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2012 Police AWD 3.7 or a 2003 Sport Trac for towing

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by nimblemotors, November 9, 2018.

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    1. nimblemotors

      nimblemotors New Member

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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1997 Explorer 5.0
      My 97 5.0 has pretty much been beaten to a pulp and I need to replace it until I get my Willys Panel project done. I use my explorer to tow stuff, cars and building materials.
      I thought about an Expedition, but frankly don't like such a big vehicle which is why I've stuck with the 5.0 explorer.

      I really like the looks of the 2012 explorers, there is a super cheap one that is a 180k mile police.

      Then there is a 2003 sport trac that I need to do an engine swap, and so its super cheap too.

      Which would be better for towing?
       
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    3. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Pretty different animals.. I'd begin by comparing the factory tow ratings for both vehicles. That alone might give you an answer. I truly have no idea what a 2012 Explorer can tow. I seem to remember the Sport Trac having a higher rating than I expected it to when I looked it up about a year ago, though I dont want to quote numbers as I may misquote them.
      One thought, if you need to replace the sport trac motor anyway, consider a 5.0 swap.
       
    4. nimblemotors

      nimblemotors New Member

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      My research indicates all explorers are rated to tow 5k with the right gear installed.

      What I've done is buy another gen2 5.0 awd, one that is pretty much like new with only 135k miles, super clean, eddie bauer, this one a 2000.

      I can still buy both the ones mentioned above. I'm tempted to go buy the sport trac, but heck I have 19 cars now,
      so don't really need another project, the 2011+ explorers will only get cheaper, so i'm sure i'll have chance to get one later, but not so much
      on the gen2 sport tracs, they will disappear.
       
    5. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      Some Explorers are rated higher than 5k, some drastically lower. I’d be leery of using a later model for a lot of towing, as the drivetrains don’t seem to be terribly stout.
       
    6. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I think you made a great choice.. But then I'm biased. I drive (and tow with) a 2000 Eddie Bauer 5.0 Explorer.
       
    7. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      The 2nd gen 302 Explorer is a much better towing vehicle than any of the V6 Explorer choices. The transmission of the little five speed automatic is not ideal for towing. The Expedition can be had with the much bigger trans(4R100 etc), with the 5.4 engine. That would be a better tow vehicle than the 302 Explorer, due to the stronger transmission. I don't know how strong the later 5th gen and similar transmissions are. Those need some more research if you're going to consider those for towing.

      The 5R55E and similar Ford trans, of the 90's and 2000's Fords, are based on a small mid 80's 4cyl trans, the A4LD. That is what Ford developed into the 4R44, and then into the 5R55, and revised internally to create the next gen five speeds. The basic size of the trans(the case size) is what determines basic torque capacity. The size of the clutches inside is critical, the smaller transmissions use smaller clutches.

      The rating for capacity is built into the model name. The 4R70W is supposed to be a 700lbft capacity trans. the 5R55E is 550lbsft strong, the 4R100 is a 1000lbsft trans. Those are guidelines, meaning in stock form the 5R55E is not a good choice for towing. The much bigger units in F250's etc, in stock form they should not have any trouble with towing. The lesser trucks need extra care and fluid changes, coolers added etc, to survive some towing. They are just much closer to failing in severe duty.
       
    8. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      In my opinion, the 5.0 Explorer is the best midsized SUV for any kind of heavy duty service. Towing, plowing, extended maintenance schedules, it handles them all very well.

      I had many guys who ran full sized plow trucks laugh at my Mountaineer, although I was never unable to finish my route. I even filled in for a few of them when they had expensive electronic/hydraulic issues with the plows, or suspension/transmission issues with their trucks.
       
    9. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I tow a camper with mine (not a pop up). I did put a bigger radiator and a bigger transmission cooler in it, along with the BW4406 Tcase. It tows great... Not fast... But great. LoL
       
    10. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I hauled several loads of gravel at 2 yards each last spring. Pulled it pretty good, considering. Didn’t win any races, but it didn’t feel as bad as I expected it to.
       
    11. nimblemotors

      nimblemotors New Member

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      I've towed all kinds of stuff for years with my 97 5.0, my latest overload was towing 2 yards of dirt about 50 miles, in fact I could not go on freeway,
      at more than 40mph it was swaying. btw, using the bumper hitch even.
      The sport trac looks good for towing, has bigger brakes and longer wheelbase. I couldn't do a 5.0 swap in california
      since you can't put older engines in a swap. But perhaps I could take a 5.0 and swap in the trac's rear section and front brakes??
      Like a need another project!
       
    12. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      You can put the 302 into a 2001 Sport Trac, in the California land of crazy laws.

      The bigger 12" brakes is an easy project you can do. Get any 01-03 Sport or 1st gen Sport Trac spindle, and put it in any 2nd gen Explorer. Then the 12" front rotor bolts on, it's just those two parts.

      This is from my 99 Limited;

      SportTracRotor01.JPG

      Cryo rotors 2001+ .JPG
       

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