Trailer towing

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by dinger_greg, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. blauweaaf

    blauweaaf Junior Member

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    Very interesting discussion. May I ask, how do you install the hitch?

    Greetings from the Netherlands.


    phone.
     
  2. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    I've pulled two different u haul trailers (and load) with cruise set at 65 and did not even get close to that mpg...more like mid and low 20s mpg.
     
  3. R-P

    R-P Active Member

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    I got my bar at Marktplaats*. This is an 'official' bicycle-bar (scroll down this link) with a square hitch, supposedly developed by the Dutch importer of Toyota. It bolts onto existing threaded holes in the chassis. I only had to cut a little slit in some underside plastic and it fit like a glove.
    I bought a separate construction (also Marktplaats, see above link) that slides over this square hitch and has a round, typical Dutch ball-type hitch which is then fastened with nuts.
    In total I payed like 120euro or so, also mainly due to shippingcost from two different sellers. Mind you, they were both secondhand.

    Stupidly expensive if you compare this to the brandspanking new hitch INCLUDING electronic box (so the CAN-bus won't complain) and socket for my father-in-laws Renault Espace which was under 100euro (86euro+shipping)...

    The Prius does not seem to have canbus problems so I soldered most of the wiring for the electrical plug into the steeringwheel-side (left) of the car near the rear light.

    Mail me if you get hold of one and want to see where I cut the plastic protection on the underside.
    [​IMG]

    * Marktplaats is pretty much the Dutch Ebay. So much so that when Ebay couldn't get a decent marketshare, they eventually bought Marktplaats ;)
     
    #23 R-P, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  4. mark5211

    mark5211 Junior Member

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    I have a 2008 gen 2 prius and I pull a 4x8 harbor freight "kit" trailer with the steel side panels. I try to keep my total load including passengers and trailer under the +/-800 lbs weight limit. I'm sure the car can pull a more but I'd suggest trying to stay close to weight limit especially if you are climbing hills or in hot weather i.e. anything that strains the cooling system. The car pulls a trailer really well and I believe this is in part to all of the available torque from the electric motor. I use a fairly standard class II hitch with light kit, I'm not sure which brand but it was cheap and easy to install. I believe the trailer weighs around 300 lbs. This car is well out of warranty but I never had an issue at the dealer. I believe my mileage was in the high 30's when pulling a max load. I generally drive close to the speed limit and the terrain around here is flat.
     
  5. Indy John

    Indy John Member

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    I second most of the comments. I've pulled a lightweight 4 x 8 on many occasions with my 2010. Absent my homemade rails there's very little added drag and gas mileage isn't much affected. I try to keep gross weight within Toyota's stated max. (825 I think, for me). My Quality-S hitch unbolts when I'm not using it. I've pulled a thousand pounds or so of tree trimmings, but only for short distances and driving very conservatively. A few hundred pounds has been no problem whatsoever.
     
  6. MT Adventure

    MT Adventure New Member

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    I tow both a smaller trailer (about 700 lbs with a 80lb tongue weight) and a larger boat trailer (about 1400 lbs) several hundred miles and up/down the various mountain passes (such as Lookout Pass). On the smaller hills I don't really notice much difference and can still do 80 mph (highway speed in MT) with comfortable handling. However I do slowdown going downhill on the bigger passes to about 40 to 50 just so it won't pick up too much speed as that is when most people lose control of their trailers . Going up Lookout pass, the car will slow to about 65 or 70 under load when the battery gets low. Overall, I get about 30 to 40 mpg while towing and 45 to 50 without any load. I have towed in 100 degree weather and it doesn't seem to make much difference. Overall, the longest trip while towing was about 1200 miles.
     
    #26 MT Adventure, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    Aaron Vitolins likes this.
  7. Dhill800

    Dhill800 New Member

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    I’ve pulled with about everything. Bikes to buses. The tow limits on autos are usually recommended not mandatory. But once you exceed those limits the manufacturer believes that you will begin to excessively strain certain parts of the automobile, therefore you become a test pilot so to speak. Most autos will pull well beyond the manufacturers recommended wt. The Prius 3 will do it, I’ve done it with mine, but like most everyone has stated (you are all correct in a way) drive conservative, no fast starts or stops, heat is your enemy in all parts: brakes, disk, rotors, fluids in all areas, batteries, belts... you get the point. Heat will cause all of them to breakdown faster. The heavier & hotter you tow, the more frequently you should have the fluids replaced do to thermal breakdown of the fluid. Fluids are generally to lubricate and cool. Towing amplifies all that. The color of your fluids is telling you something. Listen to it. (The more ‘Tender’ the car, the more ‘Love’ you got to give it if you strain it.)
    If you do a hard braking, prepare for the push, it’s simple physics, also keep an eye on those brake pads. Overheating the brakes on a steep downhill, they are gonna fail. Pull over for 10 mins and let them cool after some heavy braking (again, physics, it depends on how heavy your load is and how much it’s pushing you.) If the load weighs as much as half the amount of the weight of the car you should plan for slow, long lengthy stopping if you are up to speed (regardless of how hard you push the brakes.)
    If your car is still under warranty I’d reconsider towing at all.
    Recently I’ve learned of some electronic braking issues that certain ‘06 to ‘09 Prius II cars have had when the brakes were locked up when emergency stopping (I’m assuming to avoid hitting the car in front of them.) Know your car. At slower speeds, test the stopping abilities when towing and get a feel for the difference it makes compared to regular driving. Again, always be aware and drive conservatively when towing. Your car will thank you for it. Hope this helps.
     
  8. MikeNinMass

    MikeNinMass Junior Member

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    Before my 2010 was totaled on New Year's Eve, I towed a 16 foot catamaran (sailboat) a few miles to the ramp, then back up my very steep, 1/4 mile driveway, in power mode, with no problems. I also towed a U-Haul 4x8 covered trailer with a 100+ pound FIRST Robotics robot plus maybe a couple hundred pounds of tools on the highway with no issues. Both felt the same as when I towed the cat with a Mazda Protege5. U-Haul allows towing up to a certain weight with the Prius, so that's probably okay in terms of safety. I don't tow that much, so I'm not worried.

    Wondering how a Gen 2, which I'm looking at as a replacement for my 2010, will do...
     
  9. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    I have towed several times with the 2015 and 2010 (now gone) and will say that they "can"...but heavy loads over long distances at highway speed and hills...the cars struggled and mpg dropped considerably. My "guess" is a GEN 2 would struggle more.
     
  10. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I once had a Ford Bronco II (2.8L V6) with a hitch, and a partner with a sailboat. She ended up helping me with more than one transmission overhaul.

    The tranny I had was the 5 speed manual, which turned out to be made by Toyo Kogyo (~ Mazda) and was apparently more of a passenger-car spec, already maybe a stretch simply to have used it in a truck-frame SUV, even before putting a boat on the back. It pulled ok, and we went on some longish trips, and then the noise would set in, and I'd get to make use of those specialty bearing tools again.

    Parts got harder to find over time, and that made it less fun.

    A nice thing about that transmission was I don't think it weighed much over 80 pounds, and the ground clearance was enough I could just slide under, let it down on my chest, roll sideways, and push it out from under.
     
  11. Travis Sanders

    Travis Sanders Junior Member

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    Accidentally posted this in the Gen 3 teardrop trailer thread but it belongs here so I'll post here as well.

    For what it's worth I'm towing heavy trailers with my Prius. I came here looking for real data and answers but all you pansies want to do is argue about what you can and shouldn't do. And the others are towing trailers so light it's a wonder why you're even talking about it. Thanks for the no help but here's some real information for people that are looking for it.

    My prius is always loaded down with 900 lb of tools inside because I use it for work.
    I tow occasionally. It has 200,000 miles. The heaviest thing I tow while still having 900 lb of tools is an additional 2,800 lb trailer from sea level up a 17% grade to 4000 foot and back to sea level. Each end of the grade has about 20 miles of flats. Total trip about 70 miles. 65% Max throttle resulted in a 45 mile-an-hour speed on the steeper parts otherwise had no problem keeping up with the 60 mile an hour flow of traffic.
    The engine coolant temp never varies much and isn't a problem.
    Driving up the grade the ICM at 5000 RPM with no help from the electrics because high voltage battery was depleted rather quickly in the beginning of the Hill.
    This trip normally averages 40 miles to the gallon but Towing the additional trailer resulted in 30 miles to the gallon which added $2 in fuel to the trip.

    The unibody where the tow hooks are removed and drop hitches installed is very thin and fragile so if you're going to tow much more than 1,500 lb you should reinforce this area. Tongue weight for the Prius is a problem. I have so many heavy tools in the vehicle it stays stable even with zero tongue weight which is what I aim for.

    Now before you all lambaste me please just don't even bother. I do what I do and I have my own reasons and I don't need to explain it to you. You trying to change my mind is like telling a lava hunter he shouldn't tow a heavy trailer. The Prius tows trailers very well and is very stable. PS don't try that with a Honda insight.
     

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  12. strawbrad

    strawbrad http://minnesotahybridbatteries.com

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    I also often have hundreds of pounds loaded in my Gen 2 for work. I replaced the stock Prius springs with Toyota Matrix AWD springs. The Prius, Matrix, and Corolla are based on the same platform. The difference is night and day. Details can be found here.

    Heavy Springs And Lift Upgrade | PriusChat
     
  13. Kaptainkid1

    Kaptainkid1 Active Member

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    Just set up Prius with CURT trailer hitch and CURT electrical Harness plug and play. She is now ready to move stuff. I also did Helper Spring lifts to keep the rear shocks stable and correct ride height very important when towing. So now ready to tow 500lbs bikes safely. 500 lbs trailer and 500 lbs max capacity.



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    SM-J737T1 ?
     
    #33 Kaptainkid1, Feb 9, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
    strawbrad likes this.
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