Ranger rear end recommendations

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2022 at 18:58
ThreadID: 143905 Views:3155 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Hi All, New Ranger with canopy and drawers fitted, (probably 60kgs) I like the ride comfort without the caravan on but.
Caravan Ball weight is 150Kgs, Van is 2.5T Tare but the Ranger sits lower at the rear and caravan is lower at the front when hitched on. Steering is fine but would like to level both Ranger and Van without altering the unladen comfort. Is a WDH required or an extra rear spring leaf or what what is recommended.
I had a Dmax with 250kg rear springs but the unladen comfort was Zero so I don't really want to alter to much with the Ranger. I bought it for the ride comfort.
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Reply By: Member - Wooly - Sunday, Jun 19, 2022 at 20:09

Sunday, Jun 19, 2022 at 20:09
Hi Geoff,

I know some people and/or insurance/car company's don't like them but I have some air bags in the back of our tow tug, just for when we tow.

I only usually need about 15-20 psi just to give it a bit of support and hold everything level.

For me it was a good way to go.
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Reply By: Member - FSH00 - Sunday, Jun 19, 2022 at 20:58

Sunday, Jun 19, 2022 at 20:58
WDH will also have the benefits of transferring weights for better steering and braking along with sway control if you chose the right one.
Will prob go that way myself when van arrives, would be the safest option on the longer highway trips.
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Reply By: Member - PhilD_NT - Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 00:16

Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 00:16
We have a 2013 Ranger and our van weighs in at about 2700kg, therefore there's 260kg on the tow ball as the specified maximum on our compliance plate. Like you we had significant rear drop on the car which means that there was also significant weight loss on the front suspension. I tried an extra leaf and Bilstein shocks all round and it was good while towing but at other times I thought is was horrible so went to a complete Lovells GVM upgrade matched kit. Regardless of the GVM increase we were already under GCM but with the van on we were too close to the Rangers GVM for my liking but being a matched and certified kit it made the car improvement I was after.

This transformed the car to a much more desirable handling condition, in my opinion, but with an increase in ride harshness. I found this quite acceptable as the car now wallows less, less diving under braking and evened out the front left to right factory ride height. While towing there has been a noticeable stability increase in cross wind and from approaching heavy vehicles.

We use a WDH for its intended purpose of returning lost front suspension weight, not for the myth that they are only a bandaid fix for improper loading. Without the rear suspension upgrade and with a WDH I would have to really crank up the WDH bars to achieve the same effect. I would not use airbags on a leaf sprung vehicle as where they mount is not the proper load bearing points. I have used them on my previous 4x4 but that had coil springs which therefore use the same load bearing points as designed.

Rear squat of the tow vehicle means that you are loosing weight on the front suspension with possible detrimental effects on steering and braking. I've seen it suggested that lowering the front tyre pressures a few psi can help but this is the purpose that a WDH was designed for, weight transfer. Not all Manufacturers allow the use of a WDH and some even put speed and weight limitations if using one.

Is your 150kg ball weight what is specified on the van compliance plate as the usual recommendation is 10% of van weight, but increasing yours to 250 would make your rear suspension drop even more.
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Follow Up By: Geoff K4 - Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 11:05

Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 11:05
PhilD, Thank you, I just checked the Van's compliance plate, 190kg for ball weight. My tow ball weighing scales reads 155Kgs, so maybe the scales are out.?? The rear of the Ranger drops about 25mm when van is put on the tow bar, not a lot one could say but it does drop the rear down and also the front of C/van, I'm trying to level things out while hoping to maintain unladen comfort. I guess there has to be some trade off.
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Reply By: nickb - Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 00:46

Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 00:46
A common modification is reversing the "upside-down" leaf in the rear spring pack. Have a look underneath at the rear springs and you will see what I mean.

People that have done this report the Ranger sitting about 20mm higher at the rear and not sagging as much with the caravan attached. Unladen ride is slightly firmer but not to the detriment of comfort.

It's a simple job for a suspension shop, 2-3 hours labour should easily do it.
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Follow Up By: Geoff K4 - Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 11:09

Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 11:09
Thank you Nickb, The ranger rear end is already down a little due to the double draws, battery & Engel etc plus a further 25mm down when van attached. (measured this morning) I'm thinking I may have to sacrifice some unladen comfort. It does wallow as well, van on or not.
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Reply By: Gbc.. - Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 05:50

Monday, Jun 20, 2022 at 05:50
New ranger springs are a bit woeful. I had similar weights to you and found the ‘comfort lift’ 300 kg rear springs worked very well with that car. I had it for 8 years.
AnswerID: 640936

Reply By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2022 at 21:02

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2022 at 21:02
I have a 2017 BT50 cab chassis which I have a slideon camper on. When the camper was on I had rear sag and 25mm at the bump stops. I went to a spring works and had the springs reset and an extra leaf fitted with Tough Dog shocks, this gave me 50mm at the bump stops when the camper was fit and stopped the rear sag. As empty utes ride a little harsh anyway this mod had on effect on the ride. All this work was carried out with the camper fitted so that they could get the required height and measurements that I wanted. The extra leaf only came into effect when the ute was loaded so as I said the ride didn't change.
This might be a solution for you.

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Reply By: 1392 - Monday, Jun 27, 2022 at 15:26

Monday, Jun 27, 2022 at 15:26
Your concerns are shared. I recently wrote to 'clientservice@infrastructure.gov.au' regarding this same issue in respect of "The National Code of Practice - Vehicle Standards Bulletin VSB -1; Building Small Trailers".
This bulletin covers the compliances for trailers up to 4500kg, which covers just about all caravans/campers made and sold in Australia.
I have a camper trailer with tare weight rating of 1300kg, ATM rating of 2000kg (giving a load carrying capacity of 700kg) and the manufacturer stated towball weight of 130kg. This last figure is clearly nonsensical. When the trailer is fully loaded carrying 2 full gas bottles, 2 full jerry cans (in the fitted carry pods), full diesel tank for the HWS and 200 litres of fresh water; the towball weight is around 200kg!! I do not carry anywhere near 700kg in additional weight, I too, struggle to comply with the tow vehicle GVM and rear axle load limit.
Where/how is the tare weight derived from? My argument is that if the caravan/camper is supplied with a mattress, fridge, gas bottle holders, jerry can holders, annexe, and so on; these items form part of the basic structure and should be counted (weighed) in the tare mass.
Where/how is the towball load stipulated in any ADR design rules; and, based on what rating - tare or GTM? To my mind, towball load should be based on GTM in the absence of an actual measured and verifiable figure.
If the latter figure were adhered to, there is of course the likelihood that owners will change the loading arrangement and exceed the rated figure. But I think that is the lesser of 2 evils whereby understating the towball weight (as based on tare weight) leads owners to be deceived they are safe.
VSB1 states that tare weight excludes water and waste water tanks.
In respect of your Ranger, you state a figure of 60kg for drawers and canopy. I suggest you Google the weight of canopies. My drawer set empty weighs 45kg and my estimate for canopy is 90kg. You also have a drawer bar not included in the standard vehicle ratings, maybe bullbar, roof rack, Engel, tub liner; all of which reduce the carrying capacity of the vehicle. I am not familiar with the Ranger manual at all but know with my vehicle, all mass/load ratings are given for a base vehicle without any accessories.
My personal opinion for correcting the weight distribution over the front and rear axles of your tow vehicle is a weight distribution hitch. It is the least expensive option; does not interfere with the ride characteristics when empty; does not add any complexity to the vehicle (something else to go wrong); and, can be left at home when not towing.
One thing to remember with a weight distribution hitch is that it also transfers some of the displaced drawbar weight back onto the trailer wheels also.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022 at 10:12

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022 at 10:12
Hi 1392,

Does your trailer plate state that the TBM listed was at Tare? My trailer plate states two weights, TBM at Tare, and Maximum TBM. So if you have a 1,300 kgs Tare weight, and a TBM at Tare of 130 Kgs, that makes perfect sense. Obviously, when you add weight to the trailer, the TBM should go up accordingly. Have you weighed everything that you put into the camper trailer? It might sound “anal” to do so, but most people would be surprised at just how much weight each item is.


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Reply By: 1392 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022 at 12:27

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022 at 12:27
Thanks Macca, but no, the VIN plate does not have any reference to towball weight being at tare; or, giving any other towball weight under a different scenario. To me, it is just too coincidental that the manufacturer states the towball weight at 130kg and that happens to be 10% of tare.
As I stated, I have difficulty adhering to the tow vehicle GVM and rear axle maximum load rating and as such, have paid particular attention to what I carry, both in the vehicle and in the trailer. I have a set of scales in the workshop and have a good record of the necessities. However, it has occurred, depending on Dan Murphy's prices, my necessity load has been known to increase.
My question is how is the tare mass rating achieved? VSB1 is a standard that covers a multitude of trailers. With a caravan or camper that is sold with a refrigerator, batteries, annexe, hot water system, fuel tank, gas bottles and so on, all of which make up the RV; these should be counted in the tare mass calculation. The ATM and GTM ratings then are representative of what you load into it. If you remove these items from the RV, it is not fit-for-purpose and the tare weight is then meaningless!
The parallel scenario is a box trailer. If you quote the tare weight of a box trailer without its 'box', that would be dumb!
I am in no doubt that my camper is capable of carrying the load I put into it. However, it is the tow vehicle that has the limits that need to be complied with. I just hope that the manufacturer is not deliberately understating the towball weight to enable them to market the RV to owners whose tow vehicleshave marginal capabilities, like mine.
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Friday, Jul 08, 2022 at 13:44

Friday, Jul 08, 2022 at 13:44
WDH is the way to go, there are more dualcab/ute/caravan accidents than any other combination due to the relative lack of weight over the rear axle.
Combine this with an emergency stop, where the front dips, raising the rear towball and the caravan attached, which pushes the rear of the vehicle into a jackknife, You have actually set it up right with van down at front, airbags over leafs can cause chassis damage, go with what has been tested time and time again, WDH.
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