How strict are towing capacities?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by fiasco32, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. fiasco32

    fiasco32 New Member

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    I have an 08 Explorer, 4.0L V6. Manual says its capacity is 3,500. I'm looking at a camper that comes in dry at about 2,900. GVWR is 3,800 and change. I really like the camper, but I don't want to haul unsafely. Thoughts?
     
  2. Rodger D.

    Rodger D. New Member

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    Sir

    Answer this as if Ford Marketing had an "say so".

    Then ask why etrailer.com and Uhaul.com have a higher listed pay load
    than your manual and why this becomes the legal limit of your Ford.

    As you have the Hitch installed do remember The Trailer Berake Controller too



    Rodger & Gabby
    FltSgt@msn.com
    COS
     
  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    My first question would be about the equipment on the Explorer. Do you have the towing package? A typical towing package would include things like a larger radiator, bigger fan, transmission cooler, 7-pin wiring with a brake controller and a Class III hitch. If not, addition of those things would probably increase your towing capacity. Check with Ford.

    In general, my philosophy is to never go over 80% of the rated towing capacity. I would never consider towing 3,800 pounds if your actual capacity is only 3,500.
     
  4. Flyfisherman

    Flyfisherman New Member

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    I've traveled down the road towing a trailer two ways ... (1) comfortable, things going good, enjoying the trip, and (2) white knuckled hands gripping the steering wheel in semi-terror, just trying to keep everything under control and get to where I'm going and then knowing the dreaded back. When heading out on a trip I want it to be enjoyable. And I can say from experience I can make do with the smaller, nimble towing camper then some behemoth with stuff I'd hardy use anyway. Afterall, what your going on the outing to do is more important (in my case, flyfishing), then just the equipment your towing along for some supposed comfort and convenience.

    I know this is ultra simplistic, but just suppose you had a water hose that was rated to handle 50 psi, and you know the water pressure to be 60 psi - Not so bad if it was out in the yard, but if where a sudden burst would do serious damage ... what then(?)
     
  5. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    You are limited to this tow rating by the weakest link of the TV. What is the weakest link on yours? It takes a lot of things to make up a tow rating. Engine power, cooling, suspenssion, the ability to control sway to name a few.
    And I know that with GM, a tow package does not include a larger radiator or fan, and on new units a hitch and wiring comprizes the tow package.
     
  6. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    Actually Joet, on my GM minivan, the towing package includes a HD cooling system(bigger rad and fan), wiring, HD alternator, engine oil cooler, and rear auto adjusting air suspension. The one thing it doesn't include is a hitch. So when I was car shopping, I had to look things up by VIN, and not trust the presense of a hitch to indicate a tow package. The HD cooling system could be ordered separately, and came standard with the longer wheelbase vans, just to make things more confusing. Visually I could look for the outlet in the back with the valve for the air hose, the only way you could get that was with the air suspension, and the only way you could get that was with the tow package. But with tinted glass, it meant I had to open up the rear hatch.

    I would add to your list of weakest links wheelbase.

    I would agree with the 80% number as being reasonable.
     
  7. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Look at the 2011 and 2012 vehicles
     
  8. benfrench

    benfrench Woodbridge, VA

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    So I have a 2006 Explorer V6. The hitch that is on it is 3500. The vehicle itself is rated at 5410. If you change out the hitch you will be fine. I would not tow more that 3000 on the current set-up. [2C]
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    It is unknown how strict the limits are, there are many variables. Towing a well behaved heavier trailer properly setup (vehicle & trailer) would be safer than towing a lighter one that acts up! Weight limit is a way to simplify the many variables.

    Just looked at a Avalanche at Chevrotlet.com and found
    " The Heavy-Duty Trailering Package includes the following:

    3.42 rear axle ratio
    External transmission oil cooler
    Engine oil cooler
    It also includes a 2-speed active transfer case on 4WD models"

    It is manufacturer/model dependent what a the trailer 'package' includes.
     
  10. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    I have found many inconsistancies in the towing capacity from manufactureres, and the information they have is NOT detailed enough and accurate and some times conflicting...example:

    Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (4 door) V6 3.8 liter, weight 4100 pounds, automatic transmission..towing capacity 3500 pounds(Class II hitch 3.73 gears, trailer sway control, 4 pin wire harness)

    - Jeep Liberty V6 3.7 Liter, weight 4076 pounds, automatic tranny, towing capacity 5000 with towing package (Class III hitch, 7 pin wiring harness, HD engine cooling, Power steering cooler, trailer sway control, 3.73 gears).

    Same engine, same tranny, and gear ratio, and on 24 pounds in weight difference. I e-mail Jeep and asked why the towing difference last week, no reply as of yet, but I will post their answer. Logic tells me the Wrangler unlimited CAN tow a much as the Liberty if you put the tranny cooler, Class III hitch and 7 pin harness like the Liberty has. I just don't understand why Jeep doesn't ahve the exact same towing package as the Liberty sense they both have the same power and tranny in them....doesn't make sense to me. You can add after market cooler for power sterring, tranny and even bigger radiators if you want to keep your power train cooler for towing on just about any vehicle, so bottom line, its the HP and tranny power (torque) that matters as far as how much weight the vehicle can tow, and its the coolers and hitch that determine how long it will tow.

    As you can see conflicting information. Manufacturers really need to come up with MORE info on towing specs and what is in the packages for ALL vehicles, and explain WHY they can and cannot tow a certain amount of weight. I do know that Jeep is coming out with a new V6 engine in 2012 and a deisel engine in 2013 for the Wrangler and I am curious as to the towing capacity on those.

    JJ
     
  11. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper Home is where you park it!

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    fiasco,
    You didn't specify what type of camper you were looking at.
    If your Explorer rear end is a 3.73, you can go up to around 5200 lbs.
    But, you can't tow a hybrid or TT due to frontal area restrictions.
    Ford limits the 2008 Explorer to 40 sq ft of frontal area maximum.....
     
  12. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    To add to Bupkis' point, the content of the trailer package even changes from year to year. The confusing thing with GM is that they use the same option code (v92) for trailer package for just about all models.

    GM and Ford, not sure about Chrysler, do issue towing guides that do go a little deeper into the numbers, and the components of tow packages.
    Here is Ford's http://www.ford.com/assets/pdf/towing/07RVTTgdeMay07.pdf

    It lists the Explorer with the 3.55 axle as having a 3500 lbs limit, the 3.73 as having a 5395 lbs limit. Do you know which axle you have?
     
  13. RetAF

    RetAF Member

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    Here are the detailed Ford 2008 towing specs.

    http://www.ford.com/assets/pdf/towing/07RVTTgdeMay07.pdf

    As the previous posted noted, your axle ratio and frontal area restrictions are your biggest limitations. If your Explorer had the factory tow package, you would also have some additional electrical connections for your PUP and a beefier hitch receiver.
     
  14. dgeddes

    dgeddes Member

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    The problem with the Explorers is that independent spring rear suspension and the Class II hitch they put on it. If you want to tow anything at all I would get whatever towing package they offer but swap out the Class II with a Class III hitch. The dealer will likley not do this for you, so you're going to be paying extra here, but the advantage is that the vehicle already has the transmission cooler and wiring you need to add a brake controller.

    The other option is buy it without the towing package and then install the add-ons yourself. You might actually find better value that way and be able to spec out what you want on the vehicle. Even so, I wouldn't want to pull much more than 3000 with an Explorer, even though they are a full-size SUV they have never been that great at towing.
     
  15. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    hate to say this but , a 3;42 gear is not a towing gear and the above listed items are standard equipment.
    The Z82 towing package is the following:
    Nancy: Hi Joe. I am a GMC Marketing Support Representative. How may I assist you today?


    joet: what does the Z82 trailering package consist of


    Nancy: Thank you for your question. I'll be glad to look into that for you. Which 2011 GMC model are you looking at?


    joet: 2500


    Nancy: Please allow me a few moments to check.


    Nancy: Z82 trailering equipment package includes: heavy-duty, includes trailering hitch platform and 2.5-inch receiver with 2" adapter, 7-wire harness (harness includes wires for: park lamps, backup lamps, right turn, left turn, electric brake lead, battery and ground) with independent fused trailering circuits mated to a 7-way sealed connector, wiring harness for after-market trailer brake controller (located in the instrument panel harness) and integrated trailer brake controller. There are additional model notes. Are you looking at the Work Truck, SLE, or SLT model?


    joet: does this also include HD cooling and trans cooling?


    joet looking at slt


    Nancy: No. The Z82 package includes what is listed above.


    any cooling options?


    Nancy: Give me a few moments to check the notes for the SLT.


    Nancy: For the SLT the Z82 package will be deleted if the pickup box delete is ordered. I am looking into cooling options.


    Nancy: Auxiliary external transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty air-to-oil, cooling is standard.
     
  16. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    It is not standard on the 1500.

    BTW an Avalanche ain't not 2500HD
     
  17. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    ya might be rite on a lite truck
     
  18. dgeddes

    dgeddes Member

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    I just bought a 1500, a tranny cooler is not standard. GMC and Chevy are identical in this respect.

    In my original post I misunderstood that you were thinking of buying a new Explorer, instead I see that you already have an '08. Considering that Ford states an 08 Explorer can be equipped to tow 7300 lbs, I guess it depends on what options you purchased with the truck?

    https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/rv_trailer_towing/2008/08RVsuvAub07.pdf
     
  19. General Beluga

    General Beluga Member

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    "In general, my philosophy is to never go over 80% of the rated towing capacity. I would never consider towing 3,800 pounds if your actual capacity is only 3,500."

    I couldn't agree more!

    John
     
  20. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    I have a Ford Explorer, and while it's great at puling our light trailer (factory dry weight of 990 pounds, realistic weight about 1300 with everything added), I'd never dream of pushing it to our beyond its towing limits. The whole safety argument aside, it can't be good for the Ford to have that kind of extra strain put on it. I'd say the same for any other make of vehicle. You'll tow more easily, more safely, and your vehicle will last longer if you tow below stated limits.
     

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