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Old 05-18-2016, 06:56 AM   #1
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New to me - 2003 Saturn Vue

We had to replace our 2001 Civic toad last year, so we were towing our Camry with a dolly. However, the ease of towing four down vs dolly towing had spoiled us, so we looked around for something we could tow four down. After a couple months, we came across a showroom condition 2003 Saturn Vue that needed some TLC.

This Vue started its life as an automatic tranny that got converted to a manual tranny. Whoever did the work did a fantastic job, but they couldn't get it running, so it sat in their driveway for 6 years. I found and repaired some wiring issues (differences between the auto and manual tranny) and a couple other problems, and now we have an absolutely immaculate, like new Vue.

Mods for Towing - I disabled the steering column lock so there's no need to have the key in the ignition while towing. I installed a Demco baseplate and we found a Blue Ox collapsible tow bar that makes hookup a little bit easier. (Our Civic used a solid, non-collapsible, "A" tow bar.)

We made a short trip last week with the Vue hooked up, it towed just like the Civic, its light (3,000 lbs), and the hookup is easier and faster than the Civic. Also, no need to run the engine every few hundred miles (Civic had an automatic transmission and engine needed to be run every few hundred miles to lube the tranny)

The only significant difference I seen was how the Vue and Civic behave when backing up.

I was in a large truck stop parking lot and wanted to see how the Vue handled while backing. A 100 ft straight back was no problem (i.e. backing straight back into a parking spot). Turning - on my Civic, I could turn while backing and the front wheels would follow the turn and not caster to the end stops, not so much with the Vue.

I could do minor turns (more like corrections while backing straight), However when I tried to do a backing turn with the Vue, the front wheels immediately castered to the end stop. Not a big deal, if I need to do any sharp turns while backing I'll need to either unhook or get the wife to steer the Vue.

Overall, I think we're going to like the Vue. It drives good, has plenty of room, is easy to hookup and detach.
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2001 Coachmen Mirada (Ford F53 6.8L V10) - Toad 2003 Saturn Vue.
It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 05-18-2016, 12:46 PM   #2
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You can damage your tow bar by backing up, their was only one tow bar made that was ok to back with and it was made by M&G yrs ago. Go to Blue Ox web site and read the warnings about not backing up with tow bars.

Walt & Will
2000 Dynasty
2013 F150 XLT Crew C 4X4
2015 Kia Soul 6 speed manual
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Old 05-18-2016, 01:35 PM   #3
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Walt, Correct - The quote from the Blue Ox site:

"NEVER back up while tow bar is attached."

With that said, back up at your own risk and keep in mind its against the manufactures recommendations...
2001 Coachmen Mirada (Ford F53 6.8L V10) - Toad 2003 Saturn Vue.
It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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