Recommended tow vehicle? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-05-2010, 07:22 AM   #1
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Hi,

I live in the Chicago area and am looking for a 13' egg in good shape. But first I need to buy a tow vehicle and am wondering if I would do better to buy a TV with 2-wheel drive (front), 4x4 with 2-wheel option, AWD (all wheel drive), or 2-wheel drive (rear). Also, is overdrive an issue? Many thanks for whatever advice you sage folks can share with me.

Rich Morrison
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:16 AM   #2
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Hi Rich,
Personally I know we would have been very stuck, several times, if it hadn't been for our AWD Honda Element.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:33 AM   #3
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A 2 wheel, rear drive, will generally be rated to tow more weight than front wheel drive or AWD. The AWD is also more complex with more to break down and more expensive to fix if it ever does break down, and the AWD will generally also get worse gas mileage.
I'd still get the AWD if I was going to be doing much boondocking on dirt roads or a lot of snow & ice pulling.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #4
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A lot of your choices will depend on what kind of regular driving as well as towing you may do. Almost any vehicle rated to tow the weight you expect the Scamp to weigh will be fine, especially if you stay on paved roads. You might want to consider a more robust tow vehicle if you want to use a lot of unpaved roads.

I tow with a front-wheel-drive minivan. I use a Weight Distributing Hitch, so I have to have a 2" (Class III) receiver, even though the van is rated for only 3500 pounds which usually requires only a 1-1/4" (Class II) receiver. They don't make Weight Distribution Hitches that fit in the smaller receiver.

I highly recommend that you actually have the Scamp weighed. Consider that the loaded-for-travel weight will be 25% to 40% heavier than dry unloaded weight, especially if you plan to travel with your water tank(s) full. My 16' Fiber Stream weighs 2500 pounds dry but almost 3300 pounds loaded for a 3 week vacation without water.
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
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I'd say buy the trailer first, then get the tow vehicle. More than once a person has found the absolutely perfect trailer and the best price then found out their brand-new tow vehicle is underpowered and can't handle the weight. You can buy a tug on just about any street corner, but finding that perfect trailer is priceless. In the meantime do your research on tugs and be prepared when the right time comes. YMMV
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:56 PM   #6
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And as Frederick mentions, the plot thickens if you are going to use the same vehicle as a daily driver.

For example, my car's mileage is much reduced when towing, and I may only get 18 mpg. On the other hand, I can bask in 28 mpg the 95% of the time I'm not towing, so even though I take a "hit" when towing, it comes out better.

If I were buying a vehicle ONLY for towing, and driving something else the rest of the time, my choice might not be the same.

And on and on, which is why until we know more about your exact situation, we can only say "it depends."

Good luck in your trailer hunt

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Old 04-06-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Hi,

I live in the Chicago area and am looking for a 13' egg in good shape. But first I need to buy a tow vehicle and am wondering if I would do better to buy a TV with 2-wheel drive (front), 4x4 with 2-wheel option, AWD (all wheel drive), or 2-wheel drive (rear). Also, is overdrive an issue? Many thanks for whatever advice you sage folks can share with me.

Rich Morrison
Subaru Forester?? Ours has worked out well as an all aroun daily driver plus a pretty decent tower.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:07 PM   #8
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Rich:

I agree with Donna that it is easier starting with the trailer.

We initially looked at a used 13 foot Scamp trailer, then had a look at new Scamp trailers on their website, then discovered Escape trailers, and looked up the many trailer selection threads on the Fiberglass rv forum and the Escape forum. Based on this reading we went to the Escape factory and placed an order for a 13 foot Escape. A month later we had some second thoughts about whether 13 feet would be big enough, and visited one of the forum members who had initially ordered a 13 foot Escape trailer and switched to a 17 foot. The decision on how big a trailer you need is an individual question, for example: How important is it to have a bathroom? How many people do you need to accommodate? In our case, since we already had our 2003 Forester we would need to buy a larger towing vehicle if we wanted a bigger trailer. My wife and I debated the costs and benefits and decided to stick with a 13 foot trailer. We had tented for more than 30 years, so the 13 foot trailer was still a considerable step up for us.

Our 13 foot trailer has a dry weight of about 1400 pounds, and loaded weight will be about 2000 pounds. This is the maximum towing weight for the 2003 Subaru Forester we already owned when we began looking for trailers. Newer models have a towing capacity of 2400 pounds.

While we have only had our trailer a few months and have only been on one camping trip we have been thrilled with our trailer. It is doing everything we had hoped for and more.

It is quite an exciting experience going through the purchasing decision. There are so many choices, and so many NICE choices! If you read the forums you will find that there are enthusiastic supporters for many different brands, and there is an amazing variety. On the fiberglassrv forum there is almost universal agreement that fiberglass is the way to go! Happy hunting!

Brian



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Old 04-07-2010, 08:37 AM   #9
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Thank you all so very much. Your responses are extremely helpful. I was thinking of getting my trailer first (after all, that's what I'm really excited about) but haven 't figured out how to get my 'new' Egg home. Of course, you're all correct about the limited availability of these wonderful little trailers. I've already missed out on Bette Hanson's 13' Burro in northern Minnesota. The 12' Contempo in San Diego also looks great but it appears the cheapest shipping I can find to Mt. Prospect, IL is around $2000. I've actually thought about flying to San Diego and buying a tow vehicle there with which to tow the trailer home.

Recently retired with grown children in Florida, I am hoping to take two or three extended sojourns every year, both boondocking and at RV sites. My TV will also be my primary transportation. I've been looking at (on the Web) the Jeep Liberty, Honda Element, Chevy Equinox, Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe, and Subaru Outback.

I can certainly look for an Egg and a tug concurrently but the point of not waiting to buy the 'right' Egg when it comes along is well taken. I have a bunch of questions about the many choices out there and will post another thread (is that the term?) with those.

Many thanks again. You have inspired me to get moving on my new adventure.

Best regards, Rich Morrison
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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Rich,
We just returned from a 6 week trip through WA, OR, CA and AZ with our 13' Trillium. Other then having some problems reserving a camping spot in Phoenix because our Trill is not "self-contained", it worked out wonderfully. Some nights we stayed in campsites ranging in price from $22 to $60 per night, and other times we boondocked in Wal-Mart or Denny's parking lots and even one night in a 'secure wayside' full of 18 wheelers. Of course we didn't have heat in the boondocking spots, because we heat with electricity. We also stayed in relative's driveways some of the time. It really paid to be a genealogist! LOL We were gone from Jan 28 until March 12.
The only thing I would caution about, is be sure to have your normal household bills paid up for the time you will be gone, or you may run into some ridiculous 'late fees' and 'interest.' Also, if you plan to use a credit card, be conscious of when the bill will be due. We ran into a problem with a three week trip to Washington DC last year. The credit card payment for the trip came due so close to our return home that we missed the due date by one day. Luckily we were able to convince the cc company that our good will was worth more than the ridiculously high fees and interest they wanted for that one day.
Our 2000 Subaru Outback pulled the 13' Trilliium without any problem. We weren't able to zip up mountains, but we did get up all of them. And just as important, we got down all of them in good order. We generally drove the truck speed limit, a necessity in CA, and got 19.79 mpg. and this is taking CA Hwy 1 up the coast. A more winding road would be difficult to find!
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:24 AM   #11
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Rear wheel drive puts the weight on the driving wheels, only way to go.

If you want some sort of 4wd for winter driving then part time 4wd will be simpler and long term cheaper.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:34 PM   #12
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If you are sure you will either be getting a 13 ft or even just a lightweight 16 ft then the Subaru's are excellent choices. The Outback is rated at 2700 lbs and the Forester is about 2400 or 2500. They have excellent all wheel drive and get good mileage. I pulled my pop-up all the time with my 4 cyl Outback but since I now have a Scamp 16 SD with a lot of options my tongue weight now exceeds the Subaru 200 lb tongue weight limit by 50% so I now use my pickup with the Scamp. If I can get my tongue weight down I wouldn't hesitate to use the Subaru to pull the Scamp.
The 2010 Outback with the CVT trans is larger than earlier models but now gets better mileage than many FWD CUVs. When not towing you get the benefits of AWD, good mileage, and excellent safety.

John
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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Donna D has a good point, all 13s are not created equal. there is a broad variation in towability, and weight is only a minor consideration, eventhough you would think it was paramount from what you read on the various forums.
Generally...Any small truck on the market today will comfortably tow any 13 ft fiberglass trailer that is commonly available.
Every trailer has it's advantages such as roominess , lay out, build quality, etc.
But when it comes to towability , Scamp, Boler,Eco and the like are group leaders when it comes to towing ease and natural stability.
I tow a 13 Scamp with both a reardrive Ford Ranger and a front drive Ford Escape.
The Ranger is a reliable workhorse, while the Escape rides and tows smoothly and comfortably and leaves me relaxed after a long day on the road with the Scamp.
A rear drive TV will tow much better with limited slip, In fact that could be generally thought of as the best overall design layout. For the purpose of towing a 13, four wheel or all wheel drive doesn't really add enough to justify the weight or the expense just for a TV.
Remember we are discussing a 13ft. fiberglass trailer, so platform is not as critical as it is on something like a tractor trailer. The smallish SUVs are a great choice for versatility comfort, economy etc. Notice I said smallish, not teensy.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:11 PM   #14
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Donna D has a good point, all 13s are not created equal. there is a broad variation in towability, and weight is only a minor consideration, eventhough you would think it was paramount from what you read on the various forums.
Generally...Any small truck on the market today will comfortably tow any 13 ft fiberglass trailer that is commonly available.
Every trailer has it's advantages such as roominess , lay out, build quality, etc.
But when it comes to towability , Scamp, Boler,Eco and the like are group leaders when it comes to towing ease and natural stability.
I tow a 13 Scamp with both a reardrive Ford Ranger and a front drive Ford Escape.
The Ranger is a reliable workhorse, while the Escape rides and tows smoothly and comfortably and leaves me relaxed after a long day on the road with the Scamp.
A rear drive TV will tow much better with limited slip, In fact that could be generally thought of as the best overall design layout. For the purpose of towing a 13, four wheel or all wheel drive doesn't really add enough to justify the weight or the expense just for a TV.
Remember we are discussing a 13ft. fiberglass trailer, so platform is not as critical as it is on something like a tractor trailer. The smallish SUVs are a great choice for versatility comfort, economy etc. Notice I said smallish, not teensy.
Hi Folks,

I ended up buying a 2006 Kia Sorrento, 3.5L V6, rear wheel drive. I pick up my (new) 12' Contempo Condo trailer, 1375 pounds empty (not yet weighed or verified), Sunday in San Diego. I will tow to Tucson (to visit for a day or two) before deciding about whether to install a transmission cooler and then continue on to Illinois.

Rich
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