Ford's Towing Guide for 2013 Explorer. Even if you have all the equipment for the 5000 pound limit, note that the Explorer has frontal area limits, 40 sq ft for the HD Towing Package, even less than the regular towing package.
Frontal area is an important specification because at highway speeds, most for the load from towing is wind drag, not rolling friction. 40 sq ft is about the frontal area of a pop-up. Full height travel trailers range from about 60 sq ft for egg shell compacts like Scamp or Casita to 80-85 sq ft for larger family trailers.
I'm well aware of this limitation, because it applies also the Ranger, and earlier Explorers that were more truck like, and I have to cope with it choosing what I can tow. For any large enough for a family, for me it has to be collapsible or I need a bigger tow vehicle.
Total weight is the trailer and everything that goes into it when you are moving. For passenger vehicles, that 5000 pounds usually gets reduced by the weight of people and goods you load into the car.
Depends on what model year, which transmission was used. The Ranger was made for a very long time, components changed over the years.
I'm towing my 2001 Ranger. Limits listed in manual are something like 55 MPH, 500 miles. It is not too bad up to about 60 mph but it can get twitchy if too fast on curves, and at more than 30% of the weight of the motorhome, I feel the truck when it wants to wag my tail. A tall pickup (4x4 or Edge) does not tow quite the same as a low CG compact car. Ford limiting the speed, after building towing experience, is probably more about handling safety than transmission lube issues.
I had an 1992 Ranger, 5 speed. It had towing limits (speed and mileage) that were too low for useful recreational towing for most people, but I could have towed it the 15 or 30 miles to the two closest campgrounds I use. I would not have towed it very fast, the swing axle front end was even more squirrely than the unequal A-arm suspension on later Rangers.
If dealt with those soft metal, replace every time, oil plug washers for 40+ years. You don't really have to replace them, until they leak. It may or may not leak when re-used. If it leaks, it won't be very much or very fast, but enough to let you know that you need a new washer next time.
A whole lot better than the hollow copper crush washers, which usually will drip it re-used, or the plastic washers that may do fine if not cracked, but won't crack until you re-install them, then leak a lot.
I usually use maps issued by the state highway department, which almost always include county lines and names.
NWS likes to issue watches and warnings by county, but here in the middle of the country where some of the counties are larger than some states in the East, we like a bit more detail on storm tracks and warning areas. But that requires being tuned to a TV station doing up to the minute tracking, and NWS radio warnings are by county.
Depends on the pressure at point of impact. There is a fine line between blasting through boundary layers to remove dirt, and getting under the edge of decals, tapes, and sealants and pulling them away from the surface.
We use pressure washers here to strip off paint.
To buy a car (or RV) I build a spread sheet of what is standard and optional, packaged or individual, for each trim level. That helps me find the one with the stuff I want, and avoid what I don't want or don't care to pay for.
More than a thousand campgrounds and RV parks in Michigan, most are on some kind of lake. There are more than 60,000 lakes in Michigan, at least 10,000 larger than 100 acres. If a park is not on a lake, it will likely be on a stream.
Where do you want to go in Michigan? Do you want a campground or an RV park (they are not the same thing)?
I think you can find what you want, if you can figure out what you want, using the selection tools at the Pure Michigan! Campground and RV Park portal.
In the U.P. I like the Marquette Travel Park near the shore of Lake Superior, but that won't do you much good if you want to go to Lake Michigan, or sightsee in the Detroit area.
Near Detroit, I like Camp Dearborn, but am unlikely to take a RV there because I have relatives to stay with, and can make day visits to any of the recreation areas in that region.
Near Ohio, consider the state park on Lake Erie near Monroe, or the several state recreation areas (Kensington, Brighton, Island Lake, Waterloo, Pinckney, Proud Lake) on the large chain of glacial lakes between Pontiac and Jackson. That's where I did most of my camping, my first twenty years. These will be campgrounds, not RV parks, but you can find RV parks on lakes outside the the state recreation areas.
Next big cluster of waterfront camping facilities, mostly RV parks, will be around Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake, where I-75 out of Detroit meets US-27 coming up from the center of the state. I have no recommendations there, because if I am going to drive that far north, I will go the rest of the way to the Traverse City area, where I prefer Interlochen State Park, but other people might like the parks on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, Torch Lake, or around the bay at Charlevoix. Again the pattern, campgrounds in public parks, or privately run RV parks with more extensive amenities but less access to wilderness.
The days of ordering each option separately are long gone. Options are packaged, and packages are tied together or tied to more general trim levels. It has been like that for at least 20 years now, you've been buying stuff you don't want to pay for, to get what you want. You finally ran into your "I REALLY DON'T WANT THAT" case. My case is forcing me to buy a sunroof, which I run into before I ever get to leather seating.
This is particularly the case with imports, or even U.S. assembled models of "import" brands like Nissan, Mazda, Honda and Toyota. They got into the habit of building this way when they were still importing, and one of the ways they "beat" the U.S. brands was by eliminating the cost of each car being custom made.
The solution is to look at options from another manufacturer. Not everyone packages the same way. I'm driving a base level Fit because it had the features I wanted, to get them on a Focus or Cruze I had to buy something I didn't want. The few things I wanted that weren't standard, I bought as dealer-installed or aftermarket accessories.
Not sure what you mean by "little motorbike." I use a 125cc motorscooter (commuter vehicle for a couple years) but at about 250 pounds, it is not something I can throw around.
You might find 50cc scooters a bit under 200 pounds, and 150-200 was typical for mopeds. Still a lot to be tossing about, but can be pushed up a ramp.
When you get smaller, you start running into "must be street-legal, licensed and insured" to use on roads in public campgrounds, but if you go electric, particularly electric bicycle, there are usually exceptions.
Properly installed diodes are one solution, not the only solution.
I use add-on lights. Mine are permanently mounted, you can also find them magnetic and suction mount. People will also add lighting within the housings of their existing lights.
I do it all the time, at just under 30 feet, it takes planning, but also depends on what you want to do.
I don't use the RV to visit major cities or their residential suburbs. Most of my travel is between the Appalachians and Sierra Nevada, where businesses, farmers, and ranchers routinely bring large vehicles into town, and OTR trucking is an important part of the overal traffic, so parking, gas stations et ak tend to be designed to accommodate large vehicle combinations in town. Frequently visited tourists sites have RV and tour bus parking areas.
If I am going to someplace for an extended visit, particularly to a metro area but also just to a campground or park for an extended stay, I will pull a toad. The RV gets parked for the duration, the toad gets used to get around.
But for the type of travel where I am moving every day, I like to leave the toad at home, because it makes the getting around problem much more difficult. It almost forces one to park the RV for the day and use the toad, because the combination is about twenty feet longer and it can't back up.
They must be carrying a lot less than what you are carrying.
When I was a kid, our family got up to two adults, six kids, and we would manage two-week road trips from a nine-passenger station wagon. Much of the luggage went on the roof.
In the '70s, my wife and I tent camped out of the trunk of a '71 Audi 100, carrying all we needed for a long weekend of camping (tent, stove, cooler, sleeping bags, food, clothing) and my geology field gear (cameras and tools). We would always have two undergrad students riding along, carrying what they needed for the long weekend. They might have had their daypacks at their feet, otherwise everything fit in the trunk of a compact car. We would leave room in the cooler for the stuff our passengers needed to keep cold, so as to not be carrying multiple coolers.
Another couple did the same in a Pinto wagon, the two of them and a couple of passengers, everything everybody needed fit behind the back seat.
What I need for myself now all fits behind the back seat of a Honda Fit.
But at the campground, I see families of four coming in in a minivan or full size SUV, accompanied by a fully loaded pickup. They've brought everything they think they might WANT, rather than what they NEED. A lot of that stuff is recreational gear, bicycles, plastic boats and such, which gets unloaded into the campsite and little used, but they have it just in case.
How to make the difference? It is not so much having a list, as having limits. People can choose what to bring, but you limit number and size of packages. For my grandkids today, whether a RV trip, road trip in a car, cruise, or trip by air, they get a bag for clothing (suitcase or duffel bag) and a bag for "stuff" (small day pack). Often the two adolescent girls share one suitcase, still manage to have 2-3 clothing changes per day.
You may have to trim the camping gear back to essentials (rather than every piece of gear you own), figure out how that packs, and from that determine how much space can be allotted to each person for what they want to bring.
See if you can find a local camping club, preferably backpackers, talk to them about what you need to bring, what is on their lists. People who have to carry everything on their backs have a better understanding of essentials.
Before I-95 was built, we always used US-17 between Myrtle Beach and our district headquarters at Hampton. Except we didn't take 17 through the Dismal Swamp to Norfolk, as US-13 through Suffolk was a better route to Hampton, avoiding the densest part of the Norfork-Chesapeake area.
A couple of the retractable awning manufacturers area also in the home awing business, so that's what you might be buying in any case.
I think an awning designed for installation on a house might be more cost effective, and probably more suitable. There are some compromises in getting the weight of an awning mechanism down for use on a RV. My retractable awning at home was built more substantially than any power awning I've seen on an RV, sturdy enough to leave out even during thunderstorms. It was not power, however, a crank mechanism to roll it up proved adequate.
I wouldn't be concerned. The GM transmission used is adequate to the GVWR/GCWR of the chassis and the torque output of the 6.0 liter gas engine.
You might enjoy the better ergonomics of the Express cab, about 6 inches longer than the Econoline, with the engine even further forward, for less engine housing and more footspace.
Think about whether you want to tow, the GCWR might be less than that of the E-450. However, a 2900LTD on a Ford chassis might be an E-350, which also has lower GCWR than the E-450.
About the coach itself, it was when new about the best value in the "family of six, no slideout" category, comparable in cost to FourWinds 5000 28A. The LTD was made to suit the needs of rental dealers, meaning they were fully but not extravagantly equipped at the base price, and had rugged, easy-care trim materials. The big market, however, was simply families that wanted to get into a C that size at the lowest possible price, and most were quite happy with what they got.
If I got rid of the stick and brick, all associated expenses, all unnecessary insurance policies, entertainment and communications bills, my current living expenses would drop to under $1500 a month, as a single.
Assuming I could keep RV space rent and utilities under $500 by choosing the right locations, and didn't travel (but then why am I full-timing), that would translate to an under $2000/month lifestyle. When I look at what that would be, I don't know whether that would be "modest" or "austere" to you, as I consider my current lifestyle "modest" except for the $20,000 a year I budget for recreational travel.
I'm not sure I could keep it under $2000 a month living half the year in the U.S. (or Mexico) and the other half in Canada. Living outside of the country that pays for my medical greatly increases medical insurance costs.
Travel greatly increases your costs full-time RVing, if that's why you want to full-time. Figure out how much you want to be moving around, and figure fifty cents to a dollar a mile travel costs, depending on the size of the rig.
If you just want to commute back and forth between the same two locations, and you are going from someplace cool and cheap in Canada, and warm and cheap in the U.S., the travel costs could make renting (or owning) inexpensive property in both locations less expensive than trying to do it in a RV. Most of the snowbirds in my family move between inexpensive houses in Michigan and Florida, taking advantage of the low living costs where the economy stagnated.
In any case, location can be the biggest factor in lifestyle costs. The right spot in the middle of nowhere can cost a small fraction of the same space in the ritzy part of a metropolitan area. That's whether it is a house or a space to park your RV.
If your dealer won't order it, consider another dealer.
Call the factory (don't email) and ask for sales, to find out if any of that model have been manufactured and shipped. I've done well getting information from VP Sales at other manufacturers, haven't tried with KZ.
It is quite possible that what you want has not been manufactured, and you won't get it unless you order it. Not everything in a RV company's catalog gets built on speculation. Somebody has to order it, either a dealer or end customer. Dealers order what experience tells them will sell, are sometimes reluctant to stock something different from what has been selling.
FWIW, I lived my first 22 years in Michigan, was back for five years of school, and once or twice a year almost every year since. Several years of my youth, and my back to school years, was camping (not RVing) in the small lake recreation areas west of Detroit, and the U.P.
This year I'm paying a small fortune to join an escorted tour visiting Mackinac Island and The Henry Ford (already visited more than once), and will likely road trip back shortly afterward, for most of the summer.
My top places to visit for camping and outdoor recreation are the northwest L.P. (Charlevoix, Antrim, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau counties) and the north shore of the U.P. (Marquette and Schoolcraft counties, and the Keweenaw).
My top sites for sightseeing are Mackinac Island, The Henry Ford, the mine tours in the Keweenaw, and the Air Zoo at Kalamazoo (admittedly a special interest). My wife and daughters always thought Frankenmuth, and the Christmas ornament store, were special (it is also on my escorted tour), but I don't get the point, I've seen where all this stuff is manufactured in China.
The Soo is definitely worth a visit if you've never seen locks work. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum if that's an interest, was for me because wrecks on the lakes were still common enough to be news when I was growing up. There's a ski jumping museum in the Marquette area (seems the sport was invented there?) if that's an interest, but a ski jumping hill in summer is just a hill.
Detroit may have deteriorated as a city since the '60s riots and flight to suburbs, but the culture (museums particularly) are still there. Lansing is another good center for studying Michigan history and culture, the state offices and archives concentrated in the capitol.
Camping and outdoor (esp water) recreation is good in southeastern Michigan, and in the forests intermixed with farmlands north of US-10. All the L.P. shoreline is dotted with lakeshore parks, but the way winds and waves work, the Lake Michigan shore is best for beaches, Holland to Manistee being popular, and north from there maintaining substantial "summer people" resort populations, since the late 19th century.
So what is it that you want to do?
A common combination in the racing community is the hospitality center, a large luxurious motorcoach pulling a kitchen trailer. A similar combination is a crew support motorcoach (might include showers and bunks) pulling a kitchen.
Neither is used as a RV, in the recreational sense, they are moved without occupants from race site to race site, where they are set up for the people who will use them on site.
Moving the race cars, moving the on-track team members, are separate operations and schedules from moving these infield support vehicles. Race cars for the next race may be on the way to the next site while the current race is still in practice, and this week's cars will be hauled back to the shop after the race, to be rebuilt. Track personnel are on much tighter schedules, and will often move by chartered air, even if they have (in the case of drivers and management) personal "RVs" to live in at the track. Sometimes even the race cars move by air, depending on the distance to travel.
So "where do they stay?" Enroute, probably at truck stops, or motel parking lots, if the schedules are such that the drivers have time for, and need for, overnight stops between the sites where the vehicles are use.