Towing Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2020, 09:49 AM   #1
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Name: Katherine
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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Towing Questions

Hello Everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone has towed with a Suzuki Grand Vitara? I have a 2012 that I plan on towing my 16' boler with.

My vehicle can tow up to 3000 lbs. and my boler is 1900 lbs on paper.

I'm new to towing, I've had a hitch installed and an electric brake controller and I'm putting electric brakes on my trailer. Is there anything else that I need to do to my vehicle? I'm a bit worried about towing up hills especially.

Any advice would be a great help!

Katherine



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Old 06-21-2020, 01:36 AM   #2
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Name: Elliott
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For extended uphill, the usual problems are power and heat. 166HP is.. not a lot for hauling a trailer around. Merging will require some planning ahead, and climbs will require patience. It'll make it, but it might make it at closer to 55MPH than 65. At high altitude it'll be worse.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:34 AM   #3
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Every truck stop has a scale. For less than $15 you can get the actual weight. It likely is a lot more than you think, you might be able to pack less stuff and make it more manageable.

Without data you never know. Hard to imagine a 16 foot Boler will be just 1,900 pounds. That sounds like one of those "somebody told me" weights.


And I do not know of any 16 foot trailer that weighs 1,900 pounds. Several 13 footers weigh that much (depends on how the trailer is equipped, bathroom, etc.).

People that tell you the weight of their trailer rarely have actually weighed it.


Many, many years ago I towed my first trailer. The RV dealer told me I was going to be fine. I wasn't. Marginal towing is no fun. Reached the top of vantage climb in central WA state, coming out of the desert. I was going 29MPH...

Since that experience I have always had much more tow rig than "required" for my trailers. I no longer have to worry about how steep the next hill might be, making it over mountains, or planning a route that is less challenging.

Kind of surprising that the car has a 3,000 pound tow rating with just a 2.4L 4 cylinder engine.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:57 AM   #4
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Sounds like a dry weight, or perhaps an unloaded vehicle weight, which arenít quite the same thing. 16í Scamps weigh in the 2400-2800# range loaded for travel. I doubt youíll be going even 55mph up the steeper grades, but that depends on a lot of factors.

I agree about getting a scaled weight of your trailer and combined rig. Make sure both are loaded as you will travel- people, gear, food and water, pets... Check the results against the GVWR and GCWR (should be a sticker on the door jamb) as well as trailer and hitch weight ratings.

If you decide youíre good to go weight-wise, I would discuss the feasibility of adding a auxiliary transmission fluid cooler with your dealer or trusted mechanic. Donít forget the routine stuff as well: make sure youíre up to date on service, including brakes, battery, belts, hoses, and coolant condition. Towing puts extra demand on all those systems. You will probably need towing mirror extensions if the trailer is wider than your vehicle.

Do read the towing and transmission sections of your ownerís manual carefully if you havenít done so already.

Best wishes getting set up to tow your new trailer! Iím not familiar with the 16í Boler. Looks like you tried to post pictures, but theyíre not showing. Privacy settings, maybe?

P.S. Bill, I believe the Grand Vitara has a V6. My sister had one and liked it, but she didnít tow a trailer.
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:15 AM   #5
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They actually downsized the motor from a small V6 to a 4 cylinder. Surprised me too.

Having lived in the PNW for 13 years (in the past), near Seattle, we did a lot of camping. Almost all of it involved either driving over the Cascade mountains, or camping in the mountains. It wasn't Illinois...
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:22 AM   #6
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Towing Questions

Youíre right, Bill. I was just fact-checking and discovered that, too. My sister had an older V6 version. 166 hp seemed low for even a small modern V6. I have serious reservations about this set-up now. For shorter local and regional trips it might be okay (pending weight data), but I would be planning for a more robust tow vehicle when it can be managed. Thanks for the catch!
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:31 AM   #7
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I have now seen the photos on another thread. Itís made from Amerigo molds. Weight is not the only concern. It has a wider, boxier towing profile than a 16í Scamp, so wind drag at speed is also a factor. Itís looking increasingly marginal.
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Old 06-21-2020, 10:18 AM   #8
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Hi Katherine. Here on the island I just pulled my boler through one of the BC government weigh scales after hours and got a weight. If you're close to one that's always a good option for checking your actual weight.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:02 PM   #9
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Agree it looks like an Amergo. And with the wood interior, those can be on the heavy side. The only one listed on the "weights in the real world" spreadsheet comes in at 3,095 pounds, quite a bit more than the 1,900 figure above.

If your Boler is close to that figure, you could be challenged towing.
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Old 06-21-2020, 03:58 PM   #10
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Name: Katherine
Trailer: Boler
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bummed out but thankful

Hello everyone,



Thank you for the quick and knowledgeable responses. I will be taking this to get weighed at some point but I also have reservations about this set up too. I pulled it home with my Suzuki and it wouldn't go much over 80 km/h. I wish I had discovered this forum before I bought it! I also really love my Suzuki.



There is so much inaccurate information out there about towing and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all.



Looks like this trailer dream is going to cost me more $$ <_<.


Can someone recommend an SUV that can tow about 3500 - 4000 lbs? I would rather drive an SUV than a pickup.



Katherine
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Old 06-21-2020, 04:00 PM   #11
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Most of the 3-row SUVs will do well for that weight range. Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, and so on. Usually they're rated for 3500lbs in the base trim and 5000lbs for higher trims. For example, most years of the Highlander can tow 5000lbs with the V6 XLE or higher.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:02 PM   #12
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+100 one of the 3 row 6 cylinder SUVs out there: Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Kia Telluride are 3 that come to mind. Tellurides haven’t been out long, supply is very tight, so they are selling at a hefty premium right now. Easier to find a used Pilot or Highlander. Subaru Ascent is also a possibility.

I have started considering a Telluride to replace my wife’s 10 year old, 180,000 miles, car.

Pilots and Highlanders have been popular SUV tow vehicle choice for many years.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:52 AM   #13
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Trailer: Casita
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Katherine......

At this point, I've towed my 3300-3500 lb. (loaded) Casita 17' with a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 (5000 lb tow rating) for over 35,000 trouble-free miles...and that's east to west USA, and Maine to Florida. Certified used Hyundai models have a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

It's worth looking for one in certified shape. But whatever you ultimately choose, I recommend you insist on a factory-listed 5,000 lb. tow capacity. It's best to have a 10-15% "cushion" over one's trailer weight.

Hope to meet you somewhere down the road.

Frank
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:49 PM   #14
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Name: john
Trailer: pleasureway class B
Florida
Posts: 7
Suzuki Grand Vitara

Katherine,
I am only 72 yrs young with plenty of experience.
My recommendation to you, if it hasn't been recommended already is to:
Have a transmission cooler installed and a TEMPERATURE GAUGE for that cooler mounted on your dash. You will know if you are safe to tow and you will know how to drive if your Suzuki is marginal for the job.
If the transmission temp is in the green, you are not causing any damage to your car. My 2 cents, based on experience, good luck.
Oh, you are a bit light so electric or surge brakes for your trailer would probably be a good thing.
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:28 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2017 Scamp 16 Deluxe
Missouri
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Towing Questions

Katherine,

I hate to make your head spin more but ...
IMHO, you probably shouldn't focus too much on number of cylinders or cubic inches of engine displacement.

For instance, I think that the new Ford Ranger can be set up (with tow package) to tow 7500 lbs with the 2.3L 4cyl and 10spd transmission. Our old 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L 4cyl Ecoboost was rated for 3500 lbs. It towed our minimalist Scamp13 up and over Donner Pass with the cruise control set on 60 mph and it never slowed down.

Regardless of manufacturer, I think that the best tow vehicles are likely equipped with diesel engines or turbocharged engines (i.e. Ford Ecoboost is only one example).

There is a reason that most 18-wheelers on the Interstates are diesels. While I'm not advocating a brand, diesel engines and turbocharged engines both exhibit high torque at low RPMs and that is a great combination for towing.

I was initially a bit nervous about using the very first versions of Ford's 10spd automatic transmission (i.e. the new Ford Ranger's transmission) but it may now have been out long enough to have gotten any bugs worked out? The beauty of a 10spd transmission is that the engine can always operate in it's best torque range. (I think folks say that CVT transmissions may not be well suited for (or rated for?) towing.)

We now tow our Scamp16D-A with a 2016 Ford F-150 that has a 2.7L Ecoboost engine and, at around 60mph, we are typically slightly over/under 20 mpg towing. By itself, at 60-70 mph highway speeds, our F-150 is usually around 27 mpg.

Again ... I'd suggest not putting too much trust in general rules of thumb that only focus on number of cylinders or cubic inches of displacement. There are lots of tow vehicles that may work "well enough" for you. Just continue to do your research and ask folks about their real world experience.

Best of luck with your decisions!

Ray

BTW - A local CAT scale said the empty weight of our new Scamp16D-A was 2000 lbs on the main axle and 240 lbs on the tongue (with two full propane bottles). Iíve since dropped the tongue weight by about 30 lbs by substituting two 11 lb propane bottles for the two 20 lb bottles.
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Old 07-04-2020, 06:45 PM   #16
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Youíre getting the best advice here - these people are great, I agree with everything posted above, glad you asked.
We tow a Scamp 16 with a RAV4. Itís a small car like your Suzuki. Hereís what I do:
*Minimize weight (our Scamp is very basic)
*Transmission cooler (part of the so-called ďtow packageĒ)
*Brake controller
*Weight distribution & anti-sway
*Air bag suspension assist
*drive like a boss (extra careful, attentive, double-check)

I installed the hitch, wired the brake controller & put in the Firestone air bags myself. We get terrible economy going uphill, but with all this add-on stuff the trailer pulls really well; feels stable. We donít have any concerns driving cross-country & we go a lot. Good luck, be careful, err on the side of caution.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:29 PM   #17
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Name: Ervin
Trailer: Moby 1 Teardrop
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Doc:
Is your RAV4 a V6? If it is, it is 269 hp and rated to tow 3500 lbs. Quite different than a stock four cylinder RAV4.
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:59 AM   #18
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Towing Questions

There is also one version of the RAV4 2.5L four cylinder with cooling and suspension upgrades that earns a 3500/350# rating. Itís only available in the Adventure trim since 2018.

While the numbers work, Iím somewhat skeptical it will give satisfactory mountain performance with the OPís boxy 16í trailer. In addition, the cost of the Adventure is well over $30K new, putting it on par with entry level trims of V6 equipped 2- and 3-row mid-sized crossovers, which typically carry higher payload and tow ratings.

As others have said, look to mid-sized crossovers in the Highlander/Pilot/Explorer class. Just pay attention to the specs for a particular model and trim. Not all carry the maximum tow rating, and sometimes optional equipment is required. IMO a 3500# rating is minimal, but a 4500# or higher rating would be better, especially if you plan future trips to high elevations and mountains.
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:27 AM   #19
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Name: Ervin
Trailer: Moby 1 Teardrop
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
There is also one version of the 2.5L four cylinder with cooling and suspension upgrades that earns a 3500/350# rating. Itís only available in the Adventure trim since 2018. The four cylinder hybrid is rated 1750#. Others are only rated 1500#.
Yes, yet could tell by the pic that it was not a newer RAV4, looked like the model year 2005-2012 that came with the V6. The 2020 Adventure looks amazing, yet wonder how well it would tow 3500 lbs or so with its 203 hp motor. Saw a video of a guy pulling a 2100 lb double axle cargo trailer with a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid up highway 17 in the Santa Cruz mountains with ease. Well, I digress. Happy Holidays!
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:59 AM   #20
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Towing Questions

Agree. As I said in my edited comment, Iím a bit skeptical of that 3500# rating too (the 4 cylinder, not the V6). Knowing Toyota, Iím sure itíll make it up the grades without destroying itself, but whether you will be happy with the performance towing close to the limit is another matter. Hope Iím wrong. I havenít seen any long-term reports with a larger trailer.

We looked at a RAV4 Adventure when we recently replaced my wifeís daily driver, but neither of us could stomach the all-black cloth interior. Disappointed, because it would have pulled our 13í Scamp reasonably well as an alternative to our Pilot once the kids are off to college.
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