Casita 16 with 2004 Honda CRV - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-12-2011, 03:34 PM   #1
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Casita 16 with 2004 Honda CRV

This winter we're towing a Side dinette/front bath 16 Casita with our 2004 Honda CRV, 4 cylinder, manual transmission, 133,000 miles. We get 28 MPG when not towing and 23 MPG while towing.

For the previous three years we towed a 1982 15.5 Sunline with Side Bath. Though the Sunline was 500 or so pounds lighter we only got 20 MPG. Obviously mileage is not dominated by trailer weight but rather by trailer shape and frontal area.

We have just purchased a 16 foot side bath Scamp. We liked the Casita but found the 5'10" height of the 16 foot Casita too short. We considered a 17 foot Casita but a Casita's nose weight can easily reach 400 pounds compared to 200 for a Scamp, more in line with our former Sunline.

We have towed our previous Sunline across Newfoundland and across Labrador on the Labrador (dirt) Highway. AS well we made a complete loop of the USA in our Sunline. Next year we plan a similar USA trip in the Scamp.

The Honda has had no trouble towing either the Casita or Sunline, neither swayed. I will also say that the Trans Labrador Highway had more 10% grades than I've seen in my previous entire life and a couple of 18% grades thrown in. Based on mileage I would say, and surprisingly, that the Casita was an easier tow for the Honda than the Sunline. I hope similar results for the Scamp, though it is a little taller, at least inside.

I notice the tendency for people to choose larger tow vehicles in the USA compared to Europe. Actually the same car will have higher tow ratings in Europe as compared to America for the identical tow vehicle.

I should also mention we do not use a weight distribution hitch though we did use an anti-sway bar on the Sunline and plan to use one on the Casita, mostly because we own one.

Safe Travels,

Norm Milliard
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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Norm:

According to the link below, the towing capacity of the 2004 Honda CRV is only 1500 pounds.
Nothing Succeeds Like Success: 2004 Honda CR-V - 2004 Honda CR-V - Epinions.com

Do you know what the loaded weights of your trailers are? According to Scamp the dry weight of the 16 foot trailer is 1750 pounds.

Scamp Travel Trailers: 16 Foot Specifications

I would be concerned that you may be pulling more than is safe for your vehicle.

Brian
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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Brian,

I know what Honda America rates the CRV at 1500#s. In Europe the Honda is rated at 1500#s if you're not using electric brakes on the trailer. With Electric Brakes they give a much higher rating.

As you'll see on the following web site that in Europe the Honda CRV is rated for 1500Kg (3300#s). For some reason Honda and other car manufacturer does not rate the cars the same way for the US market. I suspect that no one in Europe would buy a huge vehicle to pull a trailer, simply not justifiable considering European gas prices.

Actually they also have access to Hondas with 4 cylinder diesels (note the 4 cylinder deisel is rated to tow 2000KG (4400#s).

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/r...de8fc00fd7795f

We have towed trailers with our Honda 20-30,000 miles across Labrador and all over the US without issue and get excellent mileage. I only wish they would start selling the diesel in the US.

The other neat property of European trailers is that they don't have the high nose weights found on US trailers.

In some way I feel we have been duped. Now I do admit to not driving at the high speeds. We have been passed by people pulling over 70 MPH. We rarely reach 60. We're retired and in no rush.

We are rather rapidly heading to $5 gas, either thru taxes or inflation. We do need to think smaller and more efficient if we want to maintain the possibility of RVing, at least in the bear term.

Safe Travels,

Norm Milliard
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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European Tow Ratings

I some how pasted in the wrong web address for What TOw Car. Sorry

What TowCar.com - Honda CR-V as Towcar

Norm
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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It seems to me that representing any vehicle as being a capable tow vehicle based solely on pulling power is asking for trouble?

This comes up a lot and it overlooks the ability of the vehicle to control the trailer in any panic or emergency handling situations.

Although the CRV may well tow and get decent MPG I would much rather have a heavier longer wheelbase vehicle in any emergency situation.

To overlook this fails to really tell the entire story.
I have been in a few of these unpredictable events and I feel satisfied that my opting to tow with an overwhelmingly capable vehicle helped keep me in control.

Just me?
I don't think so.

Be Safe.
Ed
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:32 PM   #6
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Ed,

You wrote, "I have been in a few of these unpredictable events and I feel satisfied that my opting to tow with an overwhelmingly capable vehicle helped keep me in control."

I agree nothing beats safe RVing. I'm not convinced size equates with safety. I've seen more rolled over Trailers of fair size towed by big trucks. Many of these accidents by confident drivers with properly equipped Tow Vehicles.

I'm sure we agree the most important part of the tow package is the driver.

Like you I've had an unpredictable event, my path blocked by a truck pulling out and totally blocking the highway. I had to do an emergency stop. I did smoke the tires but the tow vehicle and trailer stayed as staight as an arrow and disaster was avoided.

Not that I fully understand it, however it does interest me that Europeans tow heavier trailers with lighter cars. It also interests me that for similar weight trailers they have lighter tongue weights. As you probably are aware Europe is a very regulated place yet their towing guidelines are very different from ours. Very often European tongue weights are less than 10%. Though I know in the USA 10-15% is the popular guideline for tongue weight, I don't understand why.

Of course I tow relatively light trailers, never overload and religiously check my tires. I often see big trucks pulling small trailers barreling along at 70 MPH on tires rated for 65 max. I'm the guy going 55 in the right hand lane.

I can only relate my experience. I do not suggest others follow it. I do know that when Gas gets to $5 a galon I will still be traveling 7 months of the year.

Safe Travels to all,

Norm
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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Norm, I'm glad there is someone else out there who feels the way I do. I have driven European cars all my life (until I bought my current Toyota/Scion). I have towed with every car I have owned (except for the Bertone X1/9). My last car was a VW Golf. It was rated to tow about 3,300 pounds by VW. VW of America lowered the tow rating to 1,200 pounds. Interestingly, a caravan magazine in the UK rated the VW Golf as the BEST tow vehicle in the 3,300 pound weight class.

As an American myself, I am certainly not trying to offend anyone here... but Americans don't tend to drive as cautiously as the average European driver. Driving a car is Europe is seen as more of a privilege, whereas it is seen as a God given right to most Americans. "Get outta my way" is the mantra on our roads. Most people can't even be bothered to drive or pass in the correct lane, and passing someone is seen as a personal attack. It is ironic, really... since we are the biggest consumers of automobiles.

I recently spent a few weeks in Prague (and a few other cities in Czech). I was constantly impressed with the safe and efficient manner in which people drove their cars. About one out of every four cars had a trailer hitch on it, and the vast majority of them had sub 1.5 liter engines. I saw many people towing trailers... from little ~4'x6' utility trailers to 20+ foot caravans. Like the caravans in the UK, these are relatively light weight, and have a much lower nose weight than trailers on this side of the pond. They do drive slower with trailers in tow... but so do you and I. In the US, it seems like everyone with a 34' fifth wheel wants to drive 85 MPH down the interstate. Insane!

One thing to watch out for is the rated tongue weight on Scamps. My 13 footer had a tongue weight close to 180 pounds! I removed the battery from the tongue, and relocated a few items inside to bring it closer to 130 pounds. I hope to lower it a little more to bring my tongue weight close to 8% or so. This is perfectly safe at legal highway speeds. My tires are only rated for 65MPH, anyway... so I would never exceed that.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your Scamp!
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:55 AM   #8
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Well,I think I understand your point but I think I understood it going in.

What I hear here is that you have decided to tow with a lower rated vehicle than required?

What I mean is aside from rationalizing the differences between U.S. and Europe or other places and the tendencies and driving habits of other drivers the fact seems to be that the Tow rating spec'ed by the manufacturer is being exceed or close to being approached .

Is this incorrect?

I certainly understand the reasoning you lay out about comparing capacities and driving styles.
People here do drive like crazy people,even with huge loads.

I have a feeling should there be an incident that an insurance company will not be too interested in your theories posted here but will instead rely upon published ratings and capacities.

These are just more rules that we are bound to follow to exercise our driving "rights".

I wonder the same things about the ratings of Tires too but I try to stick to the ratings listed on them as it seems you do.

I am not trying to make a personal attack here....really but since I am the other guy on the road and I have elected to defer to the listed ratings from the manufacturer and I may be affected by your decision to tow it seems to entitle me to put this out here.

It is hard to argue a healthy margin of safety if even on paper but it is harder for me to accept running too light.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:04 AM   #9
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Ed,

I know it's not a personal attack. I choose to use a vehicle adequate for the job. The Honda easily does it.

We also own a motorhome and could easily tow a Scamp with it. However I can assure you the Honda is a lot better and a lot safer tow vehicle than a motorhome even though the motorhome has about 3 times the horsepower and four times the weight.

Sometimes false confidence can be brought on by size.

More important I think it's important to challenge common thinking, to push the bounds and see what's possible. The Scamp and Casita are both examples of bounds pushing. In virtually every place we camp people wonder how we survive for months in a small trailer. People always say to my wife, "You must really love him" (to travel in a small space). Of course they can't imagine our joy and the fun we're having.

Our goals are simple, 10, maybe even 20, more years of RVing, of seeing the wonder of North America. We feel the direction of the country requires us to focus on finding a low cost RVing solution.

The Casita site has a post 'Asking will your RV when gas gets to $4 a gallon?'. We figure we can RV if it gets to $9 a gsllon with the Honda's mileage. We can not change the price of gas, that is politics and supply, we can only effect our rate of usage.

Interestingly many said they would park the RV at $4. We'r not far from their now.

We of course wish every one well with their solution, as I'm sure you wish us well.

Safe travels, there is so much to see and a small fiberglass RV is a very cost effective way to do it.

From the Road,

Norm and Ginny
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
My last car was a VW Golf. It was rated to tow about 3,300 pounds by VW. VW of America lowered the tow rating to 1,200 pounds. Interestingly, a caravan magazine in the UK rated the VW Golf as the BEST tow vehicle in the 3,300 pound weight class.
A number of years ago the head guy at Volkswagon Europe came to the US, during the visit he drove a VW Golf (Rabbit). After the test drive he proclaimed "That is not a Volkswagon!" He was very unhappy with the car that he drove and presumably US VW did not pick a lemon for him to drive.

Even though a car sold in Europe may have the same name and similar specs as one sold in the US, they may not always have the same capability or build quality. If they were both made in the same factory on the same assembly line then I would expect any differences to be minimal, but if they are made in different countries or different factories then there is no way to tell unless you have information that the general public does not have.

For example many US drivers like a softer suspension than many European drivers would like. If the suspension is altered for the US market, that may not show up in most of the specs but could affect emergency handling when towing, resulting in a lower tow rating.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:29 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ed Harris View Post
Well,I think I understand your point but I think I understood it going in.

What I hear here is that you have decided to tow with a lower rated vehicle than required?

What I mean is aside from rationalizing the differences between U.S. and Europe or other places and the tendencies and driving habits of other drivers the fact seems to be that the Tow rating spec'ed by the manufacturer is being exceed or close to being approached .

Is this incorrect?

I certainly understand the reasoning you lay out about comparing capacities and driving styles.
People here do drive like crazy people,even with huge loads.

I have a feeling should there be an incident that an insurance company will not be too interested in your theories posted here but will instead rely upon published ratings and capacities.

These are just more rules that we are bound to follow to exercise our driving "rights".

I wonder the same things about the ratings of Tires too but I try to stick to the ratings listed on them as it seems you do.

I am not trying to make a personal attack here....really but since I am the other guy on the road and I have elected to defer to the listed ratings from the manufacturer and I may be affected by your decision to tow it seems to entitle me to put this out here.

It is hard to argue a healthy margin of safety if even on paper but it is harder for me to accept running too light.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Ask your local law enforcement officer.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:48 AM   #12
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Norm, would I be correct in assuming that your MPG numbers were stated in imperial gallons?

I have heard before about Europe's vehicle ratings versus those on our side of the water. I know that one theory of the difference is liability concerns. But I wonder if there's any chance that the cars over here might be getting a different transmission (that can't take the torque stress of towing) or if perhaps the hitch attachment points aren't the same strength, or some other differences that could matter. The thought makes me cautious.

That said, I am toying with the idea of a VW diesel. I communicated with Andy at Can-Am RV and he assured me that they can fabricate a 2" receiver for a Jetta that will withstand a 700 lb. hitch weight. Trailer brakes and weight distributing hitch would be very necessary, of course. I'm still not sure about the tranny. But that would be a longevity issue and not really a safety issue. Suspension components can always be switched out if improvement is needed, no big deal.

Weight and wheelbase are considerations, but with proper sway control and trailer brakes, smaller vehicles can be quite safe for towing. Cars (with their low center of gravity) are much better at successful avoidance maneuvers while towing than are the top-heavy, long-wheelbase trucks so often in use.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #13
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Mike,
Over the years I have seen numerous people towing trailers larger than a Scamp 16 with a VW Diesel without issue. I'd be surprised if you couldn't find an off the shelf hitch.

All our mileage figures are with US gallons. When driving in Canada we convert to US gallons. We are almost religious about record keeping. We have a monthly budget and keep track of every expense. Of course we go over budget some times however the purpose is to keep us conscious of money spent, important because we retired before SS or pensions kicked in.

I think a key attribute of safe towing is a safe driver. We have a few rules. We don't drive in high side winds and have spent 3 days on the coast of Oregon waiting for them to die down; really not a bad place to be stuck. We've been caught in unusual snow in Myrtle Beach, rare snow on the coast of Oregon and spring snow crossing the Rockies and in Missouri. In general we wait for it to pass. Actually a strong rain will shut us down as well. We regularly avoid interstates, choosing slower speeds and less congestion. We never drive over 60, usually 55 or so and hardly ever spend more than 4 hours driving in a day. I count on my wife for right side traffic notification. I never answer my cell phone while driving, letting my wife handle those duties. We are retired and do take our time. The only time we break these rules is if there's a family emergency and have to get home then we increase the driving hours.

We do try to be careful.

Norm
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Mike,
Over the years I have seen numerous people towing trailers larger than a Scamp 16 with a VW Diesel without issue. I'd be surprised if you couldn't find an off the shelf hitch.

All our mileage figures are with US gallons. When driving in Canada we convert to US gallons. We are almost religious about record keeping....

Norm
I'd be very pleased if someone did know of, or could locate a source for, a class 2 or 3 receiver for a Jetta or Passat. I have googled for a couple hours and found only class 1 hitches, which are 2000/200 capacity.

US mileage figures! All I can say is WOW, you are getting great fuel economy. I agree with you that keeping speed down plays a big role, but it's still surprising from a gas engine. Congrats on the economical traveling.
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