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Old 04-25-2006, 04:59 AM   #21
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One reason that some people need a V-10 Ford F350 to pull a 13-16' frailer is the amount of "STUFF" they put in their trailer.
Bob... you mean like THIS?


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Old 04-25-2006, 06:36 AM   #22
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Speaking of towing with a V10 Ford...

I've posted this before (pre-hack), but I think it's worth repeating... It's pretty obvious that when it comes to towing, I'm solidly in the longer-and-heavier is better camp. Let me tell you why...

In April of 2004, I was bringing home a fiberglass RV that I'd bought in NW Iowa. My red short-bed 4WD 4cyl Toyota pickup that had so admirably towed the UHaul was dying of a sucked intake manifold gasket, and all I had to tow with was my Excursion. As I was driving eastbound on U.S. 20 just east of Webster City, Iowa, I hit a particularly rough portion of highway that caused the entire rig to porpoise.

Unbeknownst to me, the coupler spoon was worn badly enough to allow the coupler to jump off the hitch ball with that kind of pitching. Fortunately, I had safety chains installed properly. I felt something odd going on with the trailer before I saw it. Then I watched the trailer start to dance around like a drunken sailor on the deck of a destroyer in 20 foot seas. I instinctively reached for the brake controller to bring the trailer back in line (no sway control) and it did nothing as the pitching of the tongue had pulled the pigtail out of the socket. The trailer continued to dance and jerk the back of the Excursion around. Fortunately, it's 1500 lbs couldn't exert enough pressure on the rear axle of the 7,000 lb Excursion to move it. I watched in fascinated horror as it hopped on one wheel and then back to the other swaying out eight or ten feet with each oscillation, knowing that at any moment the trailer was going to roll. It was probably the longest 45 seconds of my entire life.

Fortunately U.S. 20 is a four-lane divided highway and there was no traffic in either direction at that moment but me. I was able to slow the trailer gradually until it settled down on it's wheels, and I brought the entire rig to a stop smoothly. After I uttered a brief prayer of thanks, I wobbily got out of the driver's seat and checked the damage. The only damage was that the pigtail had pulled out of the socket and the cord had been ground half-way through by contact with the roadway. One safety chain had ground through and fallen off as I came to a stop, and that was the only damage!

I returned to Webster City RV (only two miles away at this point) and had a new coupler, chains, and pigtail installed as well as the rest of the frame and running gear examined for damage. Fortunately, there was no other damage to the trailer at all.

Were it not for the 7000 lbs of the Excursion being able to withstand the 1500 lbs of fiberglass trailer wildly tugging away at the rear end, this story probably would have had a MUCH different ending. Had I been towing with the compact Toyota truck, I'm sure that the trailer would have rolled and taken the Toyota and me with it.

The moral of this story is that you can't count on your trailer brakes in a sway situation as they aren't always effective, especially if they're disconnected (this trailer didn't have an on-board battery, and therefore no break-away switch... which was actually good as I'm sure that had the brakes locked on, the trailer WOULD have broken the chains and rolled); A severe sway condition CAN be controlled if the towed weight to tow vehicle weight ratio is insignificant enough, even if the trailer is only connected by chains; and that if you keep your head, have a plan, are properly equipped, and do the right things in the right order you can control your trailer in the worst of circumstances. Let the physics of having a heavy tow vehicle work for you instead of against you.

These are some of the reasons that I earlier said that towing a 2000 lb trailer with a car rated for a thousand pounds isn't a good idea, particularly when the car probably only weighs 3500 lbs itself.

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Old 04-25-2006, 10:48 AM   #23
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These are some of the reasons that I earlier said that towing a 2000 lb trailer with a car rated for a thousand pounds isn't a good idea, particularly when the car probably only weighs 3500 lbs itself.
I think this is very much a case of different strokes for different folks.

To put your comment in a Yurpeen perspective, Roger, the weight recomendation for trailer towing in the UK is:
- Novice and regular drivers may tow a trailer with a maximum laden weight (ie, GVWR-equivalent) up to the tow vehicle manufacturer's limit, or 85% of the tow vehicle's kerb weight, whichever is lower.
- For very experienced towers, that 85% can be increased to 100%, if it's within the manufacturer's limit.

In the case of Johan's Accord, the manufacturer's tow limit is almost exactly 100% of kerb weight - which is often the case here.

The freeway speed limit for trailers is 60mph/100kph in most of Yurp and that's about the speed most trailers travel at. I think you could make a good argument for saying trailers are used 'harder' in either Europe or North America, depending on which way you were personally inclined - I don't think there's a clear-cut case either way.

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Old 04-26-2006, 11:56 AM   #24
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Gee Whiz,

I wish I had the link to the short clip of a small car towing a trailer in England...the car comes roaring up the hill, misfiring and trying it's best to pull the trailer up...it passes by...more misfiring from the engine and then as horrified spectators watch the car gives up the ghost and down it goes pulled by the trailer...as the clip ends the trailer flips and the car is following it...

I'm with Roger on the size thing.

R.:-)
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Old 04-26-2006, 04:41 PM   #25
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I wish I had the link to the short clip of a small car towing a trailer in England.
There you are: That caravan (TT) probably has a GVWR-equivalent of 1900kg (4200lb) and the old Renault 5 (Le Car in US) had a tow rating of maybe 900-1000kg - so that was around twice the safe towing weight for that car in the UK!

And to show there is some relevance to FGRV, the same search of Google Video will give you The Romini - a moulded fiberglass trailer made briefly in the UK, that makes a Scamp look big. It has a body that's all of 7 or 8 feet long! I can only find poor photos of it - see below.

Andrew
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Old 04-26-2006, 08:58 PM   #26
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Johan,

The kicker with your Accord is manual transmission. Most, if not all, vehicles have a higher tow rating with an automatic transmission - somewhere around 1.5 times to 2 times that of a manual transmission, if memory serves me right. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the owner's manual states the Accord with an automatic transmission and a trailer with brakes would have a tow rating of 2,000 pounds.
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Old 04-29-2006, 09:18 PM   #27
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--><div class='quotemain'>
Johan,

The kicker with your Accord is manual transmission. Most, if not all, vehicles have a higher tow rating with an automatic transmission - somewhere around 1.5 times to 2 times that of a manual transmission, if memory serves me right. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the owner's manual states the Accord with an automatic transmission and a trailer with brakes would have a tow rating of 2,000 pounds.
[/quote]

I thought the opposite is the case. As far as the european Honda accord
goes, the tow rating is exactly the same for automatic and manual
transmission. I would think manual is better as it is not prone to over heat?
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Old 04-29-2006, 09:30 PM   #28
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With many domestics and Japanese cars, the weak spot in the manual trans is actually the clutch. I had an '87 Bronco with a Mazda transmission that had a 2,000 lb tow limit. The same truck in an auto was rated at 5,000 lbs. Small clutch plates equal small tow ratings.

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Old 05-01-2006, 12:46 AM   #29
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In Europe I have towed thousands of kilometers with a 1983 Toyota Camry, 1.8 L engine, 90 hp and with a 5 speed manual. Pulling a 2000 pound trailer was no problem at all. 95% of vehicles sold in Europe have manual transmission and therefore just about everybody is towing with manual transmissions. I know we can discuss this forever, but based previous experience and all the input gained from this discussion, I still personally maintain a belief that my accord would be a perfectly capable and safe towing vehicle, but the issue with insurance coverage was the thing that made me decide not to do it.
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Old 05-01-2006, 06:42 AM   #30
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In Europe I have towed thousands of kilometers with a 1983 Toyota Camry, 1.8 L engine, 90 hp and with a 5 speed manual. Pulling a 2000 pound trailer was no problem at all. 95% of vehicles sold in Europe have manual transmission and therefore just about everybody is towing with manual transmissions. I know we can discuss this forever, but based previous experience and all the input gained from this discussion, I still personally maintain a belief that my accord would be a perfectly capable and safe towing vehicle, but the issue with insurance coverage was the thing that made me decide not to do it.
Johan, there is no doubt that manufacturers in the U.S. market are more conservative about their tow ratings for the same vehicles than what they rate them in other parts of the world. And, it's interesting that folks successfully tow much heavier loads in those locations without apparent ill effect. I still find it interesting, however, that manufacturers rate the same vehicle much differently depending on equipment; the Ford Ranger, for example, rates in the U.S. from 2000 lbs to 6000 lbs depending on year and drivetrain. My Bronco had a difference of 3,000 lbs just by switching transmissions. So, there must be something engineering-related in the tow ratings, although we laymen will never know for certain how those ratings are arrived at.

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Old 07-20-2006, 09:41 AM   #31
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My Astro is a 1994, it is the short version and only has RWD with no locking differential. I would think that the short version is not at any disadvantage at towing as the difference in lenght is entirely behind the rear axle. As far as I know the wheelbase is identical, but the short version has vary little overhang behind the rear axle. That should only be an advantage, if I remember correcty. I believe the 94 has less hp than newer versions, it does not seem particularly powerful up the hills, even without load. Although the van drives very nicely and shows little sign og wear, I am concerned about the mileage - over 280,000 km. Does anyone tow with vehicles that have accumulated that kind of mileage?
I tow with a volvo 960 station wagon and tow a 16' Captain trailer which weighs in fully loaded at 1850lbs. My Volvo is a 1995 and has just pssed the 305,000 kms mark. In my opinion the manner in which you maintain your vehicle is the key, not the milage.
I've just returned from a 3,500 km trip to New Brunswick from southern Ontario and would not hesitate to do it again tommorrow if required.
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Old 07-20-2006, 01:12 PM   #32
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Some people will tow with anything.
Talk about flying down the highway.

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