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Old 11-09-2010, 10:10 AM   #11
BamaFlum
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The 2011 Explorer's tow rating is 5000lbs. The old Explorer's rating was much higher but it's interior is cramped and the gas mileage wasn't any better than its big brother the Expedition. For most families, the new Explorer will fit and compete well against the Pilot/Highlander/Hyundai midsize SUV's.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:42 PM   #12
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BamaFlum -

You are right, and I thank you for the correction. When the change was first announced many months ago, I came away with the impression that the tow rating of the "new Explorer" would be 3500 pounds. In fact, a Google search pulls up this number in some of the early discussion. But in the end, that is not correct, and the 5000-pound rating makes me a lot happier.

I have changed my post above to reflect this. Thanks again.

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Old 11-09-2010, 02:47 PM   #13
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No problem! I love the helpful, friendly atmosphere here. I wish TM had a dealership closer. We won't get to see one until the spring when we visit my wife's brother's family in Fort Worth. There is a dealer in Cleburne, southwest of Fort Worth. I can't justify spending almost 4 hours in the car just to look at TM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BamaFlum View Post
No problem! I love the helpful, friendly atmosphere here. I wish TM had a dealership closer. We won't get to see one until the spring when we visit my wife's brother's family in Fort Worth. There is a dealer in Cleburne, southwest of Fort Worth. I can't justify spending almost 4 hours in the car just to look at TM.
The best time to buy tow vehicles and TM's is the Winter/early spring. The RV shows have outstanding special prices, and the car dealers are always hungry in the Winter.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:36 PM   #15
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No problem! I love the helpful, friendly atmosphere here. I wish TM had a dealership closer. We won't get to see one until the spring when we visit my wife's brother's family in Fort Worth. There is a dealer in Cleburne, southwest of Fort Worth. I can't justify spending almost 4 hours in the car just to look at TM.
We got our 2011 2720SL from that dealer, they were about $6000 cheaper then our local dealer in Florida. And since we make the trip to FT Worth about every 3 or 4 months it was no big deal for us. The folks there were great to deal with and went over every item on our new TM, they even gave us what we asked for on 10 year old pop up. The only down side is what they had on the lot was many options we could do without, swing hitch, and power tongue are a few. The places we camp the pins in the swing tongue will be real grief in a few years.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:26 PM   #16
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We got our 2011 2720SL from that dealer, they were about $6000 cheaper then our local dealer in Florida. And since we make the trip to FT Worth about every 3 or 4 months it was no big deal for us. The folks there were great to deal with and went over every item on our new TM, they even gave us what we asked for on 10 year old pop up. The only down side is what they had on the lot was many options we could do without, swing hitch, and power tongue are a few. The places we camp the pins in the swing tongue will be real grief in a few years.
Thanks! When we finally get there, I will mention you. I love to hear from people who have used someone services to help out.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:51 PM   #17
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Frankly, I would not consider a Ford Explorer as a TV for a TM. I have a 1998 Explorer and have had some towing problems with my little Fleetwood Pop-Up tent camper, which only weighs 1,550 empty and about a ton loaded. There are two issues. First is the short wheelbase of the Explorer. Even slight steering movements translate back to the trailer quite readily and that can result in sway. The second is power. I have the 4.0L V6 and in the mountains I'm often down to 30 mph. I can't imagine what it would be like with another 1,000 pounds back there.

I know the TMs have their axle set back farther from the center of gravity which reduces sway problems and that a V8 in an Explorer would have more power but a mid-size TV is always going to have a shorter wheelbase than a full-size one. As for power, the extra oomph of the V8 might be mitigated by having five people and all of their stuff in there. I travel alone or with my wife.

My recommendation: get a full-size SUV with a big V8.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:10 PM   #18
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Be careful of condemning the Explorer out of hand (OK, those of you who have been here a while knew I couldn't resist, right?).

Both Ford and Chevy started out with big but crude SUVs in the 1970's. I owned an early Chevy K-Blazer, and I loved it. Starting in 1978, Ford had a full-sized Bronco to compete with it.

As the gas crisis of the 1980's came on, both the Bronco and the Blazer were downsized into clown cars. Both were essentially mini-pickup trucks with an enclosed back. The Bronco was eventually discontinued. The Blazer was downsized into the S-10 Blazer.

Then an amazing thing happened. Having discovered that they were missing an emerging market, both Ford and Chevy re-upsized their vehicles, now known as SUVs (ta-dah!!). The Blazer was re-introduced as the TrailBlazer. The Bronco was reintroduced as the Explorer.

Like the Bronco, the original Explorer was still pretty small, and stayed that way through the first two generations (from 1994-2001). Then, in 2002, the Explorer went through a major redesign. In this case, "redesign" meant "jack up the nameplate and slide a new vehicle under it". It got much bigger, more powerful, more elegant, and more capable. Just by luck, I bought a 2002 Explorer, and towed my first TM with it for 160,000 miles. It was wonderful! A perfect tow vehicle for our use in the east, and in the Rocky Mountains and Sierras of the west. A few tow vehicles would have been better all around, but not many.

Now we have a 2007 Explorer, and it is the last of a dying breed, driven into the dust by an obsession with mpg (a whole different discussion). Again, it is a wonderful tow vehicle. The small V-8 (4.6L), together with a 114-inch wheelbase and 7000-pound tow rating, make it excellent vehicle for pulling our 2720SL all around the country, for several thousand miles a year.

In short, your 1998 Explorer, with its wheelbase of 102 inches, really shouldn't be used to judge the suitability of an Explorer from the 2002-2010 era. The 2011 Explorer is a different story, discussed in a different thread.

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Old 11-16-2010, 07:50 AM   #19
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First is the short wheelbase of the Explorer. Even slight steering movements translate back to the trailer quite readily and that can result in sway.
I think the issue of short wheelbases are very much overlooked by most, but can cause major issues, especially with today's light duty vehicles.
We regularly towed with a Scout (my brother's) and my E250 full size van.
We used the Scout when we needed 4x4 grip, and my van when we needed cargo capacity, or when making a longer trip. My van with it's 138" wheelbase tracked like a train down the highway, while the short wheelbase of the Scout caused it to constantly "dance".
Keep this in mind, especially when considering one of the larger TMs.
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #20
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I think the issue of short wheelbases are very much overlooked by most, but can cause major issues, especially with today's light duty vehicles.
We regularly towed with a Scout (my brother's) and my E250 full size van.
We used the Scout when we needed 4x4 grip, and my van when we needed cargo capacity, or when making a longer trip. My van with it's 138" wheelbase tracked like a train down the highway, while the short wheelbase of the Scout caused it to constantly "dance".
Keep this in mind, especially when considering one of the larger TMs.
Short wheelbase vehicles are great off-road, because they are more maneuverable, but lousy at highway speeds because they take a lot of attention to keep them going straight.

A long wheelbase is good for towing. Unfortunately neither you nor anyone else has any data to support "how good" or "how much better" a longer wheelbase is, so that one could make proper inferences about how much wheelbase is enough. Example: If wheelbase is important, wouldn't it be better for you to tow with an old fire truck instead of a van?

Similarly, you also have no data for inference about "today's light duty vehicles." Today's vehicles have pretty good skid control compared to a few decades ago, and I would expect that to make them all better tow vehicles. So far, by a wide no-contest margin, my worst towing experiences have been in a full sized Ford van towing a 5000# travel trailer.

The way wheelbase helps is by providing a lever arm for the steering to work against the overhang, the rear axle-to-hitch ball lever arm which the trailer applies against the vehicle. Maybe the wheelbase to overhang ratio would be a better measure of towing stability than wheelbase alone.
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