Lightening a trailer... - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-07-2012, 11:53 AM   #29
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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

I have seen studies where they took multiple trucks and tracked fuel economy with a tonneau cover, tailgate up, and tailgate down. There was no clear winner. For different vehicles, different setups were slightly better. Fuel economy is obviously greatly influenced by frontal area, but also the shape of things not in the frontal area (the shape of the sides and the back end for example). One piece of evidence of this is all the skirts the semi trailers are using now.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:41 PM   #30
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Also...if you travel which ever way the wind is blowing that helps! I've intentionally waited a day for the wind to change before leaving on a trip due to a strong headwind that changed to a tailwind the next day. Drafting can also help on head-windy days! Just don't do it behind me!

Travelling with a 1/4-1/2 tank of gas to save some weight when going over mountain passes for example can make the climb a bit easier on the car (or maybe it just seems easier!).
There are lots of little things that can add up to ...lot's of little mpg/weight savings. There probably isn't going to be "one" big way to save mpg's, or else it probably would have been done by the manufacturers in the first place.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:11 PM   #31
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I've definitely noticed the wind direction issue.

And I've always though that travelling south was going downhill, and returning home, northwards, was a long uphill slog!

But seriously....
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:34 PM   #32
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And I've always though that travelling south was going downhill, and returning home, northwards, was a long uphill slog!

I thought that if the tongue of the trailer was lower than the back it basically was rolling downhill.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #33
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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.
Wow - I am loving the discussion here!!

I think it might be worth noting that flatland mpg is one thing, while getting over a mountain pass with substancial climbing could be quite a different story. I live in California and just about any campsite that is worth going to requires getting UP to it, usually on narrow twisting roads.

The more weight the trailer is, the more stress you put on the car - the motor, the transimission, and the brakes (going down). A heavier trailer will also have a greater effect on handling, on twisty roads and cross winds.

My Scion XB is about 2500lbs (standard trans) - one of the lighter cars you can buy! It puts out about 105hp, and is not rated for towing. However, I have read that it is capable of pulling trailers (apparently the US generally has a much lower towing capacity rating than other countries for the same vehicles). I personally haven't tried towing with it yet, although I do have a hitch on it for a bike rack (it is very low!) I'm not sure I would trust this as my primary tow vehicle, but I am curious to try it just to know...

My wife's Toyota Matrix is heavier and puts out about 130hp - we have used it to put a cargo trailer (listed at 1100lbs empty) accross the US. Maybe not exactly ideal (you need to be a little patient going up), but we were still getting about 24mpg - 31-33mpg without the trailer. Overall, this trailer is a little smaller than an eggshell camper, but I would guess every bit as heavy with a load...

But I also appreciate the importance of aerodynamics and drag - ideally, you would want a lightweight, aerodynamic trailer
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #34
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snip.......- ideally, you would want a lightweight, aerodynamic trailer
As someone else pointed out, you sound like the targeted buyer for a teardrop trailer.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:47 PM   #35
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Tip #1 Don't even think of opening this bag of worms:
"However, I have read that it is capable of pulling trailers (apparently the US generally has a much lower towing capacity rating than other countries for the same vehicles)."

They are different for several reasons & towing limits may be higher, esp in Europe. One reason being that they aren't always the "same" car and the story goes on ad nauseum from there. Except for those that like to think "outside the box" as they call it, it is generally recommended that you stick with the towing capacities set for your vehicle as shown in the owners manual for that vehicle.

Tip #2 Learn from others mistakes, not your own. When your Mom told you not to touch the stove because it was hot, did you have to touch it anyway, just to see what it was like?

Tip #3 You may get poor mpg's going up that hill, but the trip down will help offset it with higher mpg's. I sometimes see as high as 60 on my MPG indicator on long downhill runs.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:54 PM   #36
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livinlite.com all Aluminum trailers, no wood in them might be an idea for you orange.

edit: they were also Ranked #1 by an independent, third-party consumer publication amongst all Ultra Lightweight Trailer Manufacturers. Post is on their facebook. I didnt read the article.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:14 PM   #37
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As someone else pointed out, you sound like the targeted buyer for a teardrop trailer.


Yes, I am familiar with teardrop trailers - part of my OCD is my need to research the hell out of everything!

I don't know what it is about them: I really want to like the concept, but I can't seem to visualize an awesome experience in one. I guess it could satisfy my curiosity about sleeping in a coffin, but is seems you still have to do most things outside: standing, cooking, eating, cleaning, going to the restroom, etc. It seems like a lot of effort lugging this thing around (many of them are not much lighter than a Scamp), for not much bang for the buck.

If I were going to go that route, I think this could be better: http://www.autohomeus.com/rooftop/columbus.php, and serve most of the same purposes (as long as you have some sort of tailgate - both of my cars do). I actually really like this concept, but $2800 seems a bit steep (you can never find them used - I've looked!) Incidentally, I wonder if having this on the roof would improve the aerodynamics if you were ALSO pulling a trailer?? Sleeping 4 comfortably with some level of privacy? Hmmm...

Now, this concept seems pretty intriguing:
http://www.crickettrailer.com/
But again, not cheap: $10000 - $18000, and not super light at 1200lbs to 1500lbs. But moving in the right direction...

Truthfully, my favorite (somewhat accessible) trailer to date is the Burro - it sort of has that cool retro rocketeer/stormtrooper thing going for it (love the external hinges and tail lights!) I am drawn to these types of trailers for being mini-houses (about as small as you could go anyway!) No moving parts, self contained, private, and (the illusion of) safety. All this seems to make the hassle of dragging this thing around worth while...
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #38
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Very interesting discussion but one point has not been answered. Is it better to keep heavy items, eg propane tanks, battery, jerry cans of water, etc in the TV, rather than the trailer while towing?
It was noted that removing the battery from the trailer and just using the TV 7 plug, everything will run as if the trailer has its own battery. Is this correct.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:28 PM   #39
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Hello all,

I am currently in the market for a small (13 foot?) fiberglass trailer - actually, I've been interested in getting one for years, ever since I saw the first one on the freeway (a Scamp trailer).

Anyway, it seems like one of the greatest advantages to this type of trailer is weight (or lack of) and efficiency - in theory you can pull it with a standard sized car.

I've searched around and I can't find any information on possible ways to actually lighten the trailer even more - what can be done?

For reference, I am a cyclist and weight is the name of the game - people regularly "trick" out their bikes to be as light weight as possible. Lighter means faster, and more efficient.

If anybody could point me in the right direction, it would be super helpful.

All the best...
Lots of info on this site including one owner that changed out the frame to aluminium on his boler
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:33 PM   #40
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livinlite.com all Aluminum trailers, no wood in them
I looked at several of these trailers and liked what I saw for the most part. They are the closest in comparison to molded fiberglass that metal can get. Being inside one gave me flashbacks to living aboard a US Navy ship.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:43 PM   #41
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What is in the car is still being transported by the car. In the car, trunk or trailer same engine is pulling it all. The axle on any trailer should manage any reasonable amount of contents .

Car rules are a bit different than truck rules the car has a max gross weight.

Ours is 825 this must include the driver, passengers, cargo in car and trunk, hitch weight, draw bar or WD system and tongue weight.

eg.. self 180 lbs, wife 155 lbs, dogs 2 total 27 lbs, hitch 40 lbs, WD unit 66 lbs, tongue weight 169 lbs. (grand total 637) 825-637=188 lbs to spare

So just load the trailer, also do not know rules for your area but should be similar
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:43 PM   #42
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A long time ago I wanted to modify a car for electric use. (Before Prius etc.)

I took some NHTSA and DOT information and built a table of horsepower vs. vehicle here

The number in the second column is the horsepower required to push the vehicle down the road at 50 MPH.

From the all vehicles list, you can see that it takes between 4.6 HP and 29.4 HP just to push the vehicle down the road at 55 MPH.

So that's going to come into your equation also.
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