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Old 05-23-2016
smalltowniowa's Avatar
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Towing question?!?!

I just bought my 2011 Ford Ranger Sport this past March. The wife is wanting a camper so, now I have to figure what to get. My truck is the 4dr sport model with a 5 speed manual behind a 4.0 v6. The truck also came equipped with the factory towing package. My owners Manual specifies I can tow roughly just shy of 3200 Lbs. total. I also have to keep the trailer frontal area or what i call wind resistance to no more than 50 square feet. I don't even know where to start looking, I really don't want a popup, but if that's what I have to get then so be it. It's all so overwhelming with all these options weights and etc. I was looking at a camper with a gross weight of 2995 Lbs, but the frontal area comes in at 65 square feet. I don't know if 15 square feet over the max limit will make a difference or not. This is my first truck and first time even looking into buying a camper, So any and all help is Greatly appreciated. thanks again.
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Old 05-23-2016
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For what it's worth, the automatic version of you truck is rated for almost 6,000 lbs. The manual's ratings are reduced to prevent claims of premature clutch failure. So, you can tow more than the book value with your truck, it's just going to cause more wear on the clutch. But if you're not towing the camper every day, and know how to properly drive a manual, then you're not going to even notice the difference in the long run.


With that being said, I wouldn't discount a pop-up. Modern Pop-ups get pretty elaborate and "spacious", and you get more for the weight with one. My family has a smaller Coleman pop-up (bought it new on 01) and we love it. It's easy to step up, just as stable as a conventional trailer, and my truck has no problems pulling it.

Pop-up is the way to go IMO,but I'm sure you could find a conventional trailer that would fit your needs as well.
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Old 05-24-2016
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As far as towing goes, there are two things you must keep in mind at all times. Two words. Can, and may.

You are only legally allowed to pull x amount of weight with a given vehicle. If you exceed this amount, you can end up with a nice ticket and cannot move the vehicle until the weight is brought back into regulation. To make matters worse, if you get into an accident, even if the weight of your vehicle doesn't come into play AND wasn't your fault, your insurance company can throw their hands up and leave you with the bill. So, therefor, you 'may' pull X weight.

Then we have 'can'. Your vehicle may be capable of pulling x amount of gross weight, but this goes directly back to 'may'. Of course, both numbers have to match, meaning not only does your truck have to be capable of pulling the weight required but also legally, too.

Now this is where I'll probably catch a little flack, and so be it. I love the Ranger, I really do; but I have to say, if you plan to pull something often with a good amount of weight to it, you want a full size truck. The Ranger will do the job, and given you have a 4.0 that makes it better, but a full size F150 or higher will certainly preform better.

However, that being said, I've seen numerous people make the Ranger do more than work for their needs. The Ranger is completely capable of doing what you're going to ask of it. As further food for thought, you may want to consider upgrading your Ranger to preform better to the task, and increase the longevity of your vehicle in the process. Although not 100% necessary for pulling a camper, they certainly are worth considering.

I'm not all that familiar with manual transmissions, so I'm not sure if this mod will apply for you or not. With automatic transmissions, there's a small cooler behind the front bumper to cool the transmission fluid. A good idea here is to replace the factory cooler with a cooler that's the same height as the original, but wider for added heat dissipation. Heat is one of the major killers of automatic transmissions, but as I mentioned, I'm not super familiar with their manual counterparts, but I'd imagine the same holds true. Two supporting mods for a larger transmission cooler is both a temperature gauge for it as well as an electric fan to further cool the transmission fluid. Not only will the fluid last longer, but your transmission will also run cooler too, extending it's life.

Regardless of what transmission you have, taking a good look at the rear shock absorbers and leaf spring packs is a very good idea. If everything looks fine, then nothing further is required. Of course, you can give your suspension an upgrade with stronger rear shocks, as the hitch receiver will add more weight to the rear shock absorbers and leaf spring packs.

Another good modification is to replace your mechanical clutch fan with an electric fan. With this, the engine won't have to turn the mechanical fan constantly, giving back a little horsepower. You could also wire in a 'towing mode' for the fan where the high side of the fan is constantly on, making sure the engine remains at a good temperature.

Of course, whether or not you do any of that is completely up to you. Definitely do, however, brush up on your local laws about legal weight and all that.
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Old 05-24-2016
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"Can" and "May"

Can is the ability to do something

May is the permission to do something

May is the legal limit, the permission, to tow up to a certain weight with a specific vehicle with specific options, i.e. engine size, transmission, trailer hitch.

You can be ticketed for being over weight, and your insurance can legally "walk away" from any claim if "you were operating the vehicle in an unlawful manner"
Over weight is an unlawful manner.

So I would keep it within the allowed weight if you plan on doing many camping trips.

If you were just hauling an overweight load once then the Ranger "can" do it, no problem with ability
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Old 05-24-2016
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I appreciate all the advice and info, i'll look further into it and see if I can't maybe find a happy medium, I'll just go ahead and keep it with in the limits, I don't need my insurance walking away, in case something does happen. :) thank you all
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