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Towing a trailer

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by richkae, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Anybody want to comment on the craziness of trying to tow one of these with a Model S?
    ( Yes I know Tesla says dont do it )

    Alto 1713
     
  2. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    The problem, as I see it, is that it would significantly reduce your range, and usually when you tow one of these it is because you're planning on taking a road trip and travelling a significant distance. On the other hand, I guess you'd have someplace nice to relax as you re-charge every 50 miles or so :biggrin:
     
  3. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    My hypothetical scenario is to get the thing about 260 miles from my house to the Oregon coast ( with a supercharger at the ~100 mile mark ). Once on the coast, short hops from one oceanside RV park to another with long lazy 40 amp recharges is fine.
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    If you come through the Eureka/Humboldt area hit me up for some fresh sourdough or something ;>
     
  5. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    It's crazy because there's no trailer hitch on the Model S!

    I'd love to know how you plan to do it! I believe installing the trailer hitch (bolted or welded onto the chassis how exactly?) is almost certainly going to void nearly all of your warranty. If you're up for that, I'll be very entertained to read about it. Watch out for galvanic corrosion from aluminum/iron contact, watch out for the issues inherent in shifting the weight/force balance of a car not designed to tow anything, and, well, I'll be very entertained to see how you engineer it!
     
  6. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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  7. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Very cool. I have no idea how much weight that installation can tow -- it's hooked through bolts which are designed to hold, basically, a bumper -- but it's a nice design, and would obviously work well for a bike rack.
     
  8. K Hall

    K Hall Member

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    Several Model S's have been fitted with trailer hitches. There are a few threads here detailing the process.
     
  9. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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    Yes, there are quite a few Torklift installations. I think all are for bike racks and have not heard of anyone using it for towing.
     
  10. K Hall

    K Hall Member

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    Tesla posted a picture last week of a MS mowing a field towing a field harvester.
     
  11. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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    I google'd for it but can't find the picture. Where did you see it?
     
  12. K Hall

    K Hall Member

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    It was on their Facebook page. John Glenney in Kentucky is the owner.


    image.jpg
     
  13. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

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    I have been considering installing a TorkLift EcoHitch setup and using it to tow my motorcycle. I have gone back and forth and my main concern (past the range issue) is the autoleveling of the suspension. I've weighed my trailer at the ball receptor and it is ~150lbs of tongue weight. So it's not too bad it just really far back and that leverage point could make the suspension work overtime constantly auto-leveling.

    My Subaru Impreza WRX towed it just fine with very little impact to the driving dynamics (gas mileage was another story).

    I am still going back and forth on it and I feel buying a used Ford Transit Connect for $7k is much less risky then killing my suspension and paying for it out of pocket since I voided the warrantee by towing with the MS.
     
  14. DonD

    DonD Member

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    Regarding wear on the suspension, would 150lbs of tongue weight be much different than carrying say 200lbs of packages in the rear trunk?
     
  15. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I would be very very worried about dynamic forces on my hitch towing a trailer. Sure your static tongue weight is ~150# or so. But what about as you decelerate, or go over a bump, or rise. You could easily put more than 1000# of force on that hitch. Not to mention lateral forces that are probably not designed into that hitch.

    I am not saying you can't do it, or shouldn't do it. But be very careful, and expect failure, and hope for success. The picture of the lawn mower might not mean they actually pulled the trailer. And that hitch attachment wouldn't add any tongue weight (but would lateral weight) like a trailer would.

    Think about this. You could probably pickup the trailer tongue by hand. But could you hold onto it while towing? Probably not. There are a lot of dynamic forces that will go into pulling a trailer. Make sure you evaluate them.
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Neato. That's one big battery-electric lawnmower. :) And here I was thinking that battery-electric lawnmowers weren't yet ready for really big yards! :)

    Anyway, that's probably a light enough load (and low to the ground... and well balanced...) that it would be pretty safe. Doesn't say anything about whether it would work to tow an actual trailer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Have you considered: if it's a small motorcycle, you might just be able to put it in the trunk.
     
  17. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

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    This is definitely a concern. There is also the concern of going of significant bumps, uneven pavement, and emergency stops/starts. TorkLift does rate the hitch for 2000lbs (class 2) so that is an assurance that the properly mounted hitch can hold up to the stress that I would put to it. In the end I feel the juice isn't worth the squeeze on this one and replacing the suspension bits out of warranty will probably be more expensive then just buying a tow rig of some sorts.

    The model S is big...just not that big :p The motorcycle that I want to trailer is my track bike and it only weighs 420lbs w/ all fluids ('07 Suzuki GSX-R 750). It's certainly not in the Harley Davidson weight class and shouldn't add too much stress to the car.
     
  18. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I got my Torqlift hitch installed months ago, just decided to make a dump run today. I have a light trailer, and have been hauling in trailers my whole life, including a RAV4EV and my gutless Prius. The Torqlift hitch is designed for 2000 lb load, 200 lb tongue, and I am nowhere near that, and I drive carefully when trailering.

    Tesla is allowed to void only that which might be affected by the trailering. It does not "void your whole warranty". I can easily imagine greater than 200 extra lb in back by taking my brother and sister in law for a ride (500 lb).

    Anyway, thought you might like a picture. Glad you can't see the dirt too well from there. I'll clean it up for the weekend, after the dump.

    Trailer 002 sm.jpg
     
  19. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

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    #19 nrcooled, Jul 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    @roblab - You have inspired me. I am going to pull the trigger on the EcoHitch and give it a shot. If I don't feel comfortable I can just pull it off and sell it. No harm in giving it a shot and the cost of entry is low enough to not be a "pocket burden". This has been the main reason I haven't taken my motorcycle to the track this year since I don't have a towing solution anymore.

    Edit: Has anyone wired up a harness for trailer lights?
     
  20. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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    I have the ecohitch and I use it for my bike rack. I do not have a harness for trailer lights. You can contact Torklift Central to get advice. They are very helpful. Ask for Matt or Jonny, they manage the company and designed the hitch.
     

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