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Tough Dog Ranger GVM upgrade


In January 2024 Tough Dog received nation-wide approval for its 3750kg-GVM upgrades for post-2022 Ford Ranger models. The upgrades can be applied to pre-registration and post-registration vehicles.



Our new-ute testing at OTA has shown that most loaded utes towing heavy caravans or trailers need gross vehicle mass (GVM) upgrades and the Ford Ranger is no exception.

Our 2022 Ranger tow test showed that the standard rear suspension was seriously lacking in capacity to handle maximum towball weights up to 350kg, without spring compression down to the helper leaves. Driving in that mode seriously limited suspension travel and compromised handling.

The Tough Dog GVM upgrade takes the Ranger’s GVM from 3230-3280kg to a much more useful 3750kg. Front axle capacity increases from 1450-1490kg to 1650kg and rear axle capacity from 1959kg up to 2100kg.

Tough Dog Suspension is a recognised Second Stage Manufacturer (SSM) which allows the company to develop and federally certify components to increase a vehicle’s GVM.

However, gross combination mass (GCM) cannot be upgraded by any legal GVM-upgrade kit, so trailer capacity most be downgraded if the full GVM-upgrade payload is employed on the towing vehicle. So, if your loaded and upgraded Ranger weighs, say, 3700kg, your trailer towing capacity drops to 2500-2700kg, depending on model.



Four different kits are available for different Ford Ranger models. Single Cab kits are designed to handle a 600kg minimum cargo area load and Double Cab models, a 300kg minimum cargo area load. The different front suspension upgrades cover a vehicle with no bar, winch and accessories – driving lights, dual batteries, underbody protection, scrub rails and side steps – up to vehicles with all that equipment.

In the interests of road safety and guaranteed state registration approval, the Tough Dog GVM upgrade kits must be fitted by Tough Dog approved dealers.

The kits are comprehensive and include all necessary parts. Replacement front struts, fitted with foam-cell dampers and rear leaf springs and foam-cell dampers come with U-bolts, bushes, grazable shackles and pins. Also included are a centre bearing spacer, tyre pressure placard, load capacity label, owners’ manual supplement, warranty card and appropriate registration stickers.

Because the GVM upgrade alters the compliance category of the Ranger, taking it into the above-3500kg GVM segment, there is also a matrix-headlight relocation bracket and a Category 6 side indicator kit.

OTA attended some of Tough Dog’s GVM-upgrade testing at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway venue and we were most impressed with the degree of engineering assessment being done. The standard axles and half shafts were evaluated for compliance with the heavier GVM ratings and the braking and ESC systems were real-world tested for compliance with ADRs and Ford’s original requirements.



































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