Risk adverse automakers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-23-2009, 05:57 PM   #1
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I recall a few mag articles I read (car and driver and consumer reports) that said basically the following: As concerns safety and towing and other specs, the auto companies are litigation and warranty adverse. In other word they have two things they want to avoid, law suits and warranty repair. Therefor they spec based on the worst possible drivers. Like a driver who is pulling the max load and when stopped at a signal on a hot day they floor it...up hill! That would be warranty fudging huh? Will they fudge for safety too? Apparently they tell you not to tow more than one weight when they know a good driver would be safe driving with a bigger load.

So anyway I know some people will never ever load anything out of spec. Would you pull over spec? How much?

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Old 02-23-2009, 09:41 PM   #2
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Would you pull over spec? How much?
No. I am as askeered of lawyers as the auto makers.

My concern is not loss of warranty, but the big lawsuit brought against me *if* there is another party involved.

That said, I towed at 50 lbs under my Elements rating. I wouldn't go 1 lb more. The rig was fine, but I was pushing the paper limits.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:43 PM   #3
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Would you pull over spec? How much?
I did once upon a time.[b] NEVER again.
I pulled the crankshaft bearing right out of the drive line on the I-405 South on a Sunday afternoon. Not only did I have to have 2 vehicles towed over 100 miles, the car was totaled, and I had to make do without a car for 6 months in order to refinance so I could buy another.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Way back ..... in a commerical environment I sometimes was over the legal limits but within the equipment limits. That was then ...

I drive slower and shorter now ... but most of all I enjoy being about 50 percent under the equipment limits ... especially since all the repair bills are mine.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:39 AM   #5
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I beat up my old Dodge pickup by towing my first RV a few hundred pounds over the truck's 2,000 lb capacity back when I had far less appreciation for the whole towing business and saw it as more of a challenge -- Went through a few clutches and a set of main bearings, plus a rear end ratio change from 3.23 to 3.73, which helped considerably -- When I got rid of the truck, it only had 215,000 miles on the Slant-Six engine, which had a blown head gasket, needed at least one piston rod replaced and a complete makeover on the head -- It should have gone more like 300,000 miles.

A person might be the safest driver in the world, but that won't protect him/her from the other driver who isn't -- I do NOT want to be involved in a wreck with serious injuries while towing over capacity because one then takes on a share of the responsibility in the eyes of a court -- I am enjoying my retirement and don't want to lose it as a result of a civil suit because somebody else was careless and a someone got hurt while I was in the vicinity!

As Gina said, I am as litigationally risk-averse as any auto company and no amount of "those guidelines don't apply to me because I am [fill in the blank] or my vehicle is rated higher in [pick a country the court won't care about]" rationalization is going to protect me in court against third and fourth parties -- I will spend far more $$ on lawyers even beating the case than I would for a proper tow vehicle.

Been there, done that and survived, never to do it again!
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:40 AM   #6
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There is a very similar discussion at:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=32562

My experience is the last post.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:17 AM   #7
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There is a very similar discussion at:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=32562

My experience is the last post.
Thanks for the responses. I think the thing I never thought about was Gina's. If you get in a wreck and you are over manufactures suggested load you are setting yourself up for a law suit... eeks.. which is just like what the manufactures do to try to avoid it themselves!

I do however think that I can safely tow a heaver load than some people because of the way I drive (no one here is being accused of being a poor driver). Some people, as I noted, can ruin a tow vehicle by towing maximum load and driving like its empty. Somewhere between over caution and maximum load lies the weight that is right for each of us for the terrain, speed, and heat that we tow in.

I do however still believe as I read: The manufacturing specs are designed more to protect the manufacturer than to indicate the safe tow/load/life of the vehicle. For example Car and Driver published a "towing game" article where Ford knew that Nissan would delay their model specs until after Ford published theirs. So one year (04?) Ford upped its load spec about half of what they intended and then let Nissan publish theirs. Yep.. exactly the same. Then Ford let out what they did to the car press and republished their new load specs. Nissan was hammered in the press. So that's when I began to suspect the safety/engineering/marketing stuff.

PS no! I am well under my 5000+ limit with my ranger... I am just making conversation here. Call it the epistemology of towing
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:23 AM   #8
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I've towed about 2000lbs over my max weight on a dual axle 7'x14' cargo trailer with a full size pickup and most of the weight was behind the axles...(A Very Stupid Move) It was a 2800 mile white knuckle drive with lots of sway. Luckily i didn't hurt myself or someone else.... "I Will Never Do That Again"
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:00 PM   #9
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Remember, we are talking about three general classes of vehicles here:

The ones like the big pickups designed for towing and made in large part for the towing market, where one lives or dies by high capacities;

The ones where towing is a secondary function, like many of the ones we use, where the manufacturer is more risk averse because towing isn't the market;

And the ones where towing is very much not even a secondary function, like small passenger vehicles were the manufacturer is very risk averse and recommends 1,000 lbs or nothing at all.

All we can really do is speculate -- 1998 Ford Rangers, which I would personally class in the second two above came with ratings that ranged from 6,000 lbs down to "Not recommended for towing".

Since we can only GUESS why each manufacturer set them as they did (Ford for example, very quietly reduced the towing capacity on vehicles with manual transmissions a few years back without any published reason; Ford people speculate that it was based on driver skill with clutch, but no official reason has been given).

Since we are guessing as to why the capacities are what they are stated to be, we are also guessing that we can ignore them for skilled drivers.

For example, CC tests their trucks by loading a trailer to that limit, stopping it halfway up a steep test hill they have in Arizona and then getting it going again from a dead stop -- How is our fictional "safe driver" going to overcome that in a traffic situation? I use that as an example of a real-world situation I got into in traffic on a hill in Tennessee with that manual clutch.

Take a look at some YouTube automotive close calls not even involving trailers and ask what you might do in those situations to avoid them -- Then stack the deck against yourself by overloading the trailer, operating on wet road with a connected friction anti-sway bar, pulling a 13' trailer with no brakes, etc.

Sorry, just isn't worth the ego trip for me -- A truly safe driver just doesn't take chances with his/her rig, just the ones who haven't found their personal limits yet.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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Remember, we are talking about three general classes of vehicles here:

All we can really do is speculate

[b]Agreed to a point. However if I had a sit down with a engineering/marketing representative from Ford Motor Co and if I could ask him questions and if I got straight answers then I would no longer have to speculate... as much. It depends on how much information you get and who you get it from. Not saying I have these kinds of contacts and not saying I don't but I am (was) an engineering teacher by trade so I am always curios about such things and sometimes skeptical to a fault when I hear absolutes.

For example, CC tests their trucks by loading a trailer to that limit, stopping it halfway up a steep test hill they have in Arizona and then getting it going again from a dead stop -- How is our fictional "safe driver" going to overcome that in a traffic situation? I use that as an example of a real-world situation I got into in traffic on a hill in Tennessee with that manual clutch.

[b]If that is the criteria for safe driving then indeed he/she would be in trouble if they loaded heavier but in fat city if they were lighter, right?

Sorry, just isn't worth the ego trip for me -- A truly safe driver just doesn't take chances with his/her rig, just the ones who haven't found their personal limits yet.

[b]I certainly hope people who cheat the number are not just buttering their ego... goodness.

But if you wanted to take this subject to extreme one could say they were "dangerous" if they towed ten pounds over the number and "safe" if they towed ten pounds under the number. Things are really not all that philosophically discreet in my view.
[b]Good discussion.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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"For example, CC tests their trucks by loading a trailer to that limit, stopping it halfway up a steep test hill they have in Arizona and then getting it going again from a dead stop -- How is our fictional "safe driver" going to overcome that in a traffic situation? I use that as an example of a real-world situation I got into in traffic on a hill in Tennessee with that manual clutch."

My point here is that there's more to it than just safe driving -- Safe driving to me means having more than enough capacity to do the job, not just enough, because sometimes it may not be enough. I am also a believer of having some safety factor because the capacities are mostly set for clean dry roads at sea level on vehicles that are new -- I personally don't consider being anywhere near ten pounds of my towing capacity to be adequate. Ford, for example, has a note attached on all their tow rating tables that I have seen saying to reduce the tow capacity by 2% for every 1,000 ft in altitude, so the capacity tables are just a starting place.

Does a really good hunter go hunting with only one cartridge? Does a really good driver tow right at the top edge of the vehicle's capacities? Are the tires sized to be just enough for the load? Is the gas tank full or is there just enough gas to get to the destination?

I was already having performance problems with my 2000 lb-rated truck pulling a scale-weight 1,700 lb trailer and I'm not going to be there again because sometimes it made me a problem to other drivers and that's not safe.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:37 PM   #12
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Towing (pulling) capacity is only one rating that is often ignored.

Another is the "Passenger and Cargo Not to Exceed Load" capacity.

I once saw a Jeep pulling a 17' loaded Oliver. That Jeeps not to exceed load capacity was 850 lbs. Tongue weight and two (in excess of 200 lbs.) passengers and that Jeep was overloaded.

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Old 02-24-2009, 11:20 PM   #13
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No. I am as askeered of lawyers as the auto makers.

My concern is not loss of warranty, but the big lawsuit brought against me *if* there is another party involved.

That said, I towed at 50 lbs under my Elements rating. I wouldn't go 1 lb more. The rig was fine, but I was pushing the paper limits.
Hi Gina,
I will be pulling with a CR-V, which I believe has the same capacity as the Element. I assume you were pulling a 13'er; [b]did you have trailer brakes? If not, did you wish you did?

My owner's manual says 'brakes at 1,000 lbs or more.' Scamp sales guy said, don't need no stinkin' brakes. Same with hitch installer guy.

I plan to get brakes installed, but I gotta get the baby home without them. I've never towed before, so I have some (ok, A LOT) of apprehension about it regardless. I'll be making that maiden voyage in the good, old flat lands of the midwest.
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:33 AM   #14
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Ford sez "Vehicle brakes are designed to stop the GVWR, not the GCWR", IOW, only the vehicle as loaded per the ratings, not anything being towed behind it.

Honda sez "Needed over 1,000 lbs" -- What does Honda say about the tow rating *without* brakes? Scamp 13' with no options is still going to be over 1,000 lbs dry.

Salesdroid and hitch installer won't be there to hold your hand... Salesdroid sees sale possibly falling through because of change, so may be a tiny bit biased. Hitch guy surprises me as he should be glad to have the extra work -- Maybe doesn't know how??

Dunno what your TV weighs, but when I put brakes on my 1,700 lb Scamp, being pulled by a 4,000+ lbs truck, the difference was very noticeable and I went from some white-knuckle intersections to casual stopping. Even without the Honda caveat, six braked wheels on the ground beats four any day!

Personally, I'd get the brakes -- The real question would be when -- If you get them from Scamp, they should be good right from the start and you don't have to worry about that one trip and it's no big deal for them to put them on the axle, although -- I'd get some estimates and then you can decide -- You need to have the wiring done on TV to charge the battery, so they might as well be installing that Prodigy or P3 brake wiring at the same time.

I'd be showing up with all that installed on the TV so Scamp can ensure it all works as it should. Also, if Scamp installs the brakes, they will be looking at the bearings which they might not otherwise do -- New axles have been known to come from factory with dry bearings.

If you are new to pulling trailers, you will be starting out with a rig that doesn't meet the manufacturer's requirements -- Good formula for an unpleasant happening! Probably be OK for one trip, but is probably enough?

BTW, follow the conventional advice and plan to camp at least one day in the area so you can easily go back, ask questions and have stuf fixed/adjusted.

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