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Towing with a Nissan X-Terra

 
Old 09-01-2006, 03:41 PM
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Wormhole
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Default Towing with a Nissan X-Terra

Iíve fought it off for as long as I could but itís time to join the ranks with the rest of the oversized gas guzzling commuters. I pretty much made up my mind on the X-Terra, just as long as it can tow my needs. This will double as an everyday commuter, and a tow vehicle, so regardless of what my girlfriend says size does matter. My goal is to have it tow a 2500lb 944T on an aluminum trailer for a combined weight of somewhere around 3500-4000lb with cargo.
The towing capacity on the X-Terra is surprisingly 6000lbs, not bad for a compact.

So any real life experience with this combo? Should I kiss this dream goodbye?
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:48 PM
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If you go slow, don't have hills and only tow short way I think you can get by.

I towed my 944 on an open trailer behind my 4.0L Jeep Cherokee. Worked fine, but I was never comfortable towing more than 60-80 miles from home. Maxed out at 70 mph. Lucky for me I still had plenty of track time that close Even so here towing (in town) to/from tracks meant 1000 ft elevation change. Later on I got Dodge 2500 V10 so I could venture to California and Nevada. Sure it sucks the gas down, but tows like the car is not there, plus hauls all kinds of crap er spares
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:04 PM
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I agree with M758.
It is a marginal combination of wheelbase (stability) and HP.

You will also be stopping for refueling quite often, due to the small gas tank and low expected MPG.

FWIW, I use my bride's vehicle for the family towing (son's kart and my car)....only cost me one trip to Tiffany's website:

https://rennlist.com/forums/attachme...chmentid=97134
https://rennlist.com/forums/attachme...hmentid=132962

44gallon tank, extending tow mirrors, diesel engine......LOTS of range and torque and stability.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:07 PM
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I towed a 2800 lb 911 on an open steel trailer for 2 years using an ML430. It worked but was less than ideal in terms of stability and power (tow capacity is rated as 5000 lbs). Use of a load distributing hitch help a lot - I would not tow using an X-terra without one.

I now have a Chevy 2500 with the Duramax turbo diesel and Allison transmission and it's a dream for pulling a 24' enclosed trailer with the car now weighing 2500 lbs (total of about 8000 lbs now). I also have a load distibuting hitch and integrated sway control for this combo.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:10 PM
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If you go slow, don't have hills and only tow short way I think you can get by.
Iím afraid that may be an issue. It's very hilly around this part of NY, and I live on top of a mountain. I plan on going as far as Mt Tremblant, and I have a sickness that uncontrollably forces my right foot down no matter how hard I try to fight the temptation.

Itís hard enough to cope with the idea of driving an SUV everyday, please donít tell me I need something biggerÖ.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:10 PM
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Gary R.
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Yep, you only need to tow with an undersize vehicle ONCE to learn... At least with an open trailer you just have to contend with getting horrible MPG and being underpowered (if the transmission is up to snuff). If you ever see yourself upgrading to an enclosed trailer of ANY size forget it.. I get 12.5 MPG towing a 24' enclosed aluminum trailer (avg. 75 MPH on trips) and over 20 MPG normally with the new Duramax Diesel. I could hook a HOUSE behind my trailer and rip it off it's foundation! LOL

Very comfy on trips. I would consider an 3/4 ton SUV if they put the Duramax in them..
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:16 PM
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I agree it will be marginal at best. With most vehicles today, "pulling" isn't the limiting issue. It is usually the brakes or chassis, or both. With any vehicle, I would not go over 75-80% of the rated towing capacity, which is set by most manufacturers with an assumption of one 150 person (driver) and NOTHING else in the truck. Being slow up hills is inconveient and bothersome. Not being able to stop going down that hill, or not being able to control the towed mass, is something far worse.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:16 PM
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Use of a load distributing hitch help a lot
I never heard of that before, thanks for the advice, I'll have to research it. Do you have any reference material I can view?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:19 PM
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Gary R.
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Originally Posted by Bull
I agree it will be marginal at best. With most vehicles today, "pulling" isn't the limiting issue. It is usually the brakes or chassis, or both. With any vehicle, I would not go over 75-80% of the rated towing capacity, which is set by most manufacturers with an assumption of one 150 person (driver) and NOTHING else in the truck. Being slow up hills is inconveient and bothersome. Not being able to stop going down that hill, or not being able to control the towed mass, is something far worse.
Got that right Bull! A BIG feature of the Allison 6 spd is the trailer mode down hills. I can simply lift off the gas and the truck will hold speed down a mountain without me so much as touching the brakes. Damn thing amazes me.. and like Tom W. (who types faster than me it seems . ) I put the Reese combo weight distributing/anti-sway system on from day one. Forget sway and keep looking in the mirror to see if the trailer is there!
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:23 PM
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With any vehicle, I would not go over 75-80% of the rated towing capacity, which is set by most manufacturers
With the X-Terra that puts me right where I would need to be.. I'm sure I'm being optimistically naive, but I'm fighting hard.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:48 PM
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Wormhole,

Just ignore Gary. He's compensating for low power on the track .... DOH! That should get up his dander appropriately.

He's right in that the torque and stopping power of the bigger rigs makes towing easier. I've got a Suburban towing a steel open trailer, plus that load balancing thing. It's pretty good, but I'm considering your path as well.

There were a couple guys at WGI recently that had 6-cyl's, 4-Runner and a Volvo Wagon, both towing lightweight alum opens, said no problem. They had to use momentum up the hills - like Gary at Lime Rock

I do 6-8 events a year but otherwise use mine for commuting. I'm thinking go with the primary use of the vehicle (daily life) and make do with the not-optimal trailer package.

Just my thoughts, but let me know how you make out. I plan to test drive the Pathfinder, 4-Runner, etc soon.

Good luck!

Glenn
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:03 PM
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I found this refence helpfull when I got started towing: http://www.sherline.com/lmbook.htm
This is the system I have now for load/sway control: http://www.etrailer.com/mm5/merchant...tegory_Code=WD

I may type faster than Gary, but we agree that while you can do it with a V8 SUV, the Duramax is a dream. And the Duramax with the Reese hitch takes away a lot of the worry/stress while driving (because you almost forget it's back there). Many of us started with an SUV buy moved to something a big more stable/safe/comfortable after a couple years. I never would have tried to use the ML to get over the Sierra's to Reno-Fernley. I did it with the Duramax at 70 mph with outside temps of 110 įF and the transmission or cooling system never even got hot. And, wow, do I love the Allison on the downhill portions. Just sit back and cruise down without the pucker and excitment of trying it in the ML with marginal braking.
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Wormhole
With the X-Terra that puts me right where I would need to be.. I'm sure I'm being optimistically naive, but I'm fighting hard.
Rather than consider the best case of going slowly, you should really consider worst case - that is what will get you through safely or get you killed.

You are going down a long hill. Brakes are hot and getting a little weak. It is slick and ou are taking it easy. An 18 wheeler blows by 20 mph faster and the wake pitches you a bit sideways. This is what you need to plan for. If you are marginal on the vehicle (short wheelbase, high load) you may end up in the ditch. If you are well within margins, you feel the twitch and the rig settles into a straight line. (BTW - Short wheelbase is a real bitch in these situations.)

You can probably tow double the rating of any vehicle on a nice level road with no upsets. The real questions are what is your life worth (and those of your family and others on the road) and how much risk are you willing to take just to tow a trailer.
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary R.
... I would consider an 3/4 ton SUV if they put the Duramax in them..
And Chevy/GMC continues to refuse to install the Duramax in the Suburban.
Luckily Ford put the Powerstroke in the Excursions from the beginning....my wife's 2000 7.3L and now her 2005 6.0L have been fantastic. It's a shame Ford decided to discontinue the Excursion (F250HD 3/4 ton luxury SUV)
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:21 PM
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John (Wormhole),
I think what you are finding out is that tow vehicles are like track appliances.....

You can start out on track with a daily driver/stock Porsche, but soon you begin down the slippery slope, adding bits and before you know it, you own a full blown factory race car....ask me how I know.

Same thing with towing your track appliance. You start out with an open aluminum trailer and a car being pulled by your daily driver SUV, then you add wheels/tools/fuel, then an enclosed trailer and before you know it, you're driving a fully equipped diesel tow vehicle.
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