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Can I trailer an NSX with a small SUV?

Joined
22 November 2001
Messages
760
Has anybody tried trailering an NSX with a small SUV like the RX300? I would like to visit some different tracks this year but don't want to rack up miles on my car getting there. The Uhaul car trailers aren't available for an SUV my size, but what about other car trailers? Also, what about the setup where you pull your car instead of trailering it? Do the miles roll on your odometer when you do this?
 
The NSX should be towed on a flatbed, not on its own wheels. The tow vehicle and equipment needs to be rated at or above the loaded trailer weight. In my case, thats about 4600lbs (NSX + light trailer + other gear), and my 4Runner (rated to 5000) with suspension mods can somewhat safely tow the load.

Overloading the tow vehicle is very, very bad. What is the tow rating for your RX300?
 
You can pick up a dedicated tow vehicle fairly cheap. I tow with a '98 Ford E350 Club Wagon Chateau. It's Ford's nice van ion the 1 ton chassis. 5.4 Triton, 8 lug wheels, etc. I got it for $5600 on ebay a few months ago. It replaced a '94 model of the exact same thing that I got for $3700. It's only purpose is towing and going to home depot, but it is awesome for those tasks.
 
Dave Hardy said:
You can pick up a dedicated tow vehicle fairly cheap. I tow with a '98 Ford E350 Club Wagon Chateau. It's Ford's nice van ion the 1 ton chassis. 5.4 Triton, 8 lug wheels, etc. I got it for $5600 on ebay a few months ago. It replaced a '94 model of the exact same thing that I got for $3700. It's only purpose is towing and going to home depot, but it is awesome for those tasks.

The trouble is where to store it.
 
NSXT said:
That would be a rather unsafe towing situation.

Agreed!
There are many ratings to consider:
GVW - Gross Vehicle weight(s) (for both tow vehicle AND trailer)
CGVW - Combined Gross Vehicle Weight
Hitch Rating
Ball Rating
Traier Tongue Rating

The GVW is the rating that the manufacturer has determined to be max allowable load for this vehicle. All wheels on weight scale.

The CGVW is the combined weight of the tow vehicle and the towed load.
Tow vehicle and trailer(s) on weight scale.

Hitch Rating is the max allowable load that this hitch is designed to pull. This is limited to the materials that are used in the construction of the hitch. There are a number of "ball hitch" classes: Class I, Class II, Class III. Goose Neck, 5th wheel, etc. have different ratings. These Class ratings are dependent upon correct installation (proper grade bolts / welded).

Ball Rating is the shear strength of the bolt/shaft.

Trailer Tongue Rating is the weight of the tongue only (downforce). Most hitches are rated 500# or less for the tongue. It is easy to overload the tongue weight by having a trailer that is too short. Having a trailer that is too short does not allow for a good balance of the load. This can allow for a tongue weight to be too heavy or even worse (MUCH WORSE) a tail heavy trailer condition. The pivot point of the hitch acts as a fulcrom and either places more or less load on the front/rear axles of the tow vehicle. A properly designed hitch allows for some distribution of the tongue weight. There are some devices that assist with the distribution of weight/load such as a "Hitch Equalizer". These devices are generally found on larger type trailers. LOSS OF STEERING CONTROLL is possible with an improperly loaded trailer!

So you can see that the GVW can stay below the mfg's specs with a tongue weight of 500# or less. It is really the CGVW that you need to consider. It is this rating that needs to be considered for max safe towing capacity of the tow vehicle. This rating is determined by the tow vehicle's ability to operate within its design limits and to stop safely while towing the max load. It is easy to overload the GVW when adding 500# tongue weight, full fuel, passengers, baggage, etc. Be careful with what you put into the vehicle. With a properly sized trailer much of this extra weight can be hauled on the trailer, thus keeping the tow vehicle GVW within limits.

Remember that when these max ratings are determined that they are less than the failure point. Hazardous road conditions can create a situation that will challenge the driver and a loss of control can easily stress the tow vehicle, hitch, and trailer past the design loads. Grossly overstressing the hitch/trailer componants can cause extreme damage to the tow vehicle and/or trailer. Hitch breakage or separation is possible. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure that the safety chains are rated properly and attached properly. Use properly rated chain, chain hooks or clevis to attach safety chains. DO NOT use quick couplers! Quick couplers are NOT rated for use on a safety chain. They will break under a severe load!

Make sure that your trailer brakes (if installed) are functioning properly. If your trailer has electric brakes it requires a "Break-Away Battery" ; make sure it is wired properly and is in good condition with a good state of charge. If your trailer has hydrolyc "Surge Brakes" make sure that the system is operating properly. Just as you would not want to operate your motor vehicle with faulty brakes you also would not operate your trailer with faulty brakes.

Seeing tow vehicle and trailers operated in an usafe manner really makes me mad. Not only is the operator endangering himself, his passengers, and his equipment, he is also endangering everyone else on the road near him. I regularly see underrated safety chains and chain latches or safety chains dragging on the ground. Trailers improperly loaded (tongue heavy, tail heavy, or simply over loaded). Tow vehicles over max CGVW. Etc, etc, etc.

If uncertain about any of these Ratings you can contact the Dealer with your VIN# or the hitch / trailer manufacturer to confirm these ratings. Most new vehicles that come with a "Tow Package" from the manufacturer have the GVW / CGVW attached to the vehicle by means of a sticker (usually the same sticker that has VIV# and other info placed in a door jamb).

I hope that this helps those that are unfamilliar with trailers and towing a load. With the right equipment it can be done safely and with minimal worries. For those that are inexperienced with pulling a trailer just be aware that things can happen quickly and to allow a little more distance between you and the next car, braking distance is increased, acceleration is slower, etc. Experience will come over time and many miles traveled. Just give yourself this time to gain the experience and you can have many safe miles ahead of you.
 
Cruzrmm said:
Agreed!
There are many ratings to consider:
GVW - Gross Vehicle weight(s) (for both tow vehicle AND trailer)
CGVW - Combined Gross Vehicle Weight
Hitch Rating
Ball Rating
Traier Tongue Rating

The GVW is the rating that the manufacturer has determined to be max allowable load for this vehicle. All wheels on weight scale.

The CGVW is the combined weight of the tow vehicle and the towed load.
Tow vehicle and trailer(s) on weight scale.

Hitch Rating is the max allowable load that this hitch is designed to pull. This is limited to the materials that are used in the construction of the hitch. There are a number of "ball hitch" classes: Class I, Class II, Class III. Goose Neck, 5th wheel, etc. have different ratings. These Class ratings are dependent upon correct installation (proper grade bolts / welded).

Ball Rating is the shear strength of the bolt/shaft.

Trailer Tongue Rating is the weight of the tongue only (downforce). Most hitches are rated 500# or less for the tongue. It is easy to overload the tongue weight by having a trailer that is too short. Having a trailer that is too short does not allow for a good balance of the load. This can allow for a tongue weight to be too heavy or even worse (MUCH WORSE) a tail heavy trailer condition. The pivot point of the hitch acts as a fulcrom and either places more or less load on the front/rear axles of the tow vehicle. A properly designed hitch allows for some distribution of the tongue weight. There are some devices that assist with the distribution of weight/load such as a "Hitch Equalizer". These devices are generally found on larger type trailers. LOSS OF STEERING CONTROLL is possible with an improperly loaded trailer!

So you can see that the GVW can stay below the mfg's specs with a tongue weight of 500# or less. It is really the CGVW that you need to consider. It is this rating that needs to be considered for max safe towing capacity of the tow vehicle. This rating is determined by the tow vehicle's ability to operate within its design limits and to stop safely while towing the max load. It is easy to overload the GVW when adding 500# tongue weight, full fuel, passengers, baggage, etc. Be careful with what you put into the vehicle. With a properly sized trailer much of this extra weight can be hauled on the trailer, thus keeping the tow vehicle GVW within limits.

Remember that when these max ratings are determined that they are less than the failure point. Hazardous road conditions can create a situation that will challenge the driver and a loss of control can easily stress the tow vehicle, hitch, and trailer past the design loads. Grossly overstressing the hitch/trailer componants can cause extreme damage to the tow vehicle and/or trailer. Hitch breakage or separation is possible. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure that the safety chains are rated properly and attached properly. Use properly rated chain, chain hooks or clevis to attach safety chains. DO NOT use quick couplers! Quick couplers are NOT rated for use on a safety chain. They will break under a severe load!

Make sure that your trailer brakes (if installed) are functioning properly. If your trailer has electric brakes it requires a "Break-Away Battery" ; make sure it is wired properly and is in good condition with a good state of charge. If your trailer has hydrolyc "Surge Brakes" make sure that the system is operating properly. Just as you would not want to operate your motor vehicle with faulty brakes you also would not operate your trailer with faulty brakes.

Seeing tow vehicle and trailers operated in an usafe manner really makes me mad. Not only is the operator endangering himself, his passengers, and his equipment, he is also endangering everyone else on the road near him. I regularly see underrated safety chains and chain latches or safety chains dragging on the ground. Trailers improperly loaded (tongue heavy, tail heavy, or simply over loaded). Tow vehicles over max CGVW. Etc, etc, etc.

If uncertain about any of these Ratings you can contact the Dealer with your VIN# or the hitch / trailer manufacturer to confirm these ratings. Most new vehicles that come with a "Tow Package" from the manufacturer have the GVW / CGVW attached to the vehicle by means of a sticker (usually the same sticker that has VIV# and other info placed in a door jamb).

I hope that this helps those that are unfamilliar with trailers and towing a load. With the right equipment it can be done safely and with minimal worries. For those that are inexperienced with pulling a trailer just be aware that things can happen quickly and to allow a little more distance between you and the next car, braking distance is increased, acceleration is slower, etc. Experience will come over time and many miles traveled. Just give yourself this time to gain the experience and you can have many safe miles ahead of you.

Very good information. The only thing I would amend is that I think you need to leave a lot more distance between you and the next car and not a little. Conservatism pays in this instance.
 
Da Hapa said:
Very good information. The only thing I would amend is that I think you need to leave a lot more distance between you and the next car and not a little. Conservatism pays in this instance.


True, very true.
Following distance is relative to the load, speed, road conditions, and weather.
Driving experience also plays a big factor.
Generally the less experienced the driver - slower and more distance is best.
It is better to be conservative (slow and safe) than to drive beyond the capabilities of you or your equipment.
It is better to arrive a little late than to end up in the ditch or worse...
 
Dave Hardy said:
Well duh - in the 40' x 80' stand alone garage. :biggrin:

Tell you what-
No matter how big your garage is it is never big enough.
I just sold my 52' X 60' w/ 18' walls because it was not big enough!
Non-commercial use only.
Seems like no matter how big you build it you can always find "stuff" to fill it up.
My next garage will be 60' X 120' and hopefully it will take longer to fill it :biggrin:
 
Dave Hardy said:
Well duh - in the 40' x 80' stand alone garage. :biggrin:

No offense intended but easy to say when you live somewhere outside S. CA where you have very little (if you're lucky) open land.
 
Has anyone figured out a three times a year way to trailer an NSX? I hate big trucks and am not about to buy one just to trailer my car. I don't even like the RX300, but the wife wanted it. Is there a vehicle you can rent from Uhaul to trailer a car? What about pulling it on all 4 wheels like the camper people do?
 
DONYMO said:
rent a pickup from Enterprise
they all come with 5,000lb bumpers
add your own ball

You might have a great idea. I checked their website and they rent Chevy S-10's which have a 5200 pound towing capacity for $32 a day. I'm guessing there is something in the contract that prevents you from using it as a tow vehicle, but I would think my insurance would cover me in an accident. I'll look into this.
 
gobble said:
Has anyone figured out a three times a year way to trailer an NSX? I hate big trucks and am not about to buy one just to trailer my car. I don't even like the RX300, but the wife wanted it. Is there a vehicle you can rent from Uhaul to trailer a car? What about pulling it on all 4 wheels like the camper people do?

I've seen rental companies with panel vans for rent (ie econolline vans). those might work.
 
gobble said:
Has anyone figured out a three times a year way to trailer an NSX? I hate big trucks and am not about to buy one just to trailer my car. I don't even like the RX300, but the wife wanted it. Is there a vehicle you can rent from Uhaul to trailer a car? What about pulling it on all 4 wheels like the camper people do?

Yes, you can rent a truck and trailer combination from U-Haul, Penske, or a few other rental agencies.

If were only once a year then OK
Twice a year, maybe.
Three or four times a year would probably not be cost effective, especially if you plan on doing this for more than 1 year.

You will find that owning a truck and trailer will allow you to do many things not usually done in passenger vehicles (obviously).

Buy a tow vehicle a little older that has depreciated and yet is still in good condition with low miles. The longer wheelbase vehicles will give a more comfortable ride quality. You don't have to buy a "truck". A Surburban or a simillar vehicle works nicely. A truck offers more versitility, but you will have a trailer to haul stuff around.

A reasonably priced 2-axle car trailer should not cost more than $2,500 - $3,500 or less. Enclosed trailers will cost substantially more but are worth the investment if you travel great distances or in bad weather.

But really, if you want to haul it yourself and you don't want to buy a tow vehicle and trailer then your only option is a rental truck / trailer. Your statement "I hate big trucks" " I don't even like the RX300" makes me ask why you would consider renting a big U-Haul type truck / trailer? Many of the rental trucks are pretty abused and have their problems. At least if you owned your tow vehicle and trailer you would know they are in good condition. Heck, you could just purchase a tow vehicle and rent only the car trailer from the rental agency. Although, even renting just the trailer can be expensive after paying for the day(s), mileage, and insurance charges.

Finally, if you care about your NSX (of course you do!) DO NOT tow it on the ground. DO NOT use tow bars or tow dollies. The chance of damage is great and the potential of rock chips is extreme.

Maybe you can find someone close to you that would haul it for you? A fellow car enthusiast perhaps. I get people asking me to haul cars, backhoes, dozers, furniture, and all kinds of stuff. You may consider advertising in your local newspaper for someone that has suitable equipment that would do it for you for a reasonable charge.

CAUTION: Be SURE that you have insurance to cover you and your vehicle if you put your car on any trailer. Many times the trailer will be covered but the load is not covered. You may need Cargo insurance. Be especially cautious if you "hire it done". See that they have insurance in writing! If it is a commercial carrier ask to see their MC# and ICC#. If it is someone other than a commercial carrier you will need to call your insurance agent to see what needs to be done to protect yourself and your car.

It may seem complicated but really it is quite simple once you have done it a few times.
 
Last edited:
DONYMO said:
rent a pickup from Enterprise
they all come with 5,000lb bumpers
add your own ball

Personally I would not tow any trailer weighing more than 3,500# on a OEM bumper hitch.
The safety margin is very small.

Even "Step" bumpers like Barden Bumper and other aftermarket bumpers are marginal when towing loads that approach their maximum rating.
These bumpers are still dependant upon the mounting hardware/bolts.
I have seen more than one bumper fall off when towing a trailer!

If it were a custom built bumper then I would have to consider the quality of the fabrication.

IMO- Any towed load in excess of 3,500# should be towed using a receiver type hitch with a rating equal to or in excess of the load towed.

Remember that the GVW of the load is the combined weight of the trailer and what is on the trailer. Simple built 2-axle trailers can weigh +/- 1,250# aluminum or +/- 1,650 steel. Custom built trailers can weigh much more. NSX +/- 3,200# , race gear or accessories, tools, tires, etc. You approach the 5,000# max quickly!

Also- a bumper hitch does not displace the load at all. The weight is hanging on the rear bumper- The further behind the rear axle the more fulcrom leverage. The rear axle is the pivot point of the load. A receiver type hitch displaces some of this load forward and reduces the leverage.
 
Maybe a Lincoln Aviator, rather than the RX!
 
Cruzrmm said:
Simple built 2-axle trailers can weigh +/- 1,250# aluminum or +/- 1,650 steel. Custom built trailers can weigh much more. NSX +/- 3,200# , race gear or accessories, tools, tires, etc. You approach the 5,000# max quickly!
Wrong. My 2 axle aluminium trailer weighs about 880 US pounds and has a maximum load of about 4,400. My stripped NSX has 2711 pounds with full tank - so I trailer about 3,600 pounds with no problem with my relatively small Diesel Ford Mondeo (is allowed to tow 3,970 when the trailer has brakes).

Things like tools, tires etc. should of course not be transported on the trailer but in the towing car itself.

Conclusion: You don't even need a SUV to tow a NSX - looks like that:
 

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Andrie Hartanto said:
Unless you are carying a load amount of stuff that you can't carry in the NSX, why tow? I hate towing. It extend the travel time, prep time and hassle.

I don't want to rack up more miles on the car than I have to.
 
Andrie Hartanto said:
Unless you are carying a load amount of stuff that you can't carry in the NSX, why tow? I hate towing. It extend the travel time, prep time and hassle.
My worry would be racking up major miles.... perhaps not being able to drive the car home after a tough day at the track, etc etc etc.
 
NSX-Racer said:
Conclusion: You don't even need a SUV to tow a NSX - looks like that:
That is nuts! :eek:


I'd crap if I saw you on the road. That's awesome that it works though.
 
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