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ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
12/6/12 1:10 p.m.
codrus wrote:
Woody wrote: How about a Tire Tail?

AFAICT, they guy who used to make them doesn't do it any more, and nobody else has stepped up. It seems you can only buy them used now.

My ears perk up a bit. Curious how much demand there might be...

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro HalfDork
12/6/12 1:11 p.m.
andrave wrote: legal is a funny word, I've been through the code here in Wv with a fairly fine toothed comb and the only thing you come up with are the DOT limits per tire. Nowhere in the state code does it say anything about staying with a vehicle's factory assigned GCVR or GVWR. I didn't toss that word into my argument, I left it out on purpose.

DOT rules are Federal, but it does vary state-to-state on how much they are enforced. Going over GCWR/GVWR is going to cause you issues if you are stopped or in an accident.

I prefer to error on the safe side, but I tow a 28ft enclosed trailer so I would draw more attention than a small trailer will.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
12/6/12 1:20 p.m.
81cpcamaro wrote: DOT rules are Federal, but it does vary state-to-state on how much they are enforced. Going over GCWR/GVWR is going to cause you issues if you are stopped or in an accident.

+1. We've had this discussion (Can I tow X with Y car/truck?) a thousand times. Towing capacity ratings in the US have less to do with what the vehicle in question is physically capable of and more to do with how much legal exposure manufacturers are willing to risk.

IMHO, if something should go wrong - and it doesn't even have to be your fault - the last thng you want to do is give the lawyers additional rope to hang you with.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/6/12 1:21 p.m.

At 2 posts up, Right, the federal DOT is federal, but then your enforcement is all state. And most every state has codified the parts that they enforce. When you get pulled over by DOT its a state officer, and generally speaking, they only pull over commercial vehicles. The rules for commercial vehicles and drivers are federal, but those don't apply to non cdl's, and besides, as mentioned, most states have codified them (probably was one of those, you must enact these rules to receive federal highway funds things).

So if you aren't breaking any WV rules by pulling a 5k lb trailer behind your 1500 lb rated element, youre not very likely to actually get pulled over and cited for it. Doesn't mean its safe, but I've yet to see an actual rule or regulation that actually makes it illegal. This is a subject that has been tossed around and discussed at length on a variety of different towing and truck boards I frequent, and I've yet to see a cite to a law that says if you tow over the factory rating, youre illegal. So its sort of an interesting subject.

Jerry
Jerry New Reader
12/6/12 3:43 p.m.

Plenty of input, glad I joined this site!

I originally thought the Element might work till I looked up the rating on a few sites. Lost interest, then my friend last night tells me of towing his old Corolla to/from tracks with a mid-80's Toyota minivan (the old ugly shuttlecraft-looking one). So I thought I'd query the masses.

Thinking for now I'll just go with a custom hitch on the MR2 for a Harbor Freight utility trailer like the Miata guys do at rallycross. I just don't think I'm in for buying ANOTHER vehicle and it's added cost/maintenance/insurance to tow the MR2 10-12 times a year. Maybe another year or two of competition will change my mind.

Hey, at least I didn't ask about using my daily driver, 2006 Scion xB!

fidelity101
fidelity101 Reader
12/6/12 3:50 p.m.

Besides having a tow vehicle is a fun project as well!

alex
alex UltraDork
12/6/12 6:34 p.m.

This is one of those scenarios where the axiom "Just because you can doesn't mean you should" applies. As narrow as that line may seem in theory, the gulf tends to widen - often astoundingly quickly - in practice.

At least in my experience.

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
12/6/12 10:23 p.m.
I'd be more concerned with the short wheelbase than anything else.

A dolley or tow bar doesnt generally cause a lot of movement in the tow vehicle. Not like a trailer does. Wheelbase matters a lot less for dolley or flat towing.

MR2 isn't going to carry 4 full-sized wheels no matter how well I stack/hide-Tetris them.

Oh yes it will.. Your creativity is lacking!

frame strength

I agree with a LOT of what you said but i find the 'frame strength' issue to be a total non sequitur when talking about towing ~2300lbs with almost 0 tongue weight.

AFAICT, they guy who used to make them doesn't do it any more, and nobody else has stepped up. It seems you can only buy them used now.

They are not complicated to build..

None of the trailers in those pictures is particularly large, certainly nothing approaching the 3000 pound minimum of an MR2 on a custom lightweight trailer.

I am 100% totally against towing a car trailer with an Element. There is a HUUUUGE difference between what is needed to pull a trailer safely, and what's need to flat tow.

This^ I think nothing of towing a 3400 pound car/ trailer combination behind my Trooper, but towing with an element is just stupid.

I actually feel the opposite.. Id rather have an element as id bet money it is more stable and has better brakes.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltraDork
12/7/12 9:35 a.m.
Woody wrote: How about a Tire Tail?

Always though those were a neat idea, but have 2 concerns:

  1. How much weight can your hitch take? 4 wheels and tires will be over 100 lbs and the tail seems like it would act as a lever really putting a lot of twist on the hitch.

  2. How much will the tail lights be blocked? The Miata in the picture only has 3 tires on the tail, 4 would seem to be an issue. Line up 4 tires behind your car and see what I mean.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
12/7/12 10:11 a.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote:
Woody wrote: How about a Tire Tail?

The Miata in the picture only has 3 tires on the tail, 4 would seem to be an issue. Line up 4 tires behind your car and see what I mean.

Squint harder and look again.

Good point, none the less.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/7/12 10:26 a.m.

few comments, not gonna do the quotes, but frame strength matters even if dolly towing, especially in a FWD car. Most of the braking and obviously all the acclerating takes palce on the front wheels. The hitch is on the rear of the frame. So the additional strain of the weight is still transmitted through the vehicle frame even if there is "0 lbs tongue weight" (which there isn't anyway).

You also used "non sequitur" incorrectly. A non sequitur is a conclusion derived from faulty logic, ie, John eats grapes, John is a man, therefore, all men eat grapes.
An "issue" can't, be definition, be a non sequitur.

Whatever.

Flat towing is "easier" on a vehicle than trailer towing, but it still requires the same amount of braking. My problem is that the mr2 doesn't weigh that much less than the element. (what like 1000 lbs?) So if something goes awry, flat tire, sudden lane change, whatever, you are going to become a passenger in the element. Maybe that doesn't concern everyone. But the point of the thread is this guy wants to take his tires and etc with him to races. So flat towing an mr2 is already up over what the element should tow. Its cooling system is already being tested. And then he throw a couple hundred pounds of tires, his race jack, some spares, some tools... its just not a good situation. It would make much more sense to tow a tiny harbor freight trailer behind the mr2 with the tires on it, if thats his bent.

Oh, and about the tire tails, if your vehicle has a hitch it should have a 4 way flat plug, so if tires block the tailights you just install cheap $20 harbor freight trailer lights on the hitch carrier. problem solved!
It would depend on the weight of the tires, but the guy above that pointed out the lever wins the prize. I don't know the math, but with 100 pounds of tires on a 3 foot lever, youre applying more than 100 pounds of force to the hitch. It would probably be fine if the hitch was rated for a few hundred pounds tongue weight, but I've seen those "500 lb capacity" motorcycle carriers with 370lb race bikes on them peel hitches off the frames of trailblazers and other medium sized SUV's with hitches rated for 5000 lbs trailer weight/500 lbs tongue weight, and I'm guessing thats why. When they hit bumps you can see it jerk the headlights sky high when the weight of the bike acts on the lever of the bike hauler...

dj06482
dj06482 Dork
12/7/12 10:34 a.m.

Saw this gem last weekend in PA:

We were both stopped at the gas station, and I started a conversation with the guy to help him out. It wasn't going anywhere, so I just gave up.

The tow rating on a CR-V is 1,500 lbs. The rear suspension of the CR-V was completely bottomed at rest, and the tongue of the trailer was about 4" off the ground. The hitch was no where near the height it should have been, and I'd suspect that the trailer was heavily loaded in the front.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/7/12 10:40 a.m.

I saw a honda pilot at a chickfila once with a massive travel trailer, think 24-26', triple axle, dual propane tanks, huge cooler, spare tire, and a big rubbermaid box all strapped to the tongue, the back of the pilot was full of luggage up past the rear windows, and they had a big cargo carrier on the roof and bicycles strapped to the rear of the camper.

I was amazed the sidewalls of their p tires hadn't blown out, but it was clearly sitting on the bump stops in the back. No sway control or weight distributing hitch. The tongue jack was all the way up and about 4" off the ground, it bore the scars of pounding against any imperfections in the road.

it was pretty scary to think those idiots had driven it all the way from canada (canadian tags, I live in WV)

Tyler H
Tyler H SuperDork
12/7/12 10:47 a.m.
Vigo wrote:
MR2 isn't going to carry 4 full-sized wheels no matter how well I stack/hide-Tetris them.
Oh yes it will.. Your creativity is lacking!

I agree. I used to carry four spare wheels with r-compounds, a lawn chair and my wife to events in my MR2.

Two in the trunk, with a bungee to hold down the lid, one in the frunk, and one behind the passenger seat.

Of course, this gets messy with muddy tires.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/7/12 10:58 a.m.

I'm gonna build a self storage tire locker right across the street from summit point. I'm gonna be rich.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 PowerDork
12/7/12 11:11 a.m.
Jerry wrote: Plenty of input, glad I joined this site! Thinking for now I'll just go with a custom hitch on the MR2 for a Harbor Freight utility trailer like the Miata guys do at rallycross.

I knew that I had written extensively on the topic of hitch on my '88 MR2. some searching and I found from 2005:
http://www.mr2oc.com/showthread.php?t=111924&highlight=hitch
The brand you want is Hidden Hitch

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Dork
12/7/12 11:14 a.m.

A guy I used to autocross with towed his rabbit with a rabbit truck to and from the events. I always worried more about if something breaks than whether it is rated for it.

I flat tow my Rabbit everywhere and have never had an issue behind my grand caravan.

Jerry
Jerry New Reader
12/7/12 11:57 a.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote:
Jerry wrote: Plenty of input, glad I joined this site! Thinking for now I'll just go with a custom hitch on the MR2 for a Harbor Freight utility trailer like the Miata guys do at rallycross.

I knew that I had written extensively on the topic of hitch on my '88 MR2. some searching and I found from 2005:
http://www.mr2oc.com/showthread.php?t=111924&highlight=hitch
The brand you want is Hidden Hitch

Thanks! Can't remember my password so I'll check MR2OC when I get home tonight.

Jerry
Jerry New Reader
12/7/12 11:59 a.m.
Tyler H wrote:
Vigo wrote:
MR2 isn't going to carry 4 full-sized wheels no matter how well I stack/hide-Tetris them.
Oh yes it will.. Your creativity is lacking!

I agree. I used to carry four spare wheels with r-compounds, a lawn chair and my wife to events in my MR2.

Two in the trunk, with a bungee to hold down the lid, one in the frunk, and one behind the passenger seat.

Of course, this gets messy with muddy tires.

Hm, if it comes down to it, I'll do whatever I need to I guess. Never tried anything behind the passenger seat yet. Someone mentioned seeing a MK2 version with 4 wheels lined up across the back standing on end, and bungied through the windows.

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
12/7/12 1:30 p.m.
Jerry wrote:
Tyler H wrote:
Vigo wrote:
MR2 isn't going to carry 4 full-sized wheels no matter how well I stack/hide-Tetris them.
Oh yes it will.. Your creativity is lacking!

I agree. I used to carry four spare wheels with r-compounds, a lawn chair and my wife to events in my MR2.

Two in the trunk, with a bungee to hold down the lid, one in the frunk, and one behind the passenger seat.

Of course, this gets messy with muddy tires.

Hm, if it comes down to it, I'll do whatever I need to I guess. Never tried anything behind the passenger seat yet. Someone mentioned seeing a MK2 version with 4 wheels lined up across the back standing on end, and bungied through the windows.

In my MKII MR2 I would put one wheel where the spare would go, one behind the passenger seat, and two on the passenger seat. Jack and tupperware box in the trunk. Small cooler inside one of the wheels on the passenger seat. Wrap muddy tires in contractor grade garbage bags. Easy peasy!

codrus
codrus Reader
12/7/12 2:06 p.m.
andrave wrote: It would depend on the weight of the tires, but the guy above that pointed out the lever wins the prize. I don't know the math, but with 100 pounds of tires on a 3 foot lever, youre applying more than 100 pounds of force to the hitch.

It's not a 3-foot lever, it's more like 1 foot. The weight of the tires is transferred through the bar going through the center holes, and if you assume that the tail is constructed so that the tires are close (< 1 inch) to the rear of the car, and the hitch mounts directly under the bumper, then the lever arm is approximately the radius of the tire. For Miata-sized tires, that's about a foot.

I've read about someone who built a custom tire tail that swooped forwards and suspended the tires above the trunk, using the frankenstein bolts as additional attachment points. Never seen pictures, though.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/7/12 2:20 p.m.

even if it was only a foot, they sell one foot extensions for hitches (extenders) and they are labeled: "WHEN USING THIS EXTENDER YOUR HITCH CAPACITY IS DERATED BY ONE HALF." So if those wheels and tires weigh 100 lbs (which seems likely) and the hitch is rated to tow what on a miata? 1000 lbs? Which gives it 100 lbs tongue weight, which means to derate by half gives you the capacity to haul 50 lbs of tires.
I'm not saying you can't do it (it seems like a better idea than towing an mr2 with an element) but I do think it would be a good idea to figure out just how much weight you would have and how far back it would be.

Mmadness
Mmadness New Reader
12/7/12 4:33 p.m.

In reply to Jerry: In my opinion you should be OK with your Element, cars are considerably underrated in the "nanny state" we call America. My main concern would be the brakes so you will have to engine brake to slow down and go down hills. Because of this, I'd recommend a transmission cooler which you can find for under $100. Although you're over the official towing limit, I certainly think its safer and more reliable than a beaten up pickup with drum brakes. Add the weight of the trailer (about 2,500lbs.) to the weight of the car (about 3,700 with gas and people) and then divide that (5200lbs) by the weight of the car unloaded (about 3,300lbs) . Multiply this by the 0-60 time (about 8.5sec) and you get a 0-60 time of 13.8 seconds. That's really not to bad when you think about it, just anticipate your acceleration and braking. Be sure to get a weight distributing hitch and mirror extensions or at least convex blindspot mirrors. If there's still a serious problem like the guy with the u-haul, you should invest in a set of air bags to put in the rear suspension (like these http://www.autoanything.com/suspension-systems/74A5862A0A0.aspx). You might want to increase the (rear) tire pressure as well.

Its much easier (and cheaper) just to tow the tires though and that's what I'd do in your situation.

codrus
codrus Reader
12/7/12 5:30 p.m.
andrave wrote: I'm not saying you can't do it (it seems like a better idea than towing an mr2 with an element) but I do think it would be a good idea to figure out just how much weight you would have and how far back it would be.

It's going to depend on the geometry of the car/hitch in question. I've never looked at an MR2 hitch, but the Da'Lan hitch I have for my Miata (haven't used it in years, but haven't gotten around to selling it yet) is rated for a 2000 pound trailer and 200 pound tongue weight. The supplied drawbar mounts the ball 6 inches out from the end of the receiver tube, so if we assume a 100 pound tire tail 12 inches out then it's applying the same torque to the hitch.

I've never seen a trailer hitch rated for less than 2000 pounds -- that's class 1, which is the lowest standard rating. Sure, there are plenty of cars not rated for 2000 pound trailers, but I suspect that's due to the other variety of factors, not the tongue-weight-carrying-capacity of the rear structure.

Jerry
Jerry New Reader
12/7/12 6:30 p.m.

@JohnRW1621: Looked at the MR2OC link. All the products are dead ends, and the photos give "Bad Gateway The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server." Also the link for the hidden hitch PDF is gone too.

Thanks for trying though.

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