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Old 07-29-2008, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Thoughts on towing a Miata

So I'm getting ready to head out cross-country on Thursday. I've got a 16' Penske truck and a four wheel car trailer reserved. Thing is- I couldn't get Penske's online reservation thing to accept a Miata (of any year) on the towing selector, so I lied and said I had a Pontiac Solstice.

Given this, and the fact that my car is slightly lowered, I have some concerns. If it turns out to be unable to mount the four wheel trailer, I may have to use the two-wheel car dolly. (Yes, I know about the blocks of wood trick, etc)

Question is- say I tow it the five miles from Penske to my house on this contraption, then remove the driveshaft and pull it the 2,500 miles to NC. Apart from the fact that my RE-01Rs won't be too happy about this, any thoughts as to the drivetrain itself? There won't be much load on the diff, I'm just curious as to how the R&P gear might feel about this.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
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Tow it front wheels down. I've done it before, very easy, and no problems.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:30 PM   #3
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Good chance it will not clear the car transport 100%. Last one I saw towed that way that was lowered, actually dug into the frame rails.
Use the car dolly and be done.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
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No problem's with the diff. No load and it's sitting in the oil bath.

You shouldn't have any problems with their trailer either. Worst case, some 2x 6's under the wheels at the ends of the ramps to get it up.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:35 PM   #5
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I towed my Miata to Summit Pt a few wks ago on H&R race springs. The car is lowered quite a bit. I would guess-timate at least an inch or two. I used a u-haul 4 wheel trailer. My car is on RA1's so the tire height is close to stock.

The problem I had with the UH trailer was that it had some metal edges that ran the length up the trailer in the center section. These metal plates were about 2 inches long and pointed up at a 20 degree angle. When the car was placed on the trailer the plates pointed directly at the frame rails. I would have to be very careful during loading to not skid the frame rails on the protruding edges. With a spotter...it wasn't very hard. The car also ran up on the trailer without blocks. I think the short nose helped a lot in that respect.

After loading the car and chaining it down the towing wasn't a problem.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Tow it front wheels down. I've done it before, very easy, and no problems.
No *****? The directions on their towing pamphlet rather strictly caution against this. Then again, they tell you not to reverse the truck with the trailer on it, which I assume is due to people not knowing how to properly reverse a trailer. Of course, what I do with it after I leave their lot is my business... You leave the steering column locked, I assume?

I'm really hoping the car carrier works out. I've used it before (carrying my Integra from OH to CA) and despite being longer & heavier, I find it relatively easy to maneuver given its very short wheelbase and the greater distance from the tongue to the axles.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:37 PM   #7
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A set of ramps ( be sure they are sturdy before you back a loaded truck onto them) under the rear wheels of the truck will make loading the miata on the trailer much easier.

I would be concerned about dragging whichever end is not on the dolly as you enter and exit places.

My vote is the trailer.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:49 PM   #8
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You can reverse with a trailer no prob (as long as you know how to reverse a truck with a trailer). Just do NOT reverse with a car on the dolly. Too many pivot points. It will not behave!
\
/
\

It will do that^ and possibly jam the dolly into your car.

I drove across the country with one, and nearly got stuck having to dismount the car from the dolly when I pulled into a hotel parking lot that from the street looked like it wrapped around the whole building. Luckily, it was 6 degrees out, so I had no problem driving a fully loaded uHaul with car dolly over some grass to an adjoining lot.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:02 PM   #9
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I got mine on the U-Haul trailer, no problem. If it's lowered, you're gonna have to use the same steps you'd take to get it up on a set of ramps (lay down stacks of 2x6), but it will sit on the trailer fine.

I towed mine with a Jeep, and the trailer was heavier than the Miata.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:17 PM   #10
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I towed a lowered (2" drop IIRC) parts car with a Uhaul 4 wheel trailer, no issues, needed a spotter but it drove up just fine.

I personally would not make such a big trek with a dolly.

lol, and as rleete said, the trailer was heavier then the miata. It was pulled (100 miles?) by a F150, no issues.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:54 PM   #11
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Chris has got it right- I did that with an F150 and my SSC Miata for years. The problem with towing the Miata with rear wheels on the ground is that you're loading up the wrong side of the r&p teeth. It will fail on your trip.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
No *****? The directions on their towing pamphlet rather strictly caution against this.
Biased for FWD?

Quote:
Then again, they tell you not to reverse the truck with the trailer on it, which I assume is due to people not knowing how to properly reverse a trailer. Of course, what I do with it after I leave their lot is my business... You leave the steering column locked, I assume?
Protecting 90% from the dumbest 10%. Backing a trailer isn't too tough.

Center the steering wheel and tie it to the roll bar.


Quote:
I'm really hoping the car carrier works out. I've used it before (carrying my Integra from OH to CA) and despite being longer & heavier, I find it relatively easy to maneuver given its very short wheelbase and the greater distance from the tongue to the axles.
Carrier is great because it uses their tires instead of yours, but the dolly is pretty nice. The better ones have a pivot point where the tounge meets the transverse part, making tight turns a breeze.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:25 PM   #13
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in a manual trans car, the drive wheels can be on the ground and trans in nuetral and you can tow it with no problems at all. also, if you tow it with the front wheels on the ground TIE OFF THE STEERING WHEEL, i can not express how important that is. the steering lock should be enough, but they can and will brake. just take your seatbelt and pull it all the way out, loop it through the bottom of the steering wheel then hook it up.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:31 PM   #14
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I've heard that pulling a miata long distances on the drive wheels can damage the rear bearings in the transmission?? Don't know if thats true, but I wouldn't wanna chance it myself.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:32 PM   #15
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Ok, lots of opinions...

I don't think my plastic ramps will accommodate a truck with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs, but perhaps terrain can be made to work to my advantage.

I'll stop by Lowe's on the way there and pick up some 2x6 sections- probably get two 6' lengths and have em cut to 2.5' and 3.5' there at the store.

I really want to avoid the dolly if possible.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:33 PM   #16
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you could pull the diff out too
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:37 PM   #17
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I picked up a lowered 97M(fm springs) with a U-haul trailer. Had no trouble getting it onto the trailer. Well other than having to push it up since the car didn't run.

According to the 1994 Owners manual:

"A towed vehicle usually should have its rear wheels off the ground. If excessive damage or other conditions prevent this, use wheel dollies."
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:51 PM   #18
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I've towed my miata 2 separate times from school to home. 300 miles each time, always the rear wheels on the ground on a uhaul tow dolly with fm old springs. Never once an issue.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:52 PM   #19
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Any junkyard should have a stack of 4x100 rims/tires out front for $10ea. Find 2 w/some tread and save your good rubber.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:31 AM   #20
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You can't back a dolly at all. It's way too close to the back of the vehicle to control.

Otherwise, I agree with the people. If you've gotta do a tow dolly, put the front wheels on the ground. Otherwise, trailer is the way to go.

I learned with my M3 that I could go up stuff like rollback tow trucks backwards but could not forwards because the bumper would get smashed. Your mileage may vary but give it a shot.
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