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Old 09-05-2011, 08:40 AM   #1
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WD Hitch

We just bought a Jayco 154BH which is classified as an ultralite. I am towing it with a 1989 Ford Ranger 4x4 Automatic V6 which should (according to the owners manual) be able to easily handle the 3k pounds or so this thing goes loaded. When we took it out on our first trip, we stayed local and were only on the highway for about 30 minutes. It did alright for the most part but it seemed to be always bogged somewhat. Especially hitting hills. My previous towing experience is popups and utility trailers so this is the heaviest thing I've ever towed.

We are planning a fall trip that will take us through the mountains. I'm a little worried about burning up the truck so I have a few questions. Is that normal when you're tugging along a heavier load? Should I tow in Drive or OD? Would a Weight Distributing hitch help? And lastly, how helpful are transmission coolers? Should I put one on?

Thanks everyone and sorry for my ignorance.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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The real test of whether to use overdrive or not is: When towing in overdrive, does the transmission shift back and forth frequently.?? If the answer is yes, do not use overdrive, keep it in drive and limit your speed to 60 mph.

A weight distribution hitch is used primarily to keep the trailer and tow vehicle level. If your Ranger squats in the rear when hooked to the trailer, then yes, you need a weight distribution hitch, which also helps to some degree to control sway. The addition of a sway control device would help control sway even further.

Your vehicle already uses a transmission cooler which runs through one of the tanks on your radiator. The addition of a small in-line transmission cooler (available at Advance Auto, etc.) in the return line to the transmission would help even further.
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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jimboc -- Does your ranger have a tow package? If not, you might not have the rearend gearing required to pull againt the drag you get from the tt. Weight is one thing you need to watch and drag is a drive train killer. To answer your question , yes the mountains might be a ranger killer if not properly equiped. Check with your local fore dealer about what comes in the tow package , then compare to your truck. Larry ps you might find the frontal sq. area ( front of the tv & tt exposed to the head wind) chart for your truck on a ford site.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #4
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Watch your oil pressure with that truck... I used mine for towing a 25' TT but it was a little dicey. How fast are you towing it at?.. Should work OK at speeds below 65mph
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:22 PM   #5
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JimboC,

The GVWR on the 2012 154Bh is 3,200lbs, and with the low CCC it will be very easy to be pushing the TT's GVWR once loaded. A lot of the older Rangers came stock with a 3:45 rear end, not ideal for towing and will cause issues on hills, and will be a big struggle in the mountains.

IMO it sounds like the Ranger is getting close to it's weight limits and drive train gearing, thus the poor performance.

Bob
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy W. View Post
A weight distribution hitch is used primarily to keep the trailer and tow vehicle level. If your Ranger squats in the rear when hooked to the trailer, then yes, you need a weight distribution hitch, which also helps to some degree to control sway. The addition of a sway control device would help control sway even further.

.
The purpose of the WD hitch is not to level the TV or the trailer. It's used to transfer the correct amount of weight back to the front end to help with steering stability and properly adjusted, to reduce excessive wear on front tires and suspension components caused by transfering too much weight back to the front axle. Its best to consult the trucks manual for WD towing. The manual is probably going to tell you to either return the truck's front height to the unhitched height or to split the difference between unhitched and unhitched height. Rear squat is not usually addressed as the concern is with getting the front axle right and letting the rear take care of itself. If the truck squats too much or hits the stops, you can raise the rear with springs or airbags, but that's not going to change the payload rating of the truck.
Just because the truck and trailer look level, that doesn't insure that you have the correct weight transfer and that steering is the way it should be..
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:11 PM   #7
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A WD hitch will not make the small 2.9 engine have any more power. I have a 1988 Ranger with two wheel drive and automatic and it won't even pull a small trailer with an ATV without bogging. They don't have enough power to use OD. Over drive is the weakest gear in that tranny so don't stress it very much. The transmission gave out in mine just hauling a very small truck camper in OD.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob Landry View Post
The purpose of the WD hitch is not to level the TV or the trailer......snip
Well, actually member "Roy W" is partially correct. Once the ball mount (part of the WDH) is adjusted up/down in addressing the levelness of the TT, a properly adjusted WDH assembly will aid in maintaining the towing attitude of the TV/TT combination. I concur that the adjustment of the ball mount tilt/spring bars isn't for leveling the TT.

The designed purpose of the WDH is to remove weight off the TV's rear axle, the by-product of this process is the distribution of weight to the TV's front axle and TT axle(s).

I also agree that most manufactures recommend returning the same weight removed from the TV's front axle when using a WDH, and consulting the TV's owners manual is good advice.

Bob
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