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How to Tow a Ford Ranger

by Allen Moore

Towing vehicles requires a familiarity with the vehicle’s drive train, unless you are towing it on a flatbed trailer. While some vehicles can be towed with all four wheels on the ground, others must have the drive wheels elevated and still others must be towed on a flatbed. In the case of the Ford Ranger, preparing it to be towed is a fairly simple affair that can be accomplished in less than an hour.

Step 1

Hitch the tow dolly to the tow vehicle and then drive the front wheels of the Ranger up onto the tow dolly carefully. It is best to have someone spot you as you do this. Once the Ranger is in place, secure the wheels and front chassis to the dolly with the dolly’s tie-down straps and chains.

Step 2

Use the socket set to disconnect the drive shaft from the rear differential, leaving the U-joint in the driveshaft flange.

Step 3

Secure the U-joint to the driveshaft flange with masking tape. Make sure it is secure so you do not lose it while towing the Ranger.

Step 4

Use the bailing wire to secure the driveshaft to the rear frame, holding it up and away from any moving parts, such as the wheels or rear suspension.

Connect the tow dolly’s light and brake wiring harness to the tow vehicle. Place the tools you used to disconnect the driveshaft somewhere in the Ranger so they can be accessed easily when you are done towing and ready to resume driving the Ranger.

Tips

  • Never tow a rear-wheel drive vehicle with the rear wheels on the ground and the driveshaft installed. Doing so transmits the wheel torque through the differential, up the driveshaft and into the transmission, which will overheat during the tow.
  • Some RV repair centers offer driveshaft disconnect kits that you can have installed in your Ranger for easy towing behind an RV. See your local RV repair center for details on these kits, installation costs and operation.

Items you will need

  • Tow dolly
  • Socket set
  • Masking tape
  • Bailing wire

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