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V6 for pulling one horse in an aluminum trailer short distances?

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  • V6 for pulling one horse in an aluminum trailer short distances?

    I am looking into buying a truck and trailer for my one horse. I really just want to be able to trailer on the weekends to the local trails (2 miles from my house) and to local schooling shows within a 15 mile radius a few times a year. I can't afford to have 2 vehicles on the road, and my commute is too long to afford the gas for a big V8 engine. I was considering getting an SUV with a V6, and a small aluminum trailer (maybe even a one horse). I recognize that it's not the safest setup, but I would never take it further than a local gig, and wouldn't be towing all that frequently.

    My options at this point are a V6, or not being able to go anywhere ever because a V8 is out of the question with my commute.

  • #2
    Most accidents happen within 30 miles of home. Are you willing to do a one horse trailer or a Euro style?
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
      Most accidents happen within 30 miles of home. Are you willing to do a one horse trailer or a Euro style?
      That rule applies to all driving not just trailer driving. Yes i would consider a one horse or Euro style, but i've found older all aluminum trailers that are just as light


      • #4
        What about a diesel truck? I get about 20 mpg without a trailer and about 15 with in my 3/4 ton truck.


        • #5
          It is not just the engine though--small/medium SUVs aren't really designed to tow heavy loads or long trailers like that


          • #6
            I would be more concerned about the length of the wheel base than the number of cylinders. A trailer pushes down on the back end of the truck, and the shorter the wheel base, the more it will raise the front end of the truck, making steering and braking very unstable.

            And not all V6s are created equal. I would also not consider towing without four wheel drive since most trails and even events require parking in a grassy (likely muddy/not flat) area.

            I've known plenty of people that tow just fine with a smaller SUV and a light trailer. I've read that 120 inch wheel base is the minimum...I get by just fine with my 119 inch Expedition! It sure ain't a V6 though and uses a ton of gas.
            \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns


            • #7
              You could likely make it work out with a mid-size SUV, such as a Highlander, 4Runner, Pilot, etc., with the factory towing package. But you do have a 5000 lb limit and should try to stay well below that for live weight. Don't even thing about anything smaller than those vehicles. The Grand Cherokee (like I drive, although I have the V8) is available with a more fuel-efficient a V6 and has similar towing capability to the others with a longer wheelbase. If a Euro trailer, you're golden with any of these. If it's a North American trailer, you'll need the brake wiring added (the factory setup only provides 4-wire, not 7 wire) and a controller. You'll also want a weight distributing hitch if you get above about 3000 lbs total.

              Don't assume that aluminum trailers are light-weight, however...many simply are not. Even with my higher towing capacity with the V8 (7200) I chose to keep it as low as possible. My trailer weighs in at 2000 lbs (aluminum over steel frame) and fully loaded with two horses is under 5000 lbs. It's a 2004 Trailers USA Minuteman SuperSport.


              • #8
                I wouldn't recommend towing with anything less than a V8. My Chevy 1500 has the 5.7L V8 and it's *just* enough to pull my 2 horse BP Elite (aluminum, but with a GVW of 3900 lbs!) with tack and 2 horses.

                Safety first and the appropriate tow vehicle is part of that equation. IMHO, a V6 motor is not appropriate.

                Good luck!


                • #9
                  Jeez, you people would have heart attacks in Britain/Ireland. They tow their trailers around with all kinds of litty-bitty cars. Like VWs. They don't go screaming down interstates at 70 mph, however, just cruise around country roads.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Major Mark View Post
                    Jeez, you people would have heart attacks in Britain/Ireland. They tow their trailers around with all kinds of litty-bitty cars. Like VWs. They don't go screaming down interstates at 70 mph, however, just cruise around country roads.
                    I'm with you there...
                    I do realize it's not ideal, but I would never tow more than one horse and wouldn't go more than 15 miles (iwth the majority of the time going 2 miles up the road).


                    • #11
                      For going a couple miles down the road on occassion, I'd think you'll be fine.

                      Honestly, I am considering doing something similar with an AWD V6 SUV. I am thinking about either a Brenderup or a small metal trailer with no dressing room. I have a small horse who could easily fit in one of the older steel trailers that are probably a dime a dozen here.

                      I wouldn't drive a small rig like this up the mountains to Flagstaff, I'd mostly use it to get more safely through the 'hood to the trails near me. And maybe to a local hunt meet or a friend's place to ride-share in their mountain-friendly rig.
                      ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                      • #12
                        Are you talking those miles as on quiet rural roads, or are they city miles with stoplights and on ramps and offramps?

                        When I lived in LA, the most dangerous and stressful part of my haul wasn't long miles on interstate 5 or even Tejon Pass. It was pulling out of the driveway on a canyon road and stopping at the signal at a busy intersection that was timed for the stopping distance of cars, or stopping at the bottom of the freeway offramp, which had a significant slope. IE: 80% percent of the danger and stress on the rig was within 2 miles of home.

                        On the other hand, where I live now, a 5 mile haul is flat and quiet and likely would be uneventful even if the brakes were out.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Major Mark View Post
                          Jeez, you people would have heart attacks in Britain/Ireland. They tow their trailers around with all kinds of litty-bitty cars. Like VWs. They don't go screaming down interstates at 70 mph, however, just cruise around country roads.
                          They're also not towing American-style, put-twenty-percent-of-the-trailer's-weight-on-the-towing-hitch, non-aerodynamic, quick-to-fishtail trailers. I lived in Europe as a little girl. I saw what they pull, including on the German Autobahn. It isn't American-style aluminum trailers.

                          I have very similar needs to what the OP describes: need to pull one horse very locally to trails, shows, etc. in about a 20 mile radius, and I need to do it with a daily driver vehicle that won't suck me dry on gas mileage. I pull a one-horse Brenderup with a V6 Toyota RAV4 rated to tow 3500 lbs. I used to pull it with a Subaru Outback rated to tow 2700 lbs. And I would gladly take this rig on the interstate, and have done so, up to about 65 mph. It's just not part of my routine towing needs.

                          I feel absolutely confident that my horse is safe in this rig. You also couldn't pay me enough money to hook up a conventionally designed aluminum trailer to my RAV4, not even a one-horse model. I think it's an accident waiting to happen, and at the very least, it's ridiculously hard on your vehicle's suspension/transmission/engine.

                          Do I know other people who do an aluminum trailer pulled with something like a Jeep Cherokee or Ford Escape? Yes. I see them on the road. I give them a very, very, very wide berth. They freak me out.
                          Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                          • Original Poster

                            I live in a quiet suburb and the majority of the towing would be on quiet, easy back roads. No scary mountains or major hills around here...no city driving either


                            • #15
                              Yes, you can. A weight distributing hitch will help, and invest in a good brake controller (I love my prodigy 3). Go for a tow vehicle that has a longer wheel base for stability. You'll put a decent amount of wear on your tow vehicle even with occasional use, so make sure you keep it well tuned. IME, the Cotner and Collin-Arndt aluminum 2-horse trailers were the lightest non-fiberglass standard 2-horse trailers I could find (below 2000lbs empty). If you're ok with a stock, you can find them even lighter. Be careful, and from personal experience, I would definitely stick to the limits you set, venturing out on hills or the highway could strain your standard V6 engine past what it can comfortably handle.


                              • #16
                                No, no one in Europe is hauling a 2500 lb steel trailer with a gross weight of 9,000 lbs with a VW. They are hauling those little Brenderup thingies or using horse vans.

                                Also, a V6 does not guarantee you better mileage -- you can change the mileage you get significantly based on the way you drive and the way you maintain your vehicle.

                                In addition, if you think you are saving money by not commuting in a V8, however much money that is will get burned in 3 seconds when you get 4 mpg when towing with the V6, assuming you have it set up safely with a weight distributing hitch and you have a short (omg, please no DR), lightweight trailer.

                                I towed with SUV's for several years -- the mileage is abysmal and I will never go back, knowing what I know now. But everyone has to make their own choices based on their own needs, and not everyone wants to drive a pickup, as long as they are SAFE choices for your horses.

                                Also, just FYI, my diesel F250 gets 22 mpg cruising without the trailer (i.e commuting). My V8 SUV got about 17 mpg on the highway, but when I put the trailer on, it went down to about 7 mpg. Yes, 7. I'm not kidding. So I'm not sure how much money you will actually save.
                                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                                We Are Flying Solo


                                • #17
                                  What is your budget?


                                  • #18
                                    I am never a fan of a V6 or SUV pulling a horse, in a horse trailer. I am not a fan of light weight equipment for hauling horses, or anything heavy. Just not safe imo. I have been hauling since the early 80's. Get a truck to do the job. Also the trailer to do the job. You can use each to do other things beside hauling horses. Like furniture, hay, etc.

                                    What if you sink all this $ into the above then want a bigger truck? Or a bigger trailer? Gonna be $$ to move up.

                                    Yes, most accidents happen close to home. The worst drivers are the ones in the "lil quiet neighborhoods, and lil quiet rural roads." What if you have to jam on the brakes? Can your "rig" stop your trailer safely?

                                    Yes, agree totally with Daatje.

                                    People never cease to amaze me. I saw a Prius, with a flatbed trailer behind it hooked up with a hitch on it in the Huntsville Target parking lot. I laughed so hard! My husband and I own and drive a Prius. I told him about it, and he laughed hard for 5 minutes or more.

                                    Truck of choice should be no less than a 2500HD. Gas. That will be the cheapest. Gas is cheaper and so is a gas truck. Used.


                                    • #19
                                      rmh_rider, while I can certainly appreciate your point of view, the reality is that there are a great many folks who have needs that are satisfied well with a different approach. Making an informed choice and matching the tow vehicle and trailer is the bottom line and for many of us, a 3/4 ton truck isn't in the cards. My "rig" can stop my trailer safely, with or without the trailer brakes engaged (accounting for failure) and my tow vehicle weighs more than the combined weight of the trailer and my horses. The towing load is also 2200 lbs below my tow vehicle's rated capacity. This works for my needs and I have no safety concerns, especially since I drive conservatively normally and even more-so when towing.


                                      • #20
                                        I know you love that mare to bits. I would hate to hop on COTH one morning and read that you were hauling for your usual trail ride and got into an accident.
                                        V8 diesel will be the best of both worlds for you, but in all honesty, I bought my whole rig for $6k. At that price I could afford for the truck to be just a haul vehicle.

                                        Anonymous people on the Internet won't make you feel any better about your decision when you discover the hard way they were wrong.
                                        chaque pas est fait ensemble