2010 Ford Explorer towing | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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2010 Ford Explorer towing

Just bought a 2010 Eddie bauer RWD with the v-6 and cruddy Class 2 hitch and rear end gears. Love the vehicle but got to get rid of this hitch and change to the class 3.

1) The class 3 OEM installs flush, all other aftermarket ones I have seen mount under the old hitch. So for a flush mouth the OEM class 3 is the only option?

2) Can I increase the towing max weight with a weight distribution system on the trailer?

3) What would you feel comfortable towing a total trailer weight with this vehicle? Should I add a trans or oil cooler?

4) Noticed the GCVW was 2400 lbs above vehicle weight? So I can only tow 2400 lbs minus driver/ passenger weight?

5) Why does a late model Ford Ranger with the same engine, trans, and rear end gears tow more than the Explorer?

I want to tow a 1300 lb trailer with my 6oo pound lawnmower 1-2 x's a year and occasionally get a yard of mulch/topsoil.

Any comments would be appreciated. I have a headache from reading all this data...lol

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Towing Moderator
Moderator Emeritus
February 2, 2006
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City, State
North East Arkansas
Year, Model & Trim Level
2012 F150 4x4
I can't comment on hitch changing, but of all you can tow is 2400 lbs, I wouldn't bother with changing the hitches. The tow rating is mostly due to the unibody vehicle. Max towing is max towing regardless of how it's distributed, so a weight distributing hitch won't change anything. A trans cooler won't be necessary unless you plan to tow a whole lot or a bunch of hills or something. Rangers and explorers are totally different vehicles in 2010 it's not even apples to oranges at this point. It's apples to grapes. The new explorers are great vehicles, just not intended for towing.


New Member
January 16, 2012
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2010 Ford Explorer EB ed
:thumbdwn:2010 explorer is a body on frame truck body, unibody was 2011. The ranger with the same engine, same trans, and same rear end gears can tow more.

So the Ford Explorer frame is no different between the V-6 and V-8 models except for the Class 3 hitch.

According to the Ford Towing guide "The maximum weight capacities for the weight-distributing hitch receivers shown below may exceed the
maximum loaded trailer weight for the vehicle specified" With the V-8 and towing package a weight distribution hitch system increases towing capacity by 2115 lbs!

So adding a weight distribution system would help greatly.....but Ford does not address this with a V-6 and base rear end


Explorer Addict
April 27, 2010
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A weight distribution hitch does nothing for your towing capacity. It's called towing "capacity" for a reason. A weight distribution hitch distributes the tongue weight and that's it.

If all your going to haul is 1900lbs then go for it, she can handle that w/o any issues what so ever.


Well-Known Member
October 25, 2006
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City, State
Las Flores, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT 4X4 sohc
For the weight you are looking at, the class II hitch is fine and you are within the vehicle GCVWR. As for increasing towing capacity, there are many many factors beyond the engine, transmission and rear gear ratio to consider. Springs, cooling, trans cooling, frame capacity, vehicle balance, brakes, stearing geometry and rear suspension geometry (with independent suspension) to name just a few more. The manufacturer will never tell you what is the weak point. Even advertising/marketing comes into play.

If an identically equipped Ranger is rated greater than an Explorer, I would look to the suspension for the most likely culprit. Than the frame rails themselves and finally to cooling differences. It could even be something I didn't mention. Are the wheel bases and tracks exactly the same?


Explorer Addict
February 11, 2009
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City, State
Canton, Michigan
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 Mercury Mountaineer
1. 2006-2010 hitches (both Class II and Class III/IV) are welded to the frame, which helped to increase the stiffness of the frame, versus 2002-2005 bolted hitches. Swapping hitches is not a good option.
2. Even if you did swap the hitch, you are still limited to 3500 lbs max tow rating because of the V6/3.55 gearing. The tow package changes to 3.73 gearing.
3. A weight distributing system does not help because you are not structure-limited. The same structure with the right drivetrain will tow up to 7400 lbs. Moving weight around isn't your problem. It's the strain on the drivetrain due to the ratios that is limiting you.

But you are only towing 1900 lbs with 3500 lbs of max capacity. That still leaves you with capacity for (3500-1900) 1600 lbs of people and gear in the truck before you hit 3500 lbs.
From a GCVWR, you should have 8000 lbs, right? That leaves 6100 lbs for the loaded truck. Should not be a problem.

Don't do a thing. Hitch up and go.