View Full Version : Pulling an MPG with Ford Explorer

02-22-2015, 03:55 AM
Just purchased an 2011 MPG. I will be pulling it with a 2002 Ford Explorer, 4.0 liter, 6 cylinder, with tow package and sway bar. Rig is rated for 7,300 lbs. Any tips on trailoring safely?

02-22-2015, 06:39 AM
Hi Salan,

Congratulations on the MPG and welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum. I expect you'll get some tips and advice shortly.

02-22-2015, 08:42 AM
Hi Dan:

Thanks for the response!. We hope to travel out west this summer, hopefully with the grandkids. Our MPG is small only 19', weights less than 3,000 lbs, so it but should be easy to tow in the mountians and not consume to much gas. We are long time sailors but this is our first travel trailer so we are new to the field but we love traveling so it should be fun. Hope to meet you someday!

02-22-2015, 09:52 AM
Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your new trailer. Might want to recheck the specs on your tow vehicle. The 7300# was for the 4.6 L engine, with a class III/IV hitch. If in fact you have the 4.0, it's only rated for 5,940# with the automatic transmission and 2 wheel drive. By comparison the manual transmission in 2 wheel drive is only rate for 2300# and a class II hitch. If you have a 4 wheel drive subtract about 500#.

I tried towing a 21' TT a few years ago with a V6 in an Chevy Astro van, wasn't fun. Unlike the newer V6 turbo engines, I think you'll find yours sadly under powered if you hit any kind of significant grade, or headwinds. You didn't say if the truck had the 3.73 rear towing package which would help some. The 4.0 was only rated at 210 hp at 5250 RPM and achieves max torque of 250 FtLbs 4,000 rpm. The new 3.5L Ecoboost engine is rated at 365 hp at 5,500 RPM and achieves max torque of 350 FtLbs at 3500 RPM.

02-22-2015, 10:00 AM
Welcome to the Heartland family!

I have to agree with the above comment . . .

Most especially if you plan on pulling in the mountains, you will definately need a bigger truck!

And even though the trailer is small, think about getting a weight distribution hitch setup with a sway bar!

02-22-2015, 06:33 PM
Salan, I use a 2003 Ford Explorer, 4.0, 6 cylinder, automatic with a factory installed tow package (rated at 5,800 pounds) to pull our 180 MPG. We traveled some 9,000 miles from California thru Canada to Alaska and back in 2013 with no towing probems. Gas mileage was about 13 mpg. The only thing we added was a sway bar and we kept the total trailer weight at about 3300 to 3400 pounds (max is 3800 pounds).
I would keep an eye on the trailer tires as the axle that came with our unit had to be replaced when we returned home due inside tire wear. The replacement axel provided by Lippert seems to have corrected the problem. Hope you enjoy your MPG as much as we do ours.

02-22-2015, 07:09 PM
I pulled my 2010 Edge with my 4.6 L F150 that had the towing package and I felt that it was under powered, but it handled well. My Edge was less than 5k pounds so I am not sure that the 4.0 L would hack it. I tried pulling my North Trail with the F150 and again it handled well, but was really under powered so I moved up to stouter trucks (an F250 and now an F350).

08-23-2015, 11:35 AM
I had no problems towing with a 2008 Chevy Uplander - in the the intermountain west....Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, etc. Don't overload, and you should be fine....the explorer is more suited than the Uplander...people worry alot about these things and overkill it to death. Look at what they tow similar weight TTs with in Europe....just my opinion.

08-23-2015, 12:22 PM
...the explorer is more suited than the Uplander...people worry alot about these things and overkill it to death. Look at what they tow similar weight TTs with in Europe....just my opinion.

It is not so much about what a vehicle can pull, but more about what that vehicle can stop!

And this is from someone who white-knuckled a stop, then two weeks later bought a bigger truck (one year ago yesterday, to be exact)!

09-11-2015, 07:12 PM
I respect your opinion....but those vehicles in Europe have brakes just like ours! They have mountains, pavement, highways, etc over there just like we do! Your profile shows a very nice, heavy duty tandem axle 5th wheel and heavy duty truck, both of which are in a different league than the MPG. Ford explorer would work great for MPG....likely a hair better than my minivan, which also worked great. Remember that you are towing a trailer, keep a safe following distance. I mean, this is the type of vehicle the MPG is meant to be towed by. Your white knuckle stop aside (sounds like a pucker causer!), good tires, healthy brakes, and safe driving / situational awareness can mitigate (not eliminate) those nasty events. Actually, re reading the op's post; his vehicle has a tow rating of 7300 lbs, which means he has a ~200% (MPG GVWR = 3800 lbs) safety factor. We should probably agree to disagree.