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Old 01-18-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Towing capacity

Hey all, I had a question.

With FM offering those trailer hitches, I got to thinking. What is the towing capacity of our cars now that we have a turbo and make on average, twice the power of a stock Miata (which was rated at 1500lbs if I recall properly).

I'm planning a trip to Yellowstone and I want the car to be able to pull a small luggage trailer with camping and other gear in it.

Anyone happen to know?
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Towing capacity has more to do with stopping power than pulling power due to the weight of the trailer pushing the car when stopping. I don't see any real improvement in towing capacity due to additional HP. Possibly a slight improvement due to running larger tires which will give a bigger contact patch when braking.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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Many folks pull a light 4'x4' trailer with race tires and a toolbox. You should be fine with a small trailer and reasonably light camping gear (I probably wouldn't bring my old 10'x12' canvas tent). Keep in mind that most (all?) of Yellowstone is above 7k feet of altitude (turbo is good) and there are some considerable hills in the area.

It's probably the steepest route, but WY14 through the Bighorn mountains (Sheridan->Greybull) is absolutely incredible, though it of course would be even better w/o the trailer.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:14 PM   #4
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Stock Miatas have an official towing capacity of ZERO pounds. The owner's manual (at least in the US) says that towing is not recommended.

Engine power is about the least important tow vehicle attribute, coming behind things like braking, chassis strength, transmission/driveline strength, cooling, tongue weight capacity, etc. Having too little engine for your trailer just means you go up hills more slowly. Having too little of any of the other things is a much bigger problem.

I've pulled a tire trailer behind my Miata before and it worked fine. I wouldn't want to go much over a couple hundred pounds, though.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:20 PM   #5
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I've pulled some silly things with my miata. Very silly. Big Brake Kit is your friend when doing things like that.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #6
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Absolutely, my intent is to pack maybe 200#s into a trailer; a small assortment of tools in the event I need to fix something, 4-5 days in clothes for two people, a cooler etc.

Wonder if I can squeeze some electric brakes into a trailer..

Edit: I remember seeing a car pulling a trailer made out of a clip of the same car using the back half as a trunk-trailer-thing. Shame the Miata's trunk is so small...
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_Idiot View Post
Edit: I remember seeing a car pulling a trailer made out of a clip of the same car using the back half as a trunk-trailer-thing. Shame the Miata's trunk is so small...
You mean this miata trailer?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:30 PM   #8
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1,000 lbs is the stated towing capacity of my car.

FM's hitch attachment is pretty beefy, and attaches to pretty beefy points on my car. I'd be confident towing a 1,000lb load with it, but I'd rather not.

My car works a lot harder at highway speeds with the tire trailer behind it. I'm guessing the total load there is about 350lbs.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
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1,000 lbs is the stated towing capacity of my car.
Not according to Mazda.


I got a lot of strange looks doing this but it pulled fine, a little disconcerting looking at it in the rear view mirror though. Wikipedia says the Blaster weighs 324lbs



Never had a single problem towing a tire trailer to autox 45 miles away. I wouldn't have any concerns with loading up a HF trailer with 2-300lbs of camping gear assuming your car maintenance is good, you don't have shitty brake pads, and the trailer tracks true.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:56 PM   #10
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Gold Wing motocycles pull trailers that weigh 125lbs and are rated to 400lbs. I would not have a problem pulling a small trailer with camping gear.

Hustler posted somewhere that he was pulled over by a cop because the officer didn't think that the Miata was rated to tow. After Hustler showed him some documentation (not sure what documentation he produced) he was set free.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:00 PM   #11
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I'm going to get some front brake ducts to cool the brakes, but I have good Hawk pads. Wouldn't want to go downhill for a long time while braking, but they work very well for autocross. My dad has some sort of hydraulic braking system for trailers that uses the force from the car braking to make the trailer brake too, maybe I'll try that to lessen the load on the pads a bit.

How has everyone's fuel economy been while pulling sub-500# loads? I imagine it takes a good chunk out of our already bad fuel economy lol
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:49 AM   #12
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Fuel economy suffers. The faster you go the more it suffers.

You shouldn't need to be on the brakes for a long time going downhill anyway. Proper use of downshifting and engine braking should take care of most all hills. Brake ducts shouldn't be necessary either. If your trailer is working the car that hard you need a different tow vehicle I double-checked my owner's manual. It says "Do not tow a trailer with your Mazda." Lol.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #13
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I towed a 4x6 Wells Cargo for 2 seasons. It towed just fine on the MSM making ~250whp with good brakes. I had tools, fuel, spares and two sets of tires in there at times and never felt like it was too much. That car could get 30 to 33mph at 70mph without the trailer but around 18mpg at 70 with the trailer. It was always funny to pass 'performance' sedans going up mountain passes.

Later in my time with it, I started to experiment and found 5th gear at 60mph would get me to around 23mpg (with 3.63 gears, 6th would bog at that lower speed). The aero forces on the brick were significantly higher at 70 than 60. Ironically, I seemed to get better mileage with the top down with the trailer.

I retired the MSM from track duty, built a proper track car and bought an F150 and tandem flatbed so now I'm proper. For your road trip plans, don't worry about the little trailer - it will be fine.

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_Idiot View Post
I'm going to get some front brake ducts to cool the brakes, but I have good Hawk pads. Wouldn't want to go downhill for a long time while braking, but they work very well for autocross. My dad has some sort of hydraulic braking system for trailers that uses the force from the car braking to make the trailer brake too, maybe I'll try that to lessen the load on the pads a bit.
I wouldn't bother with surge brakes on a 300 pound trailer, that just adds another 50 pounds of crap to it. Keep it light.

My tire trailer was built off the $200 HF kit and, without the tires in tools in it, was light enough that I could just barely pick it up by myself:


Even with the tires and tools loaded on it, I doubt it weighed more than 250 pounds, and when loaded up for going to the track I was within the GVWR of the Miata. AFAIK nobody even makes brakes that would fit it, and even if they had it would have been a complete waste to install them.

As for fuel efficiency, I actually got better milage with my tire trailer than without, because I tended to drive slower.

--Ian
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:35 PM   #15
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I've had cops jack with me twice, both times they could not cite me though. My car weighs 2380 with driver and my typical tow eight is 2800, lol. Never had a problem but I have gigantic brakes with race pads. If I stay under 80 I can get 20-24 mpg. 500lb rear springs help.

I've probably pulled 12-15000 miles with that trailer.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
I've had cops jack with me twice, both times they could not cite me though. My car weighs 2380 with driver and my typical tow eight is 2800, lol. Never had a problem but I have gigantic brakes with race pads. If I stay under 80 I can get 20-24 mpg. 500lb rear springs help.

I've probably pulled 12-15000 miles with that trailer.
The only problem I ran into towing was transmission oil running up the speedometer cable and landing in my lap.


















j/k
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:12 PM   #17
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Good reading, glad others can say they've done it without issue. I think my next mod will be a 6-speed or Quaife because this is just more abuse for my transmission lol.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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I had a 94 civic coupe with the 1.5L in it and I towed a fulled dressed Honda Foreman 450 on a 4x8 trailer all over creation. I also did about $40,000 of renovations to my house loading the trailer way over what it should have. 450,000Km on that car and it still ran like a top. My miata has 4.30's and now has a 1.8L so towing anything substantial doesn't worry me in the least. I think they actually make a decent machine for towing moderate loads.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_Idiot View Post
Edit: I remember seeing a car pulling a trailer made out of a clip of the same car using the back half as a trunk-trailer-thing. Shame the Miata's trunk is so small...
Quote:
Originally Posted by shuiend View Post
You mean this miata trailer?
Buy this guys one lol: Miata trailer "unique"
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der_Idiot View Post
Good reading, glad others can say they've done it without issue. I think my next mod will be a 6-speed or Quaife because this is just more abuse for my transmission lol.
Quaife, lololol. It's not better than the Torsen.
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