Please note this thread has been inactive for 90 days. For the best results, please start a new thread.
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30
  1. #1
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    9,327

    Default Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I'm looking at replacing our Merc Mountianeer V8 AWD with a used mid size pickup in the 2002-2007 year range. The Mountianeer held up so well over its 230,000 mile life that I thought the Ford Ranger might be a good choice seeing as they share a lot of the same drive train.

    One thing that surprised me it the Ranger is listed as having a max tow capacity of 6000 lbs!!!! Holy Cow! That sure seems like a lot for a mid size truck. But both our boats are 2000lbs gvw. So that should be no problem.

    Any input on your experience with the ranger is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  2. #2
    Moderator JB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    The Hideout, Whitt, TX, USA
    Posts
    45,903

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    The tow capacity of Rangers varies more than any vehicle I can think of, depending on how it is equipped, what frame, drivetrain, what cab, what engine, etc, etc.

    There are Rangers rated for 1500#.

    My '88 Ranger single cab, 5 speed, 4 cylinder would not tow a 1200# package and get it up a ramp, but it got great mileage.

    The three liter extra-cab 4X4 was better. It could handle a 2,000# package, but worked hard at it.

    The 4 liter auto extracab 4X4 with towing package did just fine with 2,000#. It also had very high gear ratios in the diffs.

    So. A Ranger can be had that can do a nice job, but that needs to be a very specific Ranger.

  3. #3
    Cadet Hobbes_24's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern Ontario Canada
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I have a 2007 Ford Ranger 48,xxx Kms
    super cab
    5 speed
    3 Litre V6
    4:10 axel ratio
    2wd

    it tows my aluminum with no effort at all. I forget its there sometimes lol. I also have a tent trailer (for sale lol got a bigger one) that weighs 2200 pounds and it pulls it for an hour to our campgrounds no problems but you feel it back there. I did a few favors at the end of last season for a few of my fellow campers and towed their camper trailers to the farmers storage field about 2 km away. My new camper is a 1975 25foot, not sure of the make lol. cant remember but my truck pulled it out with no problems and it has to be about 5000lbs. The level of the trailer sitting with my ranger looked good too. It didn't weigh the rear end down too much.

    I also pulled 2 other 30 foot trailers that had to be 8-10,000 pounds. i probably shouldn't have but it was only 2 clicks. the newer one i had to pull out my 2 inch drop reciever flip it over and remount the ball so i had a 2 inch raise lol. because it was dragging the jack of the trailer on the ground. but my lil ranger had anough power to tow these campers out of the camp ground and up the road into the farmers field.

    I have also beat a civic off the line while towing my aluminum full of fishing equipment. He wasn't too happy to see a boat passing him after tearing away from the red light.

    -Chris

    Never again will i underestimate a lil Ranger.
    1992 14' Smoker Craft Big Fisherman
    25Hp Tiller Merc
    55lb Thrust Minn Kota Bow Mount
    no water too thin

  4. #4
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    9,327

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I'm looking at the V6 2wd, 5sp Auto models. I have been towing both boats with the Lincoln Town Car with a posi and have not had any problems on ramps (so far). So I don't see the 2wd Ranger with posi being much worse.

    Also have the 2007 Toyota Sienna AWD, so we really don't need another AWD or 4WD.

    Isn't there a link on iboats to towing capacity by vehicle make/model?
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  5. #5
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Da Who Dat Nation
    Posts
    5,655

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    The Ranger is based largely on Mazda driveline parts, so it should be pretty reliable. It is also similar to the Mercury Mountaineer/Ford Explorer in some ways, because both are based on the Ranger platform.

    The two main differences that come to my mind, are the smaller engine and lesser weight (particularly in the rear end) of the Ranger that you are looking at. The V8 Mountaineer probably has larger brakes too.

    I think you'll be OK towing a 2,200 lb rig with the V6 Ranger, but I would be carefull in regard to braking. If your trailers don't have brakes, I would consider upgrading them. To me, the issue is not only the capacity of the brakes in the truck, but also that a 2,200 lb trailer with no brakes will push the pickup quite a bit in a panic stop. Given the light rear end of a small pickup truck, that is a perfect scenario for jack-knifing, especially on a wet road.

  6. #6
    Petty Officer 1st Class cwhite6's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Pineville, LA
    Posts
    346

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I had a 2wd ext. cab ranger for a good while. I towed all kinds of stuff with it. The one thing I would advise you look into in a 4wd model. Mine had a tendancy to lose rear traction on ramps. If the boat is not heavy enough to put a good bit of wait on the rear tires, it will spin. Or, you could do like a buddy of mine and just put a good bit of weight in the bed over the rear axle when he pulled his boat. Stopped the spinning tires. I loved that Ranger. I think they are wonderful trucks. Two guys at work have 96 models with well over 240,000 miles and they are still going strong.

  7. #7
    Cadet
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, AR
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I had a 2003 Ford Ranger supercab with the 4.0L SOHC, 5 speed stick. 4.10 gears, limited slip diffrential, 4WD. I towed 5000lb packages several times and never had any problems. I do advise you to run trailer brakes though.

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Junior Grade
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    pine island fl.
    Posts
    1,141

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    Have a 97, 4 cyl. 5 speed. Short distance towing with it, have never been able to take it out of 3rd. Might be ok with a utility trailer carrying a riding lawn mower but thats it. Friend has an S-10 with a V/6, auto, no problems towing. 2 cyls. seems to make a big difference. FRED

  9. #9
    Lieutenant Junior Grade
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Alta Loma, California
    Posts
    1,091

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I have a 95 2.3L I posted about towing with a few months back, I got yes and no answers. So MY answer to this question is: Maybe.

    I picked up a $20 outboard on craigslist, the same size, but heaver than my 83 115hp. (the one i picked up is a 75)

    and The weight of that in the back of the ranger was VERY noticeable. Struggled with starts and hills.

    so I'm leaning towards no. It'll move it in and around the driveway/street. But i wouldn't take it on a 300 mile trip to the lake

  10. #10
    Moderator JB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    The Hideout, Whitt, TX, USA
    Posts
    45,903

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    In general, Rangers with 4 liter V6, automatic, 2WD, 4.10 differentials and towing packages are tow-rated higher than others. My preference is for 4WD as well, for safety reasons, but it does get rated lower because of the weight.

    The main question is: What is the tow rating as equipped?

    Anecdotes about towing way beyond safe limits are "Hey Bubba, hold my beer and watch this. . ." stories. Find out the tow rating as equipped and do not exceed it.

  11. #11
    Chief Petty Officer Mkos1980's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Macedonia Ohio
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    5K + here. No problems. 2004 4.0L 4x4 Auto 4.10's

    90 Chaparral 2150SX 350 MAG Alpha 1
    Vortec Heads, LT4 HotCam Upgrade
    GM BowTie 1.6 Roller Rockers
    Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap Intake
    Edelbrock 600CFM Marine Carb * New MPH* 65.2
    Laser II 21 Prop 5400 RPM's Corsa Exhaust

  12. #12
    Ensign Shizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Roseville, MN
    Posts
    984

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I have an 03' Ranger Edge 2WD, 3.0L 5speed manual, 4:10 limited slip. I would definatly suggest the LS and the 4:10 gears. Plenty of pulling power. The 3.0L is the Old cast iron OHV engine Ford has used for years. It can pull a decent weight (cant remember off hand the Numbers)

    It is a great little simple truck. as long as you realize its not an F350 and realize tow capacity depends on how the truck is optioned, then its all good.


    BTW, the 2wd Edge and sport Models have the same front suspension as the 4wd. Mine is 2WD but sits high like a 4WD. the standard 2WD has a coil spring front suspension, but the 2WD Edge and sport use a torsion bar setup just like the 4WD does.
    '68 Alumacraft FD, '65 Johnson 6HP "The Sea Monkey"

  13. #13
    Captain
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,001

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I've gotten by with Ford Ranger 4 cylinder 5 speed long bed trucks for years, I've pulled all sorts of boats, but I'd not want to try to launch much more than 1,500 lbs on a steep ramp with a 4x2, (at least not without some weight in the bed).
    The best combo I've owned was one with a 3.0L V6 and a 5 speed manual. It would out tow my 4 banger hands down. The only Mazda drivetrain components in a Ranger are the current 4 cylinder, (2.3L), and the 5 speed manual transmission. Both would be the only real weak links in the Ranger line up.
    The automatic is a Ford product, both the 7.5 and 8.8 inch rear axle units are Ford, not Mazda, and the 3.0L and 4.0L are both Ford engines. The 3.0L is the simplest and most trouble free of all the engines in the later models, but for what ever reason they seem to have dropped it as an option this year.
    I was ready to order a new truck till I saw that. I am instead looking for a clean low mileage 3.0L stick shift with AC long bed truck. I won't own another 4.0L SOHC engine, (Nightmare motor in my 2003 Explorer), and there's no way I'll spend my hard earned money on an American truck with a Jap motor.
    Till I find what I want, I'll keep driving my current 1994 Ranger with it's 2.3L 5 speed which after 230k has needed only two clutch master cylinders and two transmissions, (the only drive line component to fail was the Japanese transmission). (The first trans failure was input shaft bearings, the second time was a broken shift rail and shattered 5th gear). Both failed when there was about 120K on each unit.

  14. #14
    Petty Officer 1st Class
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    minnesota
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    if the mountianeer did agood job for 200,000+ miles why not get another one?

  15. #15
    Master Chief Petty Officer F14CRAZY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    895

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    The Ford 5 speed auto isn't a very good one, based on the old A4LD, then C3...

    your Mounty, 5.0L right?...has the 4R70W, a great transmission in comparison. If you were going with a Ranger I can only suggest a manual trans (M5OD is pretty good)
    197133' Chris Craft Coho/Catalina Sedan, twin CC 327QA's, Paragon V drives. Restoration in progress1985 Bayliner Capri 1952 (19' cuddy),OMC 3.0L. Restored with the knowledge here on iBoats'70 (circa) Amphicat 6x6 AATV, future Coho tender'87 Kawasaki 650SX, '90

    Tow rig: '74 Buick LeSabre Luxus convertible 455ci cude U 4BBL factory dual exhaust

  16. #16
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    9,327

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    Quote Originally Posted by F14CRAZY View Post
    The Ford 5 speed auto isn't a very good one, based on the old A4LD, then C3...

    your Mounty, 5.0L right?...has the 4R70W, a great transmission in comparison. If you were going with a Ranger I can only suggest a manual trans (M5OD is pretty good)
    Yes, it has the 4R70W and the oil is completely flushed every 60-80k. That really helps with making it last.

    I took it for inspection last week. They lady asks if its a 1997. I said yes. She asked the mileage, I told her 230k. She looks at me like I'm lying, trying to get another vehicle through under this old registration. So she gets a stool and climbs up over the hood and compares the VIN number on the dash to the registration. It matched. She looks at the truck, then at me, and says "you take good care of it". I just smiled and said "yep" and took my seat.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  17. #17
    Lieutenant
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    Rangers are great small trucks. I have a '92 reg. cab short bed. 3.0 V6, 5spd Mazda M50 trans, 3.45 open diff. I use it t my 16' tri-hull witha v4 Johnson. weight is about ~1800lbs. Keep in mind, the '92 body style is much lighter than '93 on. while towing -Power: just fine, stopping: ok, ramp traction: never a problem, even on a gravel ramp.

    Truck has 208k miles and can still get 25+ mpg if driven carefully. Only significant repairs have been a new starter and water pump, both between 150 and 175k.

    My brother has a 2000 model, extended cab, 3.0, 4spd auto, 3.73 open geras. It did fine with my boat as well.

  18. #18
    Vice Admiral Tail_Gunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    5,382

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    The ranger will pull up to 58oo lbs in a 4.0l automatic configuration with either a 3.55 or 3.73 rear ends..4.10 gears are for the manual tranny's and ford does not recomend towing with them...

    A 3.0 in the same configuration is restricted to 2400...both configuration's need trailer tow to reach those number's...Brake pad up grades are highly recomended...The 3.0 vulcan motor is a good little motor but it is a CAR motor put in a truck....the 4.0 is a completely different animal.

    Rember a ranger is a very light little truck..stout but light.. Frankly a f 150 will get as good as gas milage as a 4.0 ranger and be a much better tow vehicle but thats another story..
    Stickly a opinion your milage may vary.

    Speed is how fast you hit the wall
    Torque is how far you move the wall"

  19. #19
    Captain
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,001

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I've owned many Ranger trucks, I've had two with 4.0L motors, one older style 4.0L and one SOHC 4.0L, both motors were trouble at low mileage. The 1993 I had had in curable oil leaks, cracked it's cylinder heads twice under warranty and finally had to be replaced at 12,000 miles, then the replacement motor did the same at 31,000. I traded it in. The SOHC motor was worse, it lost its distributor drive or oil pump drive at 3,000 miles, Ford fixed it under warranty, then again in another 2,400 miles it went again. It was replaced 5 times under warranty, and then finally at 31,000 miles, the timing chain snapped smashing all the valves and pistons. All of my trucks are very well maintained being serviced every 3,000 miles. I went back to the 2.3L 4cyl Rangers after those two and have not had any issues since. The only problem I see with these trucks is a weak clutch hydraulic system which seems to fail too often.
    The auto trans is a waste, it's a derivative of the C3/A4LD trans and in my opinion is far too light for these trucks.
    The best all around motor for towing is the 3.0L , it makes good power and has no known running issues in 20 years or more of production.
    They have apparently dropped the 3.0L engine, as well as gone to a Japanese 4 cylinder by Mazda, so in my case, unless I find a clean used truck, the Ranger is no longer an option for me if I'm buying new.

    The 4.0L in my eyes is junk, I've been a die hard Ford guy my whole life but that motor should have been scrapped years ago. Even in its former trim as a 2.8L or 2.9L it was plagued with cracked head issues. I've seen dozens of them in my years as an auto tech have issues.

    The old 2.3L / 2.5L have been rock solid as has the 3.0L but like anything else that worked they felt they had to change it. None of those motors are still in production.

    There's no way I'd buy a Ranger with the 4.0L especially since the mileage is not much better than the F150, but I'm not fond of the current F150 trucks nor their mileage. For me, I'll keep my 2.3L 1994 Ranger and keep rebuilding it as long as I can. It's been great truck for the first 230K. My 1983 went for over 500K on its original motor and trans so maybe this one will too.

  20. #20
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Goshen Indiana
    Posts
    5,603

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I have a paid for 99 ranger 4.0 and have pulled all kinds of stuff, just towed a car on a dolly last week and other than the brakes were a little weak with the addition af another vehicle it did really well.

    I pull a 16' aluminum bass style boat and the thing hardly notices it.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  21. #21
    Chief Petty Officer Mkos1980's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Macedonia Ohio
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    Reel, it sound like you got a lemon SOHC motor from the start. If you google it up the sohc is rated among many engines that have a good service record. The 4.0 SOHC motor is now used in the mustangs with just a differant intake and pcm calibration.
    90 Chaparral 2150SX 350 MAG Alpha 1
    Vortec Heads, LT4 HotCam Upgrade
    GM BowTie 1.6 Roller Rockers
    Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap Intake
    Edelbrock 600CFM Marine Carb * New MPH* 65.2
    Laser II 21 Prop 5400 RPM's Corsa Exhaust

  22. #22
    Commander zach103's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Berlin the geographic center of CT
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    i was lookin at rangers... i feel like the full size trucks tow better.. i could be completely wrong but i just felt safer having a bigger truck when towing.
    1986 Larson Senza V-175BR
    1977 Columbian Celebrity 14'

    New England Get Together.. Still getting ideas!! Come join in the fun!!
    http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....67&pagenumber=

    IN MEMORY OF Our friend Tashasdaddy Robert (bob) Griffis. October 27, 1948
    November 29 2010 RIP

  23. #23
    Commander
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Manchester, MO
    Posts
    2,453

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I've had two Explorers, a Mazda pickup and now a Ford Ranger all with the 4.0 and never had a problem with them. The first Explorer had 205,000 on it when I traded it. The only problem with the Mazda was the clutch was a little light on the ramp. The Ranger I have now is auto as were the Explorers so I don't anticipate any problems with it.

  24. #24
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    01 Mazda b4000(same exact truck as ranger) 4.0L 4x4. Pulling 18' bass boat with a 175merc. No problems. I have pulled my grandads trailor with his tractor on it though, guesstimating about 3000-4000lbs, I didnt think it was enough power to pull that much weight..took a bit to get upto speed. I couldnt imagine a ranger pulling 6000lbs..But maybe I am wrong. And what reel said about the rangers auto trannys is completely correct.. I believe its years 98-02 rangers and explorers, very bad rep on the trannys, many have failed, and mine needs to be rebuilt soon.

  25. #25
    DJ
    Guest

    Default Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

    I've towed with two Rangers I owned.

    #1. 2001 Ranger Super Cab. 3.0L auto. Trailer tow package. 3.55 axle ratio.

    It towed a 3.5K# boat OK. Power and braking were fine.

    #2. 2006 Ranger Super Cab, 3.0L Auto. Trailer tow package. This unit was an "Edge" model with the STX suspension. 3.73 axle ratio (taller tires) It towed the same.

    Both were 2WD with traction lock.

    The only issue I ever had was their handling of tongue weight. Tongue weight tended to "unload" the front wheels and made backing down a ramp a bit challenging. This could have been rectified (easily) with helper air bags on the rear springs. Or, some weight ahead of the rear axle, in the bed. Traction was never really an issue.

    The 3.0L is no powerhouse but reliable and steady.

    Some above myths dispelled.

    -The Mazda B Series is a Ranger. Not the other way around.

    -The OHC 4.0L is no comparison to the older 4.0L pushrod (2.8 and 2.9 base) engine.

    -4.0L OHC Rangers are real little powerhouses, for their size.

    Realize that the vehicle is quite light in weight. You will know you have a load behind you but you never feel unsafe.

    If you're going to tow 5K# around on a regular basis, go with an F-150.

    My 09 F-150 (2WD-Supercab, 4.6L) is getting a solid 21 MPG average. I was/am pleasantly surprised. Both my Rangers rarely acheived that.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Solid, good quality tow vehicle for under $5k.
    By dnifedem85 in forum Trailers and Towing
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: January 27th, 2009, 09:23 PM
  2. What Would be a Good Tow Vehicle
    By CapriRestorer in forum Trailers and Towing
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: January 8th, 2008, 06:10 PM
  3. What will be a good tow vehicle
    By Fonchy in forum Trailers and Towing
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: August 23rd, 2007, 12:51 AM
  4. Tow vehicle wiring Ford Explorer
    By zvilleboater in forum Trailers and Towing
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: August 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
  5. Ford Ranger Tow Vehicle
    By EvinFla in forum Trailers and Towing
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: May 2nd, 2003, 06:26 AM
  1. iboats Forum Directory - Over 100,000 forum posts organized by topic