Jeep Wrangler, Short Wheelbase, for Towing - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-29-2008, 12:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
The rule of thumb is to not exceed 75% of the vehicle towing capacity.

People exceed posted limits on a daily basis and some even live to tell about it.
Agreed, but if one makes a habit of it, one is challenging statistics, and I for one am not going to encourage people to "Go for it!" when it comes to exceeding the manufacturer's stated limits.

Some of the folks who exceeded the limits once too often may not be around to tell us about it.

Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances...
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:32 AM   #16
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I had a PM but am not sure if it referred to a thread or not, so I'll stick it here because it's of interest

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Question:

Why not tow a '13? It weighs #1000, has trailer brakes and is under the towing limit set by the manufacturer and DOT. As far as I'm concerned, a '13 is perfect for a smaller vehicle like an Element or any other light car. The tranny cooler is a prudent option if you are going to trailer it in the mountains. As for overdrive, look in the Element owners manual and it explicitly states that in hilly terrain take it out of overdrive and continue towing. When I leave it in overdrive I have no problems, I'm just following the owners manual. So my question stands, "why not tow a '13?"

Answer:

If a loaded 13' weighed only 1,000 lbs (dry) I might agree with you, but they don't and likely never did -- The Scamp brochure weights are way off (read the Casita specs on a 13') -- They put a 2,200 lb axle under them for a reason -- You aren't going to be towing a dry trailer...

I have a 91S13' -- It has the foam icebox, not a refrigerator -- It doesn't have a toilet (except my porta-potti), it doesn't have a hot water heater, it doesn't have gray or black tanks, it doesn't have oven (just range top), it doesn't have a converter and it only has a ten-pound LP tank instead of the usual 20-lb and it doesn't have air conditioning or the regular RV furnace. It does have a vent-free heater, a fantastical fan and a spare wheel/tire. That's a pretty basic unit.

The actual scale weight, loaded for the road (IOW, what I really tow) is 1,750 lbs on the axle and another 250 lbs tongue weight and that was before I added the brakes and brake drums to it.

The tongue label on my Scamp says axle weight is 950 lbs -- I don't for a moment believe that I have nearly doubled the weight of the trailer with food, LP, water and clothes.

Here's the way tow capacity is calculated -- The engineers set a total capacity weight, after consulting with the marketing guys, called the Gross Combined Weight Restriction (GCWR; which should be in your owner's manual) -- From that they subtract the curb weight (usually vehicle, driver and fuel -- Maybe some cargo), then subtract extras (like hitch receiver, trans cooler, other after-market, etc.), then subtract cargo and passengers and trailer tongue weight) and the remainder is available for trailer axle weight -- The max tow weight is often calculated using no passengers, no cargo, 10% of trailer for TW (sort of a circular figure) and minimal hitch weight.

Reportedly, for trucks the curb weight presumes no cargo, but passenger vehicles have greater allowance for passengers/cargo so that may need to be taken into account.

So, what YOU need to do, rather than listen to other folks who may be proud of their bravery and their experience so far and there brave-element or VW or whatever, and just haven't managed to get into the right situation at the wrong time, is find out your GCWR and take your Element to a scale and get the curb weight -- Then you can start subtracting for the cargo, passengers and hitch equipment and see what's left for actual trailer.

Based on my numbers, it looks like you will already have exceeded the stated tow capacity by 250 lbs even if the Element was empty and there was no tongue weight.

The reason I may seem harsh on this subject is that I had my Scamp yank my half-ton full-size Dodge pickup all over a road in BC and I was darned lucky there was no one in the oncoming lane -- My truck was rated for 2,000 lbs TC.

There are three parts to towing, getting it moving (power and driveline), stopping it (brakes, relative weights of egg and TV) and steering (tow geometry -- Wheelbase, overhang, tongue length, trailer overhang, towing suspension, TV weight balance and correct tongue weight.

The above is why it may not be a good idea to tow a 13', much less a 16/17'.

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Old 11-12-2008, 01:09 PM   #17
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Name: John
Trailer: 2000 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Thank you all for everyone's kind help with my jeep and "which" Casita decision. I now own one. I opted for a 16 footer!

At the very end of last month I drove my Jeep Wrangler from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to a very nice, small town just north of Montgomery, Alabama, called Coosada and purchased a 'new-to-me", 2000 Casita, 16' Spirit Deluxe, from a fine young lady there. The local RV dealer, Clark's RV, hooked up a new plug to my Jeep to match the Casita's, installed a brake controller for the Casita brakes and put a sway bar extension on my hitch so I could use the sway bar that came with my 'new' Casita. I was excited but very, very tired.

I had been driving since 0400 that morning to get to Coosada around noonish and while the drive was long, my overall purchase experience could not have been more pleasant. The Casita was just as the young lady said, pristine on the inside but showing some signs of wear on the outside from always being parked under the elements. And, almost everything worked, which was a plus. The folks at Clark's RV were professional and quite reasonable as I was expecting a much higher bill than what I was charged for the work they did. I would recommend them highly if anyone finds themselves near Montgomery and need any work at all done on their trailer.

I was tired that afternoon from the drive and all the stress and excitement of my new ownership when everything was finally hooked up to my Jeep but quite nervous too. I had read more than just a little negativity on these forums from some who had cautioned against towing a package so close to, or exceeding, the maximum rating of my tow vehicle. But, I had also been able to locate and communicate with two who already did in fact tow 16 foot Casitas with their Jeep Wranglers so, I suspected, but was not completely convinced, that I could too. When I pulled out of Clark RV's parking lot that afternoon with my new Casita following firmly behind me, to say that I was 'white-knuckled' would be a considerable understatement.

But, I soon found that I had no problems towing at all. In the beginning I never let my speed exceed 55 MPH. Then, As I slowly gained more confidence, I let it creep up to 60 MPH and occasionally to 65 even. On the I-10 expressway I even nudged it to 70 MPH on a few occasions when I let my mind wander but always immediately backed off to average my speed somewhere in the 60's, between 60 and 65, which is where i felt safer. The jeep's motor pulled it nicely and I never needed shifting much out of 5th gear on the rolling hills of southern Alabama. And, not once did it even hint at swaying, even when I was passed by tractor and trailers speeding past me in the rain that evening.

I was most pleasantly surprised with my gas consumption, too. The Jeep is known for it's horrible mileage per gallon and i averaged exactly 16.6 miles for each of them up to the point where i picked up my Casita and then a surprising 14.8 miles for each with towing it behind me. I expected considerably worse. That meant, for each 1000 miles of towing the Casita would in the future cost me just an additional 7.3 gallons more of gas. Now, that is not a bad trade-off for hauling one's home with them. Of course, I did not have my additional 300 pounds or so of personal gear I will later carry or water in the holding tank, but it did have a full propane tank. Even if i lose a full 2 MPG instead of the 1.8, I will still be quite happy! I must add that I do not know what the Casita weighs, but it is a deluxe version so I am guessing at 1650-1700 or so.

The bottom line, from my experience, is that my Jeep Wrangler is indeed up to the task of pulling THIS 16' Spirit Deluxe, made in the tender year of 2000. Now, I know it will struggle some going up and over the Rocky Mountains on at least two occasions northwestward this summer on the drive to Alaska, but I am now convinced that not only is it a doable adventure but a fairly safe one as well, so long as I always maintain my vigilance. But, that is something we all need to maintain anyway, no matter what our tow vehicle is, right? I do wonder, though, just how much 'slop' is built into each vehicle's published tow capacity, especially in this country of easy and all to often frivolous lawsuits. My Jeep's tow capacity is much higher in Europe, for instance, than the 2000 pounds it is listed at here in the USA.

I am happy with my decision. If you can believe it, am even happy waxing off almost nine years of accumulated oxidation from the 'egglet' and putting the shine back into it!
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
The bottom line, from my experience, is that my Jeep Wrangler is indeed up to the task of pulling THIS 16' Spirit Deluxe...

My Jeep's tow capacity is much higher in Europe, for instance, than the 2000 pounds it is listed at here in the USA.
I take it from the above you are counseling others to tow over the manufacturers limits with a short-wheelbased vehicle?

I sure hope your TV is also up to the task of stopping and steering while towing under adverse conditions, but I doubt that it will be.

Don't forget to release the tension on your friction anti-sway bars under slippery road conditions..
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:31 PM   #19
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Scamp 16
Washington
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I tow a 16' scamp with a 2005 Jeep Wrangler.
Seattle to Arizona and back twice with no problems.
Be careful about loading and speed.
Brian B W
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:22 AM   #20
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Name: John
Trailer: 2000 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
Florida
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Quote:
I take it from the above you are counseling others to tow over the manufacturers limits with a short-wheelbased vehicle?

I sure hope your TV is also up to the task of stopping and steering while towing under adverse conditions, but I doubt that it will be.

Don't forget to release the tension on your friction anti-sway bars under slippery road conditions..
\
Pete:
I underlined THIS in my thread above specifically to indicate that the combination works for me, and obviously not that I was suggesting that others do so or even counseling others to do so.

We all must make our own decisions and we are all responsible for our own actions. What I tried to carefully, and tactfully, suggest was that we should evaluate the "nay" opinions, as well as the "yea" opinions of others on any subject and take each with the very same "grain of salt". I know that I am likely pushing the envelope a bit in this endeavor but I just wanted to say that it was not an impossible task, as was offered by some. In fact, my experience is that I cannot even consider it reckless. Just my knowing the limitation likely will go a long way towards making me a much more cautious driver than I might be otherwise, for instance, pulling with something like a Hummer. I just like my Jeep. I do not want another vehicle. And, I wanted a 16 footer. It is a marriage that seems to work for me. I am certainly not counseling it for everyone else!...Unless, of course, you wish the same combination for yourself!
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:30 PM   #21
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The reason that I mentioned what I did was that we had a recent poster who was going to hang a lot of weight on his conventional trailer because a poster on another forum had done it without problems with a 5W trailer....

People sometimes see what they want in what they read on forums like this, so it's best to be very clear.
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