4 cylinder auto - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-09-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
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Name: Carolyn
Trailer: Scamp 13
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Question 4 cylinder auto

Still trying to figure out.... I am going to replace Forester with Outback which has higher towing weight rating. But it is still the same engine. So it can take the weight (I plan for a 13 ft. Scamp) but is it enough power or would it be no better on hills? I don't plan on going over mountain passes but I live in western Washington so can't avoid doing some hills... even getting to my house. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:58 AM   #2
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Unfortunately, we often don't know the reasoning behind towing ratings, especially when there are similar or identical parts in two vehicles with different ratings. But some of the considerations, besides engine size, used to determine towing limits MAY be:


Brakes: ya gotta be able to stop that train
Suspension: Higher towing limits = higher tongue weights
Drive line: From transmissions to differentials to driveshafts and constant velocity joints, pulling a heavier weight, especially up hills, will put more stress on components
Frame strength and hitch attachment provisions
Handling Characteristics: AKA "The tail wagging the Dog"


And I am sure that there are several more, (except for the oft mentioned "Conspiracy Theories"), considerations mfgs. use to determine towing limits.


FWIW: I have driven from Chelan to the dark side (LOL) and back many times, and I don't think that you will encounter any grades that will require more than downshifting and slowing down to 45 MPH on occasion. We towed both a 13' Scamp and a 13' Lil Bigfoot with a Honda CRV/automatic all over the western states and prudent driving proved to be the only precaution needed.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:20 AM   #3
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Carolyn,

We also towed allover Washington state towing 2 different 16 foot trailers with a Honda CRV, 4 cylinder manual transmission without any issues.

Our son lives in Washington and has a Scamp 13 towing with a 4 cylinder automatic, 2005 Honda Accord. Again no issues. He has added a transmission cooler to his Accord. His Scamp 13 is a 1977 Samp 13 and does not have brakes, personally all Scamps should have traielr brakes, at least in my mind.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you! what quick responses from this group!
So the vehicles you are both talking about are 4 cylinder? Yes and I guess you are supposed to go 45 MPH anyway!
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:35 AM   #5
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You can move a freight train with an eggbeater motor if it is geared right.
Chassis is what matters most.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:18 AM   #6
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Name: Darral
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I pull with a Nissan Frontier 4 cyl. I personally would not pull anything larger than my 1800lb 13' Scamp. If you enjoy hearing a motor "labor" up the hills in Tenn. then it probably wouldnt matter. It does to me. FWIW, mine is also a manual shift. I personally would not drive this truck and pull my trailer if it was an automatic.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Carolyn N. View Post
Thanks to both of you! what quick responses from this group!
So the vehicles you are both talking about are 4 cylinder? Yes and I guess you are supposed to go 45 MPH anyway!
You can go as fast as you are comfortable. 45 mph will only frustrate drivers behind you and you won't like it either.

The owner's manual will tell you how much your car can pull.

Most engines can have different power levels depending on fuel amounts injected, and speeds. And, as Floyd points out, the total reduction ratios of the transmission and differential.
Your task will be to learn how to downshift on up or down grades. i.e. to keep it out of overdrive.
Some transmissions do not retard speed going downhill when in overdrive. But in the lower gears you get engine braking. Saves your wheel brakes from overheating.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:50 AM   #8
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Even though I believe that the maximum towing speed in WA is 65MPH, I still tow at 55MPH or less, and stay in the right lane and/or pull over as required.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:15 AM   #9
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Most people find somewhere between 55-65 to be a maximum safe towing speed under ideal conditions (flat, straight, uncongested, dry, no wind, good visibility). Some states have lower speed limits for trucks and trailers, often 55mph. Even a 4-cylinder should have no trouble maintaining 55-60 mph under ideal conditions, assuming you're within the rated capacity of the vehicle. And, of course, slow down when conditions are less than ideal.

Arizona allows everyone to go 75mph on rural interstates. I plug along at 62mph when towing. Even the semis are usually going less than 70mph. Fuel is expensive, I guess.

As to hills, it is not necessary to be able to blast up them like a sports car, and with a 4-cylinder tow vehicle, you probably won't want to try. My rule of thumb is to think like a truck. If the semis are going 45mph up a grade, then blend in with them. Try not to interfere with passenger vehicles in the passing lane. If the trucks are passing you, that's a good sign you are underpowered or overloaded. And if you're on a two lane and cars are piling up behind you, pull off when it is safe to do so. Be courteous and share the road.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:43 AM   #10
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All great advice. We have a basic 13' Scamp with brakes purchased new in 2011. We tow it with a 2008 Subaru Legacy manual shift sedan outfitted with an after market tow package installed by U-Haul and have had no problems towing in BC, Washington, Oregon, California (our home), Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah (so far). We are thinking our next TV will be a Subaru Outback or Forester as they have more storage and the hitch sits higher off the ground than the Legacy. So, I'm very interested in your thread.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolyn N. View Post
Still trying to figure out.... I am going to replace Forester with Outback which has higher towing weight rating. But it is still the same engine. So it can take the weight (I plan for a 13 ft. Scamp) but is it enough power or would it be no better on hills? I don't plan on going over mountain passes but I live in western Washington so can't avoid doing some hills... even getting to my house. Any thoughts?
As someone who in the past towed with the Outback its biggest issue is its low tongue weight of 200lbs but a 13' trailer would work well with it.

Although the Forster and the Outback have the same engine the torque is different which results in the Outback having the advantage. I pulled a 16' through out western Washington over passes and did ok with it - it would do even better with the lighter 13'
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:42 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone... I am on my way to trade the Forester for Outback... the dealer is being very nice to me letting me trade with minimal loss.... this way I don't have to worry about being close to the weight limit... probably still will do the Scamp 13
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:57 PM   #13
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I replaced a Forester with an Outback (same engine and transmission in both) a few years ago. The Outback was a slug compared to the Forester. It's probably powerful enough for your small trailer but you might want to drive both back-to-back to feel the difference.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Marv View Post
I replaced a Forester with an Outback (same engine and transmission in both) a few years ago. The Outback was a slug compared to the Forester. It's probably powerful enough for your small trailer but you might want to drive both back-to-back to feel the difference.
Same year, too? That can make a difference… Manufacturers often tinker with engine and transmission software from year to year. I suppose curb weight might be a factor, don't know how they compare...

In any case, the latest redesign of the Forester incorporated some pretty significant changes, including a dramatic decrease in its tow rating, so I would hesitate to base a decision now on the performance of earlier versions.
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