Hitch help! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-14-2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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I really, really, really want to buy Manny's 16' Scamp. Problem is, the tongue weight is about 25lbs over the rating for my car.

A weight distributing hitch would be a good solution, as my car (2005 Subaru Forester) has plenty of towing capacity for the trailer weight (2000lbs). Tongue weight is the only limitation. I can find weight distributing hitches that are very light weight. But, I can't find any that fit my car's 1.25 hitch receiver.

The guy at the shop told me that a receiver adapter to change the 1.25" receiver to 2" would lengthen the hitch and negate the effect of the weight distributing hitch. Is this true?
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:49 AM   #2
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The guy is wrong!

Extending the hitch ball further back lowers actual hitch weight load on your TV (although not by much), but has nothing to do with the effect of a WDH.

You are right to assume that a WDH will aleviate your hitch weight problem. If fact all hitch receivers are rated higher for a WDH than they are rated without WDH.

You didn't state what you Forester is rated to tow. You must also consider the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) of your Forester/Scamp configuration (look at the label on the driver's side door or door post).
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:20 AM   #3
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You didn't state what you Forester is rated to tow. You must also consider the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) of your Forester/Scamp configuration (look at the label on the driver's side door or door post).
My max tow rating is 2400 lbs
Trailer weight is ~2000 lbs

My max tongue weight is 200 lbs.
Trailer tongue weight ~ 225 lbs

My GVWR is 4500 lbs (there is no listed rating for combined weight)
Interior load capacity is 900 lbs.
Rear axle will carry 2040 lbs


Experiance tell me that the car engine has plenty of power and the trailer has electric brakes. I suspect that the suspension and steering control are the key issues. Would a weight limiting hitch address BOTH of these safely?
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:35 AM   #4
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Laura:

I too have a 05 Forester (XT) and will be doing the same thing -- adapting a 1.25" hitch receiver opening to a 2" hitch opening. Want to get a Scamp 16' & use a WDH.

Here's a web site that has adapter. Doing a Google search will show several other manuf. who make the adapter.

http://www.netshops.com/cart/shopper.cfm?a...ci_sku=CTM754-3

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Old 09-14-2007, 11:40 AM   #5
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Laura, any time you change equipment from what the manufacturer supplies, and exceed the limits as set by the manufacturer, you're into uncharted territory. My only advice would be to send you to a frame and axle shop and take their advice as to what can safely be accomplished with your car. Sometimes what can be done and what should be done are completely separate issues.

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Old 09-14-2007, 11:42 AM   #6
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Laura:

I too have a 05 Forester (XT) and will be doing the same thing -- adapting a 1.25" hitch receiver opening to a 2" hitch opening. Want to get a Scamp 16' & use a WDH.

Here's a web site that has adapter. Doing a Google search will show several other manuf. who make the adapter.

http://www.netshops.com/cart/shopper.cfm?a...ci_sku=CTM754-3

Ed
Ed... note this caveat from the manufacturer of these adapters:

Quote:
Note: 1-1/4 inch to 2 inch adapters are not intended for towing. The most common uses for these adapters are for bicycle racks and cargo racks.
And a weight distributing hitch may put stresses on a Subaru Forester in vectors that the unibody was never designed to handle. I'd do a LOT of research before I tried one.

Roger
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:04 PM   #7
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And a weight distributing hitch may put stresses on a Subaru Forester in vectors that the unibody was never designed to handle. I'd do a LOT of research before I tried one.
I agree with you Roger. I already asked the shop to check about this with the manufacturer. They say the Forester is built on a truck frame (it's classed as a mini-SUV). They don't see any problems with a weight distributing hitch. Thier concern is only about the adapter PLUS the weight distributing hitch. They never heard of anyone needing an adapter for a weight distributing hitch.

I looked at putting a different hitch on the car in order to get the 2" receiver, but Subaru doesn't make one and the car is too new for many after market parts to be available. That doesn't indicate anything about the car's towing capacity. Subaru is notorious for making it hard to find parts.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:03 PM   #8
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Don't want to get on a soap box -- but it absolutely drives me crazy asking the, "Can my Forester tow a ........?" question.

My 05 Forester is rated at 2400 lbs per the US owners manual. Reference the attached website. http://www.subaru.pl/sklep/akcesoria/05MYF...r_Accessory.pdf

That is a European Accessory catalog printed by Subaru. Page 4, Item 40 way down in the right hand corner -- blow up the PDF file and see what it says about the European Tow receiver.

Rated at 4000 Kg -- with 2.2046 lbs per Kg -- that equals 4409.2 Big Mac inducted US lbs.

What caused my car to drop half its tow capacity? It boggles my mind -- and yes it is probably driven by US liability requirements.
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:47 PM   #9
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I agree with you Roger. I already asked the shop to check about this with the manufacturer. They say the Forester is built on a truck frame (it's classed as a mini-SUV). They don't see any problems with a weight distributing hitch. Thier concern is only about the adapter PLUS the weight distributing hitch. They never heard of anyone needing an adapter for a weight distributing hitch.
I dunno, Laura. The Subaru website is mute on the issue, and every other source I've found on the web shows the Forester with a unibody rather than a ladder frame. There may be a very good reason they don't use a 2" receiver. I don't seem to find anyone who builds a Class III 2" receiver hitch for the Forester either.

If you're convinced that you can use a weight distributing hitch, you could always have a draw bar fabricated with a 1 1/4" draw bar, and a 2" shank for mounting a hitch head. I just had a huge one fabricated to use with a special hitch on my motorhome. The whole drawbar cost me $140 and that included the custom drilling and welding. Only $40 of that was labor, the rest was steel. I'd think that you could probably have one fabricated for around $30 at a reputable custom welding shop.

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Old 09-14-2007, 02:02 PM   #10
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If it were me, the first thing i I would do is to actually weigh the tongue weight then play with distributing things inside the egg until I got it where it should be then I would remove the lower class receiver and install a class III 2inch receiver.

25 Pounds is really nothing and you may be able to offset that by putting some weight in the rear of the egg. GoodSam Highways magazine just had an article in the last edition concerning toung weight, trailer packing and distribution of weight, etc.

I would make sure I had electric brakes on the egg.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:07 PM   #11
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The guy is wrong!

Extending the hitch ball further back lowers actual hitch weight load on your TV (although not by much), but has nothing to do with the effect of a WDH.
I'm not sure I understand the logic here. A hitch is a lever which applies pressure against the suspension of the tow vehicle. The vehicle will then pivot correspondingly on the fulcrum of the suspension, which may or may not be the rear axle.

A longer lever (ie, a towbar extension/adapter) will server to increase the mechanical advantage of the tongue weight over the suspension.

Picture a nut in a nutcracker. If the nutcracker has really short handles, you have to squeeze fairly hard, but if the nutcracker has really long handles, the nut will disintegrate with very little squeeze.

So, unless I'm mistaken, an adapter will indeed increase the effective load on the hitch, not to mention the side-to-side leverage will increase as well, giving more opportunity for the tail to wag the dog.

Am I wrong?

My point, by the way, is that I think there is a good reason that the adapter manufacturer says "not for towing", and when you have a marginal tow vehicle for the application, I don't think it is a good idea to push any of the design intentions to find a workaround. Physics has a nasty tendency to rear it's head at the most inopportune moments!
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:11 PM   #12
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Of course you can do what you want to do, but I think you'd be playing with fire. You're bouncing right up against the Subaru's limits. I did some checking looking for a 2" receiver hitch for your Subaru, As far as I can tell there isn't one made, not even a Class 2.5 hitch. I also looked for a WD hitch for 1.25" hitch, again the big guys don't make one. Must be a reason for that.

One has ask one's self if it's worth the risk to Tow Vehicle, Trailer, and life to attempt to tow outside published limits.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:36 PM   #13
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This may shed some light: I did a google on carvan tow weights

http://www.gocaravanning.com/caravan...wing_guide.htm

Sample:


Subaru - Forester (02 on) - 2.0 AWD S - Turbo - 5 door


Power: 174 bhp Length: 4460mm
Transmission: Manual Width: 1735 mm
Weights & Towing Information:
Kerbweight 1420 kgs Unbraked tow weight: 500
85% of kerbweight: 1207 kgs Braked tow weight: 500 kgs Manufacturers website:
n/a
95% of Kerbweight: 1349 kgs

They talk about 85% of the tow vehicle being the normal trailer weight.

I think your brochure may have had a slight typo in it.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:38 PM   #14
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Personally, I doubt the Scamp 16' weighs 2000 lb in any kind of travel configuration. Closer to 2900-3000 pounds unless it's a stripped Scamp.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...c=13488&hl=
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:14 PM   #15
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I think your brochure may have had a slight typo in it.
If I can't rely on the owner's manual and the certification sticker, then I ought not be driving the car at all. And, if a major car maufacturer can't be relied on to publish correct information about a car with a 5 star safety rating, then maybe we better all stay home.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but a person has to begin some place with thier assumptions.
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:22 PM   #16
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Laura, I think you're ok with the assumptions on the car (other than the frame type ); but, like Steve, I fear you'll have a tough time finding a Scamp 16 that weighs 2k lbs and I fear your Forester just isn't up for the tongue weight. Most of the 13s come in close to 2k lbs when loaded for travel and would come close to maxing out your Forester's tongue weight. All our fears for you is that you're pushing a the envelope with a 16' trailer and your Forester. A 13' would be fine, even one with a front bath, more than likely. According to the Scamp factory, my '02 side dinette 16' Custom Deluxe weighed about 2800 lbs dry, and the custom wood interior doesn't all all that much weight. Even if your "ideal" Scamp 16' "only" runs 2500 lbs loaded, you're looking at an ideal 10-15% tongue weight of between 250 and 375 lbs. I understand your desire to have a 16' as I loved mine, but without the availability of a weight distribution hitch, and with a unibody, I just don't think your Forester is up to it.

Perhaps Jack Maloney can weigh in here. He towed his UHaul 13 with a Forester for a couple of years...

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Old 09-14-2007, 03:52 PM   #17
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Personally, I doubt the Scamp 16' weighs 2000 lb in any kind of travel configuration. Closer to 2900-3000 pounds unless it's a stripped Scamp.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...c=13488&hl=
You guys are scaring me but that may be good, so long as we have fear based on facts.

The url helped a lot. If you follow the discussion in detail, you'll see that the main theme was that there was great variablity based on how the load was distributed and what was carted around inside the trailer. What seemed consistent, was that tongue weight was about 8-14% of total weight, no matter what you did to it.

Manny says with full water tanks and propane tanks, the tongue weight is 225lbs. He says if he takes the battery off the tongue (with full water tanks), it drops to 185. If the battery is assumed to weigh ~ 50lbs, then 225 - 50 = 175 lbs. That makes sense to me.

If we assume the trailer weighs 2000lbs, then:

a tongue weight of 14% would be 280 lbs
a tongue weight of 12% would be 240 lbs
a tongue weight of 10% would be 200 lbs
a tongue weight of 8% would be 160 lbs.


If the trailer weighed 3000 lbs, the tongue weight would be at least 240 lbs. It's possible that the Scamp manufacturer fudged on the estimated 1500lbs and the trailer is actually 2000lbs. It doesn't make sense to me in terms of liability or math that the trailer would weight 3000 lbs, and still have a loaded tongue weight of 225 lbs.

Am I crazy?
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:09 PM   #18
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You guys are scaring me but that may be good, so long as we have fear based on facts.


It's possible that the Scamp manufacturer fudged on the estimated 1500lbs and the trailer is actually 2000lbs. It doesn't make sense to me in terms of liability or math that the trailer would weight 3000 lbs, and still have a loaded tongue weight of 225 lbs.

Am I crazy?
Laura,

I weighed my 13' no bath/shower. Mostly loaded for camping. The truck scales came in at 1,500 lbs. Water tank and gray water were empty. At the time I bought it Scamp was claiming 1,000 lbs. But that was without options. I checked my tongue weight too, it came in at 170 lbs.

Just a bit more imperical information.
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:15 PM   #19
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Laura,

Your discussion made me curious about Manny's trailer, so I just took a look at his listing, and it has been sold on eBay for the BIN...

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Old 09-14-2007, 04:29 PM   #20
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Laura,

Your discussion made me curious about Manny's trailer, so I just took a look at his listing, and it has been sold on eBay for the BIN...

Jeanne
I know. I bought it.

The problem is that the tongue weight is greater than what Manny advertised, by about 50lbs (almost 30% difference). The trailer weight may be higher than what he advertised as well. We can't be sure until we can find a scale in his neck of the woods. I'm sure the error was unintentional. He relied on the manufacturer's estimates and I relied on his ebay description. Two reasonable assumptions that were both wrong.

If I wanted out of the deal, the description error would let me off the hook with a full return of my deposit. Ebay is great that way. But, I actually want the trailer. Still, I can't pick it up until I can be sure I can pull it safely.
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