Too crazy or good fun? Legacy pulling 13ft'er across country - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #85
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Jason, you have once again made good points. Yup the low tongue weight on the Subaru regardless of model and tow cap 2700lbs or 3000lbs - is a big issue. I luv my Subaru but I will be the first to admit the low tongue rating is a pain for me each and every trip resulting in my having to send a great deal of time and effort to keep the trailer well balanced that someone who can use a higher rating probable doesnt need to worry as much about. And to be honest I cheat a little on the tongue weight Its also the reason I suggested when asked about towing with an Outback people stick to a 13' trailer.

I guess what bothers me the most about this topic each time it comes up - is that the OP is often new to towing and has no experience or idea as to how little things can have a big impact on the overall towing experience. Yet often the responses to go for it, come from people with lots of towing experience and they forget that the party they are advising doesnt have the same knowledge base as they have due to their lack of experience. As a result the OP when looking at what makes or doesnt make a good comfortable tow may miss out on a number of very important issues.

Case in point is post #53 in this thread. What's missing from the post the OP highlighted from another forum in regards to stopping trailer sway? Thats missing is there is no mention of using the brake controller to stop sway - yet anyone who has towing for awhile knows using the controller to stop sway is the best/safest way to stop the sway. Dont think a lot of us would use the gas pedal to stop sway on a downhill situation! More importantly due to this lack of knowledge the OP may not realize that Gilda has given her a real good heads up in regards to that situation. A brake controller located under your steering wheel which Gilda said in another post its the only place due to the interior lay out of a Legacy it will/can go and which gets in the way with knees when driving isnt in a location that I would be comfortable with having it in the event its needed in a sway or other emergency situation. Those with experience know the controller really should be in a location where it can be seen/read and a simple reach away.

Another point being ground clearance..... well what can I say about that, other than there are speed bumps everywhere and not so level campsites in my neck of the woods. Many have few options as to the approach you take to get into them. Again having less than desirable ground clearance wouldn't put the tow on my top list of contenders.

As has been said just because something is rated to tow something doesnt always mean it adds up to a good tow choose.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:02 PM   #86
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Well, I understand that basic principle. But it made me think of small cars and SUVs that have a low tongue weight rating relative to total trailer weight rating.
I've noticed the same thing- I think it's because as a practical matter, boats, due to significant design/handling differences, can be safely towed with a lower tongue weight ratio than travel trailers can. I forget what the recommended ratio there is, but I think that a 3,000 pound boat, for example, would be within acceptable limits with a 200 pound tongue weight. (You'll find language to this effect in the manuals of many newer vehicles)

But since standy-uppy travel trailers behave differently on the road, the 10-15% tongue weight requirement would definitely mean a reduction in towing "capacity".

And contrary to what may seem logical: neither a weight distributing hitch nor air bags will have any effect on that number.

Francesca
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #87
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This thread was very useful to me and I've been doing a lot of thinking. I liked the idea of how the Subaru was a good daily driver, a PZEV vehicle, and the ability to take off the camper was very easy. But after all of these concerns with safety, I may be going with a 04'ish Tacoma with a small truck camper. With insurance and needing electric brakes, this trailer route seems much more expensive and involves more risk.

If anyone has any counterarguments, I would love to hear them! But if I want to keep this for years and travel thousands of miles (as a minimalist and on a budget), possibly up ski passes, I think this may be a better option?
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:11 PM   #88
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From personal experience I don't think you would be as near as happy with the performance of the Tacoma in the snow as you would be with the Subaru Outback which would also have zero safety issues pulling a 13' trailer.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #89
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I'm not 100% set on this idea currently, please keep that in mind. But I'd just like to thank everyone for posting and I think this was a very informative thread. If anyone ever has the same question, please link them to this thread!
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:28 PM   #90
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Keep in mind that with a camper on a truck, you have to put everything away to go to the corner store for milk.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:02 PM   #91
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The AWD in Subaru's is awesome yes I agree, and it's also a more comfortable car, but I think a 4wd Tacoma could do well in the snow as well. A big question now is the difference in insurance. If the insurance for a 13'er is close to $1k a year, it would be a much pricier option for my plan. I'm going to call my insurance company tomorrow and figure out the difference!
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:28 PM   #92
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The AWD in Subaru's is awesome yes I agree, and it's also a more comfortable car, but I think a 4wd Tacoma could do well in the snow as well. A big question now is the difference in insurance. If the insurance for a 13'er is close to $1k a year, it would be a much pricier option for my plan. I'm going to call my insurance company tomorrow and figure out the difference!
I'm not sure what you mean by insurance for the 13er being a grand a year...liability insurance attached to the tow vehicle ordinarily also covers anything one tows. As for comprehensive, if it's more than a hundred dollars a year I wouldn't bother to add it for a $3500.00 trailer....especially if there's a high deductible attached!

On that subject: You might also compare insurance cost differences between a Tacoma and the Subaru you originally were looking at. The so-called "manlier" rigs tend to be a little more expensive, insurance-wise...especially for men!

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Old 11-23-2012, 07:33 PM   #93
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I've got full replacement insurance on my Escape 17B for about $220.
Includes some liability ( $2 or 3 million ) and contents ( $5,000ish ). I'd go out to the car and get the papers, but it's cold and wet.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:16 PM   #94
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This is a very good point! I will make sure I get a complete quote for both setups. The gas mileage on the Tacoma is about 23mpg or so, and with the camper it'll probably drop to about 15mpg I'm guessing, so that's another point in the decision.

Quote:
On that subject: You might also compare insurance cost differences between a Tacoma and the Subaru you originally were looking at. The so-called "manlier" rigs tend to be a little more expensive, insurance-wise...especially for men!
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Zealous Interiors
The AWD in Subaru's is awesome yes I agree, and it's also a more comfortable car, but I think a 4wd Tacoma could do well in the snow as well. A big question now is the difference in insurance. If the insurance for a 13'er is close to $1k a year, it would be a much pricier option for my plan. I'm going to call my insurance company tomorrow and figure out the difference!
The difference between 4wd Tacoma and AWD Subie is night and day. Think difference between rally car and rock crawler/mud truck. And check the insurance cost differences. It cost me more on my Scout than my Golf. They haven't built a Scout since 1980.

I don't know if you are going to be happy with the options available for truck campers on that small of a truck. You could drop a slide in at the camp spot, but the model my dad had the battery was in the bed of the truck. If you go that route then maybe a bigger truck and camper. Or just put a shell on the Tacoma and tent camp out of it. We had a fully finished six-pac shell that we put a queen mattress on the top half with all the supplies underneath in the bed of the truck.

From what I have seen, the real world MPG of a Tacoma compared to full sized truck is not great.

Ok, there are your arguments against. Now you have to decide what choice fits you best.

Jason
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:57 PM   #96
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It takes a fairly large truck to carry a camper equivalent in interior size to a FG trailer. You may want to look at campers that a Tacoma could actually handle and compare.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Zealous Interiors View Post
The AWD in Subaru's is awesome yes I agree, and it's also a more comfortable car, but I think a 4wd Tacoma could do well in the snow as well. A big question now is the difference in insurance. If the insurance for a 13'er is close to $1k a year, it would be a much pricier option for my plan. I'm going to call my insurance company tomorrow and figure out the difference!
I have insurance on our 13' Scamp and it runs around $70.00/year, so not a big worry. Personally I would never trade walking upright into a living space to crawling into one on the back of a small truck. I also have read on this forum about problems people have encountered when trying to return to their camping spot to find someone has taken it over, and about the hassle of packing everything up to go explore or just going to the store. Small 13' trailers are very easy and safe to tow with brakes (again not difficult to install or control).
Happy Trails
Dave & Paula
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:32 PM   #98
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Personally, I would not hesitate to tow a 13er with a Subaru. I would think about air bags for the rear suspension, though... pump them up when towing to stiffen the suspension, let air out when commuting.

The Toyota Rav4 is another great vehicle for towing a 13. With the V6, you'd have way more power than the Subaru.

A Tacoma won't handle much more than an empty camper shell on it. Anything more will be too heavy. Four Wheel Campers makes a stripped popup camper that's about 1100 lbs IIRC, and that's empty inside! But the Taco could tow, too.

Good luck with your shopping.
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