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Old 08-03-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
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Towing with a Lexus LS430? Can it be done?

It's obvious from Airstream posts in the 1950s that using regular passenger vehicles was very common in towing. I have a Lexus LS430 that is similar to some of those tow rigs, but I sure don't notice that being done now.

The owner's manual says not to exceed 2000lbs. for towing, and our "Twinkle" ('94 Excella 1000, 30') is over four times that weight. I've seen pictures of a company in Canada that modifies regular sedans for towing.

If it could be done and done safely, I could ditch the diesel pickup I'm now using and only use the Lexus.

Your thoughts on this, please?

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:11 PM   #2
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I'm sure you'll get "thoughts" all across the spectrum, but mine are there are reasons the "owner's manual says not to exceed 2000lbs".

The automobiles of the 1950's were built like tanks compared to the average sedan of today.

Just my "thoughts".
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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Are you a gambler In this time and age, with our great legal system being what it is, how prepared are you to someone sueing you for being over the limit on your weights. That is the question you need to ask yourself. I would not take that kind of risk, no matter how great someone is on prepping the vehicle for towing unless said person has some type of warranty for his work and has in writing that he would take full responsibility for any lawsuits and has the financial backing to pay any such lawsuits, by all means, go for it.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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Any issues you had would be your problems completely you understand. Legal and mechanical both. In my younger years I towed a 13' Shasta with a '65 VW bug, and a 60 hp Mercedes 200 Diesel, and later a Bambi with a Mercedes 300 Diesel. Rigs today are more precisely designed and may not be as robust as those of old. And road speeds are higher as well as hill climbing speed. In addition, others seem to be less tolerant of slow moving trailers than they were when they too had no real power.

Just my thoughts when I read your post.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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You've got lots of motor, but the issue with modern vehicles (cars and crossovers alike) is the frames/unibodies are getting lighter and lighter, and are using rigid designs that create the vault-like quietness of your Lexus. Great stuff for passenger compartment integrity and great handling cars.

The issue you've got with towing is your car has no spine... figuratively... so distributing the load of an 8000lb trailer means modifications/fabrication of a hitch that can hook into at least the back 1/2 of your unibody structure.

I don't know specifically about your LS, as it is quite low and might not have the rear suspension to work with - but you are correct that for lots of cars it can be done. A lot of what you've probably read is about the light-weight crossovers being modified...
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:29 PM   #6
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... and, you'll want to check your local state rules about such modifications if they require an inspection (or are even legal)...
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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Had a Lexus - all show, no tow.


Suburban if you prefer an SUV and a bigger Airstream.
Suburban 2500 for 30',31' and 34'.
Tahoe for small 16' and 19' models, maybe 23'.

Lots of good Trucks.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post

The automobiles of the 1950's were built like tanks compared to the average sedan of today.

Just my "thoughts".
Not so sure "a tank" is how one would describe old school vehicles...
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:53 AM   #9
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Hi, -- We loved our original LS 400, our LS 430 and still love our LS 460. We have about the same AS as yours, 1999 30' Excella. At 8,000 we would never think of outfitting the LS to pull the Silver Otter. Our LS is our road car, our Duramax/Allison is our tow car. End of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSChanger View Post
It's obvious from Airstream posts in the 1950s that using regular passenger vehicles was very common in towing. I have a Lexus LS430 that is similar to some of those tow rigs, but I sure don't notice that being done now.

The owner's manual says not to exceed 2000lbs. for towing, and our "Twinkle" ('94 Excella 1000, 30') is over four times that weight. I've seen pictures of a company in Canada that modifies regular sedans for towing.

If it could be done and done safely, I could ditch the diesel pickup I'm now using and only use the Lexus.

Your thoughts on this, please?

Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSChanger
It's obvious from Airstream posts in the 1950s that using regular passenger vehicles was very common in towing. I have a Lexus LS430 that is similar to some of those tow rigs, but I sure don't notice that being done now.

The owner's manual says not to exceed 2000lbs. for towing, and our "Twinkle" ('94 Excella 1000, 30') is over four times that weight. I've seen pictures of a company in Canada that modifies regular sedans for towing.

If it could be done and done safely, I could ditch the diesel pickup I'm now using and only use the Lexus.

Your thoughts on this, please?

Thanks!
Yes, It is very possible to tow with a Lexus! Contact this towing guru in Canada. He is often at the annual AS factory as a guest speaker during Alumapalooza in early summer. http://www.canamrv.ca/ Andy has a Taurus set up towing a 34' Classic.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLS View Post
Are you a gambler In this time and age, with our great legal system being what it is, how prepared are you to someone sueing you for being over the limit on your weights. That is the question you need to ask yourself. I would not take that kind of risk, no matter how great someone is on prepping the vehicle for towing unless said person has some type of warranty for his work and has in writing that he would take full responsibility for any lawsuits and has the financial backing to pay any such lawsuits, by all means, go for it.
+1 ... especially since you already own a more HD TV in the diesel truck ... that said ... of course you can tow it with your Lexus. Do a search for all of the folks towing with VWs, etc... but as so well-said above... be aware of the possibly more acute TV braking / accel / safety limitations ... as well as the impatient folks behind you on the mountain passes.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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Yes, It is very possible to tow with a Lexus! Contact this towing guru in Canada. He is often at the annual AS factory as a guest speaker during Alumapalooza in early summer. Can-Am RV Centre | New and Used Travel Trailers, Motorhomes and Fifth Wheels | Towing & Hitch Specialists | Top Airstream Dealer Andy has a Taurus set up towing a 34' Classic.
You know, I'm almost certain with enough setup dollars spent, you could successfully tow a 34' Airstream with a Volkswagen bug, but the questions are at what safe speed, would you ever really enjoy it, would it really be legal, how long would the VW last, and why on earth would you want to do it?

There are reasons the vehicle manufacturers put limits on their product's towing abilities, and in my opinion the reason is not for someone to try to prove they can be ignored.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH

You know, I'm almost certain with enough setup dollars spent, you could successfully tow a 34' Airstream with a Volkswagen bug, but the questions are at what safe speed, would you ever really enjoy it, would it really be legal, how long would the VW last, and why on earth would you want to do it?

There are reasons the vehicle manufacturers put limits on their product's towing abilities, and in my opinion the reason is not for someone to try to prove they can be ignored.
That is EXACTLY the problem! These very manufacturers DO NOT fairly compare apples to apples. They deal in marketing to sale vehicles. So, you are taking their towing rating way to serious. We will soon have a more level field with a new set of SAE towing standards. Toyota has already adopted the standards!! All manufactures will now be required to be more comparable to each other on their towing capacity. The guru at CanAm RV in Canada was a liaison to the SAE. Some of his input was considered. The one thing that was not: he felt that elevation, temperature, and regional characteristic should be factored into the towing equation. Again, Toyota has taken the lead on doing this NOW -- ahead of all of 'em!!
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:50 PM   #14
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Our 2005 Infiniti Q45 has similar specs to your Lexus and for me, it seems to be handling our new 30' International quite well so far (likely with similar weight/wind resistance to your trailer), including a recently completed 3,000km trip from toronto up along the north shore of the st.lawrence river through the laurentian mountain range and down to the east coast (during which, there were lots of long 10-15% grade inclines and declines).

For the most part, we seemed to be in our car's best running zone when we were travelling around 60 mph with 2,300 rpm on the tach; maybe consider how fast or slow you like to drive compared to that, and what engine speed you would be comfortable driving at.

Looking at some specs of the vehicles you are enquiring about (assuming your ls430 is an '05 model year) -

2005 Lexus LS430: Base weight 3,990 lbs, 4.3L V8 with Variable Valve Timing (VVT), 32 Valves, DOHC, Horsepower – 290 @ 5600 rpm; Torque – 320 lb.-ft. @ 3400 rpm
2003 Silverado 2500HD: Base weight 5,153 lbs, 6.0L V8, 16 Valves, Horsepower – 300@4,400 rpm, Torque – 360 lb.-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Besides the basic/obvious specs, there are of course many other vehicle specifications and also other grey-er factors to consider, e.g. spec wise, your silverado is heavier but has a stronger engine, the heavier truck may be more in proportion to the trailer so you won't get pushed about as easily, also consider the size/strength of the brakes, and then, other factors are the extra cost of installing a custom-hitch on the car since you already have a hitch for your silverado, then your car will have a lower centre of gravity which will increase overall stability, then also consider how competent/experienced i.e. how "comfortable" of a driver you are when towing a big rig, etc etc, in short, many considerations to reach "your" own decision as to what's best for you.
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