Need Help Finding SUV to Pull My Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-29-2007, 03:19 PM   #1
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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.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:30 PM   #2
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I bought a brand new Nissian Xterra (with tow package) to pull my 1990 Scamp Deluxe that has a bath/shower combo. It can tow up to 5500.

I sold my low mileage, much beloved, Honda CRV -- due to it's tow capacity being only 1500 and no tow package.

Be sure to check the tow capacity of the vehicle you have and the one you want to purchase -- some SUV's couldn't tow your Casita.

It would cost some $ to put a hitch and break controller on your van, and with such high mileage on the van, I'd consider getting something much lower mileage that already had a tow package installed. But then that's me, as long as the van's tow capacity is okay with what you want to pull, you should be able to pull it!

As far as buying a used SUV, in general I would think the lower the mileage, the better/less repairs for you. And if it had a factory installed tow package, all the better.

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Old 10-29-2007, 03:33 PM   #3
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Karalyn, you can't possibly pull your Casita 16 safely with anything but this! And don't listen to anything anyone else tells you!


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HORSEFEATHERS!

Check the owner's manual on your Villager. It will tell you what the tow capacity really is, and if it's around 3500 lbs, which would not be unusual with the proper equipment, you're Villager will work fine for towing your 16...

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Old 10-29-2007, 08:07 PM   #4
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Roger's right! I strongly suspect that the salesdroid wants to sell you a new buggy, and the sad thing is that the new one may be less suitable to tow than the old one was. The after-market hitch for your van may have been made by the same company as the Ford one, or it might even be better.

Look in your owner's manual for the tow capacity for YOUR van (engine, transmission, rear end ratio, etc.). Keep coming back here and asking questions. Some of us may have strong opinions that we espouse, but none of us is going to try to make a commission from you!!

Ford Owner Manual Free Download

Unfortunately, the site only goes back to 1996, however, that year the stock Villager could tow up to 2,000 lbs and if it had the tow package it could tow up to 3,500 lbs.

You may want to call Ford with your VIN and ask if it had the tow package. It would help if you took a digital photo of the label on the driver door edge or that door jamb when you speak to Ford as that contains a lot of information.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:11 PM   #5
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As for after market hitches, when you buy a new car chances are they take it over and have an after market hitch put on.
I think that factory hitches are few and far between.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:26 PM   #6
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They are telling me with the factory tow package, the hitch is on a better frame, and there is a tranny cooler, etc. installed at the factory.
Well, my Mercury Villager will tow up to 3500 lb, and I have installed the tranny cooler. I also have the progedy electric brakes added to my Villager.
The dealers told me that my Mercury will be overly loaded in back thus lifting up the front of the van because of the added wt on the trailer hitch. One dealer told me an after market hitch could even brake loose from the frame..
What do you mean by rear end ratio?
Hey Roger, where do I find this one and only van to pull my Casita? Those running boards are big enough that even I can climb up to reach the cab :-)
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
[b] The dealers told me that my Mercury will be overly loaded in back thus lifting up the front of the van because of the added wt on the trailer hitch. One dealer told me an after market hitch could even brake loose from the frame..
What do you mean by rear end ratio?
Hey Roger, where do I find this one and only van to pull my Casita? Those running boards are big enough that even I can climb up to reach the cab :-)
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.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
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.
Hi: If you don't know your cars...know your Mechanic!!! If you find one you can trust ...Hang on to him/her
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
They are telling me with the factory tow package, the hitch is on a better frame, and there is a tranny cooler, etc. installed at the factory.
Well, my Mercury Villager will tow up to 3500 lb, and I have installed the tranny cooler. I also have the progedy electric brakes added to my Villager.
[b] The dealers told me that my Mercury will be overly loaded in back thus lifting up the front of the van because of the added wt on the trailer hitch. One dealer told me an after market hitch could even brake loose from the frame..
What do you mean by rear end ratio?
Hey Roger, where do I find this one and only van to pull my Casita? Those running boards are big enough that even I can climb up to reach the cab :-)
If your Villager has a 3500 lb towing package, then the hitch weight should accommodate about 350 lbs, well over what your Casita 16 should have. You may notice some rear-end sag with the Casita on your Villager, but it shouldn't be a huge issue for you. Your Villager should be a competent tow vehicle for your Casita.

The rear end ratio doesn't really apply (as such) to your Villager since it's front wheel drive; but a rear end ratio is the final drive ratio.

And if you click the link in my post that has the photo, it'll take you to the website. The truck averages around $225k. I'm sure you can buy two...

Roger
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:42 PM   #10
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Trailer: 1999 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe ('Inn EggsIsle')
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I'm thinking that that Villager only has the Mercury name on it and was in fact made by Nissan, if thats true I would stick with what you have, I have a friend who has a Nissan Van and that suckers got 350,000 miles on it and still going very strong
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:02 PM   #11
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Yes, the Villager is a re-badged Nissan Quest, of the generation previous to the current Quest.

The weight on the hitch of a trailer attached to any vehicle transfers load from the front axle to the rear, and risks overloading the rear axle. The longer the wheelbase, and the shorter the rear overhang, the less this is a problem. Modern minivans tend to have a long wheelbase (compared to similarly sized SUVs) and reasonably short overhang, so they handle this well. My minivan (for instance) has a higher rear axle capacity than some small pickup trucks (such as a Ranger), so it isn't necessarily a problem.

If the hitch tears out - of any vehicle - it was obviously defective or used beyond its rated capacity, aftermarket or not. The genuine Toyota hitch receiver on my Sienna was made by Reese, installed by the dealer, mounts the same way as all of the aftermarket hitch receivers for the same van. Factory-installed hitches are now common on pickup trucks and some types of SUV, but not other types of vehicle.

Yes, the "rear end ratio" is the ratio of the final stage of gearing in the system, located at the differential, so that's buried in the transaxle in the front of a Villager/Quest. It's one factor in the overall gearing, so it affects how heavy a load the engine and transmission can handle; in trucks this matters because you can pick your final drive ratio, but in most vehicles (including almost every passenger car and front-wheel-drive vehicle) there's no choice offered... so there's nothing to worry about!
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:24 PM   #12
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Use caution when making statements such as:

"If your Villager has a 3500 lb towing package, then the hitch weight should accommodate about 350 lbs..."

and

"well over what your Casita 16 should have..."

How much your vehicle can tow has nothing to do with how much hitch weight it wiil accomodate. Tow rating has to do with engine power/gearing/brakes. The hitch rating has to do with how the hitch is attached to your TV and how it is designed to transfer the hitch weight to the frame/uni-body of the TV. You should look for a label on your hitch stating its rating with and without a WDH.

You Casita 16 may have a 'Casita Sales Brochure' hitch weight stated. This is the dry hitch weight, meaning without propane, water (potable/grey/black), no food, and no clothing. The true hitch weight will be much heavier than that. Consider my 17' SD. A 350 lb. weight in the brochure for the 1999 model. The brochure even state a Class II hitch required and Class III recommended. At present, when we are loaded for travel it is just under 500 lbs. That is the reason I use a WDH.

After you pickup your Casita and load it for travel, you should have both TV, RV, and Combined TV/RV weighed.

I haven't seen a front wheel drive van with a hitch loaded that didn't need both air bags and a WDH, just to return the headlights back to a point where that don't blind on coming traffic or vehicles they are following.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:17 PM   #13
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The idea that a vehicle with a 3500 lb trailer capacity will likely have a tongue weight capacity (with a proper hitch receiver) of about 350 lb seems right to me, for North American applications. We're talking about a general expectation here, not a specific vehicle's rating... although that is exactly the combination of ratings (without a weight-distributing hitch) for my Toyota.

Of course, the specific towing combination needs to be considered; not every trailer with a 350 lb hitch weight will be towable, depending on other factors such as the weight and distribution of cargo carried in the van.

My Sienna tows a 3000 lb trailer using air bags but no WDH, and the van's pitch attitude is fine, causing no problems with headlight aim.

I noticed that Karalyn proposes to tow a Casita 16', which typically has substantially less hitch weight than the abnormally nose-heavy Casita 17'. I think this is fortunate, considering the potential combination with a Villager. I agree that actual as-loaded hitch weight is the important value (not the claimed dry factory hitch weight), but I don't see any reason for it to be excessive. My heavier 17' Boler runs about 300 lb hitch weight, loaded.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:25 PM   #14
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According to the 1996 Villager owners manual, there is no specific hitch weight limit, but hitch weight should be 10% to 15% of trailer weight, and use of a weight-distributing hitch is advised for trailers over 2000 lb... which I interpret to mean hitch weights over 200 lb to 300 lb. Personally, I would have no concern - as far as the hitch and mounting are concerned - with use of a load-carrying (not weight-distributing) hitch configuration with up to 250 lb tongue weight. I would carefully check the front and rear axle loads.

I believe this manual confirms that a properly equipped Villager (at least the 1996 model) would be within limits with a properly loaded Casita 16'... provided the cargo and passenger load in the van was also properly limited.
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