Looking for a tow vehicle for my Bonair Oxygen - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-30-2013, 10:03 PM   #1
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Looking for a tow vehicle for my Bonair Oxygen

Hello. This is my first post in a forum.

I just purchased a Bonair Oxygen trailer. The plate on the trailer states that the fully loaded weight is 2785 pounds. The trailer is 16.5 feet long and 19 feet including the trailer frame. I can actually lift the front of the trailer off the ground. The shape of the trailer is very aerodynamic - curved front and back. It's like an egg on 2 wheels.

I plan to use the trailer for family vacations in Ontario (where there are no mountains but some fairly big hills) during the spring, summer, and fall. I don't intend to do any off-road travelling. I will be staying in Ontario provincial parks. There are 2 adults and 2 small children in my family. (My wife might say there are 3 children in the family and her.)

If I fully load the trailer to capacity and place 4 passengers in the vehicle, the total weight should be about 2785 pounds (fully loaded trailer) + 600 pounds (passengers and stuff) = 3385 pounds total.

I was planning to use a Hensley Cub articulating hitch to control trailer sway and use the weight distribution provided to level out my tow vehicle.

My question: Considering this, would a crossover or small SUV rated to tow 3500 / 4500 pounds with the proper tow prep equipment (tranny cooler, larger fan, etc.) be appropriate? I am looking at a Ford Flex, Ford Edge V6, Toyota Venza V6, RAV4 V6, Mazda CX-9 V6, Honda Pilot AWD V6.

Preferably I would like to hear from those people who have direct experience with what I've described, however I appreciate all feedback.

Before anyone says it, I know that something like a Toyota Tacoma - Double Cab would suit my towing needs. Problem is, this will be my only vehicle and I commute a considerable distance to work.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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Such cool trailers! Congrats!

What the trailer states and what it actually weighs can be two different things! My recommendation would be, have it weighted.


As for your question, I would say NO! Your saying 600 pounds, passengers and gear, water, propane, food, etc etc etc? Yeah , ummmmm, still gonna say NO! Sorry! Again, I recommend having the trailer weighted before you even attempt to buy a tow vehicle. Then go from there.


I believe the trailer weight is close but close it isn't a given. But I think your other numbers are far off, so added to not knowing the exact weight of the trailer is why I get my, NO!


I really recommend reading this thread.

Trailer Weights in the Real World

It will help you get a idea of what real weights are! But the only true way to know is to weigh what you have! Then get real about what gear, food, toy's etc etc etc weigh......

There will be some who say go for it! But do you know if they really know what they are talking about? Again the only way to know, is weigh the trailer! Your local landfill, grain mill, truck stops have weigh stations. It's so worth the $10 to $20 to know for sure what your towing.........
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
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An Oxygen - cool - love them!
I dont pull with any of the cars you have listed - I use an Outback but I have a friend who is pulling an Escape 17 with the Venza V6 (3,500 lbs tow spec) and they are *really* happy with it.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:34 PM   #4
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An Oxygen was weighed at the Bandon Meet a couple of summers ago. It was a single traveler and as I recall the trailer wasnt stuffed full of things and the trailers weight on axle was 2420 and tongue 320lbs for a total weight of 2740. Pretty sure they didnt have any water in their tanks as they camped with us the night before further up the coast at a park with services and the weigh in was on arrival at a park with services.

The actual weigh in can be found on the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:31 AM   #5
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I have a 2008 rav4 v6 with a 3500lb tow capacity. My ParkLiner is about in your weight range and have towed it through the mountains in Pa...highway and off road and If I keep my speed around 60 other then in heavy winds I dont even feel it back there. I added a wdh because the rav4 has a soft rear end and it sat too low without the weight distribution hitch(wdh) Otherwise I have zero issues using it as a tow vehicle. I eventually have aspirations for a tacoma because I could use a pickup truck(tired of throwing bags of dirt etc for my mom every spring into the back seat lol)
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:22 AM   #6
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Cool an Oxygen! I've seen Drew's... the one Carol referenced in her post at the Oregon Gathering. They're so few in number, I never thought I'd ever see one in person.

Pictures? Do you have any pictures to share??
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:38 AM   #7
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Hello Paul and welcome to the forum. An Oxygen, what a great looking trailer. Congratulations. As Robin suggests, get it weighed. Then you know what you are up against. You can find scales at truck stops, transfer stations, metal recyclers, etc. Also make sure the trailer brakes are in good working order. The dilemma of one vehicle with enough power for towing and good gas mileage for commuting is common here. I'm sure you will get lots of opinions. I'm no help, I tow with a truck. Take care, Raz
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimjed View Post
Hello. This is my first post in a forum.

I just purchased a Bonair Oxygen trailer. The plate on the trailer states that the fully loaded weight is 2785 pounds. The trailer is 16.5 feet long and 19 feet including the trailer frame. I can actually lift the front of the trailer off the ground. The shape of the trailer is very aerodynamic - curved front and back. It's like an egg on 2 wheels.

I plan to use the trailer for family vacations in Ontario (where there are no mountains but some fairly big hills) during the spring, summer, and fall. I don't intend to do any off-road travelling. I will be staying in Ontario provincial parks. There are 2 adults and 2 small children in my family. (My wife might say there are 3 children in the family and her.)

If I fully load the trailer to capacity and place 4 passengers in the vehicle, the total weight should be about 2785 pounds (fully loaded trailer) + 600 pounds (passengers and stuff) = 3385 pounds total.

I was planning to use a Hensley Cub articulating hitch to control trailer sway and use the weight distribution provided to level out my tow vehicle.

My question: Considering this, would a crossover or small SUV rated to tow 3500 / 4500 pounds with the proper tow prep equipment (tranny cooler, larger fan, etc.) be appropriate? I am looking at a Ford Flex, Ford Edge V6, Toyota Venza V6, RAV4 V6, Mazda CX-9 V6, Honda Pilot AWD V6.

Preferably I would like to hear from those people who have direct experience with what I've described, however I appreciate all feedback.

Before anyone says it, I know that something like a Toyota Tacoma - Double Cab would suit my towing needs. Problem is, this will be my only vehicle and I commute a considerable distance to work.

Thanks in advance.
Hmmmmm.... lots of issues that I can see:

1. I have never seen a mfg's tag that stated "Fully Loaded Weight". How does the builder have even a clue about how much the trailer will weigh when fully loaded. Maybe it states "Maximum loaded weight" which is a limit that you will have to verify when loaded. I would plan on a TV that can tow 3500 lbs at a minimum.

2. 4 Passengers and stuff= 600 lbs.? That might work out this year but, as kids grow so will the weight.

3. Tongue weight: Unless you are that guy in a Blue and Red suit with a cape, you shouldn't be able to easily pick up a tongue that should weigh at least 250 lbs. If it doesn't, there must be excessive weight in the back of the trailer.

4. There are so few of that make out there, that the chances of getting direct input of someone towing one will be slim to none. But 95% of all single axle FGRV's in that weight range will tow about the same.

FWIW: The Toyota FJ fits the bill and has a good following.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:18 AM   #9
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Smile

I eventually have aspirations for a tacoma because I could use a pickup truck(tired of throwing bags of dirt etc for my mom every spring into the back seat lol)[/QUOTE]

---------------------------------------------------
Somewhat off topic, but when I sold my GMC Sonoma I'd had for ten years, and bought a Blazer for a TV, I also bought a 4"x8' Carson flat bed trailer for about $600.

It carries more than the p/u bed, is a lot easier to load and costs a lot less than changing vehicles just to carry dirty stuff, furniture, building materials and salvaged trailer parts, not to mention taking a whole pile of grandkids to D' Land....

In Europe, where p/u's are almost unknown, this is standard practice for weekend gardeners etc.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:40 AM   #10
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Forgot to mention:

5. Always, always, always go by the towing specs shown in the manual for the specific vehicle you are looking at buying. What Joe the mechanic, or the party mentioned in item #6, tells you, doesn't count.

6. If someone (whose initials are Can-Am) tells you that they can fix up your VW Beetle )(or whatever) to tow that puppy, refer to point #5.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. I very much appreciate the feedback. I ask this question because I am new to towing a trailer and there's no substitute for asking experienced people. My goal is to provide my family with a safe and fun vacation. I don't think that a pickup truck is a comfortable family vehicle for long journeys with two small girls. I purchased this specific trailer because it is light-weight and aerodynamic and is from our perspective a big upgrade for our family to enjoy camping. Our experience and expectations are "tent-based" camping!!

The stated "dry weight" on the Bonair Oxygen is 1890 pounds. The maximum fully loaded axle weight is 2785 a.k.a. GVWR. According to the link provided, the real world weight is 2740 so it looks like I'm in the right ball park. My assumption (which may be wrong) is that I could place a maximum of (2785 - 1890) 895 pounds of gear inside the trailer. The trailer does have working electronic brakes. These were tested when we transported the trailer 850 km (500 miles) from Northern Ontario to Southern Ontario. To test we stopped a Ford F150 at low speed using the trailer brake override. The gear I plan to carry on the trailer includes: 2 propane tanks, 1 marine battery, food, clothing, full water tank, cushions, camping lanterns, flashlights, 2 inflatable rafts, kitchen supplies, screened in tent, bbq, cooler, folding chairs, and anything else I can't think of right now. We recently went tent camping with a car (Volkswagen Jetta.) All the camping gear with roof box and 4 passengers totaled less than 900 pounds. Obviously this didn't include 2 propane tanks and 1 marine battery. I figure my weight estimates are going to be pretty close.

The 600 pounds I calculated was the weight of 3 passengers (me - 210 pounds, my 3-year old - 35 pounds, my 5-year old - 50 pounds) leaving me with 305 pounds for my wife's unstated weight and some gear. Being the good husband that I am I can assure you all that this gives us plenty margin for error for my wife, car gear, and growing children. Let's say I add on another 100 pounds to total 700 pounds inside the car in case I want to account for more car gear and growing kids. That puts us at 3485 for the car and fully loaded trailer. Seems to me I could transfer some gear from the trailer to the tow vehicle to provide a more stable rig.

As per the advise many of you provided I do plan to get the trailer weighed at our local waste transfer station this weekend with help from my father-in law and his trusty Silverado. I was planning on loading up the trailer with all the stuff I can imagine we would use and, just for the sake of argument, completely fill the water tank too. I anticipate this will tell me that the trailer weighs just shy of 2800 pounds.

The Hensley hitch I mentioned appears to be an effective trailer hitch to control sway (when used with a properly loaded and balanced trailer.) This hitch has weight distribution bars on it so the tongue weight can remain controlled and proper for the load. It's expensive but for me worth it for the peace of mind. Source: Hensley-Hitch-RVShow-Video.mpg - YouTube

So I think this demonstrates that I've thought this through very carefully. I'm at 3495 and I'm looking at something that tows 3500, with 350 pound tongue weight. The Venza V6 is my preferred vehicle right now. The wheelbase on the Venza is 109 inches which I understand is good for trailers up to 19 feet. I'm also looking at the Ford Flex that tows 4500 with 450 tongue weight. This gives me an extra 1000 pounds to play with. The wheelbase on the Flex is 117 inches which is good to tow trailers up to 21 feet. (Source: http://www.slaga.net/RV/How%20to%20Tow-version%202.pdf - page 18.) Both vehicles handle a class 3 hitch receiver.

Given this, any comments? Should I be using a greater margin for error?

Pictures will follow...

Thank you everyone.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:25 AM   #12
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Just a few clarifications:

The dry weight of the Bonair Oxygen is 1890 pounds. The tongue weight is 190 pounds when dry. This is what I lifted. I don't think I could lift the tongue when fully loaded. No letter S under my shirt!

The stated maximum weight refers to how much the trailer can be loaded safely with respect to the tires and the axle. See previous post.

The towing stats I provided are confirmed with each manufacturer. Toyota vehicles sold in Canada come with the tow prep package already. Source: TOYOTA CANADA: Language See bottom of page, Towing Capacity.

I have visited Can-Am in London, Ontario. They set up a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI with a 16 foot Airstream Bambi. This is the same type of vehicle that I drive - except mine is a wagon. I took a test drive on some country roads at 80km/h (about 50 mph.) I went up and down hills and entered a small town with stop and go traffic. The Jetta could do it. The engine did not strain at any time. However, reading my owner's manual I saw that Volkswagen states that a weight distribution hitch should not be used with this car. The body is not designed for the stress. Also, the maximum towing capacity is 2000 pounds for a manual transmission and 1000 for an automatic transmission (DSG.) The Jetta I used had automatic transmission (DSG.) The hitch used by Can Am RV employed weight distribution bars. The Bambi I towed was 2700 pounds as configured (basically empty.) The experience told me that although you "can" tow above stated limits, I am not comfortable with doing this. I walked away from the deal. I felt that I wasn't in control of the rig.

So, to assure everyone, I am not trying to be foolish. I've done my homework. I want to hear from people who have experience with this setup. I've used this document as a source of information: http://www.slaga.net/RV/How%20to%20Tow-version%202.pdf Seems to be well written by a knowledgeable person.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:31 AM   #13
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimjed View Post
I was planning on loading up the trailer with all the stuff I can imagine we would use and, just for the sake of argument, completely fill the water tank too. I anticipate this will tell me that the trailer weighs just shy of 2800 pounds.

.

A couple of common errors made when some of us weigh the trailers is not to unhitch it so the tongue weight % is an unknown. In order to set the trailer up correctly for a good towing experience you really need to know the actual tongue weight loaded up for camping. Also if you decide to weigh the tongue separately make sure its at the exact same height it would be when attached to the tug. Up or down a few inches can change the numbers greatly.

Another vehicle you may want to consider that a number of folks here are using is the Toyota Highlander. I believe the V6 with a tow package has a towing capacity of 5000 lbs.

Something else to keep in mind depending on what vehicle you purchase is its tongue weight capacity. Although some of the vehicles may have the general towing capacity to fit your trailers loaded weight they have a low number for tongue weight capacity. If you end up with a vehicle that the trailer on its own maxes out your tongue weight capacity loading a bunch of stuff from the trailer to the back of the vehicle is not a good idea. If the trailers total weight is below your tow spec general capacity you would be better off carrying that extra stuff in the trailer at or near the axle area rather than in the rear of the car where the rear suspension is probable already stressed due to being near your towing tongue weight capacity; I for example need to go a little over my soon to be replaced tow vehicles tongue weight capacity in order to have a stable tow. As a result I am careful not to load up the back of the car with much of anything to compensate for that. Hope that makes sense.

I am one of those who also tried for the last six years to have only one car that did the towing and was my city commuter as well. As a result I have been towing with something that although its under on the total tow capacity and its done an adequate safe job of towing it isnt based on my previous experiences towing with other vehicles & trailers what I would call a really great tow vehicle. I need to be very careful about what I carry and where I stow things in the trailer as it can change the stability of the tow greatly if I get it wrong.

As a result of my past 6 years of towing with a SUV/cross over type vehicle I agree with others that more capacity is better than just enough.
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