VW Jetta - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #15
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Robin,


I'm not suggesting anything to anybody and in fact I don't tow over my vehicle's weight spec.

I'm only pointing out a seemingly reliable source who has set up probably thousands of TV/Trailer rigs well over the mfr's tow specs. I doubt they would still doing that if a) their customers were unhappy with the outcome or b) they were getting sued due to overweight towing.

CanAm RV's experience plus the much higher tow limits of vehicles sold in Europe does suggest US tow specs come from the manufacturer's legal or marketing departments as much as the engineering department.

Whether or not there are legal issues I have no idea, it probably depends on local law. I've never heard of weight checks in the US as Carol describes in BC.

I skimmed over my car ins policy and found no language about safe trailer towing. It just says any trailer I own is covered up to a certain $ limit. I did have an accident while towing a trailer several years ago. The adjuster never even asked how much the trailer weighed or what my TV's tow capacity was.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCDenny View Post
CanAm RV's experience plus the much higher tow limits of vehicles sold in Europe does suggest US tow specs come from the manufacturer's legal or marketing departments as much as the engineering department.
yup its a good bet they are being set by the manufactures legal department who I have no doubt attend law school and have pretty good idea as to what can happen in legal liability case. Why anyone would challenge that experience and factual knowledge is a puzzle to me.

The topic of Europe cars having higher tow weight caps has been well covered as has the fact that you should not and can not assume that the car in Europe even though it looks the same on the outside and has the same name on it - has all the same components that the car sold in NA does. I can tell you that without a doubt that the Outback is a classic example of that. The Outback sold in NA does not have all the same components as the European model on the underside that you dont see.....
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:30 PM   #17
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The balance between fuel economy and safety is what we are all faced with. Obviously a heavier tow vehicle will be less affected by the trailers forces during evasive maneuvers. Most heaver vehicles will handle the tongue weight better, have a stronger attachment point for the hitch, and have a stronger driveline. The lighter the tow vehicle the more the safety envelope is pushed. If one chooses to push the envelope to the limit he is taking on more risk. Driving style and skill can make up for some of the risk, but physics is physics.
I am in the market for a new tow vehicle, as my Jeep Wrangler pushes the envelope in some areas. It has the weight, around 4400 lbs., and can handle several hundred pounds of tongue weight, but is extremely short wheel based, and lifted about 4” above factory height. In the towing I have done so far it handled very well, and seemed very stable. I have not been on a freeway where semis were passing at much greater speed in the rain yet, so don’t know whether they would cause swerving. The Jeep gets poor mileage anyway, and is underpowered with the 4.0L I-6.
I won’t be looking for the ultimate mileage TV, as most of my trips are short. I can choose something more middle of the road size wise. People who do extended trips, putting on many miles may tend to choose a lighter vehicle for economy. Pushing the extreme too far won’t pay off though, as one accident will eat up all the gas money savings, and could kill somebody.
A construction company that I worked for had old travel trailers that were used as job offices. While towing one to a job one day with a half-ton long bed pickup he was passed by a semi going around 60mph. The job trailer was only going about 25mph having just stopped for a red light. The semi sucked the trailer into its lane and spun it around along with the tow vehicle and threw it into a bridge abutment totaling the trailer and truck. The man pulling the job trailer was not hurt, just shaken up. He said it happened so fast he couldn’t even react. There was nothing higher than the frame left on that stick built travel trailer! Kegs of nails and trailer fragments were strewn all over the highway closing highway 101 for over an hour.
I want to be able to keep up with those trucks, so will have to settle for less mpg.
Russ
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:30 PM   #18
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if you ask a fisherman loading up his camper and boat for a trip why they havent purchased the beer for the trip yet you are likely to be told that its the item that will mostly likely put them over their load capacity and result in them having to dump their boat off at a road side check & having to go back for it later after taking the camper off the truck, better to buy the beer at the destination!
I appreciate this is a serious discussion (not to say argument), but you may want to see this 1980s advert that I think you will find relevant:

CASTLEMAINE XXXX Sherry Ad 1986 - YouTube
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:41 PM   #19
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There have been several cases lately - including one very BIG one in California where someone was killed and the cause was found to be a person towing in an unsafe manner. The rig in question exceeded the gross COMBINED weight rating assigned by the tug's manufacturer. The result (currently under appeal, last time I checked) was a verdict such that the driver of the over-capacity rig was found guilty, and faces up to to 20 years in prison. The family of the person killed was awarded in excess of a million dollars in damages in the subsequent civil suit.

Let me be very clear on this. I am NOT a lawyer, and even if I were one, my views would not likely be considered to be binding - BUT

If a car/truck manufacturer says the maximum tow capacity is "X" and you exceed that, you do so at your own risk and your own peril. Your insurance company will move heaven and earth to get out of paying claims.

When giving advice to people on "Can I/Should I tow THIS with THAT", there are also other factors to be taken into account such as
What is this person's driving experience?
What is this person's TOWING experience?"
What condition is "THAT" proposed tow vehicle in?
Under what conditions will this person be towing ?

The fact that a member of this site has consistently broken laws with impunity for many years may very well be a testament to their skills and experience as a driver, (or sheer, dumb luck!) and has nothing to do with any safe/unsafe practice.

Just because there are people who have towed in excess of their tug's capacity does not mean that it should be advocated. I cringe when I see advice given on here that amounts to "Don't worry about what other people consider to be safe practice, I've been towing WAY in excess of my tug's legal max for "xx" years.

True, but I do notice there is a sad lack of contrarian views from those who have been killed doing it!

Same thing applies to discussions about using trailer brakes.

SO: Here is my view - directly opposed to yours:
In selecting a tow vehicle/trailer combination for safety ALL of the following MUST apply (no exceptions)

The wheel base of the tug must exceed the distance from the hitch ball to the axle of the trailer (front axle in case of multi-axles) AND
The tug must weigh a minimum of the weight of the trailer AND
In no case should the trailer exceed the manufacturers towing rating AND
In no case may gross combined weights be exceeded AND
All trailers in excess of 500 lb MUST be equipped with functioning brakes AND
All trailer brakes MUST have fully-functioning breakaway packages

YES, I realize that part of the function of this site is to encourage the use and enjoyment of Fiberglass RVs and that promoting their preservation makes it possible for all of us to continue to be able to find parts, service and sources of modifications as seen fit.

HOWEVER, this "duty" must be balanced with an appropriate degree of caution in the promotion of them.

Let's make up an example:
"Hi - my name is John and this is my wife Jane and I am18 years old and she is also 18. We have a child on the way. I just got my driving license last week and I bought a rusty 1982 Honda Civic with 300,000 miles on it. Jane and I want to go to the mountains for a vacation, so I want to buy a Casita 16 footer that I see for sale locally. Can I tow it? Will I need to install brakes?"

Based on what I have seen in terms of advice, there would be a dozen or so versions of "Welcome to FGRV" and "You will LOVE your Casita" and "While you are in the mountains, be sure to stop at xxx"

Poor John & Jane will then be on their own in terms of the advisability of their proposed course of action. They will read this forum, use a search function and determine that it seems to be entirely possible to take that car, hitch it to that trailer, and that brakes may or not be needed, and so because money is tight.... . After a while someone will say "Whatever happened to John & Jane" and a moderator will note that they don't seem to be on here any more - last activity was 2 years ago.

Perhaps some one on here will note a picture of the horrible crash on highway XX and lament the loss of a perfectly good FG trailer.

Meanwhile, Norm and others will continue to advocate Toys R Us as a suitable place to obtain a tow vehicle for pulling a 25 foot Bigfoot through the mountains.

If I were the owner of this site, I would take pains to ensure that moderators did, in fact, always take a moderate view and promote a moderate course of action, and further that moderators instantly jump in to delete (or disavow) any messages which may be conceived to promote or condone potentially unsafe practices.

Instead, I now find that one who habitually condones such practices IS a moderator.

So - a couple of observations:
I belong to several sites on various topics such as Fifty 5,6 & 7 Chevys, F100 Fords, hotrods in general, Volvo 1800's, Modified Round-fendered Volvos , Diesel pickups, full size pickups, and GM pickups. This is the ONLY site where moderators are not identified . Every other site has the word "moderator" after the person's name.

A moderator speaks for the site. If a moderator condones potentially unsafe practices, then, as the "voice of authority" it may be said that the site condones such practices.

One of the sites I belong to was recently involved in a lawsuit. The owner of the site was being sued for an 8 figure amount, because a member posted something that an outside party considered to be harmful and moderators failed to step in and censor (or disavow) the messages. Thus it was said that the site condoned the viewpoint. While the suit was ultimately unsuccessful, (not because it was without merit, but because one of the litigants went bankrupt) it was the various lawyers for both sides who were the real winners.

Norm - you maintain that towing a trailer the size and weight of yours, with your Honda is perfectly safe. You say so over and over. Is it safe for the hypothetical "John & Jane" ? Are you willing to categorically say so? Does this site's owner agree?

Inquiring minds want to know......
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:40 PM   #20
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If Oversized Tow vehicles were the only safe ones, then there would be no use for a Scamp 13, which was designed for reasonable sized vehicles.

There would also be no use for those "bulgefivers" with umpteen slideouts which are designed to be pulled by the heavier pickups.

A smart car with a Scamp 13 would be more favorable than a one ton pickup with a 35ft fiver... if comparative weight were the only consideration!
[BCDave;
You are generally prone to give good advice, but I must caution you against being drawn in to shrill hyperbole... Trust me, I've been there, but only truly enjoyed it on rare occasions!]

The thread is about the the Jetta though, and some people have misjudged it's capacity as a truck.....

A little common sense might eliminate some of the more extreme positions taken on the subject....from either end of the spectrum.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:47 PM   #21
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We're all gonna get sued and then die!










.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:53 PM   #22
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Of the two pictures- both are extreme, but which one is SAFER?
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:59 PM   #23
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Hmmmmmmmm, wonder how fast that semi is spinning those tiny tires....... He could have put that up on his flat bed and not had to tow it all, lol!
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
We're all gonna get sued and then die!


.


"Nonsense - EVERYTHING is perfectly safe! Nothing bad can ever happen! It is possibly a complete & total waste of money to buy insurance, to get the brakes checked or to replace tires! Don't worry!"
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:08 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCDave View Post
Of the two pictures- both are extreme, but which one is SAFER?
It's likely safer to stay home and cower in the basement, But I can assure you that if I were forced to buy an oversized vehicle (like a fullsized pickup) to tow my 13 Scamp I would sell the Scamp.
OH!...To answer your question...

The Jetta in the picture is by FAR the SAFER choice, since it is going nowhere!

But having held a CDL since long before there was such a thing(sorta), I can think of very few vehicles more dangerous than a Semi In the wrong hands.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCDave View Post
"Nonsense - EVERYTHING is perfectly safe! Nothing bad can ever happen! It is possibly a complete & total waste of money to buy insurance, to get the brakes checked or to replace tires! Don't worry!"
On the contrary, I think everyone should get your personal permission before they before they even consider driving a vehicle let alone towing a trailer.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #27
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I am entirely mystified again and again that we keep having this same conversation?
No one seems likely to change the opinion or rationalization they have burned into their minds about this.

It is frustrating to me for exactly the reasons that Robin and Dave mentioned so I needn't go into the same ones again but I also take personal offense that someone would decide for me that I will share the road with a vehicle combination run beyond the published manufacturers ratings.

I just don't know how to make this any more clear?

I am glad you have not been hurt or hurt anyone else so far while taking these actions but I am also afraid that seems to make you even more committed to the idea that the risks you take for you and me are OK somehow?

Also if I am not mistaken Norm HAS always had the Moderator label next to his name.....until now?
Has that Status changed?

Ed
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:35 PM   #28
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BCDave,

For the record, I have not been a moderator for a while finding that reading every post was too much for my on our road schedule this year. I am now a Senior Member, probably due to my advancing age.

In fact I have minimized my posting, and now often resort to PMs when I think I can be of help. I know my positions are different on many topics but they are always well considered.

Please do not take offense, I'm happily different and always willing to step out of the Box (after all we used to live in a Geodesic Dome).
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