Last post on Jun 27, 2008 at 6:45 PM
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#1 of 396 My Bumper's Draggin'
Oct 26, 2000 (4:21 pm)
I have a '97 V8 Explorer that I use to haul a
horse trailer. It handles the weight just fine
except the rear end is lowered, pulled down, even
when the trailer is empty. It is an aluminum
2-horse and the tongue weight is about 250 lbs. I
use a receiver hitch, class 3. I know that I
should be using a full size truck but I hate to
part with my Explorer. Has anyone else had this
problem and would an air lift system or helper
shocks/springs fix it?
#2 of 396 draggin 1
Oct 26, 2000 (6:21 pm)
I also have a '97 explorer. the "butt-sag" syndrome is characteristic of almost all explorers. even a few hundred pounds will often cause this. from what I know, it's not harmful to your vehicle; it just looks dumb. an air lift would probably do the trick, but if I was you I would consider adding a leaf spring to the rear. that should help a lot, and also give you a firmer ride. (which I prefer) BTW, how heavy is your trailer when loaded?
#3 of 396 draggin1
Oct 26, 2000 (6:27 pm)
There are several things you can do to improve it. One is to replace the factory shocks with high quality air assist shocks. You can also replace the rear left springs with harder ones, but that can run serious coin. An easier fix is the front end has ride height adjustments (which move the rear end up) with its torsion bars.
I'd talk to a 4x4 shop and to a Ford dealer's parts dept before spending any money.
#4 of 396 JimJa
Oct 26, 2000 (11:48 pm)
I put 142,000 miles on my '92 Explorer and about 10% of those miles were towing at, or slightly above, the recommended max gross vehicle weight. I too experienced the "tail drag" I see on so many SUVs when towing or loaded heavy. My fix was to add Monroe Air Shocks. Cost was about $100. That cured the tail drag and there was no discernible difference in non-tow handling. I didn't like having to inflate/deflate the shocks all the time from outside the truck, so installed a gauge in the cubby and a pump above the spare tire. These items were obtained at Off Road Warehouse for $93. I could then inflate/deflate the air shocks from inside the truck. The shocks come with a graph of weight vs. pressure and by doing a little estimation could inflate accordingly. The air shocks were a big selling point when I sold the truck, "that's slick," and "I could use that" were some of the comments. With the air shock install some suggested there could be a breakage problem with the upper shock mounts...never had a problem.
Initially I planned to install Air-Lifts but when "check fitting" prior to install deemed them to have too many disadvantages, the main one being the axle must be "strapped" when using a "wheels free" hoist or jacking to prevent damage to the air bladders because of the weight of the axle. There was also very limited space to install them. Cost was about $250. I sent them back.
I didn't look into an extra leaf in the springs but certainly that could be done, probably a little cheaper.
I now drive a '00 Explorer which I ordered with load leveling. The load leveling option in an SUV makes so much sense it should have been done long ago. It works perfectly and I have so far towed about 4,000 miles with it. BTW, when towing, the '00 V8 AWD gets about 1 1/2 MPG better than the '92 V6 4x4. I wish Ford had installed a air hose and gauge to use the existing pump to inflate the tires or recreational stuff needing air similar to what GM has done with some of their mini-van models.
One thing I think anyone towing should consider VERY SERIOUSLY is a cushioned ball mount. The hitch is slotted and inside are poly bushings to allow slight movement fore and aft when starting or stopping. Very quiet. Once you tow with one of these you'll never go back to a solid ball mount. Cost is about $45. To see an exploded view go to cabelas.com Jim
Oct 27, 2000 (2:20 pm)
With two horses (Arabians), I'm hauling no more than 4500 lbs. The specs on the truck say my max is 6400. It really is a good little hauler except for the dragging bumper, which does pull the front up to the point that I'm getting flashed for high beams when they're not on. It is a little swimmy in the front, too, especially when the roads are wet. I know I'm not as solid as I'd like to be.
#6 of 396 Oh, & BTW...
Oct 28, 2000 (1:26 pm)
While this "Butt-Sag" is somewhat common with Explorers, I see it WAY more often with 4Runners.
#7 of 396 Draggin1...
Oct 28, 2000 (1:32 pm)
250 lbs tongue weight is light for 4500 lbs. Have you weighed the trailer loaded to see what it actually weighs? 10% of the total trailer weight is usually recommended as a good starting place for setting up your towing package, & 8% is about as low as I've ever seen recommended on any package to insure trailer stability in all situations. My suggestion would be for you to weigh your load, then set up your trailer to get about 10% on the tongue, & finally go with a good set of air-shocks to level your truck. Air shocks are relatively inexpensive, firmer when pumped up to tow, & have almost zero effect on ride quality lower pressures. They are almost bullet-proof as well, rarely giving any problem if the hoses are properly routed. Be very cautious about doing any tweaking of the torsion bars as this will affect your front suspension geometry & can greatly disrupt your vehicle's basic stability. Any adjustments to the torsion bar loading needs to be done a reputable shop, followed by a 4 wheel realignment. Good luck.
#8 of 396 Question on towing
Nov 14, 2000 (9:00 pm)
I just bought a 1996 Rodeo and have some questions regarding towing. It is a 2WD automatic.
1. The owner's manual says to use the set the transmission on 3 (1st, 2nd and 3rd gears) when
towing a trailer. Do I have to do this even when I'm on the highway doing 55-60 mph (with a trailer)? Or is it just when I get the truck (and trailer) moving until I reach enough speed to shift to 4th?
2. Is it safe to tow a trailer 2000 miles using the 3 position?
3. Is it ok to use cruise control when towing and using the 3 position?
4. The specs say that I can tow a trailer upto 4500lbs. Has anyone tried towing a U-Haul (with furniture etc) with the Isuzu? Any words of wisdom??
Nov 14, 2000 (11:57 pm)
I also tow a horse trailer with my '95 Chevy Blazer. Fully loaded, it can push the 5,000 lb limit. When getting the brakes and lights done, the hitch place recommended an "EZ Lift". I used to have the "bumper drag", but the EZ Lift re-distributes the weight on a 3 point axis more towards the front of the truck. It tows like a dream with no sway or driveway drags. Check it out.
#10 of 396 Towing - bchock
Nov 15, 2000 (10:14 pm)
You will probably be just fine towing with your Rodeo as long as you keep the following things in mind:
1. Since you have a V-6, you will probably have to tow in 3rd gear pretty much all the way. There isn't anything wrong with leaving your transmission in 3rd gear instead of overdrive. Otherwise the tranny may hunt gears since it has to keep the engine up in RPM to make more horsepower and torque to keep all the weight moving. V-6's typically don't have very broad horsepower and torque curves, which means the maximum horsepower and torque may only be available high in the RPM range, (maybe 4000 - 4500 rpm).
2. Make sure you load the trailer so it has adequate tongue weight. Ideally, you should have around 10% of the total weight of the trailer on the tongue of the trailer. If your trailer and contents weighs 2000 lbs, you should have about 200 lbs of tongue weight. This is important so the trailer behaves correctly, and will minimize swaying as much as possible. Too much tongue weight is almost as bad as not enough. You may have a weight limit for tongue weight for your Rodeo - check this also.
3. You should be able to use the cruise control. As with anything, try it for awhile, and if it works OK go with it.
4. Keep your speed below 65 mph. The faster you are going, the faster things can happen. If sway starts to develop in the trailer, your safety margin decreases rapidly with extra speed.
5. You may notice the pull and push as trucks and large trailers pass you. Be aware of this and keep an eye on vehicles overtaking you so you are prepared for this. As a truck starts passing you, you will feel suction from the truck. Steer slightly away from the truck. This only lasts for a brief period of time before you will feel a push from the truck and you will have to steer back towards the truck to correct. As long as you know its coming its not that big of a deal. Since your Rodeo probably has quick steering, be careful with how far you steer, as it doesn't take much of a turn of the wheel to make up for this.
6. If your trailer and contents weigh over 2500 lbs you will need trailer brakes for most of the country. U-haul can wire a trailer brake controller in your vehicle if that is the case.
7. You have a pretty short wheelbase vehicle. If you get too long of a trailer, you may have sway problems. U-Haul may have limits for your vehicle that prevents you from getting too large a trailer, so this may not be a factor.
Hope this helps you out!