What is the best tow vehicle for a Trillium 4500? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-25-2013, 05:47 PM   #1
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Name: Barbara
Trailer: 1977 Trillium 4500
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What is the best tow vehicle for a Trillium 4500?

My husband and I are looking for the best tow vehicle for a Trillium 4500 (that we haven't even purchased yet....we're on the hunt). Have scrolled through a bunch of postings but please excuse me if I missed a previous discussion on the topic. Why are North American towing capacities so different from those in Europe for the same model car? Doesn't make sense to us at all. A car that is listed as Towing Not Recommended in US/Canada might have a 3000 lb towing capacity in the UK. What gives?
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #2
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That really does boil down to personal preferences. I tow with a Jeep Wrangler that only gets 10.5-11.8 towing, and 13 mpg empty, only because I like to do 4x4 trails and camp off the grid. I also tow with a 1994 Dodge Ram 3/4 ton heavy duty Cummins Diesel 2 wheel drive (paid 10k in 2002), that gets 22 mpg not towing, and 17-22 mpg towing our Scamp. I love the extra room in the cap covered bed, and the fact that I can tow our small 13' Scamp in OD and never even down shift while pulling mountain grades. Now this same vehicle can pull our 25' toy hauler with the Jeep inside and get 10-11mpg and needs to be out of overdrive all the time. Others like to push the limit of their tow vehicle, but I personally like "over kill" as components are not over stressed.
Good Luck with your search.
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:23 PM   #3
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I'd really consider what kind of terrain you're towing in. Our Ford Explorer (V6) could pull her but STRUGGLED going up some of the steep mountain passes near our home. Of course, that's purely a geographical problem that you may or may not have. Now we pull with an older Tundra and it's a DREAM. Personally, I'm with Dave and Paula and I appreciate the "overkill". If nothing else, I feel a little more secure knowing that the trailer will be less successful in pulling or pushing our TV if we're ever in that situation. Knock on wood.

Oh, and don't forget to get a brake thingy. I don't know what they're really called but they're electric brakes (I think) to help slow you down much more quickly if needed. Our installer pointed to a button on ours and said, "This is your OH SH!T button."
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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Dave is a friend of mine so this is not to disagree with him but rather to describe how we tow. I recognized the difference in tow ratings between NA nad Euriope and made a consious decision to tow with our 2004 Honda CRV. It has a manual transmission...still the same clutch.

We presently have a 1991 Scamp 16 and have been towing with the Honda for 6 years. We have been all over the USA and Canada with out trailers and have had virtually no issues. This year after 200,000 miles we had our first repairs, a thermostant and an electric fan, less than $200 in repairs over 9 years. Of course we have had to replace brake pads, a belt, tires,....

Now our tow vehicle is not as fast or powerful as Dave's however we have driven across Labrador and crossed the Rockies numerous times without issue and at a respectable speed. We usually avoid Interstates but do drive them occasionally. On Interstates we don't dribve over 62 mph... and not faster than speed limits... typically trailer tires are rated to 65 mph.

The only issue with the Honda is the necessity to keep the tongue weight below 220 lbs. Our Scamp weighs 2400 lbs and has a tongue weight of 185 lbs. We keep the weight low by having only one propane tank, plenty for us. Id you look at Preparing a 1991 Scamp, you'll see we travel with a prettry full trailer. We travel almost 8 months a year.

In addition to 200,000 driven miles, our Honda has another 50,000 miles where it was towed behind our Honda.

We average 22-23 mpg towing.

We are very carefull about towing. We have tire pressure sensors on the trailer, a rear camera on the trailer, an anti-sway bar, and an ultra gauge. We also increase the pressure of the Honda's front and rear tires and run the trailer tires at maximum. We replace our trailer tires every 3-4 years.

Glad to answer any specific questions.

In closing I will say there are many on this web site who do not approve of using the European ratings. I will say our Honda has stood up to the task extremely well for us. If you PM me I'd be glad to answer any questions about our experience and set up. As well I don't know anything about the specifications of a Trillium.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:16 PM   #5
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Every one is different as to what they feel the best tow vehicle is to do the job that you require it to do. Some people get by with lower powered vehicles as they rarely if ever would tow through a terrain such as the Rocky mountains for example. Only you know if will be happy going pretty slow through mountain regions or it you wish to keep up with traffic flow.

Regarding the differences in Europe ratings vs North America - thats been hashed out here more times than many of us wish to remember. If you google this site you will find many a thread on that topic. In a nut shell I believe there are a number of reasons for it - the big one being that there are very few cars built in Europe that are sold in North America that are identical in all ways - engines, rear suspension etc. Many of the cars in Europe with the same name as the one sold in NA have a diesel engine for example - but we cant buy them with one here. Also in Europe many countries have a national towing limit - which is slower than the general traffic speed postings - we dont have such a thing in the USA or Canada for that matter. Although some states such as California do have a max 55 mph limit.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:20 PM   #6
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Before any of us can make much of a recommendation give us a couple of clues:

1. What do you want for a vehicle? There are sedans, pick-ups, Vans, SUV's and all sorts of crossover vehicles that can tow a Trillium.

2. How critical is economy?

3. How much will you typically want to drive in a day/week? Do you need 70MPH or will 55 MPH do the trick?

4. Budget? Are you wanting to buy new or used?

There are a lot of choices based on answers to the above.

BTW: FERGET the discussion about Euro vs. North American tow ratings and stick with what the owners manual sez for the vehicle you buy. Stepping over that opens a whole bag of worms.... Not to mention some liability issues. Ya don't want to go there.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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surfside towing

We have a surfside which is similar to the 4500 and we have towed with a ford ranger with a 3 liter engine and a rav 4 with a 3.5 liter engine

Both are sport models the ranger is standard transmission and the rav is auto

Both seem to pull fine however the rav has a little more power which is nice

We live close to the mountains both vehicles have been good on the hills

Whatever you get I would advise a brake

Don't look at the European tow limits as the vehicles and design of the roads are not the same as here( just my 2 cents)

Welcome to the group
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:13 PM   #8
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The Euro / North American discussion has gone back and forth numerous times, with no resolution. There are many differing opinions as to the ratings. It will be best if this thread focuses on providing input as to tow vehicle choices rather than opening an old worn out argument.
Barbie, I hope that you're able to find the perfect trailer as well as tow vehicle.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:22 AM   #9
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Tow Vehicle Considerations

Without considering specific vehicles, if you travel a lot as we do, two considerations for a tow vehicle besides "Can it tow the trailer?" are the costs of towing.

These costs include the cost of the tow vehicle, the repair/maintenance cost of the tow vehicle and the operating costs. The tow vehicle cost factor becomes more important the more you tow and in some measure the older you get (when you join the fixed income group).

For example a tow vehicle that gets 22 mpg compared to 15 mpg saves about $2000 a year in fuel costs for a heavy traveler like us. For us this amounts to $20,000 in fuel costs savings over the 10 year life of our tow vehicle, almost enough to purchase a new tow vehicle.

We also seek vehicles with low maintenance costs. Many people drop $300 to $500 every few months on vehicle maintenance. To us the biggest cost we want to see is the cost of regular oil changes.

It's simple the more we save the more we travel. Many people these days are kept off the 'RV road' due to travel costs. Though the government denys it, there has been plenty of inflation over the last few years... fuel, state park campground fees, food, vehicle costs have all increased significantly.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Before any of us can make much of a recommendation give us a couple of clues:

1. What do you want for a vehicle? There are sedans, pick-ups, Vans, SUV's and all sorts of crossover vehicles that can tow a Trillium.

2. How critical is economy?

3. How much will you typically want to drive in a day/week? Do you need 70MPH or will 55 MPH do the trick?

4. Budget? Are you wanting to buy new or used?

There are a lot of choices based on answers to the above.

BTW: FERGET the discussion about Euro vs. North American tow ratings and stick with what the owners manual sez for the vehicle you buy. Stepping over that opens a whole bag of worms.... Not to mention some liability issues. Ya don't want to go there.
Yes Barbie, tell us what your preferences are and then we can go from there.

For a glass egg trailer there are folks towing with smallish euro styled vehicles to ones towing all the way up to full sized diesel pickups. Either will work.

A towing specialist once wrote. When looking for a TV the two most important things to look for (as it relates to handling and stability) is a vehicle with IRS (independent rear suspension) and a low center of gravity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbieB View Post
Why are North American towing capacities so different from those in Europe for the same model car? Doesn't make sense to us at all.
Correct, it makes no sense.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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IRS ???? Right....

In known TV's both of those criteria are almost non-existant individually and, off hand, I can't think of any potential TV choice that has both short of a luxury sedan.




Quote:
Originally Posted by MC1 View Post
Yes Barbie, tell us what your preferences are and then we can go from there.

For a glass egg trailer there are folks towing with smallish euro styled vehicles to ones towing all the way up to full sized diesel pickups. Either will work.

A towing specialist once wrote. When looking for a TV the two most important things to look for (as it relates to handling and stability) is a vehicle with IRS (independent rear suspension) and a low center of gravity.

Correct, it makes no sense.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post

In known TV's both of those criteria are almost non-existant individually and, off hand, I can't think of any potential TV choice that has both short of a luxury sedan.
Yes Bob.... At the Toronto RV show a few years ago I had a chance to ask the towing specialist what (from his his experience of towing 1,000's of various types of TV/trailer combinations) his best performing TV. His answer was a Jaguar sport sedan.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MC1 View Post
Yes Barbie, tell us what your preferences are and then we can go from there. For a glass egg trailer there are folks towing with smallish euro styled vehicles to ones towing all the way up to full sized diesel pickups. Either will work. A towing specialist once wrote. When looking for a TV the two most important things to look for (as it relates to handling and stability) is a vehicle with IRS (independent rear suspension) and a low center of gravity. Correct, it makes no sense.
Which perfectly explains why all pickups, medium duty trucks, and semis are all setup this way. Oh, wait…
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:57 AM   #14
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Only you can determine what is best for your circumstances, but many good ideas have been expressed above to give you some food for thought.

We have a Dodge Dakota crew cab V8 pickup and a Subaru 4 cyl Outback, both of which are capable of pulling our 16' Scamp. The truck is best for carrying heavy loads, extra gear, and hilly routes. The Subaru is best for lighter loads, less steep hills, and fuel economy both towing and especially touring.

Many people like using vans due to the secure carrying capacity inside for gear and even bikes.

Wet or muddy gear can be tossed in the bed of the pickup with fewer concerns than throwing it into the back of the Subaru.

If we could only have one vehicle, we would probably keep the Subaru for it's all around capability as both a hauler and as a tourer, and just accept the limitations. Those limitations include keeping the weight of the camper down, keeping the tongue weight down, and travelling with less "stuff" (all of which are good ideas anyway).

Since we like to take both our kayaks (and kayak gear) and our bikes on extended trips, the truck gets used more often.

I was concerned at first that the higher fuel economy regulations would create a less capable class of vehicles capable of towing due to lighter components being used, but recent vehicles hitting the streets make it appear my fears were unfounded. The new Dodge pickup with V6 and 8 spd tranny is rated just 1 MPG highway less than my 4 cyl Subaru, and the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee V6 with 9 speed tranny is rated to haul 4500 lbs and has real 4WD available for rough terrain! Dodge also has a 3.0 diesel coming out in a couple of months and the reviews I've read so far are very encouraging. Nisaan is going to add a diesel to the Titan soon.

I think I'll wait another year or two before making the plunge on a new vehicle to see how they work out in the real world; I was looking at the Ford Escape 2.0 turbo and it looked promising but users are reporting lower fuel economy on the fueleconomy.gov website than advertised. I suspect the Dodge V6 pickup will suffer that same fate although I hope I'm wrong.

So many good choices out there to pick from!
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