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Old 12-26-2014, 01:13 PM   #29
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Searching for the perfect tow vehicle that is NOT a truck or mom van/SUV!

This getting to be Fun! We tow our 19-FC with our Toyota Highlander Limited and are quite happy with what we determine via research. For instance, the Highlander's door sticker says that the GVW is 6,000. The 19-Bambi is 4,500. The curb weight is shown as just under 4,000 lbs. The 19FC is 3,800. The listed towing capacity is 5,000. The SUV load capacity is listed as 1,200 lbs. (easily handles tongue weight of around 500) The front axle is 2,955 lbs. The rear is 3,505. We use a Equalizer Hitch. We average 16 mpg while towing up and down and all-around. The Highlander also runs anti-lock brakes and has a built-in stability control system. All of this adds up to a very safe, economical, and comfortable bunch of statistics, in our opinion. Also, on the RIO research site, the Highlander is considered the number 2 best towing SUV, even above the Tahoe. Until we get to the syndrome of "we need more room inside our AS,"we will continue to feel very secure towing with the Highlander SUV. And, we will keep our third-row of seats for hauling grandkids and their parents.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #30
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Searching for the perfect tow vehicle that is NOT a truck or mom van/SUV!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rostam View Post
The heavy duty diesel pickups have exhaust break, so you can go down hills without even applying the breaks. Very nice feature not available in sedans/SUVs.

Also, most folks using underrated vehicles spend money modifying it in aftermarket. Nothing stops truck owners from doing the same. For example, You can get TRD performance breaks on your Tundra which improved the breaking of the truck.


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Mountainous descent techniques with diesel exhaust brakes is not what we were discussing. That's a separate discussion. It's a nice feature but saying it would be required is like saying that only large diesel pickups are capable of pulling Airstreams, which certainly isn't the case.

I'm comparing the performance and stopping distance of "typical" panic braking situations, where diesel brakes aren't used. 1tonne diesel pickups typically panic stop in ~150ft....some very slightly less, some more.

I'm not talking aftermarket, I'm talking about stock performance. The only modification I've done is a ~$400 hitch reenforcement.

The thing is, braking physics are a bitch. Without removing weight I'm certain even 8 piston racing calipers with 380mm+ vented rotors aren't going to haul a 6000lbs truck with a high center of gravity and truck tires down from 60mph in ~110ft.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:47 PM   #31
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Rostam, how does the engine braking work, is it substantially different than downshifting or grade logic control to engine brake ? Speed and responsiveness ? Assume it's limited to the drive wheels from a traction standpoint.

Sounds like a brake pad saver though.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:49 PM   #32
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I know in Europe they frequently tow with cars so who does it best on this side of the pond?



Just two fun gals from New Jersey...the garden state!
Megster, which 328i 6 cylinder is it ? I see the 328 has gone back to a boosted DI 4 cylinder on this years' models.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:51 PM   #33
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I have the 2011 model year.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:01 AM   #34
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Diesel engines with an exhaust brake are comparable to any normal gas engine for braking. A diesel doesn't have an intake butterfly valve to regulate the air coming into the engine, it simply sucks in what it needs (or forced in what it can with a turbo). So, without a valve to close when not giving it throttle, it won't give you compression resistance when going downhill like a gas engine. My van doesn't have an exhaust brake, but I've never had a problem gaining speed downhill since I have the aerodynamics of a shoebox to slow me down
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:23 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-Nancy View Post
This getting to be Fun! We tow our 19-FC with our Toyota Highlander Limited and are quite happy with what we determine via research. For instance, the Highlander's door sticker says that the GVW is 6,000. The 19-Bambi is 4,500. The curb weight is shown as just under 4,000 lbs. The 19FC is 3,800. The listed towing capacity is 5,000. The SUV load capacity is listed as 1,200 lbs. (easily handles tongue weight of around 500) The front axle is 2,955 lbs. The rear is 3,505. We use a Equalizer Hitch. We average 16 mpg while towing up and down and all-around. The Highlander also runs anti-lock brakes and has a built-in stability control system. All of this adds up to a very safe, economical, and comfortable bunch of statistics, in our opinion. Also, on the RIO research site, the Highlander is considered the number 2 best towing SUV, even above the Tahoe. Until we get to the syndrome of "we need more room inside our AS,"we will continue to feel very secure towing with the Highlander SUV. And, we will keep our third-row of seats for hauling grandkids and their parents.
Interesting numbers, and they got me thinking.

The effective load carrying capacity of your Highlander (never mind that silly load capacity sticker) is 6,000 lbs (GVWR) less curb weight (about 4,350), which equals about 1,600 lbs. A typical half ton these days has a GVWR of 7,200, with a curb weight in the 5,500 lb range.

Your Highlander gives up only about a hundred pounds payload capacity compared to a pickup. It's no surprise that owners of conventional trailers with heavy tongue weights are quick to buy 3/4 ton trucks.

For the OP who wants to tow with a car, you will need to pay extra attention to this. If you carry a full load of passengers and other stuff in the car, you may find yourself at GVWR rather quickly. In my experience, the first thing you will notice is a rough ride on bad roads, like old concrete interstates. However, I am not suggesting that this will lead to component failures, unless you fail to exercise reasonable caution over things like speed bumps and poorly maintained railway crossings.
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:44 PM   #36
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I currently have a BMW 328i x drive sedan which has a v6 inline with 230 hp. It weighs about 4000 lbs. One option is to have a custom class III hitch made for it. That requires a trip to Canada to have CanAm do the job. Another option is to sell the Bimmer and buy a tow vehicle with more power and able to use a standard hitch. Everyone seems to talk only about trucks as a tow vehicle and I am just not a truck kind of gal. (Not that I have ever owned one but as a passenger they seem to be a stiff ride.)
Half ton pickups are not bad, but 3/4 ton and up can be brutal, in my opinion. Hard on the passengers, even worse for an Airstream.

Stick with your Bimmer. You won't find a better car (some may be equal, but none better) for what you want to tow. With a precise hitch setup, stability and handling should be superb - yes, towing should be fun! Power is sufficient; don't be afraid to downshift and let the engine spin to make the necessary power.

Try to get a trailer harness for the lights from the dealer or a good aftermarket source. The people at Can Am can help sort this out; they tell me that BMWs are probably the worst vehicles for connecting trailer lighting, but it can be done.
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:18 PM   #37
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We have set up a few 3 Series BMW's and they have all performed well but it is the handling that is amazing. These cars are designed to run the Autobahn well over 100 MPH for a couple of hours straight so towing an Airstream at 60 MPH is hardly a challenge.

If you want to test drive something similar here are two cars we have been towing smaller Airstreams (Under 23' with) lately.

The Mercedes has massive power with its 302 HP 3.5 Litre and 7 Speed. The Cadillac is a 2.5 litre 4 cylinder mated with a 6 speed auto. They both are outrageously stable on the track with a slight edge maybe going to the Cadillac.

Here the ATS is towing an 8' wide 22 International but from a power perspective the 22 Sport is the best match.

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Old 12-28-2014, 10:39 AM   #38
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Rostam, how does the engine braking work, is it substantially different than downshifting or grade logic control to engine brake ? Speed and responsiveness ? Assume it's limited to the drive wheels from a traction standpoint.

Sounds like a brake pad saver though.
Exhaust brake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 12-28-2014, 11:19 AM   #39
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[QUOTE=rostam;1559470]Exhaust brake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OMG that is loud/noisy. Time to get out the ear plugs!
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:15 PM   #40
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[QUOTE=Road Ruler;1559483]
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Exhaust brake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OMG that is loud/noisy. Time to get out the ear plugs!
I guess most people take the noise over going off the road due to brake fade.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:22 PM   #41
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Diesels without an exhaust brake produce very little engine braking because there are no throttle plates in a diesel motor to restrict the airflow.

Gasoline engines naturally have engine braking when the throttle is lifted. However to get sufficient engine braking with a gas engine you need the RPM higher than would seem normal. Most gas engines today need to be run down hill between 3500 and 5000 RPM. As a rule of thumb if you are using your brakes to control speed going down a hill then you are in too tall a gear.

Not long ago when all we had to tow with were 4 speed transmissions you had some fairly large gaps in the speed ranges you could descend at. For example on a 7% interstate grade second gear would hold you at 50-55 MPH but if the traffic was slow or the road was too twisty for 55 they you had to apply brakes and reduce the speed to 25 MPH and then shift into low gear and then likely feed it gas to maintain the lower speed. Today with 6 & 8 speed transmissions you have a much larger selection and you can almost always find the right gear for the speed you want to descend at.

On two lane roads in serious mountains remember that brake temperatures can sneak up on you. For example you may be descending in low gear using engine braking but every 1/2 mile you're putting the brakes on to slow for a switchback. Do this repeatedly and you can still overheat the brakes.

What I do in these situations is use the trailer brakes manually to slow for switchbacks etc. Then if I feel the trailer brakes start to fade I know I have a completely fresh set in the tow vehicle to pull over and stop with and then allow the trailer brakes to cool. I have only had to do this once in all the trips I have taken. That was the sea to sky highway in BC where you go down 11 kilometers of 10% grade followed by 5 kilometers of 15%.

I hope this helps.

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Old 12-28-2014, 06:00 PM   #42
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I guess most people take the noise over going off the road due to brake fade.
??? we traverse the grades like most others in a quiet and controlled fashion. Never been off the road or come close to it.

How is the set up on your rig? If you are feeling insecure maybe it's time to have it checked out by a qualified tech.
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