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Upgrade towing capacity?

I have an '06 Explorer, without the towing pkg. I can add a larger hitch, an additional tranny cooler. The biggest difference seems to be the rear axle ratio - mine is a 3.55; the trailer pkg has a 3.73. How big a deal is it to upgrade the axle ratio, and is it adviseable? I only am considering it because I love the vehicle.

I need to tow a trailer that weighs about 3200 lbs with a 400 lb hitch weight, with a weight distributing hitch.
 


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thebrakeman

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I've done this like 5 times now! How do I keep posting in the 06-10 threads and I think I am in the 02-05 threads? I'm on my phone a lot so that is part of it possibly but dang!! I can't see the years of people's trucks on the app so I read the post too fast apparently and thought it was a third gen

Sorry OP
No, this isn't in the 4th gen section. This is the Towing section (non-specific). I just wanted to point out that there are differences in the towing guides for the different generations.
 


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thebrakeman

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I have heard of cooling situations where the "in-radiator" trans cooling does not actually use the simple bulb-type cooler, surrounded by engine coolant. Rather, the radiator is split into 2 sections. 80% (for example's sake) would be used for engine coolant, and 20% would be air-to-oil trans cooler. This would provide more trans cooling capacity than the bulb-type, but it would not help the trans coolant come up to operating temperatures in colder climates.

Perhaps this is what some 4th generations have as standard, not requiring further cooling. I'm just speculating here. There could also be a difference between V8-6speed models and V6-5-speed models.

I'm going to get a closer look at mine. I've never tried very hard to trace my lines.
 




Explorer0204

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No, this isn't in the 4th gen section. This is the Towing section (non-specific). I just wanted to point out that there are differences in the towing guides for the different generations.

Yea I know this is the towing section but I have done this in the 06-10 section as well..I should have been more clear on that..

Regardless I'm glad you did point out the differences as I a)don't know what the hell I am talking about and b) am glad to see that OP has the right info. i gotta slow down before responding to make sure its the right generation.

This being said it is kinda annoying how similar the 4th and 3rd gens are. makes you think certain knowledge parts should apply to the other but oftentimes they don't.
 




thebrakeman

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Yea I know this is the towing section but I have done this in the 06-10 section as well..I should have been more clear on that..

Regardless I'm glad you did point out the differences as I a)don't know what the hell I am talking about and b) am glad to see that OP has the right info. i gotta slow down before responding to make sure its the right generation.

This being said it is kinda annoying how similar the 4th and 3rd gens are. makes you think certain knowledge parts should apply to the other but oftentimes they don't.
Many probably don't know that the frame was significantly stiffened in 2006. I'm sure there were many contributions to that effort. But the interesting thing they did was start welding the hitch-receiver to the frame (making it a permanent, integral frame-member itself), rather than bolting it in place.
 




Explorer0204

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Many probably don't know that the frame was significantly stiffened in 2006. I'm sure there were many contributions to that effort. But the interesting thing they did was start welding the hitch-receiver to the frame (making it a permanent, integral frame-member itself), rather than bolting it in place.

Hmm see I thought it was that they welded the reliever to the frame because they wanted to make it lighter so they made the hitch become a part of the frame structure.

How much stiffer does it need to be? My third gen can be on three jackstands and if the 4th is even a little bit off the truck wil not sag onto it.. its insane how stiff it is. Out of all the vehicles I have jacked up I have never seen one as stiff as a third gen.. the 4ths must be even better!

And yes I know this is kinda anecdotal but....
 




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I'm pretty sure that the forces involved while in motion (dynamic) are much greater than while still (static). We wouldn't notice the differences that way.

The way they test a vehicles' stiffness (in bending or torsion) is to literally bend or twist the frame, and measure how much load or torque it takes to bend/twist it a certain amount (likely measured in millimeters over the entire length of the vehicle. The less it bends and twists when negotiating potholes, expansion joints, etc, the less it will spring back, buck, and oscillate.

I'm work in vehicle brakes, not vehicle dynamics. But that my limited understanding.
 




Explorer0204

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I'm pretty sure that the forces involved while in motion (dynamic) are much greater than while still (static). We wouldn't notice the differences that way.

The way they test a vehicles' stiffness (in bending or torsion) is to literally bend or twist the frame, and measure how much load or torque it takes to bend/twist it a certain amount (likely measured in millimeters over the entire length of the vehicle. The less it bends and twists when negotiating potholes, expansion joints, etc, the less it will spring back, buck, and oscillate.

I'm work in vehicle brakes, not vehicle dynamics. But that my limited understanding.

I hear ya! Anecdotal but that being said even on jacks my buddys unibody jeep grand cherokee makes interesting noises..from the lift points. I have driven mine up onto oil changinr ramps on one front tire and the opposite rear. It goes up fine doesn't make any noises and the one tire is off the ground if you do that so I know you are twisting it about as much as possible with that (without road forces of course).

Pickup trucks bend quite a bit in tests like that

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKMQjm7i2Jw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJZVUnOduH4
 




Themightyquinn

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I have plans to upgrade my 3.55 axles with either 3.73s or 4.10s when I return to the state later this year. I change jobs quite often so I usually move 1-2 times a year. Towing all my stuff with me. I am not sure that 3.73 will make that much of a difference, though Ford does say that it will increase max GCWR by 1500 pounds and max trailer weight by 1700 lbs. I would definitely feel the difference with 4.10s, but after doing some math with a pen and pad, it would definitely drop my MPG significantly. My Ex is the V6 with the class 2 hitch, and it tows my loaded trailer well on level roads, but is pathetic on even the slightest slope. Maybe the 3.73 will give it the extra umpfh I want, and maybe the 4.10 is an overkill. I do get annoyed sometimes when people ask me: "Why don't you just get a V8 Explorer or an Aviator?". And to them I say that my Explorer is special and I will never get rid of it- which sound corny, I know. Bottom line is I don't need to upgrade my axles or hitch, I can get by with my current set up. But it is just something I want to make myself feel better about when I am towing.
Also what's great about upgrading 8.8"s is there is no carrier break, so that saves you a couple of ben franklins there. A whole nother story with the Dana 30s up front.
 




Themightyquinn

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I think it does suck though, that the 6 speed wasn't available for the V6 models. :(
 




Explorer0204

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I hear ya...

Price out adding power instead of gears for the heck of it too. That way you can retain mileage and tow better...

You may find it isn't viable but I think it is worth looking at
 




thebrakeman

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Running more power thru a drivetrain intended for higher gas mileage will put more stress on the drivetrain when towing. Once moving, it would help you keep moving without much effect on durability. But starting from a stop is very stressful. That's why 1st gear with the 6-speed was made much lower (numerically higher), so the V8 could retain the 3.55 gearing.

I agree, it would have been nice to let V6 and V8 Explorers all have 3.55 gearing, the 6-speed engine, and the HD tow package as standard. The extra cooling bits just don't cost that much. I suspect they didn't have enough capacity for the 6-speed, as it was also used for F150 and Expedition by 2007. And they probably did not want to have open capacity wherever the 5-speed was made. Much of the puzzle is tooling utilization. Until the tooling is paid for, they have to keep it utilized to pay it off, and then hopefully make some money.
 




Explorer0204

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Running more power thru a drivetrain intended for higher gas mileage will put more stress on the drivetrain when towing. Once moving, it would help you keep moving without much effect on durability. But starting from a stop is very stressful. That's why 1st gear with the 6-speed was made much lower (numerically higher), so the V8 could retain the 3.55 gearing.

I agree, it would have been nice to let V6 and V8 Explorers all have 3.55 gearing, the 6-speed engine, and the HD tow package as standard. The extra cooling bits just don't cost that much. I suspect they didn't have enough capacity for the 6-speed, as it was also used for F150 and Expedition by 2007. And they probably did not want to have open capacity wherever the 5-speed was made. Much of the puzzle is tooling utilization. Until the tooling is paid for, they have to keep it utilized to pay it off, and then hopefully make some money.

This is definitely something to consider. That being said if he is towing under the limits (as he says he is) than it could be worth it to him. Could not be. It's all a balancing act.
 




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