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It’s the load’s ability to keep going in spite of the car. Truckers call it wagging the dog. I have no doubt that you have had success with towing that load. Everything is okay until it isn’t.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
I know that.

However, like I said I have ten thousand miles of towing experience with my 451 that confidently shows it's a fairly competent vehicle provided an experienced driver.

I'm essentially a living encyclopaedia of these cars with all three gens in my stable with a decade of research on hand. In addition to my towing activities I take it offroading. I well know the limits of all of my vehicles.

In September I took it on the Gambler 500. The little thing survived trial by trail and mud (trails that caused actual offroad vehicles to die) then went on to bring home more toys.





(Before anyone criticizes the below picture, this was before securing the bike for the trip home.)

 

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Ms.Mercedes. There’s no physical way to install a transmission cooler, on a manual transmission vehicle like a smart car. The smart car, has a gearbox. Gear oil. There isn’t any fluid lines, to hook up too. Not sure what your talking about. They make electric manual oil pumps for Jeeps.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-92502.html

If anything, I’d find a way to upgrade the brakes, on the smart car. Wouldn’t want to to be behind me, if you had to panic brake. I don’t care how experience or miles towing. It just take once. Those brakes were designed to stop the vehicle. Not a trailer, and motor cycle.

smart doesn’t recommend towing anything with this car.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Looking to add doesn't mean I would be successful. :wink: Such a project is outside of my wheelhouse. An ambitious engineer in another car community told me it could be possible to custom fab something, but he'd need to examine the car first. At worst, he'd like to make a nice way to monitor trans temps. That's one thing I still have no easy way to monitor.

As for your other concerns, I already covered them...

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.
The 450 was never approved for towing by smart. Despite that, it was TUV certified for just under 800 pounds. The 450 was a less powerful, more fragile, and smaller car. Certainly if a 450 can safely handle 800 a 451 can handle a little more. We also have a 453 owner on this forum who routinely tows 1,800+ pounds.

I guess from the sounds of it, even if I have traveled 100k miles there would be no escape from people telling me my experience is wrong or somehow just dumb luck. :shrug:

A couple valid arguments against towing with a smart involve insurance and legality. From what local police have told me, it would only be a problem if my towing was a primary factor in the incident. Your mileage will vary..
 

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IF I were going to tow with our Smarts, I would limit to light duty hauls . I’m confident that the Smart could manage towing up to 500 lbs comfortably and without any drivetrain issues or blatant safety issue . As for a panic stop , I’m sure it would be an interesting ride , that in mind , when I use my full sized 4x4 van for towing , my attention to what my load is and how I drive , changes from an unladen vehicle , I become more cautious and observant to hazards that would effect a panic stop , I’m sure that thought would apply while towing with a Smart . Towing on any vehicle presents problems .
 

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Honestly, a simple 7-pin trailer wiring connector and a brake controller added to the smart and a trailer with electric brakes would make it a lot safer. The 750ish pounds people talk about with our cars is just the 40% vehicle weight rule of thumb for trailers without brakes. With brakes, that all goes out the window.
 

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Have you seen a pit maneuver? When a vehicle is turning and a cop pushes them to spin them out? Your trailer will do the same thing, and then drag you screaming backwards into hell. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I originally started this project back in 2014. I got the hitch as a cheaper alternative to MB's $600 rear rack + more $$$ for the bike rail inserts. And after seeing so many others towing Timeout campers with their smarts I totally wanted in on that.

I never got a Timeout. They're like the Honda Groms of the pop-up camper world. They're smaller than average pop-ups but for more money. And they hold their value so well there isn't much money to be saved going used.

Anyway, in 2017 I discovered the wonderful world of fiberglass campers. Many of these weigh 800 pounds (like a Burro) and some exceedingly rare ones like a U-Haul CT13 only weigh about 1,000-1,100!

This got the gears spinning in my head. I wanted to see if a 451 could effectively tow about 1,100 pounds. I would use my experience from my dad's now defunct trucking/transport company with the analytics of my IT career to test the 451's strengths, weaknesses, and potential points of failure. I then performed the same tests with a few vehicles I had on hand with the same and larger trailers. These tests were originally carried out over 5,000 miles, though I ended up extending it another 2,000, then an additional 3,000 in 2018.

My preferred test trailer of choice was the U-Haul AV. These are 5x8 enclosed trailers that after the addition of a broken oven from my then rental property weighed in right on par with a U-Haul CT13.

I crisscrossed IL and WI with these AVs. I went up and down the steep grades along the Iowa border, drove in the infamously horrible crosswinds of the I-94 Gurnee to Milwaukee corridor, and even subzero days.



Amusingly, the car drives even better in the snow with a little extra weight on those drive wheels.

Even in 50+ mph crosswinds on the expressway, trailer sway was very minimal. And I'm talking about days when trucks park instead of brave the winds and travel trailer rigs sway and swerve so much they basically need 1.5 lanes of room.

I've never once found the brakes inadequate, I've never once found the trailer wanting to overpower the car or swap ends with the front. I even took a few of these rentals on my offroad adventures (provided they didn't involve mudding). The car feels as at home hauling around my Goldwing as our Ford Expedition EL is lugging around our 6.8k pound travel trailer.

My 2018 series of tests replaced van trailers with ramp trailers. Ramp trailers were interesting. If empty and with a stiff headwind, 60-65 is the absolute top speed you can achieve. With a motorcycle onboard it performs beautifully well, arguably even better than with a van trailer.

One of the followers of my blog (not on SCoA) snapped this of me on a run to Chicago. Not even stop and go traffic stopped me from hauling home a Buell.



I'd argue the weakest link is with the clutch, not the brakes. On flat ground it's about business as usual, however starting up hills can cause a lot of clutch drag, especially if you need to go slow up the hill.

I stopped my testing. Why? After studying this for four years and testing over 10k miles I am still just immediately dismissed, even on the platforms I posted more comprehensive findings. What's the point in even wasting my time if I'm going to be blown off? :shrug:

To save yourself some time, you can assume I know such basic things as what jackknifing is or the benefits of trailer brakes. I feel like I have to keep saying this, but it isn't my first rodeo. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #30
And I hope you never find out how wrong you are for placing worn tyres on your drive wheels during a partial tyre replacement.

So let's agree to disagree and have a happy holiday. :D
 

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Great post and I'm really impressed with how much utility you get out of Tucker! I sure wish there was a cost effective hitch option for the 453. I don't think I'd be pulling much if ever but I would love to have a receiver hitch for the bike rack, or a cargo tray, spare tire, etc. Actually, even more impressive is the off road capability. I'd love to raise ours an inch or two and put slightly taller tires on to give a little more ground clearance but alas no lift kits for the 453 either...

Happy Holidays!
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I wish there was a cost effective hitch for the 453 as well! ComebackKid and a few others with 453 hitches report that they're even more proficient at this given their larger size, greater power, better gearing, and overall better build. Plus, since the hitches are embedded behind the bumper, they sit higher and aren't as exposed to salt and strike damage.

As I've now made it a tradition to buy a smart a year, I'm looking to get a rundown 2008 in 2019 to make into a silly mini-Jeep. Instead of trying to make my single 451 a jack of all trades but master of none I'm splitting my two most ambitious smart projects out over two cars.

I bet a Daystar kit could probably be modified to work with a 453 given some engineering. You can only realistically get maybe 2-3 inches out of a lift on a smart before you start asking for trouble or a much greater investment.
 

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I'm not looking to put monster tires on it or lift it high, just need an extra inch or so to get it level with the tow bar on my RV and I don't want to use a drop hitch receiver because they drag on driveways. Also a little more ground clearance would be nice for the light trail driving we like to do when exploring, not really into serious off roading.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
As of current I have a 2012 coupe, a 2005 coupe, a 2005 cabriolet, and a 2016 edition #1 . My motorcycle collection has surpassed my smart collection. A goal for 2019 is to monetize the motorcycles so they're tax deductible and maybe might make me money. I'm not sure what happened, I guess sometime in 2016 I decided to go head first into my hobbies!! :D



 
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