towing 13' Scamp with 4-Cyl Rav4? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2014, 08:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by j-rod View Post
Hi, my wife and I are new to rv'ing and wondered if our 2011 rav4 4-cylinder would be okay towing a 13' Scamp trailer. We wanted to get a bigger trailer but finances and gasoline what they are we think the 13' would be the best way to go for our family of 4. Thanks,

Jared
First and foremost: Check your owners manual and/or with Toyota and determine the exact towing capacity for your particular vehicle, and ignore any suggestions that there is aftermarket stuff that can increase that value. The value once set is the value...period.

However, should you be tempted to stray and poo-poo those numbers, I suggest that you check with these three peeps before spending any money doing so:

1. The vehicle manufacturer, especially if there is any remaining warranty

2. Your insurance company and ask them what can happen to your coverage should you be in an accident involving a tow with an over tow-limit trailer.

3. Your atty, and ask her the same questions as you asked the ins co, except about what can happen to your bank account & net worth

Now, you also have to deal with maximum payload, with a family of 4 that would include every one on board, all stuff on board and the weight of the tongue on the hitch.

My thought: Just because someone else is doing it, doesn't make it one iota closer to being the right thing to do.....
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:38 PM   #16
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Engine size is not as much a factor as chassis design.
One consideration would be whether there is any difference in the Rav4 between the 4CYL and the 6Cyl (other than engine size).
Your driving habits and expectations must also be considered.
You must consider all factors including aftermarket mods,
( electric brakes for example)... then use informed common sense.

Sorta relevant...
I tow a 13Scamp with a properly equipped 4CYL Escape and have found it to be a capable TV. It tows most efficiently at a somewhat slower speed than it's 6Cyl counterpart...Top fuel mileage on average at around 58MPH.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:46 PM   #17
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The Rav4's hitch attachment is plenty strong for a 13'. The engine isn't likely to be damaged by towing a 13'. If an automatic transmission, most definitely add a cooler, and lock out overdrive when towing.

That rig, with trailer brakes, would be plenty safe. Many 13's don't have brakes though, so you either find one that does or you check to see if the axle has mounting plates for adding brakes, and if not, you have to buy a new axle.

The performance of the 4 cyl will be lackluster. But it would get you there and back. Hopefully no long, steep grades along your route, as you might find yourself creeping uphill at 30 mph in 2nd gear.

Back in the '80s I towed a 13' UHaul egg 2000 miles (Michigan to Colorado & back) with a '84 Dodge Omni 2.2L 4 cyl and stick shift. 50 mph was realistic on level ground. Would I do it again? NO. The hitch was rated for 1000 lbs, and I had no trailer brakes, so we were lucky nothing went wrong. But they say ignorance is bliss, and we had fun.

The Rav4 would be considerably more capable than the old Omni. But it still will be slow going. My older brother has a 4 cyl Rav4 (2012 I think) and he happily tows his aluminum boat all over the place with it... but that boat sits lower than the Rav.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
I tow a 13Scamp with a properly equipped 4CYL Escape and have found it to be a capable TV. It tows most efficiently at a somewhat slower speed than it's 6Cyl counterpart...Top fuel mileage on average at around 58MPG
Floyd, ya know I love ya but...WHAT????????

58mpg strikes me as shall we say an "unusually high" mpg report for the Escape, at least as compared with the averages recorded at websites like this one that's tracked vehicles for thousands of miles-
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:24 PM   #19
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thanks for the replies

hi folks,

thanks for the great replies, I've spoken with my local Toyota dealer. The service manager said that I would be okay, although I shouldn't load the trailer up to much with stuff, no full water tanks, and so forth. And don't go too far, monitor the engine temp. He also indicated that I didn't need a transmission cooler because the rav4's transmission cooler is heavy duty from the factory. I towed an 8' tent trailer last year that was 1400 lbs with the rav4. I didn't like it, not because the vehicle didn't do well, I thought the rav4 did very well. What I didn't like was how much the trailer bounced when I went over bumps and the resulting push/pull as the trailer hit the road again. I am not a trailer expert but I believe this was due to the suspension being not loaded on the trailer. The suspension was a leaf spring design which is the same as my utility trailer. When my utility trailer is empty it bounces a fair bit which is I believe to be the same as what the tent trailer did last year. Anyone have the "bouncing problem" with their travel trailer?

thanks,
jared
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Floyd, ya know I love ya but...WHAT????????

58mpg strikes me as shall we say an "unusually high" mpg report for the Escape, at least as compared with the averages recorded at websites like this one that's tracked vehicles for thousands of miles-
SORRY, I edited the comment.... To read 58 MPH! which is what I meant to say!
Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by j-rod View Post
hi folks,

thanks for the great replies, I've spoken with my local Toyota dealer. The service manager said that I would be okay, although I shouldn't load the trailer up to much with stuff, no full water tanks, and so forth.
Just curious what did they actually tell you the towing capacity of your RAV4 was?

Just so you are aware despite what some might claim even without water in the tanks you can expect a 13' Scamp to come in weighing at least 1700lbs, many more of them weigh in the 1900lb range .... It is a good bet that few of the trailers in the Real World thread had water in the tanks as most where weighed at a full service campground and it would be silly to tow a trailer full of water to such a location and pay the price in poor fuel economy.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:45 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
SORRY, I edited the comment.... To read 58 MPH! which is what I meant to say!
Darn I was kind of impressed with it being the other way Floyd! Was thinking I should have taken a better look at Fords!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:46 PM   #23
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hi folks,

thanks for the great replies, I've spoken with my local Toyota dealer. The service manager said that I would be okay, although I shouldn't load the trailer up to much with stuff.
thanks,
jared
It's not just the trailer though. You don't want to load up the RAV either, and with a family of four, that will be a challenge.
Personally, I like to enjoy the drive, not white-knuckle it all the way with my kids in the back.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:18 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by j-rod View Post
hi folks,

"I've spoken with my local Toyota dealer. The service manager said that I would be okay, although I shouldn't load the trailer up to much with stuff, no full water tanks, and so forth. And don't go too far, monitor the engine temp. He also indicated that I didn't need a transmission cooler because the rav4's transmission cooler is heavy duty from the factory."
I'd still ask for the actual towing limit for your specific vehicle. A dealer service manager is seldom an expert on towing and he can't speak for Toyota or override Toyota's published specifications.

If you started with the published dry weight of a Scamp 13', I am afraid you will be in a for a rude surprise when you see actual weights in the "Real World Weights" post.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:16 PM   #25
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SORRY, I edited the comment.... To read 58 MPH! which is what I meant to say!
Thanks!

Well, I wondered...

You know you've been one of my heroes ever since that unbelievably sweet
"me and my wife of forty years dance outside the trailer" post wa-a-a-y back when. Still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

So...how's the gas mileage at that blistering 58mph, anyway? ...........
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:48 AM   #26
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hi folks,

He also indicated that I didn't need a transmission cooler because the rav4's transmission cooler is heavy duty from the factory.
The dealer could be right but it is good to know as Mike suggested having an additional tranny cooler is a good idea. It will cause no ill effects, can be good insurance, and has a very low cost.

Our car has is designed for high performance use and has a speed limiter set at 147MPH but we also have an extra large tranny cooler. It is the same cooler used on large motor homes. Works great. [/QUOTE]


Quote:
Originally Posted by j-rod View Post
What I didn't like was how much the trailer bounced when I went over bumps and the resulting push/pull as the trailer hit the road again. I am not a trailer expert but I believe this was due to the suspension being not loaded on the trailer. Anyone have the "bouncing problem" with their travel trailer?
thanks,
jared
Leaf springs have been around since the era of farm wagons. They work best for carrying heavy loads. The bounce is common with leafs and small high pressure tires can make matters worse. Like you have noticed leafs are happy when loaded . Good shocks will also help. Torsion axles with shocks are best but cost much more. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:10 AM   #27
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Scamp uses a torsion axle. Combines function of leaf spring and shock absorber. Inside the axle tube has heavy rubber tire is on arm that has to twist against the rubber to move up. Typically ride smoother than plain leaf springs. This two minute video from one of the axle manufactures should make it clear how they work.

Dexter Torflex® Suspension Axles - YouTube

Should add leaf springs can be rebuilt and with good shocks provide similar ride characteristics. But do not add structural strength to the frame. Some folks like the added height and ability to rebuild provided by leaf springs.

Life expectancy of a torsion axle is between 10 and 20 years.

I think you can put some faith in Toyota dealer service manager if you give them actual weight of your trailer and they install equipment. After all where are you going to go for any warranty work? It's not like dealer is going to say we voided your warranty.

On the legal question I would also think that having the dealer install "proper" equipment for towing your trailer should all but eliminate legal concerns. If the dealer installs it knowing what it's going to tow how would you be towing beyond rated capacity?

My dad used to tow a modest 5th wheel around Colorado with a small 4 cyl Toyota pickup with a tow package from dealer, I mention this because his nick name in their RV group was "slow poke". Just saying speed won't be your thing.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:47 AM   #28
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Scamp uses a torsion axle.
That is impressive.

Torsion axles have an interesting history. A common place where they were used was on tanks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsion_bar_suspension
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