Lightening a trailer... - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-07-2012, 01:05 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Evan Friesen View Post
Apologies for my lengthy and rambling response.
No need to apologize! I appreciate the response - those are many of my same thoughts!

I also have a bunch of lightweight camping gear - it seems to be some weird obsession on mine...
I certainly don't have a heavy wallet, but this is part of the fun - how can I be efficient with what I have, and how much of the problem is simply omission...

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by orangeboar View Post
Also, what is the story behind the first trailer on your list? The Burro that weighs just over 800lbs? Is this completely gutted?
I used color coding to signify different variations.
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Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post
Several trailers were weighed multiple times.
Items 61 & 98 are the same trailer, it was weighed 2 times

8 trailers were weighed by others and reported in this thread.

Sorted 1st by TOTAL, 2nd by TONGUE, and 3rd by Length

ITEM_LENGTH_MAKE_______MODEL________AXLE__TONGUE__ __TOTAL
01___13_____Burro______B13___________718______90______808
06___13_____Burro______B13__________1100_____200_____1300
10___13_____U-Haul_____CT13_________1400_____150_____1550
16___13_____U-Haul_____CT13_________1440_____240_____1680
24___15_____Trillium___T4500________1804_____170_____1974
36___17_____Boler______B1700RGH_____2365_____220_____2585
53___17_____Boler______B1700________2730_____240_____2970
61___19_____Escape_____Dual Axle____2670_____460_____3130
98___19_____Escape_____Dual Axle____3305_____450_____3755
Line items in Purple reflect the addition of all the weights data reported by various posters. Those trailers were not weighed by me.
All other line items were weighed by me personally. I found the post with the story about that 1st Burro:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy B View Post
I weighed my 1980 Burro 13 when I brought it home. There was no battery and the propane tank was half full. There was no camping gear in the trailer, all the cabinet doors, cubby covers, cushions, sink, ice box, and cook top were installed. There is no water tank, water pump. or furnace and no spare tire or leveling jacks.

I jacked up 1 side, put two bathroom scales with a short piece of 2x8 bridging the scales, under the tire, lowered the jack and added the weights from both scales together. I then measured the other side the same way and measured the tongue weight using only 1 scale.

The weights were:
Door side 398 lbs
Street side 320 lbs
Hitch 90 lbs

Total weight 808 lbs

When I removed the body to replace the floor, I weighed the frame including the axle, but no wheels and it weighed 235 lbs.
The way I just read this, he did not keep the trailer completely level during his procedure, which would cause errors in his result.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:33 AM   #17
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What are the manufacturers tow weight limits on the Scion and the Matrix? A tear drop might be closer to what you are looking for? Just a thought.....

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:01 AM   #18
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In years of watching owners trying to cut weight on mini-motorhomes with a max GVW of 6000 lbs, little, if any, differences in fuel consumption were seen unless at least 500 lbs was removed. One fanatic was even considering a lighter g.f. to save a few more lbs.

However, a bigger difference was noted when frontal area was compared. That is to say, the frontal area is more telling about fuel consumption than minor differences in weight. Thus a smaller trailer with a pop-up roof, such as a Compact-II should do better than a Scamp or a larger MFRV, and weighs less to boot, a win-win situation.

Of course something like a Coleman Colorado tent trailer will do even better.

My son has a Matrix and tells me that the towing limit is 1500 lbs. I believe that the Scion is rated "Do Not Tow".
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:27 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by orangeboar View Post
...but, after that... What can be done to make it lighter??
Trade it in for a tent?

There are likely tons of ways to lighten things up somewhat in any trailer. Evan alluded to a bunch. One of the biggest ways to lighten things is in what you bring with you. This is where we save. Like many, I come from a minimalist backcountry background, and still do some canoe and hiking trips. Some people want many of the luxuries of home, I consider being in a weather tight accommodation a nice luxury.


One thing I have always wondered about, is eliminating the frame like many vehicles have to save weight, and going with some moulded unibody type design. Or maybe some kind of composite frame. Lots of thoughts for possibilities there, but nothing one could really do with an existing trailer.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:43 AM   #20
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As far as MPG goes - isn't the aerodynamics and/or wind resistance the limiting factor?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:19 AM   #21
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Yep, frontal area = wind resistance. (minus something for aerodynamics)

There is a new standard that auto mfgs' are starting to use that sets towing limits to include weight and maximum frontal area (usually 60 sq. ft) as well.

Some of those monster 5th wheel toy boxes you see must have over 100 sq. ft. of frontal area
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:37 AM   #22
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They say a tonneau cover on a pick up pays for itself in a short amount of time by eliminating the drag of the tailgate. I wonder it a cap would do the same when towing a trailer? Raz
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:57 AM   #23
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I think that "They" are trying to justify the cost of a tonneau cover.

You would have to save a lot for a long time to get up to the $300+ a fiberglass cover will cost.

If a tonneau cover did much to improve eonomy it would be touted as a fuel saving option (or even standard equipment to improve CAFE) on new pick-ups.

However, at least in theory, both that or a camper top may help some, but I wouldn't count on recovering costs as a reason to install either.


OTR Trucks use several devices to reduce wind resistance and drag, but they are amortized over a million miles or so and a lot bigger fuel bill than mine. If a trucker can gain 2% mpg that's a lot of money over the long haul.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:29 AM   #24
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From the over-the-road trucking perspective, only 2% of the drag of the trailer is attributed to weight. That's as compared to aero drag being 20% at highway speeds.

In the same area, aero drag goes up as a function of the square of speed. I read through an article from Peterbilt which said that at about 50 mph the aero drag begins to exceed the normal rolling resistance of the system (engine, powertrain, tires etc.) At 75mph it(areo drag) was 2.5 times the mechanical resistance. With today's far more streamlined cars and light trucks I expect the aero drag to exceed rolling resistance at a lower speed.

Aside from any satisfaction you might get from going through the weight reduction excerise (and I'm wondering where trailer resale enters into the analysis), there is the improvement in braking and handling to be had.

So, my sense of it is that if I were only concerned about fuel economy I wouldn't bother. If I had a marginal tow vehicle then it's worth the effort. In my case I have an adequate tow for the trailer and goodies I travel with so I'm not particularly concerned with trailer weight. Within "normal" bounds.

I was involved (I coordinated the experiment and analyzed the data) in an extensive study with a carefully measured (wind tunnel for aerodynamic drag, test weight) and instrumented vehicle (high accuracy speed sensors, vehicle and ambient air speed, temp and humidity), and wheel-end torque meters.

A significant variable was ride height. Lower was better. And we're talking about fractions of an inch making a measurable difference (with our equipment). I'm tempted by 15" tires to gain some ride height but I know that raising the trailer still higher out of the tow vehicle's wind shadow would measurably reduce my mileage.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:39 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
I think that "They" are trying to justify the cost of a tonneau cover.

You would have to save a lot for a long time to get up to the $300+ a fiberglass cover will cost.

If a tonneau cover did much to improve eonomy it would be touted as a fuel saving option (or even standard equipment to improve CAFE) on new pick-ups.
Well Bob you made me look. With my truck an improvement of 1/2 mpg (17-17.5) over 50k miles at $3.50/gal comes to a little under $300. I really have no way to know whether I improved 1/2 mpg and if so whether it was because of the tonneau this is just an academic exercise. Still ignorance is bliss..... Raz
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:41 AM   #26
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That 55 MPH vs 75 MPH is a very valid point.
Here's some personal experiences with Toyota -Sunrader motorhomes:
55 MPH=18 MPG, 65 MPH=15 MPG , 70MPH=12 MPG.
These numbers are for the 4 cylinder/automatic chassis and have been supported by numerous postings 55 vs 70 = 33%+ reduction in economy.
I have seen the same differences towing a Scamp, Big Foot or my Compact-II.
Besides that, the towing speed limit in California is 55 MPH (Tell that to the truckers!)

Note to P.Raz
And that savings would only occur at highway speeds. Any mileage in town would not be improved.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:59 AM   #27
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Nothing tows like a Scamp(or others of that design, Boler ,Eco,LoveBug,ftc.) Weight isn't all there is to it.
I have owned and towed lots of fiberglass trailers including such trailers as Scamp,LoveBug, Companion, Compact/Hunter, Trailswest, Trillium and more.
Accelleration, handling and fuel economy are as much dependent on shape and stature as on weight.
If you want an extremely light trailer which tows like a dream, get a Taurus Cadet.
Others to consider would be LiteHouse,Little joe, or Playpac.

A Scamp 13 will start at around 1100 pounds, even less with an older one with plexiglass front and rear windows and 1200# axle.
It would be easy to build a "fully equipped" Scamp 13 and keep the weight at a realistic 1200 pound target weight.


One thing to remember... A parachute weighs almost nothing, yet it will stop a car going over 200MPH!
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:06 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
That 55 MPH vs 75 MPH is a very valid point.
Here's some personal experiences with Toyota -Sunrader motorhomes:
55 MPH=18 MPG, 65 MPH=15 MPG , 70MPH=12 MPG.
These numbers are for the 4 cylinder/automatic chassis and have been supported by numerous postings 55 vs 70 = 33%+ reduction in economy.
I have seen the same differences towing a Scamp, Big Foot or my Compact-II.
Besides that, the towing speed limit in California is 55 MPH (Tell that to the truckers!)

Note to P.Raz
And that savings would only occur at highway speeds. Any mileage in town would not be improved.
I had a similar experience this past fall. Drove out to the forest with my FJ and a utility trailer to cut some firewood. Typically travelled at about 120 kph on drive out. On drive back with trailer loaded with about 1500 lb of firewood (but little change in wind profile on the trailer), I travelled at about 100 kph. On way home I had significantly better gas mileage towing the heavier trailer at a lower rate of speed than on the way out with the lighter trailer and towing faster.
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