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Towing Impressions with the Xterra

48973 Views 117 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  Tlrtucker
Towing with the Xterra

I just got back from a trip which involved towing a 6x12 U-Haul weighing about 3500's. While no where close to the tow rating of the X, it gave me a pretty good idea of how the X handles towing.

Here's my impressions:

Power: There's plenty for towing at this weight. On the flats and slight inclines, 6th gear and cruise control worked at speeds up to 75mph.

On larger hills, a downshift to 5th was all that was required. Cruise control would hold up to 75mph with out any problem.

Accelerating up to speed was a snap, especially once the engine was above about 3000 rpm's.

Technically, I could have left it in 5th the entire time, but I wanted a little better mileage.

Mileage at speeds from 65 to 75mph varied from a high of 13.5 to a low of 11.8. This is a 6 speed manual that is just past its break-in period.

Brakes worked well. The U-Haul has hydraulic surge brakes. I didn't test full bore stops, but stopping power seemed adequate.

Handling was good. The very responsive steering of the X requires a bit of getting used to, but it's no different than when it's unloaded. There was no sway evident, except after my first attempt to load the trailer. I had temporarily loaded a Dana 60 and 14 Bolt axle in the back half of the trailer to transport them a short distance before I reloaded the trailer. Once I reloaded the trailer, all was good. Weight distribution ended up being about 70% front and 30% back, so it was a bit front heavy.

Suspension: This is the only thing I can find fault with. The rear of the Xterra sagged more that I would have liked, but this is not unexpected. Overall sag was about 2 at the hitch. It was not on the bump stops and did not bottom out very often. I would run a weight distributing hitch at tongue weights over about 300's but these are not recommended with U-Hauls.

Overall, this is a pretty good little tow vehicle within its limits.

-Old Army
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First of all..great post!

The xterra has a fairly high rating for towing capacity for a vehicle of its size.

I have towed quite a bit of rock (on a trailer of course :blackeye: ) with the new X and I too noticed the rear end sag on my first load of rock which was about 3400 lbs. Distribution seems to be a key element with the X. On my 02 frontier (which had a lower tow capacity) I could load 70/30 loaded towards the front and everything was A-OK, not so with the X. It seems to need to be about 55/45 heavy on the front to be able to tow correctly.

I plan on doing some testing (unless someone posts up that they already did it) with tongue weights and an approximate drop in inches on the rear bumper to ground clearance based on tongue weight. I seem to have found (by eyesight) that any more than 2 inches drop when loaded is too much. The bump stops should never hit the frame of a truck carrying a properly loaded trailer.

Thanks for the great post as I was thinking of posting something like it. I definately agree that power seems to be no issue with the 4.o!
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