Please tell us your Motivation - Page 8 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-02-2012, 04:56 PM   #99
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Even the trucks have a frontal area limitation- see p 17 here
https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/...0RVTrailer.pdf
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:05 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
OK, maybe I'll work on something simple like world peace, instead........
Or we could move on to debating the Devils and Flyers series instead as it at least would come to an end
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #101
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Durability

Thomas, glad to write about durability. I just hope that it doesn't sound like a Honda Ad. (I will say we have 8 relatives who drive CRVs, mostly based upon our great experience with our CRV and earlier Hondas.)

We've owned our Honda CRV for 8 years and it has about 175,000 miles on the odometer. It has a 2.4 L engine and a manual transmission. The clutch and every other part is literally original equipment. We have never had a repair to the engine or drive train other than wear items like brake pads (3 times), spark plugs (once) and tires. The car does not burn oil. The temperature gauge hardly ever moves.

For the first 4 years of ownership it was towed behind our Motorhome. These miles did not register on the odometer but probably add 40,000 miles to the odometer reading and the rolling components, primarily the wheels. The clutch, shocks and muffler are all original.

For the second 4 years of Honda ownership we have towed three different trailers, a 1982 Sunline 15.5 with side bath, a 1995 Casita 16 with front bath and a 1991 Scamp 16 with side bath. The Sunline was the lightest at 2200 pounds and the Casita the heaviest at 2800 pounds. The Scamp weighs 2400 pounds.

During the towing years we have looped the USA twice (3/4 of the way thru the second), looped thru the Maritimes, Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec, driven up and down the east coast twice. Trailer towing miles in these 4 years probably amounts to 40,000 miles.

Our USA towing loops include up and down both coasts and across the lower and upper tiers of states. During these four years of towing, 48 months, we have been on the road 35 months.

The durability of the Honda has been great. As well the mileage has been equally wonderful.. Towing the Sunline we averaged 20 mpg. With the Scamp and Casita we've been in the 22-23 mpg range.

We have only brought the Honda in for service once to replace the spark plugs. (There was one non-engine/drive train issue. Our AC failed at about 60,000 miles, well outside warranty and Honda replaced it at no charge.)

As to overheating an automatic transmission, if we had one, we would certainly add a transmission cooler. On our motorhome we had a transmission cooler and I added a mister in front of it to insure it stayed cool.

Our durability has been great.

As to the second issue, safety, I have never felt unsafe for one minute driving the Honda towing our trailer. Any tense moment towing was always initiated by another doing some crazy maneuver that we were able to avoid. In both cases the Honda/trailer combo handled like a champ.

It's hard for me to imagine that there are a lot of $18,000 vehicles that are more reliable than our Honda has been for 8 years. It also seems that towing has done no damage to our Honda.

Safe travels,
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #102
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Regarding Norm's great service from his Honda, I have a couple of thoughts. First, I will agree that in general Honda builds very good products. I have owned ( as has my son and daughter ) numerous Honda autos and I have owned five different ( still have two ) Honda motorcycles. So okay....now I have disclaimer out of the way.

I think the second issue is equally or more important in Norm's case, and that is that he is obviously an experienced and what I call "gentle" driver. Some people just know how to take care of equipment better than other folks.
So I would say that most folks towing with what we'll call a "light duty" vehicle ( CR-V ) would have very likely needed to replace a clutch by now, and would have probably been through more sets of brakes.
When it comes to towing, knowing "how to drive" is a huge factor in being safe and successful in the long term.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:31 PM   #103
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Truth

George,

You are probably correct about me being a gentle driver. I gave up racing around when I retired.

I do roll to red lights and am still amazed about people who speed up to red lights only to have to put on their brakes. I occasionally down shift to burn off speed and try to prepare for long downhill runs by down shifting.

I am not a car buff and rarely do any maintenance other than replaceing brake pads, air filters, wipers and rear 4x differential fluid. We usually get our oil changed at a quick lube at 7,000 miles. I do also wax the car about four times a year.

I agree that driving smart is important. I also think there's another factor.

Get as much knowledge as possible.

Before we started RVing I read everything I could on the subject and continually try to understand the physics of towing.

I am particularly careful with my tires, both CRV and trailer. We check our lights every day and we both check our hookup and trailer (and have now added a jack-up step after ball/tongue connection). We regularly check the lug nuts on trailer and Honda (after loosing a lug nut in Labrador). We regularly check our hitch and the bolts holding it on.

We recently met someone who had trailer sway but felt safe because he had a big tow vehicle with plenty of tow rating. Unfortunately everything was wrong with his 1500-2000 pound trailer/tow vehicle set up. He did have sway and was considering getting an anti-sway bar.

Being a gentle driver is always a wise position no matter what you tow vehicle is.

Safe Travels
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:33 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
Some people just know how to take care of equipment better than other folks.
So I would say that most folks towing with what we'll call a "light duty" vehicle ( CR-V ) would have very likely needed to replace a clutch by now, and would have probably been through more sets of brakes.
When it comes to towing, knowing "how to drive" is a huge factor in being safe and successful in the long term.
Definitely.

Sadly, many people lack this common sense.
These same people share the same road as the rest of us.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:23 AM   #105
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We spend a large percentage of the towing discussion on tow vehicles, there is so much more that goes into the safe towing discussion than the tow vehicle.

A little off topic but very important...
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:24 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
We spend a large percentage of the towing discussion on tow vehicles, there is so much more that goes into the safe towing discussion than the tow vehicle.

A little off topic but very important...
Experience and knowledge come to mind. When people plan how not to fail (trailer brakes, gentle driving, knowing limits and implications,maint. and inspection) they tend to do better than those that assume TV rating or engineering will "handle" everything.

Knowing how to use a clutch or drive on steep grades is better than having a heavier clutch or brakes IMHO.

I think this discussion has good info from experienced people so even if it makes Donna weep....

The poster who thought TV weight was the biggest factor in towing capacity needs to hear about trailer brakes and the other factors that are equally or even more important to safe and successful towing.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:12 PM   #107
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The discussion of tow vehicle weight to trailer weight ratio is interesting. Semi-trucks regularly are outweighed by their loads. They positively must have reliable braking systems on their trailers. Failure of the braking system could mean serious trouble and a trip into an escape ramp if there was one available. On long downgrades without the trailer brakes ability to help the truck he would be grossly overpowering his TV’s brakes requiring maximum engine braking being only applied to the drive axles. They probably have safety features built into the braking systems which increase reliability or include redundant features to take over if one device fails. Our little trailers have no real braking backup systems to take over if our wiring plug develops some resistance or comes unplugged. The magnets can go open or fail at any time. If our tow vehicle is beefy enough it stands a chance of controlling the trailer without functioning brakes. Having a trailer that outweighs the TV by a wide margin would I think be bad in a brakeless situation. Sort of like a wimp being pushed around by a gorilla. My Honda fit weighs a few hundred pounds less than my loaded 16’ Scamp. It has small disc brakes in front that do a good job stopping the car. The engine is revy, with little torque and poor engine braking. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend towing with the car. The car is excellent at what it was designed for and has outstanding reliability. That said, I think it would be a poor choice to tow my 2800 pound trailer. My Jeep wrangler is also not ideal for towing, but as others have said “it’s all I got”. It weighs about 4500 lbs and has 4 wheel disc brakes, a non-revy engine, plenty of engine braking, computer controlled air suspension which keeps the vehicle level no matter if a trailer is connected or not. It is tall making it poor for evasive maneuvers, has poor fuel economy, poor aerodynamics, and very short wheelbase. I think the Jeep is a better choice due to the “beef”. I also doubt I am breaking any law or exceeding the tow rating of the Jeep. I rely on defensive driving and my experience level to keep me out of trouble. Driving slowly is key with this setup. It helps with safety and economy. Win win.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:39 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
We spend a large percentage of the towing discussion on tow vehicles, there is so much more that goes into the safe towing discussion than the tow vehicle.

A little off topic but very important...
Norm I think you have hit the nail on the head as to why when ever the discussion of using tow vehicles that do not meet the tow rating set by the manufacture for the trailer in question often gets heated.

More often than not the party asking if its ok to tow a trailer with a tow vehicle that does not meet the manufactures set tow ratings or tow their trailer without brakes, someone will jump in & say go for it as they have been doing it for years without a problem. More often than not the party who originally asked the question has little or no towing experience but the party making the recommendation "to go for" it has lots of towing experience.

While most who have experience towing know all to well that problems can and do arise and IMHO if the party doing the towing does not have a clue as to how to correctly stow a trailer or correct a bad situation quickly and safely they are dangerous not only to the party doing the towing but to those they share the road with.

The example you have given of the fellow with the sway problem is a classic dangerous situation. Any one who has been on this list for more than a year knows of at least one trailer on this list has been written off due to a sway incident and the tow vehicle's towing specs where well within the weight of the trailer in question. Adding a basic sway problem due to incorrect stow on top of having a driver with little towing experience and a tow vehicle that is not rated to tow the trailer in question you have IMHO (and apparently a large majority of the folks here) a even more dangerous situation & an even higher chance of an accident. In the case of the fellow with the big truck and sway problem - yes its dangerous but IMHO not as dangerous as it might be - as its a good bet a swaying fiberglass trailer has the ability to pull a lighter vehicle with a shorter wheel base off the road a lot faster than it would a heavier vehicle with a longer wheel base and more power. Not that a swaying trailer is good thing regardless of whats pulling it or that a swaying trailer cant pull a heavier tow vehicle right off the road, there IMHO is just not as high of a likelihood of it happening with a bigger tow vehicle and the smaller fiberglass trailers we are talking about here.

As a side note I recall reading a story a couple of years back which may or may not have been on this list (seem to think it was on this list) where someone was heartbroken that their friend was never told or shown how to use their brake controller correctly or what to do or not to do in the event of a bad trailer sway. Their friend lost their life having had their tow pulled over a big cliff by a swaying trailer and it was an accident that the poster felt could have been avoided had the driver known how to use the features of their brake controller correctly. Does anyone here recall that story? Wish I had booked marked it.

How about the party who is thinking about buying a certain vehicle but they know their trailer has to high of a hitch weight for the tow vehicles manufactures specs? How many times have you seen someone here tell someone new to towing that they can just add water to their rear fresh water tanks to keep the tongue weight down or put bikes on the back of the trailer, as they do it all the time - but the party doing the recommendation makes no mention of the fact that this practice can cause a serious sway issue. How would someone new to towing know that unless the party making the recommendation tells them? Or how about situations where someone here recommends just adding a weigh distribution hitch to solve what ever problem - regardless of the fact the vehicle manufacture of the car in question does not recommend the use of weight distribution hitches as it could impact the cars handling ability? Yet the party making the recommendation does not suggest that it be a good idea that the party they are advising check their owners manual to see if the vehicle manufacture allows weight distribution hitches on their vehicles. As its been shown time and time again here, a lot of folks never open the owners manual on their tow vehicle until they have a problem.

Funny enough on my way to NOG I came within a couple of inches of being hit on the I5 by a small trailer that had a serious sway problem while passing me. My heart stopped as I was in the middle lane passing a slower vehicle on the inside lane & someone right on my tail - no were to go to get away from the swaying trailer & could not just hit the brakes as my trailer would be wearing the car behind! Had the swaying trailer made contact with my car or trailer the results could have been very ugly for myself and my passenger and I wasn't the one with the sway issue! After the fellow with the sway issue came very close to taking me out twice, it was clear he had scared the pants off himself as well as he slowed right down and I was grateful to see him vanish quickly out of sight of my rear view. So when people here say that those who choose to make chooses in regards to not following time tested safe towing practices that they are not only putting themselves at risk they are making a decision to put others at risk as well - they IMHO are calling it as it really is.

Bottom line is your right the topic is VERY IMPORTANT so its also important to keep in mind when making towing recommendations here that in the wrong hands it can be deadly!

It might help if those that are inclined to say "go for it" where to stop before typing their reply and ask themselves the simple question - could the information I am about to share be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced tower or could it be unlawful in a state or province that I don't live or tow in? If the answer is yes then IMHO it would make a whole lot of people here a lot happier if they just did not type it.

To those who may be reading this who do not know me please don't assume that I am just one of those folks who thinks one needs nothing less than a big V8 pick up to safely tow a small fiberglass trailer that weighs in well under 2700lbs. I assure you I am not I am actually someone who likes to leave as small of a carbon foot print as possible while at the same time following the recommendations of the good folks who built my car & who know for a fact what parts where used to build it and what tests where done or not done to come up with there towing capacity ratings and the reasons for them.

As I said thats just MHO.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:06 PM   #109
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Regarding sway, the 2 methods I'm familiar with to get a swaying trailer under control is #1 apply the trailer's brakes if you have them and #2 give the tow vehicle a little more gas to pull the trailer into line. Are these still accepted methods and are there other options too?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:22 PM   #110
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Although both the methods you have given Melissa may work with a minor sway there are unfortunately serious downsides to both methods in bringing a trailer that is swaying badly back in control - if by applying the trailer brakes you mean by doing it via the tow vehicles brakes.

Speeding up can help to straighten out the trailer for a moment but speed causes sway so the speeding up could actually result in a bigger sway. So speeding up would be the least favorable way of stopping a trailer from swaying.

Lightly tapping the brakes on in the tow vehicle can work if the trailer is only doing a tiny sway but if its doing a big sway & you over apply the brakes in the tow vehicle it may result into a jack knife situation - a common error and cause of accidents with trailers.

Suspect that it would be agreed by most of the more experienced towers that the safer way of dealing with the sway is to avoid using your vehicle brakes & to instead use the little lever found on the front of most brake controllers instead. Its the manual override which will apply the brakes to the trailer only - slowly slide it over to engage the trailer brakes and once the trailer straightens out slowly decrease the speed of your vehicle by continuing to apply trailer brakes only. Using the trailer brakes only will hopefully avoiding both the jack knife problem and the speeding up problem.

Hope that makes sense :-)
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:51 PM   #111
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Russ said: Big rigs.... they probably have safety features built into the braking systems which increase reliability or include redundant features to take over if one device fails.
Big rigs use air brakes on the trailer, the brakes are spring loaded to be engaged and only air pressure from the TV supplied by the hoses you see in the back middle of a rig keep the brakes disengaged. Brake pedal bleeds off air pressure. Brake line fails brakes will engage. Brake canisters at the wheel fail brakes will engage. There is more than one control to bleed off air pressure. Parking and foot brake at the least.

Here in Mich. any trailer over a certain length / weight (including RV's) must have a safety brake (typically battery powered) that will engage the brakes if trailer separates from TV. Sometimes a brake battery on trailer with a "kill" switch that engages if cable disconnects. Have heard of trailer brakes electrically held open so breakaway triggers brakes from loss of power.

Feeling less silly for thinking about trailer brakes and ant-sway hitch on a scamp 13 after reading this.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:27 PM   #112
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Thanks for the reply, Carol. What do folks do who dont have trailer brakes at all or like in my case I have surge brakes which only apply when the tow vehicle decelerates. Thankfully I've never experienced sway with either of my 2 popups or my T@b but would like to know my options if it ever occured. What about just letting off the gas of the tow in order to hopefully slow down hard enough that the trailer brakes on my T@b will engage? I doubt speed will ever be a factor as I tow between 55 and 60 mph so not sure if slowing up would help or if in that case I should actually speed up a bit to pull the trailer back into line if I cant get the brakes to engage by slowing down without actually hitting my tow brakes? What about folks who have no kind of trailer brakes. What are their options?

Thanks again!

Melissa
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