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Woody
Woody MegaDork
12/7/12 6:31 p.m.

I had a Tire Tail on one of my Miatas. The problem for me was that by the time I unloaded the car and swapped the tires, I was sweaty and exhausted, and that was before the driver's meeting even started. I sold it, along with the hitch and bought a trailer.

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
12/7/12 11:39 p.m.
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).

Yes obviously some force is transmitted through the frame. The thing about it is that THEN NOTHING HAPPENS. It's not like a modern car turns into a limp noodle when you hook a tow bar to it. There is no discernible effect on the structure of the tow vehicle under normal circumstances. It is a non issue. The only time frame strength will become an issue is if you catch your towed vehicle on some immovable object and either tweak the hell out of the tow vehicle's rear section, or just rip the hitch off.

Non sequitur is latin for 'does not follow'. If you were to make a list of top issues concerning towing, it certainly does not follow that you'd make frame strength your first listed issue.

As far as ALMOST 0 tongue weight (you know, what i actually said..), it's just true. The tongue weight at rest using my dolley with a car on it is less than 100 lbs. It is dynamic while moving because during deceleration the weight of the car above the dolley axle pushing forward causes tongue weight to increase (which is certainly preferable to the trailer trying to LIFT your tow vehicle under braking..). But there is never a time when the tongue weight approaches that of a full car trailer under the same circumstances.

Flat towing is "easier" on a vehicle than trailer towing, but it still requires the same amount of braking.

That is absolutely wrong. The weight of a trailer capable of carrying an mr2 would increase the towed weight by roughly 50% vs flat towing. That is a huge difference in braking.

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.

I have seen that rig in person. The guy who built it is local to me and a good friend (there may be more than one such contraption out there). That was one thing that came to mind when i was thinking about how you could put 4 extra wheel/tires somewhere on an MR2. It doesnt always have to be hanging off the back end.

Fit_Is_Slo (ceasarromero)
Fit_Is_Slo (ceasarromero) HalfDork
12/8/12 5:50 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote:
Tom Suddard wrote: No is the answer! Elements can't tow a car, legally or realistically. Don't do it.

I always find this funny. What don't people understand about the word "illegal"?

DOT would be all up in your grill if they ever decided to pull you over, and they will berkeley you with the long dick of the law.

YOU CALLED??!

MattGent
MattGent New Reader
12/8/12 6:00 p.m.

Here's my home-made setup. Usually just have my carbon roadbike on it, but it works fine with 4 wheels & tires too.

For most track days I drive there on my Direzzas and have a bin in the cargo tray.

Its a little low on ramps and speed bumps, but no biggie if you plan ahead and go slow.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Harbor freight cargo tray + 2" receiver welded to a hidden hitch drawbar.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/10/12 8:22 a.m.
Mmadness wrote: 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.

ok, sure, I'll bite, how much is the element rated to tow in the UK or europe or germany or japan?

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/10/12 8:24 a.m.
Vigo wrote: It's not like a modern car turns into a limp noodle when you hook a tow bar to it. There is no discernible effect on the structure of the tow vehicle under normal circumstances. It is a non issue. The only time frame strength will become an issue is if you catch your towed vehicle on some immovable object and either tweak the hell out of the tow vehicle's rear section, or just rip the hitch off. As far as ALMOST 0 tongue weight (you know, what i actually said..), it's just true. The tongue weight at rest using my dolley with a car on it is less than 100 lbs. It is dynamic while moving because during deceleration the weight of the car above the dolley axle pushing forward causes tongue weight to increase (which is certainly preferable to the trailer trying to LIFT your tow vehicle under braking..). But there is never a time when the tongue weight approaches that of a full car trailer under the same circumstances. The weight of a trailer capable of carrying an mr2 would increase the towed weight by roughly 50% vs flat towing. That is a huge difference in braking.

wait a minute.. have I seen you using a jeep cherokee to flat tow another jeep cherokee that itself is flat towing a ford ranger with a motorcycle in the bed and pulling a utility trailed piled high with furniture, near the mexican border???

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
12/10/12 7:43 p.m.

I live relatively near the mexican border and have towed a cherokee with another cherokee, but thats about as close as that gets.

I dont like towing with cherokees.. They are way too soft in the rear suspension and generally have big pillowy sidewalls. They're pretty unstable to begin with and even worse when towing. I know this mostly because i did it many times. Weight-for-weight, i like towing with my 3000lb Dodge Dynasty a lot more than a 3000lb Cherokee.

I see a lot of Mexican buyers (actual people from Mexico, if you're assuming otherwise..) flat-towing 3-vehicle trains down i-35 back to Mexico. I frequently get annoyed at that the idea that i probably couldnt get away with anything close to that because im the wrong color. Ive heard it secondhand that most PDs have informal policies of ignoring those guys because if you dont arrest them you'll never see them again anyway. I only wish police would ignore me a little more.

But yes, what you describe is a real thing and on certain highways you do actually see a lot of it in this region. For the record, neither I nor anyone i know has any horror stories of "Mexican Car-Trains Gone Wrong". Im sure there are some, and i certainly wont be trying anything similar anyway, but if it was an automatic death sentence for anyone involved i doubt as many people would do it, and as many cops ignore it.

Jerry
Jerry New Reader
12/10/12 8:03 p.m.
Vigo wrote: I dont like towing with cherokees.. They are way too soft in the rear suspension and generally have big pillowy sidewalls. They're pretty unstable to begin with and even worse when towing. I know this mostly because i did it many times. Weight-for-weight, i like towing with my 3000lb Dodge Dynasty a lot more than a 3000lb Cherokee.

You guys convinced me against the Element, but my next casual thought was my boss has a mid 2000's Jeep Cherokee that he didn't trade in (about 200k miles) on his new one & it sits in the parking lot as a very occasional company vehicle. He'd probably let me borrow it 10-12 times per year as a tow vehicle (he has a hitch for towing his dirt bikes), but this isn't a good choice either??

Pretty much sticking to the tow hitch on the MR2 and a utility trailer...

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
12/10/12 9:02 p.m.

A cherokee will tow worse than the Element for sure. It weighs less, is easier to upset, and has smaller brakes and probably no ABS.

Cherokees dont handle ANY emergency maneuvers well under normal circumstances. Add towing to the mix and it just gets worse. I love cherokees but they are some unstable SOBs.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
12/11/12 8:53 a.m.

If it's a Mid-2000s Cherokee, chances are that it's a much larger and heavier Grand Cherokee that would probably tow quite a bit better.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/11/12 9:03 a.m.

yep that was what I was thinking as well, its probably a grand cherokee with a 6 cyl or larger and another half ton of weight than the element and would probably be a pretty great tow vehicle for an mr2 on a light trailer!

As for the mexican road trains, when I lived in texas I saw those all the time and I saw some pretty scary stuff. Like a school bus towing 2 more school busses, all using bolted on hitchs on the big steel school bus bumpers, and tow bars. Its just hard for me to believe there are placed you can fuel up with 2 school busses in tow. I mean thats a triple thats gotta be like 100' long.

I routinely saw trains 3 vehicles plus a trailer long... I dunno. may of them snaked back and forth just running at 55 mph in the right hand lane with the hazards on.

It always looked scary as hell to me.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder Reader
12/11/12 11:43 a.m.

I don't have any dogs in this fight, nor real world experience. But the towing capacity of the 2012 Subaru Forester in the UK with trailer brakes is 4409 lbs, in the US it's 2400. The US forester comes with a larger 2.5 engine vs 2.0 in the UK.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/11/12 1:03 p.m.

4409? how do they come up with that? very specific number....

accordionfolder
accordionfolder Reader
12/11/12 1:53 p.m.

In reply to andrave:

That's 2000kg. Technically 4409.245lbs according to google.

andrave
andrave HalfDork
12/11/12 2:03 p.m.

oh. of course. stupid logic.

I read several threads (those that wormed there way through our IT's blanket banning policies) discussing various european and japanese cars with drastically reduced towing capacities in the US vs europe. The only reasons anyone proposed that I could find centered around the fact that in some european countries you are actually legally limited to the amount that your manufacturer rates your vehicle to tow, so if they give it a stupid low tow rating just to "play it safe," people won't buy it because they can't tow with, versus the US where you can exceed manufactures ratings, and where it is to the manufacturers (and their lawyers and their warranty departments) advantage to "underrate" towing capacity, in particular because few americans value towing in passenger cars and few look for that feature when shopping.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder Reader
12/11/12 2:22 p.m.

In reply to andrave:

Lol, no big deal, here is the thread about the forester's towing capacity. Where I confuse the fact that they use nm vs ft/lbs and think that the 2.0l somehow makes 200 ft/lbs of torque while my 2.5l only makes 170. Oops.

Like I said, I'm not sure of the reasons or anything, just that the "towing capacity" for the same cars seem to vary greatly by country.

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
12/11/12 6:57 p.m.
I routinely saw trains 3 vehicles plus a trailer long... I dunno. may of them snaked back and forth just running at 55 mph in the right hand lane with the hazards on. It always looked scary as hell to me.

Yeah, i have seen that too. I cant say much good about those people and the risks they are taking, but i think one good thing i can say is that they almost ALWAYS look terrified even when nothing is immediately wrong. I am glad they are at least smart enough to be scared of what they are attempting.

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