Real life towing capacity

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Banach95
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Real life towing capacity

Post by Banach95 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:54 am

We all know what the specs for towing are on a Baja... my question is what is the real life towing weights people have done.

I have a Baja Turbo and I want to start towing. I know an enclosed trailer or popup camper is good because that's all under 2000lb. What about anything heavier and is there anything I need to mod on the baja to do it??
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Guacamole
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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by Guacamole » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:07 pm

I wouldn't put it passed 2400. The Baja isn't really designed as a towing vehicle, and I doubt the stock brakes and trans will handle much even over 2000. A small camper, ~14ft john boat, jet skis, etc are all fine though (basically light recreational towing). I'd suggest browsing through this thread to get an idea of its limits: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=731
If you're looking to haul more with this you'd definitely need beefier brakes and transmission (manual).

Also, congrats on the purchase but that paint scheme needs some explaining...
WHATWHATWHAT???
User is currently lost in the 80s

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kamesama980
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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by kamesama980 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:56 pm

For liability reasons, I won't advocate passing the towing capacity of any vehicle. (automatics: 1k, manual: 2k, manual w/ trailer brakes: 2.4k) That being said, I have a few times. There are a lot of things that factor into it: tongue load, balance, height of the CG, vehicle dynamics, suspension of both the vehicle and trailer (which could be a book itself), tires, trailer length, and so on. For the most part, the vehicle's I've overloaded were body-on-frame 80s mini trucks with fairly modified suspension.

The Baja is based on 20-years newer cars. It isn't designed with nearly as much safety margin for farmers and crazy people. The unibody and IRS doesn't have the raw abusability a truck with leaves and a solid axle has. It has a long axle-bumber distance (hence why it's rated to tow less than similar outbacks). One real limiting factor that Subaru admits in the tow ratings is that it's rated to tow more with trailer brakes than without. This signals to me that braking power or more likely the vehicle dynamics under braking are the limiting factors.

On the other hand, weight is just one (relatively minor) factor in the scope of towing but it's most easily quantified. A major example of this is to compare tow ratings of US vs EU market cars: generally they're rated noticeably higher in the UK. there are two reasons for this: first is that they do the ratings at lower speeds. the second is that they rate with greater % tongue weight. both of these contribute to less propensity to sway. Trailer sway is the biggest limitation to towing with a ball at the tail. Other things that factor in are suspension stiffness, roll stiffness, and wheelbase vs distance from the axle to the tow attachment point. These are why a Dodge Neon's rated to tow more than a Crown Vic or an F-body in spite of much smaller engine, brakes, and overall size... the Neon wins on every point.

My worst overload was my '91 Toyota Pickup with the uhaul enclosed 6x12. 4-banger, 5 speed 2wd around 2700lb. trailer's 1800 empty and I put motorcycleS, tool boxeS, and the contents of our apt... about 6klb cargo+trailer (yes the trailer had brakes, I'm crazy but not into murder/suicide). Given long enough of a straightaway it could do 70+ but would start to sway at semis passed so I kept it closer to 60. The cherry on top was a chevy 2500 or 3500 passing at 90 with a little 4x8 trailer lightly loaded that was on it's side in a ditch a few miles later on it's side.

How to favor a heavy trailer: GOOD SHOCKS/STRUTS before anything else, inflate tires!, stiffer springs and sway bars, keep the trailer center of gravity forward and low, long tongue length, and LOW SPEED. If you have an auto, take it easy, manually hold gears to higher revs, make sure you have a trans cooler and a lot of prayer. If you have a manual, don't rev it to 4k and slip the clutch like crazy to get moving! That's what kills clutches. Give it just enough gas and clutch to get moving just off idle, once your foot's off the clutch, give it all the gas you want (worked fine for me below and that was skinny tires in moist dirt). Again, hold gears to higher revs.

the beast: doesn't look like mutch but like I said, lots of metal inside the trailer.
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Around 2klb through hills:
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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by ZUBAJA » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:31 am

My experience with overloading:
First: 1984 Nissan Stanza - previously pulled (empty) pop-up camper Florida to South Carolina, averaged 24MPG at (the then speed limit) 55-60 MPH. Plenty of pedal left and occasional speeds above 60.
Tried to pull same camper loaded with camping stuff, bicycles, canoe, outboard motor, firewood all the toys. Couldn't get above 55 with pedal floored. No pinging. Cancelled trip, checked car, no troubles found. Car ran fine at all speeds unloaded.
Same camper, same (over) load with 1991 Dodge V6 minivan. Van wouldn't even go into final gear (OD automatic). Coming home with no load and canoe loaned out (left behind): no problem at all.
Wife is now talking about another camper. I'm leaning towards motorhome and camper tow the Subie, rather than Subie towing the camper. My Baja spent much of it's early life behind a motorhome and still has the frame mount part of the tow bar.
What about a Subie towing another Subie? I'm talking using a tow dolly (with driveshaft disconnected) to tow another Subaru. Anybody towed a Subie with a Subie? Thoughts?
I've done a lot of towing including heavy wrecker towing. This always scared me as I was moving two heavy trucks, but only had braking capacity of the wrecker. Try to leave space in front? Every clown saw this as their place to "fit in" :twisted:. Dennis

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Banach95
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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by Banach95 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:31 pm

COOL :) :)

Thank you so much for all the tips. I wasn't looking to overload per say... I'm trying to find a camper that under 2400lb inreality but wanted to know if I could do a 2 wheel car dolley towing a car in a pinch on all flats roads for short distance.

Thanks for all the great real life experience :)
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kamesama980
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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by kamesama980 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:40 am

Depending on the distance and speed, the sky's the limit: https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/toy ... vor-193574 <5mph for 5 mins, closed roads, etc.

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Re: Real life towing capacity

Post by ZUBAJA » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:15 pm

Well, given that GM used to pull a RR car with a Chevy pickup in commercials... Dennis

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