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Old 04-19-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1973 23' Safari
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 12
2002 Ford Explorer XLT w/ 3.73 axle ok to tow Safari Tradewind 23'?

Hello All-

I am considering purchasing a Safari Tradewind 23' that weighs about 3450lbs dry.

My tow vehicle is a Ford Explorer XLT 2002 v6 4.0L with what I think is a tow package. From decoding the door sticker, I have determined that it has the 3.73 axle/transmission, a 2" ford factory hitch receiver and a 7 pin electrical hookup.

As far as I can tell, this rig can pull about 5600 lbs.

I am willing to get the most appropriate towing setup to maximize safety, but wanted to make sure that my tow rig can handle the 23' trailer which has dual axles.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

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Old 04-19-2010, 07:43 PM   #2
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1973 23' Safari
St. Catharines , South Western Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2002
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We have towed our 23' with two V6 TV's. The 23's tow very well.

Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:37 PM   #3
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,326
Make sure you have a trans cooler oil to air type not just the cooler built into the radiator.

Also dry weight is one thing, wet weight is another. If you get more than about 4500lbs and will be in the mountains, 3.73s will help, but in mountainous areas, you may find the 4.0L somewhat lacking. I've even heard some Ford folks not care much for the 4.6L V8 and opt for the 5.4L instead.

I know I pull a bit more than 3 tons with my rig, and even though my TV has a 9600lb tow rating, I still notice on the steep grades that I have a bit more than 3 tons behind me and my trans temp gauge further verifies it as it does do some work in those much so that I upgraded to a larger trans cooler because a cool tranny is a happy tranny that can have long life, if properly maintained.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:57 AM   #4
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
San Antonio , Texas
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Follow the advice on transmission cooling. We towed 22-26 ft TTs (3500-4500 loaded weight range) with the same generation Explorer (2003, 3.73 axle), though with the 4.6L V8. This series Explorer is the "F-150 lite" platform, which is considerably better for towing versus the older '95 -'01 models. We've run across about a half dozen folks on the road with similar setups, and several folks stopped over the past few years to ask how "that little truck tows?"

With a good anti-sway hitch like a dual cam or Equalizer, it can handle this class trailer. We've gone the extra step with the expensive Hensley-Arrow hitch. You'll be putting a good load on the Explorer, so recommend you pack lightly.

Best wishes in your trailer search, and your travels.

John W
2014 Flying Cloud 23FB
2009 BMW X5 Diesel
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:33 AM   #5
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1995 25' Excella
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
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In my opinion, bigger is better when talking about tow vehicles.
When you try to get by with a marginal vehicle you can expect to have "white knuckle" experiences.
Don't be surprised if you find the "tail wagging the dog", or too much time taken to pass and get back in your own lane, over heating, under braking, etc.
KE5CKG on 2 meters
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:43 AM   #6
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,382
Images: 5
Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your V-6 Explorer tow vehicle, you can probably make it work, but you will have to add a few things. The transmission fluid cooler is a must. You will also need a quality weight distribution/sway control hitch system. As far as a trailer brake controller, I would recommend the Tekonsha Prodigy or P3. I currently have both on two different tow vehicles. I would spend the few extra bucks and go with the P3.

Another significant factor is the tires on your tow vehicle. Many light duty trucks come with load range C (6 ply) tires. It would be better to have load range D (8 ply) tires for handling the load you are talking about.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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