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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my breakup went south, very south...As such I needed to be out of my apartment, fast. I could have rented a Transit, but I really wanted to make use of my 451's Curt hitch. And after reading several threads about towing, I decided to give it a go!

Some backstory:

Back in 2014, I bought a trailer hitch for Tucker. The idea was that I’d pick up a camper that can be towed behind a motorcycle, like a Timeout camper.

A part of me wondered though, why can Europeans with the same exact car tow about 1000 pounds while Americans shy away from anything over 600? Surely someone has tested this theory out, right? Seeing if I’m crazy for doing this I looked for others who tried similar. Some particular examples I’ve found was a YouTube video of a guy towing a loaded 1,200 pound U-Haul trailer across the country. And another guy who hauled 1,000 lb along the same route.

I rented a 900lb enclosed trailer from U-Haul. I expected to load 200lb into it for a total of 1,100lb.

I drove around with the empty trailer for a while, it was hilariously fun! Except for the slow acceleration, it felt like a normal smart!

Well, I took on more weight than I wanted to. We filled the trailer to the brim. I estimate it ate 350-400 pounds, plus the 900 pound trailer weight.

How did the smart take it? Surprisingly well. I couldn’t be in fifth gear on ground that was uphill other than that the car pulled extremely well. My biggest concern was starting on hills. The transmission dragged the clutch 3x as far as it normally would. I remedied that by coasting to the lights on hills so I wouldn’t have to actually stop. Just because I could I drove it to Chicago, then Milwaukee, and back. Grand total of a few hundred miles.

Tow car:

Tucker is a 2012 smart fortwo with 132,000 miles. He has hauled a variety of loads, from 7+ feet tall people to 600 pound passengers, all with ease. But he hasn’t ever towed anything before.

Trailer:

5x8 enclosed trailer from U-Haul. Unloaded weight 900 pounds, tongue weight about 45-ish pounds. Loaded up with my stuff: 1,300 pounds and about 140 pounds tongue weight.

Acceleration:

Was glacial. It took about 45 seconds to reach 60 mph at 75% throttle. I never floored it because I was afraid to push it hard. This is on par with our Expedition doing the same with our travel trailer.

Heat:

Stayed in normal ranges, the car basically took the load as if I was driving up a steep grade.

Ride:

Was extremely soft. Seems the extra weight - while making the car bouncy - made the suspension soak up the bumps so much better.

Handling:

Didn’t seem to take a huge hit. It tracked straight even in crosswinds. No wobble, no oscillation, even carved highway exits.

Speed:

Top speed in 5th gear was around 65 provided flat ground. Top speed in 4th gear was theoretically 80+. There was so much torque in 4th gear that had I tried to, I could redline it. I didn’t, but the car wasn’t afraid to do it.

Stopping:

My cheap rockauto front brakes and the 132k factory drums in the back didn’t seem phased by the extra weight.

Fuel economy:

With an empty trailer I observed about 40 mpg overall. Loaded, that number dropped to roughly 33-35 mpg.

The problem came from being loaded in 5th gear. Instead of giving the car a 6th gear like in the previous and next generations, smart deleted the 6th gear and made 5th gear really long. So the torque really wasn’t there to maintain speed on uphill sections. The car’s “sweet spot” was 50 mph with the loaded trailer.

My verdict: A smart can definitely tow a heavy trailer very well. Perhaps ironically, with a trailer in tow it thrives on the highway and sucks in the city where the clutch keeps spinning.

I'm also not sure if this is something you'd want to do frequently due to any wear it may cause.

That said, technically speaking a smart can tow a Standard Scamp 13.

Pictures to come!
 

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Thanks Neon for this informative post. As you might or might not know I just installed the Curt hitch on Max a few weeks ago. The wife had bought a propeller that fitted into the hitch at a yard sale for 10 cents and I needed the hitch to haul that propeller! Well actually that was only part of the reason. I wanted to start bike riding again as the doctor just recently released me to ride on my new hip replacement, and so I wanted to haul the bike on a bike carrier, so I also needed the hitch for that. Plus I have a 5X7 trailer (not enclosed) that I want to haul the 4 wheeler on (592 pounds) and the trailer weighs in at 160 pounds at each wheel and 60 pounds tongue weight empty. I went for a drive out the road towing the trailer the other day and was amazed at how transparent it was behind the car.

I'm sure the conservative unofficial tow rating for the Fortwo has to come from the weak link in the drivetrain and that is the clutch. The power is there, the handling is pretty good for a car slightly over 8 feet, and the braking power is there too, but trying to start out on a hill with too much weight would probably overheat and glaze the clutch disk making it slip very easily or the friction disk itself could shatter either from heat or the torque stresses of breakaway torque on a hill. The hitch is tough! I tried to move my 4600 pound chevy dually 4 wheel drive (454) about 30 feet in my driveway that was only slightly uphill, but Max could not move it and I didn't raunch on it and sling gravels and spin tires ! I just gingerly eased into it and I could smell the clutch. Even ended up with a noisy actuator as I was backing into the driveway later that day (42,000 miles), but thank God it is back to normal. I am certain that I probably slightly glazed the clutch disc and I feel like a total idiot after the fact for trying. I knew better and the cost for a new clutch even with me having to put it in would have been a large pill to swallow.

So I'm glad you had good luck with Tucker again, but you and I both pushed our little men to the limit and both lived to tell about it. DCO

P.S. WHen you find a good replacement for Photobucket please let me know. My posts just aren't the same without a few pics to go along with my ranting and rambling!
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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When you find a good replacement for Photobucket please let me know. My posts just aren't the same without a few pics to go along with my ranting and rambling!
So true DCO, missing your pictures that only serve to bring your posts "smartly" to life.
 

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I rented a 900lb enclosed trailer from U-Haul. I expected to load 200lb into it for a total of 1,100lb.

Well, I took on more weight than I wanted to. We filled the trailer to the brim. I estimate it ate 350-400 pounds, plus the 900 pound trailer weight.

Tucker is a 2012 smart fortwo with 132,000 miles. He has hauled a variety of loads, from 7+ feet tall people to 600 pound passengers, all with ease. But he hasn’t ever towed anything before.
Sounds like you may have given Tucker the ultimate tow challenge over a rather lengthy course?

Let's not forget that Tucker has been "rode hard and put away wet" (Neon, may need to look that one up?) multiple times. Heck, you even pronounced him dead at least once . . .

The good news, appears that you haven't used up all the 9 lives?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
We are still here for you!!
And I love you all so much for that! It's okay, I've learned from breakups in the past and I'm already over her. I can now spend that MUCH extra cash on smart mods or a tiny camper. :D

ETA: The tears on my face disagree with that assessment. Ah fooey I hate emotions.

I'm sure the conservative unofficial tow rating for the Fortwo has to come from the weak link in the drivetrain and that is the clutch. The power is there, the handling is pretty good for a car slightly over 8 feet, and the braking power is there too, but trying to start out on a hill with too much weight would probably overheat and glaze the clutch disk making it slip very easily or the friction disk itself could shatter either from heat or the torque stresses of breakaway torque on a hill. The hitch is tough! I tried to move my 4600 pound chevy dually 4 wheel drive (454) about 30 feet in my driveway that was only slightly uphill, but Max could not move it and I didn't raunch on it and sling gravels and spin tires ! I just gingerly eased into it and I could smell the clutch. Even ended up with a noisy actuator as I was backing into the driveway later that day (42,000 miles), but thank God it is back to normal. I am certain that I probably slightly glazed the clutch disc and I feel like a total idiot after the fact for trying. I knew better and the cost for a new clutch even with me having to put it in would have been a large pill to swallow.

So I'm glad you had good luck with Tucker again, but you and I both pushed our little men to the limit and both lived to tell about it. DCO

P.S. WHen you find a good replacement for Photobucket please let me know. My posts just aren't the same without a few pics to go along with my ranting and rambling!
I now use Flickr and Kinja (my transition diary). Pictures hosted on my diary can be shared anywhere. I'm guessing the folks at Gawker/Univision didn't really think of their blogging platform as a photo hosting service.


With Flickr, sharing photos is not as easy as sharing from Photobucket (there are a few more clicks involved); however Flickr can upload your photos with source quality, unlike Photobucket which by default downgrades your photos.

As for the smart. Generally when it comes to towing, the hypothetical "tow rating" is based on the weakest link of the vehicle. Based on my experience, the weakest link in a smart is the clutch and clutch actuator. The transmission and the engine seem to take towing a trailer like climbing a hill. Auto Mode is a bit of a mess (of course, the car wasn't designed for towing) but I ran it entirely in Manual Mode and chose shift points much higher than usual. I think I shifted at about 4.5k rpm or so. Pulling power seems at its highest in the middle of the power band so it's best to keep it there.

The clutch is fine accelerating the load on flat ground. Basically what I did is when the light turned green I got on the pedal right away, I didn't give it time to engage creep mode. All that changes starting out on an uphill slope. The car will spin the clutch long and hard and it just doesn't feel great. I haven't found a way around it other than finding ways to not stop on uphill slopes like coasting how a semi would.

Sounds like you may have given Tucker the ultimate tow challenge over a rather lengthy course?

Let's not forget that Tucker has been "rode hard and put away wet" (Neon, may need to look that one up?) multiple times. Heck, you even pronounced him dead at least once . . .

The good news, appears that you haven't used up all the 9 lives?
I did! And yes, Tucker has been put away wet so many times. Yet, with a little TLC he remains a noble steed. I think that's a testament to how smarts are built. You can take them so far out of their comfort zone and even if they break, you can mend them and they'll be good as new! Well, so long as you don't burn the valves or warp the engine...

Thanks all! :3

Here are the promised photos (from my Kinja, not Flickr)!

















 
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Discussion Starter #9
This is a very nicely-shot photo!
Do you really think so? My cheap phone doesn't have great low-light performance. Those LED parking lights destroy what little photo quality there is!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's much better! Looks sort of out of a Sci-Fi!! :D

(That makes me think, I can totally get a flagship phone again now that I'm no longer financially tied up to someone.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm eagerly waiting...like checking news updates on it every day! I've decided I don't really want Android for my daily driver phone anymore. They're more fun to mod than to use. I miss my old iPhone 6.
 

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That's much better! Looks sort of out of a Sci-Fi!! :D

(That makes me think, I can totally get a flagship phone again now that I'm no longer financially tied up to someone.)


Keep in mind any pic you see me post comes from an iOS device. Either iPad Pro, iPhone 6s or now iPhone 7 plus. Love the capabilities of these device cameras. I liked my note 3 too but think the iPhones still snap better pics even with lower resolution on the hardware.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As of right now, I think the winner is the smart 450 that towed another smart 451...though only a very very short distance.


Otherwise, I think I come pretty close. I can't imagine towing much more weight and the car being particularly happy about it.
 

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When I had a flat on my Harley I hauled it with my smart with no problems at all. The bike weighed in at 900 pounds and the trailer is 260 pounds, total 1160 pounds. I read somewhere that this is what European smarts are rated at maximum.Mostly flat ground with a few rolling hills, just drive sensibly and carefully. Chumly
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's amazing how well Tucker handled the weight. With all the worry and concern I've seen in other threads I thought the car would cough out and die or something. :)
 

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It’s not that the car can’t pull the weight. It’s just not safe for you or others. 1300 pounds on the back of a 1800 pound car without trailer brakes is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I politely disagree. I've now towed across entire states and have racked up over ten thousand miles towing 1k pound trailers with my fortwo. The car takes longer to brake, but this is hardly an issue for someone experienced in towing. I've even had to emergency stop a few times and the car handles it like a champ.

In this time I've also upgraded my brakes and am rolling on tyres designed for significantly more weight than stock. I'm looking to add a trans cooler in 2019. I come from a family that owned a trucking company for much of my life and thus have gotten a lot of experience over the years with towing.
 
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