So, towing comparison between a Boler 13 and a Trillium 13.
*Both trailers have a 3-way refrigerator
*Neither have a battery
*The Boler has one 20 lb propane
tank (with some propane
in it; not sure how much) on the tongue; the Trillium has two 20 lb. propane
tanks on the tongue (again, not sure how full, but definitely not empty
*Both trailers have a spare tire mounted on the back bumper
*Neither have an awning
or anything else extra on the outside
*Both were essentially empty (although the Trillium had some plastic dishes, etc.)
*Neither have recently replaced axles (probably both original).
*The Boler has very recent tires
(bias ply); the Trillium has 15+ year old tires
that looked new (it was sitting). (Not that I wouldn't replace them; I'm just saying that's what's on it.)
*Both had dry water tanks
*The Boler has no furnace
and no converter; the Trillium has a gravity furnace
and the usual Trillium converter.
*The Boler is the usual layout; the Trillium has the front "bathroom." It's essentially an empty closet, so although the wall and door would have some weight
, I'm not sure it'd be more than a couch and bunk.
*The Boler has no brakes
; the Trillium apparently has them but they are not connected. I don't have a brake controller on my car in any case.
I was towing them both with my 240 wagon. It's a 4 cylinder engine of about 110 hp, with an automatic transmission that has electronic overdrive. The rear shocks are probably about due to be replaced. Frame-mounted receiver hitch, class II. The car is rated to tow 3500# - not that I ever would.
Weather was sunny and dry. The first day with the Boler was quite windy, but other than that winds were moderate to calm. I was on the Interstate. Both drives involved "low" mountains (i.e. not the Rockies, but mountains nonetheless).
So, as I mentioned earlier, the Boler was a dream to tow. Light
and fluffy on the hitch, with no clunking, etc. when going over bumps or stopping (that is, no clunking of trailer tongue on hitch ball). It was amazingly immune to wind (even in really strong prairie crosswinds), and also there was nearly no effect when tractor-trailer rigs passed me. There was a very slight "push" away when they first began to pass, but it was much less than I would have thought it would be.
Even though I know the axle
is probably original, the trailer was very well-behaved with no undue bouncing or jarring. The only time I had to inwardly scream "enough already!" and slow way down was on some of those stretches of concrete roadway with the repetitive broken seams. Those set up a rocking bounce that just didn't seem like it was doing anyone any good.
I'm not sure exactly what it did to my gas mileage, although I would guess it went from about 25 to maybe 15 or so. Of course I started out tentatively driving 55 but was soon up to 70 (speed limit was 75). The traffic was very light
so I wasn't following anyone at all closely and vice versa. Even though the trailer felt so light
on the tongue, there was nary a hint of fishtailing. Just none.
Braking, I could feel the trailer there, but it still felt okay.
In comparison, the Trillium felt quite heavy on the hitch. Even at 30 mph, going over bumps felt like a giant was stepping on the hitch/ball joint and pressing his foot down. Ugh, I hate that.
In terms of pulling weight
, the Trillium didn't feel that much different from the Boler.
Wind-resistance wise, I could feel a difference. Not a huge difference, but definitely there was one. When a tractor-trailer passed, for example, I got more "buffeting."
I also felt that there was a bit more weight
there when braking. I don't mean when just slowing down on the highway, but rather when coming to a complete stop in town driving. Of course the Trillium does have brakes
and if they were hooked up I'm sure that would eliminate this. But for a direct comparison it was nice to have them the same.
I don't know for sure, but I would guess the Trillium took another 1-2 mpg, maybe.
So, in summary, the biggest difference (and what I did not like about towing the U-Haul) was the feeling of weight on the hitch ball; that feeling of the rig "folding down" at that joint whenever I went over a bump. I wonder how much of the tongue weight causing that (I assume that's what it was) is due to the second propane tank? OTOH, I see lots of trailers that have a battery
mounted there, and they're not light...?
I might not notice that problem as much with new rear shocks, but the Trillium is clearly still heavier on the tongue it seems.
On balance I would say (from my sample size of one of each) that if I had a marginal tow vehicle, I would definitely prefer the Boler. As it is I think the slight extra wind resistance/effect with the Trillium is not too much of a bother considering the extra space, storage, and windows
; but I would not be excited to keep towing with that feeling of the world pressing down on the hitch. I wonder if that can be eliminated without my having to tow an empty trailer around?
I'm thinking maybe I should remove the propane bottles just for an experiment and then tow it. There would be no need for a long test run as that was clear in the first two blocks. Maybe one fewer tank and then a battery
somwhere behind the axle
? Of course a loaded trailer would be different again.
Anyway, there's my report. Sorry for the delay.
PS And for the lack of emoticons - too tired to put them in tonight