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Discussion Starter #1
I know the Insight can tow some things. My primary worry with something like a jet ski is that while a single place trailer and older model are probably under 800 pounds and the car can tow more than that in 3rd gear I don't know how well it would negotiate a boat launch.

Some of the launches in Arizona are very steep. The one that comes to mind is Lake Pleasant which is quite a bit longer and steeper than most ramps up north but it is paved. I'm guessing that if you took it at an angle to the left or right it would reduce your effective climb while starting off.

I just don't want to waste money putting a hitch on a car that won't do the job. It has a HCH transmission and is bypassed. It's probably close to stock torque with the lower first.
 

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In a previous life I had a jet ski and towed it with a truck... my ramp was maybe 10% grade, and boy would I not enjoy trying to pull a jet ski out in an Insight... worst case your car will be swallowed by the sea. Best case people will laugh at you as you struggle and spin yourself up the hill.
 

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A 2000 pound fwd vehicle launching an 800 pound boat should theoretically be no more different than a 4000 pound fwd vehicle launching a 1600 pound boat. Which people do all the time, and worse, although people also struggle. Wet boat ramps are one of the few situations where I feel awd or 4wd is truly an advantage.

My main concern is that none of the hitch designs I’ve seen for the Insight seem suitable for 800 pounds.
 

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Agree with above. The weight isn't the issue, it's that FWD and slippery launches make for a poor combination.

Also, I've been launching my boat with a stickshfit for years. My next tow vehicle will be an automatic.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought Scott's trailer is heavier than 800 pounds? My main concern is exiting the launch. It should go down the launch and retrieve the empty trailer just fine.
 

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Is anyone currently offering a receiver hitch for the G1, or are these needing to be custom fabricated and installed?
 

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I thought Scott's trailer is heavier than 800 pounds? My main concern is exiting the launch. It should go down the launch and retrieve the empty trailer just fine.
You should ask him but I believe he's publicly stated it's intended for a few hundred pounds, bicycles kayaks etc.

The problem isn't making a hitch strong enough, easy to do with welded steel. The problem is finding a strong enough place to attach it. There is no frame to speak of in the back of an Insight, just formed aluminum sheet. Which, for the most part, you could seriously damage with your bare hands nevermind the forces of an 800 pound trailer under heavy braking or bouncing over uneven pavement. The hitch designs posted on here, like Scott's, try to alleviate that by attaching at multiple places to spread out the load. But the places they attach are all inherently weak and I don't think anyone has done any real engineering or testing to failure so the real capacity is just a SWAG.
 

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I am very curious too.

I've seen a Prius do it over and over.

My thoughts - boat ramps are full of oil from everyone's cars and boats, especially at the end of the afternoon. These tiny Insight wheels might just spin and spin.

Maybe test it out on a weekday, with a friend that can tow-rope you if you get stuck on the ramp?
 

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You should ask him but I believe he's publicly stated it's intended for a few hundred pounds, bicycles kayaks etc.

The problem isn't making a hitch strong enough, easy to do with welded steel. The problem is finding a strong enough place to attach it. There is no frame to speak of in the back of an Insight, just formed aluminum sheet. Which, for the most part, you could seriously damage with your bare hands nevermind the forces of an 800 pound trailer under heavy braking or bouncing over uneven pavement. The hitch designs posted on here, like Scott's, try to alleviate that by attaching at multiple places to spread out the load. But the places they attach are all inherently weak and I don't think anyone has done any real engineering or testing to failure so the real capacity is just a SWAG.
I have two trailers I tow. Both are designed for motorcycles or small cars. One is a cargo trailer and the other is a pop up tent trailer.

The cargo trailer is about 150lbs empty. I think loaded I’ve been about 500lbs. I’ve carried tools, transmission, springs, parts, etc.

The tent trailer is about 325lbs empty. Loaded I think it’s been about 600lbs. It has cargo space for camp gear.

Unibody cars still have what is considered a frame. My hitch design bolts through the rear frame rails. It does require drilling. There are no existing holes to use. My design is two pieces. One part goes inside the trunk area and bolts through the frame rails and then there is another piece that goes on the out side of the rear body panel, the two pieces are basically angle iron, that bolt back to back making a very strong beam. The outer piece also has a bracket that bolts around the rear bumper reinforcement to add more stability, or spread the load, as ackattacker stated above.

The receiver on my hitch is 1 1/4x1 1/4, it is mounted up high hidden under the license plate. The brace on my hitch that goes to the bumper reinforcement transfers some of the load against the the reinforcement pushing it tighter against the frame rails.

The rear bumper reinforcement is not strong for pulling at all. It is only held to the rear body panel by four bolts that are only spot welded to the rear panel. The bumper reinforcement is really only designed for an impact, in which case it get pushed tighter to the frame rails.

Towing an 800lbs load is probably excessive. I’m not saying it won’t do it, but it’s probably unsafe.

We own a tow truck at our shop. I’ve towed a number of Insights. One problem I’ve encountered is the Insights park break doesn’t hold very well on the slope of the tow truck bed. I can’t imagine putting 800lbs of load pulling backwards toward a body of water. If you were able to not launch the car, once you were loaded back up with 800lbs on a slope the car might have a very difficult time climbing back up the slope, wet or not.
 

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Here are a few pictures of the hitch.
 

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Here are some bike rack pictures. I use a Swagman XC2. I flip the bar that goes in to the receiver. It requires I drill one hole. It then is kind of like a drop hitch.

Also, I don’t know if my hitch design will work if the car has the CD player in the left rear corner.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Looks like I might end up with an SRT10 Ram sometime then. I've kinda always wanted one and it would be kinda different having two vehicles at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Interesting note about them is that in the real world driven decently the 04s which are geared a little taller actually get comparable freeway mileage to a regular truck of that era while having a massive 505 cubic inch engine vs ours that's less than 100.
 

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Looks like I might end up with an SRT10 Ram sometime then. I've kinda always wanted one and it would be kinda different having two vehicles at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Interesting note about them is that in the real world driven decently the 04s which are geared a little taller actually get comparable freeway mileage to a regular truck of that era while having a massive 505 cubic inch engine vs ours that's less than 100.
I find it useful to have vehicles with different capabilities, but really I think the best choice for Jetski towing and launching would be something like the new hybrid RAV4. 1750 pounds towing, AWD, 41mpg. I really don’t get America’s obsession with pickup trucks.
 

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Looking closely at Scott’s photos I can see that it is really an ingenious design and undoubtedly about as strong as is possible. Maybe 800 pounds is feasible but it’s got to be right at the limit.

Old school trailer rule of thumb is that unbraked trailer should not exceed 40% of the tow vehicle weight. So 800 pounds is right there.

There’s more to it, however, such as sway and vehicle dynamics. You would need minumum 80 pounds tongue weight (10%) which probably calls for upgraded rear springs or helper air bags to avoid frequent bottoming. And moderate speeds for towing, no 75mph interstates.

I have a sailboat boat which I launch only seasonally (not with the Insight). To get the boat deep enough on the shallow ramp I use a tow strap as an extension and that keeps the car dry. Requires two people, one to hand guide the trailer and one to drive. Also requires a trailer tongue jack with wheel, which not all light trailers have. However if launching and retrieving is infrequent it could be an option which would keep the vehicle up higher and away from the slime.
 

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This is a classic "chewing gum in church" scenario: you can chew gum in church but it's not a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I find it useful to have vehicles with different capabilities, but really I think the best choice for Jetski towing and launching would be something like the new hybrid RAV4. 1750 pounds towing, AWD, 41mpg. I really don’t get America’s obsession with pickup trucks.
Brand new vehicle that will depreciate massively over the next five years or collectors item whose price has probably bottomed and will either not depreciate if taken care of and low miles put on it or actually go up, hmm. The Rav4 in a package I would actually like would probably lose about 20000 over the next five years. The SRT10 costs less than that total and is likely to go up 5000.
 

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Brand new vehicle that will depreciate massively over the next five years or collectors item whose price has probably bottomed and will either not depreciate if taken care of and low miles put on it or actually go up, hmm. The Rav4 in a package I would actually like would probably lose about 20000 over the next five years. The SRT10 costs less than that total and is likely to go up 5000.
I agree with you if you only drive the SRT10 on special occasions. If you daily drive it the RAV4 makes much more financial sense. Depreciation isn’t the biggest financial factor in that case. I’ve done the spreadsheets, which is why my fiancé who drives 16,000 miles a year drives a Chevy Volt which depreciates like mad but has low operating costs and high reliability, luxury, and convenience, I drive a 2001 Insight about 5,000 per which has very low depreciation and operating costs but higher maintenance and lower convenience. We both also drive a 1977 VW Bus which is a fun hobby and occasionally useful (it’s first and foremost a van), and goes up in value, but can’t realistically be daily driven in New England. We average 3,000 miles per year. If the SRT is used like our VW then it makes sense. But it’s a 15 year domestic truck which gets 12mpg.... it won’t be cheap to run nor particularly dependable, and after figuring in cost of ownership it’s not really an investment.

Most people don’t have the luxury of walking out to their garage and picking which car they feel like driving that day, which is why I suggested the RAV4 as a “do everything” that could meet your requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It will probably be driven very little. It will be used to launch boats or special occasions mainly other than being driven once a week to keep the seals and everything lubed up. We both drive cars so I see it more as a backup vehicle or utility. Probably put a bed rug in it to keep the inside of the bed in factory condition.
 

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It will probably be driven very little. It will be used to launch boats or special occasions mainly other than being driven once a week to keep the seals and everything lubed up. We both drive cars so I see it more as a backup vehicle or utility. Probably put a bed rug in it to keep the inside of the bed in factory condition.
I like you. We both live in Wisconsin. I have a dakota, but I'm thinking about getting a Dakota RT. Same reason. I barely drive it. SRT Rams are cool, but too big for my taste. Dakota are just the right size. I've been looking for a year or so, haven't found the right one.

Lately, I've been thinking about picking up a rusty one for $700 or so, just for the 5.9L V8, trans, and rear and with LSD, and swapping it into my first gen dakota. Grandpa sleeper truck would be hilarious.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That would be pretty cool. I'm actually in Arizona now feeling it out and probably moving permanently. I wouldn't get the SRT10 until I had a garage though.
 
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