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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this question, but I'll try.

I just installed the Curt towing hitch for the Cruze (I have a 1LT). Installation was easy, and the instructions were great. No drilling is required, and nothing needs to be removed or modified.

Here's my question....

The hitch has a weight carrying (towing) capacity of 2000 lbs, and a tongue weight capacity of 200 lbs. We know that the Cruze has a 1000 lb towing capacity, so the fact that the hitch can handle 2000 lbs doesn't matter. The towing capacity of a Cruze with this hitch (or any other hitch) is still 1000 lbs.


My question has to do with tongue weight. I have read that the rule of thumb is that tongue weight capacity is 10% of towing capacity, which would make the Cruze's tongue weight capacity 100 lbs according to the rule of thumb. However, I think that unlike towing capacity, the tongue weight capacity of the Cruze with this hitch would be 200 lbs, as it is rated. This spec has to do with the strength of the hitch, doesn't it? Shouldn't we be able to put up to 200 lbs of non-supported weight on this hitch?


I want to buy a cargo rack for my hitch, but if I can only safely put 42 pounds of gear on the rack (the rack weighs 58 pounds), I'll probably pass.


What do you think - 100 lbs, or 200 lbs for the tongue weight with the Curt hitch?

Thanks for the input.
 

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Although not explicitely stated, the Cruze manual (p 9-52) suggests 100-150 lbs for the tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Although not explicitly stated, the Cruze manual (p 9-52) suggests 100-150 lbs for the tongue weight.
But wouldn't that be based on the 'rule of thumb' of 10% of the towing capacity? GM would probably assume that if someone made a hitch for the Cruze, it would be built based on the 1000 lb towing capacity, and therefore the hitch would be structurally capable of handling approx. 100 lbs of tongue weight. The Curt hitch is structurally capable of supporting a tongue weight of 200 lbs, so there's no worries that the hitch itself would buckle under a 200 lb load. As long as the Cruze isn't loaded with 5 occupants and a trunk full of gold ingots (in other words, as long as the Cruze isn't overloaded), I would think that it would be OK to put 200 pounds on the tongue.

But if I was 100% positive that I am right, I wouldn't be asking the question here, would I? :th_coolio:

Any other opinions?
 

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The 10% is based on the actual trailer weight, not the maximum trailer weight. In your case I wouldn't go over 150 lbs. Not only does the hitch need to support the tongue, but the hitch needs to stay attached to the car. Since GM has a 1,000 lb trailer weight limit, this tells me the Cruze is designed to safely handle up to a 150 lb tongue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The 10% is based on the actual trailer weight, not the maximum trailer weight. In your case I wouldn't go over 150 lbs. Not only does the hitch need to support the tongue, but the hitch needs to stay attached to the car. Since GM has a 1,000 lb trailer weight limit, this tells me the Cruze is designed to safely handle up to a 150 lb tongue.
I'm no expert on this, but here's how I interpret the specs.

TOWING CAPACITY is based on the safe limits of the vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, tires, etc. The Cruze has a towing capacity of 1000 lbs. Weight distribution on a trailer is important, and it should be distributed such that 10-15% of the weight is applied to the tongue. So, if towing a trailer weighing 1000 lbs, the tongue weight should be at least 100 lbs, and no more than 150 lbs.

However, if you are not using the hitch to tow a trailer but instead you are putting unsupported weight in the form of a cargo rack on the tongue, I think it makes sense that there are three things to consider. First - the hitch itself, as well as how and where it attaches to the vehicle, needs to be able to support the weight applied without buckling. The Curt hitch has a tongue weight rating of 200 lbs, and the hitch attaches to the frame, so I think it is strong enough to handle 200 pounds. Second - the weight applied must not cause the vehicle to exceed the GVWR. Third, the weight applied must not be enough to cause the front wheels to lose traction and affect the handling of the vehicle. Since the vehicle is capable of handling a 150 pound tongue weight when used in a towing scenario, I would think that an extra 50 pounds applied in a cargo rack scenario wouldn't be enough to cause an issue.

I appreciate your feedback, and I hope you will reply with your thoughts. I also hope others will choose to add their thoughts to this discussion in the days to come.
 

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When using a cargo rack you also have to take into account the additional stress of rack rotation (outside edges of the rack going up and down). A trailer doesn't have this type of stress because it has wheels on each side to keep the trailer frame level as well as a hitch ball to allow movement in multiple directions, including side to side rotation.

The fact that your hitch has a tongue weight rating of 200 lbs gives you a maximum weight you can put on the hitch. The question you need answered is what is the maximum your Cruze can handle. You then take the lower value. The Cruze can probably handle 200 lbs, but given the safety margins built into the manual's weight limits and the side to side stresses that exist with a cargo rack that don't exist with a trailer, I wouldn't go more than 150 lbs.
 

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Don't forget that weight will compress the rear springs while unloading the front springs, and affect handling negatively. I'd err on the side of caution, and put no more than 150 lbs combined between the hitch/platform and cargo onto the back of the car.
 

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terrym-

About 6 months ago I went through all the cargo baskets. I purchased the aluminum one at harbor freight.. The problem is that the shank on the basket is 2". With the adapters it turned out the basket was 5 inches off the ground and had problems.

I returned that one, and went with the CURT platform that's adjustable and made for the 1 1/4" reciever. I had 20lbs of propane, a grill, and a retangular storage tub from walmart filled with stuff on it. Probably was around 70-80 lbs. I pulled this 3000 miles across the midwest and mountains with no problem at 75 mph. It's only 45 lbs, and can be installed by one person. I think the platform was about $80 from Rockauto. Best purchase improvement I've made.

However, I wouldn't load it with heavy firewood, but have had two bags of rock salt on it for short distances.

Good Luck
 

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carbon02 - best answer so far in this thread. Actual experience trumps best guestimates any day.
 

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I remember taking pictures of all the cargo carrier setups I tried. I thought I had posted them to a thread about the hitch install but maybe not.

If anyone's interested in them I can try to dig them up.

Remember, you need a cargo carrier that is only 48" long. There's not many options under 60", a 60" would over extend the bumpers on each side by 6 inches..
 

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slightly off topic, I got to thinking since the hitch ties both sides of the sub frame together would it not also have some stiffening of the car similar to the ultra racing braces? At least a person could get some actual use out of a hitch.
 

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Terrym did you install your hitch yourself? Im having problems with Curt sending me chipped coating and scratched hitches new out of the box. Just wondering what condition your hitch was when you received it. Was the coating chipped or scratched at all?
 

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Having towed a 750KG Caravan quite some distance with a RWD sedan I had to use level bars to keep it from swaying and to keep the front wheels with enough grip to steer safely. Without the bars and the van correctly balanced it was really scary to pull. With the bars in place all was fine. My point is that weight behind the trunk has an unbalancing effect. Here in Australia a lot of people use a roof Boot (Trunk) to carry extra loads. They are made from fibreglass and are mounted to roof racks and are lockable. They have a tapered front and aren't to bad in headwinds. View attachment 8845
 
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