Getting my vintage mini truck ready for towing - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2013, 10:54 PM   #29
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Looks like an applicable year Ford Courier would pull up to 1800 kg, and while that really doesn't translate 100%, it suggests that you are in the ballpark.
Where did you find the 1800kg (4000lb) tow capacity? I've been looking for hard evidence of what it was rated for. All the brochures mention are the 1400lb payload. The Courier is identical, or I should say a downgrade in comparison. Ford only offered drum brakes all around, it had a narrower track, and significantly less power. Of the mid-70's mini trucks, I'd say the REPU was the one to buy if you were looking to get performance....of course the buyers were looking for fuel economy instead.

Anyway, I've found a few testimonials from owners of similar vintage mini trucks that confirm these vehicles were built to be work horses. One REPU owner hauled his RX race car all over the south east (trailer, car, tires, spare parts, the works). Another Datsun owner provided details about hauling two horses around the northern mid-west. He made extensive use of full throttle and broke a few things in the process but not enough to give up on the truck.

Of course those stories were when the trucks were relatively new. My truck is pretty well sorted (if it isn't I'll find out very quickly) and the upgrade parts like air shocks, synthetic oils, and modern brake pads can only help.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:10 AM   #30
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I googled 1975 Ford Courier towing capacity. I just searched my internet history and can't find the exact site right now. Maybe I got the newer mid 2000's "Courier" sold overseas mixed up (?).

If I find the exact site again I post it.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:50 AM   #31
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Yeah that's probably the aussi courier (essentially a ranger).

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Old 06-21-2013, 10:08 AM   #32
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One thing just occured to me when I was thinking about this combo.It should do just fine except for the abscence of engine braking. Slowing and stopping will be more dependent on the brakes as a result. Such is the nature of a Wankel.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:11 AM   #33
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I was actually surprised at how well the engine braking worked when I took the truck up the Mt Washington auto road a few weeks ago. For the steep stuff I left it in 1st and had to actually give it a little gas. Once the road opened up a bit I shifted to 2nd and had to tap the brakes occasionally to scrub speed off. I think engine braking is fine, but it will just be more effective at a higher RPM compared to a piston engine.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:46 AM   #34
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Back to the Courier towing capacity. I found this infomercial about the 1981 Chevy Luv. Somewhere in the middle it mentions the LUV has a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs and that is only available from Ford with the optional larger engine. Considering none of the 4 bangers that Chevy and Ford offered had the output of the rotary (both in torque and hp), I don't think power is an issue for 2,000 lbs.

See Why The Chevrolet LUV Was The Compact Truck Of Choice In 1981

I think I'll tip the scales at about 2,000 before adding water. Fully loaded I expect about 2,000 at the axle and 200-300 at the tongue. It's a little bit over what I can only assume is the tow rating, but as long as I have everything balanced it should be fine, especially with the shocks to handle ride height adjustment, slotted rotors, and the trailer brakes.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:48 AM   #35
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.......... It's a little bit over what I can only assume is the tow rating, but as long as I have everything balanced it should be fine, especially with the shocks to handle ride height adjustment, slotted rotors, and the trailer brakes.
Just don't drive through Colorado.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:56 AM   #36
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Just don't drive through Colorado.
Hah, yeah. No kidding. Nothing like high elevation to sap the power. No plans to make it that far west just yet. We will be heading up and down the east coast for now, mostly just New England.

I've had my eye on a supercharger kit for the rotary that would certainly resolve any performance issues at high elevation....but I'd probably have to make some upgrades to the cooling system at the same time to handle the extra power. But that's just a pipe dream at this stage.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:25 PM   #37
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Based on the 1974 Road & Track article, the motor had...
110 hp @ 7,000 RPM
117 ft-lb @ 3,500 RPM

Rotaries are not knowing for having copious amounts of Torque and the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars were tuned with high rpm in mind and despite having upwards of 250hp never had more than about 160 ft-lbs to go with it.

Anyway, those numbers above seem low by today's standards, but keep in mind the truck's curb weight is only 2,800 lbs. Also compare that to an early 70's Ford straight 6 that came standard in many full size pickups weighing more than this truck...

105 hp @ 4,400RPM
156 ft-lb @ 2,400RPM

Ok, so it would be nice to have a little extra torque but I'll see how things go. The truck has quite a bit of get-up-and-go right now with the free flowing exhaust. It revs at about 4,000 rpm at 70 mph on the highway and should be right at max torque at 60-65 mph. I can upgrade the carberator if I feel I need a little more power.

Another thing to consider is the torque curve. It has a low value but the curve is very different from a piston engine. The more you rev the rotary, the more power you get.

Rotary Engine power curve:


Typical Piston Engine Power Curve:


I'm not saying we should all be running rotary engines...but if it weren't for the gas mileage all the major manufacturers would have released a version in the 70's. Chevy actually built a prototype of the Corvette with a mid-mounted rotary engine. Can you imagine that? If you are gasping, you'll understand why GM tried to hide this from the public, but one of the prototypes still exists.
Below is an example of a 300CID I-6 Ford at work. My 1980 Econoline(300CID I-6/Manual trans) with a 3:00 gear could pull our 1958 Heilite trailer smoothly up to to speed in overdrive from 15MPH.
I admire your little truck,and think it will do fine with your Scamp,still...
There is no comparison.
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:08 PM   #38
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I was thinking more of the 240CID but now I can't find where I got those numbers from. Wikipedia shows higher numbers...but yeah the 300CID is no joke when it comes to torque. You can get that kind of power from a rotary...but I'm certain it won't be as reliable. Here's what tuner's have been able to accomplish with forced induction on 13B and 12A rotaries...

http://www.rx7club.com/attachments/1...-gen-dyno2-jpg

That's a lot of torque for a small motor...but apex seal longevity in some of those builds is measured in 1/4 mile increments.

Anyway, my original point was that the motor will rev high and continue to provide power. It starts off weak but the gears are low so I won't spend any time below 3,000 while driving around. I'm not trying to say the rotary will replace the full-size pickup work horses...I am saying they got a bad rap mainly due to fuel mileage.
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:24 PM   #39
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... the abscence of engine braking...
Such is the nature of a Wankel.
Why would there be a lack of engine braking? Whether the piston and chamber are a cylinder in a cylinder, or a near-triangle in an epitrochoid, the engine still does the suck-squeeze-bang-blow cycle and closing the throttle valve still makes it into an air pump that resists being turned, thus engine braking. Big port timing overlap will hurt effectiveness, just like big valve overlap, and some Wankels may be bad in this regard, but they will still engine brake to some extent. Modern fuel injection systems that cut fuel above idle on closed throttle really help, but I realize that the Rotary Pickup won't have that.

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I think engine braking is fine, but it will just be more effective at a higher RPM compared to a piston engine.
That makes sense.

Engine braking is a good thing, although in towing a properly equipped trailer only significant for descending grades.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:20 PM   #40
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Why would there be a lack of engine braking? Whether the piston and chamber are a cylinder in a cylinder, or a near-triangle in an epitrochoid, the engine still does the suck-squeeze-bang-blow cycle and closing the throttle valve still makes it into an air pump that resists being turned, thus engine braking. Big port timing overlap will hurt effectiveness, just like big valve overlap, and some Wankels may be bad in this regard, but they will still engine brake to some extent. Modern fuel injection systems that cut fuel above idle on closed throttle really help, but I realize that the Rotary Pickup won't have that.


That makes sense.

Engine braking is a good thing, although in towing a properly equipped trailer only significant for descending grades.
Ah shucks, without trying to get all technical and stuff, I 'll just say that for some reason I observed the "hoop and stick" propulsion system as not being conducive to engine braking.
That is of course anecdotal, since I simply recall being shocked by it's abscence while test driving a new RX3, and found it to also be a trait of the later 70CID RX7.
Another(perhaps related) trait was the seemingly unlimited rev capability, especially with the addition of a turbocharger.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:36 AM   #41
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We made it to our first camp site. I think for the next trip I may install a WD hitch just to get some more weight on the front of the truck. Now that it is fully loaded the front is too high for my comfort level. I didn't weigh the tongue but since we were only driving an hour I did fill up the rear water tank before departing. Acceleration was about what I expected. Braking was good. 60 mph was about as fast as I felt comfortable going. We weren't holding up traffic or anything until we reached the campground road where I took it a little slower than I normally would.

The brake controller has a nice feature where it holds the brakes momentarily after I release them. This helps for hill starts but it means I need to slip the clutch more than usual during any start because I'm working against the brakes. First couple times I thought I was never going to get the truck moving...but after a moment it released and the truck had plenty of power to start.

Oh and did I mention is was 90 degrees and 100% humidity? My wife overheated in the truck (no a/c) but the cooling system did not.





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Old 07-04-2013, 12:30 PM   #42
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Nice photo. Looks like a happy dog, too!

So, just wondering, are you set up in a tent spot?
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