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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any experience towing with a 180 LB/ft Mazda MPV?

How much bettter are turbo 400 trannies over the 350s (not for the mazda of course)?

Are stabilizers / equalizers necessary?

Airbags / levelers?

Tranny coolers? How effective are they?

Single vs double axle trailers?

What style brakes?

If, say, you were going to get a chevy van - what're the best motor/tranny combos?
 

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Surrender the Booty.
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How often will you be towing? How far will it average? What is the wieght you will usually tow?

If its not often, short, and light, then it will be a very different setup than if it was weekly, long, and heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh yeah, you need an applicaiton! I suppose it might not have been obvious - It's for towing a rally car and crap to rallies.
 

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Yes. It can tow.

Whether it can tow your trailer is hard to tell. Need to know weight to take a shot at an answer.

What kind of brakes? for the trailer?

Electric, of course. Surge brakes are getting prohibited in a number of states.

Good luck!
 

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Surrender the Booty.
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If its once every two or three months, then a 5.4L V8 in an F-250 (for example) would be the way to go. But if you tow all the time then you might want to bump up to the V-10. The combination of Motor/Tranny will give you different gas millages, while sometime not all that great, it will add up over time. For a light set up like a rally car or horse trailer or hay wagon once every other month or so you'd probably want a setup that would give you better gas millage around town, rather than hauling. But if you haul constantly, you'd want something geared more for that, like the V-10.


(I figured rally car, but I didn't know if it would also be a boat/horse trailer/utility trailer regularly too :p )

Edited for: In your owners manual it should tell you the towing capacity of your vehical. Figure thats going to include 1. Passenger 2. Lugage 3. Gear 4. Trailer 5. Car.
 

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>If its once every two or three months, then a 5.4L V8 in an
>F-250 (for example) would be the way to go. But if you tow all
>the time then you might want to bump up to the V-10. The
>combination of Motor/Tranny will give you different gas
>millages, while sometime not all that great, it will add up
>over time. For a light set up like a rally car or horse
>trailer or hay wagon once every other month or so you'd
>probably want a setup that would give you better gas millage
>around town, rather than hauling. But if you haul constantly,
>you'd want something geared more for that, like the V-10.
>
>
>(I figured rally car, but I didn't know if it would also be a
>boat/horse trailer/utility trailer regularly too :p )
>
>Edited for: In your owners manual it should tell you the
>towing capacity of your vehical. Figure thats going to include
>1. Passenger 2. Lugage 3. Gear 4. Trailer 5. Car.

Just get an F-250 diesel with the integrated towing package. Everything you need to tow 250,000 miles or more. No muss, no fuss. It has all the right brakes, coolers, connectors - the works. Plus stump-pulling torque and 16 mpg.

Don't like Fords? Dodge and GM have equivalent models. None are cheap. All will serve for the long run and provide the safest, most secure towing you can buy.
 

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I bought dodge ram 1500 about a year and a half ago. Specs are as follows:

Short bed
Standard cab
4.7 V8 (NOT the "hemi")
Tow package (hitch, pre-wired, maybe springs?)
Cruise control

No power windows. No cd player. No 4wd. No automatic tranny (!).

Cost? $16.5 NEW. I bet thats even lower with the employee discount thats offered right now.

I have no clue as to the gas milage when pulling my IT car, but the trailer is 1300 and the car is 1700, so total of 3000 lbs. Towing Otis' group N wrx to Maine last year, I averageds 15 mpg. Really. His trailer is 1800 lbs, and the car is maybe 3000 lbs. I also had about 500 lbs of tires/MIG/generator in the bed.

It'll do 70 mph easy in 5th with cruise set. Medium hills require 4th. Very steep hills (like the road to Watkins Glen from downtown) will require 3rd. Tows like a champ. People warned me to stay away from short wheelbase pickups with manual trannies, but I can tow all day long with it.

Any trailer, regardless of make, age, or material, should be dual axle (with brakes on both axles). Electric brakes are the best, get a tekonsha prodigy controller.
 

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Dirt surfer
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dump that mozzie van before you tear its guts out towing. One well-known racer tows his rally Impreza with a Legacy wagon, but he's a mechanical genius with a deft touch on the hardware. (and no doubt has many spare scooby motors in his backyard)

find you an early/mid-90s F250 HD 4WD Supercab longbed pickemup with the honking 460 gas motor. it will tow anything anywhere, just add large quantities of go juice. how much gas? 7-10 mpg depending on terrain and how much of a hurry you're in.

that's a lotta fuel, but you can buy a whole sheetload of gas and do cross-country trips for years for the price diff between the nice 67k mile 94 F250 I bought for $6500 and a new F250 Super Duty diesel for $35+ large.

NCwrencher's advice on trailers is spot on. dual axles w/brakes or don't go.

Dave G
Gas hog jockey

"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK so its daul trailer axels with electric brakes. That's fine.

It's also don't tow with the Mazda but I still don't know why.... If it's going to fail how does it fail. Especially when they have a 4500 LB towing capacity with the tow package (at cooler and airbags)

Let me make the question more clear. I only want to spend about 1000 bucks on a rig. It'll never get used really so I can't imagine why I'd want to spend more? There are plenty - actually a load - of cheap rust free vans and trucks out here on the west coast. i just don't know what to get. For example Do I need to get a 350 chevy witih T400 tranny or will a 305 with a T350 tranny work? Do I really NEED a tranny cooler? Is 1/2 tonne ok or do you need 3/4 tonne.

Remember, I built my rally car. I don't think any chey van's mechanical issues are going to be a show stopper. However, I don;t want to get stopped on the way to a rally because I fried a tranny.

So for 1000 bucks what do you buy? How about a Suburban with 100,000 miles, a 350 with FI and a Turbo 400 and a honking hitch for 500 bucks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
>OK so its daul trailer axels with electric brakes. That's
>fine.
>
>It's also don't tow with the Mazda but I still don't know
>why.... If it's going to fail how does it fail. Especially
>when they have a 4500 LB towing capacity with the tow package
>(at cooler and airbags)
>
>Let me make the question more clear. I only want to spend
>about 1000 bucks on a rig. It'll never get used really so I
>can't imagine why I'd want to spend more? There are plenty -
>actually a load - of cheap rust free vans and trucks out here
>on the west coast. i just don't know what to get. For example
>Do I need to get a 350 chevy witih T400 tranny or will a 305
>with a T350 tranny work? Do I really NEED a tranny cooler? Is
>1/2 tonne ok or do you need 3/4 tonne.
>
>Remember, I built my rally car. I don't think any chey van's
>mechanical issues are going to be a show stopper. However, I
>don;t want to get stopped on the way to a rally because I
>fried a tranny.
>
>So for 1000 bucks what do you buy? How about a Suburban with
>100,000 miles, a 350 with FI and a Turbo 400 and a honking
>hitch for 500 bucks?
>

what's the secret behind towing with the legacy? is it a 5mt? ej25?
 

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Forget about the Mazda MPV and the Chevy Van! Keep your eyes peeled for a Dodge Aries Wagon with the 2.2 turbo! Bolt a 5th wheel hitch to the roof and get a 4 car trailer. Don't worry about trailer brakes-they don't really make much of a difference. I would suggest pouring in a container of ProLong at every oil change to deal with the added engine loads. Good luck!
 

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>dump that mozzie van before you tear its guts out towing. One
>well-known racer tows his rally Impreza with a Legacy wagon,
>but he's a mechanical genius with a deft touch on the
>hardware. (and no doubt has many spare scooby motors in his
>backyard)
>
>find you an early/mid-90s F250 HD 4WD Supercab longbed
>pickemup with the honking 460 gas motor. it will tow anything
>anywhere, just add large quantities of go juice. how much gas?
>7-10 mpg depending on terrain and how much of a hurry you're
>in.
>
>that's a lotta fuel, but you can buy a whole sheetload of gas
>and do cross-country trips for years for the price diff
>between the nice 67k mile 94 F250 I bought for $6500 and a new
>F250 Super Duty diesel for $35+ large.
>
>NCwrencher's advice on trailers is spot on. dual axles
>w/brakes or don't go.
>
>Dave G
>Gas hog jockey
>
>"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."

I never said it was cheap. We were asked what was best; your budget may vary. Your F250 sounds like a good rig at a good price.

Also, if you plan on towing cross country, you'll bless the diesel and curse the gas motor at Pikes Peak or on any tow through the Rockies.

And yes, do not attempt to tow a rally car and parts with an MPV (although the other way around may work)

Been there, done that.
 

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straight at T
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>what's the secret behind towing with the legacy? is it a 5mt?
>ej25?

The secret is Randy. There is no other way to put it...

Not that long ago a majority of teams towed with $1000-2000 vans. Not a bad option, since they have plenty of space and enough mass to prevent the trailer from pulling them around. Torsion bars help too. Unless you are doing mountains, the small V8s (318 etc.) are ok. We've also towed a Golf with a Mercury Grand Marquis, but that's another story.

The last two things I towed with were a new Chrysler Minivan and a 1T Cummins TD dually (both for 12+ hour tows). Guess which one I preferred...

Adrian
 

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>OK so its daul trailer axels with electric brakes. That's
>fine.
>
>>So for 1000 bucks what do you buy? How about a Suburban with
>100,000 miles, a 350 with FI and a Turbo 400 and a honking
>hitch for 500 bucks?
>
That's a good choice. IMHO, one of the primary things is weight. You don't want your trailer and it's contents to weigh more than the tow vehicle if you want towing stability (70 mph with no issues). This was proved to me when I once towed my empty trailer (1500 pounds) 20 miles behind my Mazda B2000 pickup truck. The trailer just pushed the pickup all over the place. For me it will never be less than a full 1 ton vehicle. But 3/4 ton is okay also. Less than that and your trips will not be enjoyable. I want to arrive at the event rested and not having fought with the tow rig.
 

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>>OK so its daul trailer axels with electric brakes. That's
>>fine.
>>
>>>So for 1000 bucks what do you buy? How about a Suburban
>with
>>100,000 miles, a 350 with FI and a Turbo 400 and a honking
>>hitch for 500 bucks?
>>
>That's a good choice. IMHO, one of the primary things is
>weight. You don't want your trailer and it's contents to weigh
>more than the tow vehicle if you want towing stability (70 mph
>with no issues). This was proved to me when I once towed my
>empty trailer (1500 pounds) 20 miles behind my Mazda B2000
>pickup truck. The trailer just pushed the pickup all over the
>place. For me it will never be less than a full 1 ton vehicle.
>But 3/4 ton is okay also. Less than that and your trips will
>not be enjoyable. I want to arrive at the event rested and not
>having fought with the tow rig.

Suburban was the tow vehicle of choice 30 yr. ago, and it's still a good option. Warning: any tow vehicle must be sound mechanically and reliable. You want to spend your time prepping the rally car, NOT fixing the tow car. Money spent now on the right tow vehicle/service truck will reward you down the road in the form of more fun and a better rally car. As always, get the absolute best your budget will allow.
 

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Hi Andy,

I can't recall seeing Randy Zimmer tow a trailer with his Subie; he tows a dolly with the rally car on that. Saves most of the trailer weight. Also note that he and his co-driver, Russell Strait, often use his Russell's chevy pickup for towing the rally car on a trailer. So it's not quite the way as it may sound...!

I would not really like to use the MPV, but if forced to, then I would use a dolly or flat tow, and not have the trailer wieght to deal with in a light vehicle. Also, any light, short wheelbase vehicle with a heavy trailer is a disaster waiting to happen, so avoid that. Flat towing is very stable but leaves you in a bad way if you wreck your rally car(even though I did it for many years; just don't have bad wrecks!) So if you need to stick with the MPV, consider a dolly, and only wreck one end at a time! This may get your though a few events just fine. (I flat-towed for a long time with a Ranchero w. 351C and C4 trannie and did fine. But is was a great improvement to move up to a 3/4T crew cab diesel.)

Interesting story on the 4.7L Dodge related here; it's amazing to get 15 mpg with a gas engine, but I am sure that FI has improved things a bit. I would not expcet that good a mileage figure from a gas engine.

Trannie coolers are cheap and easy to add as aftermarket parts on many vehicles. Get one; it will significantly help an automatic trannie.

Don't worry about the 350 trannies; we towed for many years with one behind a 6.2L Chevy diesel. No problems at all. Having a 3 speed may give you poorer mileage though.

2 axle trailers only! They give a trailer an inherent straight line stability, and you have a better chance of not wrecking if one tire blows suddenly. And I think everyone would heartily agree on the statement about using electric brakes. Surge brakes can cause oscillations bewteen the tow vehciles and trailer/load in the right conditions; a VERY bad situation if in the rain.

If you can only spend $1000 on a vehicle, I would think carefully and look long and hard before doing it. You will be taking this thing over long trips with very heavy loads in the wee hours of night, and any old vehicle should be gone over thoroughly and have any dubious parts replaced. You should also pay attention to the brake package and get a heavy one if you can find it. $1000 won't buy you much these days.....at least in terms of a reliable long range towing vehicle.

The suburban sounds good...if it is in reasonable condition. But I would budget for a trannie O/H soon; that's your Achilles' heel. (FYI, you can put in a new clutch pack kit and replace the servo o-rings, etc., for about $100 and 15-20 hours of your own labor. It'll buy about 40-50k miles of service everything else is good. Throw in a new torque converter while you have it apart.)

If you can afford it, go with a long wheel base, 3/4 ton diesel. Crew cab is even better.

Good luck!
Mark B.
 

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yep, these guys have got it right! bigger is better...

i spent 2 years towing my rabbit hillclimb car with my V6 toyota pickup. i have a steel trailer dual axle w/brakes and a tranny cooler on the truck.it had a 5000lb tow rating, i was pulling about 4000 for 1.5-3 hours and it was a struggle. not to mention a both hands on the wheel eyes on the road forget about changing cd's ride. if a gust of wind or anything upset the trailer you needed to be ready.
AND it maxed maybe 65 mph, 30 uphill. around town i got 20mph, towing i got 12.

i now have a dodge ram 2500 excab V10. i could take a nap while towing with that thing. it gets 9mph no matter what.

so it's almost a wash on the gas mileage issue, but i will never tow with an undersized vehicle again.
 

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Dirt surfer
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surge brakes = bad bad bad

one other really sucky thing about surge brakes is that you can't back a heavy trailer uphill with them...the harder you push backward, the more the ((%^%$#@!! surge brakes fight you cuz as you back up, you trigger the brake controller at the hitch.

you may well be able to find a 3/4 ton gas V8 van for the $$ you're talking...you know, the kind the classified ads say "would make a great work truck" which is actually a code for "dented, battered, and beat up." They're simple mechanically, so with some work you could prolly make it fairly solid and reliable. Won't be pretty, tho....

Dave G


"...Embrace loose gravel, beware big trees..."
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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RE: towing fun

Mark, for shame!
I used a dolly one time to bring a wreck back from NC and that's it!
Sure, if Rusty wants to use his truck and trailer and pay for the gas, I'm all for it. He also likes to do the driving too (which makes it boring for me).
My trailers have been small and light, compared to others, it may look like a dolly.
Baie was over 900 miles each way with no issues just a couple weeks ago but for Rocky, I just needed to go to Toronto and back.
The car is a 2.5 with a 5-speed and 188K on it. Automatics are not an option for me, I don't know how to fix it on the side of the road and when they die, it's over.

Anyway, sure, it takes concentration and stuff to tow light, along with deciding what to take or leave home and packing it to balance out, but isn't that what we do? If you have had problems towing, you didn't think it through before you left. Weight distribution is important, not just if it is a truck or not.

Benefits I get are: good gas mileage (~20), Spare parts work on both cars and I can canibalize either way, I know the cars inside and out and the same tools fit.

Downside with the 2.2 was getting moving and Vale Pass did in the motor, it had 240K on it and it started burning oil after that.
Downside with no trailer brakes is that in traffic, somebody is always moving into my brake zone. Brakes are on my want list someday.

As far as that suggestion the tow car weigh so much...
Show me a tractor that weighs more than the trailer its pulling and I'll believe that logic (ha!)

I may be irresponsible and a menace to society but I drive a rally car at high speed on roads I don't know with trees and rocks all over the place, hmmm.
rz

PS, two friends of mine have had fatal crashes with big heavy trucks pulling big trailers with good brakes. EZ or not, you need to pay attention when towing and have some judgement that exceeds what you use in a little car.
 
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