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Old 09-06-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
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Minor Dilemma...

This is probably the most moot decision I have ever had to face.

Instead of replacing my 2013 Jetta (Dieselgate buyback) with another sedan, I decided to kick that can down the road for two years or so. I bought my parent's 2002 Ford Explorer (4.0L V6, 97,000 miles). I've been servicing it since 2006, so I know the vehicle well.

Between fixing up the Explorer to be a daily driver again and making my 2003 F350 chore truck (5.4L V8, 135,000 miles) civilized enough to be a tow vehicle, I'll be sinking about $5,000 into the two trucks. (The money is a non-issue, since I won't have a car payment for another 2-3 years. $5K/2-3yrs= $150-$200/mo. vs. $450/mo for the Jetta)

This leads to the dilemma, since I will now own two vehicles that are capable of towing my trailer. Both were factory equipped with the tow package (transmission cooler, OEM hitch, etc.).


The question becomes, "Which one to actually use?"

+ The Explorer is a MUCH more comfortable vehicle. The front seats were replaced with a set from an Eddie Bower Edition.
+ The Explorer has a rear seat and cargo space for carrying stuff.
+ The Explorer got new rear springs and struts this past winter.
+ The Explorer got a complete front end rebuild 2 weeks ago, including new struts and springs. (Wow! It is now a 1/4-ton truck again.)
+ The Explorer is only a little larger than a car. Easier to park and use once the towing is done.
- The Explorer currently has an 1.25" hitch and 4-pin connector. They will have to be upgraded ($300 + a Saturday + a brake controller) to make it totally ready to tow my trailer.

+ The F350 has more than enough power for towing.
+ The F350 will barely notice 500# tongue weight.
+ The F350 is totally ready to tow my trailer now.
+ The F350 has more capable brakes
+ The F350 has manually locking hubs and stays in the 4x4 mode the driver selects.
+ The F350 is longer and heavier. It won't be influenced significantly by trailer sway.
+ The F350 has a higher driving position, less glare at night, better visibility
- The F350 has a higher driving position, tougher to get in and out of.
- The F350 is a standard cab so it has no room for extra stuff
- The F350 is a big, heavy vehicle.
- The F350 carries commercial plates; Restrictions on roads/lanes even when not towing.


So, it seems to boil down to choosing between "enough truck to make the trailer behave" or "being comfortable while trailering"

Nope, not that simple. The Explorer is going to be my daily driver for the next 2-3 years (30,000 miles per year) so it will be receiving quite a bit of abuse outside of towing duties. But, is that a bad thing? By staying on top of maintenance items, it'll always be ready to tow.

GAH! Looks like I am going to have to try both. See which one feels better on the trip to/from our campsite and for doing side trips.

Looks like SWMBO and I will have to play Rock, Paper, Scissors as part of hitching up.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:36 AM   #2
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Did you consider a vehicle that can carry 2-3 vs one that can carry 4-5 inside? If it matters, it would be a factor too.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:39 AM   #3
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Would you use a WD hitch on the Explorer? I had the same SUV before someone totaled it. Loved that 'truck'. If it was me, I'd sacrifice a little comfort to more than double my towing capacity. The Exploder will tow it, but with full tanks and enough gear / people in the SUV, you are probably getting close to max I'd imagine?
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norty1 View Post
Did you consider a vehicle that can carry 2-3 vs one that can carry 4-5 inside? If it matters, it would be a factor too.
There is only 2 of us. 3 if you count the fur baby. So seating for 2 vs. seating for 5 is not a factor. Hence the dilemma.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bansai View Post
Would you use a WD hitch on the Explorer? I had the same SUV before someone totaled it. Loved that 'truck'. If it was me, I'd sacrifice a little comfort to more than double my towing capacity. The Exploder will tow it, but with full tanks and enough gear / people in the SUV, you are probably getting close to max I'd imagine?
I totally agree with you, "Loved that 'truck'". It is the most car-like truck I have ever driven. My dad often raved about the tightness of it's turning radius.

Unquestionably, I AM going to use the WDH no matter which tow vehicle gets used.

The Explorer has a 1.25" receiver at the moment. Brand new 2" receivers are plentiful. Undoing the rusty bolts will be the hardest part.

The Explorer 4-door 4x4 is limited to 7,300# when using a WDH. My trailer was 4,300# from the factory. Even fully loaded, including 400# of water, we've got a decent margin.

Gear? Nothing. Everything stows in the trailer. A habit a developed when we were towing with her truck.

Total people? Just the 2 of us + a border collie.

There's the problem: the less capable truck is more than adequate and more comfortable.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
I totally agree with you, "Loved that 'truck'". It is the most car-like truck I have ever driven. My dad often raved about the tightness of it's turning radius.

Unquestionably, I AM going to use the WDH no matter which tow vehicle gets used.

The Explorer has a 1.25" receiver at the moment. Brand new 2" receivers are plentiful. Undoing the rusty bolts will be the hardest part.

The Explorer 4-door 4x4 is limited to 7,300# when using a WDH. My trailer was 4,300# from the factory. Even fully loaded, including 400# of water, we've got a decent margin.

Gear? Nothing. Everything stows in the trailer. A habit a developed when we were towing with her truck.

Total people? Just the 2 of us + a border collie.

There's the problem: the less capable truck is more than adequate and more comfortable.
In that case the Explorer wins. (imo). Might make the difference between getting into a spot that has size restrictions (combined TV / Trailer length) too. I've had a few campgrounds ask me how long my truck is AND the trailer together. Just sounds like enough vehicle to do the job.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:05 PM   #7
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It is a little hard to say. I would hook them both up and try towing the trailer. I had a 2002 F150 with the 5.4V8, It would have no problem with a 20ft trailer. However, I am not sure you can say the same about a V6. My guess is the Explorer would have its hands full and would not be fun to drive if you have any steep/long grades.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:06 PM   #8
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The really true dilemma, is why would you consider towing a TT that has a gross weight rating of 6,000 lbs with a Ford explorer that has a max tow limit of 5500 lbs


Maybe there is a reason that the explorer only has a 1.25" hitch and 4-pin connector






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Old 09-06-2016, 12:13 PM   #9
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Explorer 4WD 4.0 V-6 3,500c

Explorer 4WD 4.0 V-6 5,500d

Explorer 4WD 4.0 V-6 3,500c

Explorer 4WD 4.6 V-8 7,000d



c is a 3.55 axel
d is a 3.73 axel





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Old 09-06-2016, 12:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedrck46 View Post
snip... with a Ford explorer that has a max tow limit of 5500 lbs
He quoted a 7300lb towing capacity though. Guessing the WD hitch makes that happen. Just going off what was posted though. Great thing about having a backup TV is you aren't married to the explorer if it isn't the right choice for every trip..
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