General towing question

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General towing question

Postby Phishstyx » Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:24 pm

So I'm taking my camper out tomorrow for the first time and I have very little towing experience. I have an 08 saturn astra with a manual transmission. My question is for towing should I keep it in 4th gear or shift to 5th. I've read online that the gear ratio in 5th is kinda small and should not be used for towing. I just want to hear from the professionals and people with actial experience. Any advice is appreciated. Also I'm only going about 200 miles in very flat Florida. Trailer fully loaded will weigh somewhere around 800-850lbs. Towing capacity for my car is 1388lbs. What do you all think?
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Re: General towing question

Postby KennethW » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:19 pm

If you have to have the car floored in 5th shift down to 4th. :thinking:
You should be able to judge whether you are lugging the engine too hard.
When towing always allow more room to stop. Stay safe.
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Re: General towing question

Postby Phishstyx » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:04 pm

Good to know. I definitely am leaving a lot of room for braking. Don't plan on taking past 65mph too.
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Re: General towing question

Postby GerryS » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:19 pm

Towing is easy....just remember you've got an extra 15 feet of trailer behind you, braking is a lot harder and you shouldn't drive it like you stole it.

Take your turns a little wider. I set my side mirrors down so I can see my wheels for the first few turns....learn where they track when you turn.

Backing is where it gets different. Lots of posts on that subject...practice when no one is watching, your first time will be ugly...it is for everyone. When backing be most careful of "binding" where your tow vehicle makes contact with the trailer...that can get expensive.
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Re: General towing question

Postby Redneck Teepee » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:05 am

GerryS wrote:Towing is easy....just remember you've got an extra 15 feet of trailer behind you, braking is a lot harder and you shouldn't drive it like you stole it.

Take your turns a little wider. I set my side mirrors down so I can see my wheels for the first few turns....learn where they track when you turn.

Backing is where it gets different. Lots of posts on that subject...practice when no one is watching, your first time will be ugly...it is for everyone. When backing be most careful of "binding" where your tow vehicle makes contact with the trailer...that can get expensive.


All good points Gerry has mentioned....I tell anyone learning to back a trailer to go to an empty parking lot on weekends or evenings that has lines painted, and practice putting it right between them to get a feel for it. Not much to hit in an empty lot. Good luck :thumbsup:
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Re: General towing question

Postby gudmund » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:12 pm

before your first trip out, go to a big - big open parking lot and do some circle driving to get a feel for it along with watching the mirrors. Practice backing up. Something I also did on my parking lot drive was to do a right and left tight turning circle - making the tightest circle the vehicle will make, than stopping and getting out to see how close the trailer does come to the back bumper which also will give a visual in your rear view mirror on how tight/close you can back up so as not to jack-knife when backing up. I now have a strip of reflective red tape - taped up & down on each side of my tongue box that will come into view in my mirrors when I back up and get too close to jack-knifing so as not to damage the truck or trailer. I'm sure others will be able to pass on some other towing ideas. Take care.
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Re: General towing question

Postby Graniterich » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:16 pm

A trick tought to me years ago still comes in handy. Practice in a parking lot, put hand on bottom of steering wheel palm up, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. If I am backing up and trailer starts going to the right, I put my hand on bottom and move left.
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Re: General towing question

Postby Socal Tom » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:36 am

Read your owners manual, and follow what it says. In many cars, the bearing used for 5th is quite small, and the extra load placed on it by towing will cause it to over heat ( whether its floored or not). I might consider 5th for areas when I was headed slightly downhill, or had a strong tail wind.
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Re: General towing question

Postby rowerwet » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:14 pm

While you're in that parking lot, practice a few panic stops and abrupt lane changes. Start at 35, then 45, etc. It will give you a good idea of how far ahead you need to monitor and what a good following distance is.
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Re: General towing question

Postby daveesl77 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:40 pm

Every now and then look out your side mirrors, primarily towards the trailer wheel area and also down the line of the trailer. If you see smoke, stop immediately. If you notice the trailer tail wobbling a fair amount, you need more weight on the tongue or less in the rear. Whenever you stop, check your rims by putting your hand to them. See if they feel really warm or hot. They can be kind of warm, and in the summer the sun side will be a bit hot, but if it seems too hot, you might have a bearing problem. IF you think that is the problem, touch the hub, if really hot, you have a problem.

Check your ball mount and chains when you stop. Only takes a second to do all of this and can make a world of difference.

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Re: General towing question

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:54 pm

daveesl77 wrote:Whenever you stop, check your rims by putting your hand to them. See if they feel really warm or hot. They can be kind of warm, and in the summer the sun side will be a bit hot, but if it seems too hot, you might have a bearing problem. IF you think that is the problem, touch the hub, if really hot, you have a problem.

dave

I usually touch the side of the car, then touch the hub. If the hub is hotter significantly hotter than the side of the TV, then its a problem. If the hubs are properly greased, then they shouldn't be any hotter. I can't believe how often I've seen people rub a little grease on wheel bearings and think its enough. The inside of the hub should be FULL of grease.
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Re: General towing question

Postby DrewsBrews » Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:08 am

My TV has a 1.5l manual trans with no tow rating. I pulled about 1500lb+ from Ohio to Colorado and back using mostly 5th gear. I've noticed no difference in the transmission... noise or otherwise. Though that doesn't mean your car isn't designed differently.
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Re: General towing question

Postby Tomterrific » Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:29 am

This is very important: Pack your trailer nose/tongue heavy. A dart must have it's weight in its nose or it will not fly straight, a trailer is the same. The trailers seen turned over in the middle of the interstate have been loaded so the heavy stuff is in the back behind the wheels. A costly and dangerous mistake.

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