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Dav1e

Towing with Petrol Auto's?

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Hi all, haven't posted on here in some time, but I'm looking for any experience that people have with towing using a petrol engine with an auto gearbox. We have an XC90  D5 at present, who is an old lady and will be due for an update next year. Due to the current 'lets hit diesel drivers' with pump prices, tax for entering cities etc, which I can only see getting worse over the coming years, is there really an alternative that works. I have towed in the past with a 2. 0 V70 manual when we first started out, and don't really want to go there again due to the lack of low down torque. So I was wondering if anyone uses a petrol engine, possibly 4x4  auto to tow with. Would like to know about fuel consumption, strain if any pulling away on inclines and general driving while towing. I haven't ruled out Hybrid, but with a required tow capacity of around 1550 kg, this rules out many of them!

Look forward to hearing any views

Dave. .. 

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The Volvo XC90 is a lovely car. Won't their hybrid version fit the bill. It is expensive though.

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      Before Diesel cars began to become popular in the 1980's, most people used petrol tow cars and managed perfectly well.  My Father always towed with petrol engined cars and it didn't prevent him taking his 'van all over UK and France when I was a lad.  Indeed, Dad taught me to tow in a petrol engined Austin Cambridge.  

       However, I intend to continue my towing using Diesel as I prefer the power delivery and economy they provide.

                  John.    :)

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A long time ago, I used to tow a Bessacar 550gl twin axle with a Mercedes 2. 8 litre 4x4 G Wagen auto, I used to get about 15mpg towing, but, I only got about 16mpg without the van on the back. 4x4 petrols are usually quite thirsty as they tend to be geared with lowish ratios.  

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I towed for several years with an assortment of petrol and LPG cars and much prefer the power delivery of petrol engines. The slight lack of low down torque being easily overcome by intelligent use of the lower gears, allowing the engine to rev a little more. An auto gearbox should take care of this for you as long as you are not one of the drivers with a phobia of allowing an engine to rev a bit.

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15 minutes ago, Leedslad said:

      Before Diesel cars began to become popular in the 1980's, most people used petrol tow cars and managed perfectly well.  My Father always towed with petrol engined cars and it didn't prevent him taking his 'van all over UK and France when I was a lad.  Indeed, Dad taught me to tow in a petrol engined Austin Cambridge.  

       However, I intend to continue my towing using Diesel as I prefer the power delivery and economy they provide.

                  John.    :)

Hi John, my dad used to tow with a Swift Danette and Ace Vicroy 1750 Maxi and the an Austin 1800, both manuals, but engines, caravan weights were different back then and so was the amount of traffic and perhaps the stop start  driving.

24 minutes ago, Nilrem said:

The Volvo XC90 is a lovely car. Won't their hybrid version fit the bill. It is expensive though.

Exactly the issue, if I had 50k to spend I wouldn't being asking these questions. Beautiful cars but at a premium, and not yet old enough to be affordable for me at the moment. (One day perhaps!)

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assuming you dont live or work in a city center i would imagine on that size 4x4 the day to day mpg savings by sticking with diesel will offset the odd city charge. You will probably find if you are buying new/newly new they will be exempt from any potential charges anyway like what they did with the HGVs in london they targeted the older more polluting vehicles.

 

I have the Mitsubushi hyrbid and mpg is pretty dire once the electric runs out, a friend had the Volvo XC90 hyrbid and although a fantastic car mpg again was shockingly bad especially once you start stretching its legs which is rather tempting with just under 400hp under your right foot.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Stevan said:

I towed for several years with an assortment of petrol and LPG cars and much prefer the power delivery of petrol engines. The slight lack of low down torque being easily overcome by intelligent use of the lower gears, allowing the engine to rev a little more. An auto gearbox should take care of this for you as long as you are not one of the drivers with a phobia of allowing an engine to rev a bit.

Stevan, as I post we'd used to tow with a V70 which was manual, and apart from hill starts with 5 up and fully laden did the job ok. You may have answered the question re the auto and petrol combination. At least I would have tought you shouldn't have that refined scent of burning clutch!! :)

5 minutes ago, tom_1989 said:

assuming you dont live or work in a city center i would imagine on that size 4x4 the day to day mpg savings by sticking with diesel will offset the odd city charge. You will probably find if you are buying new/newly new they will be exempt from any potential charges anyway like what they did with the HGVs in london they targeted the older more polluting vehicles.

 

I have the Mitsubushi hyrbid and mpg is pretty dire once the electric runs out, a friend had the Volvo XC90 hyrbid and although a fantastic car mpg again was shockingly bad especially once you start stretching its legs which is rather tempting with just under 400hp under your right foot.

 

 

Hi Tom, where I work has a possibility to come into a congestion charge in 2020. I currently average about 24 mpg in the Volvo doing my average drive. Today more modern petrol engine vehicles, I believe would give me a better return. Combined with £550 VED PA plus the ever rising fuel prices I do think there are saving to be had along the line.

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Hi I have a Pegasus Rimini I tow with my BMW X3 3. 5i. The car tows it and stops it effortlessly and is a pleasure to drive. The 8 speed auto gearbox is no problem  but I use the manual change button sometimes on windy hilly sections of roads. I have had no trouble with the 2011 car now done 80k kilometers. Ok fuel consumption not towing approx 20 to 22mpg, towing van approx 16 to 18 mpg. I am not the best fuel saving driver either. I will replace this car soon but at 130,000 NZ dollars it is out of my price range now so will buyna new Nissan Pathfinder at 60,000 NZ dollars, petrol of course. Our petrol price is about 60 cents a liter dearer than diesel BUT you then have to pay road tax on every kilometer you do, which in the end costs no less than petrol.

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There is a lot of rubbish being spoken about diesel power and charges for entering places.

For a start if you get a Euro 6 model (one that uses/needs AdBlue) then you are unlikely to be prohibited from entering anywhere or be charged for it. If charging takes off in the UK - gold plated of course - then you may be charged for a Euro 5 but in France or Germany you won't. For those countries you get a one-off numbered vignette to go on your windscreen and the authorities vary what numbers can and cannot enter the controlled zones according to the current pollution level. The French sticker costs €4. 11 and the German one €6. For France go to 

http://www. certificat-air. gouv. fr 

and for Germany go to

https://www. berlin. de/labo/mobilitaet/kfz-zulassung/feinstaubplakette/shop. 86595. en. php

Both sites are in English and the stickers are applicable throughout each country.

All you need to do is fill in the form on line, enter your credit card number and attach a scan of page 2 of your vehicle V5C and submit it - the sticker will arrive in about a week. (Don't be puzzled by the placement instructions that come with the French sticker - it just has to be positioned so that a policeman standing in front of your car can see it. Note that once fitted they are nigh impossible to remove!)

 

Notice that the UK says that all diesel and petrol engined vehicles will be banned by 2040 - which implies battery power is the only option? Wrong. Hybrids will still be legal but they keep that quiet.

Edited by Woodentop

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I've towed with a 1990 Vauxhall Senator 3. 0 24v Auto. Pulled like a train, no issues. 4 speed with torque converter lock up in 3rd and 4th.  Great bit of simple kit GMs electronic autobox. 270Nm of twist 

 

I then next towed with a 2004 BMW 545i Auto (6speed ZF, TC lock up available from 2nd gear) It Pulled like an express train! I could maintain 60mph on the uphill grades on the M74 without issue. 450Nm of twist.

 

Current tug, 2013 BMW 535i Auto (8speed ZF, TC lock available in all gears I think) 400 Nm of twist.  It pulls just as well as the 545i did but this autobox is a sports autobox which gives me paddle shifters on the steering wheel which I use religiously when towing, mostly for slowing so I don't cook the brakes. So the lack of sheer grunt from the 545i is more than made up for in terms of better control over the gears with there being more and being able to change them by means of my finger tips.

 

I've also used my dad's Diesel Mondeos over the years for towing but these were manual (5 and 6 speeds) and I preferred the petrol autos partly as they have all been decent power plants so have plenty of poke.

 

As you can no doubt tell I'm a diehard petrolhead.  :D

 

 

Edited by 535i Andrew

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Modern turbo petrols will have no difficulty in pulling a suitable caravan.

The turbo mapping will produce high torque at previously unknown low revs.

As Andrew said above, the ZF 8 speed as fitted to many 4 and 6 cylinder BMW's is an absolute peach, both solo and towing.

My 3 litre petrol turbo car (not SUV) is very economical solo, somewhat less so towing a 1500kg van. I'll admit to 15mpg but I may be a little optimistic with that. I do tend to tow to the limit though.

 

My previous towcar was a 3 litre twin turbo diesel estate car (BMW again). Apart from the disparate fuel consumption, both were pretty good tow cars. The diesel wasn't much more economical solo than the petrol - only a couple of mpg overall.

 

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47 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

There is a lot of rubbish being spoken about diesel power and charges for entering places.

For a start if you get a Euro 6 model (one that uses/needs AdBlue) then you are unlikely to be prohibited from entering anywhere or be charged for it. If charging takes off in the UK - gold plated of course - then you may be charged for a Euro 5 but in France or Germany you won't. For those countries you get a one-off numbered vignette to go on your windscreen and the authorities vary what numbers can and cannot enter the controlled zones according to the current pollution level. The French sticker costs €4. 11 and the German one €6. For France go to 

http://www. certificat-air. gouv. fr 

and for Germany go to

https://www. berlin. de/labo/mobilitaet/kfz-zulassung/feinstaubplakette/shop. 86595. en. php

Both sites are in English and the stickers are applicable throughout each country.

All you need to do is fill in the form on line, enter your credit card number and attach a scan of page 2 of your vehicle V5C and submit it - the sticker will arrive in about a week. (Don't be puzzled by the placement instructions that come with the French sticker - it just has to be positioned so that a policeman standing in front of your car can see it. Note that once fitted they are nigh impossible to remove!)

 

Notice that the UK says that all diesel and petrol engined vehicles will be banned by 2040 - which implies battery power is the only option? Wrong. Hybrids will still be legal but they keep that quiet.

 

Not all Euro 6 vehicles use Adblue.

 

Several UK cities are planning to ban* diesels which aren't the current Euro level, so Euro 6 will get banned* sometime

* they aren't banned, just subject to a high daily charge.

 

It's SALES of new petrol/diesel cars from 2040 that will end, so all existing ones will be permitted. Hybrids will probably have been abandoned by 2040 if EVs continue to progress on range/recharge capability.

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1 hour ago, Woodentop said:

There is a lot of rubbish being spoken about diesel power and charges for entering places.

For a start if you get a Euro 6 model (one that uses/needs AdBlue) then you are unlikely to be prohibited from entering anywhere or be charged for it. If charging takes off in the UK - gold plated of course - then you may be charged for a Euro 5 but in France or Germany you won't.  

From April next year all Euro 4 Diesels will be banned in Cologne, from September next year all Euro 5 Diesels will be banned in Cologne, other large German cities have similar plans.

Diesel is doomed.

12 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

Not all Euro 6 vehicles use Adblue.

 

Several UK cities are planning to ban* diesels which aren't the current Euro level, so Euro 6 will get banned* sometime

* they aren't banned, just subject to a high daily charge.

 

It's SALES of new petrol/diesel cars from 2040 that will end, so all existing ones will be permitted. Hybrids will probably have been abandoned by 2040 if EVs continue to progress on range/recharge capability.

Where’s all that electricity going to come from?

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Don`t worry keep calm and carry on all cars lose money!

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I've got a couple of shovels, just need some miners, then we can have 24HR electric, or should we just carry on importing wood chippings from aboard which pollute the air like coal, but that's kept quite.

Where I live you have to park where you can, so how will we be able to charge our cars, perhaps the government will every family a one car?

If everyone else can see problems with all this why are the government not seeing it.  

At present I have a v8 diesel, but I might consider a petrol version.

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51 minutes ago, Borussia 1900 said:

 

Where’s all that electricity going to come from?

 

Exactly!

 

Here is something to make you think to those that say torque is what you need for towing, so you need a Diesel.  

 

A 530d BMW six cylinder single turbo will put out 560Nm of torque.   The 530d has a final drive ratio of 2. 47:1. Torque going to wheels when in direct drive thru gearbox = 1383Nm

 

My 535i BMW is a six cylinder single turbo and will put out 400Nm of torque, which is a measily 70% achieved by the Diesel of the same size displacement and same number of turbos.  It has exactly the same gearbox and thus ratios as the 530d. So we can ignore any effect from the gearbox here.  My car has a final drive ratio of 3. 08:1. Torque going to wheels when in direct drive thru gearbox = 1232Nm or a more respectable 89% of what the Diesel can achieve.

 

Its not much in it between petrol and the higher torque output of the Diesel engines because Diesel engine cars have lower ratio final drives.  

 

Its the torque at the road wheel that matters for towing, not the torque at the engine flywheel, it's got to get thru the drive train to the wheels. Engine torque is then multiplied by the gearbox and final drives before getting to the wheel.  

 

The Diesel will still have the edge with the extra Nm, there's no doubt, but you don't need to drive a petrol car on long regular runs to keep the DPF sweet for a 10% difference in torque.

 

I have always done short journeys so a petrol suits my needs.

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Any VW/Skoda petrol autos are the best if you can get enough kerbweightbfor your situation. The auto boxes will need new box oil at 40k, but I have seen Passat with 200k with original oil in pristine condition.

 

I will never go near a Volvo again. I had a V70 V5 diesel. Because it had a town driving existence from new and trips of about 6 miles max the turbo went black at 38k, Volvo UK just shrugged their shoulders.

 

on the subject of electric cars. Oh dear! Where are all the redundant batteries going to end up?

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4 minutes ago, Flag of Wessex said:

 

 

on the subject of electric cars. Oh dear! Where are all the redundant batteries going to end up?

The raw materials to make those batteries aren’t what I’d call ‘green’ either.

 

I heard recently (don’t know how true it is) that if everyone in the UK swapped their car tomorrow for an all electric one there’d need to be another 18 nuclear power stations just for charging the cars. Mmmmmmmm, nuclear waste, lovely :o

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17 minutes ago, Borussia 1900 said:

The raw materials to make those batteries aren’t what I’d call ‘green’ either.

 

I heard recently (don’t know how true it is) that if everyone in the UK swapped their car tomorrow for an all electric one there’d need to be another 18 nuclear power stations just for charging the cars. Mmmmmmmm, nuclear waste, lovely :o

Not to mention the charging infrastructure, imagine the supply needed by a motorway service area to give a 50Kw supply to each of maybe 100 charging points.

(Tesla S has around a 70Kwh battery, so 50Kwh is a reasonable mid journey charge during a 1 hour lunch break.)

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4 hours ago, Dav1e said:

Hi all, haven't posted on here in some time, but I'm looking for any experience that people have with towing using a petrol engine with an auto gearbox. We have an XC90  D5 at present, who is an old lady and will be due for an update next year. Due to the current 'lets hit diesel drivers' with pump prices, tax for entering cities etc, which I can only see getting worse over the coming years, is there really an alternative that works. I have towed in the past with a 2. 0 V70 manual when we first started out, and don't really want to go there again due to the lack of low down torque. So I was wondering if anyone uses a petrol engine, possibly 4x4  auto to tow with. Would like to know about fuel consumption, strain if any pulling away on inclines and general driving while towing. I haven't ruled out Hybrid, but with a required tow capacity of around 1550 kg, this rules out many of them!

Look forward to hearing any views

Dave. .. 

 

Hi Dave. I towed for many many years with a 1997 Volvo V70 T5 CD Automatic with absolutely no issues at all,indeed I took it to 240,000 miles before selling it on.

At the same time I had a V70 2. 4 T SE Geartronic that I bought so that I could experience/evaluate the gearbox instead of just a plain auto box.

The 2. 4 T SE Geartronic was an absolute peach of a box especially when it came to towing duties.

Towing was unkind to the fuel consumption with both of the petrol engine variants and when calculated over the individual trips the T5 would return 20/21mpg and the 2. 4 T would return 22/23mpg but that was towing a 1750 MPTLP twin axle Elddis Crusader Super Sirocco.

I later went over to the 163bhp V70 D5's but the fuel consumption was a little disappointing and rather debatable as to whether the extra 6/7mpg was viable and especially when the diesel fuel started getting hiked-up.

When used solo the V70's in all variants would give very respectable returns on fuel,I actually had seven in all and only gave up with Volvo because I no longer needed a large estate car.

My car of choice is now a very tidy 2001 BMW 330i Sport Touring Automatic that should see me out until I can afford a Bentley Arnage.

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Most my tow cars were petrol auto, Marina 1800, Vauxhall Royal 2. 8 litre, Toyota Crown 2. 6 litre, Triumph 2000, to name just some. One did have to read the instructions as they did vary, seem to remember the Rover 3500 had two options and with the standard option it did not use 1st gear, others had the L (lock) where you could lock it in a low gear for long down hill runs.

 

The old cars were not very fuel economic to start with, adding a caravan could reduce the MPG from 25 to 22 but one did not really notice the drop with the larger cars.

 

Today things have changed a lot, and there is a huge difference towing and light, and often the larger cars actually do better MPG wise than the smaller when towing, we had a Kia Carens 2L diesel which we swapped for a Kia Sorento 2. 4L and towing the Sorento  does better MPG to what the Carens did, however light the Carens was best.

 

As to why, that's up for debate, it may be the larger engine does not need to work as hard, or it could be the larger body of the tow car reduces the wind resistance of the caravan.

 

However also driving technique, to get power from an engine it should be revving between max torque and max BHP, once the revs drop below the max torque figure one needs to change gear far more often, so for easy driving the Sorento needs to be over 2000 RPM, however for economy likely 1500 RPM will give one better figures.  

 

Now with a Diesel you have quite a tight rev band say 2000 - 4000 RPM but with a Petrol often 2500 - 6000 RPM so as long as you allow the base revs to rise,  life is easier with the Petrol. One can reduce the need to change gear, if you keep revs above max torque level, however as said allowing it to drop below that figure means better MPG.

 

So with an automatic where the torque converter and old Wilson epicyclic gear box can change ratio with ease, in general when towing the MPG is better than with a manual.

 

However the old 3 speed Wilson epicyclic gear box and torque converter are in the past, with infinity variable and 8 speed automatic gear boxes today all the old ideas and methods of driving are gone. Modern engines are very carefully matched to the car to get some fantastic MPG, the Jaguar XE my wife drives gets better MPG to my little Honda Jazz, when we went to look at cars, it seems some makes have moved forward by leaps and bounds, others are same today as they were in 2004.

 

Even back in 2000 the Toyota Rave 4 was petrol only as Toyota had cracked lean burn engine with the cat so were getting fantastic MPG from Petrol.

 

So if you were to ask how does a 1985 Diesel Automatic car compare with a 1985 Petrol Automatic car, the answer is easy, there were simply no Diesel Automatics, if you wanted Diesel it had to be manual.

 

In the 1920's we had the old pre-select Wilson box, but most automatics did not arrive in this country until the 70's, and then only the larger cars, OK there was a 4 speed mini automatic, but the smaller cars had clutches and standard gear box even if automatic changes were done like the old 2CV.

 

Looking at bigger vehicles the International loadstar wagon the base for typical USA school bus was automatic, and many buses were semi-automatic, but most wagons were manual, often with splitters and two speed axles with 18 to 24 forward gears, there were automatics, the CAT dump trucks were automatic but these were not really for road use. Even electric with the electro haul but working with 10,000 volt was not my idea of auto electrics.    

 

We have the technology, but as to using the technology is some thing else, back in the 1980's we saw an attempt at electric vehicles, the Bedford CF had the option of a Lucas electric system, but at that time it was lead acid, over 50 years we have advanced, but most is due to government incentives, what makes sense has nothing to do with it. No change there, that's why we lost steam wagons, the taxing favoured Petrol, there is no way to guess what will happen, as it is all down to government incentives.  

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When we started in the late 60's we towed with petrol as most people did, diesels were scarce on the roads then, I started off with a 1. 6 Cortina and had several 2. 0 litre Granada's, did not give it a second thought, mind caravans were so much lighter in those days, movers were not invented then and if you could buy one you were labelled a wimp 

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9 minutes ago, Les Medes said:

When we started in the late 60's we towed with petrol as most people did, diesels were scarce on the roads then, I started off with a 1. 6 Cortina and had several 2. 0 litre Granada's, did not give it a second thought, mind caravans were so much lighter in those days, movers were not invented then and if you could buy one you were labelled a wimp 

In the 60's there were very few diesel cars and non of them were turbo diesels and therefore really not good for towing.

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16 hours ago, Stevan said:

The slight lack of low down torque being easily overcome by intelligent use of the lower gears, allowing the engine to rev a little more. An auto gearbox should take care of this for you as long as you are not one of the drivers with a phobia of allowing an engine to rev a bit.

 

Agree with this, people do seem to be scared of using revs somehow equations higher engine speeds as an issue - in reality sitting at 2000rpm in a diesel is typically using 50% of the engine speed and 3000rpm in a petrol is the same - there is no reason this should be a concern.

 

We tend to buy used so to a degree have to look at what is available, hence the Passat being. l a diesel (I don’t think VW did a petrol one at launch of any kind) but doing 11,000 miles a year petrol would work for us so I can see the next car being petrol (due to increased availability) but that also depends on if we get a heavier caravan.

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