recently I asked a question about towing a small teardrop trailer ( 1,100 lbs. ) with my cavalier with 2.2 4 cyl. engine. Pretty much everyone thought it was crazy. what about dropping in a larger engine also with a trans fluid cooler? Standard shocks should be o.k. because tongue weight is under 120lbs. Is there anything else on car needs to be beefed up to handle this load?
Brakes! You’re going to ask the brakes to slow an extra half ton, not to mention the weight you put INSIDE the trailer.
You need a larger, heavier, vehicle if you want to tow an 1,100 pound trailer.
It will cost more to upgrade your Cavalier than it would cost to buy a more suitable vehicle.
Towing capacity is about more than just engine strength. It is also about frame strength and rigidity, brakes, overall vehicle weight, etc.
By the time you drop an engine in, have the frame strengthened, upgrade the suspension and brakes, etc., you would have been better off just buying a vehicle that is designed to tow.
This trailer might weigh 1,100 pounds, but you need to have enough towing capacity to exceed its GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), which is usually more than its actual weight. Those teardrop trailer manufacturers recommend at least 2,000 pounds of towing capacity. Your Cavalier will never have that much towing capacity. You would be better off with an old police cruiser.
This is like reinventing the wheel.
By the time that you get finished with engine, ECM, transmission, brake, tire, and suspension upgrades, you will have spent…maybe $3,000 (or possibly more), and you would still have a car that is at least 7 years old. The book value of the car might actually not be much more than $3,000., making me wonder why someone would “invest” that much money in the car.
To top that off, you would have a car that might actually be less attractive to buyers when it comes time to get rid of it. Some buyers would be skeptical of this much aftermarket “tinkering”, and that skepticism might be well grounded, depending on how competently the alterations were done.
As has been said, you need to buy a vehicle that was designed for this purpose from the beginning.
As others have pointed out, there are real safety concerns here. Vehicle stability, brakes, and the ability of the Cav’s undercarriage to stand up to the sdditional stresses.
And then there’s the “tail wagging the dog” syndrome. Crosswinds would make the ride worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
The obvious…it’s a small front drive car NEVER designed for towing much to begin with. Any “beef” up is negated by the added weight over the front drive which further increases vehicle instability. The car is too light and it’s the tail wagging the dog. Get a small compact PU truck…a cheap Ford Ranger if you’re used to a Cavalier will do for extended and safer towing. “Everyone” is right.