Towing with a Mazda 5 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-23-2018, 01:29 PM   #1
Member
 
Name: Nolan
Trailer: Boler 13ft 1972
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Towing with a Mazda 5

I had posted before about using a Mazda 5 as a TV for a Boler 13 ft. Concern was expressed as this vehicle is not rated for towing in NA but is in Europe / UK.

This is my setup and experience, having just come back from a 10,000km road trip that included crossing mountain passes in the Rockies, both in BC and in WA.

The GVWR on our vehicle is 4600 lbs, split approx 50/50 between the front and rear axles. Taking into account the weight of the vehicle, we could add a max of 1200 lbs if I recall correctly. That was 4 adults, a dog, a full tank of gas, and 150lbs of tongue weight on the trailer. We were close to being maxed out by my calculations but not over the limit.

So off we went to the truck scales to check things out. We used the city-owned scales by the Alex Fraser bridge and it didn't cost us anything. We were just right, and the Boler, mostly-laden, came in at around 1500 lbs. So I was pleased - we were under the 2000 lb limit of the tow hitch, and tongue weight was 10% of trailer weight.

I installed a Tekonsha P3 proportional brake controller. Had trouble adjusting it properly after a few hundred kms, but got it kinda acceptable on the road and I will continue to fine tune the balance of brake force on the left and right wheel before our next trip.

Also installed a Hayden transmission cooler radiator to help keep the transmission from overheating. This was my major risk as left to its own devices, the automatic gearbox would shift into overdrive, revs would be too low, I would be heavier on gas, placing high load on the engine, and on the transmission. The only thing to do about this is down to driving technique.

And while I was topping up the ATF, I took the opportunity of changing 6l of the old stuff (2 drain-and-replace cycles of brown-but-likely-some-life-in-it-yet ATF) it for new, red synthetic ATF.

I also had one of those ELM357 OBD II scanners ($35) plugged into the car and the Torque app on my phone ($5, highly recommended). This allowed me to monitor the load on my engine, as well as the engine temperature (alas, no sensor for the tranny oil, but if one was overheating, chances are the other is not doing well), altitude, etc etc.

What made this trip possible is that we have the manual / auto version of the tranny on our Mazda. I drove in manual mode and made sure that the load on the engine was not >80% AND watched the revs. My torque really comes on above 2500 revs and peaks at 4000, so that's where I drove the vehicle. Mostly at around 2750 - 3000 revs which allowed me to drive in 4th at 90 - 100 kmh. On hills and mountain passes, I dropped to 3rd and revs went up to 3500, but up we went without too much drop in speed.

I also discovered that I have an overdrive in 4th gear, but that didn't affect the revs that much and much of my driving was done with it. When I did go into 5th, just to see, or on long descents (more about this later), revs dropped to 2500, then immediately to 2000 with the OD, and the load picked up significantly unless I was on a descent, so 5th gear was barely used.

I found that due to the aerodynamics of towing a boler, I was able to go down 6% grades without using my brakes. The drag on the trailer was enough to keep my speed in check at 100 km/h. Same on highway offramps. The drag acted as a brake assist when coming from highway speed.

I was comfortable doing 100 km/h. At points, it was easy to get up to 110, but then some stability issues crept in with the trailer (minor ones, but I didn't want them to become major ones) so I slowed down to 100.

Fuel economy was... - I'm not sure - I didn't know what to expect. In the city, we get 13 -14 l/100km (17-18 MPG) not towing, and this is what we achieved towing on the highway at speeds of 90 km/h. At 100, consumption was just over 14 (17 mpg), and at 80, closer to the 13 (18 mpg) number.

For comparison, highway driving not towing but fully laden, consumption has been closer to 7 - 8 l/100km (30 mpg) with our 2.5l 4 cylinder.

With this setup and techniques used to drive, we had an uneventful trip. Mechanically sound, engine and transmission not strained, suspension in tact, no new rattles or anything of the like. Enough speed not to be a nuisance on the road, except on the steepest mountain passes where our speed dropped to 50 - 60 - but then we were in very good company with the trucks.

We had a good trip. And many more are planned (although not of this length).
__________________

nolan krombein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 01:59 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
ShelbyM's Avatar
 
Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Tennessee
Posts: 350
Interesting report, thanks! It's amazing your Mazda has a 1200 lb load rating. Many "half ton" pickups aren't much better.
__________________

ShelbyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 02:49 PM   #3
Member
 
Name: Nolan
Trailer: Boler 13ft 1972
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Weight of Mazda 5 confirmed

I just reconfirmed the numbers. GVWR is 2100 kg (4620 lbs). Curb weight is 3457 lbs (per Car and Driver website), so cargo capacity (passengers, fuel, hitch etc) is 1163 lbs. Close enough. Its a 6 seater minivan, so was designed to carry at least something. Still, a half ton truck would be stronger.
nolan krombein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 02:59 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
Posts: 1,816
careful with comparing european tow ratings... A) the US and European cars often differ a LOT, and the european 'caravans' (camp trailers) often have MUCH lighter tongue weight.
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 03:02 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,571
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolan krombein View Post
....
... and the Torque app on my phone ($5, highly recommended). This allowed me to monitor the load on my engine, as well as the engine temperature (alas, no sensor for the tranny oil, but if one was overheating, chances are the other is not doing well), altitude, etc etc.....
You might want to search the net some more. For my Toyota I found instructions online for adding a custom gauge with a formula that someone had figured out to monitor tranny temp. I cant swear it was correct but it did read pretty close to what I expected it to be at all times, based on oil temp, engine load, outdoor temp, etc. No idea if such a thing would exist for your tug but if the car's computer can detect an overheated tranny then there has to be at least one sensor, and in theory at least, the torque app should probably be able to get that data and make sense of it.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 03:11 PM   #6
Member
 
Name: Nolan
Trailer: Boler 13ft 1972
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
careful with comparing european tow ratings... A) the US and European cars often differ a LOT, and the european 'caravans' (camp trailers) often have MUCH lighter tongue weight.
I didn't rely on that for anything more than "perhaps it can be done". This model is full import from Japan so they should all be the same around the world. Plus, the Euro model is a 2.0l gas, i.e. less power.
nolan krombein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 03:34 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
ShelbyM's Avatar
 
Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Tennessee
Posts: 350
Minivan! I was thinking the little hatchback, duh.
ShelbyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 08:30 PM   #8
Member
 
Name: Nolan
Trailer: Boler 13ft 1972
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Same platform as the Mazda 3, Shelby. But I expect the minivan may have upgraded suspension.
nolan krombein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 08:44 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
Posts: 1,816
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolan krombein View Post
Same platform as the Mazda 3, Shelby. But I expect the minivan may have upgraded suspension.
I think you're confusing the Mazda5 mini-minivan with the CX-5 crossover SUV... the CX5 shares the platform with the Mazda 3, but I believe the 5's minivan platform is unique. the 5 was discontinued a few years ago due to sluggish sales.
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Gilda's Avatar
 
Name: Gilda
Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
California
Posts: 1,326
Registry
Nolan, Are you towing with a Mazda 5 or a Mazda CX-5? We have had great experience towing our 13' Scamp with the Mazda CX-5 year 2018. We don't have all the knowledge or apps that you have. We are glad that we can switch to manual drive when needed.
__________________
The Gleeful Glamper
Gilda (Jill-da)
"Here we go again on another amazing adventure"
Gilda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2018, 07:24 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
I wonder why a person would assume that the North American versions not rated to tow, are identical to the European versions that have tow ratings? Typographical error? I doubt it.

I am unfamiliar with your vehicle, but life experience has shown me there are differences in models produced for different markets. Just one example would be emissions [think Volkswagon]. It is not hard to imagine different emissions requirements affect performance beyond mpg. There are other examples.

If anything ever goes wrong whether it is related or not, I wouldn't want to face a judge, insurance company, or lawyers.

Well, I thought...

I think I'll remove the seatbelts on my car, because all the years my driving has been uneventful, and while others may need them, I don't.

Please excuse, I now understand this has already been debated, and the horse was thoroughly beaten to death. Enough said.
Tom 72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2018, 10:36 AM   #12
Member
 
Name: Nolan
Trailer: Boler 13ft 1972
British Columbia
Posts: 37
Points taken Tom, but like I said, the European experience was only a guide to make me think that it could be done.

In the end, I relied on Canadian numbers and a whole lot of caution and common sense.
nolan krombein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2018, 11:14 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Civilguy's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 1,078
Registry
Nolan,

You sound like you are gathering and taking a lot of information into consideration.

You now have my permission to proceed, but next time please check in with me first.

More seriously, thanks for posting the report; I found it interesting.

By the way, Can Am RV "paints outside the lines" too and I haven't been able to stop them either. Go figure.
__________________
~ "This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects." ~
Civilguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2018, 12:52 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,157
Registry
Mazda 5...

a buddy of mine just bought his second "5" mini-van....impressive vehicle in a lot of respects....and that was a great, comprehensive report, thanks for taking the time. F
Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2018, 01:06 PM   #15
Member
 
Name: Perry
Trailer: Casita 17' SD
California
Posts: 39
Registry
Thanks for the detailed report Nolan. Good to hear your experience towing the Boler has been cautious yet positive.
EggRoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2018, 01:45 PM   #16
Member
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Airstream
Connecticut
Posts: 36
Good for you, Nolan. I hope you get many happy miles from your Mazda 5/Boler combo.

I found Can Am RV in London, Ontario very helpful with Tow Vehicle/Trailer questions. They reinforced the hitch receiver on my 2009 VW Tiguan (6 speed manual/ 2 liter turbo) so I could use a weight distribution hitch to tow my 16' Airstream Bambi. With Can Am's setup input, the rig tows extremely well believe it or not.

Towing Expertise | Introduction - Can-Am RV Centre
pedalmike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2018, 01:35 PM   #17
MC1
Senior Member
 
MC1's Avatar
 
Name: Wayne
Trailer: Airstream Sold, Nest Fan
Ontario
Posts: 2,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolan krombein View Post
Towing with a Mazda 5

Very interesting post Nolan which I enjoyed reading and can relate too. We test drove a Mazda 5 a few years back and really liked the vehicle but being 6,1" I found the front seat wouldn't go back far enough so leg room was too tight.

All the items you listed pertaining to your vehicle seem right on. Hayden tranny cooler, drive train monitoring, etc are all good. When we towed with a car we needed a pro installed WDH and found the handling and tracking of the trailer exceptional.

Thnxs again for the informative post.
__________________

MC1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mirror extenders Mazda B4000 getaway1 Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 04-29-2015 10:54 AM
Mazda CX-5, 2.5L Skyactive G The Minimalist Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 25 02-27-2014 07:06 AM
Anyone Towing using a Mazda 6 sedan? dlt123me Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 41 09-07-2013 03:45 PM
Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute? Ron Stewart Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 11 06-23-2009 05:53 PM
1978 17' Boler For Sale (1999 Mazda B4000-SOLD) F.Bishop Classified Archives 11 07-16-2008 11:32 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×