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Old 07-27-2020, 02:09 AM   #41
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Name: Ray
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Well, I never meant to start a tow-vehicle flame war. I know, everyone has their preferences and experiences. Which is exactly why I asked in the first place. Appreciate everyone’s input.

My contribution would be that our family has been repeatedly well served by Japanese cars, and repeatedly ill served by American cars, over the years. I know the quality gaps have narrowed lately, but still, to break our loyalty with a purchase this large would require something that’s clearly superior. It could happen. Who knows, maybe it happens this time.

As to the question of where we’ll all sleep — the oldest and youngest generations would be in the scamp, which accounts for three people. The other two would pitch a tent or even sleep in the tow vehicle, we figured. Probably should’ve mentioned that sooner. We’re not picky. Some trips we may not have all five and I think we can squeeze four people in who really like each other.

As part of our test drives, we have been laying seats flat and lying down in the vehicles, much to the amusement of the dealers. It’s certainly not spacious but it’s certainly doable. I’m 5’9 so I fit in the back of any of the vehicles mentioned.

Does this seem like a realistic plan?
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:03 AM   #42
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Tow vehicle for 16’ scamp

Absolutely. Not sure if the models with second-row captain’s chairs can do that. You’ll have to check each candidate to see. I’ve done the lie-down-in-back check on several previous vehicle purchases and gotten the same rather dubious look from the salesperson.

We have slept one adult or two preteen kids in the back of our Pilot. Its cargo floor is free of bumps and gaps, but it does have a slight downward slant from front to back. I try to park nose down if someone’s going to sleep in it.

In some climates you’ll have to rig up some screening to allow ventilation without mosquitos.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:11 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM Northwest View Post
Well, I never meant to start a tow-vehicle flame war. I know, everyone has their preferences and experiences. Which is exactly why I asked in the first place. Appreciate everyone’s input.

My contribution would be that our family has been repeatedly well served by Japanese cars, and repeatedly ill served by American cars, over the years. I know the quality gaps have narrowed lately, but still, to break our loyalty with a purchase this large would require something that’s clearly superior. It could happen. Who knows, maybe it happens this time.

As to the question of where we’ll all sleep — the oldest and youngest generations would be in the scamp, which accounts for three people. The other two would pitch a tent or even sleep in the tow vehicle, we figured. Probably should’ve mentioned that sooner. We’re not picky. Some trips we may not have all five and I think we can squeeze four people in who really like each other.

As part of our test drives, we have been laying seats flat and lying down in the vehicles, much to the amusement of the dealers. It’s certainly not spacious but it’s certainly doable. I’m 5’9 so I fit in the back of any of the vehicles mentioned.

Does this seem like a realistic plan?
The highlighted portion says a lot. Buy Japanese. I certainly wouldn't... but you should.
An alternative to consider would be a van, even a Japanese van.

If you don't trust American vehicles, you could take a look a the Mercedes Metris van, It is particularly well suited for the task and for your application...
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:01 PM   #44
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Some of the people on the forum have had ten or more RVs through the years, ranging from teardrops to Class A's and everything in-between or beyond. Some of this is driven by changing circumstances and needs such as when the kids leave home, and some by changes in travel style over time. I have an uncle who is a natural-born horse-trader, so rigs only seem to last a couple of years before he changes it up.

We have owned three travel trailers, starting with a teardrop which we towed with what we owned. The next two each required successively larger tow vehicles, which gets expensive. I started out trying to blend my personal desire for a smaller daily driver with our need for a stable, safe towing experience as there is an inherent instability in towing, where you are connecting a large heavy box on wheels to another vehicle by means of a somewhat tenuous flexible connection system.

Our Casita / Audi Q5 experience was excellent. The current Jeep / Escape 21 experience is acceptable, but still a notch lower overall. While I thought I had super-sized our current tow vehicle by getting a 7,200-lb tow rating, it turns out that I personally wouldn't want to tow anything much heavier with it than our 5,000-lb GVW trailer. I found myself pondering Steve Dunham's respect for the 6.7 Cummins diesel as we towed over rolling topography yesterday and the transmission moved quickly through five of the eight gears.

As far as what's realistic, almost anything is workable. I used to spend a week backpacking above timberline with 28 pounds in my pack. Personally, I would live with less trailer, but this one best satisfies both parties in our household so I am embracing the experience. It's up to the decision makers to decide what works for you.

You might want to cast a broader net on the RV side as it's tough to select equipment without having much experience in using it. Renting to gain additional experience or even as a final solution might even have some merit.
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Old 12-24-2020, 09:22 PM   #45
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I appreciate your post. We just purchased a 15 ft Trillium and plan to tow with our 2015 Odyssey. Plan to install hitch, lighting harness, transmission cooler, and brake controller.
Considering a power steering cooler as well. Had not thought of the sway bar, but will look into that as well.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 12-25-2020, 07:32 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Steve Hague View Post
I appreciate your post. We just purchased a 15 ft Trillium and plan to tow with our 2015 Odyssey. Plan to install hitch, lighting harness, transmission cooler, and brake controller.
Considering a power steering cooler as well. Had not thought of the sway bar, but will look into that as well.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Great choice! Shouldn’t need a sway bar, as long as you adjust your load for around 10-13% tongue weight. But it adds some inexpensive extra stability in crosswinds or an emergency maneuver.

The only time towing might affect your power steering is when backing. Beginners tend to oversteer, but with experience you can avoid excessive back-and-forth movements and turning while stopped, both of which are hard on the pump. Never used a cooler myself, nor had any issues, and we run our vehicles to 200K miles or more. Only about 10% of our miles are towing and only lightweight trailers. Might be different if you tow a lot more miles, tow a heavier trailer, and/or use a vehicle with a history of weakness in the power steering system.

Happy travels in 2021! Make your reservations early. Thanks to the pandemic there are more RVs registered now than at any time in history.
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:01 AM   #47
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Since you self limited your choices to certain vehicles which may or may not be suitable for the tasks you listed , I can’t be of any help and won’t waste my time and yours trying to change your mind
.
My wife and I have 5 children and towed them and our 16 ft Scamp around for years . We never did find one vehicle that did both well especially at the same time .

We tow our 21 ft Escape and two adult passengers + dog with a 1/2 ton V8 American made pickup truck , which we find totally adequate - Nothing more , nothing less

Setting arbitrary barriers often leads to poor choices !


Good Luck
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Old 12-25-2020, 12:13 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Since you self limited your choices to certain vehicles which may or may not be suitable for the tasks you listed , I can’t be of any help and won’t waste my time trying to change your mind
.
My wife and I have 5 children and towed them and our 16 ft Scamp around for years . We never did find one vehicle that did both well at the same time .

We tow our 21 ft Escape and two adult passengers + dog with a 1/2 ton V8 American made pickup truck , which we find totally adequate - Nothing more , nothing less

Setting arbitrary barriers often leads to poor choices !


Good Luck
Huge fan of the F150 Super Crew. I've owned a truck, one type or another, since 1980. I don't see this changing. And the modern F150s get good gas mileage, better than many SUVs when towing. Finally, you can get a serious tow package that includes larger fuel tank, integrated brake controller, etc.

With five adults, you need to watch payload. Typically, XLT or below has pretty good payload, higher end models not as much. Check the door sticker. All those wiz bang options add weight which comes out of payload.

I am considering a mid sized SUV, not to replace my F150 for tow duty, but to replace my wife's small SUV. Occasional tow capacity would be a plus.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:16 PM   #49
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Sequoia or Armada are most capable. I lean toward the Sequoia, I like Toyota products better. 5 adults is a lot, plus gear you don't put in the trailer, possibly even a roof rack container. Don't skimp, you will pay for it if you do.

Charles
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:27 PM   #50
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I tow my 2013 16/4 with a v6 2007 Highlander and have never had any issues. I stick to a 55-60mph speed as the tires are rated for this speed. I used to live in CO, MT and WA and have driven many passes with no issues.
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:06 AM   #51
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Update

Thanks everyone for your input on this. It’s been extremely valuable.

We’ve been shopping for SUVs, opening ourselves to all sorts of brands, seeking a comfortable third row for adults and decent towing capability without breaking the bank. Test driven about a dozen. Plus some minivans and even some larger cans. I think we’re down to two choices which are being hotly debated:

* Lincoln Aviator

Ample towing capacity, including if we want to upgrade in the future. Some cool towing-specific features that would make backing up, attaching/detaching, etc much simpler. Third-row legroom is ... adequate. Can get trailer hitch installed at dealer.

* Toyota Sienna (with tow prep package)

Definitely provides the comfort needed for 5 adults on long trips. 3500 lb capacity. But we’ll need to add our own hitch and wiring. Not seeing a lot of folks saying they towed a scamp with a Sienna successfully — but maybe I’m just missing something.


I guess my big question is, if we do go with the Sienna, are we taking a risk with towing our new scamp (est dry weight 2400 lb)? Understood that we’ll have to check GVWR, GCWR, and tongue weight — still working on that.

Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:51 AM   #52
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My first impression is that's a pair to draw to.

Just to clarify, are we talking about five adults and pooches while towing? Pardon me if I missed this, but I have some trouble reconciling a Scamp 16 layout four with five people.

As to the tow vehicles, on one hand you have a much higher rated towing capacity with the worst reliability rating that Consumer Reports offers, while your first post mentioned "reliable" as a criteria.

On the other hand you have an average-reliability vehicle that has a much lower tow rating.

Yes, you should definitely do the math on the expected loads and the rated capacities before making a decision. That many people implies a fair amount of gear; are you going to carry a tent? Outdoor cooking gear? Will there be a roof rack?

I can't find where Scamp publishes a GVWR, but they do cite a 3,500 lb. axle rating. Trailer dry weights are meaningless and also generally misleading. They do not include factory options, etc. The trailer weights in the real world spreadsheet for Scamp 16's averages 2,615 lbs. with a maximum of 3,080 lbs. One outlier is listed at 2.150 lbs. - ?

I would personally be inclined to a vehicle which has both a reliability rating not lower than "average" and a robust rated towing capacity. The vehicles you have shortlisted each only include one of these two criteria. But, these are my criteria; they don't have to be yours.

You should definitely get the factory towing package with any vehicle you choose, and also verify the tow rating of the specific vehicle you purchase as they vary from one trim-line to another within a given model.
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:52 AM   #53
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3500lb iffy for 16' scamp

In my opinion 3500lb towing capacity is iffy for a Scamp 16 especially if the TV didn't come with a towing package. Also, if the Sienna is front wheel drive only that could be an issue. Aviator sound like a much better TV.
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Old 03-17-2021, 11:28 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM Northwest View Post
Thanks everyone for your input on this. It’s been extremely valuable.

We’ve been shopping for SUVs, opening ourselves to all sorts of brands, seeking a comfortable third row for adults and decent towing capability without breaking the bank. Test driven about a dozen. Plus some minivans and even some larger cans. I think we’re down to two choices which are being hotly debated:

* Lincoln Aviator

Ample towing capacity, including if we want to upgrade in the future. Some cool towing-specific features that would make backing up, attaching/detaching, etc much simpler. Third-row legroom is ... adequate. Can get trailer hitch installed at dealer.

* Toyota Sienna (with tow prep package)

Definitely provides the comfort needed for 5 adults on long trips. 3500 lb capacity. But we’ll need to add our own hitch and wiring. Not seeing a lot of folks saying they towed a scamp with a Sienna successfully — but maybe I’m just missing something.


I guess my big question is, if we do go with the Sienna, are we taking a risk with towing our new scamp (est dry weight 2400 lb)? Understood that we’ll have to check GVWR, GCWR, and tongue weight — still working on that.

Thanks!
I have friends that tow a 2010 Scamp 16 (#4) with a 2011 Sienna. Many miles including a trip to Alaska. The biggest problems are the low hitch & starting on a gravel paved hill - front tire spin.
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Old 03-18-2021, 09:10 AM   #55
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Yes, you should definitely do the math on the expected loads and the rated capacities before making a decision.
I looked at the manual for the 2020 Sienna. They indicate different passenger capacities for different "model codes" of the Sienna on page 516, as shown below.

It's important to understand that the trailer's tongue weight is considered as part of the tow vehicle's load and the weight must be deducted from the "Vehicle capacity weight (Occupants plus luggage)."

Page 203 notes: "If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, load from your trailer will be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine how this reduces the available cargo and luggage load capacity of your vehicle. (P. 516)".

So, it looks like a 250 lb. tongue weight would leave a potential range of about 1,130 to 875 lbs. available for passengers, pooches, and luggage, depending on the individual model code's capacity. With five passengers, this allowance ranges from a high of 226 lbs. each, to as low as 175 lbs. each.

The manual also addresses the gross combined weight ratings (GCWR) on page 214, with 2WD models noted at 8,900 lb. and AWD models at 8,990 lb. This and other weight ratings for each individual vehicle will be noted on the Certification Label on the driver's door pillar.

On another subject, those models not equipped with run-flat tires appear to have a compact spare tire. The manual notes "Vehicles with a compact spare tire: Do not tow if your vehicle has a compact spare tire installed." The spare is normally stowed under the vehicle. The manual goes on to illustrate how the flat tire should be bagged and stowed inside the passenger compartment behind the third-row seats.

I do not have anything against the Toyota Sienna or even Toyotas in general. It's just a matter of having the right tool for the job. It's always good to have some margin, particularly when travelling in the west with mountain ranges and desert conditions. So, these are some factors you may want to consider for the operating conditions you are looking at.
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Old 03-18-2021, 03:30 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
I have friends that tow a 2010 Scamp 16 (#4) with a 2011 Sienna. ...
I use a 2015 Sienna (Generation 3 is better for towing). Unless something changed there is no Toyota tow package.. its rated to tow 3500 lbs from the factory which is plenty for a Scamp 16 (if you dont load the van too much) but Toyota does NOT sell wiring for lights, brake controller and I think not even a hitch. Neither do they endorse any after market items for towing. How do you feel about removing the tail light assembly to add trailer lights, and tapping into the brake pedal switch wiring under the dash? A Sienna can work but there is much to like about a tow veh that actually is wired to tow as it comes to you.
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Old 03-18-2021, 06:30 PM   #57
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I would be looking at a Chevy/GMC Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon or a Ford Expedition before Lincoln anything. Or if high reliability is a consideration, the Toyota Sequoia, which is a full sized SUV built on Tundra underpinnings.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:16 AM   #58
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Fantastic advice everyone. Thanks again! Very indebted to all of you.

A few things —

* Reliability, comfortable 3rd row for long trips, and ample capacity to tow the scamp (again, assumed to be 3000 lb in real life) — yes, in a nutshell those are the three main criteria. [That second criteria seems to knock out 90% of the TV options.]

* The 2400 lb dry weight is the scamp company’s estimate when factoring in all the accessories we’re getting. I’m thinking real-world weight around 3000 lb just to be safe, with propane, water not drained for whatever reason, other items, etc.

* Thanks especially to ciivilguy for that research. Yes, 5 adults, 2 dogs. We’re going to be cutting it close with the payload limit.

* Great point by John about the Expedition and Suburban. Those do seem to be rated higher for reliability as well as having decent third-row seats. Will check on that more. We did try the Sequoia but it just felt unwieldy to maneuver even without a trailer — could barely get it out of the dealer lot. The other one we’ve missed seems to be the Volvo XC 90. The VW Atlas came closest so far; it had some quirks that so had to rule it out.

* Yes, we’re out west and we’re planning to deal with some mountain passes in WA, CO, etc.

* Fair point about the Sienna hitch scraping the pavement and front tire spin. I’ve seen other reports of that too. As well as reports of the Sienna temporarily losing steering control on hills when towing.

Thanks again all. Looks like we’ve got a few more test drives in our future.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:21 AM   #59
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Oh and just as a general question — is all-wheel drive better or worse than 4-wheel drive for towing a vehicle? Better or worse than front-wheel drive? All other things being equal.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:33 AM   #60
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AWD versus 4WD is almost a meaningless distinction. Either is better than FWD for towing. What does make a difference is whether the AWD or 4WD is based on a rear drive platform or a front drive platform The rear drive platform is superior for towing heavier loads. While a Scamp 16 is not exactly a heavy trailer, the passenger load you are talking about means a heavier load on the vehicle.

Most RWD platforms are old-school body-on-frame (like the Sequoia, Expedition, and Tahoe/Suburban), but there are a few RWD unibody vehicles, including the Ford Explorer and the Dodge Durango. The unibody has better ride and handling, but they're smaller, especially in the way-back row.

Don't overlook large passenger vans, like the Ford Transit. They typically have a pretty high payload rating, with plenty of towing capacity for a Scamp and tons of cargo space. Seating can be reconfigured as needed, and the Transit now has an AWD option.
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