Towing a 16' Scamp with small diesel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-03-2015, 03:09 PM   #1
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Towing a 16' Scamp with small diesel

Has anyone used a small diesel SUV to tow the 16' Scamp? Either the BMW X3 or the Audi Q5. If not what is the smallest safe vehicle to tow the 16 footer with?
Pardon my novice questions I am new to this sport. And I don't want a dedicated tow vehicle. Thanks, TK
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:15 PM   #2
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First you need to know the weight of the loaded 16' trailer. I suggest that look at "trailer weights in real world" to get an idea how much a 16' loaded trailer will weigh. Then look at the manuals for your ideal tow vehicle to see what the maximum towing capacity is.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:29 PM   #3
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Not just maximum towing capacity, but also max tongue weight.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:30 PM   #4
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Small Vehicle towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Kiley View Post
Has anyone used a small diesel SUV to tow the 16' Scamp? Either the BMW X3 or the Audi Q5. If not what is the smallest safe vehicle to tow the 16 footer with?
Pardon my novice questions I am new to this sport. And I don't want a dedicated tow vehicle. Thanks, TK
We typically tow for 8 months a year for the last 7 years all over North America. We towed with a small SUV, a gas powered Honda CRV, manual transmission 4 cylinder. Never an issue.

The BMW X3 is minimally rated for 3500 lbs. The Acura Q5 is rated for 4400 lbs. Vehicles may require options like a transmission cooler to meet the rating..

Our Scamp, one of the heaviest on the trailer list is heavily modified (read more weight than most) for our travels. Our trailer has an axle weight of 2400 pounds plus a tongue weight of 200 pounds.

A key parameter of towing is aerodynamic drag, the biggest load on the tow vehicle on the flat. Weight becomes the issue on steep hills. There one must down shift. Real hills are statistically a small percentage of travel time.

I believe small diesels make great tow vehicles.

Glad to answer any Scamp questions.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:42 PM   #5
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The information Byron referenced about trailer weights is here:
Trailer Weights in the Real World
Post #297 on the last page has a downloadable spreadsheet that can be filtered by length and manufacturer and a chart at the bottom will calculate averages for you. Cool!

Complete owner's manuals for some vehicles can be accessed online. If not, it can be hard to find complete and accurate towing information. Owner's manuals often contain caveats and exceptions that are not reported elsewhere. For example, some Subaru models advertise a maximum trailer weight of 2700 pounds. But when you read the owner's manual you find out that (1) the tongue weight is limited to only 200 pounds (which means either towing with less than the recommended 10-12% tongue weight or keeping trailer weight under 2000 pounds), and (2) if your travel includes long uphill grades, you should reduce the maximum trailer weight by half. My own Pilot lists a maximum trailer weight of 3500 pounds and a maximum tongue weight of 350 pounds, but in the owner's manual it specifies that that is with only two passengers. Any more than that, and the capacity is reduced by a specified amount. My experience is that information from dealer sources (especially sales people, but also including service managers, etc,) is often inaccurate. There really is no substitute for reading the owner's manual.

The idea of a smallish diesel makes a lot of sense for towing, but the devil is in the details. Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:11 PM   #6
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Good day Tom. Those Bimmers, Audi's, and Mercedes on other towing forums are very popular and highly respected for there towing prowess. As Jon said the key is in the details. As with all tow vehicles set up got to be done right.

There are some good blurbs within the "Hitch Hints" articles where they talk about vehicles like the BMW's and similar vehicles like them. A Google search will find the article.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:20 PM   #7
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A friend just bought a Scamp 16 (Layout #4) that I towed from Canada to Oswego (about 200 miles) with my RAV4 (3500/350 lb rating). Towed easier than my Escape 17B, even without a weight distribution hitch. No sway, and about 1.5 more MPG than I get with the Escape. Haven't had a chance to measure the tongue weight, but I'll bet it is well under 300 lbs.

As others have suggested, until you pack the trailer for a trip you have no idea what the trailer or tongue weight will be, so measuring both is imperative before a trip.
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:04 PM   #8
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As to tongue weight our Scamp 16 has had a 200 pound tongue for 4 years. No issues what so ever. We only carry one Propane tank.
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:22 PM   #9
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I have towed my 16' Scamp with our 2009 Jetta Sportwagen TDI with no problems.
This was last from Mineral Wells TX through Austin to Mobile in the hot part of the summer.
he limitation is with the hitch loading and not so much the trailer weight.
The JSW is equipped with the DSG transmission.
140 hp, but 270 ft of torque moves the wagon and trailer nicely.
25 MPG towing 62 - 65 mph.
Of course if the US VW does not recommend the towing at the limit the UK VW does then you are the devil himself for violating VW owner's manual's limitations and every lawyer in the US will line up to litigate.
The Touareg is good for lots.
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Old 04-04-2015, 05:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
I have towed my 16' Scamp with our 2009 Jetta Sportwagen TDI with no problems.

The JSW is equipped with the DSG transmission.
140 hp, but 270 ft of torque moves the wagon and trailer nicely.
25 MPG towing 62 - 65 mph.
Those are nice numbers! Our Nissan minivan V6 gasser had 150HP but only 180TQ. It did tow the 23' quite well and passed the SAE acceleration standard for acceleration but an extra 90TQ would have been real nice.
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:22 AM   #11
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The vw TDI with DSG will pull to third gear at IDLE from a stop. The first gear is so low that there is very little slipping of the clutch to get started and then the computers match the engine and road speed exactly.
A problem with Diesels (and others) is the dual mass flywheel and the internal springs weakening and breaking requiring replacement.
My DMF is starting to make some noise at 230,000 miles and it seems that it has held up well compared with others. The reason for the DMF is to absorb the power and torsional vibrations from the engine compared to the constant rotational speed of the transmission and drive train.
I don't think responsible towing is a problem for the VW Diesel, but there are others who disagree.
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:36 AM   #12
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Isn't torque great!

Our 2014 Ford Escape Ecoboost 2.0L FWD also has 270 lb-ft of torque.
It also has 240 hp and recently delivered 25 mpg pulling our Scamp13,
at 59 mph, from Joplin (Mo) to the KC Metro.

Although our Scamp13 has less total weight than a Scamp16, it has
the same drag-producing frontal area.

As I mentioned in the following thread, I've started to believe that
looking at the engine torque output at towing rpm is perhaps one of
the most significant statistics in selecting a tow vehicle. Both diesels
and turbocharged engines shine in the high-torque@low-rpm
department. (The Ford Ecoboost 2.0L is a turbo engine.)
Eggcamper Weight, Tongue Weight & Towing with Outback

Along with past education and personal experience, some of my ideas
on towing (horsepower versus torque) and the Ford Ecoboost 2.0L
engine are included in the following links:

Towing - horsepower versus torque
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/information/horsepower-versus-torque1.htm 

Stout EcoBoost I-4 Plays Well Above Weight Class
http://wardsauto.com/vehicles-amp-technology/stout-ecoboost-i-4-plays-well-above-weight-class

Ray

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Old 04-04-2015, 09:40 AM   #13
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JD,

I'm interested in the VW Diesel. I assume the DMF is the dual mass flywheel. What is the failure mechanism for a flywheel?

When you speak of 'internal springs', I assume this is something internal to the engine....

Thank you.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #14
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Towing a 16' Scamp with small diesel

Ray, minor correction... A 16' Scamp is going to have a larger frontal area because it sits on a raised axle compared to a 13'.
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