Getting Tow Vehicle Ready. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-06-2015, 12:49 PM   #1
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Name: Randy
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Getting Tow Vehicle Ready.

Getting Tow Vehicle Ready. Hi, Future Scamp'er here. New to this site but not to camping. I'm getting ready to order online a Class 2 hitch. I'd like to have the car "ready" so when I find a 13' I can hook it up and go. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Will a Buick Century with a 3.1 motor be able to pull a 13 ft. Scamp?

What type of wiring for the car will I need for a 13'?

Is a wire needed to use 12 volt in camper, or does the 13' have batteries?

Does a 13' have/need electric brakes?

Please, ANY comments at all on getting my car ready will be very helpful.

Thanks!

RJ

RJnNC
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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Getting Tow Vehicle Ready.

Welcome, RJ!

Check your owner's manual regarding towing limits for your vehicle. 13' trailers will weigh anywhere from about 1300 pounds to over 2000 pounds loaded for travel with a hitch weight from 150-250 pounds. The thread Trailer Weights in the Real World has scaled weight data for a variety of fiberglass makes and models. Post #297 links to a spreadsheet of the data.

Most small and mid-size vehicles specify trailer brakes over 1000 pounds, so you'll want them. Not all 13' trailers have them, unfortunately. If the axle has a square mounting plate behind the wheel, brakes are an easy add. If not, you'll have to install a whole new axle.

To accommodate trailer brakes and charging a battery, you will want 7-blade wiring on the tow vehicle and a proportional brake controller. Some older trailers without brakes only have a flat-4 connector. An adaptor will allow you to connect to the 7-blade plug until you upgrade the trailer.

12V power is supplied either through a converter when plugged in to shore power or from an on-board battery. Some 13'ers will have a battery, but not all. If it has a battery, it will be charged through the converter whenever you are plugged in, and through the tow vehicle when towing (if a charging line is included in the wiring set-up).

Lots to think about, but start with your owner's manual. Best wishes!
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:46 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jon. That is just the kind of info I was hoping for! You're right, owner's manual says 1000 lbs. What has me puzzled is, I've seen smaller cars pulling them. One of the cars I saw was a small Toyota with a 2.4 motor. I wished I could have talked to that driver. Any ideas, or comments, what do you think?
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:41 PM   #4
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RJ, you've stepped onto a landmine with that one… LOL!

The single most contentious issue on this forum is whether it is ever acceptable to exceed the manufacturer's towing specifications.

For myself, I wouldn't. It's more than just horsepower to get the rig moving- it's unibody frame design, suspension, transmission gearing, cooling, stopping, emergency handling, mechanical wear-and-tear, and liability.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:15 PM   #5
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I agree with Jon, It looks like you are need of another tow vehicle.
Rather than asking others who are already towing over limit, instead ask your insurance agent and your attorney about the liability risks of towing over manufacturers stated towing limits...
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJnNC View Post
Getting Tow Vehicle Ready. Hi, Future Scamp'er here. New to this site but not to camping. I'm getting ready to order online a Class 2 hitch. I'd like to have the car "ready" so when I find a 13' I can hook it up and go. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Get a "Class 3" hitch with a 2" receiver, it's much more useful and easier to get drawbars and other accessories for.
Will a Buick Century with a 3.1 motor be able to pull a 13 ft. Scamp?
No, as earlier posts indicted
What type of wiring for the car will I need for a 13'?
For all trailers you need a 4 wire trailer light loom which may also require a light converter on your tow vehicle's end to make the trailers lights work correctly
Is a wire needed to use 12 volt in camper, or does the 13' have batteries?
All will usually have a battery, but a charging line to charge the trailers battery while you are driving is always recommended.
Does a 13' have/need electric brakes?
Some may not have brakes as standard equipment, but they are recommended and, in some states required, if over 1500 lbs loaded weight. This will all require the use of a 7-blade RV connector to have enough pins for everything.
Please, ANY comments at all on getting my car ready will be very helpful.

Thanks!

RJ

RJnNC
See answers above
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:32 PM   #7
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Towing is more than just pulling. Stopping and being able to control your vehicle(s) in an emergency situation are other important considerations. Many of todays smaller, lighter vehicles have plenty of power to pull a trailer but when it comes to stopping or an evasive maneuver it is a different story with an unhappy ending. Consider carefully and opt for safety so you can enjoy your travels.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RJnNC View Post
Thanks, Jon. That is just the kind of info I was hoping for! You're right, owner's manual says 1000 lbs. What has me puzzled is, I've seen smaller cars pulling them. One of the cars I saw was a small Toyota with a 2.4 motor. I wished I could have talked to that driver. Any ideas, or comments, what do you think?

Some of the smaller cars have a higher tow rating than what perhaps you are expecting.

Example the Toyota Venza and the Subaru Outback both have high enough tow spec capacity to handle most of the 13' fiberglass trailers.

I am with the others always better to play it safe and go with a vehicle that specs meet your trailers weights.

If you have not seen it already there is a thread called Trailer Weights In The Real World that lists what various makes and sizes of trailers actually weighed once loaded up to go camping.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:44 PM   #9
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There are many people out there towing with a vehicle that is not rated for what they are pulling. So the fact that they are towing with that vehicle does not meant that they 'should' be towing with it.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:01 PM   #10
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As Yogi Bear,uh said...

Its like Deja Vu all over again!

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Old 11-13-2015, 10:39 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I figured I'd wait a few days before responding to collect as much input as possible, both pro and con. For those old enough to remember Desi & Lucy in The Long Trailer... yeah, I don't want to be like that. Thanks again, I appreciate all the comments. - RJ
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:27 AM   #12
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RJnNC, you need to look at the numbers for any vehicle you are considering such as GVWR, towing capacity and especially GCWR from the manufacturer, along with the fully loaded weight of the trailer. These are not difficult numbers to get straight and then you will know where you are.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:12 PM   #13
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I've been towing a 13 foot Scamp for several years with a 2004 Honda CRV. No trailer brakes and no problems. 160 HP. BUT now I'm in the market for a new car, and thinking I might eventually upgrade to a SLIGHTLY larger Scamp or Casita. Any car advice out there???
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cindercharlie View Post
I've been towing a 13 foot Scamp for several years with a 2004 Honda CRV. No trailer brakes and no problems. 160 HP. BUT now I'm in the market for a new car, and thinking I might eventually upgrade to a SLIGHTLY larger Scamp or Casita. Any car advice out there???
Just because you have gotten away with it for some time now without major mishap still doesn't make it a sound choice. You maybe have been lucky enough, under ideal conditions, to have managed to get by so far without incident, but it isn't an ideal or safe arrangement. You may want to look into the insurance and legal liabilities created by the decisions that you may be incurring in doing this before it "bites you in the butt" so to speak. A good shyster attorney would probably have a field day at your expense if you were ever involved in an accident and, god forbid, injuries to someone due to your marginal, if not undersized, tow capacity.
Just something else to consider...
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