Ford Ranger

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020 at 22:18
ThreadID: 140822 Views:2294 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
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Hi to all adventurers out there.
Does any one have any feedback on the performance on the latest 3.2 litre Ranger as a tow vehicle for a 2.5 tonne van? Looking to do some big Km's next year (10/15 Thousand) on our next adventure through the Kimberleys. At this stage we are looking at purchasing a new Manual Ranger in the very near future.

Scratcher.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020 at 22:57

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020 at 22:57
H Scratcher,

I have a 2014 Mazda BT50 - mechanically the same as a PX1 3.2 Ranger. It is modified for touring with a tradie canopy and storage system designed for independent camping without the van as well as pulling the van. It is heavy, unfortunately. To address that it has a GVM upgrade to keep it legal.

Our van is a touch under 2500kg fully loaded. All up, with the independent stuff for side trips the combination weighs in at about 5500kg. Placarded GCM is 6000kg

It is an auto. I cannot think of a good reason to choose a manual other than die-hard personal preference. The auto is magic, though I did need to put an after-market transmission cooler on it. Other than that it is 100% a-ok. A manual transmission would dodge that, but personally, apart from the money, I cannot see the point.

We have done a number of 10-15k plus trips with the van at that 5500kg all-up weight. We prefer the road less travelled, so lots of dirt and rough roads. All good.

We like the High Country and the Snowies. It feels the hills - what would you expect? - but it keeps on keeping on.

The BT50 has 10k service intervals - I believe the Ranger has 15k for the same mechanicals. I do a 5k intermediate engine oil change if on a long towing trek.

Transmission is "sealed for life", requiring no servicing. Bullshit except if it just does shopping trolley duty, and that's arguable. I do a 40% trans fluid and filter change every 40k to keep the transmission reasonably fresh.

Every make has faults and you'll read about some horror stories. I had one, common to both the BT50 and Ranger (injector problem) and fixed under warranty (ex-warranty actually, but no cost to me), but generally the vehicle is sound and comfortable. An excellent tourer.

As with all leaf-sprung dual cab utes, if you're going to load it then upgrade your suspension with springs, not airbags and distribute your load. Don't overload the rear with stuff in the tub - your towball weight will add almost double its figure to the rear axle (and springs) so you need to keep loads forward as much as possible and canopy/tub load as light as you can.

Do that and it's a delight to drive. The 3.2, though getting a bit old now, is a willing worker.

People get chips, remaps and performance upgrades. IMO you don't need them, you're just adding stress and reducing reliability.

And again, I'd recommend an auto over a manual.

As a heavy vehicle with 2.5 tonnes hanging off the back it's a delight.

And without the van, on the High Country tracks and trails it magic, especially the auto. Keep the weight down and it would be even better.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 07:07

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 07:07
I have a 2013 3.2 auto. I echo everything frankp said above. It has 180km on it now and has done heavy on road and hard (deep sand etc) off-road towing. It still drives like a new car.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 10:17

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 10:17
I have a 2013 BT50 3.2 manual, it too still drives like a new car. The new ranger would probably have a bit more power and a few more refinements though. Towing a van, it would do it on its ear, no trouble at all

I've been driving since I was 15 (now 50), only had manuals, love my manual vehicles, especially in hilly country and off road, swore I would only ever have a manual.

My advice though, is to get the auto.

Don't get me wrong, the 6 speed manual is a nice reliable gearbox and after 170000km I'm still on the factory clutch, even with a bit of interstate towing of a car trailer.

But around town you're stirring the gear box like a pot of custard. 1st to get off the line, 2nd and up to 3rd. The town I live in has lots of 40 and 50 zones, but 3rd is too low and 4th too high and you're trying to find the happy rev range.

On the highway, then for me its into 6th and stays there for hours on end, but towing a van you're probably better with 5th.

I got an auto as a loan car and it was much easier to live with. Get it out of the shed and put it in D and leave it alone. The auto will also down shift on its own to stop it running away on down hill sections and won't flog out the overdrive gears when pulling a load.

Fit a transmission cooler and service the fluid every couple of years and I think it would be the better option.
When it comes to resale an auto is a better option as a lot of people don't have that manual box ticked on their license these days. My wife does, but still refuses to even get behind the wheel of a manual.

This might be of interest too 2L V 3.2L Ranger Tow Test or 3.2 Vs 2.0 twin turbo
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Follow Up By: Member - Scratcher - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 12:09

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 12:09
Thanks for the info Frank P and others, sounds like although I am a Manual Man I may have to have a rethink. Also does any one have any feed back on the Bi~Turbo 2.0L Ranger/motor?
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 12:17

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 12:17
"Also does any one have any feed back on the Bi~Turbo 2.0L Ranger/motor?"

The link in Hoyk's post above gives it a big thumbs up.

I have driven one as a loan vehicle, and also an Everest with the same motor. Both certainly got up and went and were responsive with none of the throttle/turbo lag found in some of the 3.2 Rangers/BT50s. However I had both only for a day each and didn't tow with them.
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Follow Up By: Pepper - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 21:16

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 21:16
I have a 2017 bt50 with 6 speed auto it has about 70000klm and has the lovells weight upgrade and tows around 2600kg van..

So far it tows really well , my first auto after 50yrs of manuals ,wouldnt go back to a manual again..

Fuel consumption towing is about 18 litres per 100 average on easy conditions it will go to 20 plus in mountainous terrain

Btw the mazda has the old style (not smart )alternater meaning you can run multiple batteries without a dc dc charger.. I believe the ford version has a smart alternater and needs a dc dc charger set up for multiple batteries..

In the mazda all accessory earth wires must go to the body ...never to the neg post on the engines battery ..causes problems with the elec cont module i am told.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 22:06

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 22:06
"Btw the mazda has the old style (not smart )alternater meaning you can run multiple batteries without a dc dc charger.. I believe the ford version has a smart alternater and needs a dc dc charger set up for multiple batteries..

In the mazda all accessory earth wires must go to the body ...never to the neg post on the engines battery ..causes problems with the elec cont module i am told."

The Ranger's so-called Smart Charge system can be turned off by a dealer. I think they have a name for it - "switch to dual battery mode" or some such.

In both the Ranger and the BT50 the advice is all negatives should go to a chassis earth, not to the battery. Though in my BT50 the battery neg goes straight to chassis with no trickery in between, so I don't know why the advice. I think the instruction applies only to those vehicles that have an electrical load sensor between the battery neg and the chassis, which the Ranger has - for its Smart Charge system.
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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 22:01

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020 at 22:01
G'day Scratcher

Can't give any feedback on "the latest" 3.2 Ranger as a tow vehicle but my 2012 Ranger tows my 2 tonne trailer very well on a regular basis - not as easily as my 200 series Landcruiser does but it just keeps doing it without issue ! The Landcruiser has 3 extra cylinders and an extra turbo so you would expect it to tow better !

Big K's no problems - my Ranger will hit the 300,000 k mark early in the new year having done some very serious 4wdriving thru the NSW and Vic high country, numerous desert trips along with countless beach work plus it's my daily work ute and still drives as good as the day I bought it - virtually trouble free !

Re: Manual gearbox - do yourself a favour and get the auto - just like Hoyks I have been driving manuals most of my life ( probably longer than Hoyks ) and getting the auto was a fantastic decision - would never go back to manual !!

Good luck with whatever you buy

Cheers

Gazz



AnswerID: 634331

Reply By: Candace S. - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 07:14

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 07:14
I can't comment on the OP's Ranger question. But the discussion about auto vs manual transmissions is interesting.

Here in the US, manuals are becoming quite rare. Reportedly, by the third quarter of 2019, more people were buying EV's than manuals:Link

A quick internet search shows manual transmissions are more popular in Australia, but likewise on the decline.

I learned how to drive a "stick" eons ago. A good thing, as I sometimes needed to drive manual transmission vehicles during my working years. And so I could drive all over Oz in a Troopy. :)

For the record, I hate driving manuals and have never owned one, LOL
AnswerID: 634333

Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 10:04

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 10:04
In a few short years as auto emergency braking/radar safety comes to the fore they will cease to exist in all but enthusiast level vehicles. They will be mandated off the road.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 12:44

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 12:44
In general, they are a lot better than they were.

The old 3 speed slush boxes that provided power to the ground in a manner that felt like driving a boat are long gone.
But back then the cars also handled like a boat, so fair's fair.

Now with more gears, electromagnetic actuators and lock-up torque converters the drive feels more like what you'd get from a manual and more gears, faster changes and the transmission having its own ECU keeps the engine performing in its peak torque band longer so the vehicle feels more responsive and can be made more efficient.

Its a only a matter of time before manuals go the way of the dodo. With most vehicles sold being autos it would make car makers question if its even worth getting a manual just for the poverty pack when you consider the numbers sold, much easier just to give a cheaper trim level and a few less features to differentiate between it and the higher spec models.
With the economies of scale and having to support another transmission would make it questionable if the R&D effort would be worth it.

Even with more performance orientated vehicles a lot of the 'manual' gear boxes are really auto's in disguise. With the flappy paddle gear shifters you're really asking the transmission ECU if you can change gears and it either lets you or not. I'm sure there is some logic circuit in there that stops you destroying the transmission through misuse or abuse.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 16:25

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 16:25
Lol
"Even with more performance orientated vehicles a lot of the 'manual' gear boxes are really auto's in disguise. With the flappy paddle gear shifters you're really asking the transmission ECU if you can change gears and it either lets you or not. I'm sure there is some logic circuit in there that stops you destroying the transmission through misuse or abuse."

My old boss had a cog out of an eighties model Mazda autobox on his desk as a paperweight . A few teeth were gone or badly chipped, one of our ecologists managed to get the gearbox into reverse at 80kph!
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 16:44

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020 at 16:44
"The old 3 speed slush boxes that provided power to the ground in a manner that felt like driving a boat are long gone.
But back then the cars also handled like a boat, so fair's fair."

Back in the day when I was trying to impress the girl to be my wife (it worked, apparently) I had a Holden Brougham with a three oh something V8 and a TWO speed slushbox. As Hoyks suggested, it had the ride of a boat with nose rising and falling in stately grandeur as the majestic swells of the highway rolled by, and the handling of a wet Wettex. But it was large and comfortable with its embroidered seats and air conditioning, and that, apparently, was what counted. :-)

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Reply By: Winner W - Wednesday, Dec 09, 2020 at 10:54

Wednesday, Dec 09, 2020 at 10:54
We have a 2015 manual XLT , a 2019 3.2 auto Wildtrak and a 2020 2l Biturbo Wildtrak in family. We tow a 2.5 t boat and other toys regularly. The 3.2 manual is very impressive with an extremely short first gear. Towing and general city driving is effortless. The 2019 3.2 Wildtrak auto is my daily drive and we tow with it a
lot too. I prefer towing and driving with the auto but my son loves the manual. We have not towed with the 2l Biturbo yet but it really is changing my view on the milkbottle. People towing with the biturbo are all very happy it seems.I prefer the relaxed drive of the 3.2 auto in city traffic or on those long highway stretches towing or not. Maybe tow your van with all three for few hours and on different tracks and then decide.
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