Tow Ratings and Frontal Area - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-28-2016, 09:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
For an example The Ford Escape towing guide limits the frontal area to 24 sq ft for the 4 cylinder Escape and 30 Sq ft for the 6 cylinder Escape. Ford F250 lists that 60 Sq ft is the frontal area limit. This is just another academic discussion that will in reality be totally ignored in practice.
The frontal area of my 2008 Ford Escape is over thirty square feet without a trailer!
It is an indisputable fact though, that frontal area is an important factor, in some cases more so than weight.
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Old 06-29-2016, 05:33 AM   #16
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It is an indisputable fact though, that frontal area is an important factor, in some cases more so than weight.
Frontal is for traveling forward.
Weight is for traveling forward and stopping.
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
For an example The Ford Escape towing guide limits the frontal area to 24 sq ft for the 4 cylinder Escape and 30 Sq ft for the 6 cylinder Escape. Ford F250 lists that 60 Sq ft is the frontal area limit. This is just another academic discussion that will in reality be totally ignored in practice.
I guess that's the underlying point. We don't talk about it much. Many manufacturers ignore it altogether (Ford seems to be the exception). And when it is addressed, we find the assumptions of manufacturers (and the new towing standards) have little to do with towing RVs, and we routinely ignore them, as you say. Plenty of Ford Rangers successfully tow Scamp 5ers with a huge frontal area.

But I don't see it as purely academic. Anyone, and especially a newcomer to towing, who asks the question, "Can I tow ___ with ___?" has to consider frontal area in the equation. Weight alone does not tell the whole story.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:55 AM   #18
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I guess that's the underlying point. We don't talk about it much. Many manufacturers ignore it altogether (Ford seems to be the exception). And when it is addressed, we find the assumptions of manufacturers (and the new towing standards) have little to do with towing RVs, and we routinely ignore them, as you say. Plenty of Ford Rangers successfully tow Scamp 5ers with a huge frontal area.

But I don't see it as purely academic. Anyone, and especially a newcomer to towing, who asks the question, "Can I tow ___ with ___?" has to consider frontal area in the equation. Weight alone does not tell the whole story.
Another HUGE factor is tires. We talk a lot about trailer tires but ...
a crappy set of new TV tires can change a perfect TV/Trailer combo into a white knuckle thrill ride.
As with any learning curve it is important for a newcomer to start with a "by the book" approach, until knowledge and experience allows personal responsibility.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:33 AM   #19
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My 2014 Jeep GC specs max frontal area as 55 sq ft regardless of engine size.


Denny Wolfe
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:23 PM   #20
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My 2014 Jeep GC specs max frontal area as 55 sq ft regardless of engine
...which most conventional travel trailers exceed, and even a few boxier molded fiberglass models.

So then what? Common sense says one thing, but no one (here, anyway) seems to be talking much about it.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:30 PM   #21
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How could someone definitively say their vehicle could or could not tow something based solely on frontal area? Not enough information unless the only criteria is the owner's manual. Going only on the manufacturer's limit for area, you are ignoring speed, weight and the general design of the tow vehicle to a certain degree. For instance my 2 door Jeep Wrangler can only tow 2,500 lbs, but the 4 door can tow 3,500 lbs. Just the wheelbase makes the difference as the 4 door is actually heavier. A heavier trailer is harder to stop and more unstable in emergency maneuvers which seem like more important issues than frontal area. A shorter, wider and higher trailer is inherently less stable than a longer lower one with a lower center of gravity. More frontal area also probably means more side area and less stability in crosswinds.

It's hard to say definitely yes or no as it's more a matter of degree or comparative weight and size to the tow vehicle. These days the speeds on the highway are very high too.

For me, I'd love to have my Wrangler to run around in after dropping off the trailer at a site, but my Cummins is so much more capable and safe to tow with. The Cummins always gets picked because of it's power and stability. And since it can easily tow a much bigger trailer than I want, I never consider the factory limit to be a factor. Unfortunately, the 2,500 lb Jeep limit, and it's obvious short wheelbase instability, mean I can't travel with the kind of trailer I want to spend a lot of time in. So, the conversation seems to be about lighter tow vehicles that are approaching their limits with the desired trailer. At that level the brakes, stability system, weight distribution, total cargo, total miles, type of highway and horsepower should also factor in.
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