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Tripodbruno

Badlands
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Badlands
Clubs
 
Ford Bronco I like IKE: 2 door Bronco tow test. IMG_0074


I’m a fan of the youtube TFL channels (especially @TFLtruck and @TFLoffroad) I finally got a Curt Bluetooth brake controller and was able to conduct a tow test with my 2 door non-sas badlands with the 2.3L. I figured I might as well make it one of the toughest (according to TFL) towing tests.

The end result is that I couldn’t be happier with how it performed.

I have had my Bronco since July 3rd and between break in, travel, getting the kids back into school, work, and life in general I hadn’t been able to tow until this morning. My trailer is a Hiker Trailer Exteme Off-Road. It is roughly 13’ long excluding the tongue, 1700lbs dry, and has the same size wheels and tires as the Bronco. It is coupled with a Maxx coupler and maybe had a few hundred pounds of gear inside- let’s call it ~2000lbs. Next time I use it, it will be closer to 2500lbs loaded with everything and my GFC super lite RTT. Being a Sunday the landscape supply centers are closed so I wasn’t able to get an accurate weight. This trailer does have brakes- not required but helpful in the mountains.

Previously I have towed this trailer with my last two vehicles a 2005 Tacoma, and 2017 Wrangler Rubicon Recon. I have also towed it with a borrowed F-150. The trailer itself and its set up I love, not really reviewing that here.

Round trip was close to 156 miles and burned almost exactly 10 gallons of premium. The dash fuel economy has been hovering around “20” mpg although my actual has been between 18.5-19 so a drop to 15.6 mpg in steep mountain country isn’t bad. For reference I would routinely get close to 9-10 mpg with the Tacoma and 12ish with the Jeep towing. The approach to the tunnel was uneventful. I stopped about 20 miles in at the start of the mountains to do a safety check.

Climbing uphill felt almost as it does without the trailer. The little 2.3 has plenty of power and the ability to pass. I found myself in the left lane often without any burden to other traffic. I had plenty of reserve the entire approach. My tacoma was always steady and reliable but definitely maxed out towing in mountain country. The Jeep always seemed to hunting for the right gear and highly revving while towing.

Other than a few passes of semis and other slow traffic the ‘wonderful’ tac never went above 4200rpm. The first major descent “Floyd Hill” was good indicator that downshifting the transmission was more than capable of mostly eliminating the need for brakes.

After a slow final approach to the tunnel due to traffic I was able to exit the tunnel close to the 50mph speed limit to start the descent test into Silverthorn. Tunnel to the exit I was able to maintain close to the 65 mph speed limit with downshifting and only needed one brake application due to a vehicle merging close in front of me and hitting their brakes. The trans hovered around 4000 rpm controlling the descent and the temps all staying nominal.

Turning around and heading back up was just as uneventful and easy as the approach. The acceleration was smooth and consistent. Aside from the thicker traffic that slowed me down it would be hard to make the top in much less than the 7:53 end time without exceeding the speed limit.

The test over with and good results- a mountain trip is never truly successful until you cross onto your driveway. Doing this in the morning helped avoid most of but not all the building Sunday traffic, but there were no issues descending back into Denver in time to find the lazy boy for the Broncos vs. Raiders- Go Broncos and Go Bronco.

Lessons learned and observations:
  • -The hitch area is cramped I’ll need to find a narrow/short hitch pin.
  • -The Curt Bluetooth controller worked awesome simple easy setup. Don’t waste money or time installing a brake controller if you need one. Ford why not just add one in like most of your trucks c’mon man!
  • -I need a better phone mount as you use your phone as the manual control and to set the controller.
  • -I saw a lot of overloaded towing setups. For this test I was close to 30-40ish% under the Bronco’s 3500lb max. I try to plan on a max of a 20% safety margin(10% at minimum and 10% for mountain country) I work as a first responder and see too many towing failures.
  • -Using the Max coupler required a hitch extension due to the height and the spare tire- easy fix though.
  • -I wish I could manually keep the backup camera on past the 30 second delay. I found myself doing a few quick shifts into reverse to turn it back on as I navigated out of a tight parking spot in Idaho springs.
  • -I was worried the 2 door would dog track as it towed due to the short wheelbase. No complaints it tracked perfectly straight.
  • -I want to add a backup camera to my trailer- easy ideas welcomed- thinking a license plate to Bluetooth type.
  • -If I was (and I will be at some point) doing a cross country trip my effective range would be close to 200 miles. I always take a fuel can as insurance I will need it with my 16gal tank- I’d want it with the 4dr too tho.
  • -I don’t regret not getting the 2.7L, when I get the Ford performance tune I’ll forget even more.

Alright enough towing- time to hit the trails!
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Last edited:

TroutTrooper

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[*]-I wish I could manually keep the backup camera on past the 30 second delay. I found myself doing a few quick shifts into reverse to turn it back on as I navigated out of a tight parking spot in Idaho springs.
You can use Forscan to have the backup camera only turn off after you speed up or set the parking brake. Definitely comes in handy.
 

McLovin80

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Great review! I have driven this route without towing many times, but mostly with manual transmission vehicles which can get very shifty in traffic but great to avoid overuse of the brakes.

Seems like the 2.3 is more than capable for the 2 door broncos with or without the performance tune.
 

lakesinai

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Ford Bronco I like IKE: 2 door Bronco tow test. IMG_0074


I’m a fan of the youtube TFL channels (especially @TFLtruck and @TFLoffroad) I finally got a Curt Bluetooth brake controller and was able to conduct a tow test with my 2 door non-sas badlands with the 2.3L. I figured I might as well make it one of the toughest (according to TFL) towing tests.

The end result is that I couldn’t be happier with how it performed.

I have had my Bronco since July 3rd and between break in, travel, getting the kids back into school, work, and life in general I hadn’t been able to tow until this morning. My trailer is a Hiker Trailer Exteme Off-Road. It is roughly 13’ long excluding the tongue, 1700lbs dry, and has the same size wheels and tires as the Bronco. It is coupled with a Maxx coupler and maybe had a few hundred pounds of gear inside- let’s call it ~2000lbs. Next time I use it, it will be closer to 2500lbs loaded with everything and my GFC super lite RTT. Being a Sunday the landscape supply centers are closed so I wasn’t able to get an accurate weight. This trailer does have brakes- not required but helpful in the mountains.

Previously I have towed this trailer with my last two vehicles a 2005 Tacoma, and 2017 Wrangler Rubicon Recon. I have also towed it with a borrowed F-150. The trailer itself and its set up I love, not really reviewing that here.

Round trip was close to 156 miles and burned almost exactly 10 gallons of premium. The dash fuel economy has been hovering around “20” mpg although my actual has been between 18.5-19 so a drop to 15.6 mpg in steep mountain country isn’t bad. For reference I would routinely get close to 9-10 mpg with the Tacoma and 12ish with the Jeep towing. The approach to the tunnel was uneventful. I stopped about 20 miles in at the start of the mountains to do a safety check.

Climbing uphill felt almost as it does without the trailer. The little 2.3 has plenty of power and the ability to pass. I found myself in the left lane often without any burden to other traffic. I had plenty of reserve the entire approach. My tacoma was always steady and reliable but definitely maxed out towing in mountain country. The Jeep always seemed to hunting for the right gear and highly revving while towing.

Other than a few passes of semis and other slow traffic the ‘wonderful’ tac never went above 4200rpm. The first major descent “Floyd Hill” was good indicator that downshifting the transmission was more than capable of mostly eliminating the need for brakes.

After a slow final approach to the tunnel due to traffic I was able to exit the tunnel close to the 50mph speed limit to start the descent test into Silverthorn. Tunnel to the exit I was able to maintain close to the 65 mph speed limit with downshifting and only needed one brake application due to a vehicle merging close in front of me and hitting their brakes. The trans hovered around 4000 rpm controlling the descent and the temps all staying nominal.

Turning around and heading back up was just as uneventful and easy as the approach. The acceleration was smooth and consistent. Aside from the thicker traffic that slowed me down it would be hard to make the top in much less than the 7:53 end time without exceeding the speed limit.

The test over with and good results- a mountain trip is never truly successful until you cross onto your driveway. Doing this in the morning helped avoid most of but not all the building Sunday traffic, but there were no issues descending back into Denver in time to find the lazy boy for the Broncos vs. Raiders- Go Broncos and Go Bronco.

Lessons learned and observations:
  • -The hitch area is cramped I’ll need to find a narrow/short hitch pin.
  • -The Curt Bluetooth controller worked awesome simple easy setup. Don’t waste money or time installing a brake controller if you need one. Ford why not just add one in like most of your trucks c’mon man!
  • -I need a better phone mount as you use your phone as the manual control and to set the controller.
  • -I saw a lot of overloaded towing setups. For this test I was close to 30-40ish% under the Bronco’s 3500lb max. I try to plan on a max of a 20% safety margin(10% at minimum and 10% for mountain country) I work as a first responder and see too many towing failures.
  • -Using the Max coupler required a hitch extension due to the height and the spare tire- easy fix though.
  • -I wish I could manually keep the backup camera on past the 30 second delay. I found myself doing a few quick shifts into reverse to turn it back on as I navigated out of a tight parking spot in Idaho springs.
  • -I was worried the 2 door would dog track as it towed due to the short wheelbase. No complaints it tracked perfectly straight.
  • -I want to add a backup camera to my trailer- easy ideas welcomed- thinking a license plate to Bluetooth type.
  • -If I was (and I will be at some point) doing a cross country trip my effective range would be close to 200 miles. I always take a fuel can as insurance I will need it with my 16gal tank- I’d want it with the 4dr too tho.
  • -I don’t regret not getting the 2.7L, when I get the Ford performance tune I’ll forget even more.

Alright enough towing- time to hit the trails!
Say more about the Bluetooth brake controller. (I assume these trailer brakes are not "surge" activated brakes). You brake in the car, and the touch of the brake pedal sends a wireless signal to the electronic activated trailer brakes? How: do you add the trailer to the car bluetooth? Or from the car to the phone to the trailer? Remembering the old controllers with a slide-switch to manually activate the trailer brake, do you have that feature?
 

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JimL

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Excellent, detailed report. And a beautiful Bronco. Thank you!
 

illverado

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2.3 manual Sasquatch pulls 3500lbs unexpectedly good! In 5th gear up hills and under 70mph, makes max boost if I try to keep it in 6th. Trailer brakes would be ideal since the brakes already suck without a trailer but even with a trailer it still stops better than all the unmaintained pre-2000s junk limping around
Ford Bronco I like IKE: 2 door Bronco tow test. IMG_5055
 

Tricky Mike

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-I saw a lot of overloaded towing setups. For this test I was close to 30-40ish% under the Bronco’s 3500lb max. I try to plan on a max of a 20% safety margin(10% at minimum and 10% for mountain country) I work as a first responder and see too many towing failures.
After doing a decent amount of towing with my 2dr I have no qualms using every pound of that 3500 rating. I'm not looking to go over but the 3500 feels like a conservative limit. In my younger and dumber days I pulled more with less.

2.3 manual Sasquatch pulls 3500lbs unexpectedly good! In 5th gear up hills and under 70mph, makes max boost if I try to keep it in 6th.
I avoid 6th altogether, towing or not. Try towing in 5th and I guarantee it will do even better than now.
 

Tor148

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You can use Forscan to have the backup camera only turn off after you speed up or set the parking brake. Definitely comes in handy.
What need to be changed?
You can use Forscan to have the backup camera only turn off after you speed up or set the parking brake. Definitely comes in handy.
Can you relay how? Or a thread that does?
 

Disciple Mike

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Curious what settings you used on the Curt bluetooth brake controller? I just recently used it on my Bronco and it was a lot more sensitive than when using on my pickup.
 

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sniffHound

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Does this trailer have a bathroom? If yes please send the model and brand.

Gotta have what you gotta have when you gotta go.


Ford Bronco I like IKE: 2 door Bronco tow test. IMG_5055
 

timhood

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I finally got a Curt Bluetooth brake controller and was able to conduct a tow test with my 2 door non-sas badlands with the 2.3L.
If you don't mind, talk a little bit about this controller--setup, use, etc. This sounds like a nice alternative to doing a 7-pin wiring setup. (Or maybe that's still needed, but this saves having to hardwire up to the dash area?)
 

timhood

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You can use Forscan to have the backup camera only turn off after you speed up or set the parking brake. Definitely comes in handy.
Where's that setting? It sounds like something I might want to play with.
 

mtclimb3r

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Wow, I don't understand how you all get such good gas mileage. I just did Boulder to independence pass last weekend and averaged like 15 mpg... I don't have the lead foot that some of yall do, but how on earth is pulling a trailer more efficient than me driving without one? Crazy.

2D Badlands, Non-sas, 2.3L.
 

Retired F/F

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Clubs
 
Tripod, When reading your Post, you stated that you used a "Hitch Extension". That was my first thought when setting up my rig for towing an overlanding trailer, but when researching and going through spec's, depending on the length of the extension, it will de-rate your hitch's capacity by 25-50%. I I was able to locate a 2" x 16" Ball Mount, that's rated for at least 5000#. Never Forget, 09/11/2001.

ball mount.jpg
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