I am noticing a trend in TV's, and it is scary!

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by pixel, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. pixel

    pixel Campers: Nature's way of feeding mosquitoes. Unkn.

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    I am noticing a trend that is scaring me on the road.

    Vehicles that are too small towing these large pup's. Yesterday, I nearly got off the road due to someone clearly not thinking. A subaru outback (only a year or two old) was towing a huge pup. One that I (who's TV is a good mini van) would NEVER think of towing. It had the front storage compartment, side slide outs, and I am sure bath fixtures (due to the pluming). Even the hitch point was low to the ground. The car and camper made a nice V.

    Lately, I have noticed little volvo's, compact sedans, and a little kia tow pup's.

    <soapbox here>
    Do people know that just because CAN tow the pup, does not mean you SHOULD tow a pup.

    I really worry about these people losing control and hitting into me. (I had sort of that happen to me once before, and do not want to see a car in my hood again!) Thee cars can not stop that much weight, or control that much wight.

    Please, if you are new to towing, make sure that your vehicle is within its limits for towing. There are other people on the road, who need you to be as safe as you can.

    Please look at the towing capabilities of your TV, AND please get professional guidance with your configuration. All it takes is a few minutes, to possibly save a life (or a family's life).

    <off soapbox now>

    Thanks, after yesterday, I had to share what was on my mind.

    Pixel
     
  2. thecakerator

    thecakerator Member

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    yeah just a few months ago when we were out looking for a new to us truck we were amazed at how low of a towing capacity some of the SUV's have. We went with the trailblazer because we knew what the towing weight capacity was and that we would be far far below it.
     
  3. mnichols3871

    mnichols3871 Guest

    Something else to think about: if your TV is not big enough to be hauling your pup and you do run into someone and cause an accident, you can be sure that their insurance company/lawyer will be checking into the fact that your TV was way overloaded and you will be at fault. I have a friend who tows a big fifth wheel camper and he had to trade up TV's recently when his auto insurance denied coverage on the camper and his TV because he didn't have an adequate TV. They wouldn't take on the risk of him causing a fatal accident with the smaller TV/camper set-up.
     
  4. bud121156

    bud121156 Western North Carolina

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    I am in a comfort zone towing our 2100 lb (empty) Westlake with a Ford Escape ,with the 3500 lb tow rating. With passengers and equipment, I figure I'm still not over the 80% capacity we hear folks talk about being a safety watermark. We have looked at, and like the Bayside models that weigh ~500 more pounds. I don't know if I would still feel the same comfort zone with 500 more pounds in tow. I cant imagine towing one of those high wall models either.
     
  5. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    My F250 super duty is rated to tow 13,500 lbs. My 2000 lb trailer isn't much of a challenge.
     
  6. twolarsons

    twolarsons Charleston, SC

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    I think people are doing that because they lack options. It's either full economy or towing capacity. You can't have both.

    There are not many vehicles available today that can tow a big camper. Our PU is on the large side with a 4600lb empty weight. I estimate it at 5000lbs loaded. I recently purchased a new TV and was really surprised at the lack of options I had. We looked at the Toyota Tundra, the only import option we had (no other import can tow more than 3500lbs) and didn't like the comfort level, shallow cargo bed, and over inflated price tag. In my opinion, all Toyotas are priced about a third higher than they are worth. Our only other options were another full size American made pick up or a GMC Yukon XL (or Chevy Suburban). We went with the Yukon XL Denali and are happy with it.

    The press has been telling us all that one of the reasons GM has failed is because they haven't been providing a product that we want for years. I can see their point to some degree but the fact remains that import companies have never presented Americans with a well built, reasonably priced, attractive vehicle that can tow a large camper. Give me a powerful, economical, efficient engine - a comfortable, roomy cabin made of something other than ABS plastic - and an attractive body style. Make it and we'll buy it!

    And while I'm on this rant, let me comment on gas mileage. Those of us how own large campers and need large trucks to tow them would LOVE to have a vehicle that get more than 15mpg when we're not towing. Remember the 5.8 liter 8 cylinder engine that GM was putting in the 2008 model year that runs on 4 cylinders and only kicks in the other 4 when needed? It increased the gas mileage a good bit when driving in normal traffic (not towing). They stopped using that engine for the 2009 model year. WHY!?!? My Yukon has a 6.2 liter V8 that gets 14mpg and about 9mpg when I'm towing the camper. All the "green" environmental wackos down here drive past me in their Prius' and Smart4Two cars giving me dirty looks because I'm driving a "BIG American SUV". A small part of me wants to explain that I have to drive this because I can't tow my camper anything else. Instead I usually stomp the gas pedal and let them feel the vibration from the 400 horses under my hood while I wave with one finger. Besides, if I’m ever in an accident with any of those hybrid cars I probably will hardly feel a thing. Sometimes it's a comfort to know that you're driving the biggest car on the road.
     
  7. Miller Tyme

    Miller Tyme N. Fond du Lac, Wis.

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    You should read the Towing section over on RV.Net. There are guys over there that actually advocate towing with smaller cars, underpowered mini vans, etc., by using the excuse that manufacturers tow ratings are lower than they should be.
     
  8. jpohlcat

    jpohlcat New Member

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    Guilty as charged. We had a Quest mini-van that had a 3500 lbs capacity and bought a larger Jayco PUP w/ all the features you listed (which we felt we were getting a good deal on and met our family's needs - close to the limit when loaded). We did our "numbers" homework in advance and thought it would work, but after a few outings I just felt uncomfortable and the mini-van felt that the little engine that could, with a very low clearance. This was towing over flat highways, not even considering potential mountain travel or cross-country trips we were contemplating in the coming years.

    Budget is obviously a huge obstacle for most (and probably the largest), including us, but after consideration we decided to upgrade and trade in the mini-van (at 3500 lbs) to an Armada (at 9100 lbs) and were fortunate enough in a budget situation to be able to make it happen (several foreign and domestic trucks were cheaper but didn't meet our daily family needs). Needless to say I have no problems now.

    Caution should definitely be yielded though to not try to maximum the numbers because then you have an entirely new set of circumstances when it comes to knowing what and how to load in order to stay under those numbers and properly balance the PUP and TV.
     
  9. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    As someone who tows with a minivan, I will state NOT guilty as charged. I've been quite reposnsible in my choices thank you very much, and I don't need a full size truck.

    The big BUT though is this: by choosing to tow with a minivan, I have to eliminate larger popups, the kinds with slideouts, high walls, bathroom/showers etc. I have to be more careful.

    My minivan is rated for 3000 lbs, with the factory kit. I didn't have the factory kit but I've got a bigger tranny cooler than the factory tow kit, and a heavier hitch. My current PUP weighs 1600 lbs fully loaded. I have a huge margin. I'm not stressing the van, nor do I ever intend to. If I ever felt I was towing at the limit, I would stop.

    My PUP is all my family and I need, we were tent campers, didn't come from the RV side.

    So its all about common sense. I wouldn't get near the limits with my van, I've seen people doing the same thing with fifth wheels and pickups.

    James
     
  10. jwolfe01

    jwolfe01 Honeoye, NY

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    The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.7 HEMI will get you 20 - 21 mpg on the highway and has a towing capacity of 9100lbs. The Chevy Silverado 1500 has never had a 5.8 in it. Years ago they had the 5.7 (350cid) available, but that has been gone for quite some time. The 5.3 has the AFM (Active Fuel Management) that can get it to @ 21 mpg highway. It has a towing capacity of @ 8600 lbs. The Gas 6.0 that used to be available in the Silverado 1500 has been dropped in favor of the 6.0 Hybrid for fuel efficiency, but it takes a big cut in towing capacity at 6100 lbs.
     
  11. Gambit...

    Gambit... New Member

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    We all know there are idots out there who will attempt to tow a fifth wheel with a scooter and every thing in between.
    (For instance, an outback does not have much business towing anything acording to the manufacturers specs.)

    On the other hand, I drive and tow with a "little Volvo".

    I just went and checked the specs. on your Town and Country and did some comparisons.

    Curb weight of our two veichles is about the same (yours is 67 Lbs. heavier)
    Towing capacities, you have me beat by 200 Lbs. (If you have the towing package installed. Volvo does not have a towing package for the 245. Stock is just fine.)

    When I am towing my '95 Rockwood 1940. I weigh in at the scales with 1,630 on the axle and 185 on the hitch. (This is with everything loaded up for the trip.)

    Now, obviously, I check the numbers and make sure everything is safe and within specs. And I know I am not the type you are targeting.

    But, when I have it all hooked up, it does look alarming.

    The PUP looks bigger than the wagon! It looks like the wrong vehicle is towing.

    In the 14 years I have been towing PUPs with my wagon, I have never had any problems.

    On another note, I get 24MPG when towing @ 55MPH. [8D]

    Kim
     
  12. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick question, are these fuel numbers based on the trucks set up to tow the limits you have posted?? I just ask cause I know on my Dad's 2008 Ram 1500 the fuel economy went down when you switched to the lower rear end gearing for max tow capacity. Just wondering..
     
  13. my3kids

    my3kids New Member

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    If you can afford it and the fuel then a large TV is really the way to go with the larger pups and TTs. FWD vehicles with a 3500lb max tow rating should only tow smaller/lighter pups, not the 12' ones with slide-outs. Factor in people, gear, food, fluids, maybe some bikes and a very comfortable safety margin and you can easily reach that 3500lb limit. Even if you think you're within the limit you also have to consider how well the TV + pup tows and handles and most importantly how well it handles in a emergency situation. Will it have enough traction AND braking in those situations? Does it become a handful during high crosswinds? Can it hold its own going up hills? Please do the math on the weight and also use common sense.

    Just my 2 cents,
    Ray + lovely wife + our 3 kids
    07 Fleetwood Saratoga
    08 Nissan Armada
     
  14. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    Gambit,

    There are exceptions to many rules. The Volvo 245, and I had one for a while, may be a smallish car, but it has many things in common with a truck. It has a body on frame construction, rear wheel drive, great brakes (mine had 4 disc brakes). The only issues I would see are the engine and the wheelbase. It doesn't have a huge amount of power, but if you had a diesel it would have lots of torque. On a relatively flat drive this should be ok.

    It isn't a valid comparison to compare that to a modern front wheel drive econobox.

    James
     
  15. Dan S.

    Dan S. New Member

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    What I think that is scary is; people that will look up the tow ratings for their vehicle and get a trailer as close to that rating as possible. Some people will not consider the shape of their vehicle, such as the condition of the tires, brakes, suspension, etc, etc, etc. I have seen way too many vehicles that look like they should not be on the road, let alone pull a 3000 lb. trailer. But, the people driving it assume they are okay because their manual says they have a 3500 lb tow rating.

    If you are thinking about getting into RVing, get ready to put some money in your tow vehicle. Your Tow Vehicle is not a good part of your rig to skimp money on.

    I apologize for the rant, but I feel much better now!
     
  16. Bummer72

    Bummer72 Lancaster, PA

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    I'm very glad to see these two posts...I also tow with a '87 Volvo 245. Rear wheel drive, 4 wheel disk brakes, curb weight equal to most small SUVs...overall, a fine car for towing small campers, like my 1985 Jayco. Besides, something must be said about utilizing installed brakes on your camper/trailer. I do. You don't need to stop your trailer only with the weight and braking capacity of your towing vehicle alone.

    Do I use the slow lanes on long grades: Yes.
    Do I get off to slow starts at the traffic light: Yes.
    Do I feel that my car is comensurate to the job of towing my camper: Yes.
    Am I within my Volvo's tow ratings: Yes
    Do I enjoy 22MPG while towing and 29MPG solo: OOOOHHHHH YEAH!!!!!!! [:D] [8D]

    Thanks for listening to my [2C]. I feel better now too!!! [LOL]
     
  17. 14erfam

    14erfam Member

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    My Dakota is rated to tow 5900 lbs, so my empty 2100 lb Cheyenne isn't too big of a deal. Last week in the Black Hills we averaged 17.5 mpg.- Can't complain.

    This thread reminds me of that old Dennis Miller line: "I enjoy driving my Yukon. The only problem with it is I have to pick the Prius's out of the grill when I get home."
     
  18. chiefjefe

    chiefjefe New Member

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    This weekend I saw a Chrysler Sebring convertable towing a pup that was bigger than our little Starcraft 1701L!

    That's a front wheel drive convertable car folks!! [:O]
     
  19. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill PUP-2002 Flagstaff 725D TV- 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

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    I tow my PUP with a ford Windstar. Is it alot of PUP to tow with the vehicle? YES. But as Dan S. stated:
    Do I use the slow lanes on long grades: Yes.
    Do I get off to slow starts at the traffic light: Yes.
    Do I feel that my car is comensurate to the job of towing my camper: Yes.
    Am I within my Ford's tow ratings: Yes

    I also use the trailer brakes on downhill grades to help keep things in check. I have not had any problems.

    MY [2C] Common Sense is the biggest part of towing. If you don't have the proper equipment -- don't do it. If you feel uncomfortable -- don't do it. Slow down and relax and take breaks often. Remember that you are towing because you want to take it easier and relax. Do the same while driving. If it is too late when you start, don't make up the time on the road; either sleep in the TV or put up in the dark. Always know of a hotel nearby if necessary. Finally, remember that everyone that doesn't have a hitch (and some that do) are all idiots when driving and you need to constantly consider your way out of a situation.
     
  20. lars

    lars New Member

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    This afternoon we're going to buy a Jeep Liberty which we have chosen as our TV for our new-to-us Fleetwood Sea Pine. In choosing a TV, I didn't have a lot of options. It had to be capable of pulling approximately 1-ton, get decent fuel economy, comfortably seat 4, and have a true low-range transfer case for off-road use. There really aren't many North American vehicles that fit that description. Well, none in our price range. ;-)

    As far as fuel economy goes, I'd really like to see more small SUV's equipped with small diesel engines. I'm on my 2nd VW Jetta and I absolutely love its TDI diesel. Lots of torque and awesome fuel economy. There's a lot of JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) SUV's up here in British Columbia because everyone wants a diesel-powered SUV. The only reason I didn't buy one is because they're all right-hand drive.

    We looked for a CRD-powered Liberty but they're around CAD$20,000 which is much higher than our budget, so we settled for a 2003 with 86,000 km for CAD$9500. The Jetta is our primary vehicle so we can live with the fuel economy of the 3.7L gasser in the Liberty.

    ...lars
     

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