Going crazy in the world of GVWR, etc - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-14-2016, 08:32 PM   #1
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Name: Jill
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Going crazy in the world of GVWR, etc

Hi. Research time before I buy my first TV and trailer. I have read many of the sites on the Internet on "how to choose a towing vehicle." I have read the (long) thread on here on what people drive and what they are towing. I have posted on FB, asking for clarification. Seems to me that a SUV with a towing capacity of 5000 should be fine for towing a 16' fiberglass (Casita/Scamp/Little Snoozy) with not much in the way of personal items. But, I have been told that this is not so. How can I obtain the GCWR for the SUV I am interested in? If I can't get this number, how can I know if I am putting together a safe RV package?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:51 PM   #2
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I was curious so tried finding the GVWR for my car and it wasn't easy (I know it is in my manual, though.) Ended up finding it by googling the name of the model and GVWR and sorting through a couple of pages.
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Old 08-15-2016, 02:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jill H. View Post
Hi. Research time before I buy my first TV and trailer. I have read many of the sites on the Internet on "how to choose a towing vehicle." I have read the (long) thread on here on what people drive and what they are towing. I have posted on FB, asking for clarification. Seems to me that a SUV with a towing capacity of 5000 should be fine for towing a 16' fiberglass (Casita/Scamp/Little Snoozy) with not much in the way of personal items. But, I have been told that this is not so. How can I obtain the GCWR for the SUV I am interested in? If I can't get this number, how can I know if I am putting together a safe RV package?
Thanks for any help!
Welcome to FGRV Jill. You don't tell us what size TT you may be interested in for weight idea or if you've ever towed anything before. Most all molded TTs can be towed with a 3500# rated tug but a 5k unit would be better. Getting an answer for the best tow vehicle is a crap shoot, too many opinions. It really comes down to what you are comfortable driving and can handle your trailer comfortably. I like trucks better that cars but that's just me. The one thing I can tell you is the rated "dry" weight listed by builders is bogus, add at least 500# from the factory for the real world. Personal items added may add another 500#s, everyones camping style differs for what they carry. Once my girls grew up and went out on their own I can now be packed up and gone in ten minutes . Others will be along soon with more info for you.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:17 AM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome. I've been lurking for about a year. Nice folks on here. Very helpful.

I have never towed anything. First choice of TT is a Little Snoozy and second choice is a 16' Casita. I am seriously looking at a 2017 Kia Sorento AWD with a 3.3 L V6. My son keeps telling me to get a truck, but a truck just feels like too much vehicle. The Sorento has a tow rating of 5K in this package. The Little Snoozy has a base weight of 2600 and the Casita has a base weight of 2500. I know I'm supposed to add weight of cargo, passengers, fluids, etc to weight of car and trailer, but I can't find what the GCWR is for, well, anything, let alone this Sorento, despite a few Google searches. I want hill power and stopping power--I want safety. So how do I know if this is a good match?
Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:18 AM   #5
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You have to look at the vehicle specs closely to be sure you're picking up the right labels. There are a couple terms that seem like the same thing but are different. You seem to confusing GCWR and Max Trailer Weight.

GCWR = gross combined weight rating which is the weight of the tow vehicle (the vehicle's curb [empty] weight plus whatever people and gear you're carrying in the tow vehicle) and the trailer weight. 5000 pounds would be too low.

How every, the spec called Max Trailer Weight is the weight of the trailer alone and 5000 pounds should be okay.

Trailer weight would be the weight of the trailer which includes the trailer axle weight and the trailer tongue weight. A 16' fiberglass trailer should be about 3000 pounds in traveling weight. Don't use the trailer manufacturer's weight as it's usually too low. Use Fred's Trailer Weight in the Real World for a table of 16' trailer weights. It's pinned to the top of one of these forums.

Some tow vehicles have a max tongue weight. For towing stability, the general rule of thumb is 10-15% of the trailers weight should be on the tongue. On a 3000 pound trailer, 300-450 pounds should be on the tongue. For example, if you weighed that hypothetical 3000 pound trailer, 300 (at 10% tongue weight) would be on the tongue and 2700 pounds would be on the axle.

Another factor for towing safely would be the trailer having working trailer brakes (pretty much required by law on a trailer this heavy).
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:25 AM   #6
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Thanks, Steve . . . .

So I guess what I really don't understand then is how some folks on here are pulling a 16' trailer with, what appears to me, smaller or similar SUVs.

What is the point of having a tow rating of 5K if the car weight takes up most of that number in its own weight? (Thinking of the math here)

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:00 AM   #7
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Trailer: 2013 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17, purchased from original owners May, 2016
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Originally Posted by Jill H. View Post
Thanks, Steve . . . .

So I guess what I really don't understand then is how some folks on here are pulling a 16' trailer with, what appears to me, smaller or similar SUVs.

What is the point of having a tow rating of 5K if the car weight takes up most of that number in its own weight? (Thinking of the math here)

Thanks!
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum weight the suspension system (including tires) your car or truck is designed for. It does NOT include the gross trailer weight, but DOES include the hitch weight, because that is a load on your tow-vehicle's suspension. See here:

What does GVWR mean?

If your Kia has a factory-installed towing packing good for a maximum 5,000-lb trailer, then you should have adequate capability to tow a Casita or something comparable (a Casita's axle is rated for 3,500 lbs).

A quick search finds this discussion of towing with a Kia Sorento:

2016 Kia Sorento EX+ V6 AWD Towing Package and Towing Capacity - Kia Forum

One person complains that the hitch on the Sorento is too low.

Make sure your tow vehicle has an electric-brake controller.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jill H. View Post
Thanks, Steve . . . .

So I guess what I really don't understand then is how some folks on here are pulling a 16' trailer with, what appears to me, smaller or similar SUVs.

What is the point of having a tow rating of 5K if the car weight takes up most of that number in its own weight? (Thinking of the math here)

Thanks!
Some people just don't follow the manufacturer's ratings and are "getting by"

I have a Silverado 1500 (half ton) 4x4 truck and finding the information on capacity is confusing and difficult even reading the factory documentation.

My 17' Casita SD's "dry" weight is close to what Casita claims but then there's "stuff"

Not just in the trailer but in the TV also.
Trying to decipher my trucks capacity is confusing but I believe I'm within factory specs.

I once met a couple towing a 17' Casita SD towing with a Rav4 that sure looked out of place

Joe
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jill H. View Post
Thanks, Steve . . . .
...What is the point of having a tow rating of 5K if the car weight takes up most of that number in its own weight? (Thinking of the math here)

Thanks!
Again, I think you're confusing terms. I read "tow rating", by itself, without knowing the context of the sentence/paragraph you found it in, as meaning the max trailer weight. As such, 5000 is pretty good for a 3000 pound trailer.

If it's the GCWR rating it's not so good for the reason you mention.

As for other people... You inadvertently touch on a hot button topic for me. This is a forum of strangers. You don't know their towing experience (maybe they're over the road truckers experienced in towing), what their risk tolerance is (maybe Evel Knievel was their dad), maybe they never drive in the rain, or the dark, or when tired, or with worn tires, etc.

I take everything on any forum with a grain of salt and then decide how it may or may not apply to me. That might be good advice for others as well. My instincts and training put me on the conservative side...not to the point of locking myself in my house and never going anywhere but I view things in terms of "reasonable and foreseeable" and make decisions based on whether I can tolerate being wrong.
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Old 08-15-2016, 07:21 AM   #10
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On my Rav4, on the door where tire pressures are there is also a label on how much you can carry inside your vehicle. I can`t think exactly what those numbers are off hand, but i usually count how much i am putting in + the weight of people,my dog. cooler, odds and ends like tools, + the tongue weight, i never weighed the tongue so i just used 350# my 16 scamp travels without water, and minimal gear. I know a lot of people are really loaded up in car and trailer. Good luck, Carl
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Old 08-15-2016, 07:45 AM   #11
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Name: Steven
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PAYLOAD

Towing capacity means little if the vehicle has insufficient payload capacity . Many vehicles have a high tow rating and a low payload capacity. NO one single rating answers all the questions or solves all the problems
IE : Tow rating ,GVWR , GCVWR , RAWR , FAWR , PAYLOAD , Frontal area of trailer ,etc ,etc,etc.
Everyone has different aversions to risk or desires to follow standards , thus no matter what vehicle you choose , someone will tell you it's the perfect Tow vehicle and it tows great.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:10 AM   #12
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Jill, 5000# is the tow rating for the Kia Sedona V6 AWD models with factory tow package, meaning 5000# is the maximum recommended loaded trailer weight. A loaded Casita 16 is around 3000# with around 300# on the tongue, so you should be fine. It is true, as the article you read no doubt points out, there are other ratings that come into play, but most manufacturers consider them when setting the tow rating.

One is the GCWR, gross combined weight rating, meaning the total weight of vehicle and trailer and everything in them. Manufacturers typically assume two adult passengers and a small amount of cargo in the vehicle when setting the tow rating. Since you are planning to tow well under the 5000# rating, that gives you some leeway to carry additional passengers or cargo in the vehicle. I wouldn't go overboard though, because…

You also have to be concerned about the GAWR of the rear axle. That's the total weight riding on the rear wheels. That's the one most likely to get people into trouble unawares. It is affected by the tongue weight of the trailer and extra passengers and/or cargo in the tow vehicle. It's also affected by where the weight is located in the vehicle- forward is better because it distributes some of the extra weight onto the front wheels. Again, since you have plenty of leeway, I wouldn't be too concerned unless you plan to bring along a lot of extra people or to carry a lot of stuff in the vehicle.

Short answer, unless you plan to carry a lot of extra weight in the vehicle, you should be well within all the weight ratings towing a Casita 16 (or a Scamp 16, which tends to run lighter than a Casita 16). There is no data on the actual loaded weight of a Lil Snoozy in the trailer weights database, but it's longer, taller, and wider.

The other question you posed relates to performance. I tow an 1800# Scamp with a Honda Pilot 3.5L V6 (250 hp @ 5700rpm, 253 ft-lbs @ 4800rpm). I live in higher elevation mountain and canyon country and find I have to gear down (OD off) and slow down on hills. With a 16'er, I'd expect somewhat more so. I'm okay with that; I don't believe in being in a hurry when towing a travel trailer. I can keep up with the faster trucks, so I consider that good enough. Not everyone does. Performance is very subjective.

One other factor to consider when selecting a tow vehicle you didn't mention is ease of towing set up, especially the wiring. You will need a 7-pin connection and a brake controller. Some SUVs only provide 4-pin wiring with their tow package. That was a factor in my decision to go with the Pilot- 7-pin wiring and a brake controller connection were standard back in 2011.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:42 AM   #13
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Best suggestion is to rent a trailer and see what you like and dislike before buying. You may think you want all these cool features, then find out you never use one or several of them.

Also try out all the potential tugs. Some have odd driving habits you may not like while it doesn't bother other people. Also some manufactures tow ratings are conservative while others are optimistic. If a major purchase point is towing, some dealers will work with you to let you try their vehicle at towing before you buy. Usually just a few miles in town or on highway close to dealer. Not enough for small issues, but enough for glaring issues to become obvious.

Alternatively find friends or willing members on here that live near by to let you try their setup, whether for a weekend or just a short drive around. Either way it saves many headaches and buyer remorse.

Jason
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:08 AM   #14
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A little light reading that may help.

Determining Vehicle Towing Capacity & Trailer Weight | Hitch Info
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