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Old 10-27-2010, 10:48 PM   #43
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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124" wheelbase? Can you even tow with something that short? My Sprinter has a 158" wheelbase. That seems just about adequate. Again, I am just kidding. My car on,y has about a 96" wheelbase. I do like the low overhang, though... I haven't measured it, but the rear wheels are really far aft, so there isn't much of a moment arm between the hitch and the rear axle.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:36 PM   #44
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Actually, I did the math... and my Scion towing a 1,200 pound Scamp plus my family plus our camping gear does have the same power-to-weight ratio as a Ford F150 towing my family and my camping gear and a 3,000 pound trailer. That is a fact.

Toyota rates the Scion xD for a little over 1,600 pounds towing. That is with the 1.5 liter four cylinder engine. The US model gets a power upgrade to the 1.8 liter engine. However, Toyota of N. America does NOT carry over the tow ratings from Toyota Japan. They simply tell you to buy a truck. I trust the manufacturer more than the US importer.

My Scion does have a shorter wheelbase than a RAV4, but it has a longer wheelbase than a Jeep Wrangler. Also, the rear axle is very close to the hitch, which also makes a big difference in towing safety.

Towing a 1,200 pound (1,400 lb camp-ready) trailer with a car like mine is not unsafe. Yes, I could tow it with a Peterbilt, but that would be overkill in my opinion. My car is MADE to tow over 1,600 pounds. My hitch is made for an even higher rating. It performs flawlessly out on the road. I do not drive at unsafe speeds -- towing or not.

By the way, Toyota rates the RAV4 to tow up to 1,653 without brakes and 4,410 with brakes, depending on the engine option. Toyota of N. America dumbs that down quite a bit, as you mentioned.
McBrew:

Somehow I must have missed it. Why would you want to tow with a vehicle when the manufacturer does not recommend towing with it?

2010 Scion xD Specifications | New 2010 Scion xD Specs at IntelliChoice.com

Brian
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:46 AM   #45
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Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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Originally Posted by Brian Van Snell View Post
McBrew:

Somehow I must have missed it. Why would you want to tow with a vehicle when the manufacturer does not recommend towing with it?

2010 Scion xD Specifications | New 2010 Scion xD Specs at IntelliChoice.com

Brian
It is a little confusing, I admit... Toyot DOES rate the Scion xD/Toyota Urban Cruider/Toyota IST (name varies in different regions) to tow. They rate it to tow about 1,600 pounds. That is Toyota, the manufacturer of the car. The confusing part is that Toyota of North America, who handles the importation and distribution of this car in the US, does not recommend towing with it. Who do I trust -- Toyota, the company that manufacturers and tests these cars, or Totoya of N. America, who is basically a logistics company... the choice is simple to me.

I don't care that Toyota of N. America reserves the right to deny warranty claims if damage is caused by towing. I am beyond my warranty, anyway... and towing has not caused any damage (just like I knew it wouldn't).

This is VERY common among car companies. The US is a unique car market. Car companies know that they can bump people up to a pickup truck or SUV, both of which are MUCH more profitable than small cars, if they want to tow. This is not the case in many countries where gasoline is much more expensive and streets and parking spaces are smaller. In many countries, it is very common to see very small cars towing relatively large trailers. My car has a relatively low tow rating in Europe... a VW Golf is rated to tow up to 3,300 pounds by VWAG, but is downgraded to 1,200 pounds by VWoA.

Sorry to ramble on... but this is an important issue to me. The bottom line is that I am following the -manufacturer's- tow rating on my car.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:29 AM   #46
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Name: Kip
Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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QUOTE: "I tow my Scamp 13 with the truck pictured in my avatar, a 2001 Ford Ranger 4.0L, 5spd manual, 3:55LS regular cab short box, a fun and versatile ride.
Also with a 2008 Ford Escape 2.3L 5spd manual.
I have not been a fan of fullsized vehicles, with rare exceptions, so my point about the G20 was not a specific slur.
I agree with your assessment of motels, [so icky I can hardly sleep]
When we must, we choose Holiday Inn Express, they are as clean as you can expect, but the tax alone is usually higher than a night in my comfy little home on wheels....

I am So glad to have our 13... "Eggy-Sue" [the pull-it surprize] .
If it were not for our Scamp, we would travel a lot less and have to spend a lot more.

Regards; Floyd


Floyd,

Didn't take you comment on the G20 as a slur. Took it as your opinion.
I don't want another trailer that big either.

Please bare with me here, as this won't happen again.

As you are aware, In days of yore when a car wasn't big enough, the choices were a station wagon or a van. With 3 young kids and their gear, even a station wagon was lacking for us. So we opted for a van.
We didn't travel for many years because of the expense of motels and trying to keep the kids off the floors and bed spreads. So we started camping for pleasure and eccononics and eventually put a raised top on the 75 Dodge van. We progressed to Travel Trailers as the kid started wanting friends to come along. Then bigger ones.

When the Chevy Astro vans came along we sold the Dodge and ordered an Astro with the tow package and 3:37 limited slip rear axle. At that time we had a well used 26 foot Argosy (by Airstream). The Astro handled it "okay" for several months until we encountered an unusually steep hill that brought the Astro down to 10 mph and low gear. An impatient driver passed and a wreck was barely avoid as he nearly clipped the front of us trying to get back in to avoid an oncoming car that was smoking it's tires trying to stop and avoid an accident. If I had been forced to stop I don't think we could have started moving again.

We kept the Astro for Ann's use but purchased the G20 for towing. It was wonderful until we got the 30'er. G20 handled that fine on Georgia's rolling hills but was brought to it's knees in the smokies. No one tried to pass but we had a string of cars behind us as we proceeded in low gear, a dangerous situation. That is when I tore it apart and converted it into a serious towing machine. And yes there were first hand campfire accounts of people getting in similar situations, accidents happening and lawyers accusing them of causing the accidents because they were towing with inferior equipment. This is why I'm so paranoid concerning having enough TV to do the job.

Hopefully we can get an EGG and join you guys for some fun, while we still can. As always any helpful tips are most appreciated.

BTW: A while back I had the opportunity to Drive a Ranger with the 4.0 engine. It was indeed a quick and fun ride. Much stronger that the 2.3L I am familiar with. Still amazing how Ford has kept the size and look almost original and it still sells very well.

Thanks for your patience,
Kip
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:03 AM   #47
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Name: Jesse
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Kip, we had a Chevy G20 van with the same 4.3L 145 horsepower engine as your Astro. That engine didn't have much oomph left in it when we retired the van at about 350,000 miles... but we never had a problem with the engine itself. We had to replace the fuel pump about once a year, though...

The Astro van carried up to a 5,000 pound tow rating, despite the low horsepower and the fact that it was a unibody chassis. It was probably a little anemic for your travel trailer, though.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:08 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
It is a little confusing, I admit... Toyot DOES rate the Scion xD/Toyota Urban Cruider/Toyota IST (name varies in different regions) to tow. They rate it to tow about 1,600 pounds. That is Toyota, the manufacturer of the car. The confusing part is that Toyota of North America, who handles the importation and distribution of this car in the US, does not recommend towing with it. Who do I trust -- Toyota, the company that manufacturers and tests these cars, or Totoya of N. America, who is basically a logistics company... the choice is simple to me.

I don't care that Toyota of N. America reserves the right to deny warranty claims if damage is caused by towing. I am beyond my warranty, anyway... and towing has not caused any damage (just like I knew it wouldn't).

This is VERY common among car companies. The US is a unique car market. Car companies know that they can bump people up to a pickup truck or SUV, both of which are MUCH more profitable than small cars, if they want to tow. This is not the case in many countries where gasoline is much more expensive and streets and parking spaces are smaller. In many countries, it is very common to see very small cars towing relatively large trailers. My car has a relatively low tow rating in Europe... a VW Golf is rated to tow up to 3,300 pounds by VWAG, but is downgraded to 1,200 pounds by VWoA.

Sorry to ramble on... but this is an important issue to me. The bottom line is that I am following the -manufacturer's- tow rating on my car.
Jesse:

You seem to assume that auto company's objective in giving different tow ratings in North America is to force consumers to buy larger vehicles. Isn't it at least possible that there are different road conditions in North America than in other parts of the world? You say that the difference between the dry weight and loaded weight of your trailer is only 200 pounds. We found the difference was about 600 pounds (loaded scale weight minus dry weight), which takes into account the battery and propane tank and hot water tank as well as all the stuff we haul. Have you actually weighed your loaded trailer? I'm having trouble accepting the conspiracy theory.

Brian
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:09 PM   #49
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I think your statement," streets and parking spaces are much smaller."
Speed is probably much greater in the U.S. which puts more strain on the vehicle.
John
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:14 PM   #50
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Another point that was made (on a different thread, perhaps) was that European trailers are set up differently (in regards to tongue weight, etc.) and they are also driven differently (typically). The automakers might take this into account.

While it is true that anyone can sue anyone for anything (here, from what I understand), I'd rather show up in court with data showing my car was rated (in MY owner's manual) to tow the load than to show up saying "Well, no, my owner's manual says I am not rated to tow this load, but in Europe there is no problem with it." Just sounds better to me.

Ultimately, I know that each person is "free" to do what they want. Where I have an issue is where someone is tacitly (or overtly) recommending that other people/newbies do the same. Or making it sound like the car IS rated to tow more (in the US) than it is. There were a few posts where - to me - it sounded like the vehicle in question was rated to tow "x" number of pounds in the US. It was only because I knew from previous threads/posts that it was not in the US, but only in other countries.

I don't mean to over-worry or meddle in newbies' decisions, but, OTOH, they may be on the same roads I am!

Raya
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #51
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This is a frequent (ahem...) 'discussion', so I'll add the one piece of data that I add each time it comes up. And this refers to European towing limits - I have no idea what Japanese domestic practice is.

North American trailer towing habits usually call for 10-14% hitch weight: Europeans use 4-7%. I know that 4-7% seems wildly dangerous to North Americans, though Europe isn't littered with crashed trailers. The higher tow ratings of the same vehicle in Europe assume as low as 4% hitch weight, if you are not to exceed the max hitch weight (the number, not the percentage).

So the Golf is indeed rated to tow up to 3700 pounds in Europe (that's for the diesel auto/DSG model) but a maxmimum hitch weight of 165 pounds. Divide that maximum hitch weight by 10-14% and you get 1200-1600 pounds - is that the North American tow limit, by any chance?
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:20 PM   #52
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Maryland
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Originally Posted by Brian Van Snell View Post
Jesse:

You seem to assume that auto company's objective in giving different tow ratings in North America is to force consumers to buy larger vehicles. Isn't it at least possible that there are different road conditions in North America than in other parts of the world? You say that the difference between the dry weight and loaded weight of your trailer is only 200 pounds. We found the difference was about 600 pounds (loaded scale weight minus dry weight), which takes into account the battery and propane tank and hot water tank as well as all the stuff we haul. Have you actually weighed your loaded trailer? I'm having trouble accepting the conspiracy theory.

Brian
Yes, my weights are based on measurements taken at a certified truck weigh station. 1,200 pounds includes a full propane tank. We do not currently have a battery or water tanks in our Scamp. We carry less than 200 pounds of gear, but I rounded up a bit.

It is not a guarded secret that car companies make a lot more profit on trucks and SUVs and would rather sell them to you. I don't think that qualifies as a conspiracy.

Road conditions vary from one country to another... that much is true. However, I don't feel that every vehicle -needs- to be able to handle every type of road. I have a class-A RV that weighs well over 16,000 pounds loaded, and only has 185 horsepower. I would not want to drive through serious mountains with it. It was designed and built in the US or US roads. It is also rated to tow 5,000 pounds... so I could legally hitch up a 4,000 pound toad to it and drive through the Rockies. I would certainly be going slow and may entice people around me to pull a bonehead maneuver that could get someone hurt. It would be legal. I wouldn't do it.

I also wouldn't tow my Scamp through the Rockies with my xD. It would just be stupid. I do tow it through the "mountains" in western Maryland and south-western PA without a problem. Of course, this setup has a MUCH better power to weight ratio than my class-A RV. I don't drive 70-80 MPH with my trailer, because that would also be foolish and unsafe. I typically drive at or near the speed limit, but never over 65 MPH... and rarely over 60 MPH.

I do not believe that road conditions are the reason that VW rates the Golf to carry nearly three times the weight in Germany as they do in the US. I do not believe that this is the reason that Toyota says my car is capable of towing 1,600 pounds in Europe, but cannot even tow a bicycle on a rack o the US (yes, it says so in the manual). I do not believe that this is the reason that Honda rated the Fit/Jazz to tow 1 metric ton in the UK, but rates it for ZERO pounds in the US.

These numbers are lower for some reason. Maybe they want to sell trucks, maybe they are afraid of lawsuits, maybe they just don't think that people in the US care about towing with cars. Maybe it is another reason, or a combination of reasons. Even Canada tends to rate their cars to tow more than in the US. Canadian roads are not so much different than here in the US.

It works for me. I do not feel that there is anything unsafe about what I am doing. Quite the contrary. I think it is a very nice setup for my needs. Whatever magic happens to the towing numbers when a car crosses an international border must not have happened to my car.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:24 PM   #53
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Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
This is a frequent (ahem...) 'discussion', so I'll add the one piece of data that I add each time it comes up. And this refers to European towing limits - I have no idea what Japanese domestic practice is.

North American trailer towing habits usually call for 10-14% hitch weight: Europeans use 4-7%. I know that 4-7% seems wildly dangerous to North Americans, though Europe isn't littered with crashed trailers. The higher tow ratings of the same vehicle in Europe assume as low as 4% hitch weight, if you are not to exceed the max hitch weight (the number, not the percentage).

So the Golf is indeed rated to tow up to 3700 pounds in Europe (that's for the diesel auto/DSG model) but a maxmimum hitch weight of 165 pounds. Divide that maximum hitch weight by 10-14% and you get 1200-1600 pounds - is that the North American tow limit, by any chance?
Andrew, I would think that there was merit to that argument... but the hitches are completely different. The euro hitches like Bosal and Wesfalia mount to the bumper attachment points. The US hitches mount to the frame and other points under the car. I do believe that the Euro hitches are better when talking about German cars. However, they reduce the bumper rating, so they are not approved in the US. Nobody in the US is making more than a class-1 hitch for the Jetta/Golf... but that should be capable of up to 2,000 pounds. They still rate them for just 1,200. However, in Canada, they have a rating well over 2,000 pounds. I can't remember exactly how high.

As far as hitch weight percentage, that has more to do with how fast people tend to drive with trailers in tow. In European countries, they often have lower speed limits for cars and trucks towing trailers. In the US, people tend to exceed the speed limit by 10-25 MPH whether towing or not. I think it has a lot to do with our reckless style of driving on this side of the pond.

There are some very informative charts that show the speed at which sway will begin to occur based on tongue weight % and speed. I know that there are some well-informed folks on this board, but most people out there don't ever weigh their trailer or the tongue. If in doubt, best to be a little nose-heavy. With a car, and especially with a small car, it is better to have a lighter tongue weight, so long as it is heavy enough to eliminate sway (at reasonable speeds). That's why the Euro standard is 5%. Believe me, the hitches over there can take WAY more weight than that. They are sturdier than our receiver-style class-1 hitches.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:31 PM   #54
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Name: Kip
Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
Georgia
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Kip, we had a Chevy G20 van with the same 4.3L 145 horsepower engine as your Astro. That engine didn't have much oomph left in it when we retired the van at about 350,000 miles... but we never had a problem with the engine itself. We had to replace the fuel pump about once a year, though...

The Astro van carried up to a 5,000 pound tow rating, despite the low horsepower and the fact that it was a unibody chassis. It was probably a little anemic for your travel trailer, though.
I thought that the Astro was body on frame.

Whatever it was, I went to great lengths to be sure it would tow the 3800 (dry) lb Argosy. Did everything that Chevy said to do. Tow package with extra cooling, 373:1 axle, for more towing energy. Limited slip axle for better grip in slippery conditions. YADA YADA!

It behaved as advertised for most of our towing. The northern half of Georgia is one rolling hill after another, and the Astro took them in stride for the most part. BUT When it hit that one hill, which is actually close to our house, the Astro let us down. Thing about it is that we used that road, and hill, every time we went to and from the campground, which was most every weekend. But the first time we tried that TV and trailer combo, the problem occured.

The Astro had a tow limit of 5000# (USA) and the 3800# trailer was probably more in the 4400-4600 lp range loaded. So we had a 400 to 600 lb buffer (10%-14%). But it wasn't enough. Even though the one car that passed, narrowly missed causing an accident, there were several cars still behind us and more on the way. . IF I had stopped and not been able to get moving again I would have had to somehow back down that hill and cars would have been trying to pass or get out of my way, It was a catastrophy just waiting to happen. The problem was too little engine torgue. If we had of had a 30+% buffer, the problem would have likely not happened and I wouldn't be writting this.

That is the message I've been trying to get across. We never know when we will be confronted with an unplanned situation and it could cost us dearly. If our TV is too light, certain conditions could cause the trailer to overwhelm the TV. The closer the trailer weight is to the TV weight, the more disastrous the effect. Marginal "power" can work Okay on relatively flat roads, but "Stuff" happens, beyond our control. I'm a firm beliver in "It's better to have it and not need it, than the other way around".

Mirrors are something else we don't pay enough attention to. John H. posted some excellent pictures of how the clip on mirrors helped the rear view. And his Dakota is relatively wide compared to some TVs. How many people use them?

Rant over!....

Kip
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:51 PM   #55
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Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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On a side note, I would like to mention that trailer weight is not the only factor. Frontal area (wind resistance) makes a huge difference. When I tow my Scamp, I get about 25 MPG. I have towed a Uhaul 4x8 trailer that weighed about as much as the Scamp when helping someone move, and I got 31 MPG. I towed my cargo trailer with a Coke machine in it (also about the same weight as the Scamp) and got 33 MPG. The one with the lowest drag was the cargo trailer with the Coke machine, since it was laying on its back on an open trailer. The Scamp has the most drag of the three. Driving conditions were about the same for all three trips.

That shows how much harder the engine has to work in order to pull the Scamp through the air. This doesn't affect braking performance (well, it actually helps a bit), but it does work harder on the hitch hardware, engine, trans, drive train, and various cooling and lubricating fluids.

One a side not to my side note, there are big differences between fluids. Engine oil and trans fluid in particular, but also brake fluid, bearing grease, etc. I always use very high quality fluids. I use either Amsoil or RedLine oil and trans fluids. I generally use ATE SuperBlue Racing brake fluid. I also use synthetic bearing grease. I replace my trans fluid (manual trans) and brake fluid every two years. Engine oil every 10,000 miles. Bearing grease once a year (on the trailer).

Many people ignore these items, or don't think of them at all. Automatic transmission fluid, in particular, wears much faster when towing (unless properly cooled). I also send oil out for analysis. I use Blackstone Labs. They have been impressed with the state of my oil, and have suggested that I keep it in for at least 12,000 miles... but 10,000 miles is easy for me to remember.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:55 PM   #56
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[QUOTE=Kip in Ga.;227915]I thought that the Astro was body on frame.


Then you would be surprized to know that 1971- 1996 G-series vans were also unibody. [Had some in my fleet]

BTW; we towed or I.T. SCCA car on an open trailer with spares for several years with an Astro.
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