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Towing a 1998 Ford Ranger


CobraBlue

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I am going to be towing a 1998 Ford Ranger XLT pickup behind my RV. The truck has a 5-speed manual transmission. Very basic truck in every way. Want to tow with the front tires on a tow dolly and the rear wheels free wheeling with the trans in neutral. Has anyone out there pulled on of these small truck with a manual trans? If so, any problem with the trans, differential, etc. The service writer at the local Ford dealership indicated the trans should be fine. FYI - The trans is an air cooled unit meaning no cooling lines from the radiator. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...Ben

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We towed a 1996 Ranger,v 5 speed manual for several years and it was just fine. We traded it in order to get something with 4 doors and moved to a 2001 CR-V but it was not for any complaint about the Ranger.

 

Why do you want to put the front end on a dolly, as there is really no need to do so? We had a towing base plate installed on ours and towed it on all 4 wheels. There is far more convenience in towing with a tow bar, in my opinion.

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Why do you want to put the front end on a dolly, as there is really no need to do so?

...There is far more convenience in towing with a tow bar, in my opinion.

 

X2. It's perfectly fine to flat tow it and much less hassle (and expense) than a dolly.

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Flat towing a manual in neutral is fine.

 

Now for the flat towing/dolly argument I will highlight the other side.......

 

If you get a dolly, especially one with surge brakes, you have a one time investment which is actually less than a flat tow setup which consists of base plate, tow bar, toad braking setup, brake controller in the MH, and a way to light up the toad plus the cost of installing all that.

 

If you change toad you have to, at a minimum, get a new base plate, and light it and transfer the brake system plus, again, the cost of labor if you don't do it yourself.

If you change MH you have to get a new brake controller plus installation.

If your MH has air brakes it gets even more interesting.

 

Lastly, you are limited in the vehicles that can be flat towed. With a dolly you can load up a front wheel drive automatic and that is the bulk of the small affordable vehicles out there. Also, you can move just about ANY vehicle with a dolly behind a pickup truck etc. If aunt Millie's Buick can't get to the shop under it's own power.....

 

With a dolly you can change toad or MH all day long, just hook it up and load it up.

 

Yes, it's more work to load and unload. Yes, you have to park the dolly somewhere when not behind the MH. And no, you can't back it up, then again backing up a flat toad can get "interesting" too.

 

Just like the choice of Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, Class A/B/C, diesel or gas..... there are pros and cons for every setup, and no easy answers.

 

My personal solution is a Chevy Spark, which is 2200 pound front wheel drive automatic, one of the cheapest and smallest cars out there, with it's front paws on a 340 pound dolly. Total weight well under what needs brakes, and even more under the 5000lb tow limit of my motor home...... Total cost for the dolly..... $950 plus shipping.

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oscarvan...I like your view of the world. cost benefit of the tow dolly seems the best option which down the road give you many more options without the extra cost i.e. base plate, etc. One last question....since the tow dolly has lights then no need to have tail lights on the back of the truck functional...correct?

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oscarvan...I like your view of the world. cost benefit of the tow dolly seems the best option which down the road give you many more options without the extra cost i.e. base plate, etc. One last question....since the tow dolly has lights then no need to have tail lights on the back of the truck functional...correct?

 

I believe that to be true. And, in my case the MH is twice as tall as the Spark, and the massive double tail lights are well above the roof of same. That said, in a way you can never have too much lighting, so for $7/$39 respectively I bought a splitter for the trailer wiring harness, and some magnetic LED lights to stick on the back of the toad's roof.

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oscarvan...I like your view of the world. cost benefit of the tow dolly seems the best option which down the road give you many more options without the extra cost i.e. base plate, etc. One last question....since the tow dolly has lights then no need to have tail lights on the back of the truck functional...correct?

Not true unless the dolly has some sort of lights that go on the back of the towed vehicle. Those on the dolly are 2/3 of the distance up the sides of the vehicle and not at the back. You may not get a ticket, but it wouldn't be very safe, especially after dark or in bad weather.

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I am going to be towing a 1998 Ford Ranger XLT pickup behind my RV. The truck has a 5-speed manual transmission. Very basic truck in every way. Want to tow with the front tires on a tow dolly and the rear wheels free wheeling with the trans in neutral. Has anyone out there pulled on of these small truck with a manual trans? If so, any problem with the trans, differential, etc. The service writer at the local Ford dealership indicated the trans should be fine. FYI - The trans is an air cooled unit meaning no cooling lines from the radiator. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...Ben

 

If you haven't bought the tow dolly yet, you might encourage some more opinions about the difference between towing four wheels down and using a dolly.

 

I've done both, and in my opinion towing four wheels down is by far the more superior method. Just for one example, imagine yourself checking into a campground for the night. The only sites available are back-in. Try visualizing the process. With both types, you have to unhitch the toad. However, with the dolly system you now have to figure out what to do with the dolly, and then you have to manhandle the dolly to wherever you find to park it. I'm not saying it's not workable, just an extra series of steps just to park for the night.

 

Another example is when you stop for services, whether it be eating or fueling or sightseeing or whatever. There may be times when you find the need to back out of a situation. Once again, both toads must be removed, and once again you find yourself trying to figure out what to do with the dolly.

 

I'm sure others can share their experiences on using both types of systems. Cost is just one consideration.

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Looks like a "poll" opportunity for Kirk.

 

Sometimes saving a buck - is way more negative than positive.

 

Tow dollies are a PITA, and often folks that bought one wish they hadn't.

(Ex: Neighbor had a car that could be towed 4-down. Like the OP, "thought" the tow dolly would be the way to go!

Used his exactly once, then said no mas. It's resting in the back yard at his S&B, probably a great "buy" for someone)

 

IMO - Flat tow is the way to go - if you have a vehicle that *can* be towed 4-down.

 

:)

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A hitch ball on the back of the toad may help with maneuvering the dolly around.

 

Take the toad off of the dolly, then turn the toad around so it's hitch ball is facing the dolly. Take the dolly tongue off of the motorhome hitch, spin it around and attach it to the toad. Then let the toad tow it to wherever it needs to go.

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