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Hauling with an Xterra

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  • Hauling with an Xterra

    I know a lot of people are going to say don't do it - you can only haul with a half ton - 1 ton truck.

    Is there anyone out there that thinks its doable? I have a friend that hauls a 2 horse with a dressing room with a Tacoma just fine, so this is why I wonder what truly can haul and what can't

  • #2
    I know a lady who hauls a 3 horse bumper pull with an Audi station wagon. I know another girl who hauls a two horse bumper pull with a Ford Ranger.
    I would NEVER do it, but everyone in those situations is still alive (so far).

    I don't know much about the Xterra; it looks big. My concern always with "overmatched" towing vehicles is stopping. Maybe ask on the Car Talk forums about weight and that type of thing. I would hate to slam on the brakes with the Audi and 3 horse trailer. Everyone is toast in that situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      And people wonder why so many states would like to pass laws in regards to towing horse trailers and requiring cdl licenses....

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks for your candor MorganPony. It would be a temporary option for when I do not have access to a family member's Yukon and until I purchase a more suitable option - not that I need to explain myself.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mybelle View Post
          I know a lot of people are going to say don't do it - you can only haul with a half ton - 1 ton truck.

          Is there anyone out there that thinks its doable? I have a friend that hauls a 2 horse with a dressing room with a Tacoma just fine, so this is why I wonder what truly can haul and what can't
          Depends, I guess, on how you define "doable."

          If you are asking if you can move a trailer with that vehicle? Answer is probably yes, with the caveat that you aren't encountering any adverse conditions, such as hilly terrain, challenging road conditions, large trailers whizzing by, etc. Can you stop it? Again - probably yes, with the caveat that you aren't encountering the need to stop quickly, navigate a situation where someone cuts you off, etc.

          There are plenty of people who have driven while drunk, and who made it home without crashing or causing an accident. Does that mean driving drunk is "doable"???

          The thing about choosing towing vehicles, IMO, is to consider everyone's safety in less than perfect situations...
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

          Comment


          • #6
            Your Xterra has a 5000lb tow rating. You can tow a two-horse no-dressing room trailer with one horse and minimal tack.....and you sure as heck better have a weight distribution setup, cause that much weight on just a regular hitch is going to sit your Xterra right down on it's rear wheels. It is really not a very safe set up, and you are going to put some major wear and tear on your vehicle. You should consider upgrading your brakes, springs, and adding a transmission cooler for sure.

            A safer option would be a $2000 half-ton truck off of craigslist. Will probably cost you about that much just to do some quality upgrades on your Xterra anyway.

            That Tacoma, if it is post-2000, actually has a greater tow rating than your Xterra. In addition, the Tacoma is a truck, albeit a smaller one, with different springs and a different weight setup than your grocery-getting, family-hauling SUV. The models recommended for towing have a bigger engine than the Xterra.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
              I know a lady who hauls a 3 horse bumper pull with an Audi station wagon. I know another girl who hauls a two horse bumper pull with a Ford Ranger.
              I would NEVER do it, but everyone in those situations is still alive (so far).

              I don't know much about the Xterra; it looks big. My concern always with "overmatched" towing vehicles is stopping. Maybe ask on the Car Talk forums about weight and that type of thing. I would hate to slam on the brakes with the Audi and 3 horse trailer. Everyone is toast in that situation.
              Luckily, with the invention of electric brakes, stopping the trailer with the truck is no longer an issue to consider. Your trailer stops itself--if it is pushing on the truck, then that means you need to take a look at your controller and see what's up, and boost the trailer brakes up a bit. Of course, if something goes WRONG with those electric brakes, then it's nice to have the bigger vehicle that has a chance of stopping.

              What is more concerning is the overall stability of the rig (a Xterra is a very high center of gravity vehicle) and the overall capabilities of the truck. Pulling with a smaller, unfit vehicle is going to wear it out awful quick. In addition, you may find yourself seriously struggling to move the trailer in tougher situations, like up hills or in mud.

              The Audi is actually probably a safer choice in the world of unsafe towing vehicles than the Xterra, actually. It's a much lower, more stable vehicle, longer too. And chances are the engine is bigger, to boot. Surprised she hasn't burned out the transmission on it yet, though...that won't be cheap!

              As for the Ranger, well, that depends on a lot of variables. The base models are barely rated to tow 1000lbs. But the 4x4 Super Cab with the Long Bed, when PROPERLY EQUIPPED (which via the Ford website = a weight distribution hitch, and the proper hitch/ball ratings) can pull up to 6000lbs, which is adequate for a lightly-loaded two horse.

              Originally posted by Luckydonkey View Post
              And people wonder why so many states would like to pass laws in regards to towing horse trailers and requiring cdl licenses....
              Right?

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Yes, I think you're right about the Tacoma having a greater hauling capacity - 6500 maybe? And I think the Xterra is only 5000. I was wondering about the shape of the Xterra. Since it's higher and skinnier than most SUVs (at least it looks that way to me) how would the shape of the Xterra affect its ability to tow?

                I do understand the difference between being able to tow and being able to tow safely. I would really like to understand specifically why the Xterra is not a good option. Knowledge is power especially in this situation

                And not that I'm disagreeing because I'm really not, but I'd say 75% of the towing setups I see are unsafe according to the standards I've come to understand from reading this forum over the years. So to those towing gurus out there that'd like to dismiss my question - when average people see that kind of stuff they wonder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Beef up the hitch, don't haul more than one horse and use a BUP if possible...if it's 100% necessary to haul using an Xterra.

                  Just test it out in a parking lot on turn and any swerving...the Xterra is on the tall and narrow side. Same as a trailer. Not always the best combination for balance and safety.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!
                  ...Belefonte

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wheel base is the biggest concern. Audis, Xterras etc, just do not have it. Is it doable? Yes. So is driving with your infant on your lap...

                    Sure most of the time you will be fine. But its that one time when your horse falls down in the trailer and it starts rocking or on a slippery road when you start jack-knifing. I "might" move an empty trailer with one of these vehicles, but there is no way on God's green Earth that I would put one of my horses (or anyone elses's) in that. Besides the safety factor, there is the liability. You can (and most likely would) be picked apart by vultures in court if you were ever in an accident.

                    I agree with the poster, about no wonder why they want us to get CDL's. To eliminate this type of danger. Whenever you put a horse on a trailer and head on down the highway, you are a moving liability and a danger to yourself, your horse and others...even under the best of circumstances.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post

                      Right?
                      Again, having an intelligent rhetorical discussion about WHY something is a bad idea rather than dismissing your fellow horseperson as a moron probably breeds a safer way of thinking in general. And then you don't have to live in fear of sharing the road with uninformed, unsafe morons

                      The condescending tone is unnecessary. I believe I made it clear I was seeking information and opinions, not looking to run out and haul tomorrow. I feel like that's the true purpose of this BB in general and why so many people choose to use alters rather than risking asking a "stupid" question and then enduring the condescension.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mybelle View Post
                        I would really like to understand specifically why the Xterra is not a good option. Knowledge is power especially in this situation

                        And not that I'm disagreeing because I'm really not, but I'd say 75% of the towing setups I see are unsafe according to the standards I've come to understand from reading this forum over the years. So to those towing gurus out there that'd like to dismiss my question - when average people see that kind of stuff they wonder
                        Originally posted by mybelle View Post
                        Again, having an intelligent rhetorical discussion about WHY something is a bad idea rather than dismissing your fellow horseperson as a moron probably breeds a safer way of thinking in general. And then you don't have to live in fear of sharing the road with uninformed, unsafe morons

                        The condescending tone is unnecessary. I believe I made it clear I was seeking information and opinions, not looking to run out and haul tomorrow. I feel like that's the true purpose of this BB in general and why so many people choose to use alters rather than risking asking a "stupid" question and then enduring the condescension.
                        I wasn't being condescending, I was agreeing with the other poster that that would be a fabulous idea. BTW, you are asking for opinions and asking for help in regards to why the Xterra is not a good tow vehicle....and I already posted two significantly-sized posts explaining why that you didn't see/chose to ignore/whatever. I'll explain it again, sparks note style:

                        1. The tow rating does not allow you to tow very much. You are ideally not going to want a dressing room, and may not even want to load up two horses depending on what sort of horses you have. You are going to have to pay very careful attention to what is going into both the vehicle and the trailer....that includes hay and tack in the trailer, and people/dogs/food/etc in the vehicle. This is not something that I worry about in my 10,000lb-rated truck, obviously.

                        2. To deal with the low tow rating, you are going to need to look into a weight distribution hitch. They can get pricey, but are absolutely not a negotiable piece of equipment with your setup. In fact, I imagine without one your Xterra is just going to sit down on it's back wheels and you won't be able to go anywhere anyway!

                        3. The Xterra is not a vehicle built for towing -- it is built for comfort, for hauling people around. To deal with the weight of a trailer, you are going to want to upgrade lots of different things: start with the springs (stiffer), the brakes (heavy duty) and a transmission cooler. The transmission cooler is another option that you are not allowed to go without, if you want to have that vehicle for any significant period of time. (Ie, more than like a year..)

                        4. The Xterra is a very high-centered vehicle, ie, not the most stable. That's why I suggested the Audi station wagon was a better option in terms of general safety; it is long and low to the ground.

                        5. Engine size - no, engine size is not everything. But a heavy weight is going to be a strain on the Xterra engine....I'd say with a full load you can expect your gas mileage to half itself. My 1500 diesel Suburban had trouble getting up some big hills.....so you can expect to be CRAWLING up anything of substantial size.

                        6. In terms of more upgrades: I don't know what sort of hitch they toss on there outta the factory, but you are going to want to go with a Class III at least...preferably a Class IV to be safe, as the Class III tops out at 5000lbs and it's better to be safe than sorry.


                        The better (and honestly, probably cheaper) option is to just buy a $2000 truck off craigslist. Buy something that's actually meant for hauling loads, and take the wear and tear off your vehicle that was really just designed to haul a nice boat or something.

                        And yes, I am correct about the tow ratings, because I went to the appropriate websites (ie, the manufacturers) and looked them up.


                        As to why 75% of people are hauling with unsafe rigs....I don't see that in my area, so I don't know that I agree. Almost every horse owner I know has either a half-ton truck or the equivalent full-body style. (Suburban, Expedition, etc)

                        Originally posted by SunkenMeadow View Post
                        Besides the safety factor, there is the liability. You can (and most likely would) be picked apart by vultures in court if you were ever in an accident.

                        I agree with the poster, about no wonder why they want us to get CDL's. To eliminate this type of danger. Whenever you put a horse on a trailer and head on down the highway, you are a moving liability and a danger to yourself, your horse and others...even under the best of circumstances.
                        This is #7 on the list. If you get in any sort of accident that injures other people, you are going to be screwed. Royally. Because it is going to be very easy for a lawyer to prove that your setup is not safe. And trailer accidents are really not as uncommon as you think--there are several members of this board who have gotten in very serious ones while using the proper equipment, nevermind sub-par setups.

                        You should actually call up your insurance company and see if they'll cover you at all under their policy. Most insurance companies will very clearly state that they do not cover vehicles being "mis-used." I have an insurance policy on my trailer and the rep asked me what I would be towing with. (GMC 2500) He was relieved to hear my answer because "you don't know how many idiots I turn down for insurance. And then they get angry at me because I'm not going to cover them towing their giant horse trailer with a Cherokee!"



                        Oh, more that I thought of!

                        Reason #8: Tires. I suspect that the tires you have on the vehicle right now are light-duty passenger tires. Yeah, you're going to want to upgrade to real truck tires if you're going to be carrying any sort of weight, so be prepared to fork up about $1000 for the tires alone.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I'm honestly appreciative for the info and all 7 points are well taken. I just found some of the other extraneous comments distracting and could not help but comment on them. I apologize for not acknowledging the information you provided sooner

                          I think the references to driving drunk and driving with a baby on the lap were a bit on the condescending side. There's no need to point out the more passive agressive forms of condescension since I'm interested in towing/hauling info not finger-pointing. I understand a point was trying to be made and maybe someone was just trying to be funny, but I personally take someone's advice seriously when I don't get the feeling they think I'm stupid or may be trying to imply that I am. Since others are probably reading this thread that are not responding, this is your chance to educate without insulting.

                          I probably should've not posted the question at all in retrospect since a few of the responses were more annoying than informative, but I was honestly interested in the feedback.

                          Not all of us have the resources we would like to have and when someone offers a possibility that may not be a good option (or is it an option? let's ask the Chronicle BB!) its nice to know what other more informed horse people out there think.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OK, ok. People have given you plenty of good advice about why this isn't a good idea....or how much you'd spend to make your Xterra minimally safe for you and your horses....or how much it would cost to buy a beater 1/2 ton hauler for the occasional trip you'd do versus blowing up the engine and tranny on this one.

                            And then y'all got into a quick fight. Nay-sayer posters implied this was a stupid question. Op said it was her right to ask. Not that she should have to explain herself. Not that she planned on doing this soon.

                            Wait a sec. If you aren't planning to do this, then why ask? You *do* need to explain a bit because you aren't the only person on the road. If you lost control of your undertrucked rig, you'd be very sorry for the accident, I'm sure. It might not even be your fault-- some other a-hole could cause the accident by cutting you off. But damn! People and animals would still be hurt, and having chosen too little vehicle is your part in that.

                            I'll accept "hey, it's a free country" until it really isn't and sharing the road is one of those instances. I only comment on this thread in a hard-a$$ because the Xterra is, no offense, the most unlikely tow vehicle I have seen a COTHer inquire about.

                            The CDL would be a pain for most of us. It's a pretty involved test, as I understand it. But having gotten into hauling horses even with a 3/4 ton truck whose tow capacity I never approach, I have gained a new respect for professional drivers and their much bigger, heavier vehicles. Most truckers are great to drive with. They don't F around. I try to do the same-- be polite and predictable. Really, the CDL is to be imitated, IMO.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mybelle View Post
                              I'm honestly appreciative for the info and all 7 points are well taken. I just found some of the other extraneous comments distracting and could not help but comment on them. I apologize for not acknowledging the information you provided sooner

                              I think the references to driving drunk and driving with a baby on the lap were a bit on the condescending side.

                              Not all of us have the resources we would like to have and when someone offers a possibility that may not be a good option (or is it an option? let's ask the Chronicle BB!) its nice to know what other more informed horse people out there think.
                              Well, the drunk/baby references were not from me. Although I think it's a point that should be considered...people do plenty of dangerous things all the time while driving. Just because they occasionally get away with it, doesn't mean that it's okay to assume that you can. Because that one time that they aren't so lucky, all we can do is hope that they hurt only themselves and not any innocent bystanders.

                              Bottom line is: No, the Xterra does not seem like a good option for what you want to do. I would instead take the $2000 for upgrades to the vehicle (which are not optional....those lightweight tires will blow/the weight distributing hitch is probably required by law/etc) and spend it on a cheap truck off craigslist. I got my GMC 2500 for a smidge over $1000. She's older (1999) and higher mileage (180k) but she is in excellent shape and used just for hauling/getting stuff in the bed around town. Four doors, too, so I can haul people in addition to horses! Costs me MAYBE $500 a year to insure, and I'm still a young driver with a speeding ticket or two in the very expensive Massachusetts, so my rates are higher than average. You could definitely find a Suburban/half-ton truck that's safe for towing for around $2000. Especially as gas prices continue to rise and rise.....there are so many lovely 'burbans (I LOVE them! Sadly needed the bed, though) being tossed on craigslist cause people can't pay for the gas on a 18mpg vehicle anymore.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                I'll accept "hey, it's a free country" until it really isn't and sharing the road is one of those instances. I only comment on this thread in a hard-a$$ because the Xterra is, no offense, the most unlikely tow vehicle I have seen a COTHer inquire about.
                                .
                                Hey now, hey now, I think someone asked about a Cherokee once. Not a v8 7000lb Grand Cherokee, mind you, but a regular, 2000lb-rated Cherokee. And got upset when everyone's reactions were

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It wasn't meant to be condescending, it was illustrating the fact that most of our horses (and our own lives) are very important to us. But people as a whole do not have a good understanding of the seriousness (is that the right word?) of the situation you are asking about. Of course you wouldn't drive drunk or with an infant on your lap, I was just pointing out that this is just as serious an issue. So, just because the Owner's Manual (and more than likely the car salesman) might say that its okay, it usually is not. I do not think anyone was trying to put you down, just trying to stress the importance of having the correct vehicle.

                                  Maybe I am jaded, but I have seen too many trailering accidents that could have been prevented. So it happens to be a bee in my bonnet... so if I ruffled your feathers, sorry, but if I saved yours or someone else's butt by being blunt, that is way more important to me...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mybelle View Post
                                    I know a lot of people are going to say don't do it - you can only haul with a half ton - 1 ton truck.

                                    Is there anyone out there that thinks its doable? I have a friend that hauls a 2 horse with a dressing room with a Tacoma just fine, so this is why I wonder what truly can haul and what can't
                                    As I understood the OP (quoted above), mybelle only wants responses from people that think it's an okay idea to haul with an XTerra. No matter how polite you are in telling her that it's a bad idea, she's going to call you rude and condescending because, as per her OP, she only wants to hear from people that think she can haul with an Xterra.

                                    mybelle, lots of people haul with lots of inappropriate vehicles. Usually, they live to tell the tale. Sometimes, though, they don't. There is a poster here that insisted on hauling with an Explorer. Was told by several members of this board that it was a bad idea. Insisted that he/she knew better and that it would be fine. The result? The poster totaled their Explorer and trailer and killed both of their horses.

                                    Yes, hauling with an underrated vehicle that isn't designed to haul is a stupid idea. There is no way around it. That doesn't make everyone else condescending or rude, it just makes them honest.
                                    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                                    -George Morris

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Gallop - I appreciate your candor, once again. I have long considered the extra vehicle option as a possibility. It's good that you threw the $$ amounts out there for me because I've wondered if the costs of owning an extra, older vehicle like that would be prohibitive. It just sucks because the Xterra is free. I tried to dissuade friend who bought the Xterra to get something better for hauling (yes, I kind of sorta knew it wouldn't work, but I was hoping against hope), but its cute so she bought it. She didn't really buy it for me to haul my horse - how thoughtless of her! (now I made a joke!

                                      And I get what you are saying about people making a point with the drunk driving/baby on lap thing, but my point was that saying those things differently would've been more productive (unless those people were just trying to be funny)

                                      There's a father at my barn who hauled his daughter's horse to Kentucky maybe (?) and back with a Jeep Cherokee (I think it was a Grand Cherokee). I tried to mention the half-ton-ton truck (ie: I heard that's what you should use to haul) and he told me that's not true. So that's just one example of how its possible to become confused as to what is safe and what isn't. I do get what you guys are saying about people do stuff and that doesn't make it safe because no one dies.


                                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                      Wait a sec. If you aren't planning to do this, then why ask? You *do* need to explain a bit because you aren't the only person on the road.
                                      I asked in order to hear the answers. I was curious as to the reasons why it was a bad choice. I wasn't seeking a yes or no kind of answer but looking for a discussion and attempting to broaden my knowledge. My friend told me her Xterra came equipped with a towing package. This made me wonder - what kinds of things can this vehicle haul? I asked one friend about it and she never mentioned it as an unsuitable vehicle for towing a horse trailer. She just mentioned the need for an electronic braking system and an appropriate hitch and the weight distribution sway bars. I knew if I asked here my questions would be answered. I'm not sure I understand why you asked why I asked. I asked because I'm uninformed and I was looking for information. Is that not obvious? Why does anyone ask things on this BB? It seems that you are implying that even asking the question whether its ok to tow with an Xterra means I'm ignorant. YES. I don't know so I asked. What if I was wrong? Should I run around assuming for fear someone is going to call me ignorant? I'm a person that prefers to ask the stupid question and know the answer than to wonder and google aimlessly. And I did try googling the info and I was dissatisfied with what I found. Again, that could be because I'm uninformed. I'm trying to inform and educate myself so i'm not some dummy on the road endangering myself or others or my horse because I have no desire to do that and to imply that that could be my desire or aim is a strange accusation (and therefore I'm sure that is not what you meant)

                                      And I gotta say, people appreciate me for being willing to ask those "dumb" questions. And if people think I'm dumb for asking a question with a seemingly obvious answer, I'm ok with that. It's not so much about it being a free country. I just don't think anyone should be afraid to ask a question. It may seem off the subject, but I feel like this is the true spirit and nature of this board - to spark discussion and have a debate and have us all be better horse people in the end for it. Because that's what its all about. I want to safely go out and have fun with my horse.

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        SunkenMeadow - Thanks for the explanation and I understand your choice now. Much appreciated! I definitely get the point now, so you're right that's what's important

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