Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So the girlfriend and I just bought an '86 Mustang as a toy car. We want to start doing some autocross events, and maybe some other events - one being taking the car on a 3000 mile round trip to South Dakota. While it could make it under its own power, I think I would prefer to tow it. I have read a number of other threads on the topic, and saw many mixed reviews. The car is about 3100lbs. I have a 2012 auto 4x4 with a factory hitch. I do not have a trailer yet. My dilemma / options:
1. Add air bags, brake controller, weight distributing / sway control hitch. Find a trailer that weighs 1500lbs or less, bringing total weight to 4600 or so. I also saw some recommendations for an secondary tranny cooler.
2. Buy a cheaper ($3000) F250 to do the job. I'm thinking an early 90's fuel injected 4.9 I6. Could probably find a trailer for cheaper (that doesn't weigh so little)

I know gas mileage will be terrible towing with the X. Thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

Also if anyone has a recommendation for a cheap lightweight car trailer, that would be great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I had thought of that, and it is a viable option. I would prefer a full trailer though. I also know some RWD vehicles, regardless of disconnecting the driveshaft, can be damaged from being towed like this (lubrication of the rear diff..). I would need to look into my mustang some more. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

·
on line
Joined
·
8,599 Posts
A dolly would be a option but if your thinkin about getting serious with this then I wouldn't. It wil put a lot of miles on your car and you will have to remove drive shaft and swap tires every time u tow.
I would suggest air bags if ur gonna make the X a dedicated tow vehicle.
If you haven't towed with the X yet then get out and just try it. The short wheel base can feel a little touchy.

That and you will be putting all the miles on ur X as well. So it might be better to just pick up a tow rig. That is if you have the space for it.
You could get a pickup and then get a drop in camper for the bed! A lot of events have camping/staging/overnight areas.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Haha, I have nothing against Camaros!

And yes, truck may be the best option. I've heard that 4.9 engine can get high teens when towing, which would help also.

Side note, does anyone know if airbags are warranty friendly?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,316 Posts
Haha, I have nothing against Camaros!

And yes, truck may be the best option. I've heard that 4.9 engine can get high teens when towing, which would help also.

Side note, does anyone know if airbags are warranty friendly?
Dunno what your budget is, certainly a truck would be the best option. But I would be hesitant to get an older beater truck (if that's what your budget allows for) and drive 3,000 miles with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Nissan certified warranty is what I have. 7 years or 100k.

I agree about the risk of a beater truck breaking down. I would go through it pretty well, and hopefully have it to drive around town for a few months before the trip.

Anyone know of some good lightweight car haulers? I have searched quite a bit, and found some 1500lb trailers in the $2500 range. That's more than I would like to spend on a trailer though.
 

·
on line
Joined
·
616 Posts
I wouldn't hesitate to pull a trailer right up to the 5000# tow rating of the Xterra. There shouldn't be an issue with any airbags in terms of warranty, unless you install them incorrectly or break something installing them. Of course, any dealer can try to play games, but I had my rear axle replaced due to leaking seals and the airbags were left alone by the dealer and attached to the new axle without comment. I didn't even know that there was an issue with the rear axle, but the dealer decided that it needed to be replaced and got approval before even talking to me. The rear axle is more than capable of dealing with towing.

If you are really concerned, the airbags can be removed before servicing. With the Firestone airbags, its probably a 30 minute deal for both sides.

A sway control hitch with load leveling eliminates the need for the airbags. But it will cost you more money and adds complexity to the whole thing. But, it's a good idea if you can swing it and your trailer can accommodate it. Its certainly not necessary for a car hauler that weighs less than 5000# loaded. Sway will not be a problem if the trailer is loaded properly. I highly recommend a brake controller. The stock trailer hitch wiring has a provision for it and Nissan sells a wiring kit that allows for the sway controller hookup without butchering your wiring harness. See: http://www.thenewx.org/forum/showthread.php?t=16345&highlight=brake+controller

The real issue with towing 5000# car hauler is exceeding the Xterra's maximum payload, which is about 1100# (empty weight of the truck, 4300#, minus the Gross vehicle weight rating which is 5400#). There is also a maximum Maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating which is the combined weight of the truck and trailer, but the payload limit is slightly more restrictive. So, half of that payload goes to tongue weight for the 5000# trailer if its loaded properly. Assuming a 500# tongue weight, you have 600# of payload left in the truck. A full tank of gas weighs about 150#, so after filling up, you have 450# of capacity left for cargo and passengers. Put 350 pounds of passengers in and you have 100# of cargo left. So the real issue is that you can't hook up a 5000# trailer to the Xterra and throw 500# of stuff into the truck and load up a couple of passengers without significantly exceeding the weight limits of the truck.

Can the Xterra handle it? Yes, if you have some sort of load leveling device (airbags, helper springs or equalizing hitch). But it will be a liability issue.

The stock tranny cooler is up to the task of towing as well. But the SMOD issue is something to consider. I haven't kept up with whether Nissan has solved the problem yet, but I also agree that an aftermarket cooler will probably work better in extending the life of the transmission. I have a 6 speed manual, so its not a concern for me.

Here's one of me towing a 5000# car hauler with airbags:

 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top