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Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

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  • 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.


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

  • #2
    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
      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

      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.


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


        • #5
          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.
          Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!


          • #6
            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.
            2008 Carolina Skiff J16
            1994 Nissan 25hp


            • #7
              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
                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
                  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
                    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
                      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
                        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
                          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
                            Re: Is Ford Ranger a good Tow vehicle?

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


                            • #15
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                              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