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Your tow vehicule

Old 11-19-07, 12:38 AM
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Your tow vehicule

Hi guys,

Old beater is starting to take its retirement and I am thinking of replacing it with a truck. I was looking for something in the compact size but said what the hey if it could tow my FD to the track that would be great.

I was wondering what any track guys use as their tow vehicules and also what is the minimum maximum towing capacity?
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Old 11-19-07, 07:02 AM
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I personally would never tow with a 1/2 ton truck again (Dodge 1500, Ford F150, Chevy 1500, etc). I put my Dodge 1500 truck into the back of a Tahoe which then went into an Escape. I was only pulling an open trailer and FC. I slammed on my brakes (50mph) and skidded but just kept going, they don't stop and I had no where to go. The hitch even got buckled underneath the truck and bent the rear frame. Now, the trailer was loaded with spares, tools, tires (rack and box) but did have trailer brakes. When the Dodge got totaled, I went to an F250. I don't know how people tow with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck, just not very safe in my opinion despite maximum towing capacities. Not only do you have to be able to pull the trailer, you need to be able to stop it.

Minimum maximum towing capacity will depend on the trailer, car, spares/tools you want to haul.
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Old 11-19-07, 09:31 AM
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A wise person once told me that it's not possible to have too much overkill in your tow vehicle. Absolutely true.

That being said, if you're sensible just about anything can pull an open trailer with a car on it. Especially if hills aren't involved. And good sense is exercised behind the wheel.

When using a smaller tow vehicle, pay close attention to tongue weights. It's amazing what a load distributing hitch can do for your towing experience, even with a half ton pickup and an open trailer.
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Old 11-19-07, 10:46 AM
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My steel open-deck trailer is around 1500# (dual axle) and my FC is around 2400# unloaded. So I would figure a minimum of a 5000# towing capacity for a loaded trailer and full car. Note that this weight eliminates most of the small and mid-sized SUVs and trucks. A late model Ford Explorer with the V8 and beefier tranny can do the job, but this is about the smallest rig I would recommend.

As SCCAITS mentioned, trailer brakes and a good controller are essential. The brake controller is a device that sits up in the cockpit and is hooked into the trailer harness. It will detect when you hit the brakes and apply the trailer brakes in proportion to how hard you are braking. It can be adjusted for different loads in the trailer. IIRC, the Prodigy unit is probably the best deal for the money. Most trucks with towing packages include an extension harness behind the front dash to plug the controller into.

If you are willing to lay down a few bucks on a larger truck/SUV (F250 or bigger) remember one word: "diesel" . More torque, better mileage.

Good luck,

-bill
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Old 11-19-07, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wrankin View Post

If you are willing to lay down a few bucks on a larger truck/SUV (F250 or bigger) remember one word: "diesel" . More torque, better mileage.

Good luck,

-bill
Diesels are nice and definately better, but if it's not a daily driver, you can save a ton of $$ on the gas version, that's what I did.
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Old 11-19-07, 01:11 PM
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dradon03,

I plan on doing the trailer hitch option for my FD. If I could find a cool sporty looking vechicle which

a) is not a truck or SUV
b) could tow my FD

I'd have it. I'm just kidding, but for me I just don't have the space to keep a flat trailer even if I had a vehicle which could tow the car. Do you need to tow the FD or could you do the trailer hitch?
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Old 11-19-07, 01:48 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.

I am really wanting to stay in something small as a truck, I don't mean Ford Ranger small but this would be my DD so I don't want a 8 liter V56 engine if you know what I mean.

I didn't really understand what you where saying Mahjik.

I guess I won't be able to tow my fd.
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Old 11-19-07, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dradon03 View Post
I didn't really understand what you where saying Mahjik.
The main reason people tow cars to the track (which aren't race cars) is too avoid driving on track tires to and from the track. In that case, would this be an option for you:

https://www.rx7club.com/3rd-gen-general-discussion-322/my-fd-tow-vehicle-165797/
https://www.rx7club.com/3rd-generation-specific-1993-2002-16/hitch-trailer-install-pics-337174/
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Old 11-19-07, 02:00 PM
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I see a lot of guys towing with a honda ridgeline to the NASA and SCCA races...I'v never heard a complaint from them.
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Old 11-19-07, 02:15 PM
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I towed with my daily driver '99 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 with trailer brakes (rated to tow 5,000lbs). Car + trailer weighed 3,500 lbs. It was just marginal but worked. Pack light, when I gave a buddy and his gear a ride home, performance suffered notably, but I don't tow often so this was acceptable.

I got a bigger truck now.
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Old 11-19-07, 03:10 PM
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I use an 86 Chevy C10 pickup. The paint is faded, but the AC works.. And i've never had any braking issues when towing vehicles. And that includes while driving in some pretty hilly terrain.
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Old 11-19-07, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kwerks View Post
I see a lot of guys towing with a honda ridgeline to the NASA and SCCA races...I'v never heard a complaint from them.
If I had the cash I would get a new Highlander and call it a day but I am trying to stay on a budget.

I may look into something like Damian, thanks Mahjik.
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Old 11-19-07, 05:33 PM
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Keep in mind that it'll depend heavily on the region. If you live in a relatively flat area then you don't need as much power or brakes, but if you live in the mountains then you'll need a lot more power and brakes to cope with the hills.

My racer friend uses a ~2004 Chexy 2500HD with the Duramax and Allison tranny, with a ~5000lb loaded trailer and a fairly large camper it tows quite nicely through the hills.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:01 PM
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I vote cruise control a 'must have' for towing.......all light trucks work just fine.........right up to just before the unexpected happens,
the 350 dually was the awesome tow vehicle, barely noticed a 26' enclosed trailer with car, sure did suck fuel though, the desiel would have been much better (double the mileage to 16-18)
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Old 11-19-07, 11:44 PM
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My current tow vehicle is a 2002 E350 15 Passenger van with a 6.8L V10. I bought used in 2003 - it was from a hotel fleet in CA and had 27K miles on it. It was cheap at $16K and came with the factory tow package. I have had 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks before. The 3/4 ton trucks worked the best. None of them are better than my van!

I tow a 16' open trailer that has a tire rack. The car weighs 2200 and the trailer about 1500. So it is not too much to tow for the van. Remember to consider the tools, tires and spare parts that you plan on taking. That can add allot of weight.

The best way to go is to have more tow vehicle than you need. You'll find that you get to the track and home with no worries. That way you only have to deal with the scary stuff that is on the track!!!
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Old 11-20-07, 07:45 AM
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I looked into this myself, basically wanting the smallest, most car-like, most fuel-efficient thing that would also tow the RX7... probably the best things out there are BMW X5's (6,000 lbs) (if you have the cheese), or Toyota 4Runners (5,500 lbs). In otherwords, the most livable for the OTHER 95% of the driving you'll do with it. I commute an hour each way into the city everyday, no way I'm doing that in some Duramax 10,000 dualie.
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Old 11-20-07, 11:37 AM
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A lot of guys in the PCA tow with the Porsche Cayenne or Volkswagen Touareg (V8) without any problems. They're also really nice to drive when not towing. Pricey though.
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Old 11-20-07, 03:09 PM
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I've towed plenty with out honda odyssey, including cars and boats wayyy heayer than the FC.

With a FWD tow vehicle don't expect high performance takeoffs in the rain, ha.
Just keep a SAFE distance between you and the car infront of you, of course you can't stop on a dime. Just adjust your driving habits while towing and you'll be able to find a much more enjoyable daily.
Oh, and I'd recomend a ford crown vic. Towes BETTER than the F150 (belive it or not) and I have towed with both. They are RWD and have more weight on the rear end than a smaller pickup. They are also fairly cheap and relaxing for a daily (not tooo slow either) annnnd get pretty damn good mpg for a large car with a V8. It actually did about the same as the odyssey on the highway.

If you want bigger than that and not a truck, V8 explorers, expiditions, tahoe/suburbans are all pretty good.
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Old 11-20-07, 09:33 PM
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go for the big iron. This has served me well and I haven't been able to overload it yet. 14.2 mpg empty, 11.4 w/ trailer, loaded.

The trailer is for sale, BTW.

t
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Old 11-21-07, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tom.jelly View Post
go for the big iron. This has served me well and I haven't been able to overload it yet. 14.2 mpg empty, 11.4 w/ trailer, loaded.

The trailer is for sale, BTW.

t
Thats a nice way to do it!
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Old 11-21-07, 09:01 PM
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After wrecking a '99 Dodge Ram quad cab 1500 pulling a trailer, I now pull and STOP with a '99 F-250 Superduty diesel crew cab.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:40 PM
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All my trailering details are regulated to a '93 2-door fullsize Blazer (Tahoe) with 212k+ mi. on it. This includes anyting from a tow dolley and open car hauler, up to a 26' 6000+lb boat, not including trailer weight. Also drags my friends 28' camper on the local ocean beaches without much problem. Granted, I don't have long, severe grades to get over, but steep hills are still a normal occurance.
My point is, you don't need a super sized tow rig as long as your system is set up properly and you are familier with your vehicals braking characteristics. Trailer brakes are also a major bonus.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:40 PM
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I tow my FD with my Jeep Grand Cherokee...

Even though it's rated to handle the load, I'd feel much safer with trailer brakes.
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Old 11-22-07, 09:41 AM
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Dreamy tow vehicle = VW Touareg V10 Diesel (stump puller!)

Workhorse tow vehicle = F350 Crew cab Lariat

What I will likely end up with shortly = 93-97 Toyota Landcruiser
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Old 11-22-07, 10:06 AM
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Tow Vehicle: 1990 F250 4x4 with towing package. Engine is a 351.
Trailer: Featherlite aluminum open car hauler. 23 ft dual axle with trailer brakes.
Towee: 1993 RX-7

The heavier suspension and brakes on a 3/4 ton truck are the reasons for the F250 rather than F150 or similar.

I've towed a number of trailers in the past for work - 1/2 tons just aren't up to the job IMO. If it were a very light car and trailer, 1/2 ton would be ok I guess.

I weighed the whole rig this year towing a Miata, it was 9500 pounds. That puts the trailer at about 1600-1700 lbs (not sure of Miata weight). With the FD on the trailer that is pretty close to 10k lbs.

That much weight is asking a lot of the brakes and tranny on a 1/2 ton.

Oh yeah, the truck is also a 5 speed manual. I thought it would be a bit more reliable than light truck automatic transmissions.
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