Towing w 4cyl RAV4 adventure - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:46 AM   #1
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Name: chris
Trailer: currently shopping.
Tennessee
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Towing w 4cyl RAV4 adventure

Discussion Starter • #1 • a moment ago

Hey y’all. I’m extremely interested in an escape 17b fiberglass travel trailer, and I currently have a vehicle that I was hoping would be suffice but after a quick chat with someone at escape, it seems they think it might be a little under powered, so I’m hoping someone else has some ideas on what we could do. The travel trailer is 2640lb dry, 296 hitch weight and a gvwr of 4000. Our RAV4 adventure AWD, 4 cylinder has a towing capacity of 3500, and a payload of 1090. It would be for two people only, almost always driving to campgrounds dry and filling up there. Does anyone here have any similar set ups? We’re definitely wanting something that can go the distance without too much restriction on kind of terrain we can tackle, but we’re not afraid to take mountains roads slowly of course. But we also don’t want to ruin our toad in the process. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:43 AM   #2
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I doubt you’ll destroy it- modern vehicles have pretty good fail-safes- but I also doubt you’ll be satisfied with the performance on grades. In addition, your fuel mileage will tank (pun intended), requiring frequent stops, and you’ll decrease longevity and reliability.

Expect around 3200# loaded, give or take, and around 340# hitch weight, so technically you’re within specs, but not a whole lot of margin. Beyond weight, another factor you’ll be up against is frontal area. Tow testing standards specify 30sf in the 3500# class, and an Escape 17B is around 42sf, more if you have roof A/C, and not particularly aerodynamic.

I haven’t heard of anyone towing with that combination, and I’m very skeptical.

BTW, “toad” usually means a small vehicle pulled behind a motorhome. “Tug” is trailer-speak for a tow vehicle.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:20 AM   #3
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Name: bill
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Dry weight should not be used for towing decisions. First, dry weight does not include any options, like AC, awning, etc. Secondly, it doesn't even include batteries. People seem to think dry weight just means no water in the tanks. Nope. Third, you will never tow your trailer "empty". You are going to have stuff in it. A truly empty trailer is unusable.

Dry weight is one of those abused terms used to convince people that they can tow what they can't tow. Its what got me on my first trailer experience. Trailer sales person "expert" convinced me (novice/sucker) that my truck would be MORE than capable of towing the fifth wheel he was selling. I knew I got screwed when I crested I-90 vantage grade at 29MPH. At that point, I knew I needed more tow rig.

I have friends that recently bought a new camper from Camping World. Their expert told them their tow rig was more than capable. I told the husband, "Good news, you will be getting a new truck!" Sure enough, after one trip, they realized the mistake and bought a truck.

As far as what others do, realize YOU will be responsible for the decision. The fact that someone on the internet is doing it, doesn't protect you. I've seen people towing with vehicles with NO tow rating. It works until it doesn't. There was a poster that wanted to tow a Scamp behind a motorcycle. He had some YouTube'r that was towing a similar trailer behind their motorcycle, so by god, he was going to do it!
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:50 AM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
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We own a 2019 small SUV - 2.0 liter 4 cyl . 252 hp . 260 lbs torque engine - 3500 lb towing capacity , 1150 payload , All I would ever attempt to tow with it is our small 4’ x 6’ utility trailer . The vehicle is a commuter vehicle made for getting to work , picking up groceries and taking the grandkids for ice cream
I have no desire to head down the road looking like Ricky Ricardo heading to California .
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:07 AM   #5
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If this were a third-world country, where we just made things work, traveled somewhat slowly and carefully, yes, you'd be totally fine. I'm always shocked at what people use trucks like mine for in other countries.

But we live in a fast-paced world with highway speeds of 80mph in a lot of places and many many people who drive in a way that shows they clearly think that's still too slow. I cannot imagine pulling a 17' trailer with something smaller than my truck (1998 Tacoma) on our modern highway system at highway speeds. At some point, regardless of tow ratings, the vehicle is just so much smaller than the trailer, that you don't have the size or weight to keep it under control. The tail wags the dog.

In your Rav4, I'd say you'd be happy towing a 13', base model trailer (no bathroom, very little extras adding to weight).
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:26 AM   #6
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This vehicle has been tow tested and can pull a 3500# braked cargo trailer with 30sf frontal area up the 15 mile, 6-8% Davis Dam grade in 100*F ambient temperature at a minimum 45 mph with engine and transmission temperatures within specs and no warning lights or engine codes. That’s what the J2807 tow testing standards require (along with a few other tests, including braking). To say it is next to useless as a tow vehicle is simply not true.

However in this case an E17B will be close on weight and well over on frontal area. I think it will be less that satisfactory. I’d have no qualms about towing any 13’ Scamp, and I might even consider a lighter 16’er. But I’d draw the line there.

We considered buying one as my wife’s daily driver with the intention of towing our 13’ Scamp in our approaching empty nest years. But she vetoed the all-black interior.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:06 AM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
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Towing for me is more than an engineering equation
If towing a trailer with vehicle X is an unpleasant experience , I don’t care what others or some formula says
I towed a 1999 Scamp 16 STD with a Dodge 1500 with a V6 engine and I found the experience unsatisfactory to the point of approaching unsafe
Towing should not be a white knuckle , two hands on the steering wheel ,
gas peddle to the floor exercise
As I’ve said , If I can’t afford the tow vehicle then I won’t buy the trailer
If you want to travel where you have to count every pound and have one eye constantly on your temperature gauges worried your vehicle will self destruct
it’s your choice ! I would rather enjoy viewing the scenery along the way
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