Towing 16' with 4 cylinder - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-22-2006, 07:24 PM   #43
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 97
The original poster, Arlene, seems to be long gone from this conversation. But I'll try to draw this back toward her question with this. I tow one of the lightest 16' Scamps I can imagine. It has no bath, no water heater, and no furnace, only a hand pump and a cooktop. Loaded for the road with a few gallons of water, groceries and bedding, it weighs about 1800 lbs on the wheels plus 200 lbs on the tongue. I buy only the lightest dishes, pots & pans, etc that I can find. I think like a backpacker- a pound in the trailer is about as big a consideration as an ounce on my back. I can't imagine how I might lighten the thing any further, besides carrying everything in the car. But half the reason I bought the thing was to haul the bulky, soft goods that were crammed into the car!

So the bad news is, I don't think any 16-foot Scamp will ever weigh in at less than 1500 lbs.

The good news is, my Subaru Forester pulls this ton, which is 80% of its rated weight, very ably, with adequate power and a feeling of safety and security.

You'll hear plenty of advice on this forum to choose a larger tow vehicle. Generally, nobody thinks any vehicle smaller than the one they're driving will do. Maybe some folks have higher expectations for acceleration and speed than I do, but I have no difficulty driving 65+ on the flats and 50+ on mountain grades. I don't think my towing experience would be any better if I doubled my car's 165 HP. Once the driver behind you sees you're pulling a trailer, he'll want to pass you no matter how fast you're driving, 'cause everyone knows trailers go slow.

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Old 10-23-2006, 11:49 AM   #44
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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You'll hear plenty of advice on this forum to choose a larger tow vehicle. Generally, nobody thinks any vehicle smaller than the one they're driving will do. Maybe some folks have higher expectations for acceleration and speed than I do.
John, I think that perhaps you've misinterpreted the concerns that most of us in the bigger-are-better camp have. Generally the questions are whether or not their daily commuter car (in Loretta's case particularly) that has little towing capacity can tow a 16' trailer.

I try to give balanced information based on the real-world weights we know these trailers to be and the capability of the specific tow vehicle, or at least class of tow vehicle.

Frankly, it IS better to have a tow vehicle with a long wheelbase and one that is two or three times heavier than the towed load, but that doesn't mean that a smaller, lighter vehicle that is appropriately rated for the load won't do the job.

Just for trial purposes this weekend, I towed our Bigfoot 25RQ with an as-equipped curb weight of 5300 lbs and a loaded real-world weight (best guess) of around 5700 lbs (with dry tanks) with my 6cyl Tundra Access Cab 4WD. I towed it on a 130 mile round-trip over some fairly large hills in Eastern Iowa. I have a receiver hitch and a Reese Dual Cam with straight-line cam arms for weight distribution and sway control. It has C load range Bridgestone 15" tires.

My Tundra is rated at 4800 lbs towing; the same truck with the V8 is rated at 6800 lbs. So, I conjectured that with the towing package, my V6 Tundra's towing rating is probably more a function of the V6 since the transmission, rear-end, and frame are identical to the V8 model. Even though I recognized that the load was some 1,000 lbs over my truck's rated capacity, I chose to try it to see how it performed; knowing that while a load at 1,000 lbs over rated capacity may tax the engine, the rest of the truck should have been up to the task.

The combination performed admirably even in nasty side winds; however I can tell you that it was nowhere near as solid as towing with my V10 Excursion. I think most of the "wiggles" I experienced were a result of the Bridgestone's soft sidewalls, even aired to max. The V6 never downshifted and never went over 3k RPMs. I was pretty amazed!

So, having nearly 25 years of towing experience, and after doing my homework, I was willing to experiment a little. Also having had a trailer jump the hitch and do the "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" routine, and recognizing that the only thing that allowed me to keep control of the truck and trailer was that the Excursion was some three times heavier than the towed load, I would never advise someone who's never towed before to haul too much trailer with too little tow vehicle.

That DOESN'T mean that your Subaru is undersized for your Scamp. It sounds like they're nicely matched!


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