Tow package consists of ??

Tow package consists of ??

Postby marcosv6 [OP] » March 21st 2013, 3:43am

Hi folks. 2nd post for me. I've searched this section and googled but can't seem to get a definite answer. I'm looking to buy an Astro/Safari and would prefer one with a tow package. Three questions:

1. What does the "tow package" consist of? Wiring (yes), dash switch (?), different rear end ratio(?), etc.

2. How can I tell if a van has the "tow package" ? RPO codes (?) Where can they be found ? VIN # (?) Other (?)

3. What are the towing capacities with/without the "package".

I've seen all kinds of answers and would really like a definitive one. Thanks in advance !

"Don"
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby Spider'sSafari » March 21st 2013, 9:17pm

There is no straight > in stone answer to that question. All can tow and all do have a good tow weight for their size.
Rear axle ratio does determine Total tow weight:
3:23 = 4,500lbs
3:42 = 5,000lbs
3.73 = 5,500lbs
For the Factory tow package, it is just the added pigtail wiring in the rear jack storage hole, it is just a 4 wire and not a 7 wire for brake control. None have ever come with a build in 7 wire & trailer control box or a mounted hitch receiver.
All models have internal Trans. coolers that run through the radiator.
For the 2003 - 05 there is a Tow/Haul button on the gear lever and it does change the shift point on the trans. and locks out the OD.
Towing recommendations = Tow half of GVMR/ no more then 3/4 and tongue weight a tenth of that = 5000/500 tongue. Anything over 1500 lbs have electric brakes for control

Me = I bought my 99 Safari just to tow my camper which weighs 2520lbs w/E brakes (attached pic) Add ons that make it tow comfortable/right > Tach, Rear air shocks to control ride height & cargo load, External Trans. & Oil coolers leaving the OEM in the path AFTER the Ext.'s and that's just to make sure it runs cool in the Southern States during summer. Putting the Trans. in 3rd and pulling at 70mph it does Great! it can hold the cruise on in all road conditions and grades of climb. Hope this Help with your search?
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby marcosv6 [OP] » March 21st 2013, 9:47pm

Thanks, that helps. So I need to determine the rear axle ratio before I buy. Any way to find that out without crawling under the vehicle or measuring revolutions, etc.? Any codes on doors, glove compartment, engine bay ?

Nice setup you have.
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby marcosv6 [OP] » March 22nd 2013, 1:53am

Did some more searching. RPO codes are on sticker in glove compartment (early Astros) and on passenger side door pillar on newer models.
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby Leeann_93 » March 22nd 2013, 3:44am

My '02 has Tow/Haul on the shift lever. It did not have an installed trailer hitch, but did have the wiring already run, stuffed in the jack compartment under the jack and taped up nicely.

It does have all the wiring for a 7 pin connection in the bundle. I only needed a flat 4 pin connection so I left the extra wires taped up.

GT4 = 3.73
GU6 = 3.42

At least on my '93, XR2 or VR4 seems to be the code for a hitch. Not that it matters, since you can see a hitch. All that really matters is that the wiring is in the jack compartment, all taped up. If you need the brake controller, you have to connect the other end in the fuse box in the driver's left foot area on the firewall. It's there, but left unconnected.

There was no extra tranny cooler installed. All of our vans have a tranny cooler on one side of the radiator and an oil cooler on the other side. And a metal tubing loop bottom front that is the power steering cooler. If you're going to tow a lot, I'd install a tranny cooler and a severe duty fan clutch.

I've already installed the fan clutch. I have the tranny cooler and haven't yet installed it. I did install Monroe Load-Leveling shocks (coilovers) on the rear. That has helped immensely.

I needed either to turn over the receiver so it was drop instead of rise or have a straight receiver, which I actually don't own, but here is mine towing a 4,033 lb Jeep Liberty on a 2,000 lb Uhaul trailer a month ago.
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby jrsride2002 » March 22nd 2013, 7:17am

My '01 has the full 7 pin installed also, mine came from the dealer with a class 1 hitch, with the 3.42 ratio. As for my tow/haul button, I think it only affects my shift points... Never noticed if it locks out the 4th gear... Have to pay attention on that one.. I have towed a small car on my trailer w/o e-brakes, had no issues(2500lbs car, 1400lbs trailer)... IF GIVEN ENOUGH SPACE. Also towed the uhaul 2000lbs trailer with a VW bug, but I figure those are about the same weight..

As for looking up the ratio, I ran my VIN in google, checked a bunch of different sites, and found 2 sites that told me my gearing info. So I just went with it. Dont know about crawling under the car version, but if you jack up one side, you can count the tire rotation and do the math from there. Its an old hot rodder trick an old neighborhood mechanic taught us.

Also, I added the firestone air bags... Freaking love those things!!! Use them for the trailer or hauling my dirt bike on the joe hauler, keep a $10 harbor freight air compressor handy and I have a nice simple setup! The e-fans hold up to all driving and towing(so far) that I have done with it. The external tranny cooler is 100%, a no brainier.

For me personally, I am not looking to make this thing a hot rod. So I am making it a work horse, adding towing stuff to help me along the way.

Hope this helps bud! :2:
~Junior
2001 RWD: E-Fan mod(Ford mystique/contour), 1" radiator swap , external trans AND oil coolers (2)Flex a lite 3826, firestone air bag helpers

2000 AWD: Offroad/camping Project
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby jkilbert » March 22nd 2013, 10:13am

My 2000 Safari has the factory tow package. 3.73 gears with posi option, 2" receiver hitch and the 7wire harness in the jack storage area. Under the carpet in the drivers seat you'll find blue and orange wires. The blue is for installing the electric brake controller and the orange plugs into the fuse box for 12v to the trailer. Both of these wires are found at the back end of the harness for wiring into the plug. The owners manual says to run the wires out of the rear hatch for towing. I drilled a hole in the rear of the van Nader e taillight and was able to pull my wires that way. A grommet and silicone and all is sealed. I have my plug bolted under the bumper by the hitch.
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby Leeann_93 » March 22nd 2013, 1:02pm

Oh, and Tow/Haul does NOT lock out OD. Just firms up the shift points and delays them a little. You have to put the shift lever in 3 and turn on Tow/Haul when towing.
'05 Astro AWD vin X
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'99 Safari XLE AWD - broke
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Re: Tow package consists of ??

Postby marcosv6 [OP] » March 22nd 2013, 6:48pm

Thanks for all the help. I'm better prepared to go looking now. Found this link from the old Astro/Safari board listing RPO axle codes and axle tube codes:

http://old.astrosafari.com/axleinfo.htm
Original Poster [OP]
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