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Tow vehicle size #5228203 10/02/19 08:50 AM
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supton Offline OP
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All this talk of CUV/SUV has reminded me that I am wanting to get one. But I'm curious: just how big does one need for towing? Usually the bigger the tow vehicle, the better it does, I get that. But I don't tow a lot, and TBH I don't use the bed of my truck very much any more. I've come to realize that I don't use it as a truck, honestly.

Was talking to a friend and he thought I needed to keep a half-ton pickup to tow my enclosed trailer. I'm dubious. While I don't weigh what goes into it, in the end it's a flimsy 2,990lb GVWR single axle 6x14. He thinks a small truck (Ranger etc) would be pushed around by it, but I think he's thinking of his dual axle 7x14. But now that has me thinking the cute utes would be awful--I don't mind tossing in a set of air bags to combat squat, but I'd like to be able to hit the highway and maintain some speed. I was thinking V6 RAV4 or a Highlander with the 3.3L V6, although I'm sure there are other options. [Say what you will, I want AWD.]

I suppose it does look pretty big... compared to my Tundra. Too much for most FWD setups? This is not something I tow often. I have a trip at the end of the month, 200 miles each way, but that's a first. Usually it's just a 20 mile round trip.
[Linked Image]


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228208 10/02/19 08:54 AM
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supton Offline OP
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I haven't ruled out just selling the trailer either. I bought it to move with, and the move is over. It's tucked away at the moment, ready for when it's needed, like my open deck trailer. But now that I have it... it's kinda hard to part with. After using it to move, I have zero desire ever to use the pickup for its cargo space. I can walk into the trailer without banging my head. Talk about easy to use! Only a minivan comes close to ease of use.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228210 10/02/19 08:56 AM
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Fawteen Offline
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You also have to take braking capacity into account. While a smaller vehicle may get it moving, a smaller vehicle may get seriously pushed around when you have to brake suddenly.

Personally I'd err on the side of caution and keep pulling it with a full size pickup.


2014 Silverado
2014 Equinox
1972 Olds 442 Convertible
1918 Model T
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: Fawteen] #5228218 10/02/19 09:05 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Fawteen
You also have to take braking capacity into account. While a smaller vehicle may get it moving, a smaller vehicle may get seriously pushed around when you have to brake suddenly.

Personally I'd err on the side of caution and keep pulling it with a full size pickup.

My plan was to add electric brakes to it if I downsized; I've thought about doing that period but just haven't gotten around to it.

I'd like to keep my truck but I find I don't really use it. It's nice and all, but, it's aging out. Everything is just more expensive on it. Plus it's too big for me to work on. I don't look forward to paying someone to do work on it.

But your point is duly noted.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228230 10/02/19 09:21 AM
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E365 Offline
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I tow a 2,990lb GVWR 5x8 enclosed with a 3-cylinder Ford Focus. I only load it to 1,500lbs max though. No trailer brakes.

It does it with ease, even past 70 MPH. Stops easily, doesn’t overheat. I know for a fact I’ve pulled it over 6,000 miles with this car. Pulled it a few thousand more miles with an even lighter 4-cylinder mid-90s BMW which also did it with ease. The safety factor is already built into the manufacturers tow rating. No need to have truck that tows 10,000 lbs to tow 3,000 lbs.

Modern cars are so powerful, the engine is almost never the limiting factor. For example the tow rating on the Focus roughly DOUBLES if you’re using trailer brakes.

[Linked Image]


Whatever's on sale...
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228234 10/02/19 09:24 AM
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madRiver Offline
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If you add brakes to trailer a CUV would be fine with that preferably a mid size for length. I rented the largest enclosed trailer by U - haul with 4,400 lbs. GVWR and did not have too many problem except the weird brakes I think done by momentum(grabby) with an Acura MDX (capacity 5000 lbs).

Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228238 10/02/19 09:31 AM
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bullwinkle Offline
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Biggest issue with SUV/CUV towing is soft, passenger car-like rear suspensions and tires. If you beef up the back suspension with air springs, run rear tires at max cold inflation, and add electric trailer brakes, they can do OK. I’ve hauled my 5X10 all steel open trailer with a full load of firewood using the XJ in my sig-it was slow, but it handled it.


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228242 10/02/19 09:36 AM
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fsdork Offline
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I would suggest doing some rough math regarding GVWR/RAWR of your prospective tow vehicle(s). The rule of thumb for tongue weight of a bumper pull trailer is usually around 15% of total loaded trailer weight. Most vehicles that aren't designed for the purpose of carrying cargo don't have a lot of capacity when you factor in occupants, cargo in the tow vehicle, and tongue weight of the trailer.


2003 Ford Explorer Limited 4.6L 4x4 - 219K km
2008 Ford CVPI 4.6L - 133K km
2011 Ford F-150 Lariat S/C 6.2L 4x4 - 90K km
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: madRiver] #5228243 10/02/19 09:37 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by madRiver
If you add brakes to trailer a CUV would be fine with that preferably a mid size for length. I rented the largest enclosed trailer by U - haul with 4,400 lbs. GVWR and did not have too many problem except the weird brakes I think done by momentum(grabby) with an Acura MDX (capacity 5000 lbs).

Yeah, they use "surge" brakes which means uses the trailer pushing against the coupling--there's a piston somewhere in there that is used to make the pressure to work the brakes. No need for a brake controller, which is why UHaul uses them. IIRC there is a lockout switch on them so you can back up the trailer.

*

I spent too much time yesterday looking, and found it somewhat interesting, vehicle sizes I was thinking of:
2009 V6 RAV4: 181" long x 72" wide x 66" tall
2005 Highlander: 185 x 72 x 68
1999 4Runner: 183 x 67 x 68

All about the same size! The kicker? My Camry is longer! 189 x 70 x 55. Means any of those would fit in my garage, if I wanted to. Of course my Tundra dwarfs them all, at like 230 x 80 x76...


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: fsdork] #5228250 10/02/19 09:43 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by fsdork
I would suggest doing some rough math regarding GVWR/RAWR of your prospective tow vehicle(s). The rule of thumb for tongue weight of a bumper pull trailer is usually around 15% of total loaded trailer weight. Most vehicles that aren't designed for the purpose of carrying cargo don't have a lot of capacity when you factor in occupants, cargo in the tow vehicle, and tongue weight of the trailer.

Oh I'd look into it, but I don't weigh my trailers. I have no clue what is in it for weight usually. I mean, an enclosed trailer isn't overloaded until the door won't shut, right? It's not like a travel trailer where the weight won't vary dramatically. You can weight it dry, then fill the tanks and add in gear. Maybe shift some stuff around but then it'll always be used that way. A trailer gets pulled unloaded, then you use it, but you're not going to drive 20 miles out of your way just to do a weight check. All I know is it's about 1,600lb dry.

At one point during moving I took a load of books, I probably had two stacks of boxes covering the whole floor of the trailer. I sure knew when the road had any incline on that trip, that was probably pushing it a bit... which goes back to Fawteen's point, a half-ton shrugs that off with ease. A CUV, I'd have to cut that out.

Too bad they don't publish spring rates, a quick measure with a measuring tape could ballpark the load and tell one real quick if they're out there.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228254 10/02/19 09:48 AM
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khittner Offline
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Keep the truck, and ditch the unneeded trailer. You can rent a lot of days worth of U-Haul trailers for the cost of having your box trailer taking up space. The truck may be at the age and mileage that it needs a bit of cash rubbed on it, but, really---how many crossover payments can you make for the cost of even significant wear-item replacements on the truck? Since you've maintained it well, it's really reaching the prime of its useful life---it'll easily get to 300K miles. It's a commodity vehicle, meaning it was common enough that its few faults and needs are well-supplied, and parts for it will only get cheaper as it ages. It's reaching the point where collision insurance (covering damage to the vehicle itself) will soon be optional/unnecessary. If your tastes simply favor a newer vehicle, buy one. But if you can still use a truck's capabilities occasionally, there's little to be gained by getting something newer. Really overtaxing a CUV with a trailer, or trying to make it "more capable" with a trailer hitch, rear airbags, brake controllers, mirror extensions, etc., seems foolish when you already own a comfortable and perfectly capable tow vehicle.

Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228266 10/02/19 10:04 AM
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supton Offline OP
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I'm not sure what the cost of the trailer taking up space is--it's like $25/year to register, plus whatever tire costs are ($300 every 5 years?).

Part of what is driving this was my move. I moved the bulk of my household by myself. Carried many boxes in and out of the trailer. No back problems whatsoever. Went to help a friend move two weeks later, and he said we didn't need the trailer, we'll just use the truck. My back didn't last 5 minutes using the truck. I made the mistake of standing under the cap and lifting a box, and it was game over. I've questioned it ever since. The cargo area doesn't work for me.

I was also going to buy something older, not newer. Goal is to drop collision insurance in the process, and get something that takes cheaper tires, and doesn't need a step ladder to work on. I get it, the truck shouldn't break, but when it does... it'll be expensive. Nothing lasts forever.

I like having the truck, it gets stuff done, but it's depreciating away while doing little as the years go by.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228268 10/02/19 10:07 AM
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Miller88 Online Content
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I am over-trucked and under engine'd. My f350 has 10K towing capacity, which is more than enough for my Jeep on a trailer. Est around 6500 pounds. At some point, once the truck finally completely rusts away, I'll be downsizing to a midsize. I'm actually building my car trailer so it will be light enough to tow the Jeep around behind a midsize.

With that said, I'm really surprised at the current lot of FWD based crossovers that are rated to tow a lot. If I didn't have to tow my Jeep around, I'd be able to get by just fine with a nice 5x8 or 5x10 enclosed trailer behind the Forester. it's only rated for 1500 pounds (in the US), but the same car is rated for 4400 in Europe and Australia.

I really like having my small fleet of trailers. I'm lazy and I don't always feel like unloading after a Lowes run, or running a bunch of waste up to the dump immediately with a load of construction debris


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: Miller88] #5228279 10/02/19 10:23 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Yeah, it makes me wonder. You have the great North America towing conspiracy, and then there's the fact that automobiles just keep getting better, in general. What was true in the past might no longer be.

Dunno. I tend to take months to vehicle shop, sometimes years. So much info to process. And needs change too.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 193k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 214k, his
Re: Tow vehicle size [Re: supton] #5228288 10/02/19 10:31 AM
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javacontour Offline
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Just out of curiosity, I looked up my 1999 Grand Marquis: 212″ L x 78″ W x 57″ H While many call it a boat, it's smaller than your Tundra smile

If I wanted, I could "just" get it into my garage.

Originally Posted by supton


I spent too much time yesterday looking, and found it somewhat interesting, vehicle sizes I was thinking of:
2009 V6 RAV4: 181" long x 72" wide x 66" tall
2005 Highlander: 185 x 72 x 68
1999 4Runner: 183 x 67 x 68

All about the same size! The kicker? My Camry is longer! 189 x 70 x 55. Means any of those would fit in my garage, if I wanted to. Of course my Tundra dwarfs them all, at like 230 x 80 x76...


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