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Old 10-28-2010, 08:01 PM   #57
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First off I would like to say that Floyd your post of yesterday was my giggle of the
day. Loved it! Think you may have been watching to many Law and Order reruns though!

I normally stay away from this topic when it comes up over and over again. Suspect this will be all I have to say on this topic for at last a few years! LOL

I think that the suggestion that there is not a trend to downsize tow vehicles is incorrect. I do not think that one should be making any assumptions into what the majority of trailer owners are doing in regards to tow vehicles based on a small meet of 20 trailers. Here on the West Coast in the 4 years I have been attending meets and a couple of large ones (from 75 to over 100 trailers) I can tell you I have noticed a trend to downsizing when it comes to tow vehicles. I suspect there are many here that will be happy to report they have noticed the same.

I do agree that its not a good idea to be towing more than a vehicle is rated for in the country you are towing. That falls way outside my liability comfort zone. But I don’t buy into the suggestion that those who are not towing with at least 30% more towing capacity than what they actual need are accidents looking for a place to happen. Does anyone honestly think there is a vehicle manufacture out there in this day and age that would publish a tow capacity if it was not safe to tow a trailer that falls into that capacity regardless of how many pounds they are within the max? I would suggest that plenty of safety tests were done on the vehicle prior to the manufacture setting the capacity and done under various conditions. I would also be very shocked if any manufactures did not also have a fairly good margin of error built into the published number. Trust me if there was an accident and it was found that the tow vehicle was the issue in that it was not actually safe at tow or to safely stop at the max capacity the manufacture claimed then the manufacture would find themselves in way to much trouble. Vehicle manufactures have a lot more to lose than I do when it comes to liability and the bad press that goes with a safety concern. I would also go so far as to suggest that safety testing standards of today are far greater than those done just 10 years ago. Not to mention the built in safety features and technology on today’s vehicles vs 10 years ago.

The funny part about this argument to me is the speculation and fear factor that gets thrown out there. I live on the side of a mountain in a busy urban area so I get to really test out my tow vehicles ability to stop my fully loaded trailer every time I pull out of the driveway. I have actually had to stop fast at a lot higher speed than one would want on a hill no one would call a bunny hill – we call it a hill but I suspect someone from the mid west would call it a steep mountain. LOL I can tell you that the vehicle is very capable of stopping and it does it a heck of a lot better than what I would have expected from much larger tow vehicles I have driven in the past pulling horse trailers and boats. In fact on one occasion it all came to a stop much straighter and cleaner than I would ever have dreamed possible regardless of what I was driving. It was one of those worse case scenarios that you find yourself closing your eyes and just waiting for the crush crash banging to start or the trailer to start passing you! So sorry I may be towing with a 4 banger with only a 13-15% reserve in towing capacity but I know darn well the vehicle can stop it in the worse case situations. I have no liability concerns in that regard.

I also don’t buy into the raising of the liability issue in regards to not being able to go fast enough on long hills as an excuse to buy a big vehicle with more power. IMHO if it where a valid argument every semi trailer driver out there would be in serious legal trouble daily when it comes to hills. Few would be able to afford the liability insurance. I also suspect that those big Class A motor homes would also have much bigger insurance bills than they do, as it seems to me I end up passing most of them when I come up behind them on hills as well. You would laugh even harder at this suggestion if you have ever in fact driven in a mountain pass with me and had seen the looks on the faces of drivers of big trucks towing big trailers, when I pull out of the slow lane to pass them which again is more often than not. Yes there are times on very long steep passes that I wished I had more power but that is why on the vast majority of such roads they have slow lanes. The most frequent and more probable cause of most of the accidents on the mountain roads in this area is speeding.

I personally wish people would give an equally as serious look at the liability we are to the next generation when we make tow vehicle decisions and the carbon foot print we leave with that choose. I am grateful to see that more and more people who tow these small trailers feel the same.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:44 AM   #58
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 17' SD Deluxe, Towed by '09 Honda Ridgeline.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
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.
Jesse,

Frontal area's effects on towing is often overlooked, and you bring up some good points with your various trailers. So even I can understand how towing something that is low will require less power than towing something tall and pushing more air. My '03 pilot was rated to Tow 4500# enclosed cargo type trailer or a 5000# boat.

There are a lot of enclosed "Cargo" trailers with "V" shaped fronts. I wonder how much that really reduces wind resistance.

Kip
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:55 AM   #59
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[QUOTE=floyd;227921]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
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.

Floyd,
Not disputing you. Apparently I don't fully understand or we have different definitions of unibody.
My wifes RAV4 has unibody and everything under there appears to be stamped, formed, and welded sheet metal. As did my 03 Pilot, and her CR-V

The G20 has a serious frame that "Appears" to be supporting the body!

Kip
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:14 AM   #60
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Each person that tows has their own unique experiences.

There are those of us that have actually experienced unexpected dangerous situations through no fault of our own, other than believing what we read and/or what we heard from the "Experts". And there are those that have not yet. Hopefully they never will.

I will error on the side of caution, simply because I have experienced those scary situations, and but by the grave of God could have ended very badly.

Experiences are great teachers.

Kip
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:41 PM   #61
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So first of all, I would like to extend a great thank you to everyone who contributed to this discussion. I had no idea there was so much to consider and I truly have learned alot. I still have a ways to go with understand mechanics and physics but on the whole, I feel better informed. Thank you again all.

Now back in August I ended up with a 2001 Mercury Cougar which I have been using to pull my Trill around. I have kept her very very light with minimal packing and removed all unnecessary weight. After several months tripping around Western US, I would likely have chosen another TV but this one, for now, is working. I don't like that it is manual which can be cumbersome during heavy traffic and have avoiding towing my Trillium around the hills of San Francisco. I think I will end up *upgrading* at some point but I will admit that unhooking the Trill from my hot red sports car and speeding up and down coastal Highway 1 has been one of the highlights of my trip.

Again, thank you so much for the support. I love this community.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:13 PM   #62
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[QUOTE=Kip in Ga.;227992]
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post


Floyd,
Not disputing you. Apparently I don't fully understand or we have different definitions of unibody.
My wifes RAV4 has unibody and everything under there appears to be stamped, formed, and welded sheet metal. As did my 03 Pilot, and her CR-V

The G20 has a serious frame that "Appears" to be supporting the body!

Kip
The g20's driveline components are attached directly to the unitized floor of the body, It has a Unitized body/chassis... thus "Unibody".
In "body on frame" construction, the body is bolted to the frame, the frame/chassis is separate and the body can actually be removed. These are generally accepted definitions, not just mine.
Here is generally what "body on frame" construction looks like without the body...
Attached Thumbnails
800px-ToyotaTundraChassis.jpg  
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:36 PM   #63
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To Brian B-P: Apparently your inbox is full, so I couldn't respond to your private message. Apparently you have not run into any cars that have different towing capacities between the US and Canada. The VW "A" chassis, third and fourth generation would be good examples. Certainly this would not apply to all cars, just as you won't always find a difference between European and US ratings.

And, in case you didn't get the other message, the Astro van does indeed have a unitized body. There is a subframe for the engine and front suspension bits. There is what looks like a frame, but it is technically a unibody, just like my Sprinter van.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:38 AM   #64
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[QUOTE=floyd;228009]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
The g20's driveline components are attached directly to the unitized floor of the body, It has a Unitized body/chassis... thus "Unibody".
In "body on frame" construction, the body is bolted to the frame, the frame/chassis is separate and the body can actually be removed. These are generally accepted definitions, not just mine.
Here is generally what "body on frame" construction looks like without the body...
Floyd,

Yes I'm familiar with body on frame. And we have the same definition of Unibody. Been messin with cars and trucks since about 1956 and driving since 1958. First car was a 39 Ford Coupe. Floor board was so rusted out that some reinforcements were required.

It is simply mind boggling that as much time spent under G20, that
the lack of typical body on frame attachment points have gone unnoticed. I've personally had darn near everything under her either loose, off, added to, or replaced over the years. But never had the need to look for body/frame attachment points.

Thanks,
Kip
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:40 AM   #65
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Brian B-C,

My reply to your PM would not go through either. Thanks for the personal message.

Kip
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:31 AM   #66
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"
"Before you hook up a camper to your tow vehicle, make sure your vehicle is rated for towing. Your owner's manual should have a section that tells you how heavy -- and in some cases how large -- a load the vehicle can tow safely. Don't exceed that limit -- should something go wrong, you might not be able to claim your insurance."

HowStuffWorks "Camper Towing Tips"

" If the trailer is properly equipped, it can perform safely under a variety of driving conditions. The tow vehicle should also have enough performance to climb mountain grades without excessive loss of speed."

Note: with my 13%- 15% margin of error, it still was not enough to compensate for the very steep hills where we got into peril. These were 2 lane roads with very little shoulder and no slow lanes. Slowing to 10mph was an excessive loss of speed in my opinion. I'll stick with the 30% minimum cushion.
Kip

RV Towing Tips

2) Be A Weight Watcher

Too many towing trailers forget to check the weights of the trailer and towing vehicle before setting out on a trip. The consequences of disregarding trailer and towed weight can be legally devastating. As the driver of the towing vehicle, it’s your responsibility to make sure the vehicle and trailer are within the vehicle/trailer manufacturer’s weight and setup guidelines or you are libel for anything that happens while in transit. Think about that for a moment.

TRAILER TOWING TIPS | Pro Pickup
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:57 AM   #67
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[QUOTE=Kip in Ga.;228054]
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post

Floyd,

Yes I'm familiar with body on frame. And we have the same definition of Unibody. Been messin with cars and trucks since about 1956 and driving since 1958. First car was a 39 Ford Coupe. Floor board was so rusted out that some reinforcements were required.

It is simply mind boggling that as much time spent under G20, that
the lack of typical body on frame attachment points have gone unnoticed. I've personally had darn near everything under her either loose, off, added to, or replaced over the years. But never had the need to look for body/frame attachment points.

Thanks,
Kip
You are not the only one! We serviced these things in our fleet, and my boss refused to believe it until I lifted one and showed it to him.
As you now... It was built strong enough for sure anyway.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:08 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip in Ga. View Post
"
"Before you hook up a camper to your tow vehicle, make sure your vehicle is rated for towing. Your owner's manual should have a section that tells you how heavy -- and in some cases how large -- a load the vehicle can tow safely. Don't exceed that limit -- should something go wrong, you might not be able to claim your insurance."

HowStuffWorks "Camper Towing Tips"

" If the trailer is properly equipped, it can perform safely under a variety of driving conditions. The tow vehicle should also have enough performance to climb mountain grades without excessive loss of speed."

Note: with my 13%- 15% margin of error, it still was not enough to compensate for the very steep hills where we got into peril. These were 2 lane roads with very little shoulder and no slow lanes. Slowing to 10mph was an excessive loss of speed in my opinion. I'll stick with the 30% minimum cushion.
Kip

RV Towing Tips

2) Be A Weight Watcher

Too many towing trailers forget to check the weights of the trailer and towing vehicle before setting out on a trip. The consequences of disregarding trailer and towed weight can be legally devastating. As the driver of the towing vehicle, it’s your responsibility to make sure the vehicle and trailer are within the vehicle/trailer manufacturer’s weight and setup guidelines or you are libel for anything that happens while in transit. Think about that for a moment.

TRAILER TOWING TIPS | Pro Pickup
Did you mean " Liable"? [LOL]

Maybe not??

Don't worry... be happy!
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:33 PM   #69
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McBrew wrote: "Apparently you have not run into any cars that have different towing capacities between the US and Canada. The VW "A" chassis, third and fourth generation would be good examples. Certainly this would not apply to all cars, just as you won't always find a difference between European and US ratings."

I think you need to be careful in this regard as there may be differences in how the car is actually built from one plant to another in NA. I know that at some plants on both sides of the border they only put the parts imported by the maker together - in another NA plant they may actually be making some of the components. They may also be putting different basic options on the same model car on either side of the border - I know Subaru does that. The tow limits from one model of Subaru are different even though the major components of the car are the same and it changes year to year.

Even if you know the cars are identical I personally think there is only one thing I can take away from knowing that its rated much higher in another country (in the case of the Subaru all the Outback models have higher tow rates in Australia than in NA). And that’s the piece of mind in knowing that it is a pretty good bet that its very capable of safely tow the lower limit that you are restricted to in your own country.
It all comes back to the simple fact that if you tow over the cap and have an accident the fact the car can legally tow more in another country is not going to change your liablity.
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:36 PM   #70
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My Tundra naked.
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