Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Dinghy Towing: advice on which towable vehicle
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 > advice on which towable vehicle

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northshore

northshore

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Posted: 04/10/20 06:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been looking and exploring different vehicles to tow behind our truck camper.
We have come to the conclusion that an older Ford Ranger would work the best for us.
We have found quite a few vehicles that will fit the bill, condition, mileage and that they are manual transmissions. We have found these two Rangers
2003 Ranger manual trans, 4X4 with the "stepside" bed and extended cab 4 dr.
2002 Ranger manual trans 4X2 regular short bed, and extended cab 4 dr.
Both vehicles are similar mileage, condition, color and engines.
We do not do the off road thing, the vehicle will be for transportation when we get to camping area, 4X4 or 4X2 does not make ANY difference to us. Again cost, condition, color every thing is same same to us.
My question is; what truck will be best for dinghy towing? Is there advantage or disadvantage to the 4x4, or the 2 wheel drive.
I have never "dinghy" towed before maybe this is all mute and there is NO difference but I thought asking the experts would be a good idea.
Any and all ideas or comments would be welcome.

MDKMDK

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Posted: 04/10/20 06:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While the individual owner's manuals have the manufacturer's rules about towing, this website has general info on towing by year/make/model.

https://www.motorhome.com/download-dinghy-guides/

Looks like 2002-2003 Rangers are flat towable.
Your truck will have to be able to pull the weight, and an aux braking system in the Ranger will probably be required based on the GVWR being over 3000lbs.


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LadyRVer

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Posted: 04/10/20 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I towed several different vehicles behind all my motorized rv's. I never towed a 4x4. I recently traded my truck camper for a travel trailer, but I think I would have chosen the 4x2 Ranger if I was looking at the two of them. If you are thinking of doing a lot of off-roading, then the 4x4, but if just normal errands and day trips, the 4x2 would be great.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 04/10/20 07:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rangers hold up well but they are 17-18 years old. Check maintenance records closely.


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Y-Guy

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Posted: 04/10/20 09:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those casually looking at what they could tow four down the Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing Guides is a great place to start. It provide a great overview, but doesn’t get into many details.

For those that know more details; make, model, transmission, engine, etc. Then the REMOCO Towing Store is a great resource. It will tell you more details about towing; if you can, limitations, if you can’t or if a Lube Pump might solve the limitation.

But the ultimate authority is the actual Owners Manual that came with the vehicle. In most cases you can do a Google Search with the year make and model to find one online. Bu you will want to verify with the actual owners manual of that vehicle to be sure.

There are users that find out that they can tow four down just fine, going against what the manufacture states. If you go this route you’re on your own if there are any damages, this is why many won’t risk violating the warranty by towing against the owners manual recommendation.

Even vehicles that could be towed one year might not be recommended the next year, either changes to electronics, transmission, engine or the bean counters can all influence the change.


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mowermech

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Posted: 04/11/20 06:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Please keep in mind that not all 2 wheel drive manual transmissions are towable four down! If the bearings and seals burn out due to lack of lubrication while being towed, no warranty will cover it, you get to pay for it out-of-pocket.
By the same token, not all 4X4 vehicles can be flat towed. It depends on the transfer case; if there is a Neutral position in the T-case, it MIGHT be flat towable. If there is not a Neutral position, it is probably NOT flat towable.
As has been stated many times, the vehicle Owners Manual is the final authority on towing.
For me, the best towed is a Jeep Wrangler, even though off-roading is not something I do these days. Oh, wait, this is Montana; driving on some County Roads IS "off-roading"!
I like my Jeep. IMO, it is comfortable, reliable, fun to drive, and since it is more than 11 years old, it has PERMANENT registration.
Update: What with construction that just started (destruction phase) on Hwy 312 about a mile or two from home, there is currently an "off-road" experience right there! That little stretch of highway is rougher than any "slick-rock" trail near Moab, UT!

* This post was edited 04/12/20 06:34am by mowermech *


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MDKMDK

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Posted: 04/11/20 06:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just another note about the warranty concerns.
The OP is looking at either a 2002 or 2003 Ranger.
I think the warranty concerns are probably long since moot.

Hank85713

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Posted: 04/11/20 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 94 ranger with the 4.0 2wd 5speed trans. Although not the same as what you are looking at I am in the process of making it a towed vehicle for us. The grandkids want to go fishing etc so my plan is to add a ladder rack to carry the 12ft alum boat I have. Park the rv and use the ranger.

OBTW it has over 300000 miles and is in great shape. Generally my daily driver so yes they are pretty bullet proof. You did not indicate the engines but some of the OHC engines had some issues with them. Other than that I havent heard of many problems. Go here: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum35/ for all the ranger info you might need. The Ranger station is also a good source. I have paid less than $6K over the years on other than standard maint on it. Just had all suspension bushings R&Rd ($1500) but it was worth it since everything was original. Road master sells the tow kits but if you do an internet search they can be found pretty cheap, I got mine from a guy here for postage payment. A brake kit will run a bit but again they can be found on Craig list etc for much less than new. So even if it takes a little bit to get into shape, sure beats the $3o-40K a new vehicle costs and still require the tow accessories.

northshore

northshore

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Posted: 04/11/20 01:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hank thanks for your reply, as I mentioned in my original post, both the 02 and the 03 are, from all the info I can find is that they are both towable. I also have talked with a guy who has sold his Motorhome and will make a good deal on the tow bar and supplemental brake system, with all cables etc. Basically every thing needed to flat tow except the base plate of course. Both of these Rangers are in the 100K mile range and seem to be in pretty good shape.
My question is; anything to look look out for between the 4 wheel drive and the 2 wheel drive. Im guessing nothing much to think about, in that regard

Hank85713

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Posted: 04/11/20 03:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

northshore, as noted earlier 2wd vs 4x is strictly up to you. 4x is more complex and just adds more potential problems. As I said look at the 2 sites I mentioned. Several times I have read about the 4x systems having issues, just dont really remember all. Since both are OBD2 a scan gauge could be a good investment to have and take on a test drive. It will point out issues and codes that maybe laying dorment in the system. Also 4x get a lesser bit of milage than the 2wd. Mine weighs close to 4000lbs so that could be a factor for you. I saw an ad from a salvage yard in yuma or kalif area that had used tow parts and they were cheap, particularly the base plates. just need to do a search for used parts. Check craigs list in your area and then move out to close by states. I wish we had a explorer sport with the 4 doors but last I looked they were way over priced and none had the manual trans and I think the auto's required some sort of thing from the dealer? Anyhow if you get either one like I said do a good test drive with a scan gauge (autozone/campworld etc). Then plan to do a complete service to inculde all fluids ignition parts etc. But like I said smaller amounts are still better than the cost of a new vehicle in the long run.

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