Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,300

    Default Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    I just got a 2006 Caledonia Yawl, and my 2013 Forester 5-speed manual just isn't up to reversing it up my steep driveway. With all my boats under 800lbs all up with trailer, there is no need for a full-size pickup or standard large tow vehicle, but I'd like to be able to push the trailer uphill without smoking the clutch or damaging the tranny.

    I've always driven manuals, but they're harder and harder to find on small vehicles, and most serious tow vehicles seem to have automatic transmissions. Many of the smaller SUVs have CVT transmissions, some ECVT and some just CVT. I've been considering the 2017-18 Honda CR-V all-wheel SUV, as it is rated to tow more than any of my boats and gets great fuel mileage -- a serious consideration as I make several annual trips of over 2000k and often tow to destinations 300+ miles away through mountains.

    Is anyone towing with a CVT, and what is your experience reversing under load? I'm also concerned about towing down steep mountain grades, but most CVTs seem to have paddle shifters allowing downshifting under those conditions.

    TIA
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    19,153

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    If the trailer has surge brakes, backing uphill can be problematic. I have to stop and pin the brake unit on my boat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Wongawallan Oz
    Posts
    15,167

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    How far uphill do you have to reverse it Thorne? My FIL mounted a 12V boat winch in his garage to pull his fishing boat in rather than have to try and negotiate a difficult turn in a narrow space every time. Would that be an option for you?

    And re towing downhill, it may be time to consider having electric brakes fitted to your trailer, something that I’m considering for my tandem work trailer as I live up a steep hill. The cable brake/tow hitch (surge brake?) set up is only really useful for sudden braking and provides little to no assistance downhill.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Whangarei, New Zealand
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Opening a mine field here. CVT and standard auto boxes are both subject to heating issues with this sort of thing. Just as your clutch smokes the heat builds up in the trans oil.
    Obviously some models will have a greater cooling capability and lower reverse ratio's than others so are better able to cope with sustained heat build up that backing a trailer up a hill will generate..

    Re the Subaru CVT, it is paired with up to 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) of torque in Japanese models and 350 Nm (258 lb/ft) torque in New Zealand, Aussie & the US in the Turbo and 6 cylinder models. However it is only rated to tow 1800kg (4000 lb) in NZ & Aussie

    I suspect that if your reversing uphill distance and time is significant you may have to go to something heavier duty that your basic SUV Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai etc. Over here we are spoiled for choice with 2 & 4wd, 4 door 1 ton Utes with good turbo diesels from all the main manufactures including VW and shortly Mercedes as well. All rated to tow from 3-3500 kg (66-7700 lb) These are not as large and unwieldy as your full size utes ie F250's etc.
    Zane
    Last edited by Zane Lewis; 04-05-2018 at 05:42 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,300

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    All good ideas but I'm still looking for technical info on towing with CVT and relative low gear ratings for reverse. And I might consider electric brakes, but we're only talking less than 800lb total weight of boat and trailer.

    Not towing far in reverse, at least yet, and yes Larks I'm using a cheap HF electric trailer winch to pull the trailer backwards up the driveway. That really takes a long time and involves stopping and chocking the wheels at least once to swap cable sections.

    Baack to the CVT / ECVT question: I'm aware that some vehicles have MUCH lower gear in reverse than others, and recently drove a Nissan Frontier 4x4 pickup that even in 2x had a very low / powerful reverse up my driveway -- it had a 5-speed automatic transmission. What I'm trying to discover is whether an automatic is better than a CVT in otherwise roughly comparable vehicles. And I don't wanna go for some massive truck or SUV when the trailers I tow are all less than 1000 lbs, and some trips I take are over 2000 miles so I want decent fuel economy.

    And yes I know that manual transmissions are usually better for towing than auto or CVT, but I also know I'm tired of paying for replacement transmissions (the 2013 Forester needs a new one at 75k). All my vehicles (and the wife's) have been manuals, but she's tired of shifting in traffic and I keep seeing that most non-professional tow vehicles have auto transmissions.
    Last edited by Thorne; 04-05-2018 at 05:55 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Whangarei, New Zealand
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    OK More directly to your question. I changed from a manual to a CVT about 2.5 years back and do some towing with it. mostly up to around 2500 lb. Our drive way is on a hill and I don't have turning room inside. Coming home I drive up the hill and into the drive. Then I back out sending the trailer up the hill, roll down and then back up the hill and into our drive way.
    Like you I have a dog leg and so cann't drive past the drive up hill and then back in.
    Have never had a problem with the cvt doing this and it's very controllable with regards to adding a little more power as required.
    Zane

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    19,153

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    I have put a hitch receiver on the front more than once...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ballard
    Posts
    7,769

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I have put a hitch receiver on the front more than once...
    That's a good idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,300

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    From what I can tell, one of the important factors is axle ratio. I **think** that this is also called "Final Drive" in most of the vehicle specs. Add to that the reverse gear ratio as something important to me -- all these ratios translate into a higher number meaning a lower gear ratio, which is what you want for towing.
    https://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/un...g-axle-ratios/

    So you'd think that the Pilot AWD which is rated to tow 5k and has lower ratios for both reverse and 1st, would have a lower ratio overall. But the CVT thing plays hob with this, at least from a quick look, as the 2017 Honda AWD CR-V has a much higher number / lower gear ratio than the 2017 Honda Pilot AWD:

    Pilot
    6-Speed Automatic Transmission (6AT):
    • Gear Ratios:
    • 1st:3.359
    • 2nd:2.095
    • 3rd:1.485
    • 4th:1.065
    • 5th:0.754
    • 6th:0.556
    • Reverse:2.269
    • Final Drive:4.250



    CR-V

    • Forward:
    • 2.645~0.405
    • Reverse:1.859~1.265
    • Final Drive:5.640
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,266

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I just got a 2006 Caledonia Yawl
    Ummmm... So, this?!?!

    Congratulations and tell us more! Dammmmmnnn maaaaannn. Great boats. Too many here in the New England, mainly because they are so great.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Europe
    Posts
    8,600

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    The better halfs tow car is a CVT 1.8 Toyota with a tow capacity of 1800kg, a higher rating than the manual version. I would not sweat about 800lb. The boxes are well known to go over 450,000km in taxis......with the original oil !!! Theres a semi-auto option just by flicking the gear lever across the gate, allows to down shift for some engine braking. A surge brake trailer is always going to push you down hill.....thats what brakes are for, i never had issues with a 3.5ton load, but i did make sure the brakes were set up correctly, a big deal when the load and trailer exceed the vehicle weight.(No, i was not towing 3.5 ton behind the Toyota)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,300

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    It's not the tow rating, although that matters, but the torque available under certain conditions -- like reversing up a steep driveway pushing a boat trailer. No matter how careful I am, the Subaru produces hot clutch smell just doing this with a 600lb boat and trailer.

    At this point I'm guessing that I'll be better off with an automatic and a tranny cooler (if available) -- at least I'll know what I've got for reversing.

    Here's the gear ratios for the 2018 Nissan Frontier pickup. I drove the auto as a loaner while the Forester got a new short block paid for by Subaru, and it backed up the driveway in a noticeably lower gear than our other cars - even when not towing.

    nissan-frontier-2018-gears.png
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Europe
    Posts
    8,600

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    With the CVT, the engine is just going to produce whatever it needs (hp and torque) to get you moving and no need to play on a clutch. You might need a bit more revs to get you going with a load, as im sure you know, its nothing like driving a large capacity cylinder manual. A high-low option would be nice, though the local ramp is shallow enough that i do not fear the CVT belt will explode. Been trying to put the better half off from trading it in, its been a good tool and 100% reliable.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    19,153

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    All that data says that 1st gear on any of those models is a significantly lower ratio. Just put the hitch on the front. any clever guy could make up a reciever that bolted to the the chassis tie down points. It is not like you will be on the highway with it.
    (I don't like electric brakes under water... just sayin')

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,300

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Jake - the problem with these small SUVs is that they aren't old-school enough to use a ladder frame, meaning that there's no way to mount a hitch receiver on the front -- often no way to mount tow hooks up there either!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    All that data says that 1st gear on any of those models is a significantly lower ratio. Just put the hitch on the front. any clever guy could make up a reciever that bolted to the the chassis tie down points. It is not like you will be on the highway with it.
    (I don't like electric brakes under water... just sayin')
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    14,650

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Jake - the problem with these small SUVs is that they aren't old-school enough to use a ladder frame, meaning that there's no way to mount a hitch receiver on the front -- often no way to mount tow hooks up there either!
    Yep.

    Did I miss it, or have you addressed ways to disable the surge brakes and so eliminate this issue as a contributing factor?

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    19,153

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Jake - the problem with these small SUVs is that they aren't old-school enough to use a ladder frame, meaning that there's no way to mount a hitch receiver on the front -- often no way to mount tow hooks up there either!
    There is always a way...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    495

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    An 800 lb trailer will have a tongue weight of well under 200.
    http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...tch-mount.html
    Here's a thread with folks discussing a conversion/adaptation of hardware used for towing an Outback behind a motorhome. The towed-car hardware is substantial enough for the off-highway task at hand, and pre-engineered for attachment points. Mounting a ball would be straightforward. Bonus is it's much easier to spot a trailer exactly where you want it.

    The weights involved are low enough that even a Unistrut-based solution would suffice, and would be cheaper than most any transmission service event.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Indian Land, SC, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Thorne, I have seen some YouTube videos on constructing a 12v battery-powered trailer dolly - would something like that move your boat and trailer up the driveway and save the car's transmission ? One was made from an old lawn tractor and electric winch parts - just an idea....




    Rick

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
    Posts
    19,153

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Use the rear towing hitch reciever with a long square tube under the car to the front? I"ll bet I could weld something up in an afternoon.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lindstrom, MN
    Posts
    1,917

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    9,301

    Default Re: Anyone towing with a CVT? Wondering about reversing uphill with a boat trailer...

    Would you reverse up your driveway with 3 big guys and 200# of luggage in the car? Honestly 800# of Boat and trailer is nothing. I would make certain that if the trailer is equipped with surge brakes that they are locked out though.

    As to CVT’s I don’t think it should be an issue. I don’t care for them myself, but it’s due to the “rubber band” affect they have on driving feel rather than reliability.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •