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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Towing vehicle

I've been wanting to get something to tow my Elise to and back from the track.
Initially I was considering getting a truck. I looked at a bunch of them but they were either too expensive or too big (don't want a F250 to two a 1 ton car).
Anyway, after much thoughts, I started envisioning getting a friendlier vehicle and I stumbled upon some Dogge Magnum R/T for sale.

The R/T (V8 5.7L) is supposed to be able to handle 3800lbs in regards to towing capacity, assuming that the towing package is installed. The package is basically the towing hook, some auto leveling rear suspensions and possibly a sway bar and an optional transmission cooler.

The Elise is about 2000lbs and I reckon that I could find a aluminum trailer that weights 1000lbs, giving me 800lbs spare. I'm just wondering if this sounds like a terrible idea or not.

The upside of the Magnum is that its gas mileage (non towing) is still better than most trucks and SUV and that I could use it for more than just towing.

Am I nuts?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 02:45 PM
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I think you might be underestimating the total towed amount. Sure, the Elise is 2,000lbs, but you'll likely be looking at bringing a toolbox or two, an extra set of wheels/tires or two, maybe some fluids, etc. In the end you'll be really close if not over the 3,800lbs, and you are always better the further under that you can be.

There have been a couple good threads both here and on the other forum about tow vehicles. The best choice sounded like a TDI Toureg, but there are a lot of other SUV's with higher towing capacities. I know that the new Grand Cherokee is rated for 5,000lbs with the V6 and 7,400lbs with the V8.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yea, I was considering that extra stuff but I usually stick that stuff in my car. Always done it this way with my race bikes (had a couple of 350lbs bikes on a 200lbs trailer pulled with my crappy honda civic). I don't think I'd be taking an extra set of wheels unless I was racing.

I'll take a look at the touareg though, that sounds like a decent option too. I'm just trying to not spend a fortune on a car/truck/suv that I would use sporadically, but I can understand your point of 'out growing' the car. Right now I would assume that I'd be more or less safe but maybe in 6 months I will end up towing more stuff and like you said, go over the max weight.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 09:07 PM
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If you're just going to use it once in a while how about a full-sized cargo van? A Ford Econoline van can tow up to 10,000lbs depending on the model, runs forever and you can pick up clean ones for a couple grand. Plus you'd be able to haul bikes inside with no trailer. If you have a place to put it they're a good option.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 09:34 PM
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+1 for the Econoline, assuming you have a place to park it where you or the neighbors don't have to look at it. We used one of these to tow our SAE car from WA to MI. The suckers will tow a trailer pretty well at 115 mph. Any faster and the governor kicks in and you have to slow down to 105 before it regains power.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 04:39 AM
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If you're just going to use it once in a while how about a full-sized cargo van? A Ford Econoline van can tow up to 10,000lbs depending on the model, runs forever and you can pick up clean ones for a couple grand. Plus you'd be able to haul bikes inside with no trailer. If you have a place to put it they're a good option.
And if you lose your job, you can live in it.....down by the river.....

Depends on what you want. New or used 4Runners can tow over 7000lbs. Going as light as you can on the trailer is a good idea. Helps with mileage. I am intrigued with the X5d as a tow vehicle. Not enough to drop $60k on one, but nonetheless.


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 04:54 AM
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And if you lose your job, you can live in it.....down by the river.....
Call me crazy but I don't think this is too bad of a point. Meaning that if you really wanted to you could spend the night in the van rather than in a hotel.

And for a cheap tow vehicle (if your original need is only for towing) they appear to fit the bill. Can't speak to reliability but can say that I've contemplated the same questions and the answer of an E350 has come up.

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 05:00 AM
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And if you lose your job, you can live in it.....down by the river.....
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 05:01 AM
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Can't speak to reliability but can say that I've contemplated the same questions and the answer of an E350 has come up.
Check this guy out: Home
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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The Econoline would be a terrific option but I would have to deal with the old lady across the street again...
I'm looking at some Touaregs for the moment and a few are actually affordable. There are no TDI for sale though (unless I buy one new) but the V6 or V8 both can pull 5700lbs. I'll prolly go that route if I can find one that's in a decent shape.

The X5 is cool but $60K to pull a trailer is a tad overkill
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 08:11 PM
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If you like Dodge, the Dakota is a small truck that also came with a v8. Should be able to easily, and more importantly... safely, pull 4,ooo lbs but you should verify what the manufacturer recommends as max towing capacity.

If you want my suggestion, don't skimp on a tow vehicle. A full sized pickup (F150 or Silverado) gets my vote. There are countless things trucks are good for and when you are headed out of town to an event the last thing you want is your toe vehicle struggling all the way. Even if the truck is a stripped down, windy windows, hail damaged, hooptie, get something that can pull the intended load with ease. As for sleeping in a van, been there done that when I raced bikes. A camper top on a pickup is a bit old-school but there are some really nice setups.

Good luck.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 08:49 AM
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I have an E-350, and it's awesome. They're cheap to buy and cheap to maintain. I love not having to unload crap at 3am because it might get stolen or rained on, and I also use it to camp out. It will be at Sebring for the 12 hours this weekend!
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 08:57 AM
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Having used both, a Featherlite aluminum open trailer is about 1400 lbs and a steel Carson trailer is about 1600 lbs for the same size. Not much difference in weight. Best bang for the buck for fuel economy was putting a canopy on the truck - went from 11.5 mpg to 13.5 mpg.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 09:03 AM
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Out Toyota Highlander is rated at 5,000 pounds with the tow package. I tow a travel trailer that is probably about 4,000+ when fully loaded and it has no issues even up hills. I average about 11 MPG when towing on the freeway. When not towing it is like driving a Lexus, a very nice ride. The V6 has numbers comparable to many V8's and it is a fairly light vehicle by SUV standards.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 10:33 AM
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Lets look at this from another perspective. You want a vehicle you can live with when not towing? This vehicle gets ~24mpg running around town and easily gets 30mpg highway. It also tows ~7000lbs. Guess it yet? Buy a BMW X5d! Guys tow cars with these and are still well into the 20's towing!! The torque is also a blast!!

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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 06:12 PM
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wrangler unlimited..... 4K or 4.5K tow capacity. MY wife's gets 20-21 mpg combined on a tank of gas.... she purchased the v6 in manual with the tow package.

With a light trailer & a elise this would work. But a big-heavy trailer not something I would try......
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 06:19 PM
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There was a discussion on this here recently, but the challenge with using a Wrangler Unlimited to tow an Elise is the tongue weight. Even if you find a trailer that gets you under the 3,500lb weight, you can't hit the 350lb tongue weight.
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ended up getting a 2004 Ram 1500 SLT (V8 5.7L Hemi). Works out pretty good. Mileage is crap but I still manage close to 18MPG
Anyway, since I plan to drive it seldom and almost exclusively to tow the Elise, that's alright. I got a $2000 trailer (not aluminum, so it's porky, weighting in at some 1600lbs) but since the truck is rated to two 8000lbs, I don't really care. Saved a bunch of money on the truck and the trailer since the Touaregs were over 14K (got the truck + trailer for less than 12k). Pretty happy so far.

Best part is that the truck is yellow, just like the Elise
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 05:13 PM
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I love my new wrangler with tow package. Just one problem... At 3,500lb. max it's not going to haul my Elise anytime soon. The 2012 jeeps with new engine will have "max" tow package option taking it up to 5,000lb.

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-20-2011, 06:10 PM
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I have my Armada to tow...Can go up to 9000 bls

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