The Ford Expedition was introduced into Ford’s lineup as a full-size SUV in 1997 and remains popular today. The Expedition is known for its unique styling and for having the features consumers expect from SUVs, including towing. But what is the towing capacity of a 2003 Ford Expedition?
The 2003 Ford Expedition can tow up to 8,950 pounds when properly equipped.
The 2003 Ford Expedition tow capacity can vary based on a few different factors such as engine size, drivetrain, and others which we’ll discuss below.
There’s a bit more to know about Ford Expedition towing capabilities which we’ll cover in today’s guide.
2003 Ford Expedition Towing Capacity
The 2003 Ford Expedition can tow between 5,000 lbs and 8,950 lbs depending whether it has the heavy duty towing package installed.
A 2003 Ford Expedition without the trailer tow package can tow 5,000 pounds.
A 2003 Ford Expedition 4×2 with the trailer tow package can tow 8,950 pounds.
A 2003 Ford Expedition 4×4 with the trailer tow package can tow 8,650 pounds.
Here’s a video showing the Ford Expedition being put to a real-world towing review test:
Refer to the chart below to find how much your 2003 Ford Expedition can tow.
2003 Ford Expedition Towing Chart
2003 Ford Expedition Braked Vs. Unbraked Towing Capacity
All vehicles have different towing capacities based on whether or not you’re towing a trailer that has trailer brakes installed.
Trailer brakes allow the trailer to stop faster than if only the vehicle is using its brakes, allowing the vehicle to tow more weight, so braked towing capacity will always be higher than unbraked towing capacity.
2003 Ford Expedition Braked Towing Capacity: up to 8,950 lbs.
2003 Ford Expedition Unbraked Towing Capacity: 3,500 lbs.
2003 Ford Expedition Towing Capacity Factors
There are several factors that affect the 2003 Ford Expedition tow capacity which we’ll cover next.
You can also read our guide on what makes a vehicle towing capacity to learn all the aspects that go into it.
Towing Capacity By Engine Type
All 2003 Ford Expedition models have the same 4.6L SEFI V8 engine except the Eddie Bauer edition, which has the 5.4L SEFI V8 engine.
4×2 vs 4×4
Whether or not your 17 Expedition was 4×2 or 4×4 also affected how much it can tow.
The 4×2 2003 Expeditions can tow 200 pounds more than the 4×4 versions.
Number of Passengers
A big factor in calculating your vehicle’s towing capacity is how many passengers you’re carrying, which directly calculates into the vehicle’s GCWR.
This is true of all vehicles, not just the 2003 Ford Expedition, so always take into consideration the total load of your passengers and gear in addition to what you’re towing.
2003 Ford Expedition Tow Package Info
Does The 2003 Ford Expedition Have A Tow Package?
Ford offers some standard towing equipment on the 2003 Expedition, which includes a 4-pin wiring harness, auxiliary auto transmission oil cooler, and heavy-duty flashers.
Ford also offers an Expedition towing package (option code 536) which includes an upgraded 7-pin wiring harness and connector, upgraded radiator, and electronic brake wiring kit.
Can You Install A Trailer Hitch On a 2003 Ford Expedition?
If you plan on towing anything with your Ford Expedition, you’ll need a tow hitch and wiring harness.
Depending on what you’re towing, you’re going to need a ball mount (aka a trailer ball hitch) so you can attach items for towing.
Make sure to get the right trailer ball size that matches your hitch and trailer.
2003 Ford Expedition Tow Hitch
Trailer hitches come in different hitch classes, which are rated for different vehicle sizes and weight limits.
The Ford Expedition uses a Class 3, Class 4, or Class 5 hitch.
Here’s a great option for a Class III Ford Expedition trailer hitch:
- DEPENDABLE STRENGTH. This trailer hitch is rated for 5,000 lbs. gross trailer weight, 500 lbs. tongue weight, 7,500 lbs. weight distribution capacity and 750 lbs. weight distribution tongue weight (limited to lowest-rated towing component)
- VERSATILE DESIGN. This class 3 hitch equips your vehicle with a standard 2-inch x 2-inch hitch receiver, allowing for a wide variety of towing options. It can accept a ball mount, cargo carrier, bike rack, tow hook and much more
- FULLY TESTED. Every CURT class 3 trailer hitch design is tested in real-world, on-vehicle conditions at our Detroit engineering facility. Aftermarket hitches are tested according to SAE J684 standards for the utmost safety while hauling
- RUST, CHIP, UV-RESISTANT. This tow hitch is protected with a unique dual-coat finish of rust-resistant liquid A-coat and highly durable black powder coat. The two finishes are co-cured together for exceptional resistance to rust, chipping and UV rays
- EASY TO INSTALL. This hitch offers a custom, factory fit on select model years of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator
Here’s a great ball mount option so you can hook up different types of trailers for towing with your Expedition:
- DEPENDABLE STRENGTH. Rated to tow 3,500 pounds gross trailer weight and 350 pounds tongue weight, this ball hitch offers dependability for your towing setup (weight capacity may change if trailer ball is removed).Fit Type: Universal Fit
- VERSATILE USE. This trailer hitch ball mount comes with a 1-1/4-inch shank to fit virtually any industry-standard 1-1/4-inch receiver. The ball mount has a 3-1/4-inch drop, 2-inch diameter ball, 1/2-inch hitch pin hole and 7-1/4-inch overall length
- READY TO TOW. Hitching up your trailer is easy with this ready-to-use trailer hitch ball mount. It comes with a pre-attached tow ball for ready coupling and a trailer hitch pin to securely mount onto your hitch receiver
- CORROSION-RESISTANT. For long-lasting use, this ball hitch is protected with a durable black powder coat finish, and the trailer ball has a polished chrome plating. These finishes resist damage from rain, dirt, road salt and other corrosive threats
- EASY TO INSTALL. To install the trailer hitch ball mount on your vehicle, simply insert the shank into your vehicle's 1-1/4-inch hitch receiver. The rounded shank makes installation easy
2003 Ford Expedition Trailer Hitch Installation
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and use proper safety precautions.
2003 Ford Expedition Trailer Hitch Installation Cost
If you’re considering having a tow hitch added to your 2003 Expedition, expect to pay between $100 and $200 to have a tow package professionally installed (excluding the cost of the tow hitch and wiring harness).
If you’re handy and looking to save money, you can install the trailer hitch and wiring harness yourself.
Hitch Receiver Vs Rear Step Bumper Towing
Some vehicles allow for bumper towing, which means you can mount a tow hitch ball directly on the bumper instead of installing a tow hitch to the vehicle’s frame.
Can I Bumper Tow With a 2003 Ford Expedition?
The Ford Expedition stock bumper is not rated for bumper towing, so you’ll need to install a frame-mounted hitch like the one we listed earlier in this guide or an aftermarket bumper with a hitch ball on it.
Does My 2003 Ford Expedition Have A Tow Package?
You can start by looking under the rear bumper of your Expedition to see if you notice a trailer hitch or trailer ball.
That will give you a good indication of if you have a tow hitch already installed on your Expedition.
Another way to research this is by checking the paperwork that came with your vehicle or taking it to a local dealer to see what’s installed.
Make sure to have your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) handy if you call the dealer so they can look up the exact specs and whether or not your Expedition has any towing packages or features installed on it.
2003 Ford Expedition Towing Capacity Vs Competitors
The 2003 Ford Expedition has a maximum towing capacity of 8,950, which makes it capable of doing some heavy duty trailer towing. This number is similar to its main competitors, the 2003 Toyota Sequoia and the 2003 Nissan Armada.
Here are some similar vehicles to the Ford Expedition and their towing capacities below:
2003 Chevy Suburban Towing Capacity: 12,000 pounds
2003 Chevy Tahoe Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds
2003 Toyota Sequoia Towing Capacity: 6,500 pounds
2003 GMC Yukon XL Towing Capacity: 12,000 pounds
How To Increase 2003 Ford Expedition Towing Capacity
If you’re looking to increase the tow capacity of your 2003 Expedition, you’ll need to add the Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package.
Adding Ford’s Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package to your Expedition will increase the towing capacity from 5,000 pounds to the max tow capacity of 8,950 pounds.
We’ve gathered all data represented here from the official 2003 Ford Expedition Owner’s Manuals on Ford’s website and the have checked all data thoroughly for accuracy.
Having said that, we still recommend you refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual yourself before towing with your Ford Expedition.