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I own a Rancher es 4x4 and i pulled a log bigger than 18 inchs in diameter and before I pulled it all the way it snapped in half. I admit it was slightly rotted, but there was plenty of thick wood there. I was impressed !!
Yes, most quads can “tow” loads far in excess of their rated towing capacity. And yes, the towing limits for quads are indeed set by corporate lawyer’s product liability concerns.
But what no one else has touched on here, is that the towing limits, originally designed into the vehicle by the engineers, were not so much about towing, but about STOPPING.
It is one thing to tow loads that exceed the quads rated towing capacity by as much as a factor of five over level ground where there is a lot of room to maneuver. It is quite another to attempt to do that on hilly terrain where the quad is also called upon to provide the braking power for the load as well as the towing power.
Let us theoretically place Dave’s 14-foot utility trailer with 600 pounds of steel on it at the top of a grassy hill, and not even a steep one. Once Dave starts down the hill, he will be going all the way to the bottom whether he wants to or not. The 1800 pound load will quickly overwhelm both the Rancher’s brakes, and more importantly, the traction afforded by the Rancher’s tires. It is quite easy to envision the 600 pound Rancher with all four wheels locked being relentlessly pushed down the hill by the 1800 pound load.
Yes, you absolutely can tow loads well beyond any quads rated towing capacity. But once you have that load in motion bringing it SAFELY to a stop may be problematic. So please be careful when towing. It is not enough just to be able to move some big heavy object. You must be able to safely bring it to a stop as well. Plan your towing work accordingly.
I've towed my SeaDoo (~700lb) on a trailer (~200lb) up a fairly good grade (I can barely ride my mountain bike up it), and if I stop in the middle on the way up, all 4 wheels spin when trying to get going again. Coming down, I can testify that I wouldn't want any more weight than that pushing me down the hill.