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Old 05-17-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default Miata towing... '99 Frontier

So... a local small pickup truck deal popped up and it has me thinking of ditching the tire trailer miata format.

1999 Nissan Frontier extended cab
Ka24de (4cyl)
3500lb Tow rating

for $2500.... possibly lower pending seeing it and negotiation.

I see it as the around town beater, carry anything and rarely take the car to track events with a tow dolly. Mainly Midwest area so it is flat towing... (I only do a few a year anymore).

Actual truck:
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What say you all?
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:05 PM   #2
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Having a truck is awesome and Im sure you wont regret it. But if you already have a daily driver vehicle for good gas mileage, why not just get a fullsize? I guess if you wanted a lil more power you could make it a ka24det lol.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by slutz4 View Post
Having a truck is awesome and Im sure you wont regret it. But if you already have a daily driver vehicle for good gas mileage, why not just get a fullsize? I guess if you wanted a lil more power you could make it a ka24det lol.
Trust me... I've thought about that last part

I have the wifes 2010 mazda3... but its her car and so new... tossing much stuff in the back sucks.

And... I'd rather a smaller truck for better around town mileage and just plain smaller profile. Not to mention cheaper to own and maintain.

If all that makes sense.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:14 PM   #4
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That's really not a lot of truck if you'll be pulling a car behind it. That's a good truck for a landscaper, not so much for a car hauler. Keep in mind that the trailer itself will be 1600 lbs at minimum, if you're lucky enough to find one that light inexpensively (or if you want to shell out big $$ for a new aluminum trailer). A realistic expectation for a reasonably priced trailer is 2200 lbs. Put a car on that, and your GVWR is more than shot. Pulling heavy loads with an undersized truck is not very fun. Or safe.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:19 PM   #5
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That's really not a lot of truck if you'll be pulling a car behind it. That's a good truck for a landscaper, not so much for a car hauler. Keep in mind that the trailer itself will be 1600 lbs at minimum, if you're lucky enough to find one that light inexpensively (or if you want to shell out big $$ for a new aluminum trailer). A realistic expectation for a reasonably priced trailer is 2200 lbs. Put a car on that, and your GVWR is more than shot. Pulling heavy loads with an undersized truck is not very fun. Or safe.
Thing is, I can tow bar the miata. Or dolly it. Or even do a very miata specific steel trailer at about 1k lbs custom built (referencing other peoples custom built civic oriented trailers).

I would also be mainly going max 2-300 miles each way with the car behind me. So it would be a very rare miata tow vehicle... that would kind of be a side perk almost I think.

I do understand keeping it safe though. I have no issues with it taking time to get up to speed and I ALWAYS am looking ahead and braking ahead of time for anything.... even in the miata. I do find this more of a compromise vehicle.... but I'm not a big truck guy.... and they cost ALOT more and take up alot more space. Not a fan of loosing even more space to a bigger truck.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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I think youd prolly be ok if your just using a car dolly Id imagine.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:03 PM   #7
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Yea I think you'd be fine. 2.4L of fury. Especially if you use a tow dolly and it's pretty flat.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:10 PM   #8
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And I just realized a big issue... I thought it was 5spd... but it is obviously autotragic 2k tow rating blows that chance.

Splitime out!
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:07 AM   #9
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:28 AM   #10
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I have a Nissan hardbody with the single cam. I've thought about putting a turbo and brake upgrade on it when the time comes to tow the Miata. It's not worth it.

Pusha tows his car with this same Ford truck. http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/cto/1743088984.html
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Thing is, I can tow bar the miata. Or dolly it. Or even do a very miata specific steel trailer at about 1k lbs custom built (referencing other peoples custom built civic oriented trailers).
Pretty sure there was a thread on tow-dollying the Miata, so you either have to disconnect the driveshaft or you're screwing up the transmissions since it lubricates from the input shaft and not the output shaft. You could do a small single-axle trailer, but TBQH I would never want to tow any automobile on anything smaller than a double-axle trailer with brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
I would also be mainly going max 2-300 miles each way with the car behind me. So it would be a very rare miata tow vehicle... that would kind of be a side perk almost I think.
Russian roulette defense, I'm not a fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
I do understand keeping it safe though. I have no issues with it taking time to get up to speed and I ALWAYS am looking ahead and braking ahead of time for anything.... even in the miata. I do find this more of a compromise vehicle.... but I'm not a big truck guy.... and they cost ALOT more and take up alot more space. Not a fan of loosing even more space to a bigger truck.
It's not the time to get up to speed at all. It isn't even the time it takes to brake. It's the crosswinds on remote highways, it's being blown around by big rigs going in the other direction, it's road imperfections and dips and turns that throw the truck and trailer around.

If you're considering an occasional tow rig, look at late 90s (96+) Silverado 1500s. Still reasonable to maintain, not ridiculously huge, and enough truck to be comfortable in shitty conditions on shitty roads with the Miata behind you.
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:23 AM   #12
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I tow a 12" open trailer with trailer brakes with my Sequoia. It's got the 2uz V8, I picked my up cheap with 120k miles. The timing belt kits are on ebay for $170. My cousin works for Toyota and said to just change the timing belt and fresh trans fluid every 20k if your towing a lot. You can get a 2001 for around 6k if you look around. Sleeps 2 at the track.

Jake

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Old 05-18-2010, 09:39 AM   #13
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That frontier will work fine IMO- it'll just be slow. Your biggest concern be stopping.

I think you should find a single axle trailer with brakes like above. I've towed miatas many times on a single axle with an RX300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The key is to get the tongue proper and then mark the trailer so the car is setup the same every time. I've also had 18' open and 28' enclosed trailers, and IMO the single axle is fine for your needs. That said, I know of three guys running SM that pull double axles with their wives' Honda Odysseys. And another one towing with a four cylinder Rodeo, and another with an extended cab Ford Ranger 4.0 v6...
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:46 AM   #14
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That 4 Cyl frontier WILL DO A **** POOR JOB OF PULLING>.. don't even contemplate climbing a hill. or maintaing 60 mph.

I have, currently own 2000 frontier,4wd, 5 speed, with the 3.4 V6. Now i thought one exrta liter would help, but notgreat. I wish i knew the v6 was soo weak. The brakes are slow to grip too. Rear drums dont help..

I mostly tow my classic mini to places, which for a 1500 lb car, on a dolley my truck can maintain. NOT 70 mph on the interstate. not up hills with speed either. Better get in the slow flasher lane when climbing a mtn.

I have dolleyed a few miatas around town too , and WHEW, that thing works hard. I would like a better puller, but that means these days a larger or more expensive truck. I don't want larger, i don't want more expensive.

My dad always had the great s -10 chevy with the 4.3 v6 which for a small truck would love to pull all day long. Small trucks, there is no comparison here.

Note that the only people that use these little 4 cyl frontiers are for painters and run arounds. no towing, no ladder trucks etc.

Im finding now that after 10 years. im now fighting a few little knickknacks on my truck too. Clutch hyudroilics, plastic parts, etc.

Just my thoughts.. and what i have experienced
goodluck.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:01 AM   #15
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Your far better off with a tandem axle trailer with brakes on each. The truck WILL work, but you will be stressing it. Being on flat road helps. I'd also get an oil temp and trans temp gauge to make sure your not stressing it too much. The length of the truck will be to your advantage while towing.

If your not set on the truck, another option to look at is the XJ cherokee/ ZJ grand cherokee line up. The XJ is about as bare bones as the Miata, and is about the same to work on/maintain.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:31 AM   #16
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Two reasons why the power will be OK:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
...so it is flat towing...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Trust me... I've thought about that last part (turbo)
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