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Old 07-05-2020, 12:46 PM   #21
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Name: Ray
Trailer: 2017 Scamp 16 Deluxe
Missouri
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Katherine,

Try not to beat yourself up too much about your initial choices of trailer and tow vehicle. Seems like many/most of the senior members on this forum have experienced an "FGRV learning journey" that sometimes has included what each of us might describe as a few "sub-optimal choices".

We (my wife, myself, and some FGRV friends) actually attended the Boler 50th Anniversary event in Winnipeg and I would have to say that the Boler owners that I met have been among the most creative FGRV folks (perhaps by necessity?) that I have ever met.

Having come from a much earlier Starcraft pop-up experience, my wife and I started our FGRV learning with a minimalist Scamp13 that we initially towed with a 2.4L 2011 Honda CRV (stated tow capacity of 1500 lbs). We often followed Honda's recommendation to use the D3 button on the shift lever to lock out the higher/overdrive gear(s) and keep the engine in a higher RPM range where it produced more torque. (My wife said that she always thought it sounded like the motor was racing a bit.)

A year or so later, we traded one of our cars for a 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L Ecoboost with a 3500 lb tow rating (with the turbo Ecoboost, we actually went down in cubic inches of engine displacement, way up in torque/hp, and up by 2-3 mpg in fuel economy.)

As mentioned in my earlier post, the most important number to consider for towing at a steady speed is torque produced at the engine RPM in use while towing. By contrast, horsepower is the number that becomes important for acceleration (i.e. passing on a 2-lane road or accelerating into traffic from an on-ramp).

Whether you keep towing with the Suzuki or search for another tow vehicle, for steady speed pulling (either on flat terrain or up a hill), torque is the number that you need to concentrate on.

Towing - horsepower versus torque
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-p...e1.htm 

I included that supporting link about towing/torque in a 2015 post.
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...sel-68781.html

On level ground, you will always be fighting wind resistance and rolling resistance. Especially when you are climbing hills, combined trailer and tow vehicle weight may become even more important factors.

If you can keep overall weight down to just what you need, reduce wind resistance (by driving just a little bit slower (plus maybe a good wax job and/or deflecting some air over/around the trailer), the Suzuki might work for you for a little while longer? (As an everyday driver, my wife loved our CRV ... as a tow vehicle maybe not so much.)

If you have more questions, be sure to ask! You will likely find folks on the forum who will be willing to try to help.

Best of luck to you on the journey!

Ray
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:33 AM   #22
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Name: Don
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Katherine

I am going to take a counterpoint on some of the advice given. If your GV is not going to work, find a non-turbo engine, preferably a 6-cylinder. Almost all the modern turbos also come with direct injection which is a very high pressure fuel delivery system. These engines are very complicated, all in pursuit of higher gas mileage. Longevity and durability of these engines have yet to be proven. Also, a 6-cylinder engine will give you overlapping power strokes that no 4-cylinder can.

I’d recommend a 4th or 5th generation Toyota 4Runner with the 4.0 liter V6. The 4Runners are made with a much tougher frame than the Pilot, Highlander or Ascent.

Don K.
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Old 07-06-2020, 12:08 PM   #23
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Towing Questions

I have to push back on that just a little... For off-road use and medium-to-heavy towing duty, I’ll agree a traditional body-on-frame truck or truck-based SUV is preferable. If you’re the kind of person to take your trailer into the backcountry, park it at a base camp, and go exploring, yes- a 4Runner is a great vehicle.

But for highway driving, improved back roads, and light-to-medium towing duty, a modern unibody crossover is a far better choice IMO. The notion they lack strong frames is outdated. They’ve benefited from a half century of continuous improvement.

A Chevy Silverado rear-ended my stopped Honda Pilot at around 30-35 mph in 2016. The Silverado was totaled and the driver went to the hospital. I drove home, saw a doctor, and took ibuprofen for a few days. Took $10K to put it right, but the frame was untouched and only minor damage to the rear quarter panels. While it was disassembled I got a good look at the rear subframe to which the hitch receiver mounts. Very robust.

My 2011 was the last year for port injection on the Honda 3.5L V6, but really... they said the same things (complicated, unproven) about port fuel injection when it began replacing carburetors. Direct injection has been in widespread use in both turbo and non-turbo gas engines a decade now and the sky hasn’t fallen.

I’ve never been an early adopter, but over time new technology becomes proven technology. I pay a lot of attention to reliability data from multiple sources. Whatever the technology, some manufacturers get it right and some don’t.
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:59 AM   #24
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Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolocar View Post
Katherine

I am going to take a counterpoint on some of the advice given. If your GV is not going to work, find a non-turbo engine, preferably a 6-cylinder. Almost all the modern turbos also come with direct injection which is a very high pressure fuel delivery system. These engines are very complicated, all in pursuit of higher gas mileage. Longevity and durability of these engines have yet to be proven. Also, a 6-cylinder engine will give you overlapping power strokes that no 4-cylinder can.

I’d recommend a 4th or 5th generation Toyota 4Runner with the 4.0 liter V6. The 4Runners are made with a much tougher frame than the Pilot, Highlander or Ascent.

Don K.
Don,

I understand your point of view. Back in 2013, before doing my due diligence research, I shared some of your concerns. Not so much any more.
I now share Jon's viewpoint that all technology changes over time.

Back in the mid-80s, much of my extended family used to drive from the KC metro to Colorado for semi-annual ski trips. The carburetors on our normally-aspirated (non-turbo) cars were adjusted for the flat lands and many of our cars struggled to stay over 30 mph as we climbed into the mountains.


Back then, electronic fuel injection was this complicated and scary thing. Now, carburetors in cars are pretty much a thing of the past. Likewise, some might now consider turbocharged engines to be a scary unreliable thing. Our experience with the Ford Ecoboost engines has been otherwise.
(Our 2014 Ford Escape has about 80,000 miles on it and our 2016 F-150 has about 38,000 miles on it. Both vehicles have been used for towing and neither vehicle has experienced much of anything outside of routine maintenance.)

My son drives mostly diesel engines (VW Jetta, Dodge Ram pickup, Ford pickup) but, he's done research and is particular about which diesel engines are in his vehicles (I think he prefers some Cummins variants?)

My cousin worked in the KC Ford assembly plant and I took my turbo concerns to him. I told him that for awhile, turbos had a reputation for a noticeable lag from the time that you stepped on the accelerator until you actually got increased power. He assured me that those problems had been solved. When I asked him what engine to get in our F-150 (5.0L V8, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost, 2.7L V6 Ecoboost), he told me "I've seen your little fiberglass trailer and the engine that you want is the 2.7L Ecoboost ... trust me on this one!".

I also believe that the newer technologies are not strictly about "improved gas mileage" ... they are also about driveability. I would not want to pull even a Scamp13 over Donner Pass with an engine with a carburetor (even perhaps a V6/I6 with more cylinders) but our little 4 cyl 2.0L Ecoboost made it look easy. Since Katherine mentioned concerns about uphill towing (maybe in the Canadian Rockies?), I still would stand by my turbo or diesel suggestion/recommendation. That's not to say that other vehicles and technologies might not perform "adequately" (and maybe at lower cost?)

With a non-turbo engine, the transmission often does a lot of shifting in order to keep the engine in an RPM range that will produce sufficient torque.

A while back we caravan'ed with my sister and brother-in-law to the Green Eggs and Ham rally. My brother-in-law had a V6 injected engine in their pickup truck and I noticed that our vehicle separation varied considerably at times. I asked him if he was using cruise control and he said " No! I hate the constant upshifting and downshifting." I told him that our F-150 rarely had shifted shifted gears ... when going uphill, the turbo maybe worked a little harder?".

At the time that I bought our F-150, others in the forum were talking about VCM (variable cylinder management) in their new tow vehicles and/or CVT transmissions. I think that Jon is right that not everyone gets the new technologies right and that not all technologies are suitable for towing. I have not (and will not) recommend a particular brand and model of vehicle. Folks will have to do their own research on cost, reliability, economy, etc.

I have simply told you what we have used and what I think that I now understand about what might be the best engine technologies for towing.

Among pilots (yes, I am a Private Pilot), there is a saying "A good pilot is always learning." Perhaps the same thing could/should be said for RVers ... especially FGRVers?

I know that I could be wrong about anything! I learn things on most every camping trip that we take ... sometimes on my own; sometimes from my friends. I also learn much from the experiences of others on this forum.

One of the standing jokes/taglines on the forum is YMMV (your mileage [or experience] may vary.) So true!

Best of luck to all.
Enjoy your journeys and stay safe out there!

Ray
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolocar View Post
Katherine

I am going to take a counterpoint on some of the advice given. If your GV is not going to work, find a non-turbo engine, preferably a 6-cylinder. Almost all the modern turbos also come with direct injection which is a very high pressure fuel delivery system. These engines are very complicated, all in pursuit of higher gas mileage. Longevity and durability of these engines have yet to be proven. Also, a 6-cylinder engine will give you overlapping power strokes that no 4-cylinder can.

I’d recommend a 4th or 5th generation Toyota 4Runner with the 4.0 liter V6. The 4Runners are made with a much tougher frame than the Pilot, Highlander or Ascent.

Don K.
Counter/counter point... Modern turbo/direct injection engines have more than a decade of proven performance across the automotive industry with excellent reliability records.
The 2.3L (4CYL) EcoBoost engine was a major positive factor in choosing my new truck.


Beware if you eschew direct injection as many non-turbos are DI.
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:52 PM   #26
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Katherine, I'm still new around here and I much appreciate your question and the responses given. Towing was the first challenge my wife and I had to deal with when we got our Scamp 13 a year ago.

This thread has been mostly about engines and transmissions, but they are only part of the tow vehicle equation. There also are brakes, suspension, and structure to name three other variables. My advice is to read the manual to your Suzuki more than once. There will be some important numbers in there. trailer weight is one of them as is tongue weight and cargo capacity. The engineers who designed the vehicle, together with their lawyers and salesmen, figured out the cargo capacity, trailer weight and tongue weight allowable for that particular vehicle design. They are the ones you have to listen to. Your choices not only affect you but also those people driving around you.

I for one think having much more tow vehicle than you need is a waste of money. I agree some margin is good. That margin will help you tomorrow when the tow vehicle isn't quite what it is today. And yes, it will give you a bit more confidence dragging your bed, kitchen, and bath behind you.

Enjoy your camper. Welcome to the website.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:38 AM   #27
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Agree. The Goldilocks principle: not too big, not too small, just right.

The answer will be different for each person because besides the size and weight of the trailer, you have to factor in passengers and cargo, typical towing terrain and elevation, as well as non-towing uses of the vehicle.

Manufacturer tow ratings assume two “average” adults and no additional cargo. They also assume a low profile trailer and elevations under 3000’. When your situation involves more people, more stuff, more trailer and/or more mountains, you’ll need more vehicle.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:53 AM   #28
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Well said, Jon!


I wasn't up to speed on all of those assumptions!
( ... more learning for me ... )

Ray
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Old 07-08-2020, 09:08 AM   #29
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You can research the fine print about tow testing parameters by googling “J2807 tow testing standards.” Try to find links to the source documents rather than someone else’s summary.

I see lots of camouflaged test vehicles pulling cargo trailers (typically no more than 5’ tall) in the mountains around Phoenix. These are not the formal J2807 instrumented tests, but part of extensive real world tow testing of new vehicles.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:01 PM   #30
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5' tall, huh?

When we went to the Boler 50th anniversary event, there was one fellow who had put a piece of plywood on top of his tow vehicle to deflect air up and over his Boler.
He said that it improved his mpg/kpl by 15-20% and made it easier to maintain his level-ground towing speed.

The plywood rig seemed heavy and I wondered if something a little bit better and lighter could be constructed with the composite material(s) that these van interior guys use? If not the EPS/XPS foam + Glidden + fiberglass-screening, then maybe substitute 1/8" plywood for the fiberglass-screening (at least on the upwind side)? The fiberglass screen is strong in tension; the 1/8" plywood is stronger in compression.
https://youtu.be/ucf2FVIdr1Q

In another thread, someone used the XPS composite construction to create a table for their Boler. VERY lightweight and strong without using much in the way of power tools!

Ray
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:41 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post
5' tall, huh?
IIRC, the J2807 standards specify a frontal area of 20 sq. ft. for ratings up to 2000#, 30 sq. ft. for ratings up to 3500#, and 40 sq. ft. for ratings up to 5000#. I didn't pay attention to the higher weight classes, but I recall they all seemed low for a typical travel trailer or fifth wheel in that class.

J2807 specifies box cargo trailers, so it doesn't account for the aerodynamic advantage of rounded eggs. However, the OP's 16' Boler (Amerigo clone) is pretty boxy, and I'll bet it's around 42-45 sq. ft.
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Old 07-08-2020, 01:11 PM   #32
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There were some 16' Bolers up at the 50th Anniversary event but, there were so many trailers, so many matching paint jobs (tow + trailer), and so many interior/exterior mods that it became a bit overwhelming and hard to keep them all straight.

Maybe Katherine would/will share some pix of her trailer and Suzuki?

Ray
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