Another towing vehicle question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2007, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hi all, first time poster here. I'm shopping for a 16' trailer, and want to know the feasability of towing it with my Volvo S70 turbo. It is a very solid car. The Volvo produces 225 hosepower (goes 150mph!), weighs 3800 lbs, and the manual claims a tow cap. of 3500lbs with a tongue weight of 140 lbs. The vehicle weight, power, and tow capacity look ok, but what mods can I make to increase the tongue weight?

Any folks out there pull 16 footers with cars?

Thanks,

Al
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:18 PM   #2
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The vehicle weight, power, and tow capacity look ok, but what mods can I make to increase the tongue weight?
It does sound promising... except the tongue weight. Since the limitation which caused Volvo to set this limit is unknown, the solution is also unknown. It could be as simple as stiffer springs or added air springs, or there could be structural issues. I think that the simple answer is: there's nothing you can do with any confidence that it is appropriate.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:12 PM   #3
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Isn't the S70 FWD? I think they are and if so a weight distributing hitch would help in that area but not to be confused with any intention of releiving weight from the hitch.

I would check the UK Volvo club website for what the vehicle could handle but again remember the liability issues if you exceed the US specs. Also, see if Volvo makes a tow package with HD springs etc. They used to for most models.

http://www.ipdusa.com/ is a also great resource if you havn't heard of them already. I just checked and Volvo SV70 1998-2000 Overload Coils add 300 lbs load weight.

PS Once all the reno's are done I will be towing my Boler 13' with my 245DL, so good luck to you, Let us know how it goes.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:20 AM   #4
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Thanks Clive.

Yes it is FWD. I'll check out your ideas, they sound very possible. I wouldn't be driving all that much or in the mountains. I think the car can do it if properly modified.
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:23 PM   #5
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Hmm, that implies a tongue weight of only 4% of the towed weight, only half of the general Euro formula of about 8% and nowhere near the US formula of 10-12-15%. There seems to be some kind of disconnect here between these two specs.

If it's a pure weight issue, then fewer passengers/luggage would be the answer, but if it's a mechanical restriction (hitch mounting) then that's different, altho I can't imagine a hitch mounting capable of 3500 lbs horizontally and only 140 lbs vertically. I would suspect that the 140 lbs may apply to some ClassA/I trailer hitch that Volvo makes, but stronger hitch receivers (Class II - 3500#) are available for Volvos at ETrailer.

Please keep in mind that towing is not just the power to get it moving, but the ability to steer it and stop it, to say nothing of keeping it cool during all this. There's a lot more to it than mere horsepower or we would be seeing large motorcycles pulling RVs....
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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Hmm, that implies a tongue weight of only 4% of the towed weight, only half of the general Euro formula of about 8% and nowhere near the US formula of 10-12-15%. There seems to be some kind of disconnect here between these two specs.

If it's a pure weight issue, then fewer passengers/luggage would be the answer, but if it's a mechanical restriction (hitch mounting) then that's different, altho I can't imagine a hitch mounting capable of 3500 lbs horizontally and only 140 lbs vertically. I would suspect that the 140 lbs may apply to some ClassA/I trailer hitch that Volvo makes, but stronger hitch receivers (Class II - 3500#) are available for Volvos at ETrailer.

Please keep in mind that towing is not just the power to get it moving, but the ability to steer it and stop it, to say nothing of keeping it cool during all this. There's a lot more to it than mere horsepower or we would be seeing large motorcycles pulling RVs....

Long time since I posted this. I read my owners manual today and the specs for tongue weight were 170 with a class 2 hitch, with a towing weight of 3300 pounds? Your right, this make no sense. Since I wrote the OP I installed the class 2 hitch, packed up my stuff, and pulled a 2000 lb UHAUL trailer (not travel trailer) from Austin to Utah. The tongue weight was 250 lbs. It pulled excellent, and we even drove across Colorado! I kept the speed to around 65. My main concern was lack of trailer brakes (YIKES), but overall things went well. I think I'll be ok pulling a 16' Scamp, with brakes, tranny cooler, and a WDH. Let me know your thoughts on this. I really need the 16' instead of the 13' since I plan to be a full-timer.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:59 PM   #7
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Long time since I posted this. I read my owners manual today and the specs for tongue weight were 170 with a class 2 hitch, with a towing weight of 3300 pounds? Your right, this make no sense. Since I wrote the OP I installed the class 2 hitch, packed up my stuff, and pulled a 2000 lb UHAUL trailer (not travel trailer) from Austin to Utah. The tongue weight was 250 lbs. It pulled excellent, and we even drove across Colorado! I kept the speed to around 65. My main concern was lack of trailer brakes (YIKES), but overall things went well. I think I'll be ok pulling a 16' Scamp, with brakes, tranny cooler, and a WDH. Let me know your thoughts on this. I really need the 16' instead of the 13' since I plan to be a full-timer.
I suggest you reconsider the need for a 16'. With the tow ratings you'll go over the limit with tongue weight and get real close or over the limit of tow weight. I emphasized need because Pete spent 6 years full timing in 13'. There's at least one couple in this group that are full timing in a 13'.

My wife and I have a 13'. We don't want anything bigger even if my Tow Vehicle has a 7,000 lb tow limit.

Just a suggestion.
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:52 AM   #8
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I suggest you reconsider the need for a 16'. With the tow ratings you'll go over the limit with tongue weight and get real close or over the limit of tow weight. I emphasized need because Pete spent 6 years full timing in 13'. There's at least one couple in this group that are full timing in a 13'.

My wife and I have a 13'. We don't want anything bigger even if my Tow Vehicle has a 7,000 lb tow limit.

Just a suggestion.
A 13' would be fine for me while full-timing. But I'll be full-timing with my 18 year old son. We are close, but not close enough for the 13'.

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and get real close or over the limit of tow weight.
I estimate that a fully-loaded 16' would be about 2500 pounds, while the vehicle is rated to tow 3300. Is my estimation unrealistic?
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:18 AM   #9
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I estimate that a fully-loaded 16' would be about 2500 pounds, while the vehicle is rated to tow 3300. Is my estimation unrealistic?
In my estimation, yes. I suppose it depends of the trailer but my 16' Casita tows at over 2,900 pounds and I travel alone.

There is a(re) fairly comprehensive post(s) on trailer weight in the archives. "How much do you weigh" has many trailers included.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:08 AM   #10
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Al,

With front wheel drive and constraints on tongue weight, I would certainly use a WDH. You might check with the dealer or Volvo website in order to ascertain the reason for limiting tongue weight. It might relate to the rear axle weight rating being not very high. Make sure your Class II hitch is well attached and the bolts/nuts are secure. Sounds like you have done your homework.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:09 AM   #11
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In my estimation, yes. I suppose it depends of the trailer but my 16' Casita tows at over 2,900 pounds and I travel alone.

There is a(re) fairly comprehensive post(s) on trailer weight in the archives. "How much do you weigh" has many trailers included.

2900 pounds would be pushing it. I was reading the uk volvo site where many people pull that much with cars like mine. The weight ratio is ok at 2900 pounds for the trailer and 3700 for the TV. But I bet your tongue weight is up there and that is my main concern.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:33 AM   #12
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2900 pounds would be pushing it....
Hi Al,

One of the limitations of front wheel drive happens in this scenario: (Don't ask me how I know)

You arrive at a park that you have never been to before and find a gravel road going straight up a hill to the entrance. I did try lowering tire pressure and shifting weight to the rear of the camper. (to help put more weight on the front of the car). Helped a little but even with the traction control on, never made it to the top. Had to take the long way around.

Terry
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:09 PM   #13
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Hi Al,
One of the limitations of front wheel drive happens in this scenario: (Don't ask me how I know)
You arrive at a park that you have never been to before and find a gravel road going straight up a hill to the entrance. I did try lowering tire pressure and shifting weight to the rear of the camper. (to help put more weight on the front of the car). Helped a little but even with the traction control on, never made it to the top. Had to take the long way around.
Terry
Yeah that could be a problem. I think I'll go for the 13 footer and bring a big tent for my son. My car could do the 16 footer, but it's not worth the extra wear and tear, not to mention things like backing up, fuel mileage, initial cost, ect... This way I can bring more stuff!

Thanks for the input everyone!

See you on the road this summer...
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:26 AM   #14
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Actually Al, backing up gets easier the longer the trailer is. But, that's not really a good reason to buy a 16' over a 13'. Most 16s will tip in pretty close to the 3k lbs mark when road-ready (depending on equipment), so probably a 13' is a good choice for you.

Happy travels!

Roger
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