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Thread: Towing Vehicle

  1. #36
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Ballard
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    8,579

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    My 2009 Tacoma 4x4 has a 3500 lb tow capacity. After I bought it, I added a Class 3 trailer hitch. The new hitch is rated for 5,000 lbs, and while it's much more stout than the factory-installed rear bumper - I've always wondered if that truly increased the tow capacity of the truck. Any thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  2. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
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    4,138

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    sailnstink,

    From talking to my friends in the automotive industry who design and build vehicles, the thing that controls the capacities here is the stupid things people do and the highly variable climate. Vehicles have to be able to work in 100 degrees F, and people will try to tow stuff like travel trailers up long mountain passes. Recip. for overheating especially with automatics. So some mfgs like VW don't rate their small vehicles for doing the same things that they do in Europe. Called avoiding liability, but I know that I have passed on several new car purchases because of this.
    Last edited by Ben Fuller; 06-21-2021 at 06:55 PM.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  3. #38
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    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
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    4,138

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Yeadon,
    The hitch means that big mechanical problems like stuff breaking won't happen, maybe. But the reason they want to keep 4 bangers at 3500 is to be able to move things at highway speed, keep the tranny cool if you have an auto. The Taco six bangers are rated higher, and if an auto have tranny coolers with a tow package. All that said I have towed 5000 with my little Taco 4 cyl manual. Not very far and not very fast, and picked a quiet time of day. That same boat when I moved it to Maine from RI, I rented a serious piece of Detriot iron that could keep it at highway speed on the interstates. A good decision ( and that rig has the old fashioned mechanical surge brakes.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  4. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    EU
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    My 2009 Tacoma 4x4 has a 3500 lb tow capacity. After I bought it, I added a Class 3 trailer hitch. The new hitch is rated for 5,000 lbs, and while it's much more stout than the factory-installed rear bumper - I've always wondered if that truly increased the tow capacity of the truck. Any thoughts?
    Short answer, no. Towing capacity is a legal thing, it tows what the papers say. The technical side is more complicated, the Tacoma tow package for the V6 includes both engine and transmission oil coolers. How well the car performs without them depends on how much, how fast and where you tow.

  5. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Hills of Vermont, USA
    Posts
    40,322

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    My 2009 Tacoma 4x4 has a 3500 lb tow capacity. After I bought it, I added a Class 3 trailer hitch. The new hitch is rated for 5,000 lbs, and while it's much more stout than the factory-installed rear bumper - I've always wondered if that truly increased the tow capacity of the truck. Any thoughts?
    My 2 cents. The hitch is rated for 5K, the truck is still 3.5K. A ruggeder hitch is good, but towing capacity is not just based on the hitch, but on what the vehicle is designed for. As mentioned, oil coolers, but also transmission, driveshaft, rear end, rear springs, and even the frame all play a role.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  6. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    110,408

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    ^ also brakes. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  7. #42
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Armada, MI, USA
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    It's the cooling system and fuel economy. I had a long conversation with a guy who has spent his career developing automotive cooling systems. He made a lot of sense when he talked about towing capacity:

    Today's cars have better engines, better transmissions, better brakes, better everything. This would suggest they could tow more, not less.

    But they have skimpier cooling systems. In order to maximize fuel economy, today's cooling systems are engineered to within an inch of their lives. They need to keep the engine from overheating under extreme conditions, but just barely. Dragging an extra couple of tons behind your car means the cooling system has to be more robust, and therefore heavier, more expensive, and more energy-consuming.

    Back in the '60's, a car had an enormous fan bolted directly to the drive pulley on the water pump. At high engine speed, this fan sapped multiple horsepower from the engine. Many of today's cars have teensy little electric fans that look like they belong in a desktop computer case. And they don't run unless the engine's temperature calls for it. And even then, they only run as hard as necessary to prevent overheating.

    Only a small percentage of people put a hitch on their car, so trailer towing doesn't weigh very heavily into the design parameters.

  8. #43
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    MKE WI
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    My Grand Cherokee V6 can be either 3500 or 6200 lb depending on which radiator/fan combo it came with.

  9. #44
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio, USA
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    242

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    I wonder if the difference is because in Europe we mostly use manual gearboxes - where in the USa the Autobox is more common.

    I'd never heard the phrase "trans cooler" until I started reading US boards.
    I think that the biggest difference is the Trial Lawyers Association.

  10. #45
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    Apr 2005
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    Hills of Vermont, USA
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    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    I wonder if the difference is because in Europe we mostly use manual gearboxes - where in the USa the Autobox is more common.

    I'd never heard the phrase "trans cooler" until I started reading US boards.
    The vast majority of pickups in the US are sold with automatic transmissions - so that's not it. I think it's that here in the states people have been "trained" to believe that you need a truck to pull a trailer.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #46
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio, USA
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    242

    Default Re: Towing Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    The vast majority of pickups in the US are sold with automatic transmissions - so that's not it. I think it's that here in the states people have been "trained" to believe that you need a truck to pull a trailer.
    For 2021 there are only 2 pickup trucks that can even be equipped with a manual transmission, the Toyota Tacoma and the Jeep Gladiator. Automatic transmissions are standard on almost every vehicle sold in the US, it's become that way because virtually no one wants a manual transmission (I am that exception, all my vehicles except a one-ton van are manuals). Even 15 years ago a friend who lives in southern California had to go all the way to Phoenix to purchase a manual trans Nissan Frontier, SoCal dealers wouldn't even order one.

    https://www.motorbiscuit.com/the-las...-transmission/

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