in the winter.

Better torque multiplication with an automatic and it's stronger. First gear in a stick Ranger ain't all that low.
My first Ranger was a 3.0/stick and it towed my 1000 lb jetski* no problem but I'd still put it in low range on the boat ramp so I didn't have to slip the clutch as much pulling it out of the river.
That sounds like a rear-gearing difference to me. Torque converters are real nice to have at times but I feel skeptical about dragging too much weight over the rated capacity with an auto as if I'd induce slippage or something. You can feel the bite of a good clutch. Besides 1st in my 2.3 is a granny gear & you're out of it by 10MPH... but the Super Duty is an auto, when I pull the Sea Ray out I use 4-Lo just in case. Auto slippage spooks me a lot more than a weak clutch.
 

wildbill23c

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Vehicle Year
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Ford Bronco II
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
0
Tire Size
205/75-R15
My credo
19K, 19D, 92Y, 91F
No problems in Kootenai county ID, all new up north but they use real salt in the winter.


That sounds like a rear-gearing difference to me. Torque converters are real nice to have at times but I feel skeptical about dragging too much weight over the rated capacity with an auto as if I'd induce slippage or something. You can feel the bite of a good clutch. Besides 1st in my 2.3 is a granny gear & you're out of it by 10MPH... but the Super Duty is an auto, when I pull the Sea Ray out I use 4-Lo just in case. Auto slippage spooks me a lot more than a weak clutch.
Down here in Gem County, ID the roads are horrible, you have no idea if your front end is in or out of alignment here LOL. That's what I was looking at too was probably related to difference in gearing, both my Bronco 2 and Ranger have 3.73 rear axles but the Ranger being a manual will get up and go much quicker than the Bronco 2 with its poor A4LD...I figured the Ranger would weigh more but I'm thinking the Bronco 2 does due to being 4WD.
 

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They are only worried about you wiping the clutch out during the warranty period. There is nothing else to it.

Tow whatever weight you want. Just make sure you get the clutch fully up before you start feeding it power. Get it moving, but don't try to accelerate until the pedal is up. And...not every modern transmission has a straight-through gear. Which means, I think, that the counter shaft, weakened by the gears between it and the mainshaft, isn't under a load in 1:1, or 4th gear. I think this is the case with the M50DR1.

My trailer is 2,000# empty (Load Trail equipment trailer with a single 7,000# axle) and I towed it with 240 sandbags full of mud during a flood clean-up with my '95 Ranger 4.0 5-speed. I work out with 50# dumbells doing arm curls, and these sandbags were way heavier than I could curl. I can do 60s a few times. These were more than that. This trailer was 18,000 maybe. I kept it below 45mph and in 4th gear. The trailer brakes are good. The little Load Range H 8-14.5 tires were sagging hard. The truck wasn't outside of its ability at that speed. It's not a little cantaloupe-sized Honda Civic transmission. It can do some work.
 

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Tow whatever weight you want. Just make sure you get the clutch fully up before you start feeding it power. Get it moving, but don't try to accelerate until the pedal is up. And...not every modern transmission has a straight-through gear. Which means, I think, that the counter shaft, weakened by the gears between it and the mainshaft, isn't under a load in 1:1, or 4th gear. I think this is the case with the M50DR1.
Yup, fourth just connects the input shaft to the output shaft in the M5OD.

A lot of the newer stuff has multiple overdrives so like you say it isn't the hard and fast rule it used to be.
 


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