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Old 11-13-2010, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Tow vehicle

Hey guys,

Am I dreaming if I think I can pull my Miata with my V6 2002 Audi A4 - 220hp 221tq, manual? Either using a trailer or a tow dolly. I'm at the point where I want to do more to my Miata but will be too difficult to make street legal (don't know the right people)

I know there was a thread about tow vehicles a while back but I couldn't find it.

Thanks
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:55 AM   #2
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On flat, dry ground with no semi rigs around you? sure.

I just towed back from Willow Springs on Sunday - wet roads, semi rigs traveling the other direction, STRONG crosswinds, all 2-lane highways. Up to you whether you'd put a 3000-4000lb load behind an A4 in those conditions. Every time a wall of water hit the truck from a passing semi-rig I was reminded why I own a 3/4 ton truck.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:25 AM   #3
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Is this going to kill my clutch? I've never towed anything before, so I have no idea how these things will affect driving - I can only imagine.

Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:55 AM   #4
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Honestly the clutch is the last of your worries. Worry about stability in wind/rain, worry about downhill grades, worry about semi rigs pushing you around. Power is the last thing you should address in a tow rig.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:38 AM   #5
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In Europe this is a typical tow rig; the USA thinks you need a Peterbilt to pull a utility trailer. I've been stoppd twice because police thing my tire trailer is over-loading the Miata.

Edit:
I should also add that I've towed tons of **** with small trucks and SUVs. The biggest discrepancy in American towing advice was pulling an F350 on an 1800lb trailer with a supercharged Xterra from Dallas to DesMoines, through a couple rainstorms. I'd rather pull with the 1-ton dually of course, but you'll be fine especially if you can find a light "stripper" trailer.

Last edited by hustler; 11-13-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:02 AM   #6
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I know a guy that tows Miata's with Miata's all the time.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
In Europe this is a typical tow rig; the USA thinks you need a Peterbilt to pull a utility trailer.
I saw the thread with that euro guy towing his Miata with an Alfa.

Should I get a full trailer, or is a dolly going to be ok? Does a dolly or trailer need brakes when towing a car? I'm a complete towing noob. Towing a Miata with a Miata would be pretty gangster, so broke back.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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I would go with a dolly. Try to keep the weight/wind resistance to a minimum. A really light car trailer is going to set you back alot more than a nice dolly too.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:53 AM   #9
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I looked into this once -- the lightest car trailer I could find (Featherlite 3110 14') is 1200 pounds, add the 2400 for my Miata and 3600 was almost double the 2000 pound rating of my Audi. ('04 S4 Avant). I'll go a little over the rating for a shortish flat tow, but that's pushing it.

Tow dollys are 400-500 pounds, so you're at plus 40% and you're towing 80% of the weight of the tow vehicle. Brakes are a really good idea with a trailer weighing that much, I *think* you can get dollys with brakes, not sure. Electric brakes need a brake controller in the tow vehicle (and I doubt you can get the plug-in harness for an A4 -- they're usually sold for use in trucks), so you'll probably need surge brakes. Even so, it doesn't sound like a particularly great idea...

I've seen people flat tow Miatas, with a bar that bolts into the front where the factory tiedowns were. No brakes though, and reportedly the handling of a towed car like that gets a little strange.

This is why I bought a Chevy.

--Ian
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgmorr View Post
I'm a complete towing noob.
No offense, but it shows. From what I can find, your A4 has no towing capacity, but not only are you asking whether it's capable of handling a 4000+lb flatbed trailer, you're asking whether it should have brakes or not?

You can't tow a 4000lb miata/trailer combo safely with a station wagon. I'm sure half the forum will be along shortly to tell us all about how they towed their Miata halfway across the country with their 10-speed Schwinn, but ask anyone who tows on a regular basis and they will laugh at the idea.

You don't need a big truck - even old Pathfinders are rated for 5000lbs. Any reasonably-sized SUV/truck will do the trick - Pathfinder, Xterra, older Tacomas, etc. A full-sized V8 pickup will be a bit more comfortable up hills and probably get the same mileage. If you're towing with a smaller SUV, brakes are a must, but IMO you can get away without them if you're towing with a full-sized truck (Silverado, F150, etc).

I don't mean to sound like a dick, but I tow a LOT, easily 10,000 miles a year, and I can't imagine dragging a car on a trailer with a sedan or a small station wagon. Maybe I'm spoiled but it doesn't seem safe to me at all. Go to HPDE events or SCCA/NASA events and count the number of people towing with trucks and SUVs vs. the people towing with station wagons.

Last edited by Savington; 11-14-2010 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:49 AM   #11
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Yeah, I figured. I've never seen anyone towing with a regular sedan, I was mostly just curious. I'll probably start looking for a proper tow vehicle. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I don't mean to sound like a dick, but I tow a LOT, easily 10,000 miles a year, and I can't imagine dragging a car on a trailer with a sedan or a small station wagon. Maybe I'm spoiled but it doesn't seem safe to me at all. Go to HPDE events or SCCA/NASA events and count the number of people towing with trucks and SUVs vs. the people towing with station wagons.
Don't go to Europe.

Is there any chance you California boys have pictures of Manly Kao's awesome trailer? I want to do something similar and use the GF's Cherokee.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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i've wanted a buick roadmaster wagon for towing but couldn't find a clean or good running one for less than 6-7k. for that i'd just buy a fullsize truck. i actually just bought a tahoe from a friend for about half that with low miles, couldn't pass it up. soooo much more comfortable than driving my miata to the track. the wind noise and heat/cold were exhausting. anyway's, brakes are the most important thing when towing. wind blowing you around isn't that big a deal, but it's almost gauranteed that your gonna be surprised by a traffic backup or someone pulling out in front of you atleast once every other trip. trying to stop 2x the towing vehicles weight will tax any stock braking system, especially if the pads are worn out or the fluid is boiled. you probably don't need a bbk, but performance pads and super blue fluid would be smart.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:56 PM   #14
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Edit: Can't be bothered. Just go ahead and buy the truck.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:25 PM   #15
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I just got a 96 3/4 ton diesel silverado for 2500 with 129k on it. It's ugly but will tow anything pointless post but I am excited about it
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:24 PM   #16
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I have my eye on a flatbed tow truck here. This would be ridiculous!
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Don't go to Europe.

Is there any chance you California boys have pictures of Manly Kao's awesome trailer? I want to do something similar and use the GF's Cherokee.
A country in Europe is smaller then most states in the US and from what I've heard, the drivers don't have their heads up their asses like most do in the states.

A4- HELL NO!!!! Your taxing everything on the car

XJ- I've done it, its okay, but hopefully you have trailer brakes or the trailer will push you right along.

Tahoe's actually tow very nicely. I picked a heavier F-body up with one using a brick of a U-haul trailer and it pulled great, even through the hills. Auto leveling air shocks are FTW.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:41 PM   #18
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It just doesn't look right.
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:13 PM   #19
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^^Ha Ha

I agree that an A4 would not be a good idea for a trailer. You probably could, but would it be a good idea? I could probably get away with carrying a concealed weapon with out a permit, and drive like an ******* with expired tags, for a while. But eventually it would catch up to me, and I don't think it would be too pleasant.

Back in the old days people would tow trailers with cars, but those were very heavy cars that had enough weight and power to handle the loads. And even though Europeans do it, I don't think it applies here. Roads are different, drivers are different, trailers are much lighter over there.

If you can afford to own a track miata, and an Audi, you could probably swing several grand for an older truck or suv that sits on the side of your house patiently awaiting towing duties.

It took two min to find this, and there were 100+ other trucks/vans/suvs for under 3K on the site.

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.js...standard=false

you could even sleep in it.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cococarbine3 View Post
It just doesn't look right.
It is 5.7 Chevy power.....
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