will towing 5x8 trailer ruin 99ChevyMalibu ? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 05-29-2009, 06:05 AM   #1
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will towing 5x8 trailer ruin 99ChevyMalibu ?

Need lots of honest advice.

I have a 1999 Chevy Malibu with over 125K. I've maintained the car in really great condition (the motor) too.

I am going to be traveling about 1000 over flat and low level hills and want to know if pulling a 5 x 8 enclosed cargo trailer filled with light stuff...

bicycle, some food, backpacking equipment NO bricks, heavy lumber or other.

I just don't want to ruin my transmission but absolutely need to make the move in one move. Am on a limited budget.

Will a 4 x 8 enclosed by more realistic ?

THANK YOU for any and all suggestions.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:16 AM   #2
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Check the weight of the trailer and estimate (realistically!) the weight of your cargo. Compare that to the tow rating of the car. If it's more than 80% of the car's tow rating, quit thinking about it. The tow rating is limited by what can be safely controlled by the car and by what won't break the car; if you break the car you're just out money, but if you crash then someone could get hurt.

The engine will be fine. The transmission is what you abuse when towing. How often have you changed the transmission fluid? If you've done it per the maintenance schedule, or even more often, then that's good; in that case, do it again before and after the trip. If you haven't, you may not want to do it.

I towed a 12' boat loaded with bicycles, luggage, etc with my 1997 Grand Am V6. I was a dumb kid and drove way too fast and was lucky to survive as I dodged all the moose charging me from the Maine roadside. I also got stuck trying to pull the boat up a steep dirt boat ramp...front wheel drive isn't great for severe off-road trailering. Anyway, the transmission on that car took loads of other abuse and never had a problem. The engine died very prematurely but I'm pretty sure that was from other abuse.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:27 AM   #3
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towing capacity seems to be 1000 lbs for all the '99 malibus so you should be fine. just make sure your light stuff really is light

http://www.autoweb.com/content/resea...ection/summary

this is where I found those numbers.

*edit* I just saw that those numbers are for a 2009 but everything else I saw was 1000 lbs too. I didn't find anything for a 1999 in particular but I did find one for a 2001 which said the same 1000 lbs. it may still be a good point of reference
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:12 AM   #4
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I remember a former roommate was going to tow a Uhaul trailer with his Pontiac Grand Am from DC to Ohio. He told me how much money he was saving not renting a truck. I asked him "How much does a transmission cost in your car?" Towing a trailer through the mountains... anyway I had him talk to my dad, and dad said the exact same thing... How much is your transmission?. He rented a truck, and towed the Pontiac behind...
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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Thank YOU !!!!

Thank you for your time to provide such a comprehensive answer. Thanks.

I think I'll look into a smaller trailer to be on the safe side.






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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Check the weight of the trailer and estimate (realistically!) the weight of your cargo. Compare that to the tow rating of the car. If it's more than 80% of the car's tow rating, quit thinking about it. The tow rating is limited by what can be safely controlled by the car and by what won't break the car; if you break the car you're just out money, but if you crash then someone could get hurt.

The engine will be fine. The transmission is what you abuse when towing. How often have you changed the transmission fluid? If you've done it per the maintenance schedule, or even more often, then that's good; in that case, do it again before and after the trip. If you haven't, you may not want to do it.

I towed a 12' boat loaded with bicycles, luggage, etc with my 1997 Grand Am V6. I was a dumb kid and drove way too fast and was lucky to survive as I dodged all the moose charging me from the Maine roadside. I also got stuck trying to pull the boat up a steep dirt boat ramp...front wheel drive isn't great for severe off-road trailering. Anyway, the transmission on that car took loads of other abuse and never had a problem. The engine died very prematurely but I'm pretty sure that was from other abuse.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:51 AM   #6
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Thanks so much for your help !

Thanks for helping me with all the info. Much appreciated.






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Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
towing capacity seems to be 1000 lbs for all the '99 malibus so you should be fine. just make sure your light stuff really is light

http://www.autoweb.com/content/resea...ection/summary

this is where I found those numbers.

*edit* I just saw that those numbers are for a 2009 but everything else I saw was 1000 lbs too. I didn't find anything for a 1999 in particular but I did find one for a 2001 which said the same 1000 lbs. it may still be a good point of reference
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:53 AM   #7
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Thanks so much !!!!!!!!

Thanks for all the ideas and comments. I am rethinking my strategy.

You guys are great !!!!!!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
I remember a former roommate was going to tow a Uhaul trailer with his Pontiac Grand Am from DC to Ohio. He told me how much money he was saving not renting a truck. I asked him "How much does a transmission cost in your car?" Towing a trailer through the mountains... anyway I had him talk to my dad, and dad said the exact same thing... How much is your transmission?. He rented a truck, and towed the Pontiac behind...
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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Ok, uhaul.com says the 5x8 weighs 900 pounds empty. If your car has a 1000 pound rating as researched above, that's a definite no-go. The 4x8 weighs 850 pounds, still not any good.

The "Sport trailer" would work, but you have to find out if your stuff will fit. 535 pounds empty, up to 965 pounds cargo, and shaped to tow behind a car - aerodynamic and low-to-the ground, it looks like it's easy to pull and pretty stabile. It says Inside dimensions: 6' x 3'9", better than it looks. I suspect it would be possible to strap a couple bikes on top of it too.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
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my 2 cent

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=2948

not sure if you are talking about buying one or renting one but this one is cheap and should do what you need (I think) also has the weight limit you are looking for.

*edit*

this might be more your style
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92174
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
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my advice is.. the cheap becomes expensive. if you have to pay 500 extra to ship the stuff vs driving it there and having a possibility of paying 3,000 for a transmission job/ stranded during the road trip, its your call.

the worst can happen is your tight on money now, and then u have to change the tranny, now your out 3000 bucks and have no car, without a car you cant go to work, and without work you cant keep a roof over your head, and so on so forth...
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