Max trailer weight - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-10-2007, 07:02 PM   #1
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I believe the max towable weight for our new P/T Cruiser is 1000lbs. How 'chancie' is it going to be towing a 13ft. Trillium?
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:11 PM   #2
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Hi Doug, we've got the PT convert. These seem to have enough power, I think the bigger issue with towing with these is the strength of the hitch mounting points.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Trill came in at 1500lbs loaded and close to 200 lbs on the tongue.

We did tow a Trillium with the Dodge Spirit (95hp) for a few years and just got by. If you've got elec brakes on the trailer, the stopping should be OK.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:58 PM   #3
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I weighted in at 1710 lbs this summer with my 13ft Trill. I was fully loaded with water and all our junk.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:58 PM   #4
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I weighed our '76 Trilllium...dead empty, and with the bunk removed it was 1200lbs, packed and ready for camping, about 1400lb (bunk back in).
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:06 AM   #5
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Hi Doug,

My TV is a also a PT Cruiser (auto, standard engine, no turbo). I purchased the Hidden Hitch 1 1/4" square Class I receiver for the car From JCWhitney (Link to the installation manual: )http://www.hiddenhitch.com/fitguides/pdf/N60818.pdf). You would have to have a 1 7/8" hitch on your Trillium to use this. The most I ever towed was about 1500lbs. I rarely pack this much but it was a mid-summer 7 day camp with a temporary A/C, 3 foot tall dorm type refrigerator and all the food. Try to keep the tongue weight near 100lbs. I shifted weight to the rear to do this (and never hauled any water in the fresh tank.) My trailer does not have brakes, but I have never yet towed in the mountains. The PT has 4 wheel disc brakes which helps. I had no overheating issues on the hills south of here near Kentucky and kept the speed 55mph. Downshifting on the declines helps quite a bit to keep speed steady.

We've learned that we always have taken MUCH more stuff (including food) than we ever used and take pride in packing a great deal lighter now than ever before. I also make the trip slow and keep aware of traffic around me. Just getting to the destination in this manner is quite enjoyable, too.

Good luck,
Terry
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
I purchased the Hidden Hitch 1 1/4" square Class I receiver for the car From JCWhitney (Link to the installation manual: http://www.hiddenhitch.com/fitguides/pdf/N60818.pdf). You would have to have a 1 7/8" hitch on your Trillium to use this.
Terry, the final ")" got caught up in your link, so it wouldn't work. I've corrected it in the quote above.

I don't see any need for a restriction to use only a 1-7/8" ball (and thus a 1-7/8" coupler on the trailer). The 1-1/4" receiver can take almost any brand or style of 1-1/4" ball mount (a.k.a. drawbar), and while those generally have only a 3/4" diameter hole for the ball, both 1-7/8" and 2" balls are available with the 3/4" (as well as 1") stud size. The 3593 drawbar kit suggested by the receiver instructions has a 3/4" hole; other drawbars can be used, and indeed a different one with a different rise may be needed to provide the correct ball height for the trailer.

Of course, the higher-capacity 2" ball does not allow the PT Cruiser to tow any more... even the most minimal Class 1 hitch hardware exceeds the car's rated capacity. I only mention the 2" ball option in case the trailer has this size of coupler; regardless of coupler size, the trailer still needs to be within the car's load capacity.
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:27 PM   #7
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Regardless of the car's rating for total trailer weight, a Trillium (at around 1000 lb minimum) is heavy enough that I would not tow it behind a car the size of a PT Cruiser without trailer brakes... too risky for me. The issue is not the size of the PT Cruiser's brakes, but rather the traction available to the car's tires, compared to the total mass of car and trailer to be stopped.
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Old 11-11-2007, 04:39 PM   #8
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Thanks Brian , that was the opinion I was looking for ....just some conformation was what I needed. I won't even consider the Cruiser as a tow for the Trillium.
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:27 PM   #9
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Terry, the final ")" got caught up in your link, so it wouldn't work. I've corrected it in the quote above.
Thanks Brian
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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... The issue is not the size of the PT Cruiser's brakes, but rather the traction available to the car's tires, compared to the total mass of car and trailer to be stopped.
Brian, it is less a question of tire traction (which is reduced significantly under adverse weather conditions) as it is 'total swept area' of the brake system. The reason disk brakes are more efficient than drum brakes is the area of the pad's surface sweeping the area of both sides of the disks.

Other pluss' to disk brakes is they run cooler. the brake pad material is thicker, and they do not fad under heavy braking conditions.

The GCWR of your TV is based on its braking capacity.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:02 PM   #11
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If the trailer weight is substantial, particularly relative to the tug's weight, the tug's braking ability is not sufficient for the combination. The GCWR of a tow vehicle is not based on the tow vehicle's own braking capacity.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ford 2008 RV & Trailer Towing Guide
Towing vehicle’s braking system is rated for operation at GVWR – NOT GCWR. Separate functional brake systems should be used for safe control of towed vehicles or trailers weighing more than 1,500 lbs. when loaded.
For those needing a reminder of the terminology...
GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: the maximum allowed weight of a vehicle and its contents
GCWR = Gross Combined Weight Rating: the maximum allowed weight of a vehicle, any attached trailer and their contents
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:49 PM   #12
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What Brian said.

And...the gross vehicle weight also includes hitch weight when towing. Not necessarily a trivial thing when operating a small vehicle packed up with stuff you can't carry in the trailer because it would exceed the max trailer numbers.


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Imagine scales under all these places. There's basically a rating for each of those weights.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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I changed brake pads in my Sienna yesterday, and took it out for the usual immediate test drive - I would not work on a brake system without being the first to trust my life to that work.

I did some hard stops from highway speeds - without a trailer - and confirmed that the tire traction is the limiting factor in how short I can stop. Even on dry pavement, the ABS was taking some action, because the brakes can apply more force than the tires have traction. Add a trailer without brakes, requiring more stopping force but adding no traction, and the emergency stop to avoid hitting an animal or other vehicle could easily become a collision.

Fading of braking performance (stops get longer as the brakes heat up) is also an issue... but there's an issue with performance regardless of resistance to fading.

The reduction in braking performance which results from adding (in the case of a brakeless Trillium behind a PT Cruiser) 40% or more to the mass of the vehicle without an increase traction is not acceptable to me. Within legal limits, this is a choice which every trailer operator needs to make individually.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:38 PM   #14
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Six braked wheels on the ground have to be better than only four of them....
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