Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Towing a 2640lb 16ft TT with a Ford Ranger 4.0L?
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 > Towing a 2640lb 16ft TT with a Ford Ranger 4.0L?

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Posted: 01/04/20 05:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a 1990 Ranger STX with 4.0 and lower gearing, that I used as a run around. The mileage was not great when empty, and towing a two place sled trailer with sleds (under 2,000 lbs) the mileage, and performance was poor.

IMO, most 1/2 ton trucks would be a better choice, and give similar mileage, empty or towing.


dodge guy

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Posted: 01/04/20 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could also consider a Ford Explorer. Same as a Ranger but with more room inside.

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Fresno, Cal

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Posted: 01/04/20 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've towed many times my 19ft Mallard with my 99, and 01 Exploder 4x4 4.0's. That being said...

The 4.0' have a fault with the rear timing chain and cassette. I'm told that #3 runs hot thus it burns the cassette up. The fix is pop the motor out, do QUALITY chains and cassettes, disable the front balancer chain (common on the 4x4's) run synthetic oil from then on.

As for the trans. On my 01, it has 206k on that trans, the engine is 40k with 2k on the chains. I installed the upgrade valve body on the bottom of the trans. It made a world of difference. Of course, if you are running a stick, then this point is moot.

If you are running an automatic, put an additional cooler on AFTER the factory cooler. If you can swing it, then put electric temp gauge somewhere either on the pan, the lines or the pressure test plug on the side of the trans. I see no more than 210 deg on a hard heavy pull fully loaded on a 90d day...

The transfer case. Synthetic oil that too with the emulsifier oil added in. The rears are actually very strong. But swap the oil out for synthetic, which takes abuse and heat better.

2600 is nothing. I am tipping close if not over 5000#. Two weeks ago we took the trailer with the 99 Exploder up over the Grapevine, into Frasier Park then over to 166 to 101 in California. There are some heavy hills. Nothing like Colorado. But I did pull the trailer twice with the 99 and the 01 from the floor of Yosemite WB on 41 thru the tunnels up to top then down to the valley. That pull is no joke, but we kept the Ford in 2nd and 3rd all the way, outta OD, the coolant temp ran 210 once in a while, mostly 205ish, temp on the trans ran 210.

Brakes wise, I upgraded to larger thicker rotors. With metallic pads. The suspension is KYB on one and Bielston on the other.

The poor 4.0 has a reputation. Deserved from a design flaw that can be corrected. Mine are. I have no issues. And guess what??

We have hella fun, and not making those huge strokes monthly on a hemi or a power stroke or likewise, and the Fords do the job. I am a firm believer of making due with what you got. While the prevailing thought is to buy a $50k tow rig, some folks have deep pockets. Mine are full. And I plan on keeping them full.

At the campsites in Yosemite, I have had many a Scamp owner using lets say a Tacoma towing, wonder by inquiring about my 1/4 million mile Fords. We were at Truckee last spring when a guy came by chastising us for what he said, making the roads unsafe by using too light of a tow rig.

I offered to buy him a beer and send him on his way. In the FWIIW catagory, last week we were on the coast of Cal, from SLO up to Monterey on Highway 1. This time with the 2wd 01.

What was on my tail the whole way? A SMART car towing a small tent trailer, behind her was a Ford peeekup with a huge cruise ship 5th wheel.

At one turnout, they all pulled in behind me to let the tourist in rented Mustangs get by us, and to take a leak, and to let the dogs take a leak, the Ford truck asked me if I had a gallon of oil he could buy.....I gave him a gallon of Walmart dino 10-40 which seemed to make him happy.

The SMART car owner, while not my type, was a gutsy lady. She likes her SMART, and wanted to go camping. They said it could not be done, she does it. And has been for a year or more. She readily admitted that while going up a grade she might be down in the gears, her rig gets a whole lotta attention, and I must add, I was impressed too.

* This post was last edited 01/04/20 08:17am by RustyMacIntosh *   View edit history



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Posted: 01/04/20 08:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

fintip wrote:

Finally, I need it cheap.

1. Can tow 2640lbs + stuff inside comfortably
2. Can get decent MPG when not towing
3. Is reliable
4. Is Cheap

Seems like an impossible list, but since I don't need to find the truck attractive, I've realized I do have what seems like a pretty good candidate:

A late 90's -> early 2000's Ford Ranger / Mazda B 4000 (4.0L with towing package).

These trucks were never known for good fuel economy.

If the trailer tow factory option did NOT come with an auxiliary transmission cooler, add on. While you are doing that, replace the ATF with the factory specified fluid.



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Posted: 01/04/20 10:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should be okay with the 4.0. It won't be able to keep up speeds on steeper mtn passes but on the flat you should be fine.


S.E. Washington

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Posted: 01/04/20 11:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will not like living in that, even for a few months. Tin and thin paneling with no insulation will not be warm in the winter or cool in the summer. I hope it works out for you.

As for towing, the wind resistance is far more demanding than the weight. It will be working very hard to pull that through the air. Also, single axle trailers tend to move and sway more than double axles, the extra axle makes them want to track in a straight line better. Just means you will need to keep the speed down and pay more attention. Watch how you load it to keep the tongue weight high.


Hills of PA

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Posted: 01/04/20 11:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I towed a TT just under 4000# with my 2008 Explorer 4wd V6 automatic with factory tow package. It towed the TT adaquately but no fun on hills. A weight distributing hitch made a huge difference in ride and towing. So do the trailer brakes. In PA, under 3K# does not require trailer brakes BUT they make a big difference. You need to base your TT load on its GTWR because you will likely reach that once loaded for camping.
All that said, that version Ranger with a 4.0L AND factory towing package should work for you if you already have it. Otherwise, a recent vintage F150 would be much better, even with the base engine, and get as good or better MPG. My 2019 F150 SuperCrew (4dr) short bed 5.0L factory tow package gets better MPG than my 2008 Explorer!

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Posted: 01/04/20 03:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

romore wrote:

The Ranger should have adequate capacity to tow something like that as long as you don't expect 40 mpg at 70 mph through the mountains. Maybe an Explorer would better suit your needs

OP WOULD need a Ranger with 4.0 engine at a minimum, they listed ASHEVILLE which is in NC and is pretty mountainous area.

However, I would caution the OP on buying a Ranger, most are not equipped for towing (IE no hitch, no heavy duty radiator or extra transmission cooler) and have only the ball mount hole on the bumper step (no Weight distribution possible).

Additionally, while the 4.0 is a decent motor, it does have one major "Achilles heel" which is issues with the heads developing a crack often on the rear cylinders..

I have several relatives who have experienced this multiple times. The explanation we got was the oil passages in the rear tend to plug, this allows build up of sludge and that sludge holds more heat and the extra heat buildup stresses the heads to the point of cracking.

Rangers also tend to have a lot of rust issues in the front end, radiator supports and bumper supports seem to just disintegrate over night..

Honestly, for the money you will pay for a Ranger, you can often find a F150 CHEAPER. Friend of mine just recently bought a '08 F150 4x4 with about 100K miles for $9K! You would be hard pressed to buy a Ranger for less unless you are looking at '80s Rangers with lots of rust rot..


Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 01/04/20 06:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i had a 1990 ranger with a 4.0L engoin and 4wd that i used to tow a 2500Lb tent trailer and it handled it no problem. I did upgrade to a 1998 f150 but that was because of the kids not the trailer.


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Posted: 01/04/20 06:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Biggest potential issue with the 4.0 liter from about 2002 and newer is the silly timing chains design. 4 Wheel Drive trucks used 4 separate chains, Two wheel drives use 3 separate chains, and the nylon guides deteriorate in chunks, potentially clogging oil passages and also leading to the chain jumping time. One of the chains is conveniently located on the back side of the engine and can only be serviced if you either remove the engine or remove the transmission.

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