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Old 02-25-2007, 06:29 AM   #1
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FYI on Towing capacities

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and towing capacity.
Nineteenth-Century British politician Benjamin Disraeli may have said the last type of lie was statistics, but he never went shopping for a pickup truck.
Automakers can virtually make up the towing capacity they claim for their trucks and cars, rendering a key performance statistic all but meaningless.
That may be about to change.
DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota are working to create a standard test for the towing capacity they advertise to attract buyers.
Ironclad standards already control the claims automakers can make about fuel economy, horsepower and torque, but each company currently sets its own rules to evaluate towing capacity. Several automakers were publicly humiliated when they got caught using inflated horsepower numbers a few years ago, but there's no universally accepted objective measure of towing capacity.
This is no small deal. Towing capacity means as much to truck buyers as horsepower and torque do to speed freaks.
Towing capacity currently works on the honor system, but there's not much honor in the cutthroat pickup market. Virtually every time a new truck hits the market with class-leading towing capacity, its rivals magically rise to match it.
"Towing capacity is an incredibly powerful marketing tool," said GM trailering engineer Rob Krouse, who chairs the Society of Automotive Engineers committee that's developing a standard towing test.
The committee, which also includes representatives of trailer manufacturers, could have the new rule in place by the end of this year, Krouse said.
"A common standard means the customer will be able to compare apples to apples. People will know what they're getting," said Peter Frantzeskakis, vehicle engineering manager for Ford's Super Duty pickups.
The standard will define the minimum acceptable performance in a number of areas that affect safety and driving comfort, including:
Acceleration to freeway speed.
The ability to drive at a set speed for several miles up a defined slope.
Braking capability from a set speed.
Handling and stability in lane changes.
The standard will also specify what kind of trailer automakers must test with and will require automakers to test with vehicles that match the models they sell, rather than testing with lightweight stripped trucks that lack common features like power seats and windows. The new standards will also apply to SUVs and cars.
"If we all test the same way, the customer can use the knowledge to make informed decisions," Krouse said. "In the end, he will get a better product."
Contact MARK PHELAN at 313-222-6731 or
Copyright 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.

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Old 02-25-2007, 07:12 AM   #2
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It should would be a great road map. Some manufacs do simply float a lot of tow capacity out there and I've often wondered how they came up with those ratings. Sounds to me like something similar to IEEE standards....

Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:22 AM   #3
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I have always wondered how some 1/2 ton trucks have more towing capacity than other 3/4 ton trucks. Maybe now we will see the real deal.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:34 AM   #4
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Kinder & Gentler is overrated

I've participated in many threads on tow capacity & TV payload issues. I don't want to be on a curve at highway speeds in the lane next to any midsize SUV pulling a 4000 pound trailer -- worse yet if I've got my Airstream behind.

There are some valuable threads on towing from the early AS Forums days. RoadKingMoe is a well spoken and common sense advocate for proper matching of TV to the load being pulled. He and others had many strong and valid words in the following threads. It's all good reading! [note: the Can Am/Intrepid issue related to a dealership that aimed to have buyers drive away pulling with almost any car they brought on the lot -- that is not valuable but the posts are!]

And individual posts:

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Old 02-25-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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I've always thought that it was a wise man who recommended the 80% of manufacturers capacity as a starting point! As for "overkill" - those of us ("me" for one---) who initially worried about our "oversized and overpowered" TVs are probably the most relaxed drivers on the road! There's nothing worst than the feeling that you're not in full control of your rig - or that it doesn't have the power to make a grade. Similarly, once you've encountered an emergency handling situation with a well-matched combo the word "overkill" will vanish!

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