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Old 07-27-2009, 01:45 AM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
Oak View , California
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Transmission on my Explorer

Hey there,

I am just going over the Tow Posts with new questions since I just ruined the transmission on my Ford Explorer taking my 24' Tradewind to Montana and back from California on my first trip ever. My mechanic told me THAT PART of the transmission never breaks, they put it in their trophy room. Plus going up some of those hills, I could have jumped out and done Hop Scotch alongside the car at the rate we were going. With my extra braking system I felt OK going downhill, but to tell you the truth, I am glad I never had the occasion to slam on the brakes with all that behind me. You'd be amazed at the weight you are putting in there, even when you are packing light.


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Old 08-27-2009, 10:47 AM   #2
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1984 31' Excella
Olsburg , Kansas
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I have the 2008 Explorer Sporttrac that I tow a 24' Tradewind 1968, I have pulled it up to the Canadian border, up Poudre Canyon, CO., to Laramie and have not had a problem with my tranny. We have the 18 inch wheels and and the larger hitch rating. I bought it since it has the longer wheel base than the Explorer. My wife and I are quite satisfied with it. Ours has the 4.6 liter V8 and we get on the average 10-12 mpg while towing, sometimes better if a tail wind and flat. It will tow at 70 like a champ, I have never had the side wind be a problem since I have the attached slide sway bar. What engine do you have in your Explorer and what year of Explorer?

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Old 08-27-2009, 11:02 AM   #3
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2009 19' Flying Cloud
Bordentown , New Jersey
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I got rid of my Ford Exploder after placing two transmissions in it. They are junk. Ditch it while you can. Ford-Found On the Road Dead!
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
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1963 24' Tradewind
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By her data... '96 Explorer.. that would be a V6, correct?
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:18 PM   #5
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1966 24' Tradewind
Oak View , California
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Yes, mine is a V6. I did put a transmission cooler on it before the trip, along with a larger tow package with weight stabilizer and anti sway bars. After several discussions between Ford and Airstream, I figured I was just within the tow weight factor. However, now in hindsight and after a year's worth of reading the Forums, I didn't fully comprehend the additional weight of the tow package itself, what I packed in my car, the two dogs and my weight, water in the tank, propane and after unpacking from the trip, I think I vastly underestimated the weight of all the stuff I had tucked into the trailer in the months preceding the trip. I was so new to the trailer experience that now I think I was lucky I made it out the driveway in the first place.

Plus I had taken a few small trial excursions and a day or two before I was to go to Montana, I went back to the hitch place because of some little noise and they decided to put a few additional welds under the Explorer. As I was out talking to the guy doing the repairs (not the guy inside who sold me the hitch) he told me that he thought I should have gotten the next size bigger tow package because the full pulling weight of the whole trailer had been under estimated. I asked why they hadn't sold me the bigger one instead and he said they didn't carry it in stock and it had to be special ordered..... So I think I had a few things going against me and I chock it up to inexperience on my part and something to be learned from. If I had been reading the forums the year BEFORE I got the trailer, I would have been starting out on the right foot. I consider this to be a superb online education class and hope someday to get my Masters in it........

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Old 08-27-2009, 04:20 PM   #6
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1963 24' Tradewind
San Diego , California
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I put 3 trannies in my Explorer and 13 sets of front brake pads along with a bunch of other $h!t and finaly sold it with only 150k miles. O did i say i never towed anything with it. nada!!
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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1965 26' Overlander
Renton , Washington
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Oh the woes of the Ford Explorer! Long time mechanic here that has had a lot of dealings with Explorer. First off what I'm about to say is only for info and not a personal attack so please do not take it the wrong way. The transmissions in those things are grossly under engineered. The probability your trans would fail was high even without towing. Most tranny shops do not rebuild them because of this because they do not want to cover the warranty on the parts only labor. So they purchase them from tranny rebuild outlets and then install them. The engine in your Explorer is of concern also. I personaly have pulled numerous engines and trannys out of these things by 65k miles. They don't call them "Exploders" for nothing. Bottom line is if you keep your explorer and use it to tow there is a high probability it will happen again. There is nothing that can really be done to those trannys to really bullet proof them or beef them up enough. In my opinion there is no automatic overdrive trans out there that really is except the Allison. I'm not saying this because I own one because I don't, but I've been wrenching long enough that I've seen how reliable those trannys have been in semi trucks and machinery. They are well made. Good luck to you and hope that you can get something more in the way of a reliable tv.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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1965 22' Safari
Salt Lake City , Utah
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I had a 1994 with a V6 and manual transmission, towed a Tent Trailer, it did great. But I wouldn't dream of towing a 24' Tradewind with it. "Just within the tow weight factor" is one thing at sea level (where you are only asking for problems) it is whole another situation when crossing mountain passes in Montana (where you are begging for problems).

The 2006 and newer V8 Explorers are radically different than the older ones. The newer V8s use a 6-speed trans, they have fully boxed F-150 style tube-through-tube frame design, 4-wheel independent suspension, up-graded 4-wheel disk breaks, etc., the newer ones are very solid.

Driving a 2006 Explorer V8/6-speed auto, I have towed my '65 Safari across the country and over the rocky mountains with no problems. With 30 mph cross winds in Nebraska it felt solidly planted on the road, even when getting passed by 18-wheelers.
Here is an informative review on the newer Explorers:

Compairing older Ford Explorers to new ones is like comparing older Toyota 4-Runners to new ones (note: old 4-Runners used to be 4-cylinder light weights).

Any time anyone comments on any tow vehicle, be it Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, etc., you really need to state Year, Make, Model, Engine, Transmission.
(e.g. 2006 Ford Explore V8/6-speed auto)
Without that minimum information comments are relatively worthless.

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Old 08-27-2009, 06:02 PM   #9
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1965 26' Overlander
Renton , Washington
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By the way BWH the six speed auto in the new Fords was a joint engineering venture between GM and Ford and is not really a conventional automatic trans. Instead of using ATF and pumps and valves to turn the drive line the six speed uses two clutches that basically do leap frog shifting. One clutch controls 1,3,5 gear and the other controls 2,4,6 gear. So in essence there is no fluid being super heated from slippage which is the main killer of a conventional automatic overdrive trans.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:14 PM   #10
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Walkerton , Virginia
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The Explorer would be challenged hauling a pop-up for any length of time. So sorry.

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Old 08-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #11
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1979 31' Sovereign
Rineyville , Kentucky
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Wow, the hate for the explorer is amazing. I guess we just got lucky on ours. 99 limited 5.0. Traded it at 165k with no problems at all. It needed, in the whole time we owned it (140k miles) 1 abs sensor $15, 1 power antenna $12, and a rear wiper motor, $28. Nothing but regular maintenence otherwise. Would have kept it forever but it was just a bit small to tow a 31', even though it fit the 80% rule. I would have driven it to Alaska the day I sold it.
See our blog here on how two RV/AS rookies tackle a 1979 Sovereign resto!!

Just the photos.. (sometimes you don't need the blog, just a picture worth a thousand words..)

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Old 08-27-2009, 08:01 PM   #12
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The number one vehicle traded in the Cash for Clunkers program were Explorers. I think #2 or 3 were F150's. Most of the "Clunkers" traded were US made, most bought were from Japanese companies. Says something, though people will disagree what that is.

Sorry to hear about your misfortune Carol. This probably rates below the bear in bad times (you will forever be known for the bear story on this Forum), but that doesn't make it good. What is your plan for the Explorer and taking the next trip?

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Old 08-27-2009, 09:07 PM   #13
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I had one of the early versions of the Explorer. It was a 1991 with factory tow package. I never used this vehicle for towing, but the transmission failed at 98K miles. The rebuilder told me I was lucky that it had lasted that long. I had it rebuilt twice more and after the last rebuild, I immediately traded it. My Ford F-150 is a '97 and has traveled 160K trouble-free miles.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
The number one vehicle traded in the Cash for Clunkers program were Explorers. I think #2 or 3 were F150's. Most of the "Clunkers" traded were US made, most bought were from Japanese companies. Says something, though people will disagree what that is.
Hi, I won't disagree with the fact that most of the turn-ins were Ford Explorers and F-150's If you don't disagree that F-150's were the top selling vehicles for many years , not to mention Ford sold 400,000 Explorers per year since conception! Makes sense to me.


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