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Old 09-03-2022, 05:40 PM   #41
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Several million Europeans would be in the witness box saying you can😁
But I wonder if the European cars spec the same as similar US models? I do know that accident investigations and accident fines over there are much more tougher than ours!
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Old 09-03-2022, 05:43 PM   #42
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I hear you

The variation on reported tongue weights for Casitas is striking, from 350-500 pounds! I'm making efforts to minimize that, though. Our order has no awning, no electric jack, no microwave and normal sized water tanks that we'll keep as empty as possible. Nothing extra will be added to the tongue, such as a front shelf with water and a generator. Maybe I'll hang the car's spare tire on the back of the trailer as a counterweight? (I'll have to, because cars I'm looking at don't have a spare.)

I'll also be confirming suitability and mods with Mercedes and Volvo mechanics before we buy.
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Old 09-03-2022, 05:50 PM   #43
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I pull a 13 foot Scamp with a 2013 4 Runner with a V6. I'm not sure what its rated capacity is--I think right around 5000 or so. The Scamp weighs in at just under 1600 pounds. I can feel it going up the local mountains, but only barely. I usually get 21 MPG with no trailer on the 4 Runner, and get between 16 and 17 with the trailer. I can drive as fast as I want to. Seems like a very good match--it's very well behaved on the road.

Dave
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Old 09-03-2022, 06:23 PM   #44
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FWIW, my SD has no awning or anything on the tongue other than the propane bottles. 430# tongue weight. That may rule out some of your 3500# SUVs.
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:02 PM   #45
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FWIW, my SD has no awning or anything on the tongue other than the propane bottles. 430# tongue weight. That may rule out some of your 3500# SUVs.
Hmm- everybody else feel free to weigh in here.
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:07 PM   #46
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I pull a 13 foot Scamp with a 2013 4 Runner with a V6. I'm not sure what its rated capacity is--I think right around 5000 or so. The Scamp weighs in at just under 1600 pounds. I can feel it going up the local mountains, but only barely. I usually get 21 MPG with no trailer on the 4 Runner, and get between 16 and 17 with the trailer. I can drive as fast as I want to. Seems like a very good match--it's very well behaved on the road.

Dave
I would never doubt that you can safely tow a trailer that's 1/3 your rated capacity. I'm trying to find a way to use all the vehicle's tow capacity most efficiently, with safety.
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:54 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
The variation on reported tongue weights for Casitas is striking, from 350-500 pounds! I'm making efforts to minimize that, though. Our order has no awning, no electric jack, no microwave and normal sized water tanks that we'll keep as empty as possible. Nothing extra will be added to the tongue, such as a front shelf with water and a generator. Maybe I'll hang the car's spare tire on the back of the trailer as a counterweight? (I'll have to, because cars I'm looking at don't have a spare.)

I'll also be confirming suitability and mods with Mercedes and Volvo mechanics before we buy.
You could replace the factory LP tanks with lightweight composite tanks, smaller 11# tanks, or a single conventional tank depending on your propane usage and the length and location of your travels.
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Old 09-03-2022, 08:21 PM   #48
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Our Scamp 16 weighs ~ 2450# with a tongue weight ~ 235# ready for camping, with water, the last time I checked. We tow with a 2017 Highlander Hybrid, 3500# tow capacity. Average ~ 18 mpg when towing, >29 mpg when not.
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Old 09-03-2022, 08:35 PM   #49
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Our Scamp 16 weighs ~ 2450# with a tongue weight ~ 235# ready for camping, with water, the last time I checked. We tow with a 2017 Highlander Hybrid, 3500# tow capacity. Average ~ 18 mpg when towing, >29 mpg when not.
In my limited experience everything gets about 18 mpg towing a large fiberglass trailer. That was true of my Forester and my Tiguan.

It sounds batspit crazy, but I'm finding lots of examples of the 2016-18 Mercedes GLE listed at $30-35K. That's their midsized SUV; it's rated to haul 2.5 Casitas!
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Old 09-04-2022, 04:57 AM   #50
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I would never doubt that you can safely tow a trailer that's 1/3 your rated capacity. I'm trying to find a way to use all the vehicle's tow capacity most efficiently, with safety.
The camper I pulled before the Scamp was a 19 foot "box" trailer that weighed in at about double the weight of the Scamp. Needed an equalizing hitch/sway bar. It pulled OK, but not great.

Before that one, I pulled a good sized Airstream that weighed in at about 6500 pounds dry. I pulled it for years with an F150 with tow package and a 351 V8. It towed fine--at least I thought it did until I traded for a Dodge 2500 with the hemi. The Dodge pulled the Airstream without any of the white knuckle factor that I had at times with the Ford. The Ford was pulling at much closer to capacity than the Dodge was. It wasn't the drive train that was the big difference--it was the overall mass of the truck/stiffness of the frame that did it.

YMMV, but for me, I don't like getting close to the capacity of the tow vehicle. The vehicle might pull it OK, but it's when that big truck comes around you, or you have to stop suddenly or there's a heavy crosswind or whatever that makes me much happier to pull well under the max that the TV manufacturer states.

Dave
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Old 09-04-2022, 08:27 AM   #51
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One pound over "capacity" will result in something breaking.
One of my pet peeves is conflating "capacity" with "rating".
The former is objective, the latter subjective.
There I said it... feels good, will try not bother again, carry on!
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Old 09-04-2022, 10:58 AM   #52
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So what's the cooling advantage of the Adventure package? Do the other RAV4 models have only half a radiator behind that huge grille mouth? (Don't laugh- that' was true of my 1980s Audi Quattro!) All RV4 varieties but the hybrid have the same low output, with just 184 pounds of torque, so the engine will definitely be working hard. THAT's the reason I wouldn't pull a Casita with one.

Based on these discussions and my own research, I'm expanding my vehicle search a bit. It certainly would be easier to find a compact vehicle to match a Casita or Scamp 16, so that's another alternative, but that puts me back in the sued trailer snipe hunt. Some 3500-rated SUVs can take air bags in the back, so there's that. My old Forester squat way down when the old Scamp was hitched, so that tongue weight was out of whack (along with the headlight aim). It didn't seem to hurt the car, though, and it was a very stable tow.
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Old 09-04-2022, 11:22 AM   #53
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More tow rating conundrums...

Two SUVs I'm looking at have the same cylinder count and output, but vastly different tow ratings. The Mercedes GLK, an older model, is rated for 3500 pounds, but the next-larger model, the GLE, is rated for 7200 pounds! Both have six cylinders, no turbos and the same 302 pounds of torque. I don't understand that difference, unless it's a marketing decision.

Then there's the Mazda CX5, a very popular compact SUV. The newer turbo model ups the tow rating from 2,000 lbs to the 3,500 lbs that the segment seems to demand. The turbo has a major power gain, which those cars needed even without towing. But there's no common knowledge that anything else changed with the chassis, cooling, transmission or brakes. Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't?

So there's two SUV models that approximately doubled their tow ratings, one by adding power, and one by adding size (14 inches of length, 8 inches of wheelbase). Are both factors equally important?
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Old 09-04-2022, 02:36 PM   #54
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So there's two SUV models that approximately doubled their tow ratings, one by adding power, and one by adding size (14 inches of length, 8 inches of wheelbase). Are both factors equally important?
You are making quite a leap in assuming they differ only in the obvious ways you've noted. There are so many appropriate vehicles to choose from where the mfg has done the heavy lifting for you and assigned a payload, hitch weight and tow rating.
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Old 09-04-2022, 02:40 PM   #55
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You are making quite a leap in assuming they differ only in the obvious ways you've noted. There are so many appropriate vehicles to choose from where the mfg has done the heavy lifting for you and assigned a payload, hitch weight and tow rating.
Agreed. Most manufacturers are now using the same SAE standard. It is a rigorous standard. I would trust that number above all other considerations.
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Old 09-04-2022, 03:00 PM   #56
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In my limited experience everything gets about 18 mpg towing a large fiberglass trailer. That was true of my Forester and my Tiguan.

!
I was way down in the low 30 mpg with my old VW Passat
TDI diesel. When I wasn't towing it was up in the mid 40s. Was running on used cooking oil.
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Old 09-04-2022, 03:04 PM   #57
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Power train ain't eveything The capacity of the frame and suspension are, in my opinion, even more important than HP and torque. If the basic vehicle isn't up to the job, adding HP and torque just makes it more likely to be a bad tow vehicle that just happens to have the power to do the job.

Dave
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Old 09-04-2022, 03:35 PM   #58
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Power train ain't eveything The capacity of the frame and suspension are, in my opinion, even more important than HP and torque. If the basic vehicle isn't up to the job, adding HP and torque just makes it more likely to be a bad tow vehicle that just happens to have the power to do the job.

Dave
Which makes me suspicious of Mazda's claims.
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Old 09-04-2022, 04:46 PM   #59
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Somebody posted this link a while back, but I'll repost it because it really explains a lot about weight distribution between TV and trailer as well as distribution on the trailer itself. Having too-light suspension in the back can cause the same issues as too much tongue weight too.
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Old 09-04-2022, 08:55 PM   #60
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That's an excellent presentation!

The best discussion I've read or seen yet, thanks.

Certainly I'm going to get a tow vehicle that's heaver than the 3000 lb. Casita. At least 30% heavier, and maybe more, with us in it. That's the weight ratio I had with my old trailer and a Forester and Scamp: the car had severe power limitations, but after thousands of miles of towing at highway speeds, I still didn't know what trailer sway feels like. It simply didn't happen.

Very interesting is the warning about excessive tongue weight. You don't hear that often, and I see people planting a lot of weight in accessories in front of their trailers.

Those model cars are so cool, so lifelike in their operation! Wish I'd had those when I was a kid. The demonstrations illustrate the basic principles well, but they don't show other factors that show up in the real world, like sidewinds, frontal wind resistance adding drag to the trailer, trailer brakes or modern anti-sway and stability systems. Except for sidewinds, these factors tend to reduce the risk.
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