towing story

From: James Babcock (
Date: Tue Aug 20 1996 - 08:30:47 EDT

This past weekend, I made my second towing trip with my '87 Dakota.
It has the V6, auto, 4x4, 3.55 gears, 2000lb payload, and long bed.
I was towing one of those big mother U-Hauls (6x12) with the tandem wheels.
The empty weight of the trailer alone is 1800 lbs and I put about 1000 lbs
of stuff inside. The trip was between northern VA just outside of DC
to Virginia Tech (about 250 miles one way). I drove the round trip on
Saturday with a 7 hour stay at Tech to unload (yes, I'm still recovering).

The truck handled pretty well at 55-60 mph, but there was alot of traffic
on the interstate so the drive was no picnic. The truck would make about
50 mph on large hills if I got a good run at it, but only maintained
about 45 if I was only doing 55 to start. I was running Castrol GTX
10w30, and burned almost 1 quart on the way down (loaded). Last year
at this time, I towed a 5x8 U-Haul from Mississippi to northern VA
running Castrol HD30 and never burned a drop. The outside temperature
was at least 10 degrees higher than this past weekend, and I ran the
A/C most of the that trip. I guess I've learned something here.
Anyone have experience with synthetics for towing?

Others have asked about towing in the past. If you are going to buy
a new truck with towing in mind, I say that you should definately opt
for the V8 with at least the 3.55 axel ratio. You might also want to avoid
the 4x4 option since it makes the drive train a little less efficient.
Of course, the frame hitch is a must have unless you like a bent bumper!
That's all. Have a great day.


James A. Babcock, Software Engineer    email:
Alcatel Data Networks                    WWW:
Ashburn, Virginia          personal web page:
                  Give blood -- it's a great feeling!!!

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