Is a 4 WD 2002 Scenic a good tow vehicle ?
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Thread: Is a 4 WD 2002 Scenic a good tow vehicle ?

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    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default Is a 4 WD 2002 Scenic a good tow vehicle ?

    Now that the electric windows are all working well, Is the Scenic a capable vehicle if used to tow a boat/trailer weighing in at around 900 KG.
    Being a 4WD, my thoughts of being used on a slippery boat ramp would have a better chance than a Front Wheel Drive vehicle.
    PS Thanks for all the assistance and supplied parts that have been forthcoming from this sight to get this vehicle back on the road.
    Michael

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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Anything 4WD would be better than 2WD if you're pulling a boat up a slippery wet boat ramp.
    You don't say whether the trailer is braked but 900kg is over the rated towing limit for an unbraked trailer for the Scenic.
    Going by memory, I think the rating is around 500kg, it will of course be more for a braked trailer but I don't have the figures to hand (have a new computer and haven't loaded up all the files yet). If you have the factory towbar it should have a plate riveted on with the ratings.

    Personally, I think that even if it is a braked trailer the Scenic would struggle to comfortably pull a 900kg load on anything other than flat ground and/or short distances. The total load may be under the maximum towing limit but that doesn't mean it's sensible to tow a load that's at or near the limit.
    I only had a 2WD Scenic and I did tow a box trailer from time to time but the load would never have exceeded 500kg. On a heavish load the car definitely did feel the extra weight.
    But you already have the RX4 and presumably the boat and trailer so give it a try but check you are under the rated tow limit.
    "I cannot help but notice that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved by your departure. Mark Twain"

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    Hi
    My thoughts on towing. In Aus the accepted 'wisdom' is that you need a big powerful can to tow or nowadays a twin cab diesel ute ??. While those might be good choices here, in other countries they tow with much more modest cars and in more mountainous areas too. I have had a R20 and C5 over the years, both about 2L engines, and fitted a tow bar for car trailers, boats and small caravans. I never had any problems and used weight distribution bars and common sense.
    If you are towing smaller distances around town or not so far then balance the boat trailer correctly to the max ball weight allowed and go for it. If towing longer distances then fit weight distribution bars of a simple cheap type which improve the towing a lot IMHO.
    Good luck Jaahn
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    Thanks for those comments. I have had 4WD's in the past but now I tow my Tandem trailer with a 60's Humber to pick up the odd car.
    Not as efficient by any means but the upkeep is negligible compared with the "big ones".
    My brother is keen to get a towbar fitted to the Scenic and use it to tow the boat. He tells me the weight is 750KG but you know what it's like, a bit here, a bit there. We towed the boat home yesterday, purchasing it from Hamilton, using a 90's Rover Diesel. Did the job well but he doesn't want to use that car down a boat ramp
    Actually we need to fit a towbar for the Scenic and haven't yet looked into locating one. Does anybody have one they would part with ?
    Interesting to see where this leads ! .................. Michael

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Here's my two bobs worth! Unbraked trailer limit is 750 kg, so trailer brakes are required, however the RX4 has a big set of brakes so the 900 kg should be ok with over-ride brakes. The main problem you may find is the traction control. At one point in my travels and faced with a wet near vertical descent through deep ruts for about a kilometer I turned the RX4 around and attempted to climb the short but steep and slippery distance to the top. The RX4 would spin it's front wheels, apply the traction control then almost stall. This occurred about eight times in a row until I became aware of blue smoke and the smell of burning friction material. The decision now made for me I turned around and tobogganed the RX4 downhill on it's belly, wheels hanging uselessly in the ruts until I reached the bottom and some flatter terrain. No damage recorded! On another occasion, the RX4 failed to climb an ultra steep dry track simply through not having a low enough first gear. So, whilst the RX4 is a much more capable vehicle than most realise, it does have limits and they can be found easily on steep, damp surfaces!
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    Bob750 I think it is on here tows his 4CV on a specially made trailer with his normal 2 wheel drive Scenic. He says it is just under the legal limit for the car. I have only once seen it spin the front wheels and it was on a deco (course sand ) covered drive way up a fairly steep hill.

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    IDear.

    If you want to listen to the voice of experience....NO NO NO!!!

    I have replaced several totally fried clutches in RX's.
    It only takes a brief moment of impatience to fry your clutch.
    These days it means the repair bill is much more than the value of the car.
    From what you have stated, you are pushing, no, over the limits anyway.
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    More to ponder. First gear, not all that low and combined with the use of the clutch on a boat ramp ...... yes, I can see "where you're coming from, Steve K
    Interesting ............. Michael
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    Well the wheels are set in motion,as they say. Did the permit on-line and took it for it's first drive and yes ... very impressive !
    197.000 k's on the clock so it's due for a timing belt change.
    Roadworthy booked for Wednesday. Everything looks fine but not knowing this breed of car. we will see. We've noticed that the Scenic has been serviced at the correct intervals until the elderley owner passed away.
    It is a 2001 model. We know the engine number but we can't find it on the engine. We'd like to confirm it "visually" for the purposes of the upcoming roadworthy.
    Would somebody be able to tell me the location of the engine number, on the engine ?
    Thanks Michael

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    Should be the same as the Clio Sport, looking over engine, front face, to the right side, just under half way down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IDear View Post
    Now that the electric windows are all working well, Is the Scenic a capable vehicle if used to tow a boat/trailer weighing in at around 900 KG.
    Being a 4WD, my thoughts of being used on a slippery boat ramp would have a better chance than a Front Wheel Drive vehicle.
    PS Thanks for all the assistance and supplied parts that have been forthcoming from this sight to get this vehicle back on the road.
    Michael
    Seems others have answered the question.
    Traction is not an issue towing a boat up a ramp. I'v never failed to tow a single axle trailer with any FWD Renault.
    Lack of traction is the saviour of the clutch, and as stated the RX$ has a very high first gear, and incredible traction, so goodby clutch.
    The steeper the boat ramp, the better it is for not submerging the car, and for getting the boat off and back on the trailer again, but the worse it is for the clutch.
    In every other regard, it is a fine vehicle to tow with, just not slowly up a boat ramp. Thats one area where an auto gearbox craps all over a manual box.

    Jo

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    The engine number is not easy to find. Searched down the front both sides of the dipstick and on the right hand side underneath an air intake box of some sort.
    Hopefully the person doing the roadworthy will know of it's whereabouts.
    The Scenic must have been quite a car when first sold. Took it for a good run today (on the permit) and it performed flawlessly.
    We'll wait and see how it goes towing the boat once we get a towbar fitted. With the knowledge of the clutch issue, we'll use the "gas" and let the clutch out real quick.
    Interesting looking through the service records. It already has had a new clutch installed in it's first life.
    Michael

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    "Traction is not an issue towing a boat up a ramp."

    The real issue is ,
    "What could go wrong?"
    There are any number of funny videos of accidents at boat ramps.


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    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    The engine number should be stamped into the block near the oil filter
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    Quote Originally Posted by IDear View Post
    It already has had a new clutch installed in it's first life.
    Michael
    What type of boat did the previous owner have??


    Remember having trouble with the engine numbers on a blue slip inspection. From fading memory they were done with little dots and very hard to read.
    On the paper work my blue slip guy submitted, one number was recorded incorrectly, which led to two rx4's having the one identity at the RMS, and when the other owner canceled their rego and handed in the plates, my rego was also canceled and they wanted my plates back.
    It took about a month of stuffing around by the manager of my local depot to sort the problem out as the rego software was so locked up and un-editable only god and the prime minister were allowed to acces and change the data.

    SOOO, make sure the engine number matches the existing paper work, and is written down accurately on the new rego.

    jo

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    Firstly, we found the engine number hidden behind a black engine support. So all good, I thought till I read the above from Jo.
    The engine number on the block is different than the number on the documents that belong with the Scenic. We thought we'd just put down the one from the block. This number is not noted on any documents that came with the car.
    Now I'm pondering what to do ? The roadworthy is tomorrow.
    Thanks for that info Jo.
    Michael

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    You want to record what is actually there.
    Get that right.
    It is incredibly unlikely that there is foul play when talking about an rx4. Ss comodore or nisan skyline maybe, but a discrepancy will likely be an admin error.
    I guess it might need an extra inspection if the registration authority wants clarification but that should all be possible, just a pain in the arse.



    PS..
    When you present your paper work to the registry( Assuming it is the same in Victoria as NSW), Make sure you have a receipt of sale with the following..... date, the sellers full name and address, their licence number if possible, purchase price, full details of car including vin, and your details.


    Having this makes life easy. Having bits missing might mean you have to do it the hard way.

    Jo
    Last edited by jo proffi; 17th March 2020 at 01:55 PM.

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    Does the RX4 have a low range transfer case? low 1st .... ease the clutch out and idle up the ramp. You don't need to be a knob head like a lot at boat ramps. slugomatic is perfect, you just gently ease her away without wheel slippage.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use any of my shitboxes ... even the old ID19 to tow 900kgs. If you have a transfer case though .... USE THE THING. That is what is for. I've had quite a few people watch me park the shitbox towing the block of flats and remark... "We should get a V8 ... it moves the caravan around so easily" ...... "I'm in low range" .... "Yes but I've towed for years I've never seen something move a caravan so easily" .... "I'm in low range" .... "Yes but the v8 does it so easily" .... groan ..... "Its in low range" ....

    I even use low range moving crap around my yard .... in carparks if I want to me "really slow" .... its just a gearbox, use it!

    Its staggering how many people have no idea what the transfer cases and diff locks in there car actually do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    ....................................Its staggering how many people have no idea what the transfer cases and diff locks in there car actually do.

    Or even more staggeringly, what vehicles they are and aren't fitted to!
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    Not saying this is in any way related to your towing concerns but interestingly, Ive had my RX4 since new and just retired it a few months ago. Its only job now is to tow my trailer sailer up a bit of an inclined driveway to under the carport. The boat/trailer weighs about 1,800kgs!! Im surprised how well it pulls it. Previously Id towed various trailers and boats and never had any issues. I only retired it because I needed to tow the TS and after driving it faultlessly for 19 years I was so bored with the same car!

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    I also have a V8 LR and always use low range when reversing up to a trailer or van. It makes sense Double Chevron I agree.

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Overlooking the fact that in an RX4 "Low Range" is simply first gear and reverse is higher than first........;-)
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    After experiencing no clutch in a car park I had to start it in gear (reverse to begin with) which is actually quite scary how high geared it is in reverse.

    I quickly pulled out the main HT ignition lead so it wouldn't fire me into parked cars, until I could put it in forward gears and get it home.

    1st gear is pretty high, which would make serious off roading without cooking clutches difficult.

    RX4 excels on 'soft roads' unsealed and decent grip on a paddock, but it gets a bit awkward when you really go offroad and have any wheels off the ground.

    A boat ramp isn't going to be kind to the clutch going slow, it really likes a bit of momentum.

    Best towing vehicle I ever owned was the yellow 'Tonka' 80s model Nissan patrol.
    Although a manual, it was a straight 6 diesel with a low range gearbox.
    I could take my foot off the accelerator and the straight 6 could idle a heavy load up a steep incline with little to no effort.

    Weight helps, and the little RX4s are light and a little top heavy.
    Keeps reminding me of a 16.
    Last edited by vivid; 17th March 2020 at 03:41 PM.
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    I can tell you where a RX4 comes into its own.....Pushing stuff (with indifference to the clutch)


    Whenever it was lawn mowing day on my former property and I needed to move dead Fuego' around, the rx4 would push then regardless of if they had rotating wheels or not, and not leave a mark on either the fuego or the RX4.
    I miss the black garbage-bin-spec body armour the RX4 had. The best urban assault vehicle I've ever owned!!

    Jo
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivid View Post
    After experiencing no clutch in a car park I had to start it in gear (reverse to begin with) which is actually quite scary how high geared it is in reverse.

    I quickly pulled out the main HT ignition lead so it wouldn't fire me into parked cars, until I could put it in forward gears and get it home.

    1st gear is pretty high, which would make serious off roading without cooking clutches difficult.

    RX4 excels on 'soft roads' unsealed and decent grip on a paddock, but it gets a bit awkward when you really go offroad and have any wheels off the ground.

    A boat ramp isn't going to be kind to the clutch going slow, it really likes a bit of momentum.

    Best towing vehicle I ever owned was the yellow 'Tonka' 80s model Nissan patrol.
    Although a manual, it was a straight 6 diesel with a low range gearbox.
    I could take my foot off the accelerator and the straight 6 could idle a heavy load up a steep incline with little to no effort.

    Weight helps, and the little RX4s are light and a little top heavy.
    Keeps reminding me of a 16.
    Top heavy? Have a look at the size of their roll bars! Make a Bathurst Supercar's look anemic......
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