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Last Post 12 Sep 2011 02:44 PM by  Ryno
One Vehicle to: tow + haul 2 kids + Daily Drive ?
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Z28Lt1AutoXer
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16 Aug 2011 01:41 PM

    I'm looking to get a tow vehicle and an enclosed trailer for my C5Z. Is there a vehicle out there with enough towing capacity, that is also family friendly to use with a couple of kids on weekend trips to Grandma's? I'm not a big fan of trucks, but that is what most tow with. My daily driver is just about dead too so I would like to have one vehicle cover all of my needs. Any thoughts? Am I asking too much, and should I just get a dedicated tow vehicle?

    Some things suggested to me so far are a van, and a trail blazer SS (with a LS2 motor).

    Chris Shay

    mlane350z
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    16 Aug 2011 02:13 PM
    How large is the enclosed trailer (weight and length)?
    Z28Lt1AutoXer
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    16 Aug 2011 02:32 PM
    I dont have a trailer yet. Here is my guess for an enclosed trailer, 24' with a 3,100 lb car. So, 5,500 lbs total? I really dont know.
    01 FS Z28
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    16 Aug 2011 02:34 PM
    Chris, the Enclosed trailer starts to limit your reasonable options quite a lot. They take a lot more power to pull since they are a lot more draggy and the weight is up too. Also because the weight is up that's more mass to move your truck around and to stop.

    There are some suitable vans but don't know how daily driveable they are. I'd say you want something like a 3/4 ton crew cab truck.... I guess you have to decide what you are willing to accept for mileage and creature comforts and cost.
    JBrettHowell
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    16 Aug 2011 02:49 PM
    I assume this is not quite what you are looking for:
    http://www.sccaforums.com/forums/fo...cope/posts

    :)

    BigEnos
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    16 Aug 2011 03:30 PM
    VW Touareg may fit your needs as long as you keep the weight below about 6500lbs. The current generation V6 TDI gets mid to high 20s mpg unloaded so it's an extremely reasonable daily driver. The older ones could be had with air suspension which is probably a big help, too, but the unladen mileage wasn't quite as good. I don't think you'll be able to go 85mph towing with it, but I think it'll work fine. Check out vwvortex and clubtouareg websites for some towing information. Guys are pulling all sorts of stuff with 'em.

    Factory tow rating is 7700lbs, btw.
    snaponbob
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    16 Aug 2011 03:46 PM

    I was involved in the purchase and fitting of a new trailer and used tow vehicle. We went with 20' Pace which had a base weight of about 3750 lbs. Add a Corvette and you are AT the max tow capacity of a BlazerSS which is 6800 lbs in 2wd. Here is some reference material. http://www.zercustoms.com/news/2008...er-SS.html The van the KC Region settled on was a 2004 6 liter cargo van. In the vans they produce 300hp vs the Blazer SS at nearly 400hp. In a Silverado the 6 liter is rated at 360hp. We run the van full of cones and "stuff" and pull the now outfitted trailer at about 6-6500 lbs. It pulls fine but not briskly. One can really feel the aero drag but at 70mph the loaded rig returns about 11-12 mpg as long as there are no side or head winds. THEN it's high single digits. If you are looking for a used 3/4 or 1 ton van, you may not find a 6 liter conversion or passenger van at all. The 6 liter is important as the 5.3 will struggle plus the 6 has a bigger transmission. You would have better luck finding a 3/4 ton 6 liter Silverado crew cab, but commuting in one of those might be a PIA. BUT, the cost of a second DD would more than pay for all the gas. Lastly, the 3/4 and 1 ton 6 liter Chevy vans and pick ups have a far higher towing capacity than the Blazer.

    HTH some.

    KKennedy717
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    16 Aug 2011 03:59 PM

    Although you have stated that you are not a fan of trucks you may want to consider the Cadillac Escalade EXT or Chevy Avalanche with a 6.0 ltr. (or greater) motor as a "one size fits all" type of vehicle. Very nice ride for a "truck", fits four comfortably (I have 2 boys, one who is 6'4" and he can fit fine in the back seat) and nice covered storage space in the bed for daily usage. I currently tow an 03 Mustang GT (about 3200 lbs.) w/ my 08 Cadillac Escalade EX, in a 24 ft. enclosed, flat front, trailer. No issues with power or pick-up - the truck comes standard with a switch activated "trailering" mode which allows for better acceleration from a standing position. Gas mileage without the trailer average's 13.5 mpg and shifts down to about 8 mpg while towing the trailer. Not ideal mileage numbers but when I did the math it was a better value for me to pay more for gas than own two vehicles( a commuter and a tow vehicle). Good luck with your search.

    S2kTas
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    16 Aug 2011 04:49 PM
    Another two trucks that would pull the trailer, and also be a good daily driver, would be the Nissan Titan or the Toyota Tundra. Both have lots of HP and Torque and have Tow Ratings that are over 8,000 lbs.

    http://www.nissanusa.com/titan/


    http://www.toyota.com/tundra/

    I used to have a Nissan Titan and pulled a 20 Foot V-Nose enclosed trailer, hauling a Honda S2000. Pulling the trailer, I was getting 10 -12 mph.

    Joe
    miataxr
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    16 Aug 2011 05:21 PM
    One magic number everyone seems to not look at is the GCWR (Gross COMBINED Weight Rating), the total weight the vehicle can handle all loaded up with all the "stuff". If the vehicle has a tow rating of 8000 lbs, a GCWR of 12000 lbs, but weights 6000 lbs empty, it can only handle 6000 lbs of more "stuff" in or attached to it, including a trailer. Maxing out at the total combined weight. The “tow ratings” seem to be pure marketing numbers. The magic (as I understand it) is the Gross Combined Weight Rating of the vehicle. That is what the vehicle can ultimately weigh with all the “stuff” added to it.

    I have an enclosed 24' trailer, inside is the C5Z, and all the "stuff" and scales at 8700 lbs. The truck is a 2500 GMC, 6.0. the book says I can tow 12,000 lbs, but the GCWR is 16,000. I scaled the truck at 6200 lbs (full tank of gas, empty except for driver), so what I can really load the truck with is 9800 lbs. Total truck and trailer scales at nearly 15,000 lbs. And to be honest, the current load of 8700 lbs is just about the max I would want to put behind it. Any more and I should be looking to upgrade.

    Just my 2 cents and data point,
    Joe T
    jdchristianson
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    16 Aug 2011 10:23 PM
    You are spot on Joe, the GCWR is often overlooked. The areo of an enclosed trailer is also not accounted for in tow ratings. I think they must test with a flat bed trailer and a block of lead. A 4000 pound load feels slot different if it is in 9ft tall enclosed trailer.
    B1mmer
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    16 Aug 2011 10:50 PM

    While I'm not looking to tow an enclosed trailer, but I am in a similar boat in that I want a new DD that can tow, hold a kid and all of it's stuff, multiple large dogs, etc. My answer is a 2011 Nissan Armada. The GCWR is 15,100 with 4WD/Tow Package. Platinum with 4WD weighs 58xx. Let's say loaded up with stuff, it's at 7000#. That still gives you 8100# you safely tow with. Will it be as good as a diesel Excursion or 3/4 ton pickup to tow with? No. As a dual purpose vehicle, I think it's going to be a nice option. I'm picking mine up about a couple of days after Nationals. - AB

    cdres
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    17 Aug 2011 11:39 AM
    BigEnos wrote:
    VW Touareg may fit your needs as long as you keep the weight below about 6500lbs. The current generation V6 TDI gets mid to high 20s mpg unloaded so it's an extremely reasonable daily driver. The older ones could be had with air suspension which is probably a big help, too, but the unladen mileage wasn't quite as good. I don't think you'll be able to go 85mph towing with it, but I think it'll work fine. Check out vwvortex and clubtouareg websites for some towing information. Guys are pulling all sorts of stuff with 'em.

    Factory tow rating is 7700lbs, btw.

    This is what I tow with... 2010 Touareg TDI. I get 20mpg towing with an open trailer (so you will not see that with a closed trailer). I am towing around 4000lbs and it feels like I am not towing anything at all. 85mph on the highway is not an issue, nor is passing anything that is slowing you down (if need be). The Touareg is completely stable and really a nice daily driver. Highway (not towing) I can see close to 30mpg.

    ratt_finkel
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    17 Aug 2011 12:02 PM
    I've only been towing for a little over a year. I've just traded my 06 Escalade ESV in. It was a great daily driver. Did wonderful for running the kids around. And it was nice to have everything in the truck and secure. But the deficiencies as a tow vehicle just outweighed it's DD status. I also did some towing with a crew cab nissan titan last year. Towing, it felt about on par with the cady.

    We are now using a quadcab cummins dodge. Can still fit two kids with room to spare. Gets 21mpg in the city and will tow anything I put behind it with ease. No worries about weak brakes, weak transmissions or having to pass someone up a hill or anywhere else for that matter. Plus, my towing mileage will almost double. Which is huge when you do 6-9 national events a year.
    Z28Lt1AutoXer
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    17 Aug 2011 02:24 PM
    It is sounding like the enclosed trailer may be more trouble than it is worth. With an open trailer, I could park it in the garage, and it would be easier to tow. Do people with an open trailer just leave their tires in the sun? I’m not sure that I would want to leave tires in the sun regularly, the rains seem like they would heat cycle out after a while.

    Yesterday I test drove a F150 crew cab with the ecoboost. It drove really well. I’m still amazed that they get 420 ft lbs out of a 3.5 liter on regular gas.

    Manual trucks seem to be really hard to find. Do the newer automatics have disadvantages to them?

    Thanks for all the feedback!
    miataxr
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    17 Aug 2011 02:44 PM
    All depends on your goals. I've done both, with the same vehicle, and smaller tow vehicles. Huge advantage to enclosed. Security, carry more spare stuff, tools, tanks, fuel, paddock bikes, tires......etc. the open trailer can usually only handle maybe extra tires/wheels. I prefer the enclosed option if the opportunity is correct for the situation. I really appreciated the enclosed when at the Pro in 2009 I think, rained at Heartland Park for all3 days of the Pro....As far as tires, look at www.campingworld.com or other similar sites and can get covers for tires for minimal cost. No worries storing outside if needed. I once rented a small storage unit for like $25 a month to keep my open trailer in, it would push in and pull out by hand, so it was easy to get into the tight space. Its a matter of the goals, want to carry a bunch of stuff, go enclosed. More efficient and compact, open. Both serve the end goal of trailering a car to an event well.
    ratt_finkel
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    17 Aug 2011 02:50 PM
    Tires go in the truck bed. Looking at cap or toneau cover options now. If I had the money I would probably go enclosed.
    miataxr
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    17 Aug 2011 05:03 PM
    I towed for 2.5 seasons with an open trailer, then had the chance to buy a great enclosed trailer used that was exactly what I was looking for, and haven't looked back since. Between the space, the awning, and general security its been awesome experience. I just had to make sure there was room in the yearly operating budget for the added fuel expense before I made the leap. I just added a truck cap this season and that has been a huge asset as well. Well worth the entry price, open or enclosed towing. I had the toneau up to this season, and the cap much better solution if that expense fits the budget.
    Joe T.
    vreihen16
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    17 Aug 2011 08:35 PM
    ratt_finkel wrote:
    We are now using a quadcab cummins dodge. Can still fit two kids with room to spare. Gets 21mpg in the city and will tow anything I put behind it with ease. No worries about weak brakes, weak transmissions or having to pass someone up a hill or anywhere else for that matter. Plus, my towing mileage will almost double. Which is huge when you do 6-9 national events a year.

    I second Jeremy's recommendation for a Quad Cab Dodge with a Cummins diesel. I have a 2006 Ram 2500 6-speed manual 4x4, and the Cummins gets 18-19 MPG on my 10-mile drive to work. (Believe it or not, my Audi TT gets only 21 MPG on this same commute!) You can sit three people in the back seat, and there's still 6.5 feet of "mother-in-law seating" :-) on the short bed model behind that. I drag my 24' Featherlite enclosed V-nose trailer behind it to events, and regularly climb a few interstate highway mountain grades here in the northeast with the cruise control set for 65 MPH without downshifting out of 6th gear with about 7,200 pounds in tow. I have driven 220 miles (through NYC!) round-trip on 16 gallons of diesel fuel on more than one occasion towing the trailer, and I'll let you do the fuel mileage calculations. The only complaint that I have about the beast as a daily driver is parking the behemoth, and of course the silly New York State law that says it must be registered as a commercial vehicle due to it's weight which excludes driving it on parkways in most of NY state.

    The weight of a 24' steel enclosed trailer is just north of 4,000 pounds empty. My totally stripped 24' aluminum Featherlite tipped the truck stop scales at 2,950 empty, but they call it 3,200 pounds. If you don't plan to include a small work area or paddock accommodations, a 20 foot trailer will still hold just about any street car and save you some tow weight. A V-nose is supposed to save fuel over a flat nose, and provides a little bit of additional floor space inside. I noticed that you had mentioned the idea of getting an open trailer because you can fit it into your garage. My trailer *is* my garage, and my roller toolbox follows me to every event since it is also in the trailer. Of course, the cost of this convenience is a couple of extra heat cycles on the R-comps between events inside the trailer, but you could always put the streets or storage tires on before loading up if that's a concern to you. Speaking of convenience, heading out to an event in the morning is simply a matter of carrying out a cooler, hitching up, and driving off...and I'm working on getting a small fridge for the trailer to eliminate the cooler from the routine.

    If you take note on the interstates, it seems that about half of the pickups towing huge 5th wheel campers are Mega Cab Dodge Rams with Cummins engines. The Mega Cab has even more room in the back seats than the Quad Cab, and is apparently the ultimate road trip vehicle judging by the number of them on the highways towing campers. It is longer than the Quad Cab, meaning that parking is probably a little more challenging. In terms of longevity, the only problems that pop up on the 2004-early 2007 5.9 liter Cummins common rail diesels are occasional injector failures, but the service life of the engine is supposedly 350,000 miles between rebuilds in commercial service. The 6.7 liter Cummins engine from late 2007-present includes emissions systems that give some people grief, but I think that Dodge and Cummins have finally worked the kinks out. The fuel mileage is a little bit worse than the 5.9 liter, though. As long as you aren't shocked at a 3 gallon (12 quart) oil change and keep it in fresh fuel filters, the Dodge parts will probably fall off long before the Cummins engine dies. Manual transmissions are out there, but are extremely rare. As much as I curse out the G56 gearbox in my truck whenever I have to start rowing through the gears leaving a traffic light, I would never settle for a truck with an automatic.....


    mwood
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    17 Aug 2011 08:45 PM
    For an all around vehicle that can tow 5000-6000# acceptably, I still think the Suburban is hard to beat. True, gas mileage is notsogood, but they are cheap, plentiful, hell of comfortable and (in my experience) bulletproof. If they ever put the Duramax in 'em, they'd be absolutely perfect, imho.
    GlennAustin
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    18 Aug 2011 01:51 AM
    When we towed my 350Z on a steel trailer (approx. 6000 lbs) we still got 13-14 MPG at 70MPH in our 2005 Nissan Armada LE 4WD. We even got better gas mileage when using premium -- so much better that over 1000 miles, the improved mileage was enough to save 1 tank of gas.

    Unfortunately, our 2005 gave its life to save my wife's (other driver crossed the center line at over 60MPH in a 30MPH zone). We got a 2008 to replace it. 20+ MPG on the highway while not towing, 13+MPG in town.

    sjfehr
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    19 Aug 2011 03:45 PM
    Z28Lt1AutoXer wrote:

    I'm looking to get a tow vehicle and an enclosed trailer for my C5Z. Is there a vehicle out there with enough towing capacity, that is also family friendly to use with a couple of kids on weekend trips to Grandma's? I'm not a big fan of trucks, but that is what most tow with. My daily driver is just about dead too so I would like to have one vehicle cover all of my needs. Any thoughts? Am I asking too much, and should I just get a dedicated tow vehicle?

    Some things suggested to me so far are a van, and a trail blazer SS (with a LS2 motor).

    Chris Shay

    I know it's not really what you were asking, but if you're open to other options, there are a number of STU/STX cars that would meet all your requirements.

    Z28Lt1AutoXer
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    11 Sep 2011 05:25 PM
    Still thinking about tow vehicles...

    What are the bennefits of larger truck frames? Meaning F250 vs F150 or Dodge 2500 vs 1500. Can a new F150 handle an enclosed trailer?
    jdchristianson
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    11 Sep 2011 08:13 PM

    This is where you run into the GCVWR combined trailer and truck weight ratings. I pull an enclosed trailer with a 1/2ton GMC but it is only an 18ft trailer with a 1650lb car. Total with extras in the trailer probably only 5000 lbs. If I had a bigger trailer and heavier car I don't think my truck would like it very well.

    The 2500 or 250 vs a 150 have considerably heavier suspension, axles, hubs, brakes, etc etc. They are meant for heavier hauling and the manufactures know the farmers are going to pull grain wagons and livestock trailers full of steaks. (code for beat the crap out of their trucks and expect them to take it)

    vreihen16
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    11 Sep 2011 08:44 PM

    The biggest difference is in the weight-carrying capacity, with 1500 series being 1/2 ton, 2500 series being 3/4 ton, and 3500 series being 1 ton.

    The big confusion when sizing a tow vehicle is that people frequently forget about to add the tongue weight to the truck's axles. A happy trailer that follows your truck without wagging all over the road has 10-15% of its total weight on the tongue. If you're looking at a 24' steel enclosed trailer (4,000 pounds) with a 3,200 pound car and 300 pounds of gear, that's 750-1125 pounds on the tongue...which on a bumper-pull trailer means mostly on the rear axle unless you have a weight-distributing hitch setup. I chose these numbers for two reasons - (1) because many loss-leader enclosed car haulers are sold with dual 3,500 pound axles and this is their max load, and (2) this is about half a ton of tongue weight, plus or minus. If you were planning to carry passengers, a cooler, or 200 pounds of spare rims in the bed for someone, you'll be over your maximum load! Even more important is to check the gross axle weight rating (GAWR) on your possible trucks, because a bumper-pull's tongue weight can quickly overload the rear axle's ratings.

    If you ignore the ratings, a 1500 series truck probably won't have a problem moving a 7,500 pound trailer. We have a guy locally that drags what I'm guessing is a 6,000 pound loaded enclosed trailer behind a Dodge Dakota V8. The problem comes if you get in an accident. Your insurance company won't be happy to find out that you were towing overloaded, and heaven forbid the attorneys from the other party in the accident find out that you were overloaded and push to find you negligent and at fault. Buy enough truck to tow your planned load, and make sure to run load range E tires on it to be safe in the tire capacity department. For your weight-budgeting purposes, towing a trailer that's more than 10,000 pounds in many states requires a commercial CDL license. Unless you have one, you'll want to keep your trailer lighter than 10,000 pounds maximum GVWR, and your total combination weight of truck and trailer under 26,000 pounds.

    The only pitfall to going with a 2500 over a 1500 is the harsher ride when empty. The 2500/3500's will make you wish for a "soft" BMW M3 ride when running empty on bumpy roads, but smooth out nicely when loaded up. Also, if you're in the NYC area, NY State has a silly law about pickup trucks over 5,500 pounds (which kicks in at the 2500 series on Dodges) having to be registered with commercial plates, which precludes driving them on about half of the roads (all parkways) in the NYC/Long Island area. Other than parking, I still think that my Ram 2500 Cummins diesel is a good daily driver.....


    Z28Lt1AutoXer
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    12 Sep 2011 11:57 AM
    Good point about the toung weight. I didn't think about that. Thanks
    Alex Tziortzis
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    12 Sep 2011 01:40 PM

    If you go open trailer, you can save money by going with a gas truck.....in the older days, diesel was a fair amount cheaper than gas, now its roughly the same. A similarly equipped truck costs quite a bit more in diesel form......my 2007 Silverado 2500HD (2WD) crew cab short bed, can easily handle 1700 lb open wheel trailer (steel), and C5) and still get 13-14 mpg on the highway (as long as you stay below 65mph), above that, mileage drops off a bit. my truck also has a 6spd automatic tranny.

    Alex

    Mhyrr
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    12 Sep 2011 02:18 PM

    I've been towing this year with an 08 Nissan Pathfinder V8. At first I thought it might be a risk, but I'm extremely pleased with the choice now. The Pathfinder is the midsize cousin to the Nissan Armada, built on a Frontier frame. The V8 is straight from the Titan/Armada (315hp, 387tq), and in a midsize, it's got some scoot.

    There is a slight size sacrifice compared to a Titan or Armada, but for everyday driving I'll take it. I previously owned an 04 Titan and the Pathfinder is much more pleasant every day. It has a third row for kids and good storage. Used, they can be had for low-mid $20s.

    With a load leveling hitch, we towed out to Lincoln from Maryland a ~5500 lb load plus luggage, wheels and 3 people in the SUV comfortably. Averaged something like 13 mpg at 80 mph.

    Couldn't be happier.

    Ryno
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    12 Sep 2011 02:44 PM
    I ended up buying an 2011 Diesel F350 because I wanted the flexibility to tow larger loads when needed. However if I was only towing my enclosed car hauler I would have hands down gone with the F150 with the ecoboost as it more than adequately will handle what you are after plus the fuel economy isn't any worse than a full size sport utility unless you drive it like I did on the test drive :-) I love the comfort of the truck and daily drive mine.


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