Comparing Tow Vehicles - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-20-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
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Comparing Tow Vehicles

Interested in hearing mpg you ended up avg. while towing the Lil Snozzy. Though we are not currently in the market for a new vehicle, we will be in 2 or 3 years. The RAV is our current tug of choice for our next vehicle. Also, is there room to fully open the rear door of the RAV while the trailer is connected?
The biggest downside to purchasing a RAV in Pittsburgh or the North East for that matter, is that they do not bring any two wheel drives into North East Dealers. I will probably have to go to Virginia to get our RAV as I do not want to buy sight unseen.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh
Interested in hearing mpg you ended up avg. while towing the Lil Snozzy. Though we are not currently in the market for a new vehicle, we will be in 2 or 3 years. The RAV is our current tug of choice for our next vehicle. Also, is there room to fully open the rear door of the RAV while the trailer is connected?
The biggest downside to purchasing a RAV in Pittsburgh or the North East for that matter, is that they do not bring any two wheel drives into North East Dealers. I will probably have to go to Virginia to get our RAV as I do not want to buy sight unseen.
Bill, the side hinged rear door does open all the way with 3 or 4 inches clearance to the front of the LS. I really did not like the door when I bought the car but in time came to appreciate it. There is a big compartment under the floor where the spare tire would normally go and you don't have to worry about hitting the top of the garage door with the open door. ( it happened with the Forester!)

When I bought mine in 2007 there were 2 and 4 wheel drives to pick from in Michigan. The 4 wheel drive was 1 mpg worse and $1000 more expensive than 2 but Edmunds predicted the $1000 premium would be recovered at resale time. I decided the 4 who drive was better for me with some snow to contend with in the winter.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
Interested in hearing mpg you ended up avg. while towing the Lil Snozzy. Though we are not currently in the market for a new vehicle, we will be in 2 or 3 years. The RAV is our current tug of choice for our next vehicle. Also, is there room to fully open the rear door of the RAV while the trailer is connected?
The biggest downside to purchasing a RAV in Pittsburgh or the North East for that matter, is that they do not bring any two wheel drives into North East Dealers. I will probably have to go to Virginia to get our RAV as I do not want to buy sight unseen.
That's funny, I had trouble finding a base model Highlander with 4wd and had to drive to a Kansas dealer for one. Why don't you like 4wd? For so little extra money, you get better performance on iffy surfaces. I think 4wd is much better for handling while towing, since any loss of front traction is compensated for by the rear wheels kicking in. Great for snow, ice, even rain-slicked roads.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #4
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I have never been a fan of all or 4 wheel drive due to the expense associated with additional repairs, the need to often replace 4 tires at one time, the loss of 1 or 2 mile per gallon. I don't really concern myself with resale as any vehicle I'm finished with generally needs towed out of my drive-way with 200+K.
But I guess the real reason is that I can only think of one or two times in 45 years of driving that I needed more than two wheel drive. I do always use 4 ice treads in the winter as I do appreciate the ability to turn and stop even more than I like to be able to go.
I am probably more than a little unusual in that I do not like automatic transmissions simply because I love to drive and enjoy shifting gears.
If you read my personal profile you will come to the conclusion that I am an "over the hill" gear head. My wife says I turn into a 16 year old every time I'm behind the wheel. So go ahead - think I'm weird!
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:55 PM   #5
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I see. My experience is that I get more even tire wear and far less tire "scrub" with AWD (really that's what I have, even though Toyota calls it 4WD) than with FWD. And I have experienced many, many times when a trailerless 2WD could hardly get started moving (wheels spinning) on icy surfaces, but the AWD easily gets going even with a trailer attached. Then there's the occasional deep snow, when the neighbors are all stuck while I'm out to the store and back, even pulling some of them out, with my AWD.

There's room in the world for all of us, though.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:01 AM   #6
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I have never been a fan of all or 4 wheel drive due to the expense associated with additional repairs, the need to often replace 4 tires at one time, the loss of 1 or 2 mile per gallon.!
My experience with 4 wheel drive that one needed to engage when needed was not great either but full time All Wheel drive is for me a different story. On my 3rd AWD and have not noticed any difference in the speed of tire wear from the rear wheel drive or front wheel drives the AWD's have shared the driveway with. No expensive repairs etc. actually none other than normal maintence. As far as gas mileage goes I suspect it depends on the make/model of the tow but I know mine gets far better than most 4 WD or rear WD. Have found the AWD makes for a solid tow and as others have mentioned a real stand out in the snow with or without the snow tires on.

Your not weird, just suspect your experience with a different make/model was perhaps not a good one.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #7
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There was a Rav4 on the news the other day. It was driven a lot and had 640,000klm's on it. It had been serviced regularly by Toyota but had not suffered any serious problems. A good vehicle for sure.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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We decided on the V6 4WD Rav4 when we bought a "new" vehicle (2008 model) a couple of months ago. It came with the transmission cooler, so what's not to like? We sprung the extra thousand or so for the "save us from everything" warranty.

When we pick up our Scamp in less than a month (!woot!) I'll let you know how the tow goes.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:48 PM   #9
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I have never been a fan of all or 4 wheel drive due to the expense associated with additional repairs, the need to often replace 4 tires at one time, the loss of 1 or 2 mile per gallon. I don't really concern myself with resale as any vehicle I'm finished with generally needs towed out of my drive-way with 200+K.
At 200K it's done for? What do you do to them? Race only? Demo derby?
Zero maintenance? No reason for it not to go WAY more than that - at least double!
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:55 PM   #10
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Had to find an online conversion calculator, LOL.

397,677 mi


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There was a Rav4 on the news the other day. It was driven a lot and had 640,000klm's on it. It had been serviced regularly by Toyota but had not suffered any serious problems. A good vehicle for sure.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:35 PM   #11
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The quick & dirty way to convert kilometers to miles is to multiply by 0.6.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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This is Pittsburgh. While we have usual winter ice and moderate snow we have car eating pot holes. And at the mere mention of possible snow or ice in the forecast, the road crews are out pouring vehicle destroying chemicals on the roadways so people can continue to drive 70 miles per hour in a snow storm. So while you may be able to keep a vehicle in BC for 25 years, you can't here unless you take it off the road in the winter time. Almost every vehicle you find here with more than 200K has the seats falling through the floorboards.
It must be nice in BC or do you keep your vehicles in your living room come winter?
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:57 PM   #13
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This is Pittsburgh. While we have usual winter ice and moderate snow we have car eating pot holes. And at the mere mention of possible snow or ice in the forecast, the road crews are out pouring vehicle destroying chemicals on the roadways so people can continue to drive 70 miles per hour in a snow storm. So while you may be able to keep a vehicle in BC for 25 years, you can't here unless you take it off the road in the winter time. Almost every vehicle you find here with more than 200K has the seats falling through the floorboards.
It must be nice in BC or do you keep your vehicles in your living room come winter?
Vehicles do not stay indoors here at all. My 1989 Suzuki Sidekick was recently retired from 'active duty" when I retired. It had (American speedometer as it was imported from the US many years ago) 391,000 MILES on it. At one point, the floorboards were rusted so bad that I got splashed in the face when I went through puddles. (A bunch of fiberglass work fixed that). Still didn't burn a drop of oil, still got close to 40 mpg, still went skiing (on heavily salted mountain highways) Still crawled up the (San Fransisco -like) hills around here in winter snow before the salt trucks got out there to compete with Mother Nature?") That little 1600 engine, 5 speed and selectable transfer case made it the absolutely BEST commuter I ever had - in spite of the rust issues!

Oil changes every 5,000 (always synthetic) and a commute totaling 75 miles each way 5 days a week meant oil changes came up often. Both diffs, trans and t'fer case got synthetic oils (flush & fill) once a year. Brake flush every year, too.

I retired it when I retired as I no longer commute a zillion miles a week, so I no longer need to get 40 mpg as my main priority and can actually drive something with air cond, and a bit of luxury.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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You must be special
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:11 PM   #15
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This is Pittsburgh. While we have usual winter ice and moderate snow we have car eating pot holes. And at the mere mention of possible snow or ice in the forecast, the road crews are out pouring vehicle destroying chemicals on the roadways so people can continue to drive 70 miles per hour in a snow storm.
Sorry to tell you Bill but we have pretty well the same situation here in most of BC outside of the lower mainland (Vancouver area). 4' to 20' snow banks are a pretty well a main stay of winter in a good part of the province.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:44 AM   #16
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You must be special
Hi: Bill in Pittsburgh... Hello from the "Rust Belt of Canada". I use an annual coat of Krown undercoating spray to keep my vehicles looking new longer. The money spent is well worth it and putting up with the oozing drippy nature of the stuff isn't so bad... kinda like black streaks on a fiberglass trailer.
I went with a 4X4 tow truck when replacing ours as it was just easier to find a 4X4 year end clearance truck on a dealers lot without a tow pkg. I didn't need the trailer hitch as we have a 5th. wh. trailer.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:10 AM   #17
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Also have been using Crown/Rustcheck for decades now. Buy it in bulk and spray it on myself on our vehicles and trailer frame. It works.

PS.... my buddy a GM engineer dosen't get it. The just scrapped a perfectly good 10 year old top of the line Buick because the est. of replacing all the rusted/leaking brake lines was over $3,000.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:22 AM   #18
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Also have been using Crown/Rustcheck for decades now. Buy it in bulk and spray it on myself on our vehicles and trailer frame. It works.

PS.... my buddy a GM engineer dosen't get it. The just scrapped a perfectly good 10 year old top of the line Buick because the est. of replacing all the rusted/leaking brake lines was over $3,000.
GEEESH! somebody's getting ripped off for $50 worth of brake lines!
They must have priced them at my son's Toyota dealer which just this week wanted $600 to change a knock sensor plus $130 just to pull the codes. The sensor itself was $197 for his 2008 Scion XB... A part which costs $13 for a Jeep.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:09 AM   #19
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Yes a crazy price but the est. came from the reputable CAA garage. Apparently gas tank and a bunch or other nasty obstacles needed to be removed.
My sis had one gas line replaced on her H2. Gas tank was also removed to do the job. Cost was over $2,000.

Times have changed. Many auto repairs have become very expensive.

That's why many of us are into DIY, PM and rust prevention.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:21 PM   #20
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It is almost always cheaper to fix whatcha got than replace - esp if buying new.

I never buy new for two reasons -

1) that new car smell is the off-gassing of many carcinogenic materials and I am already a cancer survivor

2) who can afford to buy new?

Going to the $tealership for repairs (after warranty is up) is about the only thing I can think of that is dumber than buying new.
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