Towing capacity

I’ve noticed that the game now measures towing capacity; however, I’ve also noticed that changes in top speed and therefore the final drive ratio don’t have any impact on a vehicle’s towing capacity. How easy would it be to change this so final drive changes do change towing capacity, and would this be a practical thing to do in terms of other aspects of the game? Thanks!


Indeed that is something I’ve planned to do, it is on my list of things to look into. :slight_smile: Good thinking on your part, in case you didn’t notice: hypercars are REALLY good at towing, and the only thing that makes them bad at it IRL is that their gearing is … suboptimal :stuck_out_tongue:


So I’ve noticed for a while that towing is a bit…off. I thought for the heck of it, I would build my own truck here in Automation and see what it gives me.

It’s a 1998 GMC K3500 4x4 Dually with the Vortec 7400, which made 290hp at 4000 RPM and 410 ft/lb of torque at 3200 RPM

I copied the bore and stroke, and fiddled with everything else until I came as close as I could to matching the power curve of my real life truck engine.

From there I went on and chose a truck body similar to mine, an extra cab, gave it 4x4 and all the same features, including the 4spd automatic transmission. I spaced the gears and the final drive to something that seemed plausibly stock, with an approximate top speed of 100mph in OD, this still might actually be short, considering at 60mph, my truck revs 2300 RPM in overdrive, and 3000 RPM in 3rd. It’ll go about 50 MPH in 2nd gear, which is something I find myself doing often while towing uphill. I can’t be all that certain though about the gearing since the graph shows power instead of RPM, so it’s really tough to judge.

The truck’s weight came out about right, mine is a bit heavier than the 5100 lbs the game lists it’s truck as, but mine is a dually after all…and a long bed.

At first I thought the payload capacity was too high at 4,500 or so lbs, as my truck really squats with just 3000 lbs in the back, I can’t really imagine piling on another 1500 on top of that, but the factory rating for my truck is actually 4,222lbs, so Automation gets this pretty close, even when considering my dually should have a higher payload than a SRW truck. Perhaps payload could be nerfed a bit, but it’s close enough for a game.

Now…onto towing. This is where the game is far off. My truck is factory rated to tow 10,000 lbs, but this is limited by the Class 4 hitch and is underrated. I have towed up to 14,000 lbs with the truck, up hills and everything, but that is really it’s upper limit. It seems to really be perfectly capable at about 12,000 lbs, which should probably be it’s proper tow rating. And keep in mind, this truck is old and a bit tired, so it might well have been better when new.

But the automation truck tows…
1,266 lbs.

Everything else is not too bad. Skidpad seems about right with the stock 235/75 R16 tires and steel wheels. 0-62 is probably close, it does get up and move when it’s unloaded. Braking distance is probably also not too far off, I didn’t really tweak the brakes as it wasn’t really what I was after.

But anyway…

As to what makes a vehicle good for towing…

Generally speaking, proportional vehicle weight is probably the most important primary factory, as the vehicle doing the towing can’t bee several order of magnitude lighter than what is being towed, so a supercar would positively suck at towing for a multitude of reasons, the primary reason being a heavy trailer would end up driving the light weight car…right off the road.

Brakes are actually not that important, heavier trailers all have trailer brakes, and as someone who tows knows, a truck with a trailer and properly functioning trailer brakes actually stops with more confidence than an unloaded truck. I think every trailer over 1000, or maybe 2000 lbs is required to have trailer brakes, and a 2000 lbs trailer is really not much trailer at all.

If you have a big motor, as I do in my truck, gearing also is of less importance. Just 4 gears, really only 3 usable for towing as the 4th is overdrive and only used once fully up to speed on flat ground. I mean, it’s not like I have high fuel economy highway gears, but I’m also not a Mercedes Unimog either. Gearing for towing is really more important for that latter application, when you want to tow heavier loads with a small engine, you can sacrifice top speed and fuel economy by gearing down the vehicle and allowing it to tow that way. From what I understand this is more common in Europe, not at all common in the US.

But that being said, more gears is better for sure, and a truck with more ratios should have a higher tow rating. After all, this is how big rigs do it…albeit on a much grander scale.

*My 1998 GMC at home after towing a 3000lbs trailer, a 9000lbs forklift and a 2 post auto lift which is about 2500 lbs. All told, 14,500lbs or so up hill…both ways :stuck_out_tongue:


Two things:

  1. Agree with this whole entry, and yes, those tow numbers are obnoxiously low.
  2. I also had a 454 Silverado (Mine was a 1991 though)! Ended up blowing the transmission on mine, but I kept the motor. Hope to drop a blower on it some day, stuff it in a tube frame and crash in the most entertaining way ever.

I was actually considering reopening this thread because I built (well, minmaxed) a truck on an older release of the game that, when the update changed how towing capacity worked, had its towing capacity reduced from 11000 pounds to about 8600. Its engine had over 700 pound-feet of torque and it had something like a 6.15:1 final drive ratio (way shorter than the shortest final drive ratio that at least Ford offers, which is 4.88:1). I believe the truck should be capable of towing far more than that. Is there a suitable way to implement higher towing capacities without breaking too many other things (for example, the possible inclusion of a “Heavy Duty Ladder Chassis” that buffs payload and towing at the expense of additional weight)?

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This is why I’ve added a large capacity transmission pan and a trans temp gauge. If I’m climbing a hill and see the temps creeping up past the comfort zone, I can just pull off and idle for 5 minutes and let it cool down before I cook the friction components. So far though, the larger pan in conjunction with the already existing aux cooler, keeps the transmission in the comfort zone.

I think the game is feature locked from the builder standpoint. They’ll add engines and bodies, but I don’t think they’re going to mess with anything else at the expense of finishing the lite campaign.

The quality slider for the frame and body does basically that

I built this Pickup with an engine that produces over 800 ft-lbs of torque and it says my towing capacity is 0, while the load capacity says 4101.3. MY Power to weight ratio is very good at a .202 as well, yet no towing capacity.

I don’t know if this is just a bug of something is missing from my pickup.

check the gearing on your truck, judging from the 176mph top speed. Gearing is critical for towing.
check your brakes and suspension as well. you might need to configure those to a more tow oriented setup

I’ve identified one problem with this, and that’s the fact that load capacity is subtracted from what towing capacity is supposed to be. It’ll get fixed eventually.