Too crazy or good fun? Legacy pulling 13ft'er across country - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-19-2012, 10:38 AM   #43
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Clutch Towing

We have a 2004 Honda CRV with a manual transmission. We have towed for 5 years all over North America, about 1,200 days over that period including two loops of the United States and a trip thru the Maritime Provinces and Labrador. This year we were all over western mountains without issue.

Our trailer is a Scamp 16. It is fully loaded and weighs 2400 pounds. Our clutch, and it is now over 8 years old, is the original clutch.

The hardest duty on the clutch seems to be backing up rather small hills because one tends to slip the clutch a little when backing. This tends to be a rare situation, usually happening at some one's home.

Towing a Scamp 13 is about as easy as it gets. The only reservation I have with a Scamp 13 is the lack of brakes on the trailer. This definitely provides extra loading on the tow vehicle's brakes. Some Scamp 13s have brakes, an option, or have had them added.

I particularly like a standard transmission. Beyond being less expensive to purchase it allows you to decide what rpm range to run the engine in. We typically spend most of our drive time in 4th gear on our 5 speed.

Our son tows a Scamp 13 without trailer brakes with a 2005 4 cylinder Honda Accord, an automatic. He did add a transmission cooler. He averages about 23 mpg towing.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:51 AM   #44
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Bad weather and Speed

We simply don't travel in bad weather and would only use chains in an emergency situation. Snow and ice is to be avoided. We wait out weather, the ability to wait out a storm is a nice feature of a trailer, including strong winds and dust storms.

As to speed we keep our speed under the tire's max rating of 65 mph. Generally we avoid interstates but when on them we stick to 60 mph and the right hand lane. We have never had an issue traveling at these speeds.

The power available in these small 4 cylinder engines is more than adequate to tow a 13 foot trailer in the western USA and Canada.

The advantage of brakes on a small trailer is not simply the load it takes off the tow vehicle's brakes but also the additional control it provides over a small trailer in the rare sway event and the potential to stop the trailer should it break away from the tow vehicle.

Our trailer does have a built in shower but we typically use the campground's shower because trailer showers are limited in usefulness. Nice to have it there but not a necessity. We find the toilet valuable.

Welcome to the group and safe travels
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:30 AM   #45
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There are some good articles here: Can-Am RV :: Hitch Hints

that speak to what makes a good tow vehicle, including how to upgrade a sedan to a competent tow vehicle. Before the fear mongers show up , I'll emphasize the word upgrade. As built, you need to follow the manufacturer's specifications, but vehicles can be upgraded to improve their towing capabilities.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:51 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zealous Interiors View Post
My priorities would be to have heat, a refrigerator, and hopefully a shower (it does not have one but I'm pretty handy and would like to install one).
There have been people who have rigged a portable shower inside their 13' trailers. The zodi portable hot shower can be set up in the middle of the floor with the container used as the shower pan/base, and a circular shower curtain rod suspended from the ceiling.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:36 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
We have a 2004 Honda CRV with a manual transmission. We have towed for 5 years all over North America, about 1,200 days over that period including two loops of the United States and a trip thru the Maritime Provinces and Labrador. This year we were all over western mountains without issue.

Our trailer is a Scamp 16. It is fully loaded and weighs 2400 pounds. Our clutch, and it is now over 8 years old, is the original clutch.

The hardest duty on the clutch seems to be backing up rather small hills because one tends to slip the clutch a little when backing. This tends to be a rare situation, usually happening at some one's home.

Towing a Scamp 13 is about as easy as it gets. The only reservation I have with a Scamp 13 is the lack of brakes on the trailer. This definitely provides extra loading on the tow vehicle's brakes. Some Scamp 13s have brakes, an option, or have had them added.

I particularly like a standard transmission. Beyond being less expensive to purchase it allows you to decide what rpm range to run the engine in. We typically spend most of our drive time in 4th gear on our 5 speed.

Our son tows a Scamp 13 without trailer brakes with a 2005 4 cylinder Honda Accord, an automatic. He did add a transmission cooler. He averages about 23 mpg towing.
Norm,
If you have electric brakes, while backing up, you should disconnect the brake controller. I read somewhere that they are active in reverse thus burning out clutches. You may to check into this, I had the same problem with my stick in reverse, the brakes were binding in reverse. With auto, it does not seem to happen.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #48
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Norm,
If you have electric brakes, while backing up, you should disconnect the brake controller. I read somewhere that they are active in reverse thus burning out clutches. You may to check into this, I had the same problem with my stick in reverse, the brakes were binding in reverse. With auto, it does not seem to happen.
This is true of surge-type brakes, which is one reason for their unsuitability for RV trailers.

Ordinary electric brakes are only activated manually or when stepping on the brake pedal, and as a matter of fact, depending on controller type, may not work in reverse at all. If one's using the controller type that works in reverse and it's binding up as you describe despite proper adjustment, it may be wise to replace with a different controller.

Francesca
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:04 PM   #49
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Another cost to concider when changing out the axle to have brakes, is the bolt pattern will probably change, as well as the wheel size, so new tires and wheels must be added into your total cash outlay.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #50
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Jim,

I'll check it out but have not seen any evidence of the brakes activating in reverse.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:55 PM   #51
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Another cost to concider when changing out the axle to have brakes, is the bolt pattern will probably change, as well as the wheel size, so new tires and wheels must be added into your total cash outlay.
You can buy an axle with 4.75 in bolt circle studs, but now would be a great time to ditch the unique UHaul wheels. The axle width would need to recalculated to account for the original 1.75" positive wheel offset.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Our son tows a Scamp 13 without trailer brakes with a 2005 4 cylinder Honda Accord, an automatic. He did add a transmission cooler. He averages about 23 mpg towing.
Honda Accord tow cap without trailer brakes 1500 lbs. *REAL* World Scamp 13' trailer weights between 1620lbs and 1950lbs. Suspect the term "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is a good fit in this situation.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:13 PM   #53
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Once again, I am very happy to have found a supportive forum, with posts that are actually well written and educated! Some of the other forums are a bit ridiculous, "fear mongers" seems to be the right term.

Issue 1: I think a main issue is getting the electric brakes. I will contact a specialist and try to get some quotes on that.

An informative post that I read on legacygt.com was:

Quote:
According to the label on the inside of the door jam, max cargo weight is roughly 850 lbs. That is people, luggage, spare tire, emergency tool kit, and anything else that you happen to put in there. Tongue weight of a towed vehicle is also included in that figure but that is where it gets complicated since that weight is so far behind the rear suspension that the force it exudes on the rear suspension gets multiplied reducing the max cargo weight capacity. I found this out the hard way when my rear suspension would no longer sit at the right height (3 inched too low) after an overloaded trip with all the heavy luggage in the trunk and the trailer hooked up.

I have an 18 foot popup tent trailer that weighs 1800 pounds dry and gets close to 2700 lbs fully loaded with all the mods that I have done to it. It has it's own brakes so it falls within the tow capabilities of the car but it does on occasion push me around a bit. It is perfectly fine to tow a 2700 lb trailer with a 4400 lb (3600 + cargo) fully loaded car. Just know that when it does push you around, and it will, NEVER hit the brakes. That is how you jackknife your whole rig and $#!t gets exciting.

If the trailer tries to shake you back and forth, you MUST hit the gas. Power out of the wobble! It will straighten out the trailer putting it back in line with the car. Then and only then can you hit the brakes slowing everything back to manageable speeds. Keep in mind that this is more difficult going downhill than it is going uphill.
Issue 2: So that makes it seem like I am in fact getting close to the edge now, but due to the GVWI. If I want more than 1 passenger, with their ski gear, I may want to replace the rear suspension, along with possibly a sway bar. I have no problem installing the new brake pads, as they are the same as my Impreza's. All of these upgrades are things that I wouldn't mind having done a daily driver. Now the question is, should I look at another tug car..But if I do get another car, I will likely sell it after the trip. I like the fact that the Legacy is a low emission car, AWD, good looking, pretty good gas mileage, etc.

Cat, thank you for the input. I will definitely be looking for someone with camper experience to come check out the unit with me. I am going to try to get it for a fair price and I have done a lot of comparative research. I love projects, but only for certain aspects. I am only looking at 13 foot trailers, or possibly something smaller. I'm a minimalist so all of the towing needs are in the same range.



Question: I am curious if I am really pushing the limits here, or if I'm in fair ground. After seeing some of these posts, it seems like what I am doing is reasonable. Not "safe", but reasonable. I see people towing larger campers. If my vehicle weighs in at about 3,500, and the camper is 1400, I didn't think I was necessary "tinkering on the edge". Especially with these comments:

Carol's 2.5i-
Quote:
On most trips of a 1000 miles or so through various terrains I average between 19 to 21 mpg and I am pulling a trailer that's on the heavy side - weighs in at 2550 lbs total
Gilda's 2.5i-
Quote:
We have towed a 13' Scamp (2011, all fiberglass, no shower) with our 2008 Subaru Legacy Sedan (manual shift) for over 6,000 miles with no problem. We do have brakes on the trailer and had U-Haul install the car's tow package. The car now has about 90,000 miles on it. We have been very satisfies with the car as a tow vehicle.
I seem pretty convinced now...!
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:36 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zealous Interiors View Post
Question: I am curious if I am really pushing the limits here, or if I'm in fair ground. After seeing some of these posts, it seems like what I am doing is reasonable. Not "safe", but reasonable. I see people towing larger campers. If my vehicle weighs in at about 3,500, and the camper is 1400, I didn't think I was necessary "tinkering on the edge".



I seem pretty convinced now...!
I think you're quite right, except for one thing: towing with the car you propose is not only reasonable, but as safe as a "bigger" TV...so long as there's a prudent driver at the wheel and a properly equipped trailer following. Your trailer, even loaded, will be far under the weight limits for the car you're interested in, and with proper load distribution and tongue weight you'll be just fine.

I do remain of the opinion that the trailer should be equipped with electric brakes if at all possible. This one feature provides a critical extra margin of safety and control, particularly for those of us that "tow small" and don't want/need to "upsize" a daily driver.



Good luck!

Francesca
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:05 PM   #55
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Speeds we drive with trailer in tow.

We drive 55-60 when towing the trailer. This is the law in California and we just drive the same wherever we are. It takes a little longer to get places but we definitely enjoy the trip more, get better gas mileage and have better control. Check out this website for more reasons to drive 55 and get their bumper sticker Drive55.org - Home.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:24 PM   #56
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It looks like you are mixing up tow different cars in your reasoning.

The quote from my which you used was in reference to towing with an Outback not a Legacy.

Gilda is towing with a Legacy Sedan and has indicated she has some issues with it. One being lack of rear clearance, causing her trailer to often bottom out and in another thread she mentioned the only place/room she had to mount the brake controller isnt the best position for use or for avoiding legs and if she was to do it again she would go for the Outback. Jared? mentioned he has towed with the Legacy Sedan and had issues with it in the wind.

The Outback & Legacy have *very* different specs.

As far as being safe I cant comment on the Legacy only on the Outback. Which I have no doubts about it being very capable of towing a 13' fiberglass trailer providing it has good electric brakes & controller and you load the trailer correctly.
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