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How realistic a tow capcity ratings for vehicles?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by emt1581, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    I sold my truck last week and am planning on putting a tow hitch on my buick later this week. It's mainly to tow my 14' boat and a small utility trailer. I'm looking for a slightly bigger boat though...not much just two feet longer or so.

    However, in looking at tow ratings, my Buick is rated at 1000lbs and my MUCH smaller Pontiac is rated the same.

    How realistic are these numbers? What are they based on in regard to avoiding damage to the vehicle?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  2. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg

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    That's probably a pretty safe capacity. My Colorado is rated for 5000 lbs and my Tahoe for 6500 lbs. Cars are set up entirely different and not for towing, generally speaking (you probably already know that). It's probably going to be tough to get a 16' boat, trailer, motor, and all your gear under 1000 lbs.

    Greg
     

  3. Hauptmann6

    Hauptmann6

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    There's a good chance that both your cars have the same transmission. And cars aren't made to tow anyway.
     
  4. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    That's what I'm thinking, but if going to fiberglass (which I think is lighter than aluminum....maybe not) and only expanding the length a foot or two (I actually need width for more seating and a console....I could care less about the length).... Is there any possibility for an upgrade or am I stuck with this setup?

    Sounds like the capacity is somewhat exact. I know what you mean about car vs. truck/SUV setup....I was just thinking engine and frame size would have a little to do with it but it doesn't seem like it.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  5. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

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    My Explorer is only rated for 2,000lbs, which I think is a joke, as some cars have higher ratings. I don't have a factory tow hitch. If I did, it would be rated for 5,000lbs.
     
  6. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg

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    It's rated for 2000 lbs using the bumper. If you stick a receiver hitch on their it should be good up to 6000 lbs. We had a 2000 Explorer and that's what it was rated for. You're manual will state this so check it.

    Greg
     
  7. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg

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    Fiberglass weighs more that aluminum.

    Greg
     
  8. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

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    No, a 2011 Explorer has a 5,000lb rating with the factory hitch. Adding an aftermarket hitch, even if the hitch itself is rated to 10,000lbs, only give the Explorer a 2,000lb rating. The only difference between the factory tow package is the addition of an oil cooler.
     
  9. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    As said most cars are not made for towing. Pickups I go WAY beyond ratings with no concerns. Upgrade hitch, check brakes on trailer, watch speeds and go.

    Older cars had some that were rated to tow. My dad had a 72 Torino that pulled 4000 loads with ease. (no brakes on load)
    I would NOT attempt that with Front wheel drive...

    Just a hint. Weight is one thing. Wind resistance is another factor. Every mph faster you go (or every mph increase in wind speed you face) increases strain on everything.

    Level ground at 40mph with wind is much easier on engine,trans then 60mph (or into 20 mph wind) Plus if no brakes on trailer every mph slower you go is MUCH less distance to stop...
     
  10. aspartz

    aspartz

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    It's not the towing that is the problem, it's stopping...

    ARS
     
  11. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    Some tow ratings are misleading as not only do they specify bumper tow, a frame mounted hitch but also a load distributing hitch. My Ford Sport Trac gives three ratings:

    bumper tow
    frame hitch
    load distribution hitch


    /
     
  12. RCP

    RCP

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    Mines rated for 10k

    [​IMG]
     
  13. K.Kiser

    K.Kiser

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    Where the tow equipment attatches to a car is also a concern... What is happening is you'll be pulling and more importantly trying to stop a trailered load with a crumple zone... If you do decide to go with it, just pull on the trailer easily, give yourself plenty of stopping room to avoid emergencies and surprises as much as possible...

    Alot of these manufacturers rating are in the event that no common sense is present, and maybe such poor decisions will be made often... You've got common sense or you wouldn't be asking these useful questions, so that will go a long way and if you only tow occasionally then you'll probably be fine...
     
  14. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    Well I'm getting whatever U-Haul installs at the end of the week. I already bought the hitch.

    I'll just wait and upgrade vehicles when upgrading boats.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  15. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    That's very true without trailer brakes. But like was said in other post, cars aren't made for towing much and 1,000 pounds isn't very much. Your Buick got an automatic or stick shift? If an automatic, at the very least you might want to add an auxiliary transmission oil cooler.

    Don't know what kind of boat you have, but you probably should run that boat and trailer across a set of scales. You might be surprised at what it weighs.
     
  16. USMCsilver

    USMCsilver Boat Life ©

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    I'll tell ya this much -- those ratings are B.S.!

    My '07.5 quad-cab Chevy 1500 2wd is rated at 6,800. My boat is within that weight by 50 pounds nearly every time it is towed.

    I'm nowhere near the mountains, but we do have some moderate hills on our state roads and highways.

    There are times that I am digging the pedal into the floor just to keep the speed I was going. I'm sometimes afraid I'm gonna blow the damned thing up; but, since I have a 100,000 mi. powertrain warranty, I don't much care...

    Don't forget, just because you can tow it doesn't mean you'll stop it.

    Our '05 Hyundai Tucson V6 has towed a Scout 175 Sportfish with a Yamaha F115 before, ONCE. It was the most nerve racking towing experiance I EVER had. I could pull it just fine. Stopping could have been judged by using a day-planner. It was flat-out scary, and I don't scare easily. I NEVER did it again.
     
  17. Hauptmann6

    Hauptmann6

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    If your buick is front wheel drive, get a transmission cooler. Otherwise you WILL end up killing the transmission. They aren't built much beyond what they need to be.
     
  18. Diesel_Bomber

    Diesel_Bomber

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    It's not getting the load moving that the manufacturer is concerned with, it's stopping the load and controlling the load through corners and curves.

    I would think very carefully before overloading a vehicle. Should you get in an accident and it's found that your vehicle was overloaded, it's entirely possible your insurance will deny coverage.
     
  19. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

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    How much do these air cooler transmissions go for (on a Buick) installed?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  20. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    That has been my experience also.