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Old 07-04-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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What "Small Car" can really tow a Scamp?

Taken verbatim from the Scamp website is the following statement:

"Towable by Small Cars - Our small campers are very economical; especially important with today’s high fuel costs. All three size Scamps have been designed to be towed by small cars, SUVs, mini vans, and trucks. The aerodynamic design assures high fuel efficiency and most people can tow the Scamp with a vehicle they already own

It bothers me to read in this statement that a 'small car' can tow a Scamp. Are there really any 'small cars' out there that are actually rated to tow one?
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:12 PM   #2
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
New Hampshire
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Rated Where?

If you read European ratings, most small cars people own in North America are rated to tow Scamp sized vehicles in Europe. Typically they are rated to tow vehicles bigger and heavier than Scamps.

The American Toyota RAV4 V6 is rated to tow 3500 pounds in the USA. In Europe the 4 cylinder RAV 4 is rated for that much weight. Go figure.

We have been towing small Scamp sized trailers for 4 years. We now have a Scamp 16 and last year we towed the heavier Casita 16. We have crossed the country and the Rockies and driven extremely rural Canada.

We tow with a 2004 4 cylinder Honda CRV. We have no special weight Distribution hitch. We do sometimes use a sway bar though we have not seen sway. Actually the Scamp and Casita tow beautifully. We get 23 mpg, about 5 less than when we're not towing.

I do know that a number of people feel we're pushing the limit. Not for one minute have I ever felt unsafe towing. I can go into detail of the things we do to insure safety if you wish.

There are many people who tow with small vehicles on this site and many more that tow with large vehicles.

It works for us.

Norm
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:49 AM   #3
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Name: Chris
Trailer: 2010 Scamp 16 ft
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My girlfriends 2009 Honda civic says it can tow a trailer up to 1500 lbs. I am sure we can get away fine with towing a standard 13 ft Scamp without a problem. Just don't load it up to the wazoo with gear.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:04 AM   #4
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Name: Carol
Trailer: Chalet XL for sale. Hoping to get a Snoozy.
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I towed my 13' with a Subaru Forester, 4 cylinder, with absolutely no problem. Living on the east coast, we don't have mountains like the Rockies, but the Adirondacks were climbed easily with no apparent strain on the motor.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
Taken verbatim from the Scamp website is the following statement:

"Towable by Small Cars - Our small campers are very economical; especially important with today’s high fuel costs. All three size Scamps have been designed to be towed by small cars, SUVs, mini vans, and trucks. The aerodynamic design assures high fuel efficiency and most people can tow the Scamp with a vehicle they already own

It bothers me to read in this statement that a 'small car' can tow a Scamp. Are there really any 'small cars' out there that are actually rated to tow one?
This is really a question for Scamp, why not ask them to back up the statement with examples of small cars that can tow their trailers.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
If you read European ratings, most small cars people own in North America are rated to tow Scamp sized vehicles in Europe. Typically they are rated to tow vehicles bigger and heavier than Scamps.


Norm


The issue is Norm, We are not in Europe! So as American's we should go by the Standards developed for this country and our driving conditions.

Our Laws are different, Our insurance is different. I realize you tow with a much smaller vehicle than recommended. But can you be sure your insurance will cover you when you choose to disregard the standards set by the USA towing ratings? From what I know, they most likely will not. Or their coverage will be limited. And no, I have never had an issue! I just know of others in a different subject/issue that have had. Sorry I haven't had time to search for the one member here that I know of this particular subject/issue.

I have (as well as others) said (in other towing discussions) perhaps we shouldn't recommend it to others. Or for that matter we probably shouldn't even discuss the European/USA differences, cause again we are not in Europe. Their laws and guidelines are different than ours. Can we not stick to the what the law's, guidelines of this country are when discussing towing in the USA?


I am sorry to keep harping on this subject but, I would prefer to harp rather than someone getting hurt because "some" believe it's ok to not follow the guidelines set forth for towing in this country.........

I say if your in this country than you follow the guidelines/rules of our roads.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:45 AM   #7
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Name: Bill
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Camry towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
Taken verbatim from the Scamp website is the following statement:

"Towable by Small Cars - Our small campers are very economical; especially important with today’s high fuel costs. All three size Scamps have been designed to be towed by small cars, SUVs, mini vans, and trucks. The aerodynamic design assures high fuel efficiency and most people can tow the Scamp with a vehicle they already own

It bothers me to read in this statement that a 'small car' can tow a Scamp. Are there really any 'small cars' out there that are actually rated to tow one?
I have a 2002 Toyota Camry with a 2.4 liter engine. The owner's manual says it can tow 2000 lbs. However, I went to an RV dealer and the service department would not attach a hitch for a small tent trailer weighing 1400 lbs. because they said it would be dangerous for me and it might lead to a lawsuit against the rv dealer. Any opinions?
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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I went to an RV dealer and the service department would not attach a hitch for a small tent trailer weighing 1400 lbs. because they said it would be dangerous for me and it might lead to a lawsuit against the rv dealer. Any opinions?

As others will jump on here and say, We are a sue happy country! I completely understand what they are saying! BUT!


My opinion as to why they wouldn't not install a hitch for what we consider under your towing capacity is, when loaded with gear, people, cat's, dogs and the kitchen sink, your towing capacity on your Camry went down so they not only covered their rear, they protected yours!


For every occupant, chair, ice chest, etc put in the trailer, car, take the towing capacity down. So though your car states 2000 pound tow cap other things have to be taken into consideration.

Here in Colorado there was a horrible accident 8/10 years ago where a small child was killed. The parents had just bought a bumper pull trailer. They originally had wanted a much smaller trailer (due to their tow cap) , the sales man talked them into a larger trailer (just over their tow cap) and assured them they were gonna be fine. Well first trip out, the accident happened (Police investigated the cause, it was found that the trailer was over the tow cap and had actually over powered their SUV). Of course they were ticketed, but they actually sued the RV dealer and Won a settlement! RV sales people/dealers use to always sell you up and assure you it was ok to tow more than your vehicle could handle.



I actually witnessed a sale much like this, My BIL/SIL were in the market for a bumper pull. They picked out a perfect one for their truck to pull. While at the Dealership getting the hitch installed trailer prepped the sales man did a hard sale on my BIL and up sold. Assured him that his truck was enough, I stepped in and asked that the "up sale" trailer be weighted. BIL in all his excitement allowed them to bull **** him. When they pulled the trailer over to weight they didn't even have it on the scale! I called them on it, but could see my BIL wasn't gonna listen. (His wife was having a nervous breakdown, cause she could see what I was saying)

I told BIL, they were crazy! That their truck would never pull it (I was right) First trip out they had issues BIG ISSUES, keeping control of the beast! Even the guy installing the hitch was questioning the "up sale".


BIL parked the trailer and didn't use it again till he bought a bigger truck. He's experienced in pulling and he told me later (wouldn't admit to it for a long time) that their first trip was scary pulling it!


His wife was so mad at him!
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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This thread raises an important question to me. Does my auto insurance look for loopholes if I were to get in an accident while towing?

Loopholes like all manner of technicalities about axle weights and tongue weights and cargo weights and what not? Even if I PRESUMED I was doing the right thing, is this an area where insurers balk after the fact? I would imagine that insurers seek every conceivable means not to pay out money.

I'll have to ask my insurance man. Has anyone here been denied a claim based on something like "improper towing?"
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:26 AM   #10
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It looks to me like there are three categories of towing success.
1. Anecdotal success occurs if whatever you have works for some trip you took. "I used a Yugo and towed my Scamp 10,000 miles with no trouble at all!"

2. Technically legal success occurs when you stay well within the printed guidelines in your owners manuals. "My manual says #2700 cap with #200 pound tongue. I weighed my rig at #2300 with all the gear and it had a #195 tongue, and I had no trouble."

3. Conservative safe success occurs when you totally overkill with belt AND suspenders. "I have an F-350 and I put trailer brakes on my Scamp, and I wouldn't dare tow with anything less."

Everyone has to find their own comfort zone, I suppose. It does seem as though the trailer makers are exaggerating the ease of towing with "small cars."
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
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I recently posted the following in another thread. The thing that stands out to me is that I have towed that same teardrop thousands of miles behind that same car, and always thought I was fine. I was certainly well within the tow ratings. However, a little downhill grade, and a little precipitation, and the whole scenario suddenly got ugly. Really, shouldn't we be planning for a little rain now and again, and maybe a hill or two? Here is what I wrote:

I currently own a Little Guy teardrop that weighs about 700 lbs loaded for camping. Last fall, we headed to Ohio for a weekend, towing with a 2001 Chevy Prizm (like Toyota Corolla, 1500 lbs tow capacity). It was misting, and we were going down a moderate downgrade. The stoplight at the bottom of the hill turned red, so I applied the brakes. We slid a LONG ways before finally stopping about halfway into the intersection. God was good to us - nobody was in front of us, and traffic on the cross-street waited for us to get stopped. This was towing no more than 700 pounds, mind you. It was an eye-opener for us.

Our next trip with the Little Guy was to the factory in SugarCreek, OH, to have the axle traded out for one with brakes. Light cars can tow (keep the tongue weight low!), but they can't stop. I will never tow a camper without brakes again. We just returned from a camping trip over the rainy 4th of July weekend, and with the brakes, stops were safe and secure.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:32 PM   #12
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"I will never tow a camper without brakes again."

There's the belt and suspenders cautious approach! I'm probably closer to that than the "give it a go and hope nothing happens" approach! Good story there Paul E. Henning.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:38 PM   #13
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Brakes are a must in my mind as well. Besides everyday braking and rainy day braking it's an instantaneous way to stop sway, hitting the brake controller and applying just the trailer brakes.

When we were beginning we put a small 40# generator on the rear bumper and managed to induce a little sway. One tap on the brake controller activating the trailer's brakes straightened it out. We quickly stopped and moved the generator inside.

Norm
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:59 PM   #14
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Some people want to ignore the US tow ratings and use the European ratings when towing here in the US. They rationalize this by saying the car must be capable of towing that weight because it is OK in Europe.

If one were to use that logic then it is OK to drive your car without a trailer at 100+ MPH on the highways in the US because it is allowed in some places in Europe and the car is capable of going that fast. To prove it is OK they can say they have driven that fast many times here in the US and never had an accident.

In many Asian countries small pickup trucks are routinely loaded with 2 or 3 times the weight capacity specified in the US. That does not mean that US owners of the same model should ignore US weight capacities. I have seen 4 or more people on a small motorcycle in Asia including babies held by their mother. They seem to do it safely, but there are different standards in the US.

It does not bother me if someone wants to tow more than the tow rating for their car. However when it is repeatedly talked about in an internet discussion group in very positive terms, that is indirectly promoting that others can do it too and someone may eventually get hurt.
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