The smaller Ford Rangers are a very popular truck, but they were never made to pull much weight, but to my surprise they actually had quite a respectable towing capacity attached to them, considering their size.
In this article, I put together all of the research I conducted on these smaller trucks and formatted all of the information in a sort of "resource guide" type of format so that you can look at specific model years and compare them to other model years to see how these trucks have changed over the years. I hope this article help somebody out there!
Overview of the Data For the Ranger:
Engine Choices: There were a few different engine options for the Ranger over the years and it did make a significant difference for some of the overall maximum trailer weight ratings in the charts, especially for the 2011-2000 model years.
Configurations: There were many different configurations for these smaller trucks over the years, especially for the older model years that were made in 2011 and older.
Everything from your cab style, bed length, axle ratio and four-wheel drive versus two-wheel drive options all had a bit different trailer weight ratings, so you will need to pay attention to the charts and line everything up according to what your vehicle has equipped.
Towing Capacity: The towing capacity for the Ford Ranger was relatively the same if we compare the older model years that were made from 2011 to 2000, with slight differences due to different engine options but pretty close if we look at overall numbers.
The newer models that were made from a 2019 and newer had a much higher overall capacity than we ever saw before, having a maximum weight limit of 7,500 lbs., which was much higher than the older maximum weight ratings, but other than that they were all very similar.
I grouped together certain model years in this article and posted separate charts, in some cases. If only one chart was posted, then the data was the same and all model years share that chart and the maximum trailer weight ratings listed in it.
Be sure you read through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle and abide by all of Ford's recommendations.
The 2021-2019 models had a towing capacity that ranged from 3,500-7,500 lbs. and that was really less of a range and more of either or type of scenerio. You either had a 3,500 lb. rating or a higher 7,500 lb. rating. This was true for 2021, 2020 and 2019 models, as they share the same chart and the exact same specs and is why only one chart is shown below.
The big difference that I can see when I look at the chart is that having a trailer towing package installed on your vehicle (53R) gave you that higher 7,500 lb. rating, which I go into a little more detail about later in this article, including what equipment that package came with to give you that higher trailer weight rating.
The 2011-2009 models shared the same two engine options, which were the 2.3 L and 4.0 L engines, the 2.3 L engine being a 4-cylinder option, while the 4.0 L engine was a 6 cylinder option and had a much higher maximum trailer weight rating, in general. The towing capacity for the 2011-2009 models ranged from 1,320-6,000 pounds, which is a massive gap!
If we look at the chart below, we can see that the 2.3 liter engines had a substantially lower rating than models equipped with the 4.0 liter engines. The 2.3 L engines had a range that started at 1,320 lbs. and went all the way up to 2,200 lbs. But the 4.0 L engines were capable of pulling a minimum of 3,080 pounds, all the way up to 6,000 lbs.
Now there were different axle ratios for both engine options, in most cases and that did seem to make a difference in the overall capacity numbers, so did the cab style you had and whether your vehicle was four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive.
The 2008-2002 models had a towing capacity range of 1,400-6,000 lbs. and there were three different engine options this time: the 2.3 L, 3.0 L and 4.0 L engines. The 2.3 L and 3.0 L engines had much lower maximum trailer weight ratings compared to models that had the 4.0 liter engine equipped, roughly half the capacity.
If you were lucky enough to have the 4.0 L engine equipped, then you had some of the highest capacity numbers for the 2008-2002 model years, but there were some lower ratings that were for specific submodels, and this case the sport models for the Ranger.
The 2001 models were in a class all their own and in fact had four different engine options to choose from, which you can see from the chart below. The overall towing capacity ranged from 1,395-6,070 lbs. for all models.
The 2.3 l and 2.5 L engines had the lowest capacity ratings on the chart, while the 3.0 liter engine had a little bit more overall capacity than the 2.3 L and 2.5 L models, but the 4.0 liter engines had the highest capacity ratings out of all the other engines for the 2001 model year Rangers.
The 2000 model year Rangers were listed alone, just like the 2001 models because they had a bit different engine options than the other model years, as you can see from the chart below. The 2000 model years had a choice between a 2.5 L engine, a 3.0 L engine and a 4.0 L engine.
The overall towing capacity for the 2000 Ford Rangers ranged from 1,360-6,060 lbs., with the 4.0 L engine having the highest capacity numbers in the chart, while the 2.5 L and 3.0 L engines had the lowest ratings.
Be sure you pay attention to the chart, as the Ranger also shares specs with the Explorer for this model year, along with cab configurations, four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive options and different axle ratios.
What Axle Ratio Do I Have?
For every chart I have posted in this article, it states that different axle ratios might have different capacities associated with them, so it is important to identify which axle ratio you have on your Ranger in order to get the most accurate figure in the chart.
All you need to do is open your driver side door and look for the certification label that contains a bunch of helpful information and a code that list what axle ratio you have equipped on your vehicle. This code is located towards the bottom of the certification label and will be two digits.
Once you find these two digits, you will need to decipher them in order to figure out what ratio you have. I usually just go to the Ford Towing guides and look up the axle ratio via the chart that they have listed.
The image below shows the different axle ratio codes for the 2020 Ranger and as you can see there was only a 3.73 axle ratio available, but two different codes were shown.
If for some reason you can't find your code on your certification label or can't figure out how to decipher your code, you can always climb up under the rear of your vehicle and look at the rear axle housing. Usually there is a metal tag that has identifying stamped markings on it that will tell you what axle ratio you have equipped.
GVWR and GAWR Specs...
It was really nice to see that the gross combined weight rating specifications were listed and all of the charts for every single model year but if you want to know what the gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings are then you will have to do a little bit more research to find those figures.
Don't worry though, these can be found on your vehicle via the certification label that is located on the driver side door pillar or door itself. All vehicle manufacturers are required to put these labels on their vehicles and this certification label contains helpful information including the gross vehicle weight rating and both gross axle weight ratings for the front and rear axles.
This label also contains the axle code that we talked about earlier in this article, along with the VIN and other helpful information.
A Note On Trailer Brakes...
I was not able to find anything that specifically stated a trailer weight that would require having trailer brakes installed anywhere in any of the owner's manuals or any of the brochures online.
I was able to find a little note in the owner's manual that mentions that certain states may require trailer brakes if they are over a certain weight, but there is no connector that came standard in the vehicle. I posted a screenshot below of what I found.
I'm not sure whether you can put in an after-market set up, but it would be worth checking it out if you wanted those higher-capacity numbers.
Towing Package Options:
Most of the Ford Rangers did not need any sort of tow package in order to achieve their specified maximum trailer weight ratings, but for model years 2021–2019, you did need to have one of these packages installed in order to achieve that higher 7,500 lb. rating.
I took a screenshot from a 2020 brochure that I found online for the Ranger and it states that a 4/7 pin connector and wiring harness is included in the package, along with a hitch receiver but other than that no special equipment was mentioned like a heavy-duty radiator, oil cooler or transmission cooler.
Do I Have A Towing Package Installed?
Since there were no real modifications that were done to the engine, it should be relatively easy to do a visual inspection on your 2021–2019 truck to see if it had one of these packages installed. All you need to look for is a trailer wiring harness, where you can hook up trailer lights and brakes and check to see that you have a Class IV receiver mounted on the rear of the vehicle.
Ford did not state whether you can add your own aftermarket accessories to get these figures, but I bet you can go down to your local dealership and see what they say about it or get pricing on a factory set up, if it is available.
Resources I Used For This Article:
I love when I do research for any Ford vehicles because they have a tow guide for virtually every year and these contain all of their models and their maximum trailer weight ratings, along with some other helpful information.
I wanted to go ahead and link to these individually, so you can do your own research if you choose to or just want to check them out for yourself.
- 2021 Ford Towing Guide
- 2020 Ford Towing Guide
- 2019 Ford Towing Guide
- 2011 Ford Towing Guide
- 2010 Ford Towing Guide
- 2009 Ford Towing Guide
- 2008 Ford Towing Guide
- 2007 Ford Towing Guide
- 2006 Ford Towing Guide
- 2005 Ford Towing Guide
- 2004 Ford Towing Guide
- 2003 Ford Towing Guide
- 2002 Ford Towing Guide
- 2001 Ford Towing Guide
- 2000 Ford Towing Guide