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What are you using as a tow vehicle?


fyanrudger

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Curious to know what you guys are using as a tow vehicle. My project is almost finished and it's very track-dedicated, so I need to start considering options. I want to buy a new daily soon (looking to spend under $15k....not financing) and it'd be nice if I could find something that could do both. Main problem: I'm not a fan of trucks. Any 4runner/VW Toureg/etc out there that could do the job? 

 

Another option: I buy a daily I actually want and a very cheap truck that gets the job done. Recommendations if I go that route?

Edited by fyanrudger
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The best tow vehicle would be a small RV like a clapped out Winnebago with rebuilt mechanicals.  That way you can sleep over-night at events.  If not that, then a used van of some kind, so you can store stuff inside the tow vehicle, then when you get to an event you could do the cot or sleeping bag thing.

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The best tow vehicle would be a small RV like a clapped out Winnebago with rebuilt mechanicals.  That way you can sleep over-night at events.  If not that, then a used van of some kind, so you can store stuff inside the tow vehicle, then when you get to an event you could do the cot or sleeping bag thing.

 

I should clarify that I live in San Diego metro where parking and space is limited. An RV isn't really ideal, haha. 

 

Side question: what does a track-loaded trailer generally weigh? Sorry, new to this. 

Edited by fyanrudger
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2006 Dodge Cummins Megacab 3500.  They are absolute beasts and very stable.  I don't have to use tow stabilizer bars when towing my 24ft. 10K pound trailer loaded to the hilt with car and gear... And I knock down 22-23mpg when driving it without a load.

 

If you're going open trailer, assume you will need something with minimum 5K capacity.  They trailer alone will be in the 1500-2000 range.  Add the car (call it 2750) and a tire rack with spares for the trailer and car and you are at capacity or over it.  Add fuel cans with gas or tools in a tool box and you'll want to have something that tows closer to 6K. 

 

All that said, I will never buy another STEEL car trailer.  Spring for the aluminum if you can afford it, and you will thank yourself later.

Mike

Edited by Mikelly
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Wheelbase and brakes. Get the longest wheelbase vehicle you can afford and that will fit in your parking spot. 200hp 6 cylinder is fine for where you're at. Your tow vehicle should have semi-metallic or carbon brake pads with racing brake fluid, good radiator and trans cooler (if automatic), and good performance truck tires.

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2004 Ford Excursion diesel, tows like a dream and gets decent fuel mileage. I picked it up for just under your budget.

 

Similarly, I use a Suburban. I know you said you don't like trucks, but it's awfully nice to lay the seats flat and sleep comfortably for a couple hours on a road trip. 

 

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Edited by Austenp405
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Ditto what RebekahsZ and JohnC said. 

 

I use a '92 G20 conversion van I picked up for less than $3K.  It's long and heavy for towing; it's got a 350 with a 700-R4 for semi-decent mileage; and it's decked out inside for weekend camping at the track.  I also use my 3rd gen 4Runner for occasional day trips to the track, but would never use it for trips with a lot of elevation changes.

 

The auxiliary trans cooler (for auto) is pretty much a must.  And contrary to what you may hear from some folks, it's better to run it inline with the side- or bottom-tank trans cooler integral with most modern OEM radiators.  The coolant on the cold side of the radiator is typically 30-40 degrees cooler than your engine temp, and contributes significantly to cooling the trans fluid.  It also assists in getting the trans fluid up to correct operating temperature after a cold start.  Always route your trans cooling lines so that the fluid is being pushed up (against gravity) whenever possible....that will ensure maximum cooling effect from your cooler(s).

 

 

 

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I just towed my car 8 hours each way. 4000# truck, Z and trailer together weighs 4000#. I worked real hard to position the Z on the trailer so that it ADDED 500# to my rear axle weight. I put helper leafs on the rear springs. I put air shocks on and run them empty when not towing and at 90 psi when towing. The trailer is a Lone Wolf steel 16' trailer with dropped axles and electric brakes on all 4 wheels. The truck is an extended cab S10 with a 359 hp/389tq LS swap with a NV3500 5-spd and a heavy-duty radiator. I got 11 mpg in the mountains and 16mpg on the flats. It tows really sweet. The biggest cause of trailer sway is insufficient tongue weight. I use a Harbor Freight 3000# ATV winch ($50) to pull the car on and off because I can't open the doors on the Z when it is on the trailer. I hate that my ramps stow on the side-I wish they could be accessed from the rear of the trailer. And I wish they were aluminum-it's a back killer placing the ramps. You need to put an electric brake controller on your tow vehicle. I REALLY like having 4 braking wheels on the trailer. And I deactivate my ABS in the rain-scary! The ABS makes the train really hard to get stopped in the rain. But I run ABS in the dry because my cruise control shares the same fuse.

Edited by RebekahsZ
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Hmm - I have a 2002 Suburban 1500. When not towing it gets 13.5 to 18 MPG depending on the driving with the 5.3. When towing it Gets about 12. I have towed my Z (5,000 lbs including the trailer), a 24' pontoon boat, and my utility trailer and never had any problems with stability, braking, etc.

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Doing some fancy conversions, the auto Mitsubishi TDI does around 19 miles per US gallon towing, mainly highway 65 mph, some urban. It's a bit underpowered, the Q5 TDI by all reports will do it easily with at least as good economy.

 

You see, the rest of the world tries to minimumise the use of finite resources ha ha, just what you Murricans wanted to hear :)

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I realize you said you do not like trucks. However, A first gen Toyota Tundra or Sequoia with a 4.7 will do the trick effortlessly, it has the tow rating your going to need and they are most importantly of a tow vehicle reliable. I drove one for ten years frequently towing in the mountains. They are not as big as the full size trucks, mileage is OK. Did I mention reliability. In your neck of the city if you leave a broken down tow vehicle with a track car on the side of the road, there is a good chance neither will be there when you return. Prices are in the area you mentioned.

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