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Old 01-02-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
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Towing with a Saturn Wagon?

I have been looking for a replacement vehicle for my 94 Buick Century and have been considering a 5-speed Saturn Wagon. Probably a SW2 and do a 5th gear swap. So far it seems like it would be the perfect car (plenty of room, decent mileage, reliable, etc...) except I need a vehicle that I can tow with. I repair and buy/sell ATV's and motorcycles and therefore haul them around with a 4'x8' trailer. The Buick works fine for this but the 25mpg without the trailer is getting old. The trailer weighs around 200lbs and most of the ATV's are between 400lbs - 600lbs. So my total towing weight would be between 600lbs - 1000lbs depending on if any extra's need to be hauled with it (extra tires, plow, parts, etc...). So what are others thoughts on towing with a 5-speed wagon? Would it be able to pull everything ok down the road at 60 - 65? I live in Minnesota so large hills are not really a concern. I found an 1998 SW1 5-speed and a 1997 SW2 5 speed locally. Would the SW1 work ok?


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Old 01-03-2008, 04:39 AM   #2
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I don't know about 1000lbs, but not with a SW1. Those are single cam, with only 100hp and 114lbs of torque, good for FE, but not for loading.

In the other hands, a SW2 seems to be decent power with 124hp and 122lbs of torque. Might do the trick, my friends is towing is vtt with is 91 integra with less torque than that.

A SW2 might be a great compromise between FE, and utility,
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:52 AM   #3
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I have a sw2 5 speed that I tow a 4x8 with, no problems except slow on the long steep hills. Got 45mpg with the trailer and technique last summer.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:24 AM   #4
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72lml -

I seem to remember reading a towing capacity of 1000 lbs and this website agrees :

SW2 4dr Station Wagon Base
http://www.cars.com/go/crp/research....s&aff=national
Quote:
Standard Specs and Dimensions
Towing capacity 1,000 lbs.
So it looks like you're good to go. If you're looking to tow close to your maximum, and you think you'll be going up some hills, then maybe you should empty the car out first.

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Old 01-03-2008, 07:33 AM   #5
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I saw that also but I am always a little skeptical of those statistics. Supposedly my Prizm is rated for 1000lbs also but unless I wanted to kill it I don't think that I would try it. It?s always nice to hear from somebody else who has tried it first hand.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:00 AM   #6
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I'd tow 1000lbs with my sohc. The torque peaks at 2500 rpms. This engine pulls strong right to the 5k. It probly wouldn't do as well as the dohc at 70mph. You'd have to use 4th gear most of the time.

I cant' remember the exact number but the sohc and dohc make about the same power till 3000-3500rpms, the sohc has the advantage of 3-5hp but after that the dohc pulls sharply away.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72lml View Post
So what are others thoughts on towing with a 5-speed wagon? Would it be able to pull everything ok down the road at 60 - 65? I live in Minnesota so large hills are not really a concern. I found an 1998 SW1 5-speed and a 1997 SW2 5 speed locally. Would the SW1 work ok?

Thanks,
I've towed with a lot of stuff.

Weight ratings are relevant to a few issues. First, rated trailer weights are directly related to the 10% of that weight will be carried on the tongue. So, a vehicle with a trailer weight rating of 1000# should only carrier 100# of that weight on the tongue.

I used a 210 HP rated Ford van to pull an enclosed trailer with tandem axles. The van dynoed at 142HP, old push rod motor. Vehicle weight was over 5700# and the trailer when fully and heavily loaded exceeded 9000#, in addition to the physical wind resistance of the taller wider trailer.

HP and towing? I don't see why 100HP isn't enough unless there is something so flawed with the drive train that it would be ruined. Four passengers with a weight of 250 pounds with no luggage would be 1000#.

A trailer will add some friction through bearings and the tires and some weight which will use more fuel to do the same work that could be done without the trailer. Any vehicle will have that problem.

I suppose it's all contingent upon your budget and what's available.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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My 87 Acura integra towed 1000 pounds without a problem.

My 87 Civic complains when more than 6-700 pounds is on the trailer, especially now that I have the HF trans.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:14 AM   #9
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If I understand it right...towing capacity has to do with how much weight the vehicle can have tugging on it via the attached hitch without risk of it ripping itself from the vehicle.
The rating doesn't seem to be based on how quickly it can be accelerated/decelerated.
Who knows what the overall speed will be...but 100hp/114ftlb should pull 1000lbs well enough all day long. What is in the details is that if you are towing a high percentage of the time...it may be better, FE wise, to use a bigger motor than to overwork a smaller one.
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:17 PM   #10
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towing capacity has to do with how the rear of hte car is physically set up (as mentioned...wihtout ripping the back off) and braking capacity<very important.

as with any number given by the auto makers, keep in mind they're covering their backsides for insurance reasons and like tire PSI ratings, the car won't spontaneously collapse if you exceed it. you just have to be a lot more careful doing it.
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