I never see much here about frontal area. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-09-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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I have a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country with the towing package, which ups the towing capacity to 3500 pounds versus the 2000 pounds without it. The owner's manual talks about frontal area of the trailer and that it should be no more than 32 square feet. I am sure that my 16 Scamp is over that or right around it. Are these treated a little differently than your typical utility/closed box trailer? The rounded edges make it seem a little more aerodynamic or am I just hoping here!? I'll still pull it with the van but I'm just curious what others thoughts are on this subject as I don't see it mentioned much here.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:12 PM   #2
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Yep. At 6'8" wide x 7'10" tall that equals 52.2 square feet.

BUT if you take the inside width 6'6" and height 6'3", this would make the heighth 6'5" maybe 3" for the frame, that would be 6'8" and would cut it down to 44.4 sq ft. Unfortunately well above the 32 ft².

OTOH, that would be for a flat front. Eggs are curved and more aerodynamic. And I daresay, since you are well under the weight limit, that flat front square footage is less important. Just keep it under 80mph.

Or like the sign I saw - Bridge out Slow to 60
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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I have a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country with the towing package, which ups the towing capacity to 3500 pounds versus the 2000 pounds without it. The owner's manual talks about frontal area of the trailer and that it should be no more than 32 square feet. I am sure that my 16 Scamp is over that or right around it. Are these treated a little differently than your typical utility/closed box trailer? The rounded edges make it seem a little more aerodynamic or am I just hoping here!? I'll still pull it with the van but I'm just curious what others thoughts are on this subject as I don't see it mentioned much here.
I had a 12' stickbuilt trailer which was square as a brick with a forward tilt. It was like a deployed parachute behind my truck.We switched to a 13' lovebug and it was as if we left the trailer at home, in comparison. The shape of the Scamp type trailer is an aerodynamic marvel.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:24 AM   #4
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I'd say that frontal area is more a mechanical reliability issue than a safety issue. Your minivan is well and truly out of warranty.

Other than my Dodge Caravan's owner's manual, I have never seen mention of rated frontal area for towing. Maybe Chrysler is alone in specifying a limit?
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:39 PM   #5
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I suggest that this means you cant tow anything.

The frontal area of your van is about 32 sq-ft.

Just a thought. Or does your manual say this area is just for the RV?

If so, you should be able to subtract the frontal area of you van from the frontal area of your scamp (i.e. slip-stream effect of due to the close proximity of two vehicles, ala NASCAR Racing) .

Humm, does that sound like a lawyer talking?

Well, I'm just and engineer and I don't think a statement like in an owners manual would have any effect on your warrantee.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:36 PM   #6
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Ha, yes, I am definitely out of warranty at this point! It only has 67K on it though. I figure of something breaks on it, I'll just fix it. Our old 2001 T&C pulled it OK but it didn't have the towing package so we ended up buying this one. It seemed to tow our Scamp OK so maybe the roundness does help a lot. I can't imagine towing some big square behind our van though. It's not like we're full-timing and traveling all over the US anyway. We're just weekend warriors. As long as it's a reliability and not a safety issue, I feel comfortable doing it. Thanks for all of the advice.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
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Yep. At 6'8" wide x 7'10" tall that equals 52.2 square feet.

I don't want to split hairs here, but that 7'10" tall includes a lot of open space under your trailer. That would not be part of the frontal area. Your frontal area is likely somewhat less than 52 square feet.

I also concur that the aerodynamics of your trailer play a very positive role in ease of towing. My Bigfoot has a much flatter frontal area than my previous Casita. I can really feel the wind resistance. I know that since the Bigfoot is much larger it isn't a fair comparison, but I can tell that the wind doesn't slide off the front of this trailer very well.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:29 PM   #8
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Other than my Dodge Caravan's owner's manual, I have never seen mention of rated frontal area for towing. Maybe Chrysler is alone in specifying a limit?

Frontal area is mentioned in my 94 Ranger Manual under towing but mentioned only once some distance away from the various weights in a multiple page section on towing specifications and warnings. My guess is that many skip over the line looking for what they presume to be more important namely weight limits.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:21 AM   #9
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Frontal area is mentioned in my 94 Ranger Manual under towing but mentioned only once some distance away from the various weights in a multiple page section on towing specifications and warnings. My guess is that many skip over the line looking for what they presume to be more important namely weight limits.
Mentioned in my old 2002 Ranger's manual & in my new Nissan Frontier manual, also - in the same way you describe.
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Old 09-07-2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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Other than my Dodge Caravan's owner's manual, I have never seen mention of rated frontal area for towing.
My Honda Odyssey owner's manual does not mention [b]frontal area specs for a trailer.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:37 PM   #11
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Don't fret about it. If you're not over the weight limit, you're ok. Just remember that faster speeds will increase the wind resistance kind of exponentially, so if you're worried about stressing the transmission you can always keep your speed down a bit. Say, 60 or less most of the time, and slower in a strong headwind. Shift down when going up steep grades. That kind of stuff.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:06 AM   #12
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I'd love to see some wind tunnel research on the shapes of various trailers. Lacking that, I believe the Scamp is an aerodynamic marvel with untold advantage over a flat sided trailer.

"Nature abhors a vacuum," we all heard before we dropped out of science classes because we couldn't remember how to spell "abhor" and "vacuum." Anyway, consider what onrushing air has to do to clear a flat-sided trailer shape. Air is compressed when the trailer front hits it at 60 mph or so. That air rushes to the side and top to find lower pressure. It can't turn a perfect right angle when it passes over the corners, so a partial vacuum is created. Dragging along those small low pressure vortexes adds to the air resistance experienced by the trailer. This also applies to sidewinds, which would create low pressure vortexes along the upper corner of the wall-roof edges. That suction, applied to the top edge, would have a lot of leverage to lean a trailer. That's a roundabout way of explaining my my round-sided, cornerless Scamp seems to ignore crosswinds completely.

The same effect gives the egg trailers another advantage at the rear end. It's easier for fast-moving air to wrap around the soft corners of the egg and fill in the low-pressure area at the rear of the trailer.

Anyone who actually passed Physics want to add to my suppositions?
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