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Old 04-05-2011, 05:52 PM   #21
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3/4 ton turbo diesel with tekonsha prodigy here. Very easy to setup. This is my first truck and the track car was the first time towing anything. No drama on my 500 mile round trip tow.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:03 PM   #22
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If you look at it like an accountant, no the math won't work. But if you have the finances, a heavier, long wheelbase truck with a ton of torque takes a lot of the stress out of long haul tows. A turbo diesel will also get better mileage, especially unloaded--but the up front is easily $20k used with 100k miles or more. I can't justify that and do not want a car payment.

We bought the 2000 explorer in 2002 with 30k on it. It now has 205k. It's been a great truck, and I have the title.

I have already installed overload springs in the back. I hate airbags and hope to not need them. I also plan on getting a weight distributing hitch.
The truck is rated for the load I plan to pull, and should be ok with the weight distribution and trailer brakes so long as I don't need to cross mountains.
I agree that you'll be able to get around town fine with the Explorer. The issue is that you don't want the tail to wag the dog. That happened to me a few times with the Explorer...and it wasn't fun. My next tow vehicle was an FJ Cruiser. Though it was taller than the Explorer, it was wider and quite a bit more powerful & efficient. My current tow vehicle is a Tundra.

I ran a WD hitch and it was a huge help. The weight distribution will help out the truck's rear axle, and will also prevent the trailer from swaying. Short trips (a few hours) were fine, the longer trips were more stressful. Mountains? Big stress. I'd take advantage of gravity as much as possible. Even with brakes on both axles (the only way to go), stopping distances are greatly increased.

I would strongly recommend a transmission cooler, if you don't have one already. Also take a good look at your cooling system. Mine was under stress (i could watch the needle raise while climbing).

If you haven't towed before, you'll quickly find out that towing to/from track events is usually much more dangerous than actually running at the event. Some drivers are clueless and will continue to make dumb-*** moves on you, as if you were driving a smaller car.

Sounds like you are doing a good job outfitting the Explorer.

- Will
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:19 PM   #23
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Why not the mechanical ones built into the tongue? I'm very limited on my trailer knowledge, but I do know about those. Just don't know any pros/cons of them.
Surge brakes suck, and are illegal (at least in Florida) for commercial use. One of the reasons I like a controller, is that you can activate it with your hand if you get in an emergency situation, and you need to apply more braking power to the trailer.

We are pretty much out of the trailer business, but when we were, we sold mostly Tekonsha controllers. Redneck Trailers is the big distributor, and is in many states.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:25 PM   #24
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Don't get a weight distribution hitch. They can be dangerous if all hell does break loose, and most are not setup correctly anyway. With decent brakes on the truck/trailer and the prodigy controller setup, you should have zero issues towing a go-kart around with the Explorer. Just watch your tongue weight when loading the car and adjust as needed.

Single axle trailers have huge issues walking back and fourth, but we've had very little issues with tandem and triple axle trailers staying stable.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:23 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by wildo View Post
I agree that you'll be able to get around town fine with the Explorer. The issue is that you don't want the tail to wag the dog. That happened to me a few times with the Explorer...and it wasn't fun. My next tow vehicle was an FJ Cruiser. Though it was taller than the Explorer, it was wider and quite a bit more powerful & efficient. My current tow vehicle is a Tundra.

I ran a WD hitch and it was a huge help. The weight distribution will help out the truck's rear axle, and will also prevent the trailer from swaying. Short trips (a few hours) were fine, the longer trips were more stressful. Mountains? Big stress. I'd take advantage of gravity as much as possible. Even with brakes on both axles (the only way to go), stopping distances are greatly increased.

I would strongly recommend a transmission cooler, if you don't have one already. Also take a good look at your cooling system. Mine was under stress (i could watch the needle raise while climbing).

If you haven't towed before, you'll quickly find out that towing to/from track events is usually much more dangerous than actually running at the event. Some drivers are clueless and will continue to make dumb-*** moves on you, as if you were driving a smaller car.

Sounds like you are doing a good job outfitting the Explorer.

- Will
I think one of the big reason for trailer sway is people get the wrong tires for their trailers. You should run special duty trailer tires with stiff sidewalls. People cheap out and get regular car tires, which are too mushy and bounce around.

Truck has trans cooling through the radiator, then has a secondary trans cooler (factory) in the grill. Radiator was replaced a couple years ago. I run 70% water in it. I can run a higher water concentration in the summer if need be. I hope it doesn't need anything more than that as I don't have a lot of free time as it is, but I'll address it if necessary.

I have a 17' boat on a single axle steel trailer that the Explorer hauls to the lake with ease. Does not wag at 75 mph, though I usually keep it no faster than 65 on the highway. I think it's in the 3500 lb range. I think the race car on a tandem will be in the range of 4000-4500 depending on what if any extra crap I take with me (tools, jacks, wheels/tires, pit bike, fuel, etc).

I've pulled cars a couple of times with the Explorer, once was a Miata on a dolly. The other was a different Miata on a tandem a couple weeks ago. I ran it up to see how well it would pull at speed. Got a little wag at 70 and backed it down to 60 again. Trip was fine except I did not have the trailer brakes hooked up as I don't have a controller yet. I knew the trailer was back there, but it ran smooth. The only drama was when a guy pulling a stock trailer in the lane next to me slammed on his brakes and a pig riding in the trailer flew into a cow. The cow let out a loud MMMMMOOOOOO! and kicked the pig. It was both absolutely hysterical and depressingly sad at the same time.

I've pulled trailers up to 15,000 lbs, 8.5x20, through the city of Atlanta. Pulling a trailer that wide through downtown is no joke. Tow vehicle was a Dodge Ram Hemi 2500 4x4 (work vehicle).

Basically what I'm trying to say is I understand a bigger tow vehicle is better, but I have what I have. I don't want to have to drive a Suburban every day and don't have the budget for a PowerStroke.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:53 PM   #26
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I have the load distributing hitch in hand since it was included with the trailer when I bought it (used). I have not tried it out yet but I plan to.

The trailer is a tandem axle (brakes on both axles) with the high load rating (12 ply?) Maxxis trailer tires. Sway even in a crosswind has been fine so far. Last trip for whatever reason I noticed I had a lot of tongue weight even with the car as far back in the trailer as I could place it. I need to get bumpers/springs/air bags and/or try the load distributing hitch.

Chpmnsws6 you are one of the few I have heard advise against a load distributing hitch. If they are installed correctly, how do they cause a problem say in an emergency maneuver? I am not being argumentative, I just want to hear what you know.

BTW the Tundra with the towing package (what I have) came with a transmission cooler.

I am assuming it is OK to jack this thread at this point since it is pretty clear the OP question has been answered.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:13 PM   #27
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Its just second hand info I received from a veteran who did a lot of horse trailer hauling "back in the day". He said that it was used as a crutch when you had too small a truck and that now instead of just the trailer getting squirrely, it could now take the truck with it. I just think they are a PITA to take on and off. The last person I saw (well, worked for) with them ended up finally just upgrading her truck (1500 5.3 pulling 3-4 race horses, 2 carts, and a small tack room).

If you have the option when buying the trailer, disc brakes are also FAR nicer then the drums. Easier to work on and more consistent stopping power (plus they seem to have a bit more stopping power)
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #28
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Driving skill/experience dictates mostly the size of the vehicle you have to have. One other reason for the tail wagging can be light tounge weight or real short wheel base truck aka a "OJ Bronco". On any vehicle you should limit the amount of kicking in and out of OD when going up hills by helping it in advance to prolong trans life. I have a cheap manual brake controller and it works fine once I test set it before I hit a busy road. I will say its touchy in town, not dangerous but jerky.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:16 PM   #29
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Quote:
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A turbo diesel will also get better mileage, especially unloaded--but the up front is easily $20k used with 100k miles or more. I can't justify that and do not want a car payment.
I paid $15K for mine last year, but yeah, that was twice the price of the gas Suburban 2500s with the 454 that I was also looking at.

--Ian
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:17 AM   #30
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Since this thread seems to attract the proper audience for this question--Do you guys carry a rider on your trailer? I called my ins co (allstate) this morning to arrange comp, thinking it would be an easy task--but apparently there are hoops to jump through. I dunno.

I went over budget and got an aluminum trailer for the weight savings, and I really can't afford to have it stolen.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:23 AM   #31
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Since this thread seems to attract the proper audience for this question--Do you guys carry a rider on your trailer?
People should never ride on the trailer going down the road, that's just not safe. Come on man!

I don't carry a theft policy on my trailers because it was a fairly large pain in the *** to setup. I did make sure in the even of an accident, the liability of anything heppening from the trailer was covered though through my normal insurance.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:33 AM   #32
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In my state, the trailer carries liability automatically when hitched on the tow vehicle. However, comprehensive and collision are added as a rider or separate policy. I am most concerned over what could happen when the trailer is unattended. I do plan to secure the trailer to the extent possible (multiple locks and chains, tack weld the coupler bolts, lock the breakaway chains, etc). But I fully understand that if someone wants to steal it, they will.

I googled trailer insurance last night and found that people were reporting premiums in the range of $50/year, which seems perfectly reasonable to me. Some policies also cover items stored on/in the trailer against theft. My track car is not going to be registered or insured otherwise, so I was thinking of storing it on the trailer and letting it fall under the trailer's policy (and I would purchase enough coverage to make sure).

I have coverage on my boat trailer. It was included with my boat policy. It was pretty cheap and covers if I wreck it in transit or if someone steals it. I was able to set it up easily over the phone. For some reason, the car trailer is harder to insure. I'm waiting on a return call from AllState.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:44 AM   #33
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  1. Modern Proportional Controller. Curt / Prodigy etc. For Prodigy, the P2 is actually the newer design and nicer imo. General wiring kits from many places for 7 wire with controller. Some vehicles had an option package you can install later.
  2. Equalizer hitch for wd & sway control. Adventurerv.net has this for half what I paid and half normal price now.
  3. Backup camera is nice if your truck is so equipped. Otherwise, tennis ball method.
  4. Sealed, self-lubing marine bearings for trailer & e-brake maintenance.
  5. Mirrors, a helper to learn to park, patience and practice.

I wish the tacoma was 7500lbs towing. The max package with the max engine is 6400 lbs for towing capacity. GCWR is 7500 lbs for the smaller engine but that is not the towing capacity.

Sway isn't so much an issue on an open hauler or small trailer. I pulled a closed 7x16 I used to use for motorcycles that barely fits my Miata. It would move around a lot behind my small Ranger then larger Tacoma as it is a giant air brake. Windy days and passing trucks wasn't a lot of fun. The Equalizer hitch made towing a lot simpler and when setup just made the trip to the track more relaxing. As it is a friction system, it will tend to reduce sway due to friction but when you command a turn, it moves... so the quick reaction issue mentioned isn't relevant with this design anyway.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:00 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Since this thread seems to attract the proper audience for this question--Do you guys carry a rider on your trailer? I called my ins co (allstate) this morning to arrange comp, thinking it would be an easy task--but apparently there are hoops to jump through. I dunno.
I don't, but then I bought about the cheapest car hauling trailer I could find, steel frame, wood deck, brakes on just one axle. One nice thing about having overbought on the tow vehicle is that some extra weight on the trailer isn't a problem.

--Ian
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:23 PM   #35
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FWIW I just used the weight distributing hitch for the first time this weekend and it is definitely an improvement. I adjusted it during installation per the usual procedure because apparently the previous owner of the trailer was clueless. The feel of the vehicle is much more solid, and there is less rear axle bounce going over bumps.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:59 AM   #36
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Check out BrakeSmart, imo, a better brake controller. It uses the hydraulic pressure in your brake line to determine the braking for the trailer. I used to tow trailers between 2500 lbs to 20000 lbs using the same controller with my cummins 2500 truck, the controller work flawlessly with all the trailers. If you truck is undersized, investment in the best brake controller is cheap compared to the alternatives.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:14 AM   #37
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ROI on a diesel depends entirely on how much you drive. The mistake people make is weighing the initial cost tpo heavily in their decision. A half-ton Chevy gasser is around 8-10k - a diesel equivalent with equivalent miles is 15-17k. No coincidence that the Diesel option was about 7k when the truck was new.

Figure out how much you drive, figure out the savings, and decide whether you're better off having 7k in the truck enjoying the extra power and fuel economy, or 7k in the bank making interest.

Figure you'll get around 15% better mileage all around with a diesel (I get 19+ unloaded, 14mpg towing the flatbed at 70, 12mpg towing the 2-car at 65mph). I drive 35,000 miles a year at ~15mpg average, which works out to around 2330 gallons, or $10.5k/yr in diesel. (jesus christ.) Figure my average would be 12mpg with a gasser, which means ~$13k/yr in gas. $3k/year savings for me. or ~$750 per 10k miles you drive. YMMV, depending on the cost split between 87 and diesel in your area. I try to time my fuel stops so I fill at truck stops on interstates (~$4.35/gal) instead of in town ($4.70/gal).

There are other factors (maintenance of a diesel is a little more expensive, each oil change costs around $40-45, fuel filters are $40), but if you've got the extra 7k to spend, there's not much reason to NOT go with a diesel truck.

Last edited by Savington; 04-22-2011 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:39 PM   #38
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In my case I only drive the truck I am towing with about 3K-5K tops since it is not my DD. So for me the ROI is not favorable. Or put another way, with the money I would spend obtaining a used Diesel truck, I have a used gas truck and a fun daily driver that gets 22+ mpg.

But if I towed as much as Sav I would definitely be looking at Diesels. That is a lot of driving.

Last edited by ZX-Tex; 04-22-2011 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:54 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by mx5booster View Post
Check out BrakeSmart, imo, a better brake controller. It uses the hydraulic pressure in your brake line to determine the braking for the trailer. I used to tow trailers between 2500 lbs to 20000 lbs using the same controller with my cummins 2500 truck, the controller work flawlessly with all the trailers. If you truck is undersized, investment in the best brake controller is cheap compared to the alternatives.
Looks awesome, but that's too much money to spend. Thanks for the info though. Next (bigger) truck, I'll look more into it. I already blew the metaphorical wad on the aluminum trailer.

I've been eyeballing the diesel excursions with the 7.3. Need to find some money first though.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #40
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I've been eyeballing the diesel excursions with the 7.3. Need to find some money first though.
I know someone at work that has one. It is really nice, and surprisingly quick for a huge Diesel vehicle. He bought it used at a good price but had to cast a very wide net to find it.
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