Can I tow a 17' Burro with a 2000lb max trailer weight & 32' sq. max area - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-20-2013, 08:30 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Jared
Trailer: 1980 Burro 13'
Posts: 14
Can I tow a 17' Burro with a 2000lb max trailer weight & 32' sq. max area

HI FGRV'ers,

My wife and I are on the hunt, and are now trying to decide between a 13' and 17' Burro trailer available to us. We have a Mazda CX-5, 2000lb max trailer weight and 32 sq. ft. max frontal area (for the trailer).

Before everyone says go with the 13', hear me out! The 17' has been weighed in at 1460lbs, leaving 540lbs for improvements (home-built shower/head, bed, kitchen counter, batteries, water tanks, etc.) and gear. There isn't much to strip out, maybe 100lbs worth max.

The other hiccup is the max frontal area rating for our SUV. It says stay below 32 sq. ft., and the 17'er measures in at 42 sq. ft. (32% larger than max). Would it be wise to max out both weight (2000lbs) and be this much over on our frontal area? I know the Burro's are more aerodynamic than most, but this may just be wishful thinking. I don't want to have to replace my transmission in 10,000 miles!

Please, if you have experience or words of wisdom, share with me. We've never towed a trailer before, but plan to spend some serious time in our new one, so we don't want to sacrifice livable space if we don't absolutely have to.

Jared and Ming

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Old 07-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
Posts: 1,013
That is the weight of our stripped down, tent on wheels 13 foot Scamp, one of the lightest weighed.

If it could possibly weigh that little I assume it is without tongue weight, without cushions, water, refrigerator....anything.

My husband would not be comfortable pulling that on flat land without a wind. Since North Dakota generally has wind where do you plan to tow?

Good luck on your decision. If you haven't checked out the trailer weights in the real world thread under general chat area be sure to do so.

We look forward to hearing more from you Jared and Ming.


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Old 07-20-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
You are pretty close on frontal area (5.5x7.66) for 17' Burro. I'm not familiar with the frontal area max on the trailer for this particular vehicle but 32% over is just that. 1-1/3>1. Never heard anyone say everything will be fine as long as you exceed max recommended this and max recommended that. On the weight, is the inner shell stripped out of this Burro 17? Given the numbers in the compilation suggested to you above, most of us are going to guess that the average Burro 17 (not gutted) is going to bump the scale to around 2000lb dry wgt. and 2700 to 3100lb curb weight. Mine has been on a Cat Scale and is a bit north of 3000. 2 litre 4cyl. 150 ponies wouldn't be my choice for towing that weight.

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Old 07-21-2013, 01:55 PM   #4
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: Airstream Sold, Nest Fan
Posts: 2,000
Sometimes you really don't know how a vehicle will tow a said trailer until you try it. The numbers only take you so far and at times are not that accurate at all.

We had a 150HP in a Nissan Van and it handled our 23' Airstream. It even towed it up hills! Never a drivetrain problem. The van had 465,000klm's on it.
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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Name: Pam
Trailer: U-Haul 1985
Posts: 3,316
According to the 'real world' weights, the 17Burros were well over your 2000lb max. (2820 and 2900) My stripped down UHaul 13 (comparable double hull to Burro) is over 1200lbs without camping gear.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:58 PM   #6
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Posts: 867
Towed for more than a decade with a 1999 Honda Odyssey rated at 3500lbs (with two tranny coolers and temp gauge. Never a problem, but the effort put out by the poor thing was considerable, and the slightest incline caused either considerable slowing down and/or dropping down a gear, causing high RPMs and high anxiety. The Tranny temp gauge was a real educational tool. Those days are over, and my anxiety level has dropped to near zero on that subject.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,392

Hondas are born to high rpms. We tow with a Honda and usually are running around 3000 RPM, 194,000 miles and counting.

Our present Honda has a manual transmission. Next year we'll have an automatic and will need to add a transmission cooler. I was wondering why you have two transmission coolers.

Thank you
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:00 PM   #8
Junior Member
Name: Jared
Trailer: 1980 Burro 13'
Posts: 14
Thanks everyone for the advice. You've all been very helpful. We've decided to go with the 13' Burro. Will have to forgo the head, but it should make for a much more flexible canvas as we decide what's in and what's out through the renovation.

Will be sure to update you as we begin the build.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:12 PM   #9
Senior Member
Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Posts: 867
Norm and Ginny:
I originally started out with the extra transmission cooler Honda supplied, for a fee. After a cross-country trip I changed the oil in the tranny and realized it had started to discolor. That's when I installed a temp gauge to see what was happening.

The gauge provided an instant education, and the changes which were brought on by hills and load were dramatic. That's when I installed an additional cooler.

Since then we have made similar trips, and while the temp drop from the second cooler were not terribly great there was nevertheless an improvement. The oil did not show any change after that.

We kept the Honda at around 3K rpm, in 3rd gear (it was a '99 with a 4-speed), and it seemed OK with it. Nevertheless the extra noise and lack of flexibility was troubling and kept me wondering how long this was going to last.

For perspective, normal rpm for our current tow vehicle is about 1750, and the 8 speeds are close ratioed if needed. It shifts down to 7, even 6 depending on how steep the hill is. I set the cruise on interstates to about 67 and let it go, no matter how steep it is. A different level of capability, for sure.

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