Mazda BT 50 4 x 4 or Ford Ranger 4 x 4

Submitted: Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 10:43
ThreadID: 82063 Views:25617 Replies:12 FollowUps:19
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Hi all

Can any one advise me if they have genuine knowledge of either the Mazda BT 50 4 x 4 or Ford Ranger 4 x 4 causing any problems? Are there any problems with them and are they serious or just annoying? I will be towing close to 2 tonnes behind it on a braked single axle.
I am contemplating upgrading from a Mazda Bravo B2500 4 x 4 to either one or the other of the ones above.

The information I would like needs to be from either an owner or regular operator of one of the above units. I would like to read both the good and the bad.

I do not want to read about a mate's brother in law's cousin who has one.

Thank you in advance

DW
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Reply By: lasue - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 11:23

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 11:23
Hi DW, I have a 2009 BT50 4x4 and the vehicle has had three clutch replacements as well as a gear box upgrade. Mazda reccomend that you use four wheel drive when reversing up an incline or pulling out of a boat ramp etc, with a load on the back. It is all to do with the duel mass clutch system. Overall I am happy with he BT but it does seem to have problems under load. Regards, Lance
AnswerID: 433876

Reply By: Me me - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:14

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:14
We had to help friends of ours who have one, and they did the Simpson in it and the chassis bent in the middle. They are not over the weight limit, and had a canopy professionally built for it to carry their gear. Mazda dont want to know baout it. The cehicle was only 2 months old, and they are not rough drivers. Apparantly, there is to much overhang behind the rear tyres, going on whart a mechanic said who fixes alot with the same problem!
It wasn't our car, but we were there.
AnswerID: 433882

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 14:57

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 14:57
hi me me
are you sure your not mixed up and referring to an mn triton because they are having trouble with bending in the middle refer thread 81850
never heard of a mazda/or ranger bending but they are having clutch problems thread 80381
cheers
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FollowupID: 704894

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:02

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:02
I actually seen with my own eyes a MN Triton, 2 x Colorados and 1 x D40 with this 'broken back syndrome' - one of those was following a crossing of the Simpson. ALL of these vehicles had one thing in common....rather than upgrading the rear suspension these owners chose to fit air bags. Was that the cause of the problem......hell I don't know but it was something they all had in common. 1 of the Colorados had a CarryMe type camper, the D40 was a tray back that has lots on it and was towing a 19ft Haines along a beach when the back broke (and I mean really broke) - the others simply had a bit of a load.
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FollowupID: 704906

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:03

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:03
...oh and I should say....that while I don't have air bags on my D40 I still keep a close watch on everything under there....probably a bit over cautious but you never know:-(
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FollowupID: 704907

Follow Up By: Member - peter f (VIC) - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:51

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 17:51
if that was the one we saw in August ontop of Big Red . too much overhang is an understatment , they said it only happened when they put air bags under it .
wonder why they put air bags on it if it wasn,t overloaded ,
mechpete
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FollowupID: 704912

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:57

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:57
hi patrol 22
that's very interesting the fact that all had the bags seems like the air bags may be creating a whipping pivot point and could well be the crux of the problems on all those that have bent and perhaps more to come

something to be very weary off i would say

when one thinks about most vehicles with leaf springs have bump stops on the chassis/or axle directly above the rear axles

so if that is replaced with an airbag and pumped up this then stops or restricts the chassis compression downward in the manner that it was designed to do by the manufactures
and thus then transfers the whipping action and extreme weight forward to in front of the rear front spring hanger and thus causing stress on an area which is a general section of the chassis structure
dare i and i hate to say it
but the manufactures may well be in a winning position on this problem
so it looks like a wait and see game for all involved
cheers
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FollowupID: 704919

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:59

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:59
hi me me
sorry for having doubts this problem is far more wide spread than i first thought after reading
the thread from patrol 22
cheers
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FollowupID: 704920

Follow Up By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 05:13

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 05:13
I had air bags on my Bravo for a while and they caused me similar problems. Never again will I ever put them on a leaf spring suspension. Beef up the springs if necessary.

They may be fine on a coil spring vehicle.

A repairer in Kununurra told me even Toyotas have been straightened in his business due to air bags.

DW
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FollowupID: 704957

Reply By: The other Norm C (WA) - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:31

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:31
G'Day DW
I've got a 2008 Ford Ranger Cab chassis I fitted a canopy which I
made and weighs around 320 Kilo's.I have heard of a few clutch problems
with them but havn't had any problems with mine.I fitted 2 extra fuel tanks
70 litres each 2 water tanks 55 liters each and mounted the 2 spare tyres
on the back.When I go away it weighs around 2900k's.Have just been from
Perth toOodnadatta, Innamincka, Camerons Corner Into Melb and return
with no hassels at all.In the two and a bit years I,ve had it I have no complaints'
Norm
AnswerID: 433885

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 16:18

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 16:18
hi the other norm wa
have you towed anything yet behind ut as well as above load
this seems to be when they mainly have trouble
cheers
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FollowupID: 704997

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 13:03

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 13:03
We have an 07 BT 50 twin cab 4 x 2 rated to be able to tow 2500 Kg and tow a van with a loaded weight of about 1800 Kg. Vehicle was purchased new & now has about 46000 K on the clock of which about 15000 K was towing the van. We are now on our third clutch which is a bit of a worry seeing it is now out of warranty.
AnswerID: 433888

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 15:25

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 15:25
Hi DW,

I have a 2007 BT50 freestyle cab chassis with steel tray and upgraded suspension. I primary use the vehicle for carrying a trap top camper (Trayon).

The vehicle has done 80,000kms which includes some pretty rough stuff (CSR, Kimberley, Simpson Desert, Vic High Country) and has performed well. Had a broken rear spring that was replaced by Ironman under warranty, split fuel tank (repaired in Broome - ARB didn't want to know about which is another story), and a few other minor issues. Mazda have been really good and I would recommend this vehicle to others.

I try to keep the load to a minimum, which was a big factor in traytop camper selection (several well-known brands will take you well over the GVM loaded).

As far as broken chassis is concerned (mentioned in other posts above), I reckon it is common right across the dual/extra cab range if trying to carry too much load beyond the rear axle. I believe that other factors (such as air bags) can contribute to the problem. I personally have not seen a BT50 with a broken chassis, but have seen other makes.

Have done some towing and the vehicle has handled it fine.

Prior to the current BT50, I had a Hilux for 15 years that was great. However I could not justify the extra cost when upgrading 3 years ago. I personnally would recommend the BT50 to you based on my own experiences, just be careful with your load distribution and suspension setup.

Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 433898

Reply By: escapesilv - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 15:44

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 15:44
Hi DW

I have a 2007 Ranger 3Lt 4X2 Use it for work and is driven by several staff members, and have had no problems what so ever.

AnswerID: 433903

Reply By: Polaris - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:03

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:03
Interesting thread this. Any prospective buyer would be turned away at the prospect of clutch failures and talk of bent chassis!

I work in the bus industry and see the results of bad driving habits regularly. One driver that I worked with managed to destroy 6 clutches in various buses in 12 months. I took note of his driving a couple of times when transiting with him.
Not hard to see why so many clutch failures. Too lazy to put it in neutral and applying the brake, he would 'hold' it on a hill by 'riding' the clutch. Too lazy to change down a gear he would 'slip' the clutch.
All the drivers in the establishment with similar poor driving operation also suffered multiple clutch failures.
Same goes for boatramps - why slip the clutch? Much easier to put it in low/first - and idle up the ramp!

I've seen recent photos of a Triton dual cab with a severely bent chassis - then look at all the extra weight added behind the rear axle - including 2 spare wheels on swing away carriers - probably fuel or water tank in the place where the original spare was - then a heavy trailer on the drawbar as well. Probably also had to extend the tow tongue so it all cleared the spare wheels. Tray packed to the max. Then wonders why it broke and Mitsubishi aren't interested. I don't balme them.
AnswerID: 433912

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:50

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:50
Your comments are spot on in my opinion Polaris. As stated already mine is a manual & in my opinion the reverse ratio wants you to back back way to quick when backing a van, so you have to "ride" the clutch to steady things up a bit.

When our second clutch failed I made these comments to our local Mazda service manager & he agreed & told me that there was some sort of modification available to overcome the problem, but was only available to Autos, so no good to us.

I will be the first to admit that Mazda have been quick to accept responsibility & replace clutches so far, but my concern is now im out of warranty period & the existing clutch only exposed to 7000 Ks or so ( no towing) & we are heading off early next year with van in tow for 3 months or so & I have reservations to the point of unloading this vehicle that in every other respect we are more than happy with.
Real dilemma for us as if we sell it we will do our ass financially, but maybe that is the best option for peace of mind. Cheers
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FollowupID: 704918

Follow Up By: lasue - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:34

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:34
Barry F, I can be contacted on 0402461963. Lance/Townsville
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Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:55

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:55
Thanks Lance I will ph. you early next week. We have to head of to Sydney tomorrow & wont be back until Tuesday.

I appreciate your quick response, thanks a million. Cheers.
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FollowupID: 705020

Reply By: nowimnumberone - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:37

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:37
we just got back from 2 weeks in tassie and did notice a lot of mining companys and log companys were using ford rangers they were every where
AnswerID: 433914

Reply By: Muntoo - Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:49

Friday, Oct 22, 2010 at 18:49
Have had my Mazda BT50 since January. Brought brand new, Dec 09 model. Has 30,000k's now and not a problem. They do seem to have clutch problems, but only when they have been used to tow. I love mine, i am a die hard Toyota man too, but i did my research and the BT came up outright winner for me. My mate who is also one eyed Toyota man and on a large wicket, has just purchased a Ranger also, although he wanted a Hilux it just wasnt worth the extra dollars.

As for the chassis bending, all dualcabs do it. I havent seen one that hasnt yet. All have been on rough roads, with tray overloaded to the rear and with AIRBAGS, most towing camper trailers. If you wanna carry that amount of weight and gear im sorry but ya need a larger ute. People seem to think that because they have upgraded there suspension to carry 10 ton that there fine. With no attention paid to the chassis.

Its like building an elephant with emu's legs.

I love my BT, i get 10L/100kms on the highway sitting on 120km, with air con on and lightly loaded. Get down to 8.5L/100k if just cruising at 100k.

The power is unreal too. They have a dual mass flywheel though which eliminates vibrations through the drivetrain, which is caused because of the high torque. Pretty expensive and complicated set up the dual mass flywheel, and any riding or slipping of the clutch under heavy loads will burn it out very easily. But you can easily disengage the auto locking hubs and use L4 but in 2 wheel drive. Only a matter of unplugging the solenoid wiring from the firewall. Lots of people just run a switch into the cab and can engage and disengage it when they want.
AnswerID: 433915

Follow Up By: lasue - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 07:59

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 07:59
barry f barry mazda carried out upgrade on my 2009 bt after the clutch burn out number 3 the box now has lower gear ratio on first and reverse
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FollowupID: 704964

Follow Up By: lasue - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 08:27

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 08:27
Muntoo, Great idea, however ,I cannont locate the solenoid on the firewall on my Freestyle Cab 2009 BT. Have you any photos or more info on how to make the change. Thanks, Regards, Lance
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FollowupID: 704965

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 15:11

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 15:11
hi lasue
if you goto thread 8247 info in it on where
the
plug is and how
to run an extension into your
cab to a switch so u
can delete front diff when you ingage low and only the rear diff will be in low range
cheers


















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FollowupID: 704986

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 15:12

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 15:12
sorry thread 81247
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FollowupID: 704987

Follow Up By: lasue - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 17:51

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 17:51
Hi Mazcan, The thread has been archived so I'll follow it up with Explore Oz via email. Thanks again. Lance
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FollowupID: 705004

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 18:23

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 18:23
Hi Iasue, Im interested in your comments ref change of ratrio 1st & reverse & would like to talk to you further & get a few more details.

Any chance of making contact with me, it would be appreciated. Thanks.
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FollowupID: 705008

Follow Up By: lasue - Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:32

Saturday, Oct 23, 2010 at 19:32
Mazcan, I got it, thanks mate. Lance /Townsville
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FollowupID: 705014

Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:08

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:08
Thank you all for your interesting comments.

It appears some issues are:-
clutch and possible gearbox issue;
do not overload behind rear diff;
definitely no airbags to be used;
ensure lower ratios in gearbox;
purchase price is superior to some other brands.

Basically, it appears that the Mazda BT50 and Ford Ranger are worth buying. Not too many problems with them it appears.

Thank you all again.

DW
AnswerID: 434262

Reply By: TedRob - Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 23:18

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 23:18
I have a 2010 Ranger. Have just towed our Van for approx. 1000 kms.

No problems towing, however, when reversing the van back into our yard, (difficult access) I did in the clutch at 4000kms. Being fixed under warranty.

Mechanic told me that the clutches do not like getting hot. Any reversing of heavy loads such as caravan should be done in Low Range 4X4.
AnswerID: 434394

Follow Up By: TedRob - Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:48

Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 at 10:48
Have been advised by our local Ford Dealer, who is replacing the clutch, that Ford
have brought out a heavy duty clutch, and this is being fitted to my Ranger.
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FollowupID: 705494

Reply By: BT50Tourer - Sunday, Nov 21, 2010 at 01:24

Sunday, Nov 21, 2010 at 01:24
Mate, I personally own a 2008 Mazda BT50 SDX Dual Cab. They are a great vehicle around town and for light off road 4WDing but they are not as strong as a purpose built 4WD (like a Patrol / Landcruiser / Defender etc.) and they cannot tow anywhere near their stated capacity in an off road situation (even though the brochure says that the chassis is designed to take a full load on or off road). In the BT50 / Ranger, Triton, Navara etc. (light 4WD ute) there are hundreds of cases of bent chassis rails when towing camper trailers off road with a load in the back. Google bent chassis rails or go to the 4WD action forum web site and search for "dual cabs bents chassis rails" and see for yourself. I learnt the hard way (and we had the weigh bridge certificates to prove we were well under GVM and GCM) and had a 9 month battle with my insurance company (which we won in the end thanks to the weigh bridge certificates and my having all my additions on the policy). Whatever you do, if you are wanting a dual cab, do not fit air bags then load up or tow in heavy off road conditions (even where you are within GVM or GCM). Search the internet, you'll see why. They are a good LIGHT truck 4WD (lots of grunt), just don't load them up and go thinking that they can handle the rough stuff like a cruiser / patrol etc. (compare the chassis rail thickness of any of the dual cabs to a real 4WD wagon and see for yourself). The chassis rails on these 4WD utes are the same as on the 2WD versions. Don't take my word for it (although it happened to me), search for yourself.
AnswerID: 436501

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