Recommended Complete Towing Setup for 2018 Ford Explorer XLT

Question:

We are looking to prep our 2018 Explorer XLT for towing. The car has nothing on it now. We need a hitch, wiring, hitch ball and MAYBE a brake controller. We're looking at two small lightweight travel trailers. both are within the Explorer's towing capacity. one has electric brakes and one does not have any brakes. Can you get us set up for either one?

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Expert Reply:

The best hitch for towing with your 2018 Ford Explorer is the Draw-Tite # 76034 because it has the highest weight rating of all options but is just as simple to install. This hitch is rated for tongue weight (TW, which is down-force on the hitch) of up to 675-lbs and towing weight of up to 4500-lbs. Your Explorer can be rated from 2000 to 5000-lbs towing capacity depending on its factory equipment so this hitch will work great for your ultra-light travel trailer so long as it does not exceed the 4500-lb hitch rating.

Written installation instructions, a helpful article and a complete video showing a 2018 Explorer are linked to help you with the install. Please note that the tools needed are detailed in the written instructions from Draw-Tite. You can see the nice appearance of the installed hitch in the photo provided.

For a wiring harness you will definitely need a 4-pole kit no matter which trailer you end up choosing. Tekonsha kit # 118540 offers the easiest plug-in installation which is shown in the included video.

If you do select the trailer that has electric drum brakes you will then need to add a trailer brake controller and an installation kit for it. I recommend the proven Prodigy P3 controller # 90195. This item is simple to set up, intuitive in use and supremely reliable. It even lets you store specific braking power settings so you can call them up at any time. This is great if you will tow in the hills where you might like a certain mix of power and boost settings for those long downhill grades.

You'll wire this in using the all-inclusive kit # ETBC7. This kit both converts the 4-pole wiring to the 7-way format and allows complete installation of the P3. No other items are needed for the wiring and brake controller.

You will need a ball mount, hitch ball, hitch pin or lock and a set of towing mirrors to complete your setup. Since you're not sure which trailer you'll end up with I recommend the Ball Mount Kit # 989900 because it gives you 2 hitch ball sizes, 2 ball mounts and a basic hitch pin, all in a handy storage bag. I do suggest you add anti-rattle locking hitch pin # 63232 in place of the standard pin.

Towing mirrors # KS3990 from K-Source will install easily on your factory mirrors to provide you with a wider field of view behind you for the trailer and other motorists. Rubber pads protect your vehicle's mirror housing from scratches and the ratcheting mounting system securely tightens the mirrors to the car. No tools are needed to install them. A video is included on this item as well.

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Adam R

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