Need Help Finding SUV to Pull My Casita - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-30-2007, 08:54 PM   #15
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CD, were she trying to tow the Casita 17, I'd be much more concerned. The Casita 16 has specs similar to the Scamp 17 which, if properly equipped, most minivans should have no difficulty towing.

Generalized statements are exactly that, and if you noticed in my very first post, I recommended finding out the manufacturers ratings. Actual weights are always better, but this is still largely a game of approximations.

Thanks for catching it.

Roger
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:37 AM   #16
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If you were buying a used SUV to pull a 16 ft Casita with full bath, what type of SUV would u buy?
Is it better to buy something with about 30 to 40,000 miles on it, or make more sense to get something with about 80,000 to 100,000 miles for a lot less money.
I now have a mini van, Mercury Villager, year 1994 with 139,000 miles on it, and the used car lot sales people are telling me it is not safe to pull with those mini vans with after sale trailer hitches on. True or not true? I only take a couple of trips per year, yet I do want to be safe when traveling.
Would you buy 6 cylander or V-8?
Opinions please.
I bought my SUV with trailer towing in mind. I wanted a the most economical vehicle that would tow at least 2000 lbs. The problem is that most cars and small 4 cyl SUV's are only rated for 1500 lbs. Four wheel drive SUV's with large V6's or small V8's are rated at 5000 lbs and above. There is very little inbetween. My happy compromise was a Ford Escape, with a modest 3.0 litre V6 and two wheel drive. With a tow package its rated at 3500 lbs and still gets 26-28 mpg in daily use. (see my signature picture)
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:05 PM   #17
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If want to have a bit of fun with this, tell those dealers something like thanks for the information, I now have an excused to get away from Ford products.
If the Villager weren't a front wheel drive car, your comment might be funny, but the truth is as you add weight to the back, the front does get lighter and your steering beomes less agile! Not all car salespeople are idiots!
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Old 10-31-2007, 09:06 PM   #18
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Geoff,

While your statement about weight transfer is true, it only becomes an issue as it approaches the design limitations of the vehicle. That's why ensuring that the vehicle is rated to tow X amount of weight with X tongue weight is important. Naturally, the closer you get to those limits the more effect you'll have, but the vehicle is still designed to operate safely within those limits.

And while I would never class an entire occupation as "idiots", the vast majority of car salesmen, (particularly on used car lots where they don't have a brand affiliation) really don't know their product very well and it has been my experience that very, VERY few of them have much of a handle on towing issues.

Roger
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Old 10-31-2007, 09:23 PM   #19
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Hitches sold by reliable have to have a DOT sticker on them.
That hitch would be made to the same standards as the factory standards.
A DOT approved hitch is required to tow any trailer in Minnesota - So older vechiles may require new receiver hitches.

Front wheel drive is not the best for towing at the limit. Due to the inherient Understeer of front wheel drive.
If you have electric brakes on the trailer, this will help correct if the trailer brakes come on slightly befor the tow.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-01-2007, 03:05 PM   #20
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It's a good thing Roger provided his very reasonable response, because mine might be more blunt...

This front-drive towing issue really is a matter of degree. Sure, adding weight to the hitch transfers load from the tug's front axle to its rear, in any vehicle, and too much of that would be bad, but...

Scale readings for my Sienna (front-drive minivan) and Boler B1700RGH (17' trailer)
Van and driver alone: front: 1145 kg (2519 lb), rear: 885 kg (1947 lb) - 56:44 weight distribution
Van and Boler (unloaded): front: 1105 kg (2431 lb), rear: 1025 kg (2255 lb) - 52:48 weight distribution (still front heavy!)
* scale resolution is in 10 kg steps, and repeatability is a least +/- 10 kg, so all readings have significant uncertainty

With a loaded trailer, the shift is greater, but I am loading the van at the same time (adding to both axles), so at most I reach a 50:50 distribution. The van has equal front and rear gross axle weight ratings. That's not ideal for front-wheel-drive, but it's not the disaster that some make it out to be. Where front to rear distribution is more of a problem (such as with a trailer having high tongue weight, or a shorter wheelbase tug) appropriate application of a weight-distributing hitch system is called for... regardless of which wheels are driven.

An interesting side note: rear-wheel-drive pickup trucks are usually quite front-heavy when empty, and when towing a modest trailer they may still be front-heavy - despite having higher rear axle capacity than front - so they're not so ideally suited, either.
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Old 11-01-2007, 05:40 PM   #21
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There are a lot of experienced technical folks weighing in here, with a lot of good info.

My contribution isn't so much technical as based on experience pulling my L'il Bigfoot with a 2002 Villager: It towed the trailer just fine fine. Hills, stopping, no sway, even coastal winds, no problems. Granted, the 13.5 Bigfoot is a little lighter than the 16' Casita, but.....

I did find that I needed more support in the back end than came stock with the van. I bottomed out more than once, fortunately without damage. I was planning to install airbags, but I bought a Tacoma instead. If you don't go with a bigger vehicle, I'd strongly recommend beefing up your suspension one way or another.

Call me cynical, but I suspect the car salesmen were far more worried about making a sale than about customer safety.

Good luck!
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Old 11-01-2007, 06:41 PM   #22
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I think Dave's observation is quite common: even while staying within all of the applicable limits for load, the rear springing may be softer than ideal for this type of use. This may be particularly true of relatively light-duty vehicles such as passenger vans and wagons (including SUVs), but it also applies to everything up to full-size pickup truck, and air bags or springs are a common solution for many types of vehicle. I think the key is to remember that they are to improve ride attitude and handling/control, and do not increase axle capacity.

I'm pleased with the effect of the air bags that I added in the rear springs of my Sienna.


Hey, Dave... the air bags would have been cheaper!
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Old 11-01-2007, 08:33 PM   #23
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Hey, Dave... the air bags would have been cheaper!
But not as much fun!
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:55 PM   #24
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wow, all the information, and it sounds like I am not as bad off as I thought. I have been looking to replace my mini van and honestly I am not finding any SUV out there with the amount of room my mini van has. I can take out the middle seats on the mini van, move the 3rd seat to the front and fold it up, and have tons of storage room then in back of the front seats to the rear of the mini van. As I look at SUV I have not found one yet that I can remove the rear seats in. I want to pile stuff on the floor of my TV and not on the seats.
I might just be stuck with a newer mini van to get the storage I thought I would get in a SUV.
I want the safest TV out there for towing, and I just am not finding one with room in the TV.

Thanks much for all the answers. I will keep this information as I go on my search.
Who do you think would be the most truthful in my search, a car dealer, an RV dealer or a trailer hitch place?
THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL THE HELP!
Karalyn
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:42 AM   #25
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As I look at SUV I have not found one yet that I can remove the rear seats in.
All General Motors SUVs have removable third row seats and fold down second row seats. This results in a storage capacity equal to or greater than the majority of mini vans.

Check out the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Denali, and the Cadilac Escalade. Some even get better towing milage than mini-vans.

I am sure the other major manufacturers have the same configurations.
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Old 11-03-2007, 08:11 AM   #26
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Who do you think would be the most truthful in my search, a car dealer, an RV dealer or a trailer hitch place?

Karalyn
Karalyn,

Where there's money involved, you need to do your own research and make your own decisions. A purveyor of goods will sell you either whatever you think you want, or if the decision is left to them, sell you the one that makes them the most profit while appearing to meet your needs.

That said, there are reputable dealers of all three, and they can be very helpful in finding the right combinations for you. You need to do your homework so you understand if what they're saying makes sense in the context of what you know. It is always very useful to have a disinterested third party on your side; whether that's a friend who tows or an independent mechanic who can help assess what the capabilities of a vehicle are.

And, you're not so bad off with your minivan. Frankly the body configuration isn't as big a deal as the frame and drivetrain for towing. If what's competent happens to be wrapped in a minivan, buy it. If it's wrapped in an SUV, and you like it, then it's ok. The big difference is typically that the minvans do tend to have more seating, easier rear seat access, lower loading sills, and more passenger amenities. SUVs tend to have features like 4WD and higher ground clearance for off-road. Your traveling habits and daily needs should influence what style you want, and then buy one with the tow capacity rating you want.

Roger
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Old 11-03-2007, 08:38 AM   #27
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Who do you think would be the most truthful in my search, a car dealer, an RV dealer or a trailer hitch place?

Karalyn
Karalyn.... If you had to pick one from the above i would go to a reputable trailer hitch place (like U-HAUL etc.) They will have the specs you need for the weight in their catalogs on your vehicle .....be sure to ask for gross trailer weight and trailer tongue weight for your vehicle with a class III hitch installed.... and go to about two or three of them to see if you get the same answer from each... And i would give serious consideration for air bags or a WDH if the weight specs come back close to trailer weight.
I have a 16'casita with bath and although i haven't weighed the tongue i feel it in the high two hundreds somewhere ....maybe 275lbs and gross about 2100 to 2500lbs(i travel light)
Joe
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:49 PM   #28
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The massive SUVs which CD listed would certainly work for the Casita. If a more modestly sized vehicle is the target, the rear seats are more likely to just fold, and I've found that vehicles called SUVs - especially those with folded seats - have nowhere near the interior room of typical "minivans", due to the SUVs higher floor (with the same roof height) and generally shorter wheelbase (and thus less interior length).

In the GM line, the new Lambda-platform "crossover" models (e.g. GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave) look desirable to me. I've looked at the specs and poked around them in the showroom, and compared to the minivans which they are replacing, they appear
  • to have not lost too much interior room, and
  • to have gained hauling capacity with some stronger components in the rear,
  • without being excessively heavy.

I still don't know of any reason not to use a Villager, if the weights and axle loads all check out. I second Roger's assessment. In addition, "SUV", "minivan", and now "crossover" are all just marketing labels for station wagons; the label chosen says more about style and marketing plans than actual vehicle characteristics.

As for information sources... unlike Joe, I would not use U-Haul. I have downloaded and read the user guides for their rental trailers and tow dollies: they are inconsistent and occasionally blatantly wrong. As a hitch shop, their motivation is to sell hardware, whether the resulting rig is safe or not. As a franchise, the staff at an individual dealer may or may not have any experience or competence; the ones I've talked to have neither in the towing area. It's not that U-Haul is especially bad... they're just not special.
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