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Towing a vehicle - 2015 with factory class III Hitch

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by DWZ, February 27, 2018.

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    1. DWZ

      DWZ New Member

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      Hello all,
      I recently added a 2015 Explorer with Factory Class III hitch and have questions about towing a vehicle. I have delusions of driving a Focus on a race track (actually, I've done it several times) and would like the option of towing the Focus there, rather than driving. As I see it, there are 2 options: a dolly and a hauler. From my understanding, the explorer that I have can tow 5k lbs - so a 3200lb car and a 1k lb trailer is within capacity. I would need a weight distribution hitch, correct?

      Now with the 52T package, I can plug the wires from the trailer into the back of the explorer and the lights on the trailer would work. I am assuming there are brakes in the trailer - but what if there aren't? Will the Explorer I have be able to handle the additional weight? How are those brakes engaged? The 52T package comes with Sway control - does that matter?

      What do I need to know?

      Thanks!
       
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    3. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      If you have a 3200lb car and a 1000lb trailer you are at 4200lbs (lol duh). That puts you within 800lbs of the maximum. You may also want to consider weight of tires, tools, spare parts, etc. if you are carrying those.

      The 52T package includes the 7-wire harness and connector, hitch receiver and oil cooler. However it does not include the trailer brake controller. You'll have to buy that and have it installed. (by the way, be sure the installer knows that the vehicle does have a factory tow package they can tap into, the RV dealer that installed mine didn't know there was already a harness there and installed their own. It works great but it did mean extra work for the installer). My advice is to get the brake controller, its worth the extra control and peace of mind.

      I hope you find this helpful and good luck on the track! There is more information here:
      https://www.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/towingguides/15RV&TT_Ford_Explorer_Sep30.pdf
       
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    4. DWZ

      DWZ New Member

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      That makes a lot of sense, traveler, about the brake controller. I wondered how that worked. Regarding the weight - I expect to be at the 5000lb threshold. I won't be bringing extra tires or too many tools to the track as I am not a "racer" - just an HPDE guy who isn't real comfortable driving 2+ hours to the track in the car I am going to be driving. If I have an issue at all, I'm stuck. So I won't that much stuff with me - put it this way, I've packed 4 nights worth of camping/tailgating gear into my Focus Hatchback (i.e. track car) so I am know how to pack light lol.

      What about weight distribution hitches? Seems like overkill to me as I am able to move the car forward and backward on the ramp and that should help with the weight location.
       
    5. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      WD hitches make the load more ‘static’ as the terrain changes, also I believe.
       
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    6. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Actually the weight distribution hitches use leverage to distribute the extra weight to all 4 wheels of the tow vehicle, not just the rear 2.
       
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    7. DWZ

      DWZ New Member

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      This is a whole new frightening world. I know my dad didn't do any of this towing boats around lol
       
    8. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      It is different. I'd only towed boats myself (other than towing U-Haul trailers with U-Haul trucks) until my wife and I bought a camper a couple years ago. I did some research on WDH (for both our benefits lol). I have always known how they worked but could never figure out how to describe that.. so enter google.

      "Spring bars (4) (remember either round bars or trunnion bars) run from the head assembly (3) to a pair of chains (5). These chains hang down below the trailer from a set of brackets and attach to them in a way that creates tension along the spring bars. As the tongue weight pushes the bars down, the chains pull the bars up. In order to straighten out to their natural positions, the spring bars push up on the head assembly, distributing the weight among the axles."

      towing-weight-distribution-4.jpg

      For much more information on WDH, heres a link
      How Towing Weight Distribution Systems Work
       
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    9. Halford1

      Halford1 Active Member

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      just don't go up hills.
       
    10. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      I believe Ford still requires use of a WDH when TW exceeds 500 lbs. Personally, with the trailer likely topping out at 4500 lbs or less, and the ability to fine tune the TW, simply by moving the vehicle forward or back, you should be able to keep the TW at no more than 450 lbs. So, I do not see a "need" for a WDH, although for long distances, it will make for a smoother ride.

      If you choose to go with a WDH, I would recommend something like the 6,000/600 lb rated Equal-I-zer, with integrated sway control. Don't trust your electronic sway control as the primary.
      If you choose not to use a WDH, I would recommend you have a $50 friction sway controller added to the rig.

      As far as trailer brakes, this is absolutely required for this. Your Explorer's brakes are only designed to handle weight up to it's GVWR. Your combined weight will far exceed that amount.
      However, many car haulers have their own Surge Brakes, built into the coupler assembly. With surge brakes, as long as they have been maintained and are functioning, you don't need to add a brake controller. If you are used to your Dad's boat trailers, you probably saw surge brakes, and just didn't know it.
       
    11. Halford1

      Halford1 Active Member

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      I have brake controller installed in my EXP which enabled the brakes in my popup to work with brakes in the EXP at the same time. It greatly reduced the need to depend solely on Explorer brakes. Never need WDH at all. I do not have sway issue because I distributed the weight in the popup so that the swaying would not happen. I do not know about boat on trailer where you cannot distribute weight to prevent swaying so its different from the popup I pull.

      I do not see where Ford requires WDH for towing 450 lbs or more.
       
    12. thebrakeman

      thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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      https://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/towingguides/14FLRVTTgde_Sep9.pdf
      This link is to the 2014 Ford Towing Guide.
      Page 20 indicates you need the HD Trailer Tow Package, and a weight-distributing hitch, to get the 5000 lbs rating. Of course, it's the 10-15% of that weight that really means anything toward TW, when it comes to a WDH need. So, the questions is, what is the rating without a WDH? According to page 20, it seems to be limited to 2000 lbs, but I think that's silly, really. Take these things all together, and I'd say:
      No HD Package - Limited to 2000 lbs
      With HD Package but no WDH: Trailer up to 5000 lbs, but TW must not exceed 500 lbs
      With HD Package, with WDH: Trailer up to 5000 lbs, and TW limited to 15% of actual trailer loaded weight (so, up to 750 lbs)
       
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