Towing Upgrades

Silver Surfer

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I've just started towing a 23' travel trailer that weighs around 5600lbs loaded (GVWR 6200) and a tongue weight that will be at or near the max 750. Payload will be 100-200 under max. Using a fastway E2 WDH. We've recently thought about taking it on serious miles around the country and up higher elevation places (5000' +). It tows the trailer just fine so far but we haven't been up long 6% grades yet and have thought about the Ford engine tune (since it comes with a warranty over some others).

What type of upgrades would you recommend, if any? I am under the assumption that since we are operating within Ford's towing max numbers that we shouldn't "need" anything but am curious what others with more experience might choose to do with their Ranger in a similar situation. Tires, brakes, suspension, engine etc...?





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Robanno

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Just finished a 3k trip, SF bay area to Jackson Hole Wy, through Ca, Sierra mts, Nevada, Idaho, Jackson Hole and back and here's what I think.
20 Lariat supercrew, dealer installed Redarc controller, lots of functional add ons, bed cover, carpet, boxes etc.
20' trailer about 4500 loaded, 500 tw with wdh, did not use sway control bar. 2 people 1 med size dog
Truck had zero problem towing trailer even in the mts, Some the the grades through the Sierras engine would be turning about 3500 -3800 rpm to maintain 55-60 mph. Flatlands would be about 2200 rpm for 60 mph.
Used tow/haul mode entire time.
On downgrades, tranny assist braking worked great. While descending hill if I stepped on brake slightly to slow down the tranny would drop down a gear or 2, if I stepped on brake harder to slow down tranny would drop another gear. Think I only used the manual braking override on tbc a couple times on whole trip. Nice feature!
Overall very pleased with the trucks capabilities.
Couple observations though
Truck seems alittle soft in back with these shocks and may go to a different type.
Truck sway control seemed to work except when we got caught in some 20 -30mph crosswinds in Nev. For about 100 miles some white knuckle driving. May add a rear sway bar as an added measure to help with this.
As noted by a previous poster, due to the trucks narrow width, it wants to travel in a different line than the trailer. Not terrible except where tire chains have worn paths on freeway, like in the Sierras through Truckee, .ca.
Don't like the small gas tank. Had to start thinking about getting gas when gauge showed half. Avg 13.7 flatlands, 11.5 in hills and 13.2 overall.
Temps mid 90s through Ca, parts of Nev, down to 40s and 50s Id and Wy.
Never a problem with engine temp.
Truck did everything I wanted, was comfortable, reliable and with a few adjustments should be perfect for what I bought it for.
And as far as the Redarc tbc , worked ok, at times alittle sensitive. Have it tuned down to 3 on knob. Manual override is touchy. If using press gently or the trailer brakes will lock up to quickly.
Thanks Rob
 
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Silver Surfer

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I appreciate the detailed trip report Rob!

I observed similar mileage from Sonoma to Duncan Mills a few days ago. I also felt that perhaps the back end was soft on some of the small bumps in the road but since this is my first time towing anything I wasn't sure if that was normal or not. I do not have the FX4 package. I agree on the gas tank size being a possible annoyance on longer trips.

That sounds like a good trip you had! I plan to head up to Hood River from the bay area next week then onto Idaho/Wyoming so I'll get to test out those long steep grades (and the oregon highways with studded tracks) and sounds like I will be happy with the truck as is for now.

Thanks again!
Wade
 

J Krutsch

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I tow at about 5300 lbs. Stock engine has all the power it needs, even in the mountains. Initially had some sway, or at least a "squirmy feeling in heavy cross winds. Installed Hellwig rear sway bar, blew stock tires up to 50 lbs and fine tuned the E2 WDH. That did the trick. I can still feel the cross winds if they are strong, but the "squirmy" feel is gone.
I too wish it had a reasonable size gas tank when towing. 180 miles (150 to be safe) is not much range when traveling in Eastern Oregon.
 

ArkyRanger

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I tow at about 5300 lbs. Stock engine has all the power it needs, even in the mountains. Initially had some sway, or at least a "squirmy feeling in heavy cross winds. Installed Hellwig rear sway bar, blew stock tires up to 50 lbs and fine tuned the E2 WDH. That did the trick. I can still feel the cross winds if they are strong, but the "squirmy" feel is gone.
I too wish it had a reasonable size gas tank when towing. 180 miles (150 to be safe) is not much range when traveling in Eastern Oregon.
That looks like the same setup as what I pull with my 2020 Ranger. Grand Designs Imagine 17 MKE. Just got it a couple months ago and only had one trip before it got too cold. It had a lot more sway than I would like and I was looking at installing the Hellwig Sway Bar - it sounds like it improved your "pulling" experience??? Thanks
 

MTB-BRUH

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Air bags are a good idea.. I really like them. Also I throw at least 5 gallons of fuel in the back just in case. The range is by far my least favorite thing about long distance towing. I typically have a dirtbike with my anyway so I’m carrying fuel for that but just in case I bring 10 gallons for peace of mind
 

J Krutsch

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That looks like the same setup as what I pull with my 2020 Ranger. Grand Designs Imagine 17 MKE. Just got it a couple months ago and only had one trip before it got too cold. It had a lot more sway than I would like and I was looking at installing the Hellwig Sway Bar - it sounds like it improved your "pulling" experience??? Thanks
Yes, it made a big difference. If you get one I suggest you watch a you-tube video on installation. The instructions that come with it are rather worthless.
 

RangerAJS

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I appreciate the detailed trip report Rob!

I observed similar mileage from Sonoma to Duncan Mills a few days ago. I also felt that perhaps the back end was soft on some of the small bumps in the road but since this is my first time towing anything I wasn't sure if that was normal or not. I do not have the FX4 package. I agree on the gas tank size being a possible annoyance on longer trips.

That sounds like a good trip you had! I plan to head up to Hood River from the bay area next week then onto Idaho/Wyoming so I'll get to test out those long steep grades (and the oregon highways with studded tracks) and sounds like I will be happy with the truck as is for now.

Thanks again!
Wade
Hey! We’re heading out to Casini Ranch as soon as I hit 1,000 miles. Glad to see another Sonoma County ranger owner! Small world we live in.
 

DT444T

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have thought about the Ford engine tune (since it comes with a warranty over some others).

Ford tune is expressly forbidden to use while towing. I would suggest the 5star with the added warranty.

Get a good weight distribution setup, WITH sway control. WAY better than bags. I have both and the bags basically just correct the squat, while the WDH and sway control make it MUCH nicer.
 
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Leftcoast

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Ford tune is expressly forbidden to use while towing. I would suggest the 5star with the added warranty.

Get a good weight distribution setup, WITH sway control. WAY better than bags. I have both and the bags basically just correct the squat, while the WDH and sway control make it MUCH nicer.
Apparently the Ford Tune will soon be OK for towing. Ford has sent letters to some people here to that effect. That would go hand in hand with the Ford powertrain warranty.
 

aslusers

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We put over 8,900 miles towing our TT (4,500 lbs) and our MPG depends on how fast we go and type of terrain we are on. If we go 70 mph, we will get 9 mpg. @ 65 mph: 12 mpg; @60: 14 mpg. We often go through Appalachian mountains and the average is 10 - 12 MPG (Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York). When it comes to downhill, we love our engine brake taking over and keep us safe.

We like the size of our gas tank as we have to go to restroom every two hours anyway. The range is 180 miles and we prefer to get gas whenever we drove at least 140 miles.

tempImageTALm6n.jpg
We are very happy with how powerful the towing and torque this truck have given to us. We use E2WDH and it works very well.

One of those day with temperature outside around 10 degrees F and our driveway was icy. I was unable to tow our TT. Could not move more than an inch and our tires spinning. I thought we are stuck and have to cancel our vacation. All suddenly, I remember we have the FX4 package. So, I just simply click the Terrian Management from normal to grass/snow/icy and waited until the truck is in this mode. I just shifted from P to D and it moved smoothly as nothing has happened at all. Wow! Glad we got this option.

What is the best part of this truck is that whenever we are not towing, the MPG is incredible awesome and get 23 - 25 MPG when I go to work everyday.
 

Sashimi_Moto

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Good thread and great feedback. The Eibachs improved towing over the FX4 shocks, this I can confirm. I think for those towing a lot the swaybar or air-bags are a worthwhile investment. If you're not getting much squat, may be just the bar, if you tongue weight is max and have quite a bit of squat, bags may be more optimal to both add spring and return the height.

I will echo what others have said - the Engine/trans are definitely up to the task and are fine as-is. The rear suspension for long distance/heavy towing needs some love.
 

t4thfavor

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So I'm in the same boat, my tongue is pretty high (haven't measured it yet, but the squat is not bad), and my trailer is around 6K.

I'm ordering the Fox 2.0 kit, and the sumo springs 1000# kit. worst case, I;ll install the helwig sway bar.

Towing as it is isn't bad, but the bumpy roads here cause a little more floating and bouncing than I care for, especially when there's a railroad crossing like every 10 miles.
 
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Sashimi_Moto

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I hemmed and hawed a bunch between the Hellwig rear bar and air bags. When I saw how much the bar was I decided to go for the bags. I just ordered the Firestone Ride Rites from Etrailer and they should arrive on the 9th, after install and some usage I can follow up. I chose these because they don't have the internal jounce and because I like the idea of putting the rear back where it belongs when loaded up so when I'm towing at night my headlights are where they should be. The rear sway bar doesn't give me that.

I installed the ride rites on my motorhome so it should be lightyears easier on my Ranger.
 

ArkyRanger

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Yes, it made a big difference. If you get one I suggest you watch a you-tube video on installation. The instructions that come with it are rather worthless.
OK, thanks, I'll definitely watch the installation video. My mods for towing - so far: 1) brake controller, 2) ordered Eibach shocks, 3) ordered Ford Performance tuner, 4) ordered Hellwig anit-sway bar. Will report back once installed and after a camping trip.
 

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