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gumpish 03-18-2005 03:40 PM

Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Hello all.

I have a yellow 5-speed 2001 SC2 (woohoo) and a yellow 2004 Suzuki SV650 (woohoo). After 4 years of ownership, I finally have a question for the Saturn community.

I see that JC Whitney carries a trailer hitch that fits the SC2. Has anyone here actually installed a hitch on their SC? Also is there a good place for info about "trailer tech"? Namely it seems like there are at least two different sizes of connectors. Are all trailers hooked up with one of those balls on the hitch? What's the deal with the box outline pipe that you see on trucks that don't have the ball?


Low Saturn 03-18-2005 03:54 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
That box outline is the receiver for the hitch. You can remove it to prevent people from stealing it or knocking into it when not towing.

Saturns dont really have a high tow rating capicity, plus personally I wouldnt tow with such a small car with a manual tranny.

alleninpa 03-18-2005 03:58 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Let's start with the basics.
What are you planning to haul?
How much weight?

The box, without the ball is just that, a box. They attach a sleve hitch and a ball when they are towing. Sometimes they get in the way, (makes a great shin banger) so they are removed when not in use. Also prevents theft.

I'm not quite sure when you say connector. Are you referring to the wiring harness for lights, or where a hitch would go?

Basically there are 4 types of connectors. 1-7/8" ball, 2" ball, 2-5/16" ball, and pintle hook. The most common is 2", and the ball can tow up to 5000 pounds (or more) with a 1" shank. When you buy your hitch kit, it will not come with a ball. It will have a 3/4" hole where you can put the ball that fits your application.

Edit - beat me to the punch - sorry for duplications.

gumpish 03-18-2005 05:15 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Thanks for the info.

All I'm towing is a flatbed trailer and a motorcycle. The bike weighs under 500 lbs...

twosaturns 03-18-2005 08:17 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
there are different classes of hitches. the two receiver type are 2"x2" (class 3& 4 I believe) ans a smallere one, I believe is 1 1/2" square. that is the one you would get, lower tow rating. a ball hitch would then plug into that. when you buy the trailer, you would buy the correct ball size for it. the connectors for the lights are either a round plug, or a flat plug w/ 3 prongs on it. most likely, that is the one you would use. it would hook into your rear lights, and hang out of the trunk when you are using it.
you should be fine w/ a little motorcycle trailer. just watch starting out, that you don't ride the clutch too much. upshifts also will take some getting used to, as you will feel the drag, like it's pulling the car back (because it is).

eric02SC2 03-18-2005 08:38 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
If I can ever find another programming job, our plan is to get a trailer hitch for our '02 SC2 (manual) and a small trailer... basically just for more 'trunk' space since my wife complains that with two children in the back seat, we just don't have enough space for much more than weekend trips.

Even with all of our camping equipment, I doubt that we'd ever have anywhere near 500 pounds in the trailer!

Eric & Genieve
2002 SC2m 36.9K miles


peppermrj 03-18-2005 10:33 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Does saturn make a mini van? :)

You should be fine with a light weight trailer. I'm not sure if you even need a receiver type hitch. A simple bumper hitch, if they are available, for the SC2 would be fine for the weight you described.

The basics for any trailering are really safety.
Running lights and brake lights.
Safety chains.
Tongue weight. Load the trailer so that when you pick up the front part that attaches to the ball it's weight is 10 percent of the total trailer weight. I.E. the trailer weighs 500lbs and it is loaded with 500 lbs =1000lbs total X 10% = 100lbs tongue weight. Use a simple bathroom scale to determine tongue weight. This lets the trailer follow properly without effecting the handling characteristics of the car.

Last but most importantly is following distance. As the load increases in any auto, the braking distance increases. This is especially true when trailering.

You can do a google for more info. :arr:

gumpish 03-18-2005 11:29 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Thanks for all the info.

I guess I'm concerned about too much tongue weight. Would it be ok to load up the rear of the trailer to reduce the tongue weight? (While remaining within the limits of what you can pull.)

eric02SC2 03-18-2005 11:38 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
[QUOTE=gumpish]Thanks for all the info.

I guess I'm concerned about too much tongue weight. Would it be ok to load up the rear of the trailer to reduce the tongue weight? (While remaining within the limits of what you can pull.)[/QUOTE]

Idealy, you would want to have a positive tongue weight that is under the limits of what you can pull. You are correct that this is achieved by distributing the trailer load on both sides of the trailer axle.

Eric & Genieve
2002 SC2m 36.9K miles


alleninpa 03-18-2005 11:46 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Generally, the rule of thumb is 10 to 15% of the weight should be tounge weight.
If you have less, the trailer may start to fishtail wildly, causing a mess.
I would keep about 75 pounds minimum of tounge weight, then increase it as the trailer is loaded over 750 pounds.
Set a bathroom scale on an upside down 5 gallon bucket to measure the tounge weight.
This may seem anal, but if you are planning a long trip, it is best to have the weight where it should be. It will keep the back end of the car planted where it should be.
Too much tounge weight, and when you stop fast the front end will rise, because of all of the weight pushing down on the tounge. This can lead to steering issues that are not nice. Basically drive much more cautiously when towing and you will be fine.

peppermrj 03-19-2005 01:49 AM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
Don't let the tongue weight thing throw you. Keep the load out of the trunk and on the trailer. With positive tongue weight (10%) and the vehicle with the trailer hooked up looking as level as possible you are good to go.
To much tongue weight can take weight off the front end reducing traction, steering, and braking. To little or negative tongue weight can reduce the traction and braking at the rear wheels. Not to mention letting the trailer "wag" while travelling.
So keep it level with some tongue weight and happy trailering.

lifting iron 03-20-2005 08:00 PM

Re: Towing a trailer with 2001 SC2?
I have a hitch on my 01 SC2 manual. The trailer is a small 5x8 with wood side rails.

I have towed up to about 1500 lbs. This is very heavy for the car. I took it real easy and not over 40 on back roads. Most of the time when towing I would have about 500-700 lbs. behind the car. The car handles this well in 4th. At speeds in the 50-60 MPH range the wind resistance starts to really pull on the car.

I don't recommend this car for regular towing. Now and then is fine but regular towing will put some stress on the car. I have a mini-van with a hitch now so I don't have to tow with the Saturn much anymore.


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