Re: '09 Ranger Towing Capacity
Clutch slip is the majority of why the towing limit is lower. Besides, the manual is much better to use off-road, and there, it has to hold up to the abuse of low rpm grunt at severe angles.
Just remember that in today's automotive world, most vehicles on the road (something around 95%) of light duty trucks have automatic transmissions. Manufacturers would rather put a few million bucks into upgrading a current automatic, than a put a dime into upgrading a manual that they plan to phase out in due time.
I'm sure there are options out there to upgrade clutch, bearings, add a cooler perhaps, but from a legal standpoint you'd have to get your GCWR changed to tow more, otherwise you won't be legal, and you'll open yourself up to a slew of potential problems and blah blah blah.
If it's any consolation, HD trucks are the same way. The autos can tow 16K, where the manuals with the same axle ratio can tow 13-15K (in fifth wheel applications). In terms of long(er) term reliability, I'd rather have the manual transmission. Another plus with the manual, is my wife would stay away.
'11 Ram Quad Cab 4x4 SXT 5.7L HEMI (stock); 48,500m
'06 Pontiac G6 GT 3.5L 220hp; 64,000m
'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 28,000m
'99 Taurus 3.0L 2V Vulcan 145hp; 154,300m - Traded
Amsoil in all vehicles!