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2018 Explorer Sport - Towing a Travel Trailer

Hello,
Been a long time Ford owner, but about to venture into towing for the first time. I just bought a 2018 Explorer Sport (w/ V6 Ecoboost) and will be buying a camping trailer within the next few weeks.

I understand the 500/5,000 max weights in the owner manual, and am curious if anyone on here tows near the 5,000lb max? The trailer I'm looking at is 4,200lbs dry, so factoring in supplies/gear/etc, I'll be right at that 5k max weight. I'd be using a WDH as well.

I'm much more interested in safety and control (vs. fuel performance). There are some smaller trailers I'm looking at, but really like the one at 4,200lbs dry, so hoping the Explorer can handle. I'm in Washington, so will be going over mountain passes.

Would really appreciate to hear from other owners that are towing camping trailers.
 



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Tim Desmond

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We have a 2017 Explorer Platinum - same power train as the Sport I believe - I'm towing a Keystone Passport 199ml - Dry Weight 3505. We don't pack much and only roll with a few gallons in the fresh water tank. Using a Tekonsha brake controller - they have a pigtail that plugs right in to the connector under the dash (hard to find but it's there). Using a weight distributing hitch.I always run in tow mode and the manual recommends high test so I go with that. No problems running up and down the mountains in western North Carolina / Southwest Virginia.
 



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SRTthis

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where are you guys mounting your brake controllers? ive been looking at my dash and really dont see a good spot for one.
 






EcoHell

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Don't mean to hijack this thread...but you are talking about a 2018 Sport. I have a question. If I have a Livernois Motorsports Tune, adding another 80whp and 100wtq. Does this increase my towing capacity? I have a deal on a car trailer for towing my Porsche. Twin axles with brakes. I believe the weight of the trailer is 2300 pounds and my Porsche is 3500 pounds. Thanks in advance for your responses.
 






Mbrooks420

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It won’t increase your capacity. It doesn’t beef up your transmission, cooling, axles, or breaking capacity.
 












peterk9

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Been lurking on this thread for a minute...

Been looking at getting an Airstream Base CampX ( Specifications | Basecamp | Travel Trailers | Airstream )... Seems to be mixed opinions on this. I am curious what everyone thinks.
Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
Are you asking for opinions on the Airstream or the towing? If you have a factory Class III hitch then I don't think it should be an issue. It is well with the 5000 lb towing capacity but a weight distribution hitch is recommended for towing over 2000 lbs.

Peter
 






lainalex

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Sorry, yes in terms of towing. It just seems like a little back and forth on this thread about items between 3 and 5000lb.
 






peterk9

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Peanutflyer

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New member! Add a bit to the thread.

Looking for mpg averages for people towing travel trailers with 2018 explorer sport 3.5 eco boost with factory class 3 hitch.

We were looking to buy a travel trailer in the 3000-3500lb range and thought renting first would be a good idea.

We rented a R-Pod 3200lbs wet. We only got 8.5 mpg @ 55 and 7.5mpg @ 65mph. I knew it would be bad but that’s really bad. With the little baby gas tank we have to stop every 2 hrs.

Are others getting mpg Similar to this?
 






peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum.:wave:

Peter
 






thebrakeman

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Welcome to the world of towing! I found the same thing when we used to tow a popup camper with a minivan. Poor gas mileage is part of the entrance fee.

Larger vehicles with larger displacement and geared for towing already get pretty bad gas mileage. Adding a camper doesn't necessarily have an enormous impact, which is the benefit of having an extremely capable tow vehicle...and why these people will say "I can hardly feel the trailer back there".

Conversely, a passenger vehicle is geared for fuel economy and/or performance when not loaded down. Put things to it's limit, and fuel economy suffers more than a full-sized truck (from a percentage standpoint).

Don't worry about your gas mileage while towing. That's less than 5% of total mileage. You'll save plenty of gas the other 95%, by having an Explorer instead of an F250.

PS - I have a Mountaineer V8, rated for 7000 lbs, towing about 5200 lbs. When towing, I get 9mpg at 55-60mph, or 8mpg at 65-70mph. The only way you are going to get significantly more than that is to have a tow vehicle that is significantly over-rated for the trailer being towed. And that's not cheap! Again, I'd rather take the gas hit 5% of driving, than purchase an over-rated tow vehicle that take a gas hit 95% of the time.
 






JJ2Cool4U

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Hi,
I tow a Apex 208BHS with 2017 Sport and no problems in the WV/MD mountains. Dry weight is ~4000lb and I use a weight distributing hitch. Last time it went out it had a full tank of water with no problem. That's said, it only goes out a couple times a year.

A new related question: The camper's home is up a very steep gravel driveway. I've been using the Snow/Grass/Gravel mode to get it up there. Is that bad? The transmission fan (?) is usually running when we make it to the top, so I think it's getting a work out. I haven't tried any other modes since this mode has worked. I'm quite fearful of getting stuck in the middle of the drive way.

A video to try and show the steepness: https://photos.app.goo.gl/sCX8kNK6m93g5ihD8

Thanks
 






peterk9

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I don't think that mode would be an issue. Have you tried just leaving it in Normal and using the Manual shift in a low gear?

Peter
 






JJ2Cool4U

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I don't think that mode would be an issue. Have you tried just leaving it in Normal and using the Manual shift in a low gear?

Peter
I have not tried Normal for fear of spinning out and getting stuck. But I’ll try next time.
 






sasq40

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peterk9

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^^ Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
You will require a weight distribution hitch for towing 2000+ lbs. I believe the Explorer is wired for a brake controller. See post #28 for a link to the 2018 Towing Guide. With a factory installed class III towing package the guide shows you can tow 5000 lbs. That number has increased with the 2020 Explorer.

Peter
 






sasq40

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^^ Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
You will require a weight distribution hitch for towing 2000+ lbs. I believe the Explorer is wired for a brake controller. Here is the 2018 Towing Guide. With a factory installed class III towing package the guide shows you can tow 5000 lbs. That number has increased with the 2020 Explorer.
https://www.ford.ca/cmslibs/content...uides/pdf/RV_Trailer_Towing_Guide_EN_2018.PDF

Peter

yeah, that was the plan to get a wd hitch, I'm no stranger to towing, I have a 1ton work truck that I tow a lot for my job, we just don't want a truck just for towing so that why we're looking at a bigger SUV to tow our future camper. I wired a brake controller on our escape so that's an easy one too. I'm more worried about the frontal area being a problem and sideloading from wind with a smaller vehicle. I've been researching like crazy but hoping for some real-world experience. If its gonna be sketchy well move up to the expedition/Yukon
 






peterk9

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I think I saw 40 sq. ft. for the frontal area in that guide. I don't tow so not too familiar with all the ins and outs. I'm sure someone with experience will come along. There are a few threads in the 5th Generation Explorer Forum on towing and towing experiences.

Peter
 






Larryjb

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Have you considered a Trailmanor? It does take another couple of minutes to set up, but sure beats a pop-up, and falls within your 5000 lbs towing limit. It gives you a 27 foot trailer that collapses into a 20 foot trailer at about 3000 lbs. We camped in ours in wineries, camp sites, in blazing heat, rain and have always been comfortable. We haven't tried freezing cold yet, but others have.

http://www.trailmanor.com/

The one thing everyone forgets is that the towing limit weight includes people and gear. We tend to pack pretty heavy and if we travel with 3 adults and 2 children, the weight adds up very quickly. But, if you pack light, you should be able to tow one of these.
 



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Michael Lopour

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yeah, that was the plan to get a wd hitch, I'm no stranger to towing, I have a 1ton work truck that I tow a lot for my job, we just don't want a truck just for towing so that why we're looking at a bigger SUV to tow our future camper. I wired a brake controller on our escape so that's an easy one too. I'm more worried about the frontal area being a problem and sideloading from wind with a smaller vehicle. I've been researching like crazy but hoping for some real-world experience. If its gonna be sketchy well move up to the expedition/Yukon
I bought my Platinum Explorer to tow something very similar, up mountains and at altitude. Everything I've read tells me the engine is capable, as similarly equipped full size pickups with Ecoboost engines can tow 2x what the Explorer can. I'd stick with the most powerful engine, I've read about people towing close to 4000 lbs with the NA V6 and being less than thrilled with power and range (range is definitely the worst thing about towing with the Explorer based on logistics IMO). Based on the wheelbase of the Explorer I'd say anything around 20ft and under should be fine, in general once you go 20+ feet you want something with longer wheelbase. Like you, I wanted to stay away from body on frame vehicles due to impracticality and price premium. I'm mostly new to all this, have you used WD hitches before and if so what do you like?
 






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