towing weight - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-08-2008, 11:12 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Dutchmen Toy Hauler
Posts: 8
I know this is going to get eyes rolling. <GGG> Roll away.

We have a company car that is for our personal use as well as business; we don't pay for fuel, either. Previously, they have been mini vans, capable of pulling a small RV. It's almost replacement time and we've just found out that they are going to replace the mini van with a Ford Escape. That wouldn't be a problem except that the one they're providing is only a 4 cyl. Max towing, according to manufacturer is 1500 pounds.

I'm in the process of attempting to sell my big, heavy toy hauler which I no longer need for business and am looking to downsize CONSIDERABLY. I have a Ford Excursion which I ADORE and it's what I used to pull the VERY heavy toy hauler with my business supplies in the back. However, with the current cost of diesel and the fact that my MUCH loved Excursion is a fuel hog, I've been toying with the idea of putting a hitch on the company car and towing something VERY small for the times when I need it for attending dog shows.

1500 pounds max towing rules out the vast majority of RVs, even many of the lightweight fiberglass ones. Once I add in the supplies I tote, crates, etc., I KNOW I'm going to be over 1500 pounds, even if the RV is under 1500. So my question is this. What consequences are there from towing more than what the manufacturer recommends? Is it merely damage to the tow vehicle or are there safety issues as well? The company replaces these vehicles at 80,000 miles which happens VERY quickly so I probably would be having to have a new hitch put on about every 14 months. However........I would have NO fuel costs while on my trips.

Currently I'm using the company car and staying in hotels but I HATE staying in hotels and would rather have something of my own, no matter how small (I like my own bed and my own potty!)

Thanks for your comments and advice.

Sincerely
Wendy Shaffmaster
__________________

__________________
Wendy McQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Steve L.'s Avatar
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Michigan
Posts: 1,690
Registry
Quote:
...So my question is this. What consequences are there from towing more than what the manufacturer recommends?...
Sincerely
Wendy Shaffmaster
Well, this has been covered in any number of previous posts but here are a few that pop into my head:

1. Safety - Control of the vehicle in less than optimal road/weather conditions. What increased risk are you willing to undertake with your loved ones on board? (I'm not a safety engineer.)
2. Legal - I believe you could be ticketed for operating over the vehicle capacities if there were any sort accident. (I'm not a lawyer or a policeman.)
3. Liability - I believe I would sue you if you damaged my property while overloaded and your insurance failed to make good. (I'm not a lawyer.)
4. Insurance issues - If I ran your insurance company I would likely try to deny claims incurred by operating overloaded per vehicle recommendations. (I'm not an insurance agent.)
5. Warranty issues - Would/should the auto manufacturer honor warranty claims related to overloaded towing? (I'm not an auto dealer rep.)

Now, having written all that, people operate just as you suggest all the time. Probably no one gets ticketed, probably the auto dealers fix the vehicle, probably no insurance company has refused claims.

Yet.
__________________

__________________
Quando omni flunkus, moritati
Steve L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 07:53 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Joe Z's Avatar
 
Trailer: Casita
New River AZ
Posts: 1,043
not sure of the weights on a 13' but there has to be one out there that would work for you. I'm with you and can't sleep in a motel YUK
Joe
__________________
Joe and Linda
2013 Casita SD
Dodge Ram 4x4
Joe Z is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 08:53 PM   #4
Moderator
 
Frederick L. Simson's Avatar
 
Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
California
Posts: 8,151
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Frederick L. Simson
Unhappy

When I was brand new at this, (sometime after 09-11-2001) I towed my 1971 Compact Jr. with a 1991 Toyota Camry LE V6 station wagon.

The previous owner of the car was a friend of mine who's ex-husband used it to tow their 16' boat/trailer, so it already had a hitch and 4-pin flat wire harness. The car had a 1000 pound towing limit. When she offered it for sale after their divorce, she said it had been a good car (they bought it new), but it was using a little oil, and rather than spend the money to fix it, she decided to get another car, but didn't want to trade it and have the dealer gyp her. Up to this time, I had had good luck buying used cars from private parties (I hate car dealers ) so I bought it from her.

Previously, I had seen an ad for the Lite House in an airline magazine. It was too expensive for me, but I got the RV Trader magazine every week and usually saw old used Compact Jr's and Compact II's there. That's how I found my Compact Jr., Cheap, but it was a gutted out shell. I rebuilt the interior.

I wound up going on 2 cross-country trips with that combination. I just had to remember to add a quart of oil every 1500 miles. Toward the end of the 2nd trip, I was forgetting this, and the crank-shaft bearing seized up on the 405 southbound near Irvine, CA.
AAA put the rig on a flatbed truck and brought me home for $50 out-of-pocket.
Attached Thumbnails
trailer05.jpg  
__________________
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
Frederick L. Simson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Dutchmen Toy Hauler
Posts: 8
Quote:
Well, this has been covered in any number of previous posts but here are a few that pop into my head:

1. Safety - Control of the vehicle in less than optimal road/weather conditions. What increased risk are you willing to undertake with your loved ones on board? (I'm not a safety engineer.)
But that really IS my question. What ARE the safety factors involved? Let me add that regardless of the size/shape/weight of anything I tow, I believe in always having trailer brakes. I also drive pretty slowly when towing and allow LOTS of extra space not only between me and the vehicle in front of me but all around me. My Daddy taught me well; I towed a 42' fifth wheel as a teenager. If he was still alive, I'd be picking his brain for the answer to this question. Basically, I don't intend to be STUPID about this but if there IS something I can tow that will allow me to use it safely, I want to be able to do so. Free fuel is just awfully hard to pass up, ya know?

I should also probably add that my basic problem is that I have found very small units (under 1000 pounds) but they don't have a potty and I'm dead set on having a potty. GREATLY prefer one with a black water tank but could wrap my mind around a porta potty if I had to do so. But even with the porta potty option, there are few really small units that have a dedicated space for a porta potty. I can manage without a shower in the RV but I really like my OWN potty.

Quote:
3. Liability - I believe I would sue you if you damaged my property while overloaded and your insurance failed to make good. (I'm not a lawyer.)
I have not yet investigated the legal aspect of same. I know that my current insurance company insures my current RV REGARDLESS of what tow vehicle I am using.

The possible long term damage (if any) to the vehicle isn't really something I need to consider because I'm only going to be using it for 1 or 2 trips monthly (MAX, usually less) probably 6-7 weekends out of the year and it would be probably for 12-14 months for each vehicle. Warranty work isn't an issue, either. The company takes care of the vehicle, period.

Thanks for all responses and input. I've looked at several of the posts on this topic and just haven't found the exact answer to my situation.



Wendy
__________________
Wendy McQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 08:59 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Dutchmen Toy Hauler
Posts: 8
Quote:
not sure of the weights on a 13' but there has to be one out there that would work for you. I'm with you and can't sleep in a motel YUK
Joe
One vast difference is that motels are so dang noisy that I am exhausted by the end of the weekend. The RV folk at dog shows go to bed EARLY and it's very quiet. They also get up pretty dang early, too. <GGG> Part of the problem with the noise at hotels is that the dogs bark at the noises outside the room so even the DOGS are tired. I'm willing to trade a bigger hotel room with someone else making the bed for a smaller something that is quiet and MINE. Also, with the RV, there's less "toting and hauling". I hate the toting and hauling into the hotel room business.

Wendy
__________________
Wendy McQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2008, 06:58 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Steve L.'s Avatar
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Michigan
Posts: 1,690
Registry
With respect to Safety:

In our company we do complete ride and handling with the maximum allowable trailer loads. There is an understandable desire to maximize the load we can carry but in the end one thing that can limit that load are safety judgements by the ride and handling people. Complete ride and handling involves all sorts of typical and emergency manuevers the customer might see.

With respect to warranty:

Parts within the driveline and frame have been sized to accomodate the load. While you may only be towing once or twice a year, not all failures are fatigue loads. Some are impact failures. I choose not to explore the issue of not worrying about cummulative damage because the vehicle will be passed on before it's seen.

With respect to liability:

I suppose a hypthetical question to ask the insurance company is if one would be covered even if one were operating the vehicle in a knowlingly unsafe usage. The tricky part is the whole "unsafe" thing. Would they consider overloaded per the manufacturers recommendation as "unsafe"? Their answer might also depend on whether it was illegal as well.

Please...I'm not picking on you. As I said this comes up all the time. These sort of subjective opinion topics are difficult to address because there is such a wide range of driving expertise and tolerance levels for risk within our forum.

Plus, I haven't weighed in much in the past on this topic so this is just getting it off my chest.

All sorts of members who did it successfully are admitting to doing just what you suggest. However I'm not clear that you'll get a balanced response here since I'm also not clear that people with less successful experiences are members.


Click image for larger version

Name:	Bad_Day.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	31.9 KB
ID:	11303


I mean, sometimes you just have a bad day
__________________
Quando omni flunkus, moritati
Steve L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2008, 08:41 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Wendy, I'll offer some practical experience.

In 1980, I bought a '78 Scamp 13. In those days, AFAIK, auto manufacturers didn't offer "tow ratings" on their cars. I had a 1980 Dodge Omni 4cyl 4spd. The Scamp didn't have brakes, and the Omni didn't have much in the way of brakes either (or power for that matter). There weren't any groups like this to help with, and I frankly had a h*ll of a time getting anyone to even mount a hitch to the Omni. There weren't any specifically made for it, which I now understand means it had NO tow capacity and was never intended by Chrysler to tow anything. But I found someone who would put a hitch on it, and it was a four-bolt universal mount that attached to the body (the Omni was a unibody: no frame per se) and the 5mph bumper (which of course was illegal as it rendered the 5mph bumper useless).

Nonetheless, being young, foolish and ignorant, I towed that Scamp with that Omni all over SoCal including innumerable trips over the mountains from San Diego to the Anza Borrego desert. We didn't carry much; I don't recall it having a fresh water tank, although it may have had a small one. A few groceries, enough clothes for a week tops... some ice... was about it.

I had that combo for two or three years and was fat, dumb, and happy the whole time. It took FOREVER to bring it to a stop, and heaven help me had I run into ice, or had to do any emergency maneuvers at all (I didn't... I DID with the 300 lb tent trailer I towed behind my next car, a 1981 Jeep Scrambler tho...).

So... the bottom line is that with a 13' "stock stripper" trailer, it can be done. Give up the idea of carrying anything in the tanks. As a matter of fact, give up the idea of having a bath, air conditioning, or a refrigerator 'cause they add several hundred pounds that you just don't have the capacity for. DO make sure that you have brakes installed on the trailer (many 13' trailers don't have them stock) and that you buy the best and most responsive controller money can buy (you'll notice I didn't say "that you can afford"...) Make sure that the Escape (specifically by the VIN and build sheet) that you get is really rated for 1500 lbs.

I'm really with Steve here, you're better off with your Excursion (I had one for several years and loved it...) but I understand the desire to down size. (Fortunately I sold MY EX before the bottom fell out of the market for them. Yours, being diesel, will still sell pretty quickly no doubt...) However, if you really want to do this, and you're really careful about the actual weight of the trailer, and limiting the amount of weight you carry, you can probably pull it off successfully with an Escape.

Roger

ON EDIT:

Also see this thread.
__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2008, 04:59 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
brendadave's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 218
Quote:
Ford Escape. That wouldn't be a problem except that the one they're providing is only a 4 cyl. Max towing, according to manufacturer is 1500 pounds.
There are several different models of Escapes, would it be fair to say it will be the XLS? I notice that the XLT can tow 2000lbs with the 2.3L engine, with this being the case (and I'm not a mechanic) there must be something different between the XLS and XLT for it to drop to 1500lbs. Looking at the specifications between the two models the suspension seems to be the same, so maybe the transmission is different? Or the brakes? Or the drivetrain? What ever it is, they must have a reason why the XLS towing capacity is 500lbs less...other than the engine.

However, with the XLS GCWR of 4,941lbs, and the trailer loaded to 1500lbs, it only leaves you with about 169lbs for passengers or cargo. (4,941 GCWR - 3272 Curb Weight - 1500 Trailer = 169)
__________________
brendadave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2008, 07:38 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Pete Dumbleton's Avatar
 
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 3,072
Send a message via Yahoo to Pete Dumbleton
The safety issues are likely dependent on the under-rated TV chosen, but the ones that would concern me are the ones that lead to loss of control of the rig. If the wheelbase is too short or the suspension wrong or the overhang too great, then there may come a point where the rig becomes wildly unstable and goes in the ditch or the other lane. That may be induced by passing truck or bad road or speed.

If Steve is in the other lane and suffers damage or injury and sues, the dollar figure may be waaaay more than just your trailer being covered, so your ins co may well try to duck the problem.

Police do weigh trailers when they are involved in accidents and issue tickets (which then may become a foundation for liability fault). I have read about this from first-hand accounts on several RV forums.

If you are towing above your limits, you may be stressing components of the vehicle, notably engine and transmission, arguably the two most expensive parts. Back when I really didn't know better, I was towing about 2,500-2,600 lbs with a TV rated for 2,000 lbs. And did a lot of long-term damage to the engine and clutch.

Also, towing on the edge is more likely to be a white-knuckle experience compared to towing with the right rig.

__________________
Pete Dumbleton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2008, 01:30 AM   #11
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Dutchmen Toy Hauler
Posts: 8
Quote:
The safety issues are likely dependent on the under-rated TV chosen, but the ones that would concern me are the ones that lead to loss of control of the rig.
I really hadn't considered loss of control. This will be the smallest thing I've ever towed so I wasn't really considering loss of control. Thanks for pointing that out because even though it's smaller, control is still an issue. Do you think even with trailer brakes that loss of control could be an issue? The 4 cyl is rated to tow 1500 pounds but trying to find something small enough is pretty impossible. I saw one that "said" it weighed 400 pounds but I'm inclined to not believe that. I can easily find 1000 pound small units but I'm not sure my "stuff" will weigh less than 500 pounds. I never haul water (just seems too wasteful to me) and dump before I leave or as soon as possible but still..........500 pounds can add up awfully fast.


If Steve is in the other lane and suffers damage or injury and sues,


Oh no...............I've already decided I'm staying AWAY from Steve. LOL


Thanks Pete!

Wendy
__________________
Wendy McQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2008, 12:38 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Roger H's Avatar
 
Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
I really hadn't considered loss of control. Do you think even with trailer brakes that loss of control could be an issue?
Wendy

Wendy, I think Pete can tell you about his own loss of control stories, but I'll tell you one of mine... about towing a 15' fiberglass rv with my Excursion and having the coupler jump off the ball. The trailer danced around on one wheel and then the next, still attached by chains. The pigtail detached and I had no trailer brakes at all. If I'd been towing with the Toyota pickup I had at the time, it would have rolled me. Fortunately, the Excursion, at 7,000 lbs wasn't to be moved and I was able to safely bring the tow vehicle and trailer to a stop; essentially without damage to either.

Control is ALWAYS an issue.

Roger
__________________
Roger H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2008, 01:01 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,309
Registry
I'm with the large tow vehicle group. That is large compared to the trailer. Up to now my TV was a '98 Blazer, which I weighed at about 4800 lbs. Tow weight rating about 5,000 lbs. Trailer weight around 1500 lbs, yes I weighed both the trailer and the Blazer.

Control story. Came around a corner and there was a "sunken grade". No time to stop, the line of the sink went diagonal across the road. Left trailer wheel hit the drop and was kicked into the air, then the right wheel joined in the fun while left was slammed back onto the pavement. Up it went, right down. I applied full trailer brakes then TV brakes. A minor bounce or two later we're all ok. I believe to this day if I was using a light TV I would have ended up off the road and maybe 50 or 60' down the bank into the lake.

My new TV is a '05 Dakota weighing 4700 lbs (per owners manual), with tow rating of 7,000 lbs. Both my wife and I think the additional cost in gas is well worth the comfort and safety by using a TV over rated for towing our little trailer.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2008, 01:56 AM   #14
Junior Member
 
Trailer: Dutchmen Toy Hauler
Posts: 8
New company car arrived on Monday and we've already put a thousand miles on it. That's why we have to get a new one so often! They only let it go to 80,000 miles MAX before they replace it. I don't think the mpg on this is any better than the mini van so I'm not sure why they switched to this. Sure is LOTS smaller than the mini van. HARD ride...like an OLD truck.

I pulled the sticker off the window so I could have the info and be sure exactly what I'm dealing with.

It says:
Ford Escape 2008 XLT FWD
103" wheelbase
Duratec 2.3L l4 engine
4 - speed automatic O/D trans

Based on that............there's just not much out there that will work. Bugger.

Thanks for your help!!
Wendy
__________________

__________________
Wendy McQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
weighing, weight


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towing package and tongue weight WaltP Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 4 04-01-2009 10:47 PM
Tongue-weight and level when towing Bobbie Mayer Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 09-08-2007 01:27 PM
Tow weight vs vehicle weight Paula Bindrich Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 20 06-21-2007 09:16 PM
Towing Weight Reduction Loren G. Hedahl General Chat 17 04-05-2006 04:27 PM
towing weight Legacy Posts Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 15 02-10-2003 08:32 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.