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Old 10-08-2011, 11:51 AM   #43
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 2001 Scamp 13'
British Columbia
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Latest report: Well I had my first serous issue. The other morning I noticed my hitch looked a bit low. Turns out the receiver had slipped a few degrees. I took it to a tire/alignment shop that pushed it straight and retightened the bolts. About 30 miles later I stopped at a camping world. After shopping I walk out to the rig and see it's low again. Well this time the receiver is snug in place, but it's bending. This is a stopper, I'm not traveling on this, no way. So I tow across the street where I'm told I can park overnight and I start a desperate search for a new receiver. After hours talking to camping world, U-Haul etc, I manage to get a Curt hitch rated to 2000/200lbs overnighted. I had a nice dinner in a big rear engined diesel with an Alaskan couple also overnighting in that lot. Camping world got it installed the next day. It looks much more solid than what I had. No problems after 300 miles. I shifted some weight off the tongue just in case.

As I said before, I can't recommended this rig, in the hands of some one less than careful I could see it being problematic. I would not want to see the average American driver trying this. It requires constant attention and careful car control to keep it smooth and avoid potential issues. But it's never felt anything but under control for me. I have noticed a few small shimmys or occilations of the trailer since the new receiver. Nothing bad, but felt more stable before. I think the weight shift of gear from the front area to the rear and the fact that the new receiver puts the tongue up higher are responsible. I'm going to put on a head I have that is a bit lower and maybe put some of the gear over the axle that is now all the way in back.

But all that said, I am having a blast.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:34 PM   #44
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Get out the bathroom scale and weigh that tongue. It will help you to know the weight. Just put it under the jack and then jack up off the ball; the scale should go to 300 lbs.
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:30 AM   #45
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 2001 Scamp 13'
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Get out the bathroom scale and weigh that tongue. It will help you to know the weight. Just put it under the jack and then jack up off the ball; the scale should go to 300 lbs.
I guess I could walk around the campground to see if any of the trailers have one! Just by lifting it I can tell it's much lighter, if it was much over 200 I doubt I'd be lifting it. It felt great today, the head I have on there came with the receiver, fits tighter, and brings the tongue a bit more than an inch lower and and inch closer the bumper, couldn't be much closer to the bumper without possible contact. Not sure if it's the lower tongue or the better weight distribution of the gear, probably both, but it feels more stable than even I hauled it empty. This receiver is smaller in overall size, but of much heavier construction.

The turbo is great in the mountains, I'm at 7000 feet and it pulls like a freight train. No problems pulling the scamp up the passes to get here. There are plenty of times I have to try hard to not creep over 55 or 60.

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:54 AM   #46
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Dylan, I have a 96 Miata, but I don't tow with it. Anyway I thought you might like to get something like I have on mine, a rear rack. I use it for short trips to put all my camping stuff to.

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:42 PM   #47
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If Dylan is trying to make sure the hitch weight stays lighter, is it a good idea to put weight on the back of the car? Obviously, the weight will not be directly over the hitch, but it still seems counterproductive.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:39 AM   #48
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There's a lot of light stuff you can put on the back rack and not make a difference in height. Also he has the stiffer suspension which will help also. The rack on the back isn't going to make or break the hitch. Making the hitch load lighter has a lot to do with how you load your trailer.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:54 AM   #49
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Name: Normand
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I'll be, may be rude, but honest. Yes, you are right this is a crazy idea. Some day, if you tow that Scamp long enough with that Miata, you will get killed or injured or worst you will kill others, a mother, children etc... That is simply not something to do. There is no gimmicks, adjustments, solutions to a dangerous and inadequate TV. Be responsible, stop it and stop it now.
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Old 10-10-2011, 01:36 PM   #50
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Tim, Greetings fellow Miata lover! Looks like you have a nice one, I like the original body style too, I still have my original '91 I bought in '94. A very different animal than my Mazdaspeed, but I enjoy the simpler, lighter, older cars a lot. I had a rack on the back of my "Eunos Roadster" (Japanese market early Miata) in New Zealand. Very useful for road trips and car camping, in this case I don't think it's too useful. The heavy stuff is in the passenger area with some dense stuff in the trunk. Plenty of room for light stuff in the trailer. But putting weight on that rack from the trailer would reduce the load on the hitch/receiver, but not the rear wheels. But you just can't put too much on there before you start messing with your trunk lid.

Thanks for your opinion Normand, if you have specific experience or technical reasons for your opinion please let me know. Have you ever towed with a small car, if so which one and what was your experience? Everything carries risk, including driving down a normal road in a normal car driving normally. It's about managing those risks. I don't plan to commute with the combo, I'd guess 2 or 3 thousand miles this year, driven with excessive care and attention. But I do appreciate your concern.
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:48 PM   #51
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Dylan, hmmmmm You come here for opinions and yet when there has been questions from others you, foo foo their opinions off. And go with the opinions that best meet your needs.


Normand and others have had valid concerns/opinions, and though you say you appreciate their opinions do you really? Because your come back is, well if I only drive 2 or 3 thousand miles a year! It doesn't matter how many miles, what matters is that you do it safely............ 5 miles could spell disaster when improper towing is being done. I understand your car has somewhat of a tow capacity, but as you said in your opening post, wheel base, etc also play a factor.

In some of your older post this week there have been issues, yet you throw something at the issue and hope it sticks, when in all common sense you should perhaps re-think your tow vehicle all together....... Just sayin!


FYI, Your speaking of weight in your passenger side of the vehicle, Do you understand for every pound inside the vehicle your taking away from your tow capacity?

Can improper towing be done? SURE! Hello people do it daily. It still doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, just because it can be done.
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:18 PM   #52
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Another Perspective

There's no doubt that some vehicles are better tow vehicles than others, but there's nothing more important than the driver.

On the Casita Forum there's a description of a Casita being towed to a customer at over 80 mph. The Casita owner that spotted it had previously seen the driver of the tow vehicle at the factory.

The towing driver probably had an 'appropriate' tow vehicle.

I suspect one of the biggest accident towing factors is speed. Nothing is more important than a conscious driver behaving appropriately.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:01 PM   #53
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 2001 Scamp 13'
British Columbia
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Robin, I am open to any useful information, I have not meant to foo foo anyone's opinions, but that doesn't mean I find every opinion as valid or useful as others. I'm very open to discussion the technical issues. I'm not as convinced by vague opinions without accompanying technical discussion or especially based on actual experiences which I assure you I welcome.

Yes, I've got some warning and dire predictions, I've also got encouraging information and have heard from people you have towed similar trailers with other similar weight and wheel base small vehicles and if they killed anyone they didn't mention it. Opinions vary widely it seems. The truth of the matter? Hard to say with 100% certainty, but the 1000+ miles I've towed so far have been uneventful and drama free other than a bent receiver which has been replaced with a more standard, much stronger looking part. If it ever felt unsafe, uncontrollable, I'd be a lot more concerned. I assure you I value my life, my car and this trailer more than anyone else does. The first receiver I tried was a lighter duty part that was new to the market, in retrospect I should have started with a more known quantity, the Curt hitch I now have is the one Camping World, U-Haul, etc. sell and I have high confidence in it. The last one was my major mechanical concern, and that concern turned out to be well founded (I was inspecting it closely at every stop, that's why I found the issue within a 50 miles, it was fine last I checked it on the other side of Bakersfield) I spent 2 days waiting to get that properly fixed rather than risking continuing to tow on it another mile. I feel I'm being pretty cautious and careful.

My understanding of vehicle loading is that the weight of the vehicle should never exceed the the max gross weight (as listed on the door sticker) fully loaded including the tongue weight. I don't have a scale to measure that, but I have been keeping an on the weight of everything I'm packing. I do know the empty weight accurately. Curt says my new receiver is rated for 2000lbs, I'd be pretty shocked if my Scamp fully loaded was even 1500bs, It's factory spec is 950 and I know I haven't put 500lbs in it, probably not even 150 since everything heavy is in the car. If I can figure a way to weigh the car, trailer and tongue weight I will. I've not heard that adding weight to the car takes away towing capacity (but obviously the max vehicle weight, tongue weight and hitch tow capacity should not be exceeded, and your engine and brakes have to handle the entire weight of the car and trailer and everything in them). Can you point me to more info about vehicle loading and it's effect on towing capacity? What I have read on the subject, what I recall being told on here previously, at least in my interpretation is a bit different from what your saying.

Is it the safest towing combo out there? Is it the end all and be all of tow vehicles for me? No. If I start towing this all over all the time I probably will get another tow vehicle eventually. Do I feel I'm taking an excessive risk? Not on my experience so far. And I put first hand personal experience above most opinion on the internet, if that makes me crazy, so be it. Especially when those opinions don't offer specific experience or evidence to counter mine or put mine in context.

I really do welcome discussion, but if it's just going to be non technical "foo foo"ing of opinions that differ from those foo fooing, i'll get bored quick. "Your being unsafe", or "your crazy/stupid" are simply not very useful to me. "I towed a 13' egg with a 2400b, 90" wheelbase, 250hp car with 11" heavy duty brakes and my experience was this..." would be very, very helpful and welcome. "I once lost control of xxxx trailer once when towing with xxxx vehicle under xxxx conditions" would be good, etc. I welcome data a lot more than opinions.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:08 PM   #54
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Name: Dylan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
There's no doubt that some vehicles are better tow vehicles than others, but there's nothing more important than the driver.

On the Casita Forum there's a description of a Casita being towed to a customer at over 80 mph. The Casita owner that spotted it had previously seen the driver of the tow vehicle at the factory.

The towing driver probably had an 'appropriate' tow vehicle.

I suspect one of the biggest accident towing factors is speed. Nothing is more important than a conscious driver behaving appropriately.
Indeed, I would not trust the average driver to tow this combo safely. Than again, I don't trust the average driver to be able to drive an average car and listen to the radio at the same time safely. When I'm passed by some huge truck towing at 80, and I've seen it many times on this trip, I feel like I'm being safe and careful in comparison!
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:20 PM   #55
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Trailer: Boler 1977
Washington
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Hi, Congrats on finding your camper!

I'm curious if you have trailer brakes on it? I towed my 77 Boler over Stevens Pass (Hwy 2) this summer and boy, coming down was scary with 1200 plus pounds pushing behind me. I know Stevens is one of the steeper passes, but it took all my courage to bring her down carefully.

My plan is to install brakes (new axle) this winter so I can explore the dry east side of Washington. I've read that installing brakes increases the tow capacity, because the rating isn't based on moving forward as much as it is stopping. In other words, anything can pull, but stopping is the important criteria. Even with the Rav4, I can feel the weight and the pressure on our hills and curves up here. Just curious about your experiences.

If you do make it to WA, look me up. I can help you find a good county or state park to spend the night and perhaps some fireside chats for company. As an avid traveler/photographer myself, would love to hear about your New Zealand travels.

Take care, Jamie
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:25 PM   #56
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You can weigh your trailer at many places. We used a Cat Scale location to weigh ours. CAT Scale

Many truck stops have scales too. Use one. I doubt your trailer weighs 950 lbs empty. "Factory weights" usually mean the empty shell and have no meaning in the real world.
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