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akamcfly
akamcfly Dork
1/11/15 10:36 a.m.

What's the consensus among ye people?

I'm not talking a mini car here, but something with RWD and more than adequate torque. Is this just nanny state lawyer proofing, or is there more to these recommendations? When I think about what we tend to put in trunks for a long road trip (or even having 2 econo-sized rear seat passengers) vs tongue weight on a class 1 or 2 load, I'm dubious about the recommendation not to tow at all.

Can anyone enlighten me on what may be other possible reasons for the towing ban on almost everything not an suv or truck?

Much thank-yous.

Sonic
Sonic SuperDork
1/11/15 10:49 a.m.

Is the car available in Europe? You can check its tow rating there to see what sort of actual capacity it has

singleslammer
singleslammer GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/11/15 10:51 a.m.

I have towed small loads (under 1K) with most every car I have ever had. This includes a newer Focus (not rated in the US) and a Mazda2(also not rated in the US). If the car is sold in England, check the manufacturer's website there. My Focus is rated to 1100 lbs everywhere else but not here.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
1/11/15 10:56 a.m.

I go by euro ratings or whatever uhaul's insurance company calculates to be safe.

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Reader
1/11/15 11:11 a.m.

Curt hitch rated for 2000 lbs. Tows like a dream. Works better than my Toyota Tundra which is rated for 7000. Camper has no brakes, and with my QuickJack and supplies inside the camper I'd say it's around 1500 pounds. I crank up the Koni shocks in the rear. Keeping the tongue weight reasonable is the most important, if it's too heavy I get a lot of feedback from the trailer. Still gets between 18 and 22 mpg while towing the camper.

Added bonus, being able to throw all my crap in the camper instead of the trunk leaves plenty of room to store the top

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/11/15 11:16 a.m.
Sonic wrote: Is the car available in Europe? You can check its tow rating there to see what sort of actual capacity it has

Don't European tow ratings also assume a 45mph top speed?

IIRC the ratings there would be considered silly here, like an A4 Golf able to tow a 4500lb car hauler.

ed. note: I've towed a car with an Impreza before, and gone way way WAY past the rated limits of a K1500. The Impreza had a definite sensation that it was being manhandled through corners, and at one point I was countersteering lightly in order to stay on an interchange. I can say I did it, which means I don't ever have to do it again

singleslammer
singleslammer GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/11/15 11:39 a.m.

I don't know about that Knurled. My 2012 Focus was rated at 1100 lbs unbraked and 1500 lbs with brakes. Seems pretty reasonable.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/11/15 11:44 a.m.
singleslammer wrote: I don't know about that Knurled. My 2012 Focus was rated at 1100 lbs unbraked and 1500 lbs with brakes. Seems pretty reasonable.

The spec that I found suggests that it is rated to tow 3300lb, assuming that I have properly converted newtons to fortnight-hogsheads:

http://www.practicalcaravan.com/reviews/tow-car/28209-ford-focus-20-tdci-titanium-5dr

Tow ratings are typically down to the chassis and brakes, not so much the engine.

Heh, check out this quote: " It towed from 30-60mph in 16.1 seconds: more than 10 seconds quicker than last year’s favourite small towcar, the Volkswagen Golf."

Tell someone in the US that your "favorite" tow car takes a half minute to go from 30 to 60 and you'll be laughed at in the face.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/11/15 11:46 a.m.

I used to tow with an air-cooled VW Bug.

Having said that, I'd be careful about towing with something I KNEW was "wrong" after admitting it publicly on the internet.

It's a pretty litigious world out there.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/11/15 11:52 a.m.
Knurled wrote: Tow ratings are typically down to the chassis and brakes, not so much the engine.

Tires, trans, radiator, gearing, trans cooling...

Tow ratings are about the weakest link.

Turboeric
Turboeric New Reader
1/11/15 1:19 p.m.

We've got an 05 Impreza (base model) that we use to tow a small travel trailer. 950 lb dry, likely 1200 or so loaded. It has electric brakes, and we have a proportional controller in the car. I upgraded the struts in the car (the old ones had 240,000 km on them), and it tows with no drama whatsoever. We live in mountain country, and have towed over big hills in hot weather. Under those conditions, the temp gauge does creep up a bit (all original cooling system), so I need to back off a bit and it comes right back down. I've got a Mishimoto WRX rad in the garage, but apparently I need to install it for it to make a difference... The only time we had any uneasy sensations was towing on undulating concrete, but that was mostly a matter of changing the speed to not match to oscillation frequency of the car.

I've been looking for a replacement for the Sube, which is beginning to show its age a bit. We want something similar - economical, roomy, manual and reasonably good to drive during the 95% of the time it's not towing. I've also been looking at the manufacturers UK and Australian websites for towing recommendations. In all cases, these C class cars are rated for 1000+ kg towing (2200 lb), usually recommending braked trailers. In most cases, there are no differences between the drivetrain and chassis for the Euro version and the NA version, and when there is a difference, its because the Euro car has a smaller engine. The no tow rating in North America is simply lawyer bull E36 M3.

Prime case in point - the new Impreza vs the Crosstrek XV. Same car, same drivetrain, but the XV is jacked up a bit with some butch tupperware on it to justify the much higher price. The XV is rated for 2000 lb, the Impreza? Zero. A scam to get you to spend the money on the "SUV".

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/11/15 1:45 p.m.

The hardest trailer I ever towed was my teardrop camper. It weighed less than 1000 lbs.

The problem was it was too light to stay planted. It would hit a pothole, and bounce all over the place.

Imagine, a 1000 lb weight tied to your rear bumper swinging violently from side to side. It was really difficult, and dangerous.

I was towing it with a 4000 lb vehicle, which was perfectly capable of towing something much bigger. I can't imagine how hard it would have been if my tow vehicle only weighed 2500 lbs.

So, I am cautious to define towing completely as a factor of weight. Small trailers can be MUCH harder to tow than bigger ones.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
1/11/15 2:42 p.m.

This question would be more answerable were the actual car model known.....

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
1/11/15 3:43 p.m.

I 100% agree with SVreX's last post there. There are a lot of variables that usually go undefined in internet conversations.

I think the biggest one is the capability of the driver. We all kind of give each other the benefit of the doubt as far as ability to drive safely under arduous conditions since this is an enthusiast setting, but i trust myself to tow way outside of towing recommendations more than i trust a lot of people to drive an empty car in ANY situation. We're constantly surrounded by people who are more dangerous by default than a 'good' driver is even while pulling a questionable trailer, so it's hard for me to get too worked up about legality. Hell, if i was a black man driving an empty 2013 Focus i'd be in more danger from law enforcement than i would be as a white man pulling a 30' travel trailer with my Prius.

And thus concludes the inevitable introduction of politics and other unrelated bullE36 M3 to a GRM towing thread.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
1/11/15 3:57 p.m.

99% of towing in Australia is done in car based vehicles, from utes to wagons, I used my Commodore sedan, my Falcon ute, my Falcon panel van and my Falcon wagon to tow car trailers for 20 years

Wally
Wally GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/11/15 4:01 p.m.

I'm not surprised. In Australia you're more likely to be killed by any number of critters than in a towing accident.

TeamEvil
TeamEvil HalfDork
1/11/15 4:03 p.m.

Bought a 5X9 foot, six lug 15 in. wheel trailer to haul scrap metal to the junk yard, pick up engines and transmissions, move most anything/everything.

I tow it with my late model Mustang and have had no troubles at all in three years.

Tows like there was nothing there.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/11/15 4:06 p.m.

I've often wondered why some trailers don't have shocks. As mentioned before a light trailer can bounce all over, wouldn't a set of properly sized shocks help? Yes it costs money, but sounds like a good idea.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad Dork
1/11/15 5:18 p.m.

Something I don't understand about tow ratings. Two cars that seem pretty similar, my brother has a 2007 Passat 2.0 turbo FWD sedan. In Europe this is good for a 3300 lb tow rating but in the states only 1600 lbs. by contrast my wagon with the bigger engine, stiffer suspension, beefier transmission and monster brakes is rated in the US for zero pounds! That's right, lawyers got involved somehow and a car that should be comfortable towing 5,000 lbs is somehow excluded entirely. Makes no sense.

Turboeric
Turboeric New Reader
1/11/15 5:31 p.m.
SVreX wrote: The hardest trailer I ever towed was my teardrop camper. It weighed less than 1000 lbs. The problem was it was too light to stay planted. It would hit a pothole, and bounce all over the place. Imagine, a 1000 lb weight tied to your rear bumper swinging violently from side to side. It was really difficult, and dangerous. I was towing it with a 4000 lb vehicle, which was perfectly capable of towing something much bigger. I can't imagine how hard it would have been if my tow vehicle only weighed 2500 lbs. So, I am cautious to define towing completely as a factor of weight. Small trailers can be MUCH harder to tow than bigger ones.

What kind on tongue weight were you running? I've run my lightweight trailer on gravel highways full of washboard, and never experienced anything like that.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/11/15 5:34 p.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

I don't disagree about the lawyers, but again, it's the weakest link. For example, what if it's the same brakes, in a heavier vehicle?

Lots of wagons are de-rated in towing capacity from their sedan siblings. Extra rear overhang, weight, etc.

Your drive wheels are in the front. The larger cargo capacity could completely change the driving dynamics when loaded. You are already carrying 150 lbs extra hanging off the tail. Cargo loading could easily make that 500 lbs.

If the original sedan was rated for a 150 lb tongue weight, there's no way it could tow much as a wagon.

I don't disagree that lawyers have a lot to do with it, but so does science and engineering.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/11/15 5:35 p.m.

In reply to Turboeric:

Almost nothing. I could easily lift it with one hand.

akamcfly
akamcfly Dork
1/11/15 6:26 p.m.
irish44j wrote: This question would be more answerable were the actual car model known.....

Well I was trying for a generalized answer, but currently I'm tempted by the surprising depreciation curve of the 2012+ Genesis sedan 3.8. It has no tow rating but makes 333hp and is rwd. I have a light galvanized 5x10 trailer that my Nissan x-trail with a 2.5, manual trans and FWD/AWD pulls around like berkeley all. I want to be able to still tow said trailer when I need to - which is not very often.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UberDork
1/11/15 6:59 p.m.
KyAllroad wrote: a car that should be comfortable towing 5,000 lbs is somehow excluded entirely. Makes no sense.

No... just no. Nobody should be towing 5000lbs with a car (and I basically want to go PERIOD at the end of that statement).

Mass/weight is required to control the mass/weight you are towing. Having done a LOT of towing (well over 100,000kms by now), there is a reason why that sort of weight (5000+ lbs) is listed as 1/2 ton truck territory.

If you've towed with a truck from the 90's, you'd know your 4500lb truck could handle 5000lbs quite well, but you could definitely tell the weight was there (and the trucks motor was feeling it).

By contrast, you want to tow 5000lbs with a vehicle that weighs under 4000lbs and makes 200tq? Uh huh, tell me more...

pres589
pres589 UltraDork
1/11/15 7:13 p.m.

Yes, this is real, although I've not read any feedback from riders that have used this setup. Towing speed limit is 20mph, though; http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/21/the-retriever-lets-you-tow-5-000-pounds-with-a-honda-goldwing/

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