Good tow vehicle for 2500 lb empty weight camper - Fiberglass RV



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Old 06-13-2019, 06:12 PM   #1
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Good tow vehicle for 2500 lb empty weight camper

About 18 months ago I had a series of posts about what my 96 ranger 3.0L could tow and for the most part the answer was a 13 ft something (like a scamp) or maybe a 16 footer. Well, now that I've driven the truck for a year I don't think I would tow anything with it. It has NO power. Its the only vehicle I've ever owned that I would call a total performance DOG.

I am now considering buying a used SUV for towing. I've been looking at bigger used SUV's with a V-8 engine for pulling a used casita 17 or, bigfoot 17.7 or escape of similar size. I know the SUV with a v-8 is overkill, but I currently have my eye on a used jeep grand cherokee with a v8 engine and 4WD in nice condition.

Anyhow, the question is: What midsize SUV will work well for towing a trailer with a dry weight of about 2500-3000 lbs and still have some margin. I don't want another truck (I've already got one) so please keep suggestions limited to SUV's. Also, I know there is no correct answer - just looking for practical experience from people who already know what works for them.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:47 PM   #2
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Also, I know there is no correct answer - just looking for practical experience from people who already know what works for them.
As a point of reference on one end of the spectrum, we tow a 2800lb trailer with an 7700lb Excursion diesel (biggest SUV Ford ever made) and it still dances around in windy conditions when driving over 60mph.

My point is no matter what you get, loading, speed and WDH/sway control can all affect your comfort and safety.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:02 PM   #3
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John,

You might consider a Land Cruiser 200.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:59 PM   #4
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Dry weight is meaningless. Get a real weight of the actual trailer. A 2500 pound dry weight could weigh 4,000 pounds. Tow ratings tend to jump from 1500 to 3500 and then to 5000 pounds or more.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:45 PM   #5
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Dry weight is meaningless.

Instead of saying dry weight is meaningless, why not explain what dry weight is? It's the trailer weight without options, propane, battery, personal effects, food, or liquids. It is useful when comparing the dry weight of one trailer versus another. That's all it is and should not be used to determine if your tow vehicle is adequate.

Can't be that hard for you Thrifty.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Instead of saying dry weight is meaningless, why not explain what dry weight is? It's the trailer weight without options, propane, battery, personal effects, food, or liquids. It is useful when comparing the dry weight of one trailer versus another. That's all it is and should not be used to determine if your tow vehicle is adequate.

Can't be that hard for you Thrifty.

Hold on there Glenn!

Are you actually starting to post some well thought out and logical comments? Let's not get carried away!
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:07 AM   #7
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Good tow vehicle for 2500 lb empty weight camper

For a trailer with a listed dry weight in the 2500-3000# range, I’d expect an optioned and loaded weight in the 3500-4500# range with 400-500# hitch weight. A vehicle with a tow rating of 5000/500# would be the least you should consider. If the trailer has a large, boxy profile, if you plan to tow much in the mountains, and/or if you carry a lot of gear, something with 6000-7000# would give you a more comfortable margin.

The Jeep V8 sounds like a good choice for maximum flexibility. I like that it has a RWD-based chassis. Durango is another option. A V8 isn’t that much less economical when towing or highway cruising. You’ll definitely feel some pain if you do much city driving or commuting.

My personal choice would be a Toyota 4Runner or Sequoia, depending on the trailer. The 4Runner will pull a Casita 17 or Escape 17 nicely, but for the larger Bigfoot 17.5 or Escape 19 I’d rather have a Sequoia.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Dry weight is meaningless. Get a real weight of the actual trailer. A 2500 pound dry weight could weigh 4,000 pounds. Tow ratings tend to jump from 1500 to 3500 and then to 5000 pounds or more.
I realize that dry weight is meaningless. All the campers I've looked at have a dry weight around 2500 lbs. I put that number in my question as a point of reference. Its not possible to give an exact weight for something you don't have. I also said I want to have a good deal of margin. I'm not looking for the minimum that will do the job. So let's say a 4000 lb camper when fully loaded.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:32 AM   #9
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For a trailer with a listed dry weight in the 2500-3000# range, I’d expect an optioned and loaded weight in the 3500-4500# range with 400-500# hitch weight. A vehicle with a tow rating of 5000/500# would be the least you should consider. If the trailer has a large, boxy profile, if you plan to tow much in the mountains, and/or if you carry a lot of gear, something with 6000-7000# would give you a more comfortable margin.

The Jeep V8 sounds like a good choice for maximum flexibility. I like that it has a RWD-based chassis. Durango is another option. A V8 isn’t that much less economical when towing or highway cruising. You’ll definitely feel some pain if you do much city driving or commuting.

My personal choice would be a Toyota 4Runner or Sequoia, depending on the trailer. The 4Runner will pull a Casita 17 or Escape 17 nicely, but for the larger Bigfoot 17.5 or Escape 19 I’d rather have a Sequoia.
Thanks. This is a useful response and was what I had in mind because its helpful. I do not have a tow vehicle or a trailer and I'm working with a limited budget so I will be buying previously owned items. I have to have a tow vehicle to tow home whatever camper I buy. You can see the problem - its a lot of what ifs. I really don't want anything huge in either a camper OR tow vehicle but I want the tow vehicle to have plenty of performance capability left when towing whatever camper I end up with.

The reason for my post was maybe to see if there are any great values in powerful vehicles that wouldn't be obvious to most people. Also, buying used in my price range means maybe not getting exactly what you want. The grand cherokee V8 I'm looking at is 11 years old and has only 70,000 miles on it AND its been maintained per its OEM maintenance schedule at the dealer and the seller has a record of all of it. I generally wouldn't buy a jeep because the reliability is usually pretty poor for any Chrysler product. But a poorly maintained toyota with 250,000 miles on it probably wouldn't be a better choice. That said, I'm with you, my brand of choice would be toyota if I could find something - I've been looking a long time and good ones are usually too expensive.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:38 AM   #10
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Good tow vehicle for 2500 lb empty weight camper

Non-obvious possibility: Kia Borrego V8.

I agree about the difficulty of finding good used Toyotas on a budget.

Ford Expedition has a fairly good reliability reputation. Might be worth keeping on the radar.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:48 AM   #11
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We have a 2013 Ford Expedition, which we bought used in 2014. Comparable to a Chevy Suburban (but generally less money), it's rated for c. 7,500 lbs towing, so it handles our Casita 17' with ease. Might be bigger than you need. I like it because it can tote a lot of grandkids, and with the seats down can handle a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

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Old 06-14-2019, 06:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Instead of saying dry weight is meaningless, why not explain what dry weight is? It's the trailer weight without options, propane, battery, personal effects, food, or liquids. It is useful when comparing the dry weight of one trailer versus another. That's all it is and should not be used to determine if your tow vehicle is adequate.

Can't be that hard for you Thrifty.
The title of this thread is good tow vehicle for a 2500 pound empty weight trailer. I think that weight is meaningless for picking tow vehicle. It’s ok we disagree. Endless threads on trailer dry weights, better definitions than I could come up with. Yours is pretty good.

They are misleading to those that don’t understand them. I have friends that bought a trailer from camping world based on dry weight. I told the husband, “good news you will be getting a new truck”. Sure enough after their first camping trip they got a new higher rated truck,

In the SUV world I continue to prefer one of the nice four door pickups. They have similar utility to an SUV yet truck capabilities too.

As far as “bargains” in the used market, domestic full sized pickups are often a bargain out there. I bought my five year old F150 with only 12,000 miles on it for half what the seller paid new. Truck had been for sale for a couple of weeks so it’s not like I scooped it up lightning fast. On the other hand if you buy new, you better keep that domestic truck a long time or you will get the other end of this example.

I use my F150 to tow an Escape 19, dry weight 29xx pounds. I do not consider it overkill. Now when I use it to pull my Trillium 1300, it’s overkill, but a lot cheaper than owning two tow vehicles.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Non-obvious possibility: Kia Borrego V8.

I agree about the difficulty of finding good used Toyotas on a budget.

Ford Expedition has a fairly good reliability reputation. Might be worth keeping on the radar.
Thanks. I'll check that one out. I had a 2009 Hyundai Sonata 4 cylinder that was a very very reliable car until it got to be about 10 years old (recently). Its now starting to just fall apart and I took extremely good care of it. If I bought a used hyundai or kia it would have to be nearly new.
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:23 AM   #14
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For a trailer with a listed dry weight in the 2500-3000# range, I’d expect an optioned and loaded weight in the 3500-4500# range with 400-500# hitch weight.
Do you guys really load up your campers with 1000+ pounds of stuff and water?? All I do is throw in sleeping bags, pillows, and a few camping items like chairs and screen tent. All the heavy stuff goes in the vehicle, but even then I seriously doubt it all adds up to 1000 pounds.
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