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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Prius! Now, wouldn't that be cool? A small trailer, with the same aerodynamic shape and even the same color as my Prius . A small one, that will just hold maybe 100-200 lbs. of suitcases, or camping gear and such. Something that would have a very light GVWR so the Prius could tow it safely....Maybe 400 lbs. total. It would look like a little Prius being towed by a big Prius!
 

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I've seen this for giant trucks before. But the same old concern comes into play.. you do realize the Prius can only take a maximum weight load of around 800 lbs (I think its like 810 or 820 or something with the 2006). That means if you did tow something, that combined with what it is carrying plus the weight of your passengers and any other cargo needs to equate that 800 lbs. On a side note, anyone know what happens if you exceed this (Tires blow? Car dies? Aside from horrible MPG?)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is why I figured as small fiberglass trailer, with a GVWR of only about 400 lbs. That would be equivalent to 2 adult rear seat pasengers. I have seen small trailers behind motorcycles that made me think about this.
 

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Phish Phood said:
On a side note, anyone know what happens if you exceed this (Tires blow? Car dies? Aside from horrible MPG?)?
I've exceeded it a few times while carpooling. Didn't even notice a real significant drop in the mileage those days, though I'm sure it would add up.
 

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I'm sure I exceeded it on my trip to Nebraska last year. We had four adults, a baby plus baby seat, a completely full cargo area (with 'false floor' removed, it was still full-to-the-window,) and even some 'cargo' in the passenger compartment at people's feet. I know that the four adults alone hit the 800 pound mark. The 1500 miles to Nebraska, nothing bad happened. While IN Nebraska, we blew a tire, but that was on a nasty gravel road, and the tire truly disintegrated. (Little bits of black rubber gravel mixed in with the red rock gravel.) I blame that on the road, not on the load. (Punny rhyme really not intentional.) And the 1500 miles back were uneventful as well.

Both the trip there, and back, passed through really nasty winter weather in Wyoming, and it was a little squirrelly on the icy roads, but we had the stock tires then, too.
 

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The load capacity isn't a hard number. It's not like you'll get an instantaneous failure if you are a gram over the limit.

Keep in mind that the failures are statistical. Increased load increases the probability of some sort of failure. It would be reasonable to assume that the stated capacity is significantly less than the "real" capacity.

A car needs a limit because it helps to prevent people from doing stupid things by using a car for what it is not designed to do.

For a car (like the Prius) that is not designed with a lot of power, adding extra load increase stress on components like the engine and suspension. Components are designed to work within a specific performance envelope and you want them to be because, otherwise, you are paying for function that you cannot use. Put another way, a Prius designed for towing would not be a Prius! It would be a much heavier and less fuel efficient car.

The other problem is that the performance with regard to safety can be compromised by overloading which is especially bad concidering that towing anything is less safe.

If one pushes the capacity, one may drastically increase the risk of relatively rare events (like high winds). You may be squandering the performance margin that will keep you safer in an emergency!

One can compensate for overloading by not doing it very often or for very long or by driving much more slowely.
 

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I don't think a small trailer will impact the tires on the car much at all. Only the tongue weight will be carried by the tires, and for a 400-600 lb trailer, that's only 50 - 80 lbs.

What will be impacted is the brakes and drive train. They will both have to accellerate and decellerate more mass. I doubt that small extra weight would cause any noticable loss of life of the drive components. I'll bet it would impact the mileage though. ;)

You'd have to think out the airflow very carefully, so as to get the vehicle spacing correct. If you get it wrong, the trailer could be a parachute!':shock:'
 

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All,

I just drained and refilled the HSD transmission in my 2004 Prius with Toyota type WS ATF at 61,000 miles. The old ATF oil was much darker than the virgin oil so I sent samples in for testing ($39 fo the two samples). The results showed that I should have done this much earlier (high levels of iron, aluminum and silicon contaminates).

If you drive your Prius hard (high speeds, heavy loading or a small trailer), plan on refreshing your ATF each 30,000 miles ($79 at my dealer). For a discussion of these issues see:

http://hiwaay.net/~bzwilson/prius/pri_T_cold.html

where Bob Wilson has documented his measurements on the earlier model Prius HSD.

JeffD
 

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this will probably reduce mileage from adding drag, but a link i just found with a roof rack on a Prius is at:

http://www.darelldd.com/ev/prius_racks.htm

the thought for an engineer is: can a conformal cargo pod be developed that will allow some extra cubic capacity that will not present as much wind resistance? I'm thinking of the conformal fuel tanks of the F-15 or the underbelly cargo pods of the Cessna Caravan.



50.2 cumulative mpg by gallons used at 5k
 

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I believe all those tanks/cargo pods you mentioned increased drag - just from my experience in forestry flying with various types of tanks/cargo pods. In all the flight sims. I've seen the jet fighters, including the F15, can't go supersonic and can't dogfight with the tanks attached.

I've been told by at least 10 people, perhaps more, that carrying a canoe (upside down) on a roof rack reduces drag (what they said was it improved mileage - on a Volvo, a Datsun 510, a chev. impala, etc.). I suppose it's because the canoe is longer than the vehicle and smooths the airflow over the vehicle. Perhaps converting a canoe into a cargo pod would work for the Prius.
 

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Like a Prowler trailer?

So what you want is a Prius equivalent of the Chrysler/Plymouth Prowler Trailer:



The trailer was a factory option. It was designed specifically to match the Prowler, since the Prowler has no trunk. (None at all. Not even a token trunk that only fits one bag.) The one pictured has a 'bra' on it, which, unlike on cars, covers the BOTTOM of the front, because the car tends to throw debris up at it.
 
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