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Old 01-15-2018, 05:51 PM   #1
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Towing with 2016 Ford Explorer

Does anyone have experience towing with a Ford Explorer? We are thinking of using our 2016 V6 Explorer (AWD with a tow package) to tow our 15A across country and back this summer. Any experiences/thoughts are welcome.

The tow rating is 5000 pds
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:26 PM   #2
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Explorers are not good for towing anymore ever since they went away from rear wheel drive or true 4x4
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:56 PM   #3
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My mistake. It is a 4WD, not an AWD.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:57 PM   #4
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We use a 2015 Front Wheel Drive, Kim, and are very happy towing our classic 21. Standard V-6, non-ecoboost. We have made two cross-country round trips and currently have over 22,000 miles towing. We keep the transmission in Tow/Haul mode and also use a weight distribution hitch. No problem with the Sierras, Rockies, Appalachians, Catskills, Adirondacks, Tehachapis, or the Ozarks. Including all towing, all terrain, we have averaged 15 mpg at 60 mph.
This is our everyday driver and suits our needs perfectly. You will have no problem with your 15. Plus, you will be nestled in your comfy seats
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:07 PM   #5
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it would seem that if you have a tow package and your SUV is rated to pull 5000 pds you shouldn't have an issue towing a 15A. But I'm no expert I'm sure others with far more knowledge will give you many opinions! I pulled my 17B with a Toyota rated 5000 with tow package with no issues.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:48 PM   #6
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Thank you. That makes me feel more confident about using it on our cross-country trip this summer.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:00 PM   #7
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We have a 2013 Ford Explorer AWD and it is our back/recovery tow vehicle. I would not hesitate to tow a 15 or 19 with it. They are good stable vehicles.
Keep in mind that if you have a day ahead of mountain passes you don’t need to have your tanks full. Just enough to last the next night if the water is bad at the next spot or you get stuck in a Walmart.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:27 PM   #8
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My mistake. It is a 4WD, not an AWD.
no, its not. While all previous Explorers were based on a ladder frame RWD or 4WD truck platform, the 2011+ Ford Explorer is a 'crossover', based on their Taurus FWD car platform beefed up (that platform in turn based on the Volvo S80). its either front wheel drive or AWD, which is front wheel with rear wheel assist, this has more in common with cars like Audi, or Subaru, then it does with conventional 4WD which is REAR wheel drive with part time front wheel assist. Its undoubtedly adequate for pulling a 15, and I know people who pull larger trailers with such platforms, but I sure wouldn't want to, had too many highway panics where someone throws themselves in front of me and I've had to do full hard brake stops from highway speed, swerves on mountain roads because someone did something stupid, etc.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:37 PM   #9
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If it is front wheel drive, using a weight distribution hitch will transfer weight from the rear axle to the front axle and to the trailer axle, making for a more comfortable and secure ride.
I tow a 17B with my RAV4 and use WDH. The vehicle is rated at 3,500 lbs tow capacity. Trailer weighs less than 3,200 lbs loaded for camping. As I understand it, the RAV4 is 4X4, but normally only drives the front wheels. If needed, the rear wheels are enabled. And, I have the option of locking the system so that all four wheels are driving the vehicle ( at low speed only ).
I've been over the Rockies and back numerous times.
I'd have no qualms towing your 15' with your vehicle.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:56 PM   #10
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My mistake. It is a 4WD, not an AWD.
You haven't made a mistake, since there is no difference. Driving all of the wheels of a four-wheeled vehicle is 4WD, and AWD. Some people like to read special meaning into these terms, but in fact there is no standard practice, so neither term consistently implies any specific features or characteristics. A decade ago Toyota even sold exactly the same system on two different models, one with a "4WD" badge on the back, and the other with "AWD"... to suit the expectations of buyers.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:03 AM   #11
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I will be pulling our 19’ with a 2017 Explorer V6 Eco-Boost. I do not anticipate any problems at all. Well within towing spec and lots of power. Only concern is fuel capacity.... will always have a Jerry can available just in case.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:33 AM   #12
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The spec sheet says 4WD for my Explorer. I believe it only engages all 4 wheels when needed, or selected. It seems like either way it will be fine to tow with as rated. I am most concerned about the power going up the mountains, and the shifting of the transmission. It sounds like keeping the tow button on the whole time is fine. Thanks for the reminder about the tanks. I rarely fill them.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:17 AM   #13
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The spec sheet says 4WD for my Explorer.
The owner's manual (at least for 2015, the one I have on file) consistently says "Four-Wheel Drive" or "4WD"... although amusingly the instrument panel warning lights and messages apparently say "AWD", according to the same manual.

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I believe it only engages all 4 wheels when needed, or selected.
The 4WD system is always active; you don't need to select it. If you have the optional Terrain Management system, you have a knob to select which program is used to control the 4WD system, to suit current conditions... but it's the same mechanical system whether you have this option or not.

The Explorer's 4WD system always drives the front wheels, and additionally drives the rear wheels as appropriate, generally when front traction is inadequate... but that doesn't mean that it waits for wheelspin.

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It seems like either way it will be fine to tow with as rated.
This type of 4WD system makes sense to me for towing. Sure, there might be more traction available at the rear than the front when loaded with a trailer, but this system will drive the rear if needed, and driving the rear tires as little as possible maintains lateral traction there for control of the trailer.

I only tow up to 3500 pounds with my front-wheel-drive van, but it works fine on the road. In a muddy or sandy campsite, the lack of 4WD can certainly be a limitation, but the Explorer's 4WD system would address that.
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:37 PM   #14
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As has been said, there are different kinds of 4-wheels. I doubt that a Honda Element which is said to have AWD available at all times and used when needed (same as Explorer I guess) is the same as a 4Runner with 4-wheel drive that has to be manually engaged. Perhaps someone would want to expound on that?!
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:15 PM   #15
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As has been said, there are different kinds of 4-wheels. I doubt that a Honda Element which is said to have AWD available at all times and used when needed (same as Explorer I guess) is the same as a 4Runner with 4-wheel drive that has to be manually engaged. Perhaps someone would want to expound on that?!
conventional 4x4 aka 4WD has a transfer case at the transmission output, and normally just drives the rear wheels... you can engage 4WD and it drives both front and rear wheels

what I and many others refer to AWD is a system where the engine and transaxle primarily drives the FRONT wheels and dynamically transfers some torque to the rear wheels on demand. this sort of system was pioneered by Audi and championed by Subaru for cars many years ago, and is now quite common on car-derived crossover SUVs (which IMHO are really just tall station wagons).

before putting a WHD on one of these unibody crossovers, do be sure thats supported. the rear subframe may not be engineered to transfer weight forward. If you picture the trailer and tow vehicle as two levers joined by a hinge at the hitch, normally the trailer is pushing 'down' on the hitch, which lifts the front wheels, but with a WDH its actually lifting UP on the hitch by way of the spring bars, this pushes some of the trailer's tongue weight forward to the tug's front wheels. this is generally acceptable on a body-on-frame truck or SUV, which are almost always RWD.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:31 PM   #16
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My Toyota Service checked my hitch receiver eight years after installation on my unibody RAV4 and reported everything was very good.
Not many choices for body-on-frame vehicles these days.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post

before putting a WHD on one of these unibody crossovers, do be sure thats supported. the rear subframe may not be engineered to transfer weight forward. If you picture the trailer and tow vehicle as two levers joined by a hinge at the hitch, normally the trailer is pushing 'down' on the hitch, which lifts the front wheels, but with a WDH its actually lifting UP on the hitch by way of the spring bars, this pushes some of the trailer's tongue weight forward to the tug's front wheels. this is generally acceptable on a body-on-frame truck or SUV, which are almost always RWD.
Good Point. My Explorer rating of 5000 lbs. towing and 500 lb. tongue requires a WDH. 3500 and 350 without. Pulls and brakes just fine.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
conventional 4x4 aka 4WD has a transfer case at the transmission output, and normally just drives the rear wheels... you can engage 4WD and it drives both front and rear wheels

what I and many others refer to AWD is a system where the engine and transaxle primarily drives the FRONT wheels and dynamically transfers some torque to the rear wheels on demand. this sort of system was pioneered by Audi and championed by Subaru for cars many years ago, and is now quite common on car-derived crossover SUVs (which IMHO are really just tall station wagons).

before putting a WHD on one of these unibody crossovers, do be sure thats supported. the rear subframe may not be engineered to transfer weight forward. If you picture the trailer and tow vehicle as two levers joined by a hinge at the hitch, normally the trailer is pushing 'down' on the hitch, which lifts the front wheels, but with a WDH its actually lifting UP on the hitch by way of the spring bars, this pushes some of the trailer's tongue weight forward to the tug's front wheels. this is generally acceptable on a body-on-frame truck or SUV, which are almost always RWD.

So the older 4WD was primarily on rear-wheel drive cars --- weren't they all or nearly ---and then 4WD was developed for front-wheel drive cars.

What I was thinking was that nobody who wants to spend a lot of time on very rough terrain is going to go buy an Element, much as I like them, if they could have a 4Runner.

I am very familiar with WDH and have weighed to see what it is doing.
I am also aware that there are unibody manufacturers who say not to use WDHs on their vehicles. In some rare cases, people have added something to do that.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:33 PM   #19
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My Toyota Service checked my hitch receiver eight years after installation on my unibody RAV4 and reported everything was very good.
Not many choices for body-on-frame vehicles these days.
most pickup trucks (except the honda ridgeline which is built on a upgraded minivan unibody), non-crossover SUVs like Chevy Tahoe/Suburban, Ford Expedition, Toyota 4Runner & Sequoia. full sized vans.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:44 PM   #20
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That is one of the big reasons that we have a 4Runner and I notice that several of the others are large. The 4Runner is mid-sized. I already feel as if I am driving a big boat. When I see those bigger vehicles, I just don't want to go that big. They look huge to me.
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