Has anyone tried this to check a tow vehicle? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-04-2009, 05:17 PM   #1
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I thought that before buying the 1600# 15' escape (estimate per Tammy form Escape), as it would be getting close to the maximum weight of #2000 for the TV, I would rent an enclosed u-haul trailer and load it up with wood (with correct balance) to get close to the tow weight we think we will have. Then go over some of the passes around Portland and to the beach to make sure that the TV will work with that much load. Has anybody else tried this out? Does this sound like a good or terrible idea? I figure that if the TV has a problem, we will get a lighter trailer or get another TV to pull a heavier trailer, but will not have invested in a trailer yet. If we have to get another TV, we will probably wait another year and get a larger trailer. If we decide to go with the 13' and keep the current TV, we may see if escape can add 6" to the bed and tighten up the kitchen and closet. I just would like to know before we pick up the trailer and find out on the drive back that it's not a good combination.

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Old 04-04-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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Then go over some of the passes around Portland and to the beach to make sure that the TV will work with that much load. Has anybody else tried this out? Does this sound like a good or terrible idea?[b] I figure that if the TV has a problem...
On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable scientific experiment.

BUT, have you determined what individual characteristics you will be testing for? How will you know if it passes? Or, better yet, how will you know if it FAILS? Can you afford the consequences of a real-world Failure? <sub>(not on a closed test track or with a professional driver, as the fine print on those TV ads point out)</sub>
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
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Good idea -- If you are starting to have troubles, you can always chuck the firewood out on the side of the road to lighten your load -- You will learn about the power and braking sides of the tow triangle and can take it to a parking lot for some mild sway excercises.

Consider installing a transmission temperature gauge to see what's happening in that department; it's a good thing to have anyway.

Keep in mind Ford's "Reduce tow capacity by 2% for every 1,000' of altitude" advice -- Tow capacities are generally made on level ground at sea level.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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I took a similar approach, but not nearly as scientific. Berfor we ordered the 17' Casuta, I rented and man lift to clean roofs and gutters, It weighed 3000#. I had to tow it about 20 miles to and from the house as well as back it down a curved sloping driveway. Based on that I new that our Ridgeline would handle the Casita with no problem.

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Old 04-04-2009, 07:50 PM   #5
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I love experiments, but even without conducting one, I'm thinking a 1600# factory weight trailer and a vehicle with a 2000# towing capacity would be cutting it a bit close for me, especially if you plan to drive in mountains.

It seems like you could very easily go over 2000#, and like it would be very difficult to stay under... doesn't it?

And I'm not one of these people who think you need a Mack truck to tow a small trailer. Heck, I tow with a 4-cylinder car --- but with quite a bit more "room" between the weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of the car.

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Old 04-05-2009, 05:49 AM   #6
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I believe there are factors other than just 'weight' which affect the towing characteristics of a trailer, as paired with a particular towing vehicle, and I do not believe that merely adding weight to one trailer, so as to match another trailer's weight, will give you a true representation of how that second trailer will perform while towed, particularly if they are dissimilar designed trailers. In fact, I suspect it will not even yield a "close" representation for you. I believe there are a host of other factors which are brought into play to produce towing performance such as trailer size, design & aerodynamics, axle type, load balance, tongue weight, brakes, etc., and these, along with the weight, come into play to skew trailer performance one way or another under tow. So, I suspect that your U-haul loaded down with wood will give you quite a different "tow" than the 15' Escape, even if the weight of each are identical. It would be like comparing apples with oranges and trying to form an opinion of one while tasting the other. Weight is only one factor in a very complicated equation of interactions which produce trailer/tow vehicle performance and I don't believe you can consider it alone in your quest.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:36 AM   #7
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I see that you are from Oregon, there seems to be more people from that area than anywhere else on the forum.
See if you could talk one of them into letting you tow there trailer for a test drive. ( With them riding along of course )

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Old 04-05-2009, 07:40 AM   #8
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I see that you are from Oregon, there seems to be more people from that area than anywhere else on the forum.
I sent an invite to the NOG, which is in less than three weeks! Where he can see the trailers and visit with the owners, but don't know if there's any interest.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:51 AM   #9
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I love experiments, but even without conducting one, I'm thinking a 1600# factory weight trailer and a vehicle with a 2000# towing capacity would be cutting it a bit close for me, especially if you plan to drive in mountains.

It seems like you could very easily go over 2000#, and like it would be very difficult to stay under... doesn't it?

And I'm not one of these people who think you need a Mack truck to tow a small trailer. Heck, I tow with a 4-cylinder car --- but with quite a bit more "room" between the weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of the car.

Raya
This is pretty much my take on it too Danny. I have pulled many trailers with lots of different fow vehicles, from tractor-trailer units, to a small utility trailer behind a small car.

With all vehicles, even big rigs, being underpowered is frustrating, especially if you are doing lots of hills, or ever needing to pass someone. It is also very taxing on the tow vehicle. The suggestion of a transmission temperature gauge, and likely adding cooling is a good one.

For the dry weight of a travel trailer, I usually look at not exceeding about 2/3's the allowed weight according to the tow vehicle maker. This will allow you to load up the trailer with what you need and still get decent performance. You also have to take into consideration how much weight you are going to load up into the tow vehicle. Just because you are keeping the trailer weight just below the specified limit, you could still be overdoing the allowed weight of the entire setup, tow and trailer combined.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:58 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the great replies. I like the idea of trying a trial tow of a similar trailer, but I don't know if I would say OK to that if I owned a trailer!
Donna, I just seen my invite to NOG, thank you. I checked our calendar and we will be gone that weekend, but thanks for the thought anyhow.
I may still rent a U-hual, mainly to see how it tows uphill, not for the true feeling along the flats. All the comments give me food for thought, I just have to get more info on a finished 15 footer. Who knows, we may end up modifiying an older 13' , but this is difficult since we live in a condo.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:07 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the great replies. I like the idea of trying a trial tow of a similar trailer, but I don't know if I would say OK to that if I owned a trailer!
Donna, I just seen my invite to NOG, thank you. I checked our calendar and we will be gone that weekend, but thanks for the thought anyhow.
You're more than welcome Danny. The next event is in May... if you want to drive to BC: click here 2009 Ft. Langley Meet

And June 4-7, 2009, is the (click here) 2009 Washington State Get Together, about 100 miles north of Portland. Lots of different brands of trailers to view.

Best of luck, sounds like you've got a plan going.
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:37 PM   #12
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I would say after doing my own research, that a 2000lb tow vehicle is insufficient for anything but a 13' trailer. Don't forget that the weight given by mfgrs is dry weight. 12 gallons of water (the 13' Escape has a 12 gallon fresh water tank) alone is 100 lbs. Now you are down to 300 lbs. If it has grey and black water tanks, add another 8.35lbs per gallon. Now add bedding, cookware, clothing vacation stuff, camera, binoculars, kites, etc, etc, and I think you get the picture.
There is also the problem of GVWR which is the total weight the TV can carry and tow. This includes the weight of the persons (darn I knew I should have gone on that diet) and stuff you carry in the car as well as the trailer.
IMHO, I would say that anything over a 13' should be pulled by a 3500lb capacity TV.

The relevant article starts partway down the page:

http://www.trilliumrv.com/models.htm

Hope this helps. Your 15' won't be ready until late 2009 anyway.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
This is pretty much my take on it too Danny. I have pulled many trailers with lots of different fow vehicles, from tractor-trailer units, to a small utility trailer behind a small car.

With all vehicles, even big rigs, being underpowered is frustrating, especially if you are doing lots of hills, or ever needing to pass someone. It is also very taxing on the tow vehicle. The suggestion of a transmission temperature gauge, and likely adding cooling is a good one.

For the dry weight of a travel trailer, I usually look at not exceeding about 2/3's the allowed weight according to the tow vehicle maker. This will allow you to load up the trailer with what you need and still get decent performance. You also have to take into consideration how much weight you are going to load up into the tow vehicle. Just because you are keeping the trailer weight just below the specified limit, you could still be overdoing the allowed weight of the entire setup, tow and trailer combined.
Hi Jim,
Are you the Jim Bennett who worked at Gull Lake AB? I worked there too if you did and that is why I ask?
Donna
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:56 PM   #14
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Go ahead and rent the UHaul; towing it might tell you something. Keep in mind that frontal area (and thus the wind resistance) may not be identical. Towing the same weight slowly up a grade will be pretty similar, though.

If you do buy the Escape, you should do so with the mindset that you won't be traveling far or fast and that you'll eventually upgrade the tow vehicle someday. But at least you would get to start trailer camping in the meantime.

I will predict, though, that you will be underwhelmed by the Subaru's towing prowess.
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