Chevy Impala as Tow Vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-25-2007, 07:48 PM   #1
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Hi Everyone,

My parents are looking at buying a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe. We are going to look at it hopefully next weekend.

At the moment, they have a 2000 Chevy Impala with a V6 as their tow vehicle...oddly enough in the owners manual it says the tow rating is only 1000lbs! I find that hard to believe for a V6 engine! We tow our 13' Boler with a 4 cylinder Pontiac Vibe, and it has a tow rating of 1500lbs. Does anyone here tow with an Impala?

They are buying a 2007 Toyota RAV 4 next month with a tow rating of 3500lbs. So it won't be a problem towing the Casita when they get the new car. But in the mean time, I was hoping there was someone out there who tows with their Impala otherwise I suppose my parents will have to borrow a friend's Ford F150!

Thanks for any help you can give me,
Andrea
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
At the moment, they have a 2000 Chevy Impala with a V6 as their tow vehicle...oddly enough in the owners manual it says the tow rating is only 1000lbs! I find that hard to believe for a V6 engine!
[b]This is an example of of an inconvenient truth.
Engine cylinder count alone does not determine towing prowess.
There are multiple engineering factors that go into the determination... In addition to the number of cylinders, engine displacement, transmission gearing, frame strength, suspension tuning...

An automobile is an amalgam of strong factors and weak factors; all of which play a role in determining the tow rating.
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:56 PM   #3
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In towing, one has to PULL it, STEER it and STOP it -- The engine really only affects the first part. It might be something as simple as nowhere sturdy to attach a trailer hitch or receiver except some sheet metal under the trunk...
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:30 PM   #4
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They need to consider a vehicle with a higer tow rating.
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:33 PM   #5
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It can't be that...the Impala has a dealer installed tow package.
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:51 PM   #6
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IMHO:
IF the owners manual states that, it probably is listed as that (on the low side) as a "prefered" SAFE rating.
To be rather blunt, is it worth the risks involved to tow that trailer with that car!
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:57 PM   #7
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The tow capacity of a 2004 Impala is also 1000 lbs. ....but notice that the 2007 Impala ss has the 5.3 cu. in. motor.....Have they gone back to rear wheel drive? .....don`t think the the fwd car could handle that amount of motor.....can`t find any info if theSS is fwd or rwd......most likely still fwd..... ...Benny
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Old 01-26-2007, 06:26 AM   #8
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Benny, the '07 Impala is still fwd.

Andrea,

Disbelief doesn't suspend the fact that the Impala isn't a competent tow vehicle.

Frankly, the Casita 17' shows a 'dry' weight of almost 2400 lbs on their website. Many folks report a travelling weight of over 3000 lbs, and some approach the GVWR of the axle at 3500lbs with the 17' Casita (depending, of course, on how they're loaded). Frankly, the RAV4 is a little short in the wheelbase and a little light for a Casita 17' IMHO, but I know that there are folks out there who tow with them.

Our members tend to be divided into two 'camps' of roughly equal size; those trying to make do with the smallest tow vehicle they can tow their trailer with, and those who like a significant margin in towing. I fall in the latter group.

Here's an interesting thread about what's being towed with what and what folks think about their tow vehicle/trailer combination in the real world:

Your Vehicle Tow Rating

And a very informative thread about real-world weights of various makes and models of trailers ready to be towed:

How Much Do You Weigh?

That thread will give you a really good idea what the Casita 17' that your folks are looking at will actually weigh when it's ready-to-roll.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 01-26-2007, 06:48 AM   #9
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Coming from someone who wants to protect everything I have worked hard to acquire, I wouldn't consider the Impala a proper tow vehicle at all. Now that you know the weight capacity of the vehicle and if it is used to tow something that exceeds that limit...the liability becomes your's and your's alone. If you should become involved in an accident, whether caused by you or not, there's a possibility an attorney could make your life absolutely miserable. That possibility alone (and with the knowledge I had aquired) would keep me from doing it.

I'd rather be a wimp, than a sued two-ways to Sunday wimp. Even if I had to rent a proper vehicle to get the trailer home...it would be cheap in comparison.
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Old 01-26-2007, 02:48 PM   #10
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It can't be that...the Impala has a dealer installed tow package.
The tow package may be appropriate to allow towing of a trailer under 1000 lb, such as a small utility trailer. The existence of a towing package certainly doesn't make it a truck, any more than knobby tires makes an off-road vehicle.

The Impala's problems as a tow vehicle likely include a structure not intended for utility use, and too much rear overhang compared to the wheelbase (typical sedan proportions) which would likely mean too much load transfer from the front axle to the rear when the trailer pushes down on the hitch. The rear springs may also be too soft. It just isn't meant for towing.

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The tow capacity of a 2004 Impala is also 1000 lbs. ....but notice that the 2007 Impala ss has the 5.3 cu. in. motor.....Have they gone back to rear wheel drive? .....don`t think the the fwd car could handle that amount of motor.....can`t find any info if theSS is fwd or rwd......most likely still fwd..... ...Benny
The current V8 Impala SS is indeed front-wheel-drive. It's a masterful packaging job, involving a lot of aluminum structure; I spent a few minutes marveling over one a dealership. It is only a 303 hp engine - not high for the engine series, and not extreme by today's standards, especially for that size of car.

Durability of the transmission (same for V6 and V8) may indeed be a limiting factor for towing.
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:40 PM   #11
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Most informative to learn these facts about Impala light towing. Frankly, I have always had a reluctance to tow anything with FWD. I am an old fashioned rear wheel drive truck based guy.

I would think the number of passengers, engine and torq is the factor along with curb weight of the vehicle. Kinda like a boat, it might have three seats, but if you put 3 250 lb. each fishermen in it, it will be overloaded. So Mom, Dad and three small kids in an Impala would be better than say 4 heavy adults riding while towing.

If you want to tow with a sedan type, have they considered the Merc. Marquis 4 door sedan? I think it is rated to get about 27 highway with its small V-8 and should have enough to tow a 16 or 17 ft. Scamp or Casita. It is still rear drive and comes with a small V-8, well dressed out too.

I am a devoed Ford guy, having owned 6 very dependable trucks and one great Mustang since 1971. I think Ford has one of the best sedans and gets good mileage overall for a large car. It will not get as good while towing, but most of us don't tow something everyday.
Good luck and Go Eggs on Wheels!
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Old 01-27-2007, 09:18 AM   #12
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Andrew,

The answer to your questions can be found by simply looking for a trailer hitch that will safely tow the trailer. Forget about tow ratings and look at the tongue weight. Casita 17’ Deluxe models have a tongue weight of 365 pounds. That indicates the need for a Class III hitch. A quick search of the Reese and DrawTite web sites shows that only Class II hitches with a maximum tongue carrying capacity of 300 pounds are available for the Impala. That alone eliminates the Impala as a possible candidate for towing the Casita.

Now look at available hitches for the Rav4. I looked the dealer installed hitches on Rav4 and Highlander the last time I had my Tundra in for service and they were all class II with the 1 1/4" square receiver. Several Class III hitches are made for Rav4. Those from Reese and DrawTite for example, have a tongue carrying capacity of 350 pounds. That would seem to eliminate the Rav4 but the addition of a weight distributing system increases the tongue weigh carrying capacity of these hitches to 400 pounds. Also consider that the “Towing Prep Package”* available from Toyota only accommodates a flat four wire connector for trailer lights but not the seven pin Bargman type that is used on Casitas. The Rav4 is not wired for a trailer brake controller.

A better choice would be a Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 or PreRunner with a nice shell for about the same price. The Tacoma with V6 Towing Package comes with a Class-4 hitch, transmission oil cooler, engine oil cooler, heavy-duty battery, 130-amp alternator and 7-pin connector with converter that matches the Casita. It is wired for a brake controller.
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Old 01-27-2007, 11:31 AM   #13
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A hitch weight rating of only 400 lbs. is not enough for a 17' Casita. The 365 lbs. stated for the Casita is the unloaded hitch weight and you will increase the hitch weight 50 to 100 lbs. when loaded.
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Most informative to learn these facts about Impala light towing. Frankly, I have always had a reluctance to tow anything with FWD...
I have no problem with front-wheel-drive towing; which wheels are driven is not the reason why the Impala isn't a tow vehicle. Neither is the engine. The Impala LTZ uses the LZ8 3.9 L V6, with Hydra-Matic 4T65 transaxle; the Chev Uplander uses the nearly identical LZ9 3.9 L V6, with the same transmission, yet the Uplander has a 3500 lb tow rating. Notice that the Uplander is a "van", which is intended to carry lots of people and/or cargo, and has a different rear suspension from the Impala sedan.

Quote:
I would think the number of passengers, engine and torq is the factor along with curb weight of the vehicle. Kinda like a boat, it might have three seats, but if you put 3 250 lb. each fishermen in it, it will be overloaded. So Mom, Dad and three small kids in an Impala would be better than say 4 heavy adults riding while towing.
I agree, but under any loading conditions GM says no more than 1000 lb of trailer with the Impala.

Quote:
If you want to tow with a sedan type, have they considered the Merc. Marquis 4 door sedan? I think it is rated to get about 27 highway with its small V-8 and should have enough to tow a 16 or 17 ft. Scamp or Casita. It is still rear drive and comes with a small V-8, well dressed out too...
This seems like a good idea at first, and has been previously suggested in this forum. In practice, even many cops are glad to see this antiquated design go away, and it (badged as a Ford, the only specs I could readily find) is only rated for 1,500 lb. Again, it isn't a matter of which wheels are driven or how many cylinders are in the engine.

I once saw a magazine spread featuring a Corvette towing a large speedboat, probably three tons or so with trailer. It had lots of power, and worked well for the demonstration, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea, or covered by warranty.
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