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Old 09-22-2009, 09:59 AM   #1
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Towing Ranger backwards with dolly

I did not know that you could tow a rear wheel drive vehicle backwards using a tow dolly until I saw a Motorhome on I77 towing a Ford Ranger with the rear wheels on the dolly. Is it OK to tow a Ranger backwards this way? I used to have a Ranger and was told that I would need to tow forward and dis-engage the drive shaft.

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:50 AM   #2
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Hi rek,
I do not know any dolly manufacturers that say this is okay. I do not know about the Ranger. That being said, I towed different vehicles backwards for over 10 years with absolutely no problems. The steering wheel must be firmly held in the straight ahead position.

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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The problems with towing backwards are:

The front end geometry on the truck is designed for the vehicle to tack properly when going forward. The toe, caster and camber are all set for forward motion. Towing backwards can lead to instability problems and tire wear.

The other problem is locking the steering wheels in the straight ahead position. If you rely on the ignition lock, it can over-stress the locking pin and damage it to the point you cannot get it to release easily.

I know I have seem people towing them backwards, but as an engineer, I see too many reasons to not tow backwards.

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Old 10-08-2009, 12:29 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Good information

Good info about towing Ranger on a dollly, that is what I would like to do, I do believe on the toe/caster thing, it makes perfect sense.

but funny how things happen, today I was talking to a tow trucker, and asked the very same question, he has being towing cars for 32 years, and said no problem to tow Ranger backwards, of course, I understand, he is experience is not with long distances, I did ask about dollys, he said he does not like because the roads around here (NC) will break the dolly too fast, but it would work just fine, he did say though the best would be a viscosity/lub adaptor on the shaft or disconnect the shaft and tow flat would be best.

The thing is, when I see the cost of tow bar, tow plate, shaft disconnector, etc..., it is always gazzilions more than a dolly. Again I guess it would depend on how many miles you are planning on towing the Ranger.
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Old 11-15-2009, 08:34 PM   #5
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I don't have a Ranger, but a 1998 Chevy Tracker. The owners manual states to tow it backwards on a dolly, even has a picture of this.
The reason given is due to the automatic locking front hubs (it is 4x4).

Would be interesting to see what a Ranger owner's manual has for info.
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Old 11-15-2009, 10:10 PM   #6
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That's really odd! I have a 4X4, Shift on the Fly, 2007 Ford Ranger and I tow it 4 down. All I needed was a computer reprogram and Neutral Tow Kit light.

Whatever you are considering towing. Your Owners Manual should tell you straight up whether you can tow on a dolly, or 4 down.

Make sure before you tow! I hear that late model Ford Escape says you can, but people have had problems. Double Check!
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:06 AM   #7
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The Ranger manual says you can tow on a dolly or tow truck backwards, not sure how far/often though.
Gordon, can you post the info about the re-program thing you did? is that something dealers do it or any brand I should look for?
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:28 PM   #8
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My owners manual and


show my year and model as able to tow 4 down.

After buying the vehicle, I had to take it into a Ford stealership and have them do a computer upgrade (programming only) and install the

Neutral Tow Kit (Part #3L2Z-7H332-AA) - which is just a yellow light that mounts under the dash and tells me when the front differential is electronically disconnected.

Cost was about 90 bucks.

The link above also shows which Ford vehicles for 2007 are 4 down towable/or not and what has to be done.

Good Luck

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Old 11-22-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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Ditto what Gordon states. We tow a 2008 Ranger just as he does. Makes a nice light weight toad. Plus we can take the motorcycle along with when we choose.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:22 AM   #10
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I tow my Ford F150 backwards without any proboem. I use to drop the shaft, but it was a real hassel. One thing on a Ford is the shocks. Weather you tow it or not they will wear out the front tires fast if shocks are bad. We also had a Suzuki that we towed backwards and never had any problems. I have not noticed any unusual tire ware by towing them this way. To each his own...

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