What is the 2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity? Best SUV.

2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity chart.

The 2003 Ford Explorer is the SUV more people know and trust its list of features with more power, better strength, more additional comfort, and more advanced standard safety features. The full-sized SUV, proven off-roader has continued to innovate, giving people what they need in an SUV with a powerful towing capability, comfortable and accommodating. In this article let’s take a look at the trim, engine options, features, and the 2003 Ford Explorer’s towing capacity in detail.

2003 Ford Explorer trim levels2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity
Ford Explorer XLS3,300 – 7,180 lbs.
Ford Explorer XLT3,300 – 7,180 lbs.
Ford Explorer NBX3,300 – 7,180 lbs.
Ford Explorer EDDIE BAUER3,300 – 7,180 lbs.
Ford Explorer Limited3,300 – 7,180 lbs.
The above-shown numbers are subject to change and are for reference purposes only.
Towing trailers beyond the maximum recommended gross trailer weight exceeds the limit of your vehicle and could result in engine damage, transmission damage, structural damage, loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover, and personal injury. Do not exceed the GVWR or the GAWR specified on the certification label. 
2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity

2003 Ford Explorer Engine Specs

The 4.6L 3-Valve V8 engine features a lightweight aluminum block and cylinder heads as well as a fail-safe cooling system that delivers a massive 239 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque. The V8 engine is not only more powerful, but they also help it run smoother and quieter than ever while delivering better fuel economy. The available Explorer’s standard 4.0L SOHC V6 delivers a substantial 210 hp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are accompanied by a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Engine4.0L SOHC V64.6L SOHC V8
Horsepower210 hp @ 5,100rpm239 hp @ 4,750rpm
Torque254 lb.-ft. @ 3,700rpm282 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Note: Specific states require electric trailer brakes for trailers over a specified weight. Be certain to review state regulations for this determined weight. The maximum trailer weights listed could be limited to this specified weight, as the vehicle’s electrical system may not include the wiring connector needed to activate electric trailer brakes.

2003 Ford Explorer 4.0 towing capacity

EngineTrailer Class towingAxle RatioDriveGCWR (lbs.)Maximum Trailer Weight (lbs.)
4.0L SOHC V6Class II
Class II
Class III/IV
Class II
Class III/IV
Reminder: Ford Explorer does not offer factory-installed towing equipment for this application; only available as a dealer accessory. Do not exceed the trailer weight for your vehicle configuration listed in the chart above. Maximum weights shown are for properly equipped vehicles with required equipment and a 150-lb. driver. Weight of additional options, equipment, passengers and cargo must be deducted from this weight. 

2003 Ford Explorer 4.6 towing capacity

EngineTrailer Class towingAxle RatioDriveGCWR (lbs.)Maximum Trailer Weight (lbs.)
4.6L SOHC V8Class II
Class III/IV
Class II
Class III/IV

2003 Ford Explorer Class III/IV Trailer Tow Package

The trailer towing packages increase your Explorer’s towing capacity. Each allows for heavier hauls and expands the options of what you can take with your SUV. When properly equipped with Class III/IV Trailer Tow Package for maximum towing capabilities. Towing a trailer places an extra load on your vehicle’s engine, transmission, axle, brakes, tires, and suspension. Check these parts periodically during, and after, any towing function.

Also Read:
What is the difference between Class 3 and Class 4 trailer hitch?
Hitch receiver types and sizes are important when you are towing trailers, campers, RVs, or other equipment with your vehicle. There are different trailer hitch classes available in the market with unique characteristics. Explore the major difference between Class 3 and Class 4 Trailer Hitch (With Comparison).
Read more....

Class III/IV Trailer Tow Package

  • 7-pin trailer wiring harness and connector.
  • 7- to 4-pin adapter.
  • Frame-mounted hitch receiver.
  • 3.73 non-limited-slip rear axle.
Maximum towing capabilities are for properly equipped vehicles with required equipment and vary based on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories, option content and number of passengers. See label on door jamb for carrying capacity of a specific vehicle. For additional information, see your vehicle owner's manual.
2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity
Do not use hitches that clamp onto the vehicle bumper; use a load-carrying hitch. You must distribute the load in your trailer so that 10–15% of the total weight of the trailer is on the tongue, not to exceed the maximum tongue load of 500 lb (227 kg) on a Class III receiver.
  • Class II receiver: 350 lb. (159 kg)
  • Class III/IV receiver: 500 lb. (227 kg) (weight carrying); 770 lb. (349 kg) (weight distributing)

When hooking up a trailer using a weight-distributing hitch, always use the following procedure:

  1. Park the vehicle (without the trailer) on a level surface.
  2. This is H1 measuring the height of the top (H1) of the front wheel opening on the fender.
  3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle without the weight-distributing bars connected.
  4. This is H2 measuring the height of the top of the front wheel opening on the fender a second time.
  5. Install and adjust the tension in the weight-distributing bars so that the height of the front fender is approximately halfway between H1 and H2.
  6. Check that the trailer is level. If not level, adjust the ball height accordingly and repeat Steps 3–6.
Note: Do not adjust a weight-distributing hitch to any position where the rear bumper of the vehicle is higher than it was before attaching the trailer. Doing so will defeat the function of the weight-distributing hitch, which may cause unpredictable handling, and could result in serious personal injury.

2003 Ford Explorer trims

The 2003 Ford Explorer comes in five different models: Explorer XLS, Explorer XLT, Explorer NBX, Explorer Eddie Bauer, and Explorer Limited. Let’s find out more about all the details of the maximum towing potential of each of the trim levels of the 2003 Ford Explorer lineup below.

2003 Ford Explorer XLS towing capacity

The 2003 Ford Explorer base trim XLS is equipped with all standard features, plus highlighted features are 16″ full-face steel wheels, Black molded-in-color moldings & bumpers, Black roof rails, Power side view mirrors, AM/FM stereo/single-CD player & clock, 1st-row Cloth front bucket seats, Manual Air conditioning, Front console with front power point, and message center. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 3,235 to 7,125 pounds.

2003 Ford Explorer XLT towing capacity

The 2003 Ford Explorer XLT trim is equipped with all standard features of XLS trim, plus highlighted features are 16″ painted cast-aluminum wheels, Body-color moldings & bumpers, chromed grille, Fog lamps, security approach lamps, 1st-row sport bucket seats with 6-way power, Overhead console, Leather-wrapped steering wheel, Message center with outside temperature and compass display. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 3,300 to 7,180 pounds.

2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer towing capacity

The 2003 Ford Explorer EDDIE BAUER® trim is equipped with select standard XLT features, plus: offers 17″ Sparkle silver painted-aluminum wheels, Pueblo Gold-painted bumper, lower moldings & wheel-lip moldings, satin nickel grille, heated side view mirror, Two tone leather-trimmed bucket seats, 2-position driver’s seat memory setting, Heated front seats, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, Audiophile sound system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer and woodgrain interior accents. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 3,300 to 7,180 pounds.

2003 Ford Explorer Limited towing capacity

The 2003 Ford Explorer Limited trim is equipped with select standard Eddie Bauer features, plus: 17″ chrome aluminum wheels, Body-color running boards, chromed grille, Chromed roof rails, Monochromatic luxury leather-trimmed bucket seats, and Teak woodgrain interior accents. The maximum towing capacity when equipped properly is between 3,300 to 7,180 pounds.

2003 Ford Explorer towing capacity
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2004 Ford Explorer towing capacity.

The load capacity of your vehicle is designated by weight not volume. Towing a trailer places extra load on the engine, transmission, axle, brakes, tires, and suspension. To help minimize how trailer movement affects your vehicle when driving.

Loaded vehicles may handle differently than unloaded vehicles. Extra precautions, such as slower speeds and increased stopping distance should be taken when driving a heavily loaded vehicle.
  • Load the heaviest items closest to the trailer floor.
  • Load the heaviest items centered between the left and right side trailer tires.
  • Load the heaviest items above the trailer axles or just slightly forward toward the trailer tongue. Do not allow the final trailer tongue weight to go above or below 10–15% of the loaded trailer weight.
  • Select a tow bar with the correct rise or drop. When both the loaded vehicle and trailer are connected, the trailer frame should be level, or slightly angled down toward your vehicle, when viewed from the side.

2003 Ford Explorer towing features

The 2003 Ford Explorer is also designed with your safety in mind, some of the safety features are listed below.

  • Brake/shift interlock.
  • AutoLock-Door locks automatically when driving.
  • AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control).
  • Belt-Minder® safety belt reminder.
  • Side-impact door beams.
  • Fuel pump inertia shutoff switch.
  • Latch- Lower anchors(2nd-row outboard seats) and tether anchors for child safety seats.
  • Personal Safety System for driver and front passengers.
  • Safety belts with pretensioners and adaptive load-limiting retractors (adjustable height in 1st row).
  • Remote Keyless entry system with illuminated entry.
  • SecuriLock® passive anti-theft ignition system.

2003 Ford Explorer towing guide

  • Do not tow a trailer until you drive your vehicle at least 1000 miles. Also, do not drive faster than 70 mph.
  • See the instructions included with towing accessories for the proper installation and adjustment specifications.
  • Service your vehicle more frequently if you tow a trailer. See your scheduled maintenance information.
  • Check your hitch, electrical connections, and trailer wheel lug nuts thoroughly after you have traveled 50 miles.
  • When stopped in blocked or heavy traffic during hot weather, place the gearshift in position P to aid engine and transmission cooling and to help air conditioning performance.
  • Turn off the speed control with heavy loads or in hilly terrain. The speed control may turn off automatically when you are towing on long, steep grades.
  • Shift to a lower gear when driving down a long or steep hill. Do not apply the brakes continuously, as they may overheat and become less effective.
  • Use the Grade Assist or Tow/Haul feature when towing. These provide engine braking and help eliminate excessive transmission shifting for optimum fuel economy and transmission cooling.
  • Allow more distance for stopping with a trailer attached. Anticipate stops and brake gradually.
2003 Ford Explorer video
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Aaron Bennett is an accomplished author and a true aficionado when it comes to pickup trucks. With an unwavering passion for all things automotive, Aaron has dedicated his life to exploring the world of pickups and sharing his expertise with others. As the proud owner of several powerful machines, he has spent countless hours behind the wheel, navigating rugged terrains and conquering highways with unrivaled enthusiasm.

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