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Strato_54

Towing experiences

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Posted (edited)

I am in the midst of building my own rear bumper with a trailer hitch and this vehicle has never had one even touch it. Its the 97 SE with 4x4 manual trans. I got curious as to what towing with this vehicle is like (if any of you have) and what should i watch out for with this car. I have towed things before but not with something of this size (i.e 6.0 f250 and 08 armada) so it is not new to me but with something this small it is. Does this year of pathfinder have any issues towing and more importantly what is the towing like with this manual trans. I live in the mountains and most of my trailers have some weight to them so i am worried about the clutch. The heaviest trailer that will be pulled is between 1300-1650 lbs, as that is my current camping trailer. Pros and cons of towing with this vehicle and how well does it do with towing - mainly around my trailer weight. Thanks.

 

EDIT: This is the trailer that is heaviest, and probably the biggest that will ever be behind me https://imgur.com/a/mEU9kd9

Edited by Strato_54

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I have an 01 qx and seems to tow my 18ft bayliner just fine over the last 5yrs with OEM suspension.

I’ve done a few Uhaul trailers here and there and seemed ok as well.

Though I don’t have any experience towing with other vehicles so I can’t compare it to anything.

I’m using an off the shelf tow hitch, the only complaint I have is the clunks you get when towing or on bumps.

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The 3.3 can barely tow heavy on flat ground. I can’t remember exactly how much weight it was but I think it was about 4000# including the trailer and it was nearly unable. 0-60 was seriously like 30 seconds or more and I had to drop down into 1st gear for steep-ish grades and 2nd for anything else.

Lighter towing isn’t as hateful but I still end up dropping into 2nd for steeper grades, which on highways means I’m doing like 35-40mph.

Empty trailer isn’t too bad. I can make my way pulling empty by choosing to wait for good opportunity when pulling out into traffic and the likes.

Overall the 3.3 just isn’t able to handle its own when towing and it really shines a light on how underpowered the motor is for the weight of the vehicle.

Lastly I have an automatic trans and I noticed the thing doesn’t shift the same after towing heavy. Soft shifts are softer and it’s since cleared up but it did have a bump midway thru 1st gear every morning directly after towing heavy.

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11 minutes ago, onespiritbrain said:

The 3.3 can barely tow heavy on flat ground. I can’t remember exactly how much weight it was but I think it was about 4000# including the trailer and it was nearly unable. 0-60 was seriously like 30 seconds or more and I had to drop down into 1st gear for steep-ish grades and 2nd for anything else.

Lighter towing isn’t as hateful but I still end up dropping into 2nd for steeper grades, which on highways means I’m doing like 35-40mph.

Empty trailer isn’t too bad. I can make my way pulling empty by choosing to wait for good opportunity when pulling out into traffic and the likes.

Overall the 3.3 just isn’t able to handle its own when towing and it really shines a light on how underpowered the motor is for the weight of the vehicle.

Lastly I have an automatic trans and I noticed the thing doesn’t shift the same after towing heavy. Soft shifts are softer and it’s since cleared up but it did have a bump midway thru 1st gear every morning directly after towing heavy.

if youve seen my picture and now you know around what my weight is (and almost likely going to be lighter since my company builds these things out of steel and were moving to aluminum), do you think ill have an issue with that what so ever or should i be alright for the most part?

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I tow a 3,000 lb RV (a Casita) with my 2001 manual 4x4. It does really well, but it's at the limit of what I'd want to tow with it on flat land or moderate hills.

I have the 2 inch spring lift. If you don't have that, you'll probably need air springs. You feel the weight of it behind you. But it tows straight and steady without sway.

I don't have any slippage of the clutch. You have to really wind the engine out to keep up with traffic. It can get up to 70-80 mph slowly. In 100 degree temps at that speed the engine runs about 215 degrees.

If I were traveling in a high mountainous area like Colorado, I wouldn't feel comfortable towing with it, keeping up with traffic on the Interstate at least. Maybe it would be fine on state roads.



Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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1 minute ago, colinnwn said:

I tow a 3,000 lb RV (a Casita) with my 2001 manual 4x4. It does really well, but it's at the limit of what I'd want to tow with it on flat land or moderate hills.

I have the 2 inch spring lift. If you don't have that, you'll probably need air springs. You feel the weight of it behind you. But it tows straight and steady without sway.

I don't have any slippage of the clutch. You have to really wind the engine out to keep up with traffic. It can get up to 70-80 mph slowly. In 100 degree temps at that speed the engine runs about 215 degrees.

If I were traveling in a high mountainous area like Colorado, I wouldn't feel comfortable towing with it, keeping up with traffic on the Interstate at least. Maybe it would be fine on state roads.



Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

that makes me feel better knowing you tow with the manual. That is a pretty heavy trailer and yes i have stock suspension. I have yet to finish the bumper with the hitch and test out towing my trailer but i suspect it should be fine. Just wanted to gather opinions on this vehicle and how it handles it

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Don't recall the specs for yours, but the WD21 with the manual trans was rated for 3500 lbs. The auto trans was rated for 5000 lbs. I believe the 3.3 R50 had the same specs. If you are careful and plan for the added weight, it will tow within it's limits just fine. The weak points with the manual trans is the clutch and 5th gear. I have heard that people that have towed near the limit and used 5th, that the gear tends to break. I have relatives that had D21 pickups with the 2.4 4cyl that towed 3k trailers ok, they just used the lower gears and drove slower. 

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That teardrop trailer shouldnt be too much trouble. I pull our 18' converted toy hauler, 3750lbs, and it pulls it along just fine. The biggest issue for me was brakes. I upgraded to HD brakes after a couple scary emergency stops and they have paid for themselves in that regard but have proven a poor choice for off road use because the rotors are slotted and drilled which allows debris to degrade the pads and rotors. 

Id suggest getting HD pads and some load helpers or upgraded rear springs then see how it pulls along. 

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Mr_Reverse said:

Don't recall the specs for yours, but the WD21 with the manual trans was rated for 3500 lbs. The auto trans was rated for 5000 lbs. I believe the 3.3 R50 had the same specs. If you are careful and plan for the added weight, it will tow within it's limits just fine. The weak points with the manual trans is the clutch and 5th gear. I have heard that people that have towed near the limit and used 5th, that the gear tends to break. I have relatives that had D21 pickups with the 2.4 4cyl that towed 3k trailers ok, they just used the lower gears and drove slower. 

the manual r50 manual is 3500 and the auto is the same as the wd21 from what i can remember and high way speed here is normally 4th gear never really 5th especially in the mountains. 

Edited by Strato_54

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, TowndawgR50 said:

That teardrop trailer shouldnt be too much trouble. I pull our 18' converted toy hauler, 3750lbs, and it pulls it along just fine. The biggest issue for me was brakes. I upgraded to HD brakes after a couple scary emergency stops and they have paid for themselves in that regard but have proven a poor choice for off road use because the rotors are slotted and drilled which allows debris to degrade the pads and rotors. 

Id suggest getting HD pads and some load helpers or upgraded rear springs then see how it pulls along. 

im definetly planning on getting a brake controller as i would be terrified to tow anything behind that, that isnt a flat deck aluminum trailer.

Edited by Strato_54

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Just note that@colinnwn &@TowndawgR50 both have ‘01s with 3.5 VQ Engines - a very different experience from the 3.3.

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51 minutes ago, RainGoat said:

Just note that@colinnwn &@TowndawgR50 both have ‘01s with 3.5 VQ Engines - a very different experience from the 3.3.

I have acknowledged and appreciate your point, but even still they're saying they've towed and have been towing well over 2500 lbs. Which in my case I will almost never come even close to. I'm more in the range of 500-2500 lbs or less then. Even if they have no issue with their 3.5 at that weight i shouldn't have too much of a problem with my 3.3 and my tiny trailers. But thank you for pointing that out

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The 3.5 a significant jump over our 3.3 in terms of towing ability. I personally wouldn't tow just about anything with my 3.3 other than very very light loads. :(

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27 minutes ago, zakzackzachary said:

The 3.5 a significant jump over our 3.3 in terms of towing ability. I personally wouldn't tow just about anything with my 3.3 other than very very light loads. :(

good to know. ill have to see how it goes then when im able to hook up

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Don't worry too much. My 93 has handled towing loads fine back when she still had the 3.0. I have a 3.3 in her now, and even with the 33s, pulls loads ok. A few years back before the engine swap I "rescued" a friend that had an engine failure in his 96 Pathfinder. VG30, 33x12.50 MTs, and stock gears towed his pathy on a dolly 40ish miles on the freeway from near SLC airport to North Ogden to another friends house up in the foothills. Granted my Pathfinder seems to be a little abnormal and has an automatic transmission, but managed to keep up with traffic at 70 mph most of the time. 

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My 3.2 diesel tows beautifully. It's rated to tow 750 kg unbraked or 1800 kg braked. I imagine the v6 wouldn't be as great for towing heavy loads with less low end torque.

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My 3.2 diesel tows beautifully. It's rated to tow 750 kg unbraked or 1800 kg braked. I imagine the v6 wouldn't be as great for towing heavy loads with less low end torque.

You non-U.S. guys & your diesels! You make us sick!!! (with envy that is)
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You non-U.S. guys & your diesels! You make us sick!!! (with envy that is)

I was going to say the same thing haha x2
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What elevation do you live at? This will affect the answer significantly. Both here in Bozeman and back in Dillon where I used to live the elevation is about 5000 feet, and mine isn't even happy trying to do the speed limit (80) on it's own. When I lived in Dillon I had to tow my friend's Miata (about 2000 lbs) back from Butte and it definitely noticed it on even the slightest inclines. I also didn't go above 45mph since I was flat towing him with a strap. 

 

I haven't really pulled anything with my tan one which is a manual and has the 4.63's instead of the 4.36's, but it holds its own significantly better by itself that the auto does. You'd probably be better off with your manual than you would with an auto, and there's no doubt that it COULD tow it, but that doesn't mean you SHOULD. 

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