To most people I've spoken too its a rediculous question. The scenario: I have to move my 14ft trailer in the new year but sold the only car that could tow it (Volvo T5 estate ) Now the sensible thing would be to get a towbar fitted to my Octavia vRS however the detachable towbar is a good £300+ fitted and not an ideal car to be towing a big trailer with an Ax on it imo.
The other option is to buy something that can tow easily, is cheap and already has a towbar!
I know you lot will understand my leanings towards option 2 ;D
So I have put a sneaky bid in on one of these:
Its an early one 1991 J plate and a 3 door sport with 2.0 engine
Any one know of any pitfalls and traps? What should i be looking for? Do they rust much, any mechanical woes?
tbh its cheap enough for me to buy it and if it is a dog, scrap it and not lose much. It would also be extremely handy to have 4x4 in this weather as my job involves checking ungritted roads and I'm currently on call so getting off my drive without having to dig myself out would be a bonus!!
Here's some Fronteras for your trouble.....oh and a very young looking Jeremy Clarkson reviewing it in a hideous jumper!!!!
Frontera threads have been done a couple of times recently and the basic jist is check for rust. Competant enough off-road, but on-road manners are dire - Early ones are leaf sprung on the back, so very choppy and you need to watch nose-weights when towing. However, IMO SWB Fronteras are completely gash for towing. My Sport 2.0 petrol is rated to tow 2 tons, but anything over a ton is a struggle in the real world. Passable on a flat open road, but show it some corners and some hills and you soon find the gearing is way too long and the engine does not have enough torque to pull without you being constantly up and down the gearbox. Perhaps the diesel engines would be a better bet? The 2.8 Isuzu engine is the one to have, seemingly, but they are very rare and generally very expensive. The 2.3's I have driven seemed pretty sluggish, but I never towed anything - no experience of the 2.5 or the later engines in the Frontera B
I'd go for option 2, although possibly not a frontera.
Also the Octavia doesn't have a great towing weight capacity (around 1300Kg from memory) So if your trailer has a plated max weight over this then you could be in trouble if your stopped (no matter if its overloaded or empty) as the police/Vosa are clamping down on that
I remember Frontys when they first launched.My neighbour has a Vauxhall dealership & presented them at the Essex.I reckon your old Volvo could tow one faster than it could go on it`s own. Why not trawl the Bay for cheap a long tested Volvo ?
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If so it seems crazy to spend out on a new car for that, stick a wanted add up I'm sure someone on here will have a good enough tool for the job that would help out for fuel and beer tokens.
Although tbh, depending what the trailer weighs, i know an AX aint gonna weight a fat lot, u should be ok. Vosa are only interested in what ur trailer weighs, and how it's loaded at the time they might stop you, not what it's plated up to. So as long as it's less than 1300kgs (which i suspect it might) u're fine. Even if the trailer gross is (for example) 2000kgs.
It's when u go over either (car or trailers) plated weight they're gonna get the book out.
I had to move my fiesta a couple of weeks back, on a transporter of 300kgs empty, fiesta is no more than 850kgs (less with mine having a few bits missing). My saff can tow 1150kgs. Just about in there.
.... Vosa are only interested in what ur trailer weighs, and how it's loaded at the time they might stop you, not what it's plated up to. ....
You would think so, but sadly not. If the plated weight of the trailer exceeds the tow capacity of the car, you will be charged with being overloaded, regardless of the ACTUAL weight of the trailer. I was stopped in a c15 van in Aberdeen (tow capacity 750kgs or so iirc towing an empty transporter trailer. Empty weight was 650kgs, so the actual load I was towing was legally within the vans limit, however since the trailer was plated to 2.8 tons, I was "overloaded". I was told that because I COULD load the trailer up to 2.8 tons, I was over weight and had to get a 4x4 to come and pick up the trailer. It made no difference telling them I had no intention of loading it I was infact moving an empty trailer to another place to store it. Welcome to United Kingdom, where according to the law, I could be prosecuted for a crime I MIGHT commit in the future simply because I had the equipment that MAY allow me to do so. I thought about telling the copper to arrest me as I MIGHT go on to rape and murder a hooker that evening, but thought better of it as he didnt strike me as the kind to have a sense of humour.
don't forget about the disco, the halfshafts are made out of a curly whirly, I might be biased, but i've never towed anything without any of my my trusty toyotas
Never had a driveshaft problem myself, or heard of one from any of my mates with Discos
I've never towed with a Toyota either but have used a few others Trooper, maverick, Shogun, Frontera, TD5 Disco, 200tdi Disco, 300Tdi disco, transit vans and various estate cars
I used to drive for a crash repair bodyshop towing their trailer to collect/ deliver cars Spent a couple of years there in a 200Tdi and clocked up serious mileage towing (over 20,000miles) It never had a problem and was just serviced regularly. Only thing i would have liked was better brakes, you just got used to planning ahead a bit
Since then i've towed loads, either my own or for other people (including a few on here) moving cars around.
The Frontera would be at the bottom of the list and the Disco at the top (although not the TD5)
Maverick (2.7TD) towed well but didn't find it comfy myself
Trooper towed effortlessly but parts prices were stupidly high
Shogun didn't seem to have the grunt compared to the Trooper or Maverick and drank fuel no mater what speed you drove at
Frontera i found completly gutless and tiring to drive as it needed constant steering input to keep it in a straight line Now that might have been just play in the steering box but it put me off
My old SWB transit 2.5 towed well and was economical on Veg Oil but lacked power when you wanted to accelerate (its now being used by MiniDan and is well over 200k by now)
My old sierra 4x4 estate was prob the most fun to tow with but would fall fowl of the weight limits being enforced nowadays Otherwise i'd have another one tomorrow
As it is i have my eye out for a 300Tdi for winter/towing duties ;D
Ive had a 300tdi disco and a td5 defender to tow with. Towing heavy horses and other landrovers mainly. Disco was an auto and so slow but once up to speed was lovely and the auto box made manoeuvring reversing with trailer a complete pleasure. The defender was even better the long wheelbase short rear overhang with nice stiff rear springs really helping with towing. But not everyone finds them comfy plus turning circle isnt great. Ive also used 3 motors my parents had a 2.8td trooper amazing engine but you bounced and pitched your way along plus it drank heavily and parts were such a rip off. A 3.9 V8 manual discovery was brilliant on LPG to but you only got 12mpg if you was lucky and now its gone to a rusty heaven. there latest is a 200tdi disco comercial and its great but could do with a bit more grunt. Never had a problem with discovery brakes in any of the discos all with standard pads discs and the 110 was even better as they have bigger calipers and was fitted with uprated pads and discs. My mate delivers landrovers all over the country and he uses a 110 retro fitted with a SLTi 3.5 mazda diesel he says its so much better than a 200tdi and it runs on bio to!
I've owned a number of tow vehicles over the last 30 years. Taking vans out of the equation, as they are a different league, my top car orientated ones are
Ford Granda mk2 2.8 manual Ford Sierra 2.8 4x4 Frontera LWB 2.2 DTI 1999 (newer shape) Range Rover 3.5 (ex met police)
Obviously the Fords were limited weight wise, but had plenty of grunt and speed to go with it. The Range Rover was ok, and ok it was the older model 1979, but I did'nt think it towed as well as I'd been led to believe, and eventually it caught fire!! Now as the original poster has bid on a fronty. I was very sceptical when I bought mine, but it was all I could afford at the time. Whilst I'm not impressed with its general build quality, the DTI engines knock out a useful 265ft lb of torque, and tbh quite amazes me just how well they do tow. Not the fastest vehicle in the world, far from it, but does tow easily at the national speed limit. Mine nows done nearly 165,000 miles, and still going strong.
Its the torque of the engine you need to consider when looking for a tow vehicle not neccesarily the engine cubic capacity.
It went for a bargain basement £215. I maxxed out at £195 but for once i stuck to my guns and let it go. It needed tax and mot and two new tyres so was going to be a pain to get sorted before christmas.....might have to go back to the drawing board and think through some options....