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Ludachris
10-23-2006, 08:08 AM
Hey guys, I'm starting to look at options for a tow vehicle. Depending on what is needed we may trade in our A6 and get an SUV... maybe. Of course, anything we go with will have to be very nice for Cinthia to sign off on it and it has to be close to the same price range. So it's going to be a tough task. Anyway, here are my questions:

1. Towing capacity. My car will weigh somewhere around 2700-2800 lbs next year. What should I be looking for in terms of max towing capacity? Is 5k max towing capacity too low? Are there any rules of thumb to go by?

2. We're looking at a couple V8 SUVs that are midsize as opposed to full size - mainly because Cinthia doesn't want to drive around a huge vehicle. Does the smaller size make towing any more difficult or unsafe?

Any help would be appreciated.

ianacole
10-23-2006, 08:45 AM
We have been extremely happy with our '06 Tacoma Quad Cab- it is rated to tow up to 6500 LBs., and came prewired for the round seven (?) plug. A Suburban (or similar vehicle) can be a great choice also.

However, we felt we needed a little more room, so we picked up this:

http://www.fivertrailer.com/photos/inventory/96_E23F7.jpg

Evil86Saleen
10-23-2006, 08:47 AM
Alot of smaller SUVs have the power to tow 5k lbs but do they have the trans or brakes to handle it? Just because you can doesnt mean that you should.

How often are you going to be towing and how far. Are you looking at car trailers or a dolley etc.

Honestly I would look for a older used 3/4 ton truck and let the wife keep the A6.

My issues with the smaller SUVs are the brakes and how well they take the extra abuse of towing 7klbs on a regular basis. Do they have enough brakes on them to stop the extra weight? How well is the trans and rear end going to hold up accelerating and stopping all of that extra weight.

I used the inlaws 98 Expedition ONCE to tow my car and trailer and I hated it. Not enough power, not enough suspesion, not enough brakes etc.

Remeber safety is just as important when towing as it is on the race track.

Oh and Uhaul wont rent you a car hauler if all you have is a 1/2 ton pick up truck to tow it. They want at least a 3/4 ton truck for insurance reasons.

kyle

raybob9289
10-23-2006, 09:06 AM
Dude,
Kyle is Right on, if you go with a midsize SUV you will be sorry. I am in the House building bussiness so we pull and carry heavy things. Get a real truck or like ianacole said a Suburban will work great. Our 1500 Suburban does OK but I would stay with a 3/4 ton (2500) and I would strongly suggest a Deisel.
just my .02cents

bobcowan
10-23-2006, 09:15 AM
A good flatbed trailer weighs 1200-1500#. Not sure about enclosed. All alum weighs slightly less, but not by much. Add in the curb weight of your car, tools, gasoline, etc. Then add at least 10% to figure your towed weight. Be sure to get a trailer with brakes.

Kyle makes an excellent point. Must luxery sport utes can't really handle consistant heavy loads. You really should consider a used truck or full sized van. I would be driving a full sized van from Ford or Chevy if they were available as AWD or 4x4.

I tow with a '01 Dakota quad cab. It has a 360 V8, plenty of power, good brakes, and a heavy duty tow package. I don't have any trouble at all driving down the freeway at 70mph. At 80K miles, the truck is still running strong. It's very comfortable, has plenty of doo-dads for me. Gets crummy gas mileage though; as you would expect.

ianacole
10-23-2006, 09:22 AM
I don't disagree with getting a larger truck if you have an alternate mode of transportation, but in our situation the truck is also my wife's daily driver, so we (she) wanted something manageable, and she loves her Toyotas. We really have had no difficulties towing the car and the trailer, even on trips out to Hastings and Chicago (kids get video players on the back of the front headrests).

http://www.rmcb5.com/modules/gallery2/d/14392-2/IMG_7790-sm25.JPG

ker
10-23-2006, 09:34 AM
something else to consider: the length of the trailer versus the length of the tow vehicle. if the length of the trailer is quite a bit longer than the wheelbase of the tow vehicle (with full size vehicles this seems less of a problem), you can get a lot of "swing" in the tow vehicle as the trailer dictates where everything is going. also, a well balanced load on the trailer has a great impact on the overall handling. another item, bob makes a great point that many folks simply look at the car weight without looking at all the stuff you are going to carry (even the stuff you put in the tow vehicle which impacts the tow capacity as well as overall weight).

i towed a 24 foot trailer (2400lbs), car (2300lbs), other stuff (minimum tools, 1000 lbs, yes they add up more than you would think) a total of about 6000 lbs with a toyota land cruiser weighing in at about 7000 lbs and a capacity of 6500lbs. never ever again. difficult to drive and wore me out doing it.

one more item most don't figure on. the air resistance caused by the trailer is drag, drag equates to an additional "weight" you are pulling. in other words, the drag induced by the frontal trailer surfaces adds weight and instability (less so on an open trailer, but your car still has frontal area that increases drag too). kinda like the reason you buy a winch with greater pulling power than the weight of your vehicle.

bigger is safer for a tow vehicle.

BADVENM
10-23-2006, 10:44 AM
I towed my 5000 pound SRT Ram on my 17' open trailer with my '06 Hemi quad cab 4x4 to Hastings Motorsports Park with NO PROBLEMS what so ever. That included loading the bed with MHISSTC 4 extra tires for his Cobra, a tool box, etc.

I bought the truck from Dan Cochran (fellow NASA Rocky Mountain member) at Limon Dodge and was also looking for a 3/4 ton diesel. We got to talking and given I would only tow a few times a year the HEMI with MDS (multi displacement system) would be best. The 3/4 ton truck with the same HEMI does not have this system. It shuts down 4 cylinders whenever possible increasing fuel economy. Given I drive to Denver almost once a week fuel economy would be nice. I average about 18 mpg going to denver and back. Towing the SRT to Hastings and back I was averaging about 11 mpg going the posted speed limit. I had the Limon dealer install the trailer brake before I picked it up.

There are so many options your head will spin. Just got an oil change (7 quarts) from Limon Dodge and it only cost me 27 bucks total!! :)

Before the SRT Ram I did tow my '03 Cobra and '01 Viper GTS with the same trailer but used my '97 Dakota 5-spd V8 4x4. Mileage was around 9 or so and power was sufficient.

Ludachris
10-23-2006, 11:07 AM
Good feedback guys. I guess I should have mentioned that I only plan to tow the car maybe twice a year (the long distance events to Miller and Hastings) so the SUV wouldn't have to hold up to the abuse regularly. My car is AWD so I need to use a trailer not a dolley.

Eventually I'll get a truck, probably a diesel, but for now that isn't an option. There is absolutely no money for a truck in addition to keeping the A6. The only option is to trade in the Audi for something that Cinthia will be able to drive regularly with no problems, can carry a family of 3 (one being a newborn baby and all of the things that comes along with) plus two dogs, and it's got to be able to tow the car 2, maybe 3 times a year for the next two years. And of course, she doesn't really want to take a step back in terms of creature comforts and quality she has with the Audi. So it's not going to be an easy search. It doesn't have to be perfect for towing but it should be able to do the job until we are in a better position to get something better in the next 2 years.

Evil86Saleen
10-23-2006, 11:30 AM
Good feedback guys. I guess I should have mentioned that I only plan to tow the car maybe twice a year (the long distance events to Miller and Hastings) so the SUV wouldn't have to hold up to the abuse regularly. My car is AWD so I need to use a trailer not a dolley.

Eventually I'll get a truck, probably a diesel, but for now that isn't an option. There is absolutely no money for a truck in addition to keeping the A6. The only option is to trade in the Audi for something that Cinthia will be able to drive regularly with no problems, can carry a family of 3 (one being a newborn baby and all of the things that comes along with) plus two dogs, and it's got to be able to tow the car 2, maybe 3 times a year for the next two years. And of course, she doesn't really want to take a step back in terms of creature comforts and quality she has with the Audi. So it's not going to be an easy search. It doesn't have to be perfect for towing but it should be able to do the job until we are in a better position to get something better in the next 2 years.

Dude if the SUV is the way your going to go check out the VW Touareg. It has the highest towing capacity of the SUVs, is available with a 6 cyl, 8cyl, and a twin turbo V10 diesel. 14inch 6 piston Brembo brakes. It has towing assistance, electronic trailers lights and control module that senses towing, hill descent control, air suspension, NAV, rear view camaeras, parking aids, basicly more comfort creatures tha the A6 and with the air suspension the same ride comfort as the A6. Oh and yeah I work on them for a living so if you have any questions give me a holler.. Look for new if you can afford it. The 04s had a few small annoying issues however the 06s are tits. They can get pretty pricey with all of the bells and whisltes.

PS we have one of the few remaining TDI touaregs left in the country. You really need to drive this thing to understand. I guarante that it would put a hurtin on the A6 in accerleration and comfort. One of my good customers put the smack down to a WRX in his. :D

kyle

Ludachris
10-23-2006, 12:28 PM
Dude if the SUV is the way your going to go check out the VW Touareg. It has the highest towing capacity of the SUVs, is available with a 6 cyl, 8cyl, and a twin turbo V10 diesel. 14inch 6 piston Brembo brakes. It has towing assistance, electronic trailers lights and control module that senses towing, hill descent control, air suspension, NAV, rear view camaeras, parking aids, basicly more comfort creatures tha the A6 and with the air suspension the same ride comfort as the A6. Oh and yeah I work on them for a living so if you have any questions give me a holler.. Look for new if you can afford it. The 04s had a few small annoying issues however the 06s are tits. They can get pretty pricey with all of the bells and whisltes.

PS we have one of the few remaining TDI touaregs left in the country. You really need to drive this thing to understand. I guarante that it would put a hurtin on the A6 in accerleration and comfort. One of my good customers put the smack down to a WRX in his. :D

kyle
Kyle, it's so funny you mentioned the Touareg. My friend has a Cayenne so I looked at those to see what the towing capacity was. I saw that it was 7700 lbs! I thought to myself - the VW has got to be cheaper, and yet it will have the same towing capacity - sure enough!

Only problem is we need to stay within the $30k range, so I'd have to go with a used one. What are the small annoyances of the 04's?

Evil86Saleen
10-23-2006, 01:03 PM
Kyle, it's so funny you mentioned the Touareg. My friend has a Cayenne so I looked at those to see what the towing capacity was. I saw that it was 7700 lbs! I thought to myself - the VW has got to be cheaper, and yet it will have the same towing capacity - sure enough!

Only problem is we need to stay within the $30k range, so I'd have to go with a used one. What are the small annoyances of the 04's?

Well we have like 30 TSBs (technical service bulletins) on the 04s. Just stupid little stuff that has nothing to do with the power train. Several ECU reflashs for trans shifting, throttle tip in nothing mechanical just calibation problems, charge cables with to much resistance that drain the battery, relocating the remote antenna for a better signal. Stupid little stuff. However if the T-reg is out of warranty VW will not pay or these things as they are TSBs not recalls. I would look for a V8 T-reg as they use the 4.2 Audi V8 that Audi has used for years and we had no mechanical problems with them.

Look for soemthing with a factory warranty, VW certified or get a after market extended warranty. They have 30+ control units and diagnosing problems can get expensive.

Give me some info on the A6, year, mileage, options etc and I will run it past the sales manager and check on any used T-regs.

My dealership (mountain states VW) was just bought and we are now owned by the Emichs who are stellar people to deal with. We where owned by Sonic Automoive who did not like to wheel and deal on prices etc. Now that we are Emich VW I feel more comfortable sending people down here to buy cars. We have the top service department in the state in both CSI and repeat customers. We also only have 4 guys that work on T-regs (me:D ). We only have the top guys work on them as they are pretty complicated as opposed to the "other" dealers who let trainees work on them which is a bad idea.

any way shoot me the info on the A6 and I will holler at one of the guys for ya.

kyle

Evil86Saleen
10-23-2006, 02:25 PM
Dude I talked to the sales mgr and he can find a 05 V8 with under 20k on the odo no problem. It may take a little bit to find the rigt one depending on the options that the wife wants but it shouldnt be a problem

/Give Robert Mcmann a call @ 3/757/7751. I already gave him the the info and let him know that you talked to me.

later

kyle

Ludachris
10-24-2006, 10:52 AM
Thanks Kyle. I'll start talking to Cinthia about it. I appreciate you putting in a word for us.

95sprtcpedrvr
10-24-2006, 12:46 PM
I'm late with this response and I'm not sure if it would add to anything that has already been said, but I like the first suggestion Kyle made at the beginning. My g/f and I have been looking for a tow vehicle that would pull double duty for towing a horse trailer and my future race car. Being that I don't see a need or use of a 4x4 for me when a 2x4 would work (the plus side is cheaper ins. and maintenance cost as well). It is a pain in the ass trying to find a 3/4 ton 2wd truck in CO that isn't less than 10-20 years old. So I have been looking into an older Chevy, something that has cheap and readily available parts and is fairly easy to work on. A Suburban would be kewl being that I would be able to secure items in it so that I can keep the weight down on the trailer, except when you'll be carrying almost 3k lbs of pooping machines. :D I just realized, 2 horses will outweigh my car. Go figure. Personally I wouldn't have a problem upgrading the vehicle if necessary, cheap, cheap, cheap cheap, cheap.

Hows about that for 2 cents.

BADVENM
10-24-2006, 02:08 PM
MHISSTC was/is trying to sell his Suburban 4x4. Price seemed very reasonable and truck is very well maintained. Perhaps he'll chime in. He was towing his Cobra with it.

MHISSTC
10-25-2006, 07:37 PM
I'm going back and forth on selling the 'Burb...but what's new eh?

Here's my dilema: It's hard to justify keeping it just to tow the street legal SVT Cobra (or a different dedicated track car which I'm planning to either building or buying this year) to a handfull of NASA events each year. We haven't driven the 'Burb much since we got the minivan. I have another old farm pickup I can tow with, but it won't carry the whole family in style and comfort. The wife also refuses to drive a seperate vehicle to events where the whole family comes with. It's also our only 4WD vehicle for the 5 days a year I might actually need 4WD to get to and from work. I also couldn't replace it for what I paid for it.

All that said...if I was offered $12k for it...I don't know if I could turn it down.

In case you're curious...
'99 GMC Suburban K1500 SLT currently sitting at 75,XXX miles
red exterior with tan leather interior
heated power front seats and mirrors
tow package...electrical, cooling, and rear gears
running boards
privacy glass
tilt, cruise, PW, PDL
cassette and CD
rear air and third seat
factory alloy wheels
new 3/4 ton Suburban (10 ply?) rated tires
4 wheel ABS
10 year/100,000 mile Wynn's transferrable warranty

It's never been wrecked, but it did have the hood and roof skin replaced and repainted after getting hail damaged a few years back. You'd never know the repairs were made if I didn't point it out to you.

It can get kind of scary filling the 42 gallon fuel tank. Fuel mileage varies according to speed and weight towed, but I seem to recall a range from a low of around 9 towing up and down hills at 80mph with a heavy load, to a high of around 20 driving the speed limit with only the family on board on relatively flat roads.

svochuck
10-25-2006, 08:23 PM
I was trying to talk my wife into a used cayenne, but it only seated 4 (we have 3 kids). so we got a new lincoln aviator it was in the 30's price range... 7700 lb towing, 5 speed auto, double over head cam 4.6...

MHISSTC
10-25-2006, 08:41 PM
Earlier this year I tried talking the wife into consolidating the Windstar and Suburban into a single new Sport Trac...
that turned into an Explorer...
that turned into a Mountaineer...3 valve 4.6L with decent towing and could haul the whole family

I got so far as to have the local Ford dealer search for the specific equipment and color she wanted...found it in Iowa...arranged financing, delivery, warranty, etc...
All signs pointed to GO! until signing day came and she refused to give up that DAMN MINIVAN!!! :mad: I was not a happy camper when I had return to the dealership empty handed and tell them we weren't going to make the deal after all. I haven't shown my face in that dealership since.

Ludachris
10-26-2006, 11:51 AM
Earlier this year I tried talking the wife into consolidating the Windstar and Suburban into a single new Sport Trac...
that turned into an Explorer...
that turned into a Mountaineer...3 valve 4.6L with decent towing and could haul the whole family

I got so far as to have the local Ford dealer search for the specific equipment and color she wanted...found it in Iowa...arranged financing, delivery, warranty, etc...
All signs pointed to GO! until signing day came and she refused to give up that DAMN MINIVAN!!! :mad: I was not a happy camper when I had return to the dealership empty handed and tell them we weren't going to make the deal after all. I haven't shown my face in that dealership since.
Yeah, we've been doing that as well - coming up with a plan only to decide against it. After talking with Cinthia about it again I'm not sure we're ready to give up the A6. I might just have to wait until there is enough money for a cheap SUV or truck next year or the year after... :(

95sprtcpedrvr
10-26-2006, 12:12 PM
I'm eyeballing this '83-'84 suburban for, get this, $750 the thing runs but the transfer case is jacked up or the front diff. It wont' drive along without some serious noise coming from underneath. It has a class 3 hitch on it and the wiring needs to be fixed. I'm thinking that I could just throw out the front diff and transfer case for the mean time until I decide I want to put a good one in. Isn't hard to run it as a 2wd.

What do you guys think about that?

raybob9289
10-26-2006, 12:21 PM
I'm eyeballing this '83-'84 suburban for, get this, $750 the thing runs but the transfer case is jacked up or the front diff. It wont' drive along without some serious noise coming from underneath. It has a class 3 hitch on it and the wiring needs to be fixed. I'm thinking that I could just throw out the front diff and transfer case for the mean time until I decide I want to put a good one in. Isn't hard to run it as a 2wd.

What do you guys think about that?


Dude, Just fix the front end.
Is it a 1/2 ton?

Evil86Saleen
10-26-2006, 12:36 PM
I'm eyeballing this '83-'84 suburban for, get this, $750 the thing runs but the transfer case is jacked up or the front diff. It wont' drive along without some serious noise coming from underneath. It has a class 3 hitch on it and the wiring needs to be fixed. I'm thinking that I could just throw out the front diff and transfer case for the mean time until I decide I want to put a good one in. Isn't hard to run it as a 2wd.

What do you guys think about that?

Fix it. Sounds like a perfect truck for you especially if its a 2500. The cool thing about older trucks is that they are cheap, parts are cheap, easy to work on and pretty simple. Heck a replacement 350 GM crate motor for that sucker is like 1600 bones. Trucks are not like cars. Once a car is worn out its done, whats the point in spending money to fix some old 80s early 90s car. Now a truck on the other hand is perfectly fine being a little rough arouund the edges. As long as the drivetrain is sound it will have years of life left as a truck. I didnt buy a new truck untill my daughter was born. Up untill then I had older trucks that where a little rough around the edges. I would toss a replacement motor in them, rebuild the brakes, service the trans and drive them untill they either just fell apart or rusted away.

And the best part about older trucks is that you are not making payments on somethimg that spends most of its time just sitting. Save the payments for the wife/girlfriend/familly car. Ne sense in making big payments on something that is only needed when pulling a trailer.

kyle

95sprtcpedrvr
10-26-2006, 02:22 PM
It took me awhile to get ahold of the guy selling it and i brain farted and didn't remember to ask if it was a 1/2 or 3/4 ton I'm hoping for a 3/4 for sure.

raybob9289
10-26-2006, 03:59 PM
It took me awhile to get ahold of the guy selling it and i brain farted and didn't remember to ask if it was a 1/2 or 3/4 ton I'm hoping for a 3/4 for sure.

I campaigned a 1974 Custom Deluxe 20 for 7 almost 8 years. I bought it from the original owner and he had already put a 173K on the clock. I eventually put a 454 in it and 3 rebuilt trannies 1 rebuilt tranfer case probably 15 sets of front brake pads, replaced the stock GM rear shoes at 200K. Replaced both front axle u-joints and a couple of CV joints etc. etc.
I paid $2200.00 for that old blue Chevy and when I bought my first new Chevy truck in 1991 that old truck drove itself under its own power to the yard where we parted it out. After all was said and done the truck had around 400K on the clock. I could have spent 4 or 5 grand rebuilding it again but it was time for retirement.
In 1993 the Cab went on a rolled over 76 Silverado, the tranfercase went in one of my guy's 78 Cheyenne. Uncle Dan rebuilt the 454 for his V drive motor boat the front and rear differentials went in an old Blazer. That old blue truck is still out there drivin around in some form or another. You weirdo's get a SUV crossover VW or Porsche or whatever expensive imported thing that is all the craze and my old Chevy trucks will still be Pushin, Pullin, and carryin on.....:)