Thoughts on a Tug? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-15-2015, 12:06 PM   #15
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There are two different tow weight ratings assigned to vehicles; the total trailer weight and the tongue weight. While most vehicles have tongue weights rated at 10% of the tow rating, this isn't always true. There are some vehicles such as the Volvo V70 that are notorious for having a very low tongue weight capacity relative to their total tow rating.

It sounds like you don't have a trailer yet, which can make this whole exercise a bit edgy as the weights and tongue weights of trailers vary so much. Have you “bought your third RV first” as they say? We towed a 1,600 lb tear drop trailer for a while so I could tow with my old Passat AWD wagon before investing in a tow vehicle. We are now on our second trailer, which did require that upgrade.

Many folks try to stay at or under 80% or so of the nominal ratings. That means keeping the total "real world" weight of the trailer, gear, and liquids at or below 80% of the vehicle's tow ratings. So, your 5,000 lb rating would correspond to a "real-world" 4,000 lb trailer weight, and the 3,500 corresponds to a potentially meager 2,800. However, using 80% or so can help keep the color in your knuckles when you go through an edgy bit of road conditions.

A vehicle's tow rating may require optional-but-necessary equipment such as transmission coolers. VW (and probably others) commonly publish lower tow capacities for pulling a trailer that does not have brakes.

Currently I am towing a lightly-loaded 17' Casita with a new-to-us 2010 Audi Q5. The Casita has a relatively high tongue weight. The Audi apparently has some fly-by-wire electronic enhancements to combat sway, (and perhaps even improve libido and hair growth). To date, I have been very impressed with the overall stability, braking and power. But, I haven't tackled high-plains Wyoming winds yet.

A weight distribution hitch and/or anti-sway gear or a lack thereof might also enter into the calculations. Looking forward, I have corresponded with folks who feel they have been favorably served by the Andersen WDH. I don't feel a strong need for much weight distribution, but I think some anti-sway might be a good thing. You will find that the whole subject of whether to use a WDH is another deep rabbit hole.

I will trust you to select a vehicle appropriate to accommodate the hounds, kayaks, mother-in-laws and muskie poles as you may travel with. I am attaching a copy of a spreadsheet with tow ratings and a “leading consumer magazine’s” summary score for an array of 2015 models. Maybe this will suggest a choice you had missed (Hyundai Santa Fe?). As a 2015 model is not within your budget parameter, you'll need to research whether previous-year models had similar ratings. But it sounds like you are the kind of guy that will enjoy doing that. Good luck Dean.
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Old 11-15-2015, 01:03 PM   #16
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80%

the idea of discouting 20-25% is very much common/followed in the trailerboating community (way more than here, I'd say)....with the usual disclaimers, like if one only tows the boat a few miles to a boat ramp...that's a lot different than somebody towing a boat around Colorado....

I'm a good example....tow vehicle rating is 5000lbs (tow package and use of WDH)....my trailer's axle is rated 3500 and the weight on that axle is 3234 (trailer loaded for a trip)....add a few humdred pounds (200+?) on the tounge and I'm spot on 3500 GVW for the trailer....

I wouldn't want tow with anything smaller / with less tow rating.
There are lots of hills out there... and it's real nice to be able accelerate from a stop at the same rate as the rest of the traffic.
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Old 11-15-2015, 01:31 PM   #17
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All Toyotas... sounds like you didn't need to do all that research to come to that conclusion!
Here are a few Motor Trend car of the year winners, and my toy Yoda...


Motor Trend car of the year...


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Old 11-15-2015, 01:52 PM   #18
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The best tow vehicle we ever had was a 1994 Dodge 2500 Cummins Diesel single cab long bed 2 wheel drive. We paid $10,000.00 used, owned it for several years, and sold it for what we purchased for. It pulled our 13' Scamp up mountain grades without slowing down and without ever shifting out of overdrive, all while delivering 22-23 mpg. When not towing the Scamp interestingly enough, it only got 20-21 hwy and 18 combined hwy/city (driving like an old man), I think the Scamp must have changed the air flow behind the truck to break the "suction" coming off the cab height topper. I would have it today if it weren't for my 4x4 off-roading hobby being combined with our FGRV gathering.
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Old 11-15-2015, 03:37 PM   #19
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Best selling new truck makes good used truck :-) Why F-150 is out of picture?
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:07 PM   #20
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You can't go wrong with a Toyota Highlander, regular, or hybrid.
Towing capacity ratings might be on the conservative side, so some plus or minus is OK, say 10% over the 3500 lb = 3850 total loaded trailer weight with 10 - 12% of that on the hitch.
Then you also need to check your total combined vehicle weight rating.

The Highlander makes a great everyday driving car.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:17 PM   #21
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Hi All,

I really appreciate everyone's comments and expertise regarding this topic!!!

Cathi, I agree. A newer 4 Runner is not an option for me. Too pricey. I like a 4 Runner, but it would probably need to be 7 to 10 years old to fit in my budget.

Bob, I definitely understand starting with a $10,000 budget and ending up over $20,000. I am going to try to hold to around $10,000, but I am already seeing what an extra few thousand will buy.

Norm and Ginny, I appreciate your questions and musings in terms of how the trailer/tug is going to be used as variables in choosing the best combination. The tug that we buy will serve as a daily driver along with a Honda Fit, thus we do have some flexibility. In terms of how we will camp, good question. Given work demands, I am expecting long weekend trips at least once per month along with longer summer trips. I am busy with university work, but have some flexibility, plus I have been there long enough that I earn 5 weeks of vacation per year in addition to standard university holidays. The cost of operation is important, but is secondary to safety and reliability.

Paul, the Scamp and Escape 5ers are sweet rigs and I assume tow well.

Alan, a Taco V6 Quad Cab would be a great rig imo. I would think it would handle a 16'/17' FG rig. Trying to find a decent one at a decent used price will be the challenge. But, there are other options as well.

Mike, I really appreciate your comments that the tug is not just about pulling, but includes STOPPING as well. All very good points. Any trailer I get, will have trailer brakes! Yes, I have tended to drive small and midsize vehicles my adult life. I did grow up on a small farm and my dad was a logger, so I grew up around larger vehicles, trucks, diesel, and heavy equipment. I don't mind driving a larger vehicle, but I have not needed to do that for most of my adult years.

Lee, LOL! Yup, the DW prefers an SUV, but is open to a pickup as well. The newer Highlander will tow up to 5,000 lbs. I think most of the older ones are limited to around 3,500, but I would consider one!

Mike, I think the at or under 80% of the tugs capacity makes sense. I have never towed a trailer, but I like the "idea" of not using all of the tug's capacity in general. THANKS for the spreadsheet. I am printing it now!!!

Francois, yup, I like your 80% rule of thumb. That is a great looking tug/trailer combo!!!

Floyd, LOL! Motor Trend has picked their lemons over the years. I have only used MT to access their new truck/SUV issue that gives basic information. From there, I have gone on-line to research more regarding trucks/SUVs. With the exception of the Corvair that was around when I was a baby, I grew up remembering Vegas, Chevettes, and Alliances. My girlfriend drove a Vega. It was a piece of junk, but she was hot! BTW, we have been married for 32 years now. LOL, I overlooked the Vega!!! Love the Yoda Doll and your appreciation of Toy Yodas!

David, sounds like that 94' Dodge 2500 was quite a truck. My nephew has one of that vintage. The last time I checked it had nearly 400,000 miles on the engine. He always claimed his early 90s Dodge 2500 was better than his early 2000s Dodge 2500.

Sergey, I am not opposed to a F150. In fact, if I were going to pull a slightly heavier trailer, I think the F150 2.7 Eco-Boost Quad Cab would be my #1 rig. I am trying to stay a little smaller. The older Tundras were 3/4s to 7/8s the size for full-size trucks, thus I am considering them. I would be open to an F150, but that is not were I am focusing.

Wayne, I agree that the Highlander would make an everyday great driver, but the older ones only tow 3,500 and the newer ones that will tow 5,000 are too pricey for me. Otherwise, another great Toy-Yoda!

Gonna keep on looking and gonna keep on bouncing my thoughts off the great folks on FGRV.com!!!

Thanks,

Dean
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
There are two different tow weight ratings assigned to vehicles; the total trailer weight and the tongue weight. While most vehicles have tongue weights rated at 10% of the tow rating, this isn't always true. There are some vehicles such as the Volvo V70 that are notorious for having a very low tongue weight capacity relative to their total tow rating.

It sounds like you don't have a trailer yet, which can make this whole exercise a bit edgy as the weights and tongue weights of trailers vary so much. Have you “bought your third RV first” as they say? We towed a 1,600 lb tear drop trailer for a while so I could tow with my old Passat AWD wagon before investing in a tow vehicle. We are now on our second trailer, which did require that upgrade.

Many folks try to stay at or under 80% or so of the nominal ratings. That means keeping the total "real world" weight of the trailer, gear, and liquids at or below 80% of the vehicle's tow ratings. So, your 5,000 lb rating would correspond to a "real-world" 4,000 lb trailer weight, and the 3,500 corresponds to a potentially meager 2,800. However, using 80% or so can help keep the color in your knuckles when you go through an edgy bit of road conditions.

A vehicle's tow rating may require optional-but-necessary equipment such as transmission coolers. VW (and probably others) commonly publish lower tow capacities for pulling a trailer that does not have brakes.

Currently I am towing a lightly-loaded 17' Casita with a new-to-us 2010 Audi Q5. The Casita has a relatively high tongue weight. The Audi apparently has some fly-by-wire electronic enhancements to combat sway, (and perhaps even improve libido and hair growth). To date, I have been very impressed with the overall stability, braking and power. But, I haven't tackled high-plains Wyoming winds yet.

A weight distribution hitch and/or anti-sway gear or a lack thereof might also enter into the calculations. Looking forward, I have corresponded with folks who feel they have been favorably served by the Andersen WDH. I don't feel a strong need for much weight distribution, but I think some anti-sway might be a good thing. You will find that the whole subject of whether to use a WDH is another deep rabbit hole.

I will trust you to select a vehicle appropriate to accommodate the hounds, kayaks, mother-in-laws and muskie poles as you may travel with. I am attaching a copy of a spreadsheet with tow ratings and a “leading consumer magazine’s” summary score for an array of 2015 models. Maybe this will suggest a choice you had missed (Hyundai Santa Fe?). As a 2015 model is not within your budget parameter, you'll need to research whether previous-year models had similar ratings. But it sounds like you are the kind of guy that will enjoy doing that. Good luck Dean.
SOOO... With all the talk of manufacturer's ratings, you say don't trust them?
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:43 PM   #23
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tow V

what about a used Honda Pilot 04-08 might work they have a 3.5 v-6 I had the 4 wheel drive (all wheel) and it had a 4500lb tow rating the front wheel drive was rated at 3500lb .mpg was similar to sequia with the 4whl drive We towed a 5000lb boat home 300 miles with no problems but sold it for a 07 Toyota Sequoia with a v-8 (14-20 mpg non towing) towing 12-14 mpg . Jim
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:47 PM   #24
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Hi Jim,

Great minds! Actually, we own a 2005 Honda Pilot EX-L AWD. We bought it this summer for our 17 y/o daughter. It has about 140,000 miles on it, but it is in great shape, plus we bought it from one of my colleagues at work, so we know its history. We got a great deal on it. It does not have the tow package. With the tow package, it would be rated to tow 4,500 lbs if a boat trailer and 3,500 lbs for other trailers. It is a great vehicle for our daughter, but we want a few less miles and more a bit more tow capacity than 3,500 lbs., I think. The new Pilots are rated to tow 5,000 lbs, properly equipped. I appreciate the post. I will check to see if there were Pilots after 2005 rated to tow more than 3,500 lbs for trailers other than boat trailers. Pilots are solid vehicles!

Thanks,

Dean
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:55 AM   #25
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Second generation Pilots (2009-2015) are rated for 4500/450 in AWD form. All the towing adds are standard, including cooling upgrades, an integrated receiver, and trailer wiring with a connector for a brake controller, which is nice because (unlike Highlander) you can find a used one equipped to tow that hasn't actually been used for towing.

Beware of issues related to the VCM system (shuts down cylinders under light throttle). There was a class action lawsuit resulting in a limited warranty extension to 8/100K. Hard to say how widespread the issues are- doesn't seem to register in CR data, but continual chatter on the Pilot forum.

We tow a 13' Scamp with a FWD Pilot. At 75K, no VCM issues so far. As a daily driver, it is acceptable, but doesn't get me excited. Very smooth and comfortable for long distance slogs (which I do a lot of), but not much fun in city traffic (which I don't do a lot of). Fuel economy 24-26 on rural 2-lanes @60, 21-23 on interstates @75, 17-19 in city and towing @60.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:58 AM   #26
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We have a 2014 Odyssey, same engine as the Pilot, with VCM. VCM is a concern because it makes the engine more complicated. So far after 30,000 miles it's virtually invisible. I absolutely can not tell how many cylinders are active or when they switch.

On the Interstate we get over 30 mpg consistently driving at 65+ and 35 mpg multiple times all calculated. Driving around FL on their excellent secondary road system at 60 mph were consistently in the high 20s.

The most amazing part is how it does it's job silently. When you step on it it seems to leap into the 6 cylinder mode.

Towing to FL we averaged 18-19 mpg towing our overloaded Scamp 16 and overloaded Odyssey (we were moving and carried well too much but Ginny says '50 years of life condensed into 4 plastic bins, not too bad'.

Only time will tell on with the VCM. What I've learned is their were some engine mount issues in the early years.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:32 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
SOOO... With all the talk of manufacturer's ratings, you say don't trust them?
Floyd,

I'm not sure if you are referring to the "80% rule". That one obviously didn't originate with me but I am a conservative kind of guy and I do subscribe to it. I guess you could say I never mind having some additional buffer.

Quick story: we pulled the Casita down I-5 on a dark and stormy night last week. About a hundred miles south of our home I was passing a semi-trailer combination on a curve and noticed the DW quietly gripping the door handle. At that moment I realized that I "knew" that curve.

I used to make the trip between WA and CA several times a year for many years, so much of that 800 miles is imprinted in my memory banks. I had driven that curve in my aged '65 Nova, a '64 VW van, and various other clunkers that I ran in those years. I flashed back to how that particular S curve by the river was always a bit edgy and could serve to make the vehicle feel as though the suspension was floating if you pushed the speed.

Those 15-seconds or so passing the semi with the 4,400/440 lb-rated Audi harnessed to the ~3,000/~400 lb Casita with no sway bar or WDH felt solid as could be. As they say, for everything else there's MasterCard.
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:29 PM   #28
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Hi Jon, Thanks for the information on the 2009 to 2015 Honda Pilots. The fact that they all come with tow packages is SWEET!

Norm and Ginny, I wil study the VCM issue in the Pilots more. It looks like you are really happy and comfy in your Odyssey. I have been very pleased with my three Hondas (1988 Civic, 2004 Pilot - bought used this summer, and 2009 Honda Fit Sport.

Back to that tug research!

Dean
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