Honda CR-V as Tow Vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-14-2012, 09:10 PM   #1
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Honda CR-V as Tow Vehicle

I share this as a pay-it-forward for all the help I received from the members of this site. My hope is that this post will help someone, as many of yours did me.

After much research and prep, my wife and I purchased a 13' Scamp and picked it up at the factory in Backus on July 9. Including the return trip to Arizona and outings since, we've towed our Scamp over 3000 miles with our 2009 Honda CR-V. The combination works, works well, and for us is a great match.

In the U.S., the CR-V is rated to tow 1500 lbs. I highly recommend abiding by that rating. Ours is stock except for an added transmission cooler.

We had the Scamp weighed at a truck scale on the day of pick up. The result = 1360 lbs. Essentially it's a loaded 13, with wet bath and electric brakes; less awning and AC.

For those familiar with the geography (and climate) of the western U.S. and as testimony to the ability of the CR-V to handle the Scamp, suffice to say we've pulled it through Leadville, CO, over Wolf Creek Pass, across the Salt River Canyon - both ways, and onto the Mogollon Rim from the Valley of the Sun ... in August! By the way, that Rim trip included our canoe on the roof of the CR-V, and our mountain bikes on the rear of the Scamp. And yes, we were still within the overall weight limit of the CR-V.

Shall we add a chicken coop atop and change our surname to Joad?!
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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Bet Wolf Creek pass gave your brakes a workout!

WOLFCREEKPASSs.wmv - YouTube
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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Our Honda experience.....

As you may know we've towed with our 2004 Honda CRV with a manual transmission for the last 5 years, successively towing a Sunline 15.5, a Casita 16 and now a Scamp 16 (2400 lbs including a 182 lb tongue weight).

Presently we are completing an 11 month loop of the USA, never a single drive line repair in 170,000 miles and between 22-23 mpg towing.

Mike,
What was your tongue weight? How does carrying a canoe impact your mpg?

Of our three trailers the Sunline was the lightest and had the lightest tongue weight yet towing it resulte in the lowest mpg, an indication that the shape of the trailer and its frontal area dramatically impact the load on the tow vehicle and the resulting mpg.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:21 PM   #4
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RogerDat - The video brings back the full experience of a bicycle tour over WCP a few years ago … complete with sweaty palms. Mountain descents can be … well … invigorating.

Norm & Ginny - Please know your posts were influential in our decision to stick with our CR-V as our tow vehicle. Tongue weight (target) is ca. 150 lbs., depending of course upon how the trailer is loaded. The only trip we’ve made with the canoe atop with Scamp in tow was arguably too short to meaningfully gauge impact on mileage. Yet after years of cartopping canoes and bicycles, I’m very aware of the effect of airflow disruption on performance and mileage. Aerodynamics were key in our decision to go w/o rooftop AC and awning on our trailer. Also, slower speeds and the resulting improvement on mileage is vastly under-emphasized.

And speaking of mileage, I’m envious of your results. Our 2009 CR-V (automatic) averaged 28.8 mpg on the 1700 trip from the greater Phoenix area to Backus. The return trip average, with Scamp following over 2200 miles and some mountainous geography, was 16.6. I almost always tow with the overdrive disengaged.

So to those who are experiencing angst and tow vehicle envy, please know an Abrams tank is not required to pull a Radio Flyer wagon (or whatever the reverse hyperbole would be). It’s really not rocket surgery; it is arming yourself with knowledge, then making a reasoned decision.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:31 PM   #5
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Mike glad to hear you are happy with your decision & your new trailer I am one of those who agrees a tank isnt need to pull them but I am even more happy that you decided to play it safe a go with a trailer that as you say abides by the manufactures tow rating.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:09 AM   #6
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Here we go again
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:27 AM   #7
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Good combo choice.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:05 AM   #8
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Mike,
Speed definitely diminishes mpg. About 60% of the engine's horsepower goes into overcoming air resistance, for example a Prius takes about half the horsepower of a typical truck to overcome air resisstance.

Sometimes we become concerned with weight and discount aerodynamics.

Similarly the more boxy the trailer, the more 'roof air conditioner, maxx aire and awning bumps', the more horsepower required to tow and the greater the load on the tow vehicle. We're with you on minimizing air resistance.

Another factor is the 'squareness of the trailer'. Some molded trailers are 'more square' than others, also contributing to horsepower consumption.

Certainly weight is a factor in towing, particularly on long climbs, however shape and aerodynamics are as well. The higher the drag the bigger the tow vehicle required.

Similarly with speed, the faster one goes, the greater the load on the tow vehicle and it's not linear with speed but rather is a square of the speed, doubling the speed requires 4 times the energy.

Safe towing.....
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:20 PM   #9
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I also think the tow vehical shape has an impact. How well it cuts the wind for the trailer. As opposed to letting the air either slam into the front of the trailer or directing air flow at the front of the trailer as it flows off the back of TV.

Our scamp 13 tucks in behind our Ford Explorer, does not stick out to the sides or top much. And most of that is the curved edges. I think our camper is "drafting" behind the TV. The world bicycle speed record is set by drafting behind a larger vehicle.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:20 PM   #10
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Drafting behind the tow vehicle. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Can’t help but notice the cowlings on semi tractors designed to smooth the airflow over the trailer. Just lately I’ve noticed semi trailers sporting “skirts” to smooth airflow beneath.

Being a lifelong cyclist, I know riding the draft - the slipstream behind - reduces the effort I must exert by ca. 35%. Geese “know” that instinctively. Hey, if we towed in a vacuum …

OK … my OCD leanings must be managed ;-)
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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I tow with a 2002 CRV 4cyl automatic. Recently took the 13' Scamp through the very mountainous Turnagain Pass from Anchorage to Homer, 8 hours roundtrip. With turning the Overdrive on and off as required we averaged 19.5 MPG. I was very satisfied with the horsepower available. Just wanted to pass the info along.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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Lost Trail Pass

We left Missoula this morning heading to Neveda's Ruby Mountains for a wedding taking Route 93 south. This takes you from Missoula's 3,000 ft to Lost Trail's 7,020 feet, mostly a gentle climb until the last 15 miles where it is a switch back loaded, causing you to lose speed in the corners. Fortunately the last 15 miles is an excellent road, though steep and twisty, better yet little traffic.

Our 2004 Honda CRV, manual transmission, handled it just fine with a fair amount of 3rd gear driving, mostly due to the switch backs. Before we reach the Ruby's we have one more yet higher pass to cross at Challis.

Though I'm sure we had bad mileage on the last, severelyup hill 15 miles, the downhill to North Fork, ID more than made up for it and though not 'full up measured" it looks like we're over 23 mpg since we left Missoula.

Our 170,000 mile Honda has stood up well though I am thinking I might get a new clutch when I get home before our next adventure.

After today's climb I suggested that our son, who pulls with a 2005 automatic Honda Accord a 1977 Scamp 13, purchase a transmission cooler. He called Uhaul in the Seattle area and they quoted $111 installed, pretty good for pricey Seattle.

We're at day 276 of this trip, still loving our Scamp, meeting our every need.... now listening to the Salmon River burble by our door step.... life is good.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:37 PM   #13
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A Tip

As we've aged in some measure we've become risk averse (as well as conservative in our spending).

Today it was supposed to reach the 90s so we decided to leave early, like good runners, to finish before the heat of the day. As a result we completed our 120 mile journey by 11 AM. Avoiding afternoon high temperatures is always better for tires, engines and people.

Safe travels
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:56 AM   #14
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Honda CRV at Willow Creek Pass

Another Idaho pass, Willow Creek 7160 feet. Not as tough as Lost Trail Pass because it was a straight run with no hair pins to lose speed in like Lost Trail.

We're finding Route 93 to be marvelous, a reminder of mountainous terrain and well watered farm lands of Idaho, definitely well worth the trip. Truly wishing we had reserved more time for this run. Numerous BLM campgrounds and BLM places to park, ghosts towns and marvelous dirt roads. Unfortunately this year there are a number of forest fires smoking the horizon.

Rt. 93 has been a trafficless road for most of the drive.

Safe travels off to the Craters of the Moon today....
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