2004 Ford Explorer XLT towing? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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2004 Ford Explorer XLT towing?

Hi all!

This is my first post. My husband and I just bought a 2008 Jayco Jay Feather sport 18 foot camper. Dry weight = 2875; Gross weight = 3775. We upgraded from a Jayco pop-up that our 2002 Jeep Liberty Sport 3.7 V6 pulled just fine. However the Jeep didn't do too great pulling this trailer home.

We are looking at 2004 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0 V6, linked here:

I know (or think I know this from reading around) the towing capabilities for the class II hitch are only up to 3500 lbs and truthfully we don't plan to exceed that as we are light-packing weekend only kind of campers. We live in southeast Ohio so there are some hills to navigate but typically stick to hwy driving as I-70 is very near us. We tend to stay 2-3 hours from home on our weekend trips with an occassional longer trip. For example, this year will be to the Smoky Mountains.

My husband is leery of the V6 and would prefer a V8. I prefer a V6 for better gas mileage when not towing as this will become a primary vehicle as well.

What are your thoughts? We do have a sway bar and the trailer has separate brakes although we have yet to purchase anything additional to control the brakes. Oh and it's single axle.

Thank you all! I have been reading and reading but I think just asking here will be more helpful.


Towing Moderator
Moderator Emeritus
February 2, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
North East Arkansas
Year, Model & Trim Level
2012 F150 4x4
I thought someone would weigh in on this that had more experience, but since they haven't, I'll give my opinion and they can correct me. I'll start by saying I have never owned an Explorer like you are considering, though I have read a fair bit about them.

If you plan on towing near the capacity of the v6, if possible go ahead and buy the v8 with the towing package that you need, its already wired for towing, has a factory installed frame hitch and the gearing to accommodate the load. I wouldn't recommend towing a camper with a class II hitch. In my experience, the mileage differences between v6 and v8 equipped vehicles is minor if you keep your foot out of the v8.