Camping in the Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by jerodallen, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. ilusnforc

    ilusnforc Member

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    I've seen other posts from people towing very small and light trailers with their Prius. From what I gathered based on the cars payload capacity and rated hitch weight, I would try not to exceed about 400 lbs trailer weight. I very seriously considered the Little Guy Rascal and now that I have a hitch, the only local place that had a Rascal no longer sells Little Guy products. I wouldn't have paid their asking price of $4,444 anyway. If I could find a nice used one not too far away I'd probably buy it for around $2,000.

    I live in Texas though, I wouldn't have any need to be going over any mountains. It would put a little more strain on the drivetrain so more frequent oil changes and transmission (PSD) fluid changes would be recommended. I'd also go very easy on the braking. I was in Utah when I first bought my Prius and I drove it over the mountains from Salt Lake City to Logan. It is quite a strain just with the car alone, I can't imagine it would be very good with a trailer in tow. If at all possible, I'd strip any weight from the trailer that I can but I still wouldn't be taking it over any mountains or through any windy passes and I would try to avoid any storms.

    I did get a CURT Cargo Carrier #18140 and I think that would be fine in any situation you would normally drive the car in. I drove from San Antonio to Austin (about 90 miles) and averaged about 60 MPG with it loaded full of gear. It rides so well in the slipstream of the car that you don't even notice it back there. I could fit everything on the cargo carrier in the car but by using the cargo carrier leaves more room in the car for my dogs and I don't have to empty the car to camp in it. I put some side rails on it that help to keep things upright and on the carrier.
     
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  2. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Don't fantasize. Just get yourself a hitch ($150 includes installation at your local U-Haul) and a teardrop ($1000 on craigslist) and go.

    We've only put a bit over a thousand miles on our trailer since we got it, but we've done mountains, windy plains, twisty coastal roads, all with no problems. The only complaint I have is that the brakes are mediocre. Would love to convert the rear drums into discs if possible.

    The rear suspension might need a little help too. Options include stiffer springs or airbags... I'm still looking into air to make the rear adjustable. It's not a deal-killer though... the ride just gets a bit more bumpy when the springs are so compressed.

    Ok, we'll take your opinion into consideration.

    IMG_20120407_111020_sm.jpg
     
  3. nh7o

    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    The statement still stands that the Prius is not made for towing. I repurpose all kinds of things for tasks not intended, but I would not necessarily recommend that to others. YMMV. Toyota and other trucks have a hole in the bumper for a ball, and a tongue weight recommendation next to it, and they are made for towing. The engineers that designed the Prius did not have that in mind.

    My reply was to the OP asking about the Rocky Mountains, with 10,000 foot passes and long steep inclines, and that is hard duty. I have seen plenty of cars struggle up, and burn brakes going down, in such places. I would be as concerned about transaxle heat as I would about braking capacity. I would like to know what MG2 temps are when climbing mountains with the added weight, rolling friction, and windage of a trailer.
     
  4. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    I've towed a 700 pound teardrop several thousand miles around California. The grapevine (I5 north of LA) was the largest challenge, where I dropped back to about 50 mph on a long uphill stretch.

    I just got back from a trip that included several long 8% grades at 7000 foot elevation (Idaho & Montana). Even without the trailer, my Gen2 exhausted the traction battery capacity (zero bars!). The car went into a gas-engine-only mode, and could only do about 40 mph.

    So my comment about towing a small trailer is that it depends upon where you want to do it. North/South in California works OK. The Rockys, or maybe even the Sierras may be too much of a challenge. As long as the hills are not too long, the power is adequate, rather like a Corolla. If a hill is too long, the traction battery gets exhausted and you get to join the trucks in the slow lane.
     
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  5. Photau

    Photau Junior Member

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    Is there a way to lower the tongue weight? Is the trailer balanced over the trailer axels?
     
  6. techntrek

    techntrek Member

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    You can buy a weight distribution hitch to reduce tongue weight, but you have to be careful because you need to keep the tongue weight at least 15% of the total weight of the trailer. Otherwise you'll have sway issues.
     
  7. jendbbay

    jendbbay Member

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    We always camp -- can't afford real grownup vacations due to health insurance and tuition -- so we have lots of experience jamming too much stuff into our Hondas and now in our Prius. Prior to the Prius, we had a 1998 Honda Accord, which had the biggest trunk I've basically ever seen on a 90's era sedan. When loading the Prius, I was shocked that the whole process of bringing way too much stuff was so much easier! First of all, there is the large area under the hatch into which we store bottles of water, fuel cans, and the stove! If you are camping with 3 or fewer of you, you can fold down one half of the back seat, but we never really have to do this, and use that for the clothing, jackets, sleeping bags, and the tent, which goes on the floor in front of the folded down seat. This leaves the back for bags of food, fishing supplies, the med bag, and the cooler. I have to have my walking sticks back there as well. If we had four people on the trip, we would have to hold back on overloading so much. I still think it would be possible. I would caution against driving fast around the horrifically badly maintained campground in Tuolumne Meadows. And, there are some spaces there that just don't accommodate the lower clearance very well. One year we knocked off a black plastic thingy -- its about 3 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch and has grooves running the long way. I have no idea what it is/was. Of course, neither did the dealership. However, now that we are customers of Luscious Garage, we will finally be able to find out!
     
  8. tgpii

    tgpii Member

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    Anyone ever sleep/camp in a prius C?
     
  9. cdltpx

    cdltpx Junior Member

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    Impossible to steal and impossible to use if you lose your key so carry the door key with you hiking but leave the other BOX key hidden well inside the car so you can be certain you will be able to move your car. Lose your key in the wild you will have to have the car towed to the nearest dealership to have a key made and IDK how long this may take. I do my best to keep AAA Primo JIC because if the key ever is lost I just might need a tow to the dealership. We have 2 prius 05 07 we keep a key in the car at all times well hidden I carry my key for my car wife has a door key she needs my car she can get the BOX key. I the same. If you ever lost a key you know how terrible that can be but you have your keys stolen it can cost you towing and who knows what. FYI.
     
  10. tgpii

    tgpii Member

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    Who, what, were, when, why and how Hybridfest please!
     
  11. tgpii

    tgpii Member

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    The picture/link is broke. Could you repost it?
     
  12. tgpii

    tgpii Member

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    I slept in my Prius C. I just tilt the driver seat as far back as it can go. Get a blanket or jacket and goodnight. lol
     
  13. engerysaver

    engerysaver Real Senior Member

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    I have slept in my Prius one night:sleep: , on a long trip from TX. to CAL. It was OK!!

    A teardrop is OK to tow; just take a running start on the hills. I would not try it in the mountains, that might be to much of a strain. If anybody does; I would like to hear from you!! As you can see, I tow. I would like for you to read my thread " Prius pulling a RV? What do you pull !! | PriusChat " . Please post .:)
     
    #53 engerysaver, Dec 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  14. tgpii

    tgpii Member

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    You have a CB in your prius?
     
  15. engerysaver

    engerysaver Real Senior Member

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    Yes... I'm old school:LOL: ; that's why I'm " The Real Senior Member ":D .
     
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  16. LaurenSomm

    LaurenSomm New Member

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    Did you ever get your answer? I saw a post where a man had made a netting sleeve that slipped over the door and magnets held the bottom flush against the car. The door could still be opened and closed without dislodging the netting.
     
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  17. bountybuddy

    bountybuddy New Member

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    Thanks much for your post. My wife and I are thinking about buying a Toyota Prius C and hope to sleep in it on the road here in America. We first did this with a Pontiac Vibe and loved it. Have you any suggestions for us for doing our own cooking on the road. We plan on stopping in rodeside parks to cook. I hope we don't have to worry about our safety. Thank you so much for our help. We wish you the best.
     
  18. Mr Mik

    Mr Mik Junior Member

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    Thanks for the posting of this fan modification, much appreciated.

    I want to build an adaptation of this hack, in order to power the fan motor when camping in the car and/or when it is parked in the sun. So I want much more speed range than offered by Hobbit's hack.

    A recently installed yellow-top optima battery will hopefully be able to cope with the extra load.

    My general plan is to cut the cables of the fan motor plug and extend them to a DPDT switch somewhere on the dash board or in the glove box, so that either the stock system is on, or the auxiliary system.

    I want to use this 12V motor controller 12VDC 8A Dimmer / Motor Speed Controller | Specialty Power Conversion & Transformer Products | Power Conversion & Transformation | Power Products Electrical | PRODUCTS | MP3209 | Jaycar Electronics , rather than make up something myself, and in addition use this battery discharge protector: Battery Discharge Protector | Specialty Power Conversion & Transformer Products | Power Conversion & Transformation | Power Products Electrical | PRODUCTS | AA0262 | Jaycar Electronics , so that I do not get any nasty surprises when I forget to turn the auxiliary fan power off.

    Now to my question: What is the best source for 12V when the car is turned off (2009 Gen II)? The motor controller is good for up to 8A, so I would like to use a circuit that is fused for about 10-15A and is always on.

    Thanks for any hints!
     
  19. Mr Mik

    Mr Mik Junior Member

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    I found a good spot for the discharge protector: Under the centre console. The metal under there makes a good heat sink so it can be used to the full 20A spec.

    I'll mod the 12V outlet to be 'permanently on' while I am at it. I'm not 100% certain if the solar charging option (through the 12V plug) will work. The discharge protector turns off the negative pole when the battery voltage drops, which is of course when the solar charge would be most welcome.

    The switch goes next to the Smart Key button and the motor controller into the centre console.

    For the permanently on 12V supply, I'll tap into one of the unused fuse slots in the fuse box under the steering wheel, using a Fuse Tap.

    Any hints before I start cutting cables would be most welcome! See schematic:

    Prius_Fan_3_01.jpeg
     
    #59 Mr Mik, Oct 2, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  20. Mr Mik

    Mr Mik Junior Member

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    Do I need to install a flyback diode at the motor to prevent a current spike when turning it off (see new diagram below)?

    I just realised that when switching the switch from Manual -Off - Stock, I might be causing a current spike into the stock Prius fan motor controller. The switch is the ON - OFF - ON type. So the flyback diode at the new motor controller cannot do it's job when switching the switch to the stock setting.

    There probably already is a flyback diode in the stock fan motor controller, but does anyone know for certain?

    In an earlier attempt to power the fan motor with batteries, I found that it does not work to piggieback wires onto the motor connector, because about 8A were going into the stock MC instead of into the motor (when the motor was drawing only about 1.5A). Maybe the 8A when through a flyback diode?

    Prius_Fan_4_01b.jpeg
     
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