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Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

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longrooffan

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Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostTue Feb 28, 2012 5:55 pm

Hey my fellow Hoons...I recently was able to find gainful employment selling motorcycle, automobile and general cargo trailers. And I seem to be doing okay...nine trailers in my first ten working days....However, one of the biggest obstacles I have is finding a reputable online source for the items, and more, referenced in the title. Today I had a guy call me with the following: He has a 2010 Ford F350 four door dually with the (IIRC) 6.4 or .7 powerstroke and needed to purchase an enclosed trailer that would carry his new 1959 Plymouth Custom Suburban 9 passenger wagon. Yes!!! But how the hell can I determine, nearly instantly, the weight of that longroof as well as the towing capability of that 350. Tried Edmunds but very limited as to years. Googled the shit out of it and got sketchy results. Help a fellow Hoon, if you can. Thanks a ton. OLRF

*disclaimer: first time post here on the forum...please let me know if I screwed something up..
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Stu_Rock

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostTue Feb 28, 2012 6:35 pm

For the towing capacity, the following site is OK.
http://www.campinglife.com/tow-ratings-database/

Some vehicles have an absurd number of different tow ratings depending on the engine, axle ratio, how many seats are installed, or the lunar phase on the assembly date, and I don't think that site has all of that information. Realistically, it's probably easiest to tell a customer to look at his owner manual (or often the owner manual supplement). And don't forget that the customer's vehicle may have a hitch installed that has a lower rating than the vehicle.

For the load, I just figure that anyone towing old passenger cars needs the capacity for vehicles with length 225 inches and weight 4500 lb.
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skitter

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostTue Feb 28, 2012 8:52 pm

Looks like Stu_Rock found a nice site. As a general rule, almost any diesel pickup with any Powerstroke, Duramax, or Cummins can tow 10,000 lbs, maybe more. Also, not that I know where this line is, but you should also become aware of when trailer brakes and controllers become relevant, and that weight should be the same for any tow vehicle. You can usually move much more than a rated load (as long as the transmission holds out), but getting it stopped is a different story.
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ptschett

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostTue Feb 28, 2012 10:00 pm

http://www.carsp.ca/documents/47

A couple years ago I came across the Canadian Vehicle Specifications database, which could be a useful 1st step toward sizing the trailer for the car to be transported though of course US-spec cars could be different. At the time I was working at an engineering consulting firm, in a lull between projects for my usual customer (which is my employer now), and so I spent some time doing research of typical loadings for an aluminum flat-bed car trailer we were designing for another customer (which promptly devolved into trying to figure out ridiculous loadings, like cramming a '75 Cadillac Series 75 onto the trailer...)
"You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think 'some engineer was frustrated while designing this.' It's a little human connection." --xkcd #277
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Mad_Science

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostWed Feb 29, 2012 12:41 pm

I strongly recommend you have them check their owner's manual for the tow rating, as if they look up the wrong number or you tell them a wrong number that's too big, you might be liable for the consequences.

But as a general rule, and 3/4 or 1-ton truck (F250/350, GM or Dodge 2500-3500) will tow at least 10k, many more like 15-20k. Half-tons (non-HD F150s, GM/Dodge 1500s, etc) are trickier, as the latest ones are up in the 8-10k range, but bottom spec or older ones are more like 4-7k.

For cargo weight, a general rule of thumb for a trailer capacity for a given car:
compact cars = 3500lbs
bigger cars = 4500lbs
Trucks/Old Lincolns, etc = 6-7,500lbs

This accounts for the weight of the vehicle (my Falcon is ~2800, Country Sedan was ~4000, Wagoneer is ~4200), plus tools or other crap that would get loaded into it, plus some headroom for longevity's sake.

To boil it down even simpler:
HD Trucks = tow any car and the trailer that carries it
Half-tons = tow smaller cars and most trailers that carry them
"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If like gives you crap, don't make a beverage out of it."
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jeremy!

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 11:09 am

Mad_Science wrote:I strongly recommend you have them check their owner's manual for the tow rating, as if they look up the wrong number or you tell them a wrong number that's too big, you might be liable for the consequences.


thanks to my time spent digging about the miata.net forums i have come to realize the owners manual is very market specific. for instance, australian owners have printed in their manual that the mx-5 has a towing capacity of xxxxlbs. whereas the us manual say no towing under any circumstances. even though the car has the same mechanical bits in both markets.

a miata towing a teardrop trailer is a funny sight.
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Power Tryp

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 2:00 pm

Today is your lucky day (when it comes to Ford towing). The first site I'll show you is http://www.motorcraftservice.com/vdirs/ ... evin=rules which is a Motorcraft site that will give you owners manuals. Then we move onto https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/rv_ ... efault.asp, a Ford Fleet site that lists all Ford towing guides for the past ten years.

Towing is a crazy and messed up world that I honestly don't care for when it comes to personal trucks mainly because it is so poorly regulated and so much of it is based on opinion. In practice, a dual axle flat deck capable of holding the vehicle attached to a base class III hitch on that truck in any trim should be capable of hauling that wagon.
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Hatchtopia

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 10:43 am

jeremy! wrote:
Mad_Science wrote:I strongly recommend you have them check their owner's manual for the tow rating, as if they look up the wrong number or you tell them a wrong number that's too big, you might be liable for the consequences.


thanks to my time spent digging about the miata.net forums i have come to realize the owners manual is very market specific. for instance, australian owners have printed in their manual that the mx-5 has a towing capacity of xxxxlbs. whereas the us manual say no towing under any circumstances. even though the car has the same mechanical bits in both markets.

a miata towing a teardrop trailer is a funny sight.


I found the same thing when I was looking for a car to tow a small pop-up. The difference between towing capacities in the US and Europe is laughable. Typically, the Euro versions have less powerful engine selections, and significantly more towing capacity. I'm convinced that the true manner in which the US ratings were determined had nothing to do with engineers and everything to do with lawyers.

EDIT - I did a little research...

To illustrate my point above, I did a comparison of my car, a 2007 Kia Rondo.

My US version of the car has a 2.7 liter gasoline V6 that produces 182-hp and 182 lb/ft. According to Kia, I can tow up to 2000 lbs with trailer brakes.

In England, they don't have a V6 available. They do however, have a 1.6 liter gasoline 4 cylinder that puts out 130 hp and 116 lb/ft.. The capacity on that rig is 2866 lbs with trailer brakes.

Oh, and mine's an auto while the UK version is a 5 speed manual.

That said, I towed my 1700 pound trailer from Colorado to Utah, over mountain passes and across a desert with absolutely no drama - plenty of reserve power and braking. Rock solid stability. I have no doubt my Rondo would easily handle 2800 pounds - nearly 50% more than the US lawyers have told me is okay.
My garage: 2005 Ford Escape, 1972 BMW R75/5, 2003 Vespa ET4, 1975 Apache Royal
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P161911

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostMon Mar 05, 2012 2:43 pm

For specs. on old obscure vehicles try here: http://www.automobile-catalog.com/
The estimated curb weight for a 1958 (not 9) Dodge (not Plymouth) Suburban is 4280 lbs.

Towing capacity can be really tricky, depends on the engine, gearing, transmission, weight of options installed, and type of hitch. Might just check the little sticker on the door of the truck that lists GVW.
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ptschett

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Re: Vehicle Weights, Sizes, Towing Capacity Etc.

PostMon Mar 05, 2012 9:46 pm

http://www.dodge.com/towing/D/home.html
Tough to find, but here's the Dodge '02-'09 towing guide. As far as I know it's the only place my '05 Dakota's towing capacity is documented... it's not in the owner's manual, or on any of the data labels in the door jambs. The owner's manual points you to http://www.dodge.com/towing which redirects to a 2010-11 towing data page now.
"You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think 'some engineer was frustrated while designing this.' It's a little human connection." --xkcd #277

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