towing with my ranger - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 04-06-2008
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towing with my ranger

i have a 2004 ford ranger FX4 and i pull my 17 ft mako around ALOT in the summer. i wanted to do something to help my tranny when towing. i am stuck between the bama tuner and a shift kit. i dont care about hp i want what is best for the tranny bc i dont want to have to replace it if i can help it... thanks
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Old 04-06-2008
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You can get a tranny cooler, which is recommended if you are going to be towing for long distances and quite often.
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Old 04-06-2008
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If you don't have a tranny cooler that is the first thing I would do. The next is change your fluid regularly. To my understanding you should change your trans fluid sooner if you tow alot. Synthetic fluid might be a good idea as well.
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Old 04-06-2008
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If it's auto, turn the O/D off. Yeah, a no-brainer I've heard, but Dad's Exploder is now paying the price.

Just my $0.02,

Chance
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Old 04-06-2008
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Since you have an FX4 I believe you have a tranny cooler already; not the best but still present.

When I was talking with Doug from Bama Tuners I thought he said he could adjust shift points for towing. So wouldn't that be the same thing as a shift kit? Plus you'd be able to switch around programs. Someone correct me if I'm talking out of my bung-hole.
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Old 04-06-2008
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yea i already have a trans cooler and i change the fluid every 30k...what is better a bama or a shift kit?
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Old 04-06-2008
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Bama for sure.

Seeing as you have a 2004, the shift kit wouldn't do much of anything (a transgo that is)
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Old 04-07-2008
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Or you could get some new gears to help it on the take off too that always helps but may your mpg a lil!!!
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Old 04-07-2008
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Get a tuner and swap to a manual tranny...

I still don't get why some people WANT to tow with rangers... They were never meant for towing things like a 17ft trailer... Not even close... LIGHT DUTY TRUCK... I'm not trying to be or sound like an a$$... Just don't see the point in things like this... Maybe I'm alone on this one though...
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Old 04-07-2008
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Trevor...sorry to spoil your fun.....but manuals REALLLLY can't tow worth a crap at all!!

Auto trucks can tow what.....5600lbs total. Yea...light duty compaired to what i'm used to, 15,000lbs+, light duty is right about the rangers.


Add a BETTER trans cooler. Stock one is small.....get a nice Flex-A-Lite one. I run a 18,000 lb one in my '71 chevy cranking out 400hp. Gotta keep that trans cool yo.
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Old 04-07-2008
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well when you cant afford to put gas in a huge A$$ v8 you will tow with what money allows and trading my ranger for a v8 is crazy
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Old 04-07-2008
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v8's get nearly the same mpgs as a ranger, my silverado got 17 city 20 highway with the little v8, and it would tow a 22' boat or a car on our 16ft flat bed no problem.
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Old 04-07-2008
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A Ranger will tow just fine with minimal modification. You do need to know the limits of its capability though. It is a lightweight and will tow lightweight. I have been towing my race car on trailer (3,500 lbs towed) with associated gear (800 lbs on the bed) for over twenty years.

The first Ranger I towed with had a 2.9L engine. It had to work very hard pull that combination but held up well. Now with my 4.0L engine it pulls up many hills without a down shift and little if any loss of speed.

This weekend I towed both ways over the Grapevine on I-5 North of LA. That is some steep towing and I did have to shift into third but was able to maintain 65 mph unless traffic slowed me down.

I know an automatic is recommended for towing but I have always preferred a manual transmission and have no problems with them. I learned to never tow in OD with a manual but have heard it is OK with an automatic as long as it isn't constantly shifting up and down.

I use a BAMA tuner but of course that has no effect on the manual transmission. From what I have heard the BAMA tuner works very well to control the shifting with an automatic.
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Old 04-07-2008
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I guess it all depends on what you want to tow. I know I didn't spend $10k on my truck to tow with it, knowing a ranger isn't meant to tow stuff like that. Light duty stuff is fine, I wouldn't pull anything longer than say 10ft without fullsize axles with a 5.0L with trans to fit accordingly and gears in the axles (After I do my SFA swap)

And yes, the BAMA tuner is good with shift points on the auto, but it's still going to give you the same power gains. The only difference is of course, you control the shifting instead of the truck controlling the shifting.
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Old 04-07-2008
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it all depends on the trailer. ive towed a 33' travel trailer before...... BUT it does help it was just the chassis. so depending on the load or trailer type its hard to say whats too much for a ranger if the poster does not mention what kind of trailer it is and what its hauling.
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Old 04-07-2008
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Yea, I could go along with the "who would tow with their ranger" thing, but my reasoning is:

My truck is paid off, I could care less whwat breaks, I can fix it. I didn't plan on towing when I bought the ranger...or else I would have got a 250
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Old 04-07-2008
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I wouldn't say I tow regularly, but I do tow from time to time. Everything from a 16' lowboy trailer to a 19' Bay Stealth to a 6x12' enclosed trailer, my auto handled it fine.

After towing my dads 19' Bay Stealth, I doubt you'll have any problems at all with a 17' Mako. You'll not be burning up any speed records, and realistically you might expect 13-15 mpg, the Ranger will do it and it'll do it safely. As long as the trailer weight doesn't exceed ~5,000 pounds, you're fine.
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