Related reading: The Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy
This reminds me of where I grew up since many people with W123s and W124s use them for a variety of purposes. The rear suspension looks a bit over taxed and that camber cannot be good for the wheels.
It’s not going to hurt the wheels, or anything else.
It will hurt the tires without a doubt, in that it will cause them to wear unevenly, if it sees that use for any length of time. With it bottomed out or near bottomed out it isn’t going to do any favors to the undercarriage if there are pot holes or debris in the road. This is not a good choice for towing this particular load.
Just too much load on the tongue. Trailer better balanced would solve it.
Tongue weight might be a factor, but even without the rear end squat on the tow vehicle, it appears that the hitch is too low. Assuming a receiver hitch, the proper set up would include a tow bar with enough lift of the ball to level the entire set up.
From my experience with tractor trailers though most of the weight is supposed to be in the front part of the trailer.
Teddy, it’s different with a conventional trailer like this. The rule of thumb is to have 60% of the weight in the front. But that depends on other factors. With a larger trailer, it’s essential to actually weight the amount on the tongue/hitch, as it becomes critical. It has to be more than the rear, but not too much. With a really big trailer, 60% might be more than the hitch can take, vertically, or the tow rig is capable of. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
The basic rule of thumb is 10% of the trailer weight on the tow ball, but this may reduce on heavier trailers to avoid too much weight on the rear of a sedan – as is the case here (looks to be well more than 10% on the ball). Obviously pickups can take more tow ball weight than sedans with their stiffer rear springs.
The car pictured doesn’t appear to be so badly loaded that it will affect the front wheels’ steering or braking ability at least.
Yea that is what I meant, tires.
Yes, it will wear the tires unevenly, if he drives all the time like this. Do you think he drives all the time like that? Motorcycle delivery service?
Given that modern tires are good for 50-80k miles, I suspect that the actual impact from the likely amount of time he drives like that (which may well have been one-time event) is likely to be quite insignificant indeed.
I wish I had a picture, but I was behind a Fiero the other towing a probably 12-15 foot long sailboat on a trailer down the highway. I couldn’t imagine a worse tow vehicle, but it had no problem from the looks of it. Everyone else here in OK would have started with a minimum of an F-250 with a diesel to tow that boat…
Sailboats weigh almost nothing until you’re getting into the bigger ones, and 12 to 15′ is a little guy. A friend’s dad had a 17′ Laser sailboat, which he towed with his Dodge Caravan and had no problems.
Also an ex-girlfriend had an ’86 Pontiac Grand Am, making a mighty 90 HP from its iron duke I4, with a tow hitch. She didn’t tow with it but said the previous owner had used it to pull…a sailboat. And while that was a miserable rattletrap of a car, it did have almost 200K miles on it, so it evidently didn’t mind the load either.
Ah, gotcha. That much surface are being blown around in our Plains winds must still not be fun in a lightweight, mid-engined car.
After I posted this I got behind the exact opposite. An Expedition, towing a 10+ ft utility trailer with 1 new twin mattress in it. I know for a fact I can fit a couple twins in my Outback, so the Expedition certainly had room. The only redeeming hope is MAYBE they were poor planners at moving, and that was last thing left, but I doubt it. More likely someone trying to justify owning the trailer.
An EXPEDITION, pulling a ONE mattress on a TRAILER??? Oh come on now! As Bill Engvall would say, “here’s your sign!” 🙂
I too have pulled a a flatbed utility trailer with an unlikely tow vehicle–my 1980 Ford Pinto wagon with 2.3L Lima and 4-sp manual. My frequent towing of a trailer laden with three motorcycles resulted in frequent clutch replacements. By the third fried clutch, I had the replacement routine down to three hours flat in my apartment parking lot. Rain added about 45 minutes.
–I received a speeding citation for running this combo on Interstate 5 near Sacramento, CA –I was doing 70mph while signs listed 55 mph for vehicles with trailers. I felt picked upon-I should have gotten a prize for running a 4-cylinder Pinto 70 mph with a trailer!!!
These days the ticket might be for negligent driving. Anything can tow almost anything, but at some point your clutch, cooling system, engine, suspension and most importantly, brakes, would not be adequate. After you crash and kill someone, the negligent driving ticket moves up to motor vehicle homicide.
And, your insurance company will be REALLY grumpy.
That does not look like a Lincoln Towncar dashboard. I remember how you lamented during the winter about not being able to drive the car so i would have thought you would have taken the opportunity to drive it as much as possible?
As for the benz, a lot of folks especially in here in the USA forget that in other places Mercedes such as the above pic were put to work as taxis and other work related duties.
This picture was taken this past March on Interstate 80, when the weather was still iffy. The Lincoln is getting fresh air pretty regularly now, I can assure you. But, if the sun isn’t shining, it’s Volvo time. 🙂
Ah the 2.5 TD; all it needs now is load leveling.
I have towed a 16 foot sailboat with a W126 420SEL, and the tail was definitely dragging…the car did not like all of the tongue weight…never tried towing with the W124 that I owned for about 3 months, 10 years ago.
I think that the attitude of the vehicle and the trailer, kinda show that, yeah…you do. I would like to see this rig do a full panic stop from highway speed.
It depends. My dad regularly pulled his 18′ Malibu speedboat with his 1999 Volvo V70R with no ill effects. Of course, it being the top model with 247 hp and AWD probably didn’t hurt.
I know boats, but not an expert. Off the top of my head, an 18′ Malibu built some years back, likely with a single axle trailer, might top off at around 2,500 – 3,000 lbs. If the Volvo back then had a tow rating, the set up was probably within the vehicle’s capacity.
Did it sit all ass saggy like the Mercedes in the pic, that what concerns me, it’s dipping an awful lot.
Actually no, it sat pretty level. Maybe a little low in the back, but nothing like the Merc in the photo.
Hopefully he’s taking his time and keeping a decent following distance, Carmine.
I just drove down I-75 last Sunday from Atlanta back to Cape Coral…saw countless toy hauler trailers, that were loaded with all the ATV’s and dirtbikes in the back ( not good for a trailer’s weight distribution) being pulled at 85mph+ by tailgating meth heads in stupidly lifted pickups.
Old school benzes even have decent factory trans fluid coolers and radiators, for all day autobahn running. Also the W124 probally has a foot of suspension travel. My Dad’s old W113 would squat way down with three passengers in the back.
After many years of trailer towing, I have this to say. Unless you’re pulling a sand drag sled, even a Pinto (as evidenced in a prior post) wil pull most any and everything; the question is: Will it stop it? My most white knuckle tow was in my ’83 Toyota 3/4 ton (when they said 3/4 ton they meant it, not a pound more) towing sand on a 6×10 utility trailer. Started out on pavement, so far so good. Be careful at stops. So far so good. Yellow light ahead! Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech! Back up out of intersection. So far, still alive. Park it in grass next to driveway. Try to leave. Dig two tire-size holes and not budge the trailer. Decide to unload trailer into truck until rear bumper is dragging. Twice. Trailer is now about half empty. After several minutes and 20 feet of dual 205mm wide trenches later, back on the pavement. And stayed on the pavement until unloaded. Moral to the story? Sand is heavy. Heavier when wet.
+1 I had a summer job as a landscape gardener,driving a Ford Cortina Mk3 estate(wagon).Loaded with 4 other people in it and a trailer full of broken paving slabs and soil it sailed through a road junction fortunately with no other traffic.I think that’s the reason I started to get grey hair at 19!
Ha! I can do better…I once pulled a Bobcat through Louisville with an ’88 Toyota 1/2-ton pickup. Darn near fried the clutch, but it worked!!!
The Benz should have plenty of reserve stopping power, since from what I can tell, German cars have oversize brakes.
This morning I saw a decent ’91-’96 Escort 3 door towing a similar sized trailer at a small construction site.
Here’s a common sight in Europe:
I don’t disagree, and if anything your picture is generous in regard to the tow vehicle. I think the issue with the article photo that Tom posted is that the hitch of the trailer appears to be much higher than the hitchball on the back of the car. As a result it “tips” the trailer forward, adding to the tongue weight and pushing the rear of the car down more. The car looks like it should have a different (higher) hitch placement on it so the load rides more level, resulting in a lesser percentage of the total load weight on the front of the trailer.
I wonder if putting the bike on backwards would improve the weight distribution?
I just checked the (legal) towing capacity of a W124 300 TD: 1,900 kg. (4,190 lbs)
Perfectly safe, as all farmers, cattle dealers, market vendors and contractors can confirm. That’s why they often towed more….
Some of those box camper trailers are not too bad for weight. I don’t see AC on or slide outs on this one, it could be around 5 – 6,000 lbs. I have no clue about MB tow ratings, but a large RWD wagon with a decent engine should do fine with this.
It is in Europe so I would be surprised if it has either. European caravans are typically quite light (so they can be towed by smaller cars), I’d guess this weighs 3500-4000lb fully loaded.
Another happy camper, but a less common sight.
This isn’t all THAT frightening. At least its a sturdy, rwd based car. Not a ‘bad’ setup, as those campers cant be all that heavy.
Ive seen bigger ones towed by fwd minivans….A Honda odyssey’s rear tires would be riding on the sidewalls. Wonder how many miles before those CV joints start to pop like corn on those? Brings to mind the old saying ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’
Oh, yes 🙂 I agree. Undestructible and safe. Lots of them are still running. Had personal experience with a 1991 250D 4-door sedan equiped with 5-speed manual transmission. Then all new white. My dad’s buddy worked then as a kind of consular person so the Benz had a CC (Consular Corps) license plates. As I had attended university nearby the consulate I was usually asked to drive that white Benz from home to the consulate and on the weekends, back to home. Happened sometimes that police cars spontaneously helped my trips through difficult traffic conditions as they perceived the CC plates. As I was a young driver then sitting in an all new Benz it had been a good feeling that we were treated on the roads as VIP’s. Later when dad’s buddy took a trip with his wife they have got a traffic accident, the white 250D had been totaled. But saved their lives. The doc said them after the accident “the Benz saved their lives”.
The MB wagon is definetly a better choice than the sedan for towing. It has a rear self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension. These are great cars for towing, but there’s no doubt that the rear axle of the Merc of the top picture wuold not enjoy a several 100 miles ride like this!
A problem I had when towing small trailers was burning the weak transmissions in some FWD cars. The last time it happened while towing a small trailer with my 1991 Buick Park Avenue, I just removed the hitch after I had the transmission rebuilt and I had a hitch installed on my 1975 Electra instead!
I don’t have a hitch on my current 2001 Camry and the automatic transmission is apparently a weak spot on this car so I won’t take a chance…
So if I need to tow a trailer, I use my pickup or my 1975 Electra.
Here’s one of my favorites
Talk about tongue weight
Sadly, MGMs were only rated to about 2,500 lbs tow rating. It would not have been difficult to for Ford to build them to 5,000, maybe 6,000. 7,000 plus with their current 5.0.
Tow ball is likely too low here as well.
It depends on the year, in the beginning the Aero Panthers could be had with a 5,000lb tow rating. That required the tow package which gave you most of the HPP package the difference was the front springs and the rear height sensor adjusted to match the ride height of the front springs. The tow package didn’t last for long. Without the tow package they max out the rating at 2,000lbs.
I do believe that they did rate up to 6,000 lbs on the boxes with the 351 and the rest of the tow package equipment. .
Congrats to the Grand Marquis 🙂 Tough car! Would like to have one someday…
I love those cheap Harbor Freight trailers!
Maybe some winter I’ll build a teardrop camper Harbor Frieght trailer, lots of good plans out there. Too hot now in FL. Would look cool behind my SC300, whose owners manual forbids towing. 220hp and 220 torques with big trans cooler- I won’t worry, may consider rear airbags due to low ground clearance and dirt roads to good campgrounds. Warranty long gone.
That car looks so darn stable and hunkered down. I think Perry is right the emblem looks like 300D. It’s a little locomotive.
Another USA vs Rest of the World moment on CC. It’s also a bit of a “I need pick up!” – “No you don’t!” moment, just like the article above. Recurring themes.
Is the rear end sagging partly due to the fact the back of the car is stuffed with stuff?
I think that Benz is fully stuffed with heavy stuff. Trunk and rear seats.
I used my TDI NB to pull maybe half my farm implements home from auctions (including a manure spreader – “Herbie: Fully Loaded” – got a lot of laughs from the “real” farmers at the auction), and regularly used it to move hayracks around. I pulled a fully-loaded rack out of the field with it once (~3 tons of hay) – it stunk of burned clutch lining for days (but still had the original non-slipping clutch when I sold it at 219K miles). Note that the rack has no weight on the tongue, so I was just pulling, not carrying.
That four wheel trailer takes me back. When I lived in farm country I never saw them on the road unless they were being pulled by a tractor. The tongue weight was the weight of the actual tongue.
I’m setting better now than I ever have been for towing. The 4Runner is limited to 3500 lbs but no need to exceed that. Tongue weight, as you show, is generally more important. Have three trailers with different roles and a tow dolly.
I will remember this picture for a long time.
Oh those trailers are fun to watch and/or be behind. Dog tracking, wobbling all over the place, blowing a tire, and sometimes being towed on a bare rim. Some parts of New York are so hilly and curvy a follow vehicle is used so you do not come over a crest and rear end a slowing moving trailer of hay.
Did not realize you finally sold Herbie. So any towing with the new Bug?
Hmmm…I don’t remember seeing that diesel rig in one of the books of the late Stan Holtzman. You know, somewhere in the chapter “Hay And Alfalfa Hauling”.
around here (County Donegal) you can count the pickups on your fingers. a stock trailer with a dozen sheep will be towed by an ordinary car. -Irish used car buying tip: avoid a Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI Estate with a trailer hitch- the big trailers are all behind tractors
Surprised no one has asked this yet – why’s a dead-reliable adventure touring motorcycle that’s already loaded up with extra cargo capacity being towed to begin with?
Reminds me of this old favorite : http://www.aerostich.com/stolen-sticker.html
It seems even F-body’s get into the towing game. Though I would never tow stuff with my 1999 Firebird. I worry about that weak 10 bolt rear end as it is.
But still nice to see what these cars are able to do.
At least its rwd. A 10 bold may be questionable but its stouter than a fwd based transaxle. Now that may be debatable among some, but what I do know is that fwd is a laughable towing setup for more than about 1000 lbs. Weighting down the bumper loads the vehicle all wrong–traction at the drive wheels is reduced. At best, it makes for a tire smoking time trying to pull a wet boat up a steep ramp…at worst, it could mean super squirelly handling on the freeway.
It’s even debatable among the auto makers and the legislators.
I looked up an older FWD Audi A6 2.5 TDI: towing capacity 3,970 lbs. Not much lower than the RWD Benz above.
All FWD vans (you must know the Ram ProMaster): around 4,400 lbs towing capacity. These vans come with 4 cylinder diesels, 1.9 to 2.3 liter displacement.
And all of them also drive around in, for example, the Alps. That means serious business when it comes to mountains.
One of my favorite activities is to buy old dead cars which need to be hauled out of people’s garage or backyards. The hauling part is definitely not part of the fun as I am completely unable to back up the trailer into the desired spot. Since the cars are dead the closer you can get to its final parking spot the better. Sparing myself the pushing and dragging. For light cars I have used tow dollies for bigger cars I borrow a homemade trailer. That trailer is built like the Brooklyn Bridge and weighs at least a ton. My tow vehicles are my ’98 GMC Safari and my ’02 F150 (supercharged 5.4L). I’d like to get a used larger van that can carry more cargo than my Safari, and can tow the trailer that is available to me. A MB Sprinter would be nice but they are expensive. Do you guys have any suggestions?
Sprinters are nothing but trouble. An Econoline is the only way to go. If you want to do serious towing get a V10 powered E350 or at least a E250.
One hundred percent agreement. The Sprinter is a service and reliability nightmare. Even the 5.4 can tow most anything.
One about a 1st gen Tundra or a nicely cared for Nissan Titan?
Theres a lot of knee jerk nonsense on both sides of the whole ‘towing debacle’.
On one hand, there are those who think you can tow a tandem axle camper with a geo metro doing 80 mph on the freeway, balanced out by the paranoid type who thinks you need a crewcab longbed powerstroke 4wd Super Duty to pull a standup jetski. Truth is, any vehicle can tow SOMETHING, but be realistic. If you own an early 90s Corolla, then towing the smallest single axle U-Haul trailer across town at 40 mph is definitely safe. Safer than the idiot in a mega lifted pickup towing a huge boat at 90 mph.
This Benz is perfectly suited to a small trailer like this with a lightweight motorcycle loaded. But I think he has it just a bit overbiased towards the front. Or he’s got a full load in the trunk and back seat. As Paul said, using a ball and socket hitch, 60% front is about right. I wouldn’t tow very much very often with a car that uses (I think) rear CV joints. Those don’t hold up very long. I towed a similar trailer from Memphis to Portland with my ’00 Wrangler., loaded up with about 800 lbs of my gear. Barely knew it was there but I wouldn’t do much more with a short wheelbase Jeep at freeway speeds. They do get squirrely. And it did in the Wyoming crosswinds!
No picture, but a guy regularly goes by my house on his bicycle, towing a bike trailer …. with a longboard (surfboard) on a two-wheeled dolly hitched behind the bike trailer. The whole rig looks about 20′ long.
I found an article that may be pertinent http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/tow-me-down-1609112611
Great photos of the best layouts for Wildwood Travel Trailers. These trailers are luxury and comfort at it’s best that you’ll think you never left home.
Great photos of the best layouts for Wildwood Travel Trailers. These trailers are luxury and comfort at it’s best that you’ll think you never left home.This Benz is perfectly suited to a small trailer like this with a lightweight motorcycle loaded. But I think he has it just a bit overbiased towards the front. Or he’s got a full load in the trunk and back seat. As Paul said, using a ball and socket hitch, 60% front is about right. I wouldn’t tow very much very often with a car that uses (I think) rear CV joints. Those don’t hold up very long.
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