Towing in bad weather? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
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Towing in bad weather?

I do not have much choice about towing my trailer to California next week (Down 5) as I've discovered the rain is blowing in where the poptop seal needs replacing. So it is coming and I'm trying to schedule the drive for dry days.

But just in case- any advice? I have all wheel drive on the Subaru, no brakes on the trailer, it won't be loaded but the car will (not too bad but not empty, either.)
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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If there is heavy snow you may need chains on the tow and on the camper.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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A temporary fix is lots of "Eternabond" or "Gorilla Brand" super tape in the appropriate places. Be forewarned, the eternabond tape will pull off any existing paint if left on for longer than about a week.....

Some driving tips:
1) Watch your mirror carefully for approaching 18 wheelers, they think that the 55 mph speed limit for trucks in CA is supposed to be their "average" speed, which means 80 mph on the downgrades and will push the trailer and you to one side as they pass. (see #2)
2) If the trailer starts swinging back and forth, accelerate, nothing else will work without trailer brakes.
3) Put some of that stuff from the car in the trailer, and try to get at least 150 lbs tongue weight.

Sure bet on the weather through the Cascades in January, it will rain.....
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
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You might try the foam tubes used for pipe insulation. It come in 5 ft. lenghts and has a slit down one side to slip over the pipe
I used the insulation for 1/2 inch pipe for a while when I had my very first fiberglass trailer which was a Campster.

Have a safe trip.
John
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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Stage Coach Pass, Sexton Mountain and the Siskiyou Summit can be very bad this time of year. Keep an eye on TripCheck for these areas in particular: TripCheck - Road Cams, Road & Weather Conditions in Oregon - ODOT Out of your entire trip it's that 100 miles or so that can be the toughest.

Safe travels Bobbie!
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:47 PM   #6
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I have rarely hit snow or rain as long as I am flexible about when I leave (which I am.) On 101 I always hit rain so unless it is snowing I'd choose 5.

Chains, hmm, I'd better look for what I did with the Subaru chains just in case. I hope they aren't in Fresno.

Good advice on checking tongue weight and putting some of the load in the trailer.

I probably could block where the water was getting in but since it got in I can't leave the trailer sitting until late spring or it will be full of mold. It can dry out in my garage. It's going to be a royal pain when I arrive as 1) I didn't intend on bringing the trailer back so I only have immediate room for one car in the garage and 2) the Thule box will no longer fit into the garage ON the car, and 3) someone tried to jimmy the indoor lock on my garage so now it won't open (have to leave the garage and enter the house from the street until I fix it. So I'll unload the dogs on the street (take them inside, that is) and then back the trailer in and unhitch it, and the remove the Thule box, and finally go park at my neighbor's (three car garage, both kids now gone.) Hoping this won't be at 11 o'clock at night.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Perry J View Post
You might try the foam tubes used for pipe insulation. It come in 5 ft. lenghts and has a slit down one side to slip over the pipe
I used the insulation for 1/2 inch pipe for a while when I had my very first fiberglass trailer which was a Campster.

Have a safe trip.
John
Exactly what I am using- and it isn't holding up to the wind-driven rain. I should have taped the corners but as it was fine all summer (with rain) I didn't worry about it and now that the trailer has moisture inside I don't dare leave it. It will dry out in Central California and I do want to make a new poptop so the timing is good.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Stage Coach Pass, Sexton Mountain and the Siskiyou Summit can be very bad this time of year. Keep an eye on TripCheck for these areas in particular: TripCheck - Road Cams, Road & Weather Conditions in Oregon - ODOT Out of your entire trip it's that 100 miles or so that can be the toughest.

Safe travels Bobbie!
Nice high coming through next week so I think I'll be avoiding bad weather. But you are right- although the only place I've ever hit snow was near Redding and near Eugene! I drove through one Christmas about 30 minutes ahead of a snow and ice storm- but dry roads all the way. If something bad does come up I'll either stop and wait it out or go 101, just want to know what to do if the weather suddenly changes and I get caught.

One thing is trying to time it so I don't hit that stretch too early in the morning or too late in the day- in case of freezing on the pavement. I haven't quite figured out the overnight stops. Not wanting to hit Fresno too late is another issue, plus longer drive times with the trailer. So I'm thinking first night Vancouver or Eugene and then stay over a night in Redding (past the mountains.)
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:14 PM   #9
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Why Trailer Brakes/Chains Matter to Me

The most hairraising trip I ever made in my life was one I took about ten years ago from Hadlock to Portland via I-5.

Driving a 1/2 ton Ford van, I was towing an unbraked utility trailer about half full of firewood for my Mother. It started snowing at about Tacoma and never stopped for the rest of the trip. Nor did I....fearing I'd never get moving again if I did.

The lack of traction on the trailer was very noticeable- every time I slowed even slightly, I could feel the trailer slide from side-to-side.

It took me almost eight hours to make what should have been about a three hour trip, and the only good thing I can say about that blasted trailer is that when I was headed uphill, it served as a sort of anchor that prevented the whole rig from fishtailing/spinning out as I maneuvered around the numerous vehicles that were sliding all over the highway.

I made it all the way to the Stafford road exit- only to get forced into a ditch a half mile from Mom's house by an out-of-control car coming down a hill straight at me!
I didn't go home 'til the snow was gone, and have never since towed a trailer without its own brakes, and in winter with its own chains.

I don't expect that you'll be inspired by this story to install trailer brakes for this trip, but I very strongly recommend that you insure that you have chains aboard for both the tug and the tow. Plain common sense aside, you may well encounter chain requirements, especially at Siskiyou Pass.

Although the size of the trailer may excuse you from "drag chain" requirements as far as the law is concerned, I can't emphasize enough how much they increase the margin of safety, even on an unbraked trailer. Little good for the tug to have traction if the tow does not...

Best of luck to you!


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Old 12-29-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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Bobby I did the trip you are facing last year on Dec 23rd pulling with an Outback but traveling North. As Donna suggest the section from Grants Pass down to past Weed is going to be your tough section and in particular Siskyou Pass. I hit a storm I would rather forget about on the Siskyou in the dark, that wasn't suppose to happen per the weather report. My advise is to as others have suggested load up the tongue weight on the trailer and put some stuff into the trailer over its axle rather than loading up the car. The car I know through many snowy mountain trips will do fine in the snow even with just all season tires (not that I dont also highly recommend carrying chains or having snow tires) but the trailer is the game changer as Francesca suggests. I have towed through a couple of snow storms now and the car and trailer did fine but I do have brakes on the trailer not sure I would have had such good results without them. I would try and do that section of the trip only during the day light and when the roads are actually clear and its not snowing at Siskiyou. I would stay in Eugene or the Seven Feathers Casino RV park in Canonville and keep an eye on the highway web cams and make a run for if when all looks good and clear. There is another pass not to far south of Weed that also subject to snow so the further past Weed you can get in one shot the better.

The Seven Feathers Casino RV park at Canyonville isnt a bad spot to hang out to wait for the weather to change - not bad rates and a great hot tube to sit in and wait it out.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Although the size of the trailer may excuse you from "drag chain" requirements as far as the law is concerned, I can't emphasize enough how much they increase the margin of safety, even on an unbraked trailer. Little good for the tug to have traction if the tow does not...

Francesca
OK, I give up, google has failed me. What's a drag chain?

Ron
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
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OK, I give up, google has failed me. What's a drag chain?

Ron
Sorry- too many truck drivers in the family...

"Drag chains" are what you put on the trailer you're "dragging"!


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Old 12-29-2012, 05:17 PM   #13
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No staying in RV parks- trailer is wet inside! But chains for it are a good idea, and I have to go buy some for the car, too, can't find those. I do intend to avoid snow if at all possible, and make the trip Eugene to at least Redding in one day. (Plus that leaves me the coast route if there is a snowstorm.) I have plenty of time. Probably a good idea to get to Eugene the first day though to make the second easier. I also appreciate the comments on loading the trailer. Easy enough to do; I can put a few of the heavier items in it. 150 would be on the high side of safe, though, at 9-15% total weight. Trailer is about 1000 lbs. (No I haven't weighed it.)
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:41 PM   #14
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We have two rules when towing. We don't drive at night and we don't drive in heavy weather. If it snows, a heavy rain, a dust storm or even high winds, we stop until the weather stops and the heavy weather clears.

Life is plenty short without adding unnecessary risk.
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