Author Topic: Putting the Carolla to work!  (Read 4874 times)

Gone Fishing

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Putting the Carolla to work!
« on: July 24, 2015, 12:45:13 PM »
In an effort to save on gas, we have been using the Carolla for vacations vs our mini-van (if everything works out well, will probably replace van with a car in the future).  However, with two children and camping gear.  It gets a bit cramped, so I finally got around to installing a hitch and a cargo carrier.  I can use the hitch to tow our small utility trailer for major trips that might include canoeing and bicycling or the cargo carrier for less extensive trips.  I had to weld up a custom adapter for the cargo carrier to get it high enough not to scrape or block the tag/tail lights, but I am pleased with it and it should work well (adapter will also work with our current bike rack). 

The Carolla is rated to tow 1500 lbs, and I would feel comfortable with 100 lbs or so on the cargo rack (hitch is rated for 200 lb tongue wt, carrier at 500lbs) given the fact it is a cantilevered load, but I and my two sons (350 lbs combined) stood on it and bounced a bit with no apparent deflection.  From my research, towing the trailer will probably result in a 10mpg drop from the current 36-37 Hwy MPG, but I'm hoping the cargo carrier will not affect milage much at all as it is in the slipstream of the vehicle vs the alternative which would have been a roof rack and cargo box. 

Costs were as follows:

Hitch $105
Drawbars, ball, 2" reciever $45
Cargo Carrier $55

I probably should have done it long ago, as I have owned the vehicle for 5 years, and the hitch is unlikely to fit the next model car we buy, but the cargo carrier, ball and drawbars should transfer over to our next car pretty easily.  But by my math it will take around 2000 miles to make up the cost of the hitch, which should easily do, especially if we go out west next summer.   

« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 01:57:57 PM by So Close »

forummm

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 01:51:17 PM »
Cool! One day I hope to do this with one of our Leafs. But in the trailer we could have extra batteries too. An all-electric vacation. Other people have added trailers to their Leafs and it's worked out well for them.

patrat

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 10:57:36 PM »
Our carolla wants pictures of the new caboose job!

We have the hitch, but I keep shying back from the basket because even the bare hitch receiver scrapes in driveways when there are 4 adults loaded in the car. So far the hitch has just been a great battering ram for ice in winter parking, and kerbs in summer.

Left

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 12:20:12 AM »
Quote
t I'm hoping the cargo carrier will not affect milage much at all as it is in the slipstream of the vehicle
I don't think it is the air dynamics of it that the gas is being "spent" on...

I read somewhere for most "light towing" it takes about an extra 70-100hp to "pull" something up to the speed you are aiming for, once at that speed, it drops to just needing an extra 20-30hp (assuming you aren't trying to race someone and didn't just drop foot on pedal...) to maintain that speed.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 12:21:54 AM by eyem »

Gone Fishing

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 09:55:38 AM »
Quote
t I'm hoping the cargo carrier will not affect milage much at all as it is in the slipstream of the vehicle
I don't think it is the air dynamics of it that the gas is being "spent" on...

I read somewhere for most "light towing" it takes about an extra 70-100hp to "pull" something up to the speed you are aiming for, once at that speed, it drops to just needing an extra 20-30hp (assuming you aren't trying to race someone and didn't just drop foot on pedal...) to maintain that speed.

Just depends on how you define "light".

In my experience it is more about the air resistance than the weight.  Air resistance is a constant brake that requires more power (more gas) to continually overcome vs the one time acceleration demand you mentioned which would apply more to weight.

Putting a 70 lb canoe on the roof of our mini-van "costs" 2-3 mpg mostly due to drag. I'm pretty sure the roof top cargo boxes people use probably "cost" 5-10% or so, depending on the vehicle.

Didn't check my MPG, but once I towed a utility trailer stacked 10' high with empty 55 gallon drums.  A relatively "light" load, but the air resistance was so bad I could barely maintain the speed limit, even going downhill! Pedal to the floor the whole time, just to keep from being a hazard.  I'm sure my MPG was horrible. 

Most people that pull relatively light (but not compact) travel trailers still see a 30-50% decline in MPG.

I have a theory that weight without additional drag, ie a fully loaded car vs a car with only a driver, can actually get better milage on highway streches with lots of rolling hills IF the car is allowed to accelerate on the downhill and coast back up the next hill.  Just like when they add weight to soapbox derby cars.  Of course any advantage would be lost, and even become a penalty, in stop and go traffic.   



« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 10:22:01 AM by So Close »

Gone Fishing

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 10:16:26 AM »
Our carolla wants pictures of the new caboose job!

We have the hitch, but I keep shying back from the basket because even the bare hitch receiver scrapes in driveways when there are 4 adults loaded in the car. So far the hitch has just been a great battering ram for ice in winter parking, and kerbs in summer.

No guarantees my setup won't scrape on occasion, but it was the best I could come up with without blocking the tag. I've been riding around since the installation with a 1.25" drop drawbar and ball mounted "scouting" out bad spots. I have had a few light scrapes, but none with that bottoming out feeling that happens when you take the weight of the vehicle off of the suspension! 

This is the hitch I got (with 20% off offer), and it seems to fit as high as possible.  Mine is a 2008, so there is a chance other models might mount lower.  I am pretty sure the hitch itself will not scrape on normal roads/parking lots.

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/reese-hitch-class-i-1-1-4-box-opening-51171/10209607-P?searchTerm=reese+51171

All of the cargo carriers I could find used a two inch reciever which would require an adaptor.

I looked at these:

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-4-quarter-inch-to-2-inch-hitch-adapter-65023.html

But if I went with a straight one, it would only make the clearance problem worse.

So I welded one of these:

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200612678_200612678

On top of one of these:

http://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Ball_Mounts-hs-Fits_1~1%7C4_Inch_Hitch.aspx?sa=X&ved=0CBwQ9QEwA2oVChMI__XrtNn7xgIVQRweCh1Vkwbn

Something like this would probably work as well, but I was just working with what I could buy locally:

https://www.etrailer.com/comparison.aspx?pc=MT70355&pc2=HT5R&sa=X&ved=0CE4Q9QEwCGoVChMI68j4utj7xgIVBpseCh0uUgXv

We are taking it on a 400 mile camping trip next month.  I'll be sure to update the thread with how it worked out!
 

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2015, 12:17:31 PM »
Just got back from our first roadtrip using the new cargo rack.  I loaded it down pretty good with 2 large, well stocked coolers and several camp chairs. Probably 125 lbs or so total load plus the weight of the rack (30-40 lbs?).  Between the rack, the fully loaded trunk, and 4 passengers the car's rear suspension was noticeably compressed, but I had no trouble with bottoming out the suspension, if anything, bumps in the road were actually smoother.  The hitch took the load with no issues and the car handled curvy mountain roads with no problems, but I did notice a slight difference in handling, nothing I felt was dangerous, but just different.  In addition to the weight, some of this may be attributed to the play in the hitch.  Next time I plan on adding an extra strap from the rack to the hitch to help stabilize the play, and backing off my cooler stocking a bit. Not sure if I was just used to it, but handling on the trip home seemed more like usual.  While I could have taken it off, I left the (mostly empty once we set up) rack on all week, just to see how it rode.  The rack did "kiss" the asphalt a couple of times going in and out of parking lots, but no damage was done. 

I usually get around 35-36 mpg on road trips.  The one full tank I used I got 32 mpg, which was a solid mix of loaded highway, loaded mountain, and semi-loaded mountain driving.  Not too shabby considering our mini-van would have probably only gotten around 18-22 mpg.  I figured the rack saved me $30 or so on the first trip.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2015, 04:31:19 PM »
Thank you for the update. I've been waiting for it! Glad to hear your trip went well. We have a 2010 Corolla and are still trying to figure out how to fit all of our camping gear into it. We've gotten down to the basics but we're older and need some additional items to make our experience more comfortable. We just need a little more room so I'm very interested in your set up. Did you ever consider a roof rack? We've been checking into them but can't find a clear answer about the weight limit.

bmiles62

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 04:57:55 PM »
We just got back from a 4500 mile camping trip across canada and the Northeast US. We love our cargo rack. It gives us the room we need in our Prius for the two of us and our dog.Our gas milage was not affected at all. Always averaged at or above 44 mpg.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2015, 05:18:23 PM »
Bmiles62 thanks for sharing your experience and pics. We were hoping to take our bikes on the rack that goes on the back of the car but we may just need to leave them home :(  I'll check into the rack on the back because it looks like it has the right amount of extra room we need.

bmiles62

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 06:00:53 PM »
Yes Groovin Old Hippie it is always about what to take and what to leave out. The bikes would be fun but it would be one more thing to have to hope nobody would mess with. So far nobody has been willing to take the time to undo the bungee cords to steal the coolers ha ha. Anyway we have used it for the last two years and it really does add the space we need. Here is a bog on our two trips. Have fun on your trip! 

http://2milesand4feetfromhome.blogspot.com/2015_07_05_archive.html

Gone Fishing

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2015, 07:42:50 AM »
Thank you for the update. I've been waiting for it! Glad to hear your trip went well. We have a 2010 Corolla and are still trying to figure out how to fit all of our camping gear into it. We've gotten down to the basics but we're older and need some additional items to make our experience more comfortable. We just need a little more room so I'm very interested in your set up. Did you ever consider a roof rack? We've been checking into them but can't find a clear answer about the weight limit.

Thanks!  We may still add a roof rack, but I really liked the ability to tow our small trailer, use our existing bike rack, and not increasing our profile.  Putting a canoe on top of our minivan shaves 2-3 mpg off, I assume a rooftop box would be similar, plus is harder to access, and cost more.  Ironically, a co-worker was cleaning out and I picked up a Yakima Rocket Box for $40, which may justify getting the roof rack sometime in the future. 

I think you would be fine with 100 lbs or so on the roof rack if it is one that clamps on the door frame.  The door frames are pretty rigid.   

Gone Fishing

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 08:06:46 AM »
Just filled the tank again and calculated my MPG at 36.  This tank included around 125 miles, 1/2 loaded driving around the mountainous park, 100 miles fully loaded (less 50lb give or take of food and drinks) highway miles on the way home (-4000 ft in altitude), and 175 miles of unloaded commuting.

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Re: Putting the Carolla to work!
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2015, 11:59:33 AM »
Probably didn't need it, but I used the rack again on a little weekend camping trip.  Mileage was not enough to calculate, but it did come in real handy for hauling a bit of firewood, 75-100 lbs worth, back to a picked over campsite.  Also, kept all the bark and debris out of the car.