New Smaller tow vehicle choices?? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-09-2007, 06:50 AM   #15
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I agree that my comment about relative weights did not include commercial applications. Over the road trucks have several things going for them, most of which Brian mentioned. Designed from the start for the application, the hitch over the axles, professional drivers and (usually) 10 of the 16 tires on the tow vehicle improving the footprint size available for friction. (Friction of rubber is not a linear function.)

I also agree that lighter trailers can be towed by lighter vehicles. My personal thinking is that a trailer that weighs the same as the tow vehicle weighs too much. However, I don't know what percentage to recommend, and probably wouldn't make that kind of recommendation even if I had one.
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:04 PM   #16
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Until they repeal the laws of physics, such things as friction and momentum (mass times velocity) will suggest practical lower limits to tow vehicle size. I believe that most sane people will wish to tow a trailer that weighs less than the tow vehicle, probably by a significant margin.

That being said, I remain convinced there's some guy out there towing a house trailer with a VW beetle and claims he's never had a problem. Wishful junk science continually provides new candidates for the Darwin Awards.

It occurs to me that if someone builds a vehicle that they say can tow a trailer that weighs as much as their vehicle, then they've designed their vehicle twice as strong as it should be for most of the rest of the population.

As for tow ratings, I suppose I'm (sometimes) surprised that people choose to believe pretty much only that particular advertising claim.

Steve,

I'm surprised you don't know about the Hensley Arrow hitch. Why, it's well known in the Airstream world that you can, in fact, tow a 34' tri-axle Airstream (8,900 lbs GVWR) with just any old car using the HA.

Hensley has, in fact, repealed the laws of physics! And there are several articles doing exactly that; towing a 7,000 lb trailer with a 3500 lb car.

RV Life, towing with an Intrepid

Here's a photo of a 34' Airstream being towed by an Intrepid!

All kidding aside, actually the Hensley Arrow IS a superb hitch, and fools the tow vehicle into thinking that the pivot point of the hitch is actually at the rear axle, or maybe a little further up yet even than that. So it really does work, and it makes for a very stable tow vehicle/trailer combo. It's also a HUGE chunk of money, and weighs more than the tongue weight of most of our trailers alone.

I just think they're nuts, trying to tow that with an Intrepid. If you want to see it in action, click on the video on the Hensley site. It's pretty amazing.

Roger
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:17 PM   #17
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Hi Shelly, I also have a surfside tm-14 vintage 1977. I have scaled it and found that it weighed in at aprox 1700 lbs with gear. One item is that the trailer uses a 2 inch ball and calls for a class 3 hitch. Mine came equipped with trailer brakes which had never been used . hooked them up because it make a huge difference in stopping. It never fails that when you are hauling something some one out there always has to pass you and usually ends up cutting you off , requiring a heavy brake application. My tow vehicle is a 1992 ford ranger with a 4.0 liter eng. It handles the trailer easily and I usually get somewhere around 19 miles to a canadian gallon. If you need to carry passengers possibly an explorer or blazer might be the type of vehicle size to look at.
Good luck, Luc
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:52 AM   #18
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we used to tow our 75 13" Boler with a 2000 Jetta TDI.

we never had a problem and the car never made less than 35mpg over our trip from Montreal to Cape Breton, sustaining 75mph in the New Brunswick mountains.


now we got a 1980 Boler 1750 towed by my 2006 toyota tacoma 4 cyl and let's say the truck is at it's limit powerwise; sustaining 60mph is asking to drive it in third gear @ 4500rpm while in the NB mountains.

a 13" boler can be towed by almost any 4cyl cars.


for sure a Dodge RAM V10 is better but a Honda civic can do it if you are not in a hurry(manual transmission only please)

I always keep in ming that I use the car 90% of it's life without anything hooked behind it. I don't want to pay the fuel in the v10 when I only need a 4cyl.
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Old 01-27-2007, 11:36 AM   #19
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On the subject of towing, I am a long-time Ford guy and in TN., it is common to find Ford suv or trucks, big or small, with towing packages from the factory. Been that way a while, so one should be able to find used ones equiped. I like to tow with a factory pkg., for things like wire harness, factory installed reciever hitch, and tranny cooler. Most all transmissions cool with the aid of the radiator, but the towing pkg. will have a dedicated cooler.

Even the Japanese companies put pkgs. on their trucks and suv lines now. Just as a few post hint about engine trouble, etc., maybe towing heavy with a small fwd long-term is not good. Climbing mountain roads will probably strain the transmission.

When towing, check and remember "tounge weight" as well as gvw. For whatever reason, it seems the weight on those round balls has a lot to do with the subject.

If you go with a truck, new or used, it will give you some room to put a motor scooter, bike, or grill that most of our little eggs don't have room for.

I pull mine with my 2005 Expedition, which is my daily ride. My 16ft. Scamp is like pulling a little wagon with that. I think a Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Toyota, etc. with a V-6 would do just as well.
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:42 PM   #20
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I tow mine with a '93 Dakota with 5.2 the V8. Sometimes I forget I'm towing something
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:25 PM   #21
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L ets not forget the little land rover. now released as the LR 2 , my freelander gets my scamp off ever beach and mud hole.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:02 PM   #22
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I tow my 16' Scamp with the Lexus RX350. It has the same stats as the new Rav4, has AWD and I can shift manually on these mountain roads. It came with a tow package, as was suggested by someone else. I broached the subject of smaller tow vehicles last year on the trailer life forum, (Pull up "Rav4" + "scamp") and there were quite a few responses from which you can gain insight.

My husband and I have had numerous Toyota vehicles over the past 15 years, and have only good things to say about them. (I just traded in our '98 4Runner...almost 200,000 miles on it...still ran great. Husband's 2000 Tundra is nearing 170,000.) My niece just totalled the 1990 4runner I sold....it WAS running great, too!

Meanwhile...good luck in your hunt....and pack lightly.
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:24 AM   #23
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I towed a 13ft Compact Jr. (fiberglass RV with pop-top) in the '70s with a Peugeot 404. The Peugeot had a 1.6 liter engine and 4.56 rear end ratio. It almost always got slightly over 20MPG towing and almost 30 solo. Also was long enough to carry a small Sunflower sailboat on top.

Also spent hours going up the Rockies in 1st or 2nd gear at 10 MPH. Once after stopped for road crew work, the road crew had to come push to get us started.

Would I tow with the smallest tow vehicle again? Sure, if that was all I could manage.

Would I get on an elevator with 34 people in it that had a sign "35 people max"? Sure, if that was the only way to get where I needed to go?

But if I were to think about it for awhile, I might just acquire some 'good 'ol Detroit iron' in the first case and wait for the next elevator in the second.

Yep! As they say, "You never know what that guy might do!"

Loren
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:49 AM   #24
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Until they repeal the laws of physics, such things as friction and momentum (mass times velocity) will suggest practical lower limits to tow vehicle size. I believe that most sane people will wish to tow a trailer that weighs less than the tow vehicle, probably by a significant margin.
So people towing with a Ford F-350 with a towing limit of 15,000# (19,200# for a 5th wheel) are probably insane? (Actually, I couldn't find the weight of the truck alone on the website but I assume it's about 8,000#?) http://www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/s...eatures/specs/
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:15 AM   #25
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So people towing with a Ford F-350 with a towing limit of 15,000# (19,200# for a 5th wheel) are probably insane?
In a word, yes. Well, not insane. Not necessarily anyway. But, having towed a 9,000 lb 34' Airstream with a 7,000 lb Excursion, I can tell you that it isn't any fun when the towed load wants to have its way with the tow vehicle, and the tow rating of the tow vehicle is irrelevant. Of course, you have to remember also that the mechanics of a fifth wheel being towed are significantly different from towing a travel trailer, and that's why the fifth wheel configuration is safely used on tractor-trailers weighing up to 80,000 for a towed load.

Any time the towed load weighs as much or is greater than the tow vehicle (towing a standard type trailer) and something goes wrong, it's going to go wrong very quickly and very dramatically. When the tow vehicle has a short wheelbase, it's going to go wrong even more quickly and more dramatically.

Having also had a fiberglass trailer (about 1500 lbs) jump the hitch at 65mph behind the Excursion, I can tell you that it's a very secure feeling when the towed load CAN'T exert enough force on the back of the tow vehicle to roll it.

Roger
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:50 PM   #26
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Yes, a fifth-wheel (assuming the conventional over-axle hitch location) is a different situation from "tag" (hitch on the back) towing. So consider the 15,000 lb trailer on that F-350:
  • this is the truck-versus-car issue again; what was it designed for?
  • perhaps a sane person wouldn't push that limit, but could still have 1,000 lb of cargo and a 12,000 lb trailer on that 8,000 lb truck
  • an Excursion is on a F250 chassis, but even it is short in wheelbase compared to typical pickup trucks - SUVs may not be the best examples of the capabilities of large tow vehicles
So what are we calling "short" wheelbase? Just something to think about.
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:54 PM   #27
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So what are we calling "short" wheelbase? Just something to think about.
Exactly! Its a relative term. My Excursion's wheelbase was short in comparison to a 34' tri-axle trailer. At nearly 20' long however, it's more than enough for any of the fiberglass trailers, including my 25' Bigfoot. A Jeep CJ/TJ/YJ is too short for ANY camping trailer application. A shortbed standard cab F150 or Chevy 10 may not be enough wheelbase for many trailers, but would be adequate for most fiberglass RVs. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Rog
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Old 01-30-2007, 02:39 PM   #28
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...A Jeep CJ/TJ/YJ is too short for ANY camping trailer application...
Yes (arguably), and now with the "Unlimited" stretched version of the new Wrangler (YJ replacement), the factory tow limit goes up from 2000 lb to 3500 lb, as they recognize the significance to towing of the longer wheelbase.
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