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Old 06-22-2020, 11:56 PM   #1
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2020 Ford Explorer Towing Apex Nano 208BHS/203RBK/213RDS?

Wondering if anyone has towed an Apex Nano 208BHS with a 2020 Ford Explorer (or a similar sized trailer 203RBK, 213RDS?). Ideally an XLT or Limited trim 2020 Explorer which has the base engine (300HP, 310 lbs torque, 5300lbs tow capacity, 560lbs hitch weight, ~1800lbs payload capacity). I know the weight police will tell me to buy a diesel F350 dually, but I'd prefer to hear from the mid/large-size SUV owners. All the auto reviewers say the new 2020 is "a beast" for towing, since it is now a rear wheel drive vehicle, but it seems like their only experience was at a media event put on by Ford!

I've been waffling between getting a 193BHS (3515lbs dry, 370lbs hitch weight) or a 208BHS (3950lbs dry, 516lbs hitch weight). I really like the enclosed underbelly, dual axle, and bed layout of the 208, but not sure if that extra 400lbs dry weight is going to put me over the edge of whats comfortable. Yes, I know the GVWR of the 208 is 6000lbs, but I see that as axle margin, I'd never plan to load above 5,300lbs.

I also know those hitch weights are pretty variable based on how the trailer is loaded, has anyone actually gone to the scales and got numbers of how their 208bhs is loaded? I am planning to use a weight distribution hitch (WDH) based on all the helpful advice I've found elsewhere in this forum.

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:39 PM   #2
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I was in the same boat as you earlier this week. I have a 2015 Ford Explorer Sport (5000 lbs tow cap) and I was nearly set on buying a 203RBK. Running the numbers looking at the dry weight, plus installed options, plus gear, and people/dog, it was far too close for comfort to the maximum tow/payload for the vehicle.

I am by no means the weight police and you dont need an F350, but I would suggest not getting a trailer that close to the max as you will probably end up overloading the vehicle. could the explorer tow it? maybe... would it be safe or a good towing experience? probably not.

Coming from previously owning and towing a hybrid TT with a silverado 1500, I would not say the explorer is a beast for towing, albeit it can tow. In order to tow the max you NEED to use a WDH. 5,000lb flatbed trailer and a 5000lb TT are very different beasts.

I ended up buying a used older Expedition limited as a dedicated TV and will be getting a Freedom Express Ultralight 195RBS.
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Old 06-23-2020, 09:53 PM   #3
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Coming from previously owning and towing a hybrid TT with a silverado 1500, I would not say the explorer is a beast for towing, albeit it can tow. In order to tow the max you NEED to use a WDH. 5,000lb flatbed trailer and a 5000lb TT are very different beasts.

IQUOTE]



In case the flatbed is in reference to tow standards, if it is just a general reference I apologize. There is a picture on this forum and on the internet that shows a very aero dynamic trailer being pulled to get those high tow ratings. However according to the tow standards all ratings of 5k or more must have double axle and at least 40í of frontage area Click image for larger version

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Old 06-23-2020, 11:32 PM   #4
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I was in the same boat as you earlier this week. I have a 2015 Ford Explorer Sport (5000 lbs tow cap) and I was nearly set on buying a 203RBK. Running the numbers looking at the dry weight, plus installed options, plus gear, and people/dog, it was far too close for comfort to the maximum tow/payload for the vehicle. ...

I ended up buying a used older Expedition limited as a dedicated TV and will be getting a Freedom Express Ultralight 195RBS.
That's funny, buying a used Expedition Limited is exactly my backup plan too! That 195RBS looks nice, but definitely out of Explorer range. I toured a neighbors Apex 215RBK and it was very nice too if you're looking at that type of layout.

The 2020 Explorer is a completely redesigned model with a completely different engine, drivetrain, is RWD based, and is actually tested to SAE J2807 (models prior to 2015 weren't). So that's what has peaked my interest: can I get away with that as my daily driver and my weekend warrior tow vehicle? On paper its close, so I'm curious if there is anyone out there who has actually tried real world towing with a 2020. (My original post wasn't clear, I'm in the market for both TT and TV. Definitely suffering some analysis paralysis!)

@Moose074: that's interesting about the trailer type as part of SAE J2807. I agree that the car manufacturer marketing materials still show wildly unrealistic trailers in tow; also notice most of them are very aerodynamic boats!

You're kinda hitting the heart of my question. Pre SAE J2807 it seems like companies almost arbitrarily rated their vehicles, so people developed all these rules of them ("Only load to 80%", "only tow with a diesel truck", etc). Now that there's a towing standard, are we all just being super over cautious? Or is driving near the rated limits still a white knuckle experience?
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:58 AM   #5
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2020 Ford Explorer Towing Apex Nano 208BHS/203RBK/213RDS?

While I have enjoyed this forum a lot and learned a lot from this forum. As expected and honestly one of the reasons I am still on the forum you have people with very strong opinions and diverse opinions. I hope I stay open minded because I believe listening to other views even if I donít respond or if they are in direct opposition to my believes.
The can ď can you tow vs should you tow it ď section is honestly an area where I have changed my views some. I was definitely way more forget about numbers what can the truck actually do kinda of guy to more of a middle kinda of guy.

White Knuckles is a subjective term. The point in which someone gets the sensation doesnít make them more or less of a person.

My view point for you since you are looking for both is look and see if anybody is towing with the same running gear a 2020 year model on a new design limits actual users that have one. Engine transmission combo. Perhaps it was put in the rangers or transit vans, possibly even into a 150. Honestly I donít think the power will be an issue. Just keep reasonable expectations about performance. The biggest concern would be wheel base so I would look and read up on those issues. I see Sante Fe minivans and other small wheel base vehicles. My experience with short wheel base is limited and dated to the trucks so I have nothing no opinion.

Finally if you owned both and were close to numbers I would say give it a try see how comfortable you are driving the combo. If you felt safe then use the extra money you saved by not trading up on camping. However since you are looking for both be smart you donít want to be buying a bigger vehicle later. I know itís kinda of a catch 22 the set up could be perfect for you. Unfortunately until they allow test drives pulling your trailer with your rig( I wish) you have to spend money to see if you like it.
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:48 AM   #6
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In case the flatbed is in reference to tow standards, if it is just a general reference I apologize. There is a picture on this forum and on the internet that shows a very aero dynamic trailer being pulled to get those high tow ratings. However according to the tow standards all ratings of 5k or more must have double axle and at least 40í of frontage area

Hey Moose - thanks for sharing this doc; my comment was more a general reference; not specifically on tow standards.


I think you highlighted a lot of my thoughts in your latest post - its definitely subjective and there is a lot of grey area in the numbers. I figured I'd pipe in since I just when through this similar thought process myself.
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:23 PM   #7
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Wondering if anyone has towed an Apex Nano 208BHS with a 2020 Ford Explorer (or a similar sized trailer 203RBK, 213RDS?). Ideally an XLT or Limited trim 2020 Explorer which has the base engine (300HP, 310 lbs torque, 5300lbs tow capacity, 560lbs hitch weight, ~1800lbs payload capacity). I know the weight police will tell me [...]

I've been waffling between getting a 193BHS (3515lbs dry, 370lbs hitch weight) or a 208BHS (3950lbs dry, 516lbs hitch weight). [...]
The weight police are uniformed LEOs that hang out at weigh stations. Regardless of what you do, you'll likely never see them, have a conversation with them, or get any flack from them. Weight police only really ever police commercial vehicles and the exceptions where they might focus on an RV is incredibly rare. (Speaking about the US).

You're really going to find people here that do the math and those that kind of don't care about the math. Either is fine.

Do you really think a Ford Explorer Limited is going to have a payload capacity of 1,800 lbs? Seems highly unlikely to me.

Since you're looking at bunkhouse models, I'll assume a family of 4. Normal parents plus a couple of small kids + gear in the truck + WDH is usually around 700 lbs or so. You'll probably have 600 - 700 lbs from the trailer on the tongue from these 5,000 - 6,000 lb trailers. So, as long as you have around 1,400 lbs of available payload, you're in business.

Have fun.
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:07 PM   #8
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Towing

With the 208 having dual axels, it will actually be better on tongue weight. Even @ 400 lb. heavier, it should balance out on payload #'s. The payload cap. # is what you should be most concerned on. IMO either is going to be close to capacity and take the ULW # with caution. It is before you add battery, propane and 75 lb. WDH. Each of my previous trailers was almost 500 lb. over MFG stated weight.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:27 PM   #9
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It also depends on where you live and intend to travel. My neighbors bought their first trailer (no slide outs/less weight) and then bought a Jeep V8. We live in the Eastern Sierra Mtns. so lot’s of ascents. They soon realized it was too hard on the poor Jeep and traded it for a truck. I myself have a 2017 Explorer Platinum with the largest engine, I do love the car!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:02 PM   #10
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With the 208 having dual axels, it will actually be better on tongue weight. Even @ 400 lb. heavier, it should balance out on payload #'s. The payload cap. # is what you should be most concerned on. IMO either is going to be close to capacity and take the ULW # with caution. It is before you add battery, propane and 75 lb. WDH. Each of my previous trailers was almost 500 lb. over MFG stated weight.
That's good info about the manufacturer weight being low. I like the dual axles for many reasons, one of them being that it gives you so much more margin on the trailer GVW. And twice the braking for downhill.

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It also depends on where you live and intend to travel. My neighbors bought their first trailer (no slide outs/less weight) and then bought a Jeep V8. We live in the Eastern Sierra Mtns. so lotís of ascents. They soon realized it was too hard on the poor Jeep and traded it for a truck. I myself have a 2017 Explorer Platinum with the largest engine, I do love the car!
You caught me mtnlvr! I live in Denver, so lots of mountain climbs in my future. This has actually been my #1 concern, and the reason I've looked at bigger trucks every night since my first post...

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Do you really think a Ford Explorer Limited is going to have a payload capacity of 1,800 lbs? Seems highly unlikely to me.

Since you're looking at bunkhouse models, I'll assume a family of 4. Normal parents plus a couple of small kids + gear in the truck + WDH is usually around 700 lbs or so. You'll probably have 600 - 700 lbs from the trailer on the tongue from these 5,000 - 6,000 lb trailers. So, as long as you have around 1,400 lbs of available payload, you're in business.
I have been looking at a Ford Explorer XLT 4WD with the heavy towing package, no other frills. It does look like they come in around 1,800 payload.

You guessed right about the small kids and family though!

The more I look at it (and at the mountains) the more I know what I have to do (bigger TV), but talking it out helped. I appreciate everybody's thoughts, thank you! Would still love to hear from someone with a 2020 explorer, but I know that's pretty unlikely with them only having been out a year. But maybe a response would help some poor soul in my position down the road someday!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:06 PM   #11
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I was in the same boat, 2019 Ford Explorer, ended up going with the 193BHS. I’m glad I did because that’s about all that car can handle. I pulled it from from Oregon to Georgia last week and it did just fine but I wouldn’t want to put any more weight on it. At times, I felt like the motor was really working, but I also couldn’t find one with the big motor (ecoboost, twin turbo) so that might make a difference. No complaints pulling it though!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:13 PM   #12
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I have been looking at a Ford Explorer XLT 4WD with the heavy towing package, no other frills. It does look like they come in around 1,800 payload.
If you find one with 1800lbs of payload, please post a pic of that number, from the driver's door yellow Tires and Loading sticker.
I spent 2 years looking for a F150 with 1800lbs or more of payload capacity before I found one.
So I'd like to see an Explorer with that amount of payload capacity.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:33 PM   #13
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I wouldnít tow 208 w/Explorer

Forgot to mention in my previous post, I have a 2019 with the 3.5 (they only put 3.0 in 2020ís) but no economist. An, again, after pulling the 193BHS from coast to coast, there is no way Iíd go with the 208. It definitely pushed my transmission and motor. I stopped into the CAT scales I was at The other end of the Columbia River Gorge and then again in Tennessee, made GVWR of 10,000 lbs. There is just no way Iíd pull the 208. Iím sorry I canít comment on viability with the twin turbo.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:38 PM   #14
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Apologies for the multiple posts in one thread... Iím new. Just got the 193BHS a couple weeks ago, pulled it almost 3,000 miles already LOVE IT!!!!! Again, Explorer does fine, but I wouldnít want to be the next owner of this car 😬 208 would have been way too much for this one IMO
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:45 PM   #15
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Forgot to mention in my previous post, I have a 2019 with the 3.5 (they only put 3.0 in 2020ís) but no economist. An, again, after pulling the 193BHS from coast to coast, there is no way Iíd go with the 208. It definitely pushed my transmission and motor. I stopped into the CAT scales I was at The other end of the Columbia River Gorge and then again in Tennessee, made GVWR of 10,000 lbs. There is just no way Iíd pull the 208. Iím sorry I canít comment on viability with the twin turbo.
Thanks for all the pictures! This is great info! I'm a bit confused, I thought your previous post said you have the 3.0? Either way, that GVW is real data.

The 2020 ST model has 400 hp and 415 lb-ft torque, so thats actually overkill power wise, but I think the 2020 is "only" rated to GVWR of 10,100, so you're right, the 208 is certainly over budget there (and probably in payload and its close on hitch weight). And that ST starts at like $55k. With that kinda money, I'll just go buy something designed to tow....

I'm really liking that 193BHS tho. I have a friend getting a 194BHS next week, so I'm gonna check his out before making any final decisions!
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:54 PM   #16
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Apologies, I definitely have the 3.5L. The day before I pulled across the country, I went to the dealer and looked at the ST, but for $55K, yes, go get something else haha! If I had this to do over again, I would get a Durango and the 208, no doubt in my mind (with the Murphy Bed!)

Funny story: it was a Sunday night several weeks ago and I went to sleep knowing I was going to Seattle to buy a 194 new (but I hate buying new, always prefer 1-2 years old) and on the way there my wife calls and says she found a 2018 193 used for $8K less so I went in to Seattle, fell in love with the 194 (my mistake!!!! GAH!) and then went and got the 193 and have been obsessed with making it like the 2020 194BHS. Wife: WHY do you want the inset sink/stove so bad?? Me: Becuase I can’t unsee it! It’s SO nice. The 194 is 6” longer and they used that to add a Pantry to go with the ward as well as the outside kitchen (SO nice!).

So the only reason I got on this forum was to try to find those stove/sink part numbers (no luck yet).
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Old 06-26-2020, 07:49 PM   #17
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Apologies, I definitely have the 3.5L. The day before I pulled across the country, I went to the dealer and looked at the ST, but for $55K, yes, go get something else haha! If I had this to do over again, I would get a Durango and the 208, no doubt in my mind (with the Murphy Bed!)

Funny story: it was a Sunday night several weeks ago and I went to sleep knowing I was going to Seattle to buy a 194 new (but I hate buying new, always prefer 1-2 years old) and on the way there my wife calls and says she found a 2018 193 used for $8K less so I went in to Seattle, fell in love with the 194 (my mistake!!!! GAH!) and then went and got the 193 and have been obsessed with making it like the 2020 194BHS. Wife: WHY do you want the inset sink/stove so bad?? Me: Becuase I canít unsee it! Itís SO nice. The 194 is 6Ē longer and they used that to add a Pantry to go with the ward as well as the outside kitchen (SO nice!).

So the only reason I got on this forum was to try to find those stove/sink part numbers (no luck yet).
Haha, I think we would get along very well. I do the same thing. Instant buyers remorse on everything! Thanks for all the insight. I hope you find your stove/sink part numbers!
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Old 07-09-2020, 07:05 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the pictures! This is great info! I'm a bit confused, I thought your previous post said you have the 3.0? Either way, that GVW is real data.

The 2020 ST model has 400 hp and 415 lb-ft torque, so thats actually overkill power wise, but I think the 2020 is "only" rated to GVWR of 10,100, so you're right, the 208 is certainly over budget there (and probably in payload and its close on hitch weight). And that ST starts at like $55k. With that kinda money, I'll just go buy something designed to tow....

I'm really liking that 193BHS tho. I have a friend getting a 194BHS next week, so I'm gonna check his out before making any final decisions!
I would not go with the 2.3 if you are going to tow. The amount of throttle you will need to keep that engine revving with the turbo maxed will too high IMO. There are a lot of people complaining about the 10 speed and its rough/harsh shifting with the 2.3.
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:29 PM   #19
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I don't own a explorer, but instead a chevy traverse with 5000lbs towing. I brought a coachmen clipper hybrid TT @ dry weight of 2900 lbs. After taking about 5 trips, I happy to say I didn't get greedy and got a bigger TT. Also, please keep in mind where you want go. You will struggle in hilly area with the explorer. Also I think an external transmission cooler is a must.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:26 AM   #20
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Would an Explorer work? Yep, if you keep your loads light and move around with all the tanks empty. I guess the first question I would ask, is are you gonna hang on to the vehicle? Because it's going to take a toll and the vehicle (as was said above). Big difference in towing on the flats than through rolling hills, for example as for as load demands on the engine.

I am NOT AN EXPERT by any means and am actually still looking for the perfect tow vehicle (but I ALWAYS want a deal). But I have pulled a lot of different boats with different vehicles, and there is ALWAYS some point where you are pushing the max on the engine. Whether it's trying to merge into traffic on a short ramp, passing, or going uphill on a one lane road with a line of cars behind you (unless you don't give a damn on the line behind you, and if so I hate you!).

I would calculate what I think my max loads would likely be and try to get in the 80% max towing capacity range with whatever that number might be. Unless you don't plan on passing, entering a busy freeway, nor driving in hills or mountains.

****Not sure how many kids, but if you are considering ordering a vehicle you might look at the Chevy Colorado with the Diesel engine. Gives you a smaller and easier to park footprint for day to day usage. Gets a claimed 30mpg on the highway, and has a 7,700 pound towing capacity. I just started considering this option yesterday, as the 30 mpg, when not towing is pretty damn attractive.
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