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Old 08-29-2009, 09:11 AM   #1
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Sae towing standards for 2012

From the NY Times:
August 30, 2009
MOTORING
Common Standard on Towing

By CHRISTOPHER JENSEN
FOR decades automakers have promoted the towing capacity of their vehicles, particularly pickup trucks, as a selling point. What many consumers did not know was that the industry had no standard to ensure apples-to-apples comparisons and to prevent companies from making unrealistic claims.

“I think in many ways consumers just went with what was printed in the brochure and took no real thought as to how it was developed,” said David Champion, the director of auto testing for Consumer Reports magazine.

That will soon change. SAE International, the group formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, has established a voluntary standard that specifies how automakers should measure towing capacity.

“My personal opinion is that some of the numbers were getting a little carried away,” said Robert Krouse, a General Motors engineer specializing in towing who is also chairman of the SAE committee that came up with the standard. The committee included engineers from G.M., Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Toyota, as well as industry experts.

Mr. Krouse declined to say whether any automaker was doing anything unethical, but acknowledged that there had been potential for a company, if so inclined, “to turn the numbers” in its favor.

For example, without an industry standard, Mr. Krouse said, there was no requirement specifying how quickly a vehicle had to tow its load. “You could limp up any hill and say, ‘Well, we got to the top,’ Mr. Krouse said. “If you didn’t think your customers would complain, you could get away with anything.”

If automakers choose to use the SAE standard, consumers should come out ahead. “The good part is that the numbers should be more directly comparable, so a Toyota 10,000 pounds and a G.M. 10,000 pounds and a Ford 10,000 pounds should be pretty similar,” Mr. Krouse said.



The new standard, called J2807, specifies not just how quickly a vehicle must be able to accelerate — including uphill grades — but also how it stops and how it handles. With increases in horsepower and torque it is possible for a vehicle to tow a trailer that outweighs it, creating potential challenges to drivers, Mr. Krouse said.

“Being able to handle the trailer is an even more critical part of the equation,” he said. Consumers can quickly tell how a vehicle accelerates, but poor handling “sneaks up on you,” he said. “You can be in trouble in a hurry.”

So one requirement is that the vehicle’s suspension must be able to resist a trailer’s fishtailing.

One implication of the new standard is that towing numbers are likely to drop by 200 to 500 pounds. That is because the new standard specifies how the towing vehicle must be equipped when the tests are conducted.

Previously, the tested vehicle could be a stripped-down model without options, and only a driver needed to be on board. Now there must be a driver and a 150-pound passenger as well as typical options like air-conditioning.

That could increase the vehicle’s curb weight — and decrease the existing towing capability — by 200 to 500 pounds, Mr. Krouse said.

The standard was introduced at SAE International’s conference last year and is now undergoing some minor changes, Mr. Krouse said. It covers cars, minivans, S.U.V.’s and all but the largest heavy-duty pickups. The SAE committee originally recommended that automakers begin using the new standard for 2011 models, but Mr. Krouse said that given the tumult in the industry that could slip to 2012.

Nothing prevents an automaker from adopting the method earlier. But it could be a competitive disadvantage to be the only company using the system.

For consumers, the thing to look for would be a note on sales or promotional material stating that the tow rating was calculated using SAE standard J2807.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:22 AM   #2
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Great article! Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:42 AM   #3
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I, for one, will welcome some realistic tow numbers. The proposed standards don't go far enough IMO. The vehicle should have weights equal to the typical family (mom, dad, 2.2 kids, dog, ~300 lbs. luggage, and full gas tank). At this level, we're talking what,,,, maybe 1000 lbs,,,?
For too long, every time the maker adds a few horsepower, they tack-on another 500>1000 lbs., of so-called tow capacity.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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Thanx for posting that. It was very interesting. Maybe now we will get the real story on what can tow how much.

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Old 08-29-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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Great post! Given the seemingly ever increasing number of folks interested in becoming first time a/k/a newbie towers, standard comparative analysis may make tow vehicle selection somewhat easier. The highways may also be safer because of more informed purchases and use of better matched tow vehicles and travel trailers.

Its too bad the states do not require and offer RV driver training and a specific level of standard driver skills before being able to hitch up to a travel trailer and enter the public traffic stream.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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It would be nice to have standardized, reliable information. Not just "Ford says..." and "Toyota says...". I usually look at Road and Track and other publications to look at their testing, especially the towing uphill data.
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #7
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Wonder if they'll factor in the 80% rule? ............Awe I should not have said that!
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #8
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Thanks Denis. I wonder if it includes payloads?

I'm usually 3-7 days behind on reading the Times, yet you have tomorrow's*. Could you post who will win tonight's baseball games so we can get on the phone to our bookies?

Gene

*I expect you got it off the internet, but it reminded me an old movie where someone got the paper a day early and then went to the track and cashed in. Are "bookies" listed in the yellow pages?
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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If the towing capacities touted by the various manufactures were accurate and factual for the real world, we would not need any 80% rule.

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Old 08-29-2009, 02:26 PM   #10
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Woo-Woo

'Bout time....

Here's a link from Novermber of '07 where the initialization of the process was discussed.

http://www.pickuptrucks.com/html/sto...ing/page1.html

Too bad it's taken so long to implement. In these days of more and more government intervention it's a wonder that industry wide standards were not instituted in the '70's.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
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Im REALLY surprised that will all the government oversight in the automotive/transportation industry that this had never been addressed and made standardised. Its always been my assumption that the manufacturers LOWER the numbers for liability purposes...Im guessing that lawyers were involved as well as engineers when it comes to disclosing calculations.
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Its too bad the states do not require
yes, let's do away with personal responsibility and just turn it over to the government. Gotta' be a winner there!

Take note of a quote from the PSA

Quote:
“The good part is that the numbers should be more directly comparable ...” Mr. Krouse said.
It appears the idea is to assist the quality of informed judgment by providing measures that have a known reference and meaning. It does not appear that they are trying to make your decisions for you. -- no lawyers, no liability fears, no rules, no guidelines, just a referent for the measure so people can make their own judgment about what is best for them.

I do wonder, though, why so many folks want to mandate their own decisions and judgments about what is best on others.
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:30 PM   #13
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It will be interesting to see how implementing the SAE standard affects tow ratings. Having read the new standard and discussed towing with quite a few vehicle engineers, I know that at least one manfacturer publishes numbers based on tests that were more difficult than some of the powertrain cooling test speeds in the new standard.

Likewise, there have been ratings that were actually adjusted downwards for marketing reasons (a smaller engine that could provide better cooling and was a lot lighter than the heavier big-block, yet had a lower tow rating).

Finally, there are some vehicles where a manufacturer simply makes sure the vehicle can tow a competitive amount - for instance, a minivan typically tows 3500 lbs. It takes time and money to validate beyond that, and it doesn't provide much marketing advantage to have a higher rating, so the manufacturer stops there.

In other words, despite what that article says, if everyone follows the SAE standards to the letter, numbers might not necessarily always go down.

Tom
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
If the towing capacities touted by the various manufactures were accurate and factual for the real world, there would not need to be any 80% rule.

Brian
Probably right! I've always accepted the 80% rule on the basis that I figured it was probably the marketing departments more than anyone else that determined what the advertised tow rating would be!

On the other hand, once you accept are used to the 80% concept, It will be tough to let it go.

Even if the "new" tow ratings are realistic, I still feel you are better off not pushing any mechanical device to its limit in the interest of longevity!

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Old 08-29-2009, 05:20 PM   #15
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The 80% rule (sometimes it's stated as the 85% rule) has been questioned as to whether it's objective or not. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rom-53739.html

I guess it comes down to whether you trust the manufacturer of your TV. My experience is that Toyota delivers on most everything and more and thus, I tend to trust their ratings. The only difference I can see on my 1/2 ton Tundra compared with a 3/4 ton is it has one less leaf spring. Even so, I like to leave some margin to lessen wear and tear.

Different personalities will approach this differently. More independently derived info on a set standard will be helpful.

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Old 08-30-2009, 09:49 AM   #16
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From what I see in this thread, it interests me how the "80% rule" appears to have been elevated from a rule of thumb or starting point for basic guidance into an absolute dictum.

A lot of vague generalizations often suggested to help guide decisions (but not make them for you) seem to get turned into inviolable rules and, as a result, a lot of folks make bad decisions for their own needs and circumstances.

But there does seem to be a yearning for edicts from on high so one does not have to go to the trouble of making one's own decisions nor take responsibility for them. All one has to do is to suffer the results and that, for some reason, seems to be preferred.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:32 AM   #17
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It seems to me the SAE fails to recognize that each 150 pound passenger in the tow vehicle reduces the tongue weight carrying capacity by that much, which MAY reduce total trailer weight capacity by as much as 1500 pounds (with 10% tongue weight). That depends on whether the GVWR and GAWR are limiting factors.
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #18
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RoadKingMoe, Yes, you are alluding to an area, in which SAE, and many others fear to tread.
A very typical TV of today, is a 1/2 ton, crew-cab, pick-up, of whatever make, with a typical payload, of ~1700 lbs.
Lets look at a set-up, just for kicks;
1, Mom & Dad, 400lbs, (3/4 of population is overweight)
2, Kids, & Dog 200lbs.
3, Camper shell, rack, and canoe, 300lbs.
4, Generator, and fuel, 200lbs.
5, BBQ, bags of fuel, 50lbs.
6 Tools, bicycle(s), miss. stuff, 150 lbs.
7, Full tank of gas, 25 something gal.,,~175lbs.
8, Personel items in vehicle, ~25lbs.
9, Hitch, and trappings, 100lbs.

Well, we got ~ 1,500 lbs. now, so we have, at very max, about 200 lbs. left for tongue weight.
At 10>12 % tongue weight, looks like we can tow about a 1,500, to 2,000 lb. trailer.

Golly Gee, what happened to the 7>8>9K tow rating.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:53 PM   #19
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As overdue as standards may be (and they are), we are not the only country towing trailers. Others may have reasonable standards to examine and perhaps adopt (such as trailer having a genuine parking brake as in New Zealand).

That said, there is no better way to start off than to scale the new or the "new" TV ASAP after purchase with only owner and full fuel onboard for a true minimum weight. I've rarely seen either a pickup or a small sedan that wasn't 450-lbs over the published shipping weight. Or more.

We know that the only way to verify proper hitch rigging is with a certified scale. However stupid or ignorant some wish to keep Americans, this type of procedure needs to be emphasized by at least RV manufacturer associations. Or, it should be implemented into law that the dealer certify the RV weight at sale (empty tanks, etc).

A check sheet with liquid weights ought to be provided; a worksheet as part of the legal paperwork that shows how to determine aspects of towing where RV weight is a factor (pin or tongue weight; axle & tire ratings, etc) as well as safety chain certification tags, etc.

Past that point is the reasonable responsibility of the new owner, but liability is a two way street, IMO. This would, I believe, be better than changing drivers licensing requirements. You can bet that someday, someone (some group) will want to pressure RV's off the road -- they'll the horsepower to do it -- and will do it with scary accident info.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:46 PM   #20
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I see your logic and some of the numbers are high for our situation, but I submit the following after the 40k mile oil change on our 08 f150. It has lugged our 28 nationwide over 22k miles and heading west again, currently in Colorado. I asked the Ford dealer today to look for any issues in the drive train or suspension that may need attention. Nothing, all green check marks. It would seem with your analysis the damn thing should be ready for retirement. I think this tow rating thing is very subjective, and a real issue is frontal surface area. I swear I have been passing more diesel than ever with fivers that have a virtual sail for resistance. I mean some look comical and should be pulled behind a semi tractor. The beauty of the Airstream design is its elegant simplicity of less is more. I respect it more than ever.









area, in which SAE, and many others fear to tread.
A very typical TV of today, is a 1/2 ton, crew-cab, pick-up, of whatever make, with a typical payload, of ~1700 lbs.
Lets look at a set-up, just for kicks;
1, Mom & Dad, 400lbs, (3/4 of population is overweight)
2, Kids, & Dog 200lbs.
3, Camper shell, rack, and canoe, 300lbs.
4, Generator, and fuel, 200lbs.
5, BBQ, bags of fuel, 50lbs.
6 Tools, bicycle(s), miss. stuff, 150 lbs.
7, Full tank of gas, 25 something gal.,,~175lbs.
8, Personel items in vehicle, ~25lbs.
9, Hitch, and trappings, 100lbs.

Well, we got ~ 1,500 lbs. now, so we have, at very max, about 200 lbs. left for tongue weight.
At 10>12 % tongue weight, looks like we can tow about a 1,500, to 2,000 lb. trailer.

Golly Gee, what happened to the 7>8>9K tow rating.[/QUOTE]
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