Some questions on Towing for anyone who uses a SUV/Crossover to tow

BWSpier

New Member
Apr 11, 2015
4
[TV]
So my wife and I are looking at getting us a Pop-up Camper (would be the first camper for either of us).

We have a 2013 Mazda CX-5 which we've never towed with before so we went to a dealer who was going to let us take out one of their trailers to see how the car can handle it, it was a 2013 Viking 1906 trailer.

The engine handled the weight easily, it didn't have any issues pulling or stopping the trailer, even on a pretty good hill.

However, I noticed that the trailer tended to sway and bounce a fair amount, which I was able to feel while driving. I've only ever towed before with a full-size truck in the past and I've never noticed this while using a truck.

Is this pretty standard when towing with a Crossover/SUV? Would a sway bar help at all or would that be overkill? Any other tips you might have?

Thanks in advance!
 

SR20DEN

Member
Jul 7, 2013
34
I tow a 2000 Coleman Bayside with a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and I have the same problem sometimes. I have to manage it with an anti sway bar which I keep adjusted a little tighter than it should be. But that is just a band aid.

I also address the actual problem by lowering the trailer tire pressure. Id like to keep my class D tires at 60psi but it never works out. Even the heavy Bayside isn't loaded enough to keep these tires planted on the ground at that pressure at highway speeds. When I get them down to about 50psi I have far fewer problems and I believe it's still enough pressure to keep an even contact patch. To be fair I also cruise at 70mph. It's when I get the lazy foot that the PUP really starts yelling at me. To avoid this I use the cruise as much as I can.



From personal experience, a great example of this is if you've ever seen anyone towing an empty tow dolly. Usually when you see one it's bouncing all over the place, looking like it's about to destroy itself. This is because without the weight of a car they can't be towed smoothly unless the tires are dropped down to about 8-10psi.
 

Faced

Active Member
Apr 29, 2012
121
I use anti sways aswell. I also noticed that a unloaded PUP handles VERY different then one Loaded to Go.
Keep that in mind when test towing a dry pup.
 

vinmaker

Super Active Member
Aug 22, 2014
862
Sway can sometimes depend on the trailer itself. Some will sway worse than others. If yours sways, then I would recommend installing a sway controller on your hitch.

Vin.
 

KINGNOTHIN6

Member
Oct 4, 2014
16
I have an Hyundai Veracruz and the only time I experienced excessive sway was when I drove with my front storage empty. Solution could be as easy as getting some weight in there.
 

speckhunter80

Super Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
4,781
Shell Rock Landing, Hubert NC
Just something for you to consider. I believe the tow rating of a CX5 is 2000lbs. The Viking has a dry weight of 1500lbs and a GVWR of 2450 which would put a loaded camper at approximately 2200lbs. A Viking 1906ST would be approximately 2350lbs.
 

StageLover

Active Member
Sway can also depend on the tongue weight ratio. The tongue weight should be about 15% of the total weight of the trailer. The only time I have had sway with my Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk or, before that my 1999 Jeep Cherokee, was when the tongue weight was too low.
 

apopkabob

Active Member
May 8, 2012
586
is the trailer towing level? Look at your set up when your hitched up if the trailer tongue is at am up ward angle it will cause trailer sway it should be either level or at a slight downward angle fire your best towing I do not believe that you should need anti sway bars howeverthey wouldn't hurt

2013 Rockwood 1980
2015 Ford Explorer
 

WeRJuliIan

If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?
May 15, 2014
906
Sarasota, FL
If this was a trailer from the dealer's lot, it was probably empty.
In most cases, you'll have stuff loaded in the front storage, which will have a significant effect on stability.
As has been noted, nose weight should be about 10 to 15% of overall.
 

pckeen

Super Active Member
Oct 28, 2013
1,027
speckhunter80 said:
Just something for you to consider. I believe the tow rating of a CX5 is 2000lbs. The Viking has a dry weight of 1500lbs and a GVWR of 2450 which would put a loaded camper at approximately 2200lbs. A Viking 1906ST would be approximately 2350lbs.

A CX-5 could tow a school bus down the road: it just couldn't do it safely.

I agree with speckhunter's comment above. One reason you are having problems is your camper is too heavy for the vehicle. The dry weight of the camper assumes no battery, no water, no propane (no nothing except the base camper). You should assume your camper, when loaded, weighs close to the GVWR, or 2350 lbs. Remember that when you factor in your towing weight, you add up the weight of the camper, plus passengers in the vehicle, plus all equipment in the camper. When you calculate that, you will be well over your 2000 lb limit.

Blowing a fuse plus sway, plus feeling every bump in the road the way you are, plus the sway: you have an overloaded and unsafe tow. You may be able to reduce the sway with anti-sway bars, but this doesn't alter the fact that your vehicle is towing too heavy a load. In addition to overloading the vehicle and causing more stress than it was intended for, your ability to deal with an emergency will be reduced.

My two cents is don't tow with this rig. With this TV, you need a light camper, something like a livinlite, or a ligher camper.

Sorry, and good luck!
 

BWSpier

New Member
Apr 11, 2015
4
Thanks for all of the responses everyone. Definitely giving me some good ideas and info.

Thanks so much!
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,336
Franklin, MA
I have an Expedition (Full size SUV) . My Jayco (3000+ lbs loaded) has never swayed with ANY of my tow vehicles. 93 S-10 Blazer, 01 GMC Yukon Denali, or my current Expedition. Maybe it's the trailer, maybe I'm lucky.
From 0 to 95+ MPH. Uphill, down hill. Even en emergency lane change when a car pulled off the shoulder on the interstate. NEVER.
 

pjnlorrie

Member
Feb 11, 2012
66
Your CX5 is a nice vehicle, but with a 2000# tow capacity you will be very limited on your camper selection. We have towed a popup with our RAV4 (V6/260 HP, 4 whl drive, tow package - 3500# tow rating) and sway was never an issue. The key point is the camper was an Aliner; 1250# empty, ~1600 loaded. Your sig shows you are located in CO. I have found the mountains out there challenging towing the Aliner with my FJ Cruiser.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,866
Northern Virginia
I had a jayco 1006 that I towed with a Toyota 4 runner. The tow rating on my SUV is 5k. I have never felt my trailer sway in the years i owned it except once when I was driving threw the mountains and a freak windstorm swept up from the valley below. This was my first trailer and never had experience towing anything before I got it so don't know if I was just lucky or what. The trailer however was already stocked with everything I would need so it was already loaded when I got it, never felt it when it was empty so that may have been a difference too.
 

hiker74

Active Member
Aug 3, 2012
266
For that low of towing capacity I would stay away from something that heavy especially where your profile says you are from. We live in Indiana and own a Subaru Outback with a 2700 lb capacity and through research we kept coming back to either the Quicksilver 10 (1040 lbs dry/1500 gross/Tongue weight 140 lbs) or the Starcraft Starflyer 10 (around 1400 lbs dry/2000 lbs gross/150 lb tongue weight)

We ended up finding a 2006 Quicksilver 10. It has 2 real queen sized beds (60x84") and a wide dinette bed. We got a really good deal on it. We could have gone heavier and would have been fine here in Indiana, but if we encountered any hills we would have been straining a bit.

Think weight flexibility and keeping your MPG's If you want to search the Quicksilver campers used check yakaz.com or searchtempest.com. Those sites consolidate classified ads and craigslist

We considered a Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorrento and Honda Pilot for greater towing capacity and tongue weight, but given that we would be driving without a camper 98% of the time and we only had two kids we didn't need the 3rd row so we decided to save MPG instead and go with a lighter camper
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,987
Mass
JimmyM said:
I have an Expedition (Full size SUV) . My Jayco (3000+ lbs loaded) has never swayed with ANY of my tow vehicles. 93 S-10 Blazer, 01 GMC Yukon Denali, or my current Expedition. Maybe it's the trailer, maybe I'm lucky.
From 0 to 95+ MPH. Uphill, down hill. Even en emergency lane change when a car pulled off the shoulder on the interstate. NEVER.
If you ever got caught doing 95+ towing a camper, you could be arrested for driving to endanger. If you had kids in the car they would put them in child protective services.
 

dgagne11

Member
Apr 6, 2015
36
I purchased a 1995 Coleman Stony Creek pop-up weekend and towed it on highways and backroads...about 60 miles total and it never swayed...or at least never felt it sway at all. I towed it with a 2003 Ford Explorer and it handled incredibly well. I was surprised.
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,336
Franklin, MA
1380ken said:
If you ever got caught doing 95+ towing a camper, you could be arrested for driving to endanger. If you had kids in the car they would put them in child protective services.
Yeah. Yeah. That was 15 years ago. I was a younger, dumber man. No kids then either. The only point I was trying to make is that, while common, sway isn't normal. I've never experienced it under many, and sometimes extreme conditions.
 

HobieNick

Active Member
Mar 16, 2015
187
As many have said sway is common but not normal. I would make sure that the trailer you were/are towing is loaded correctly. Insufficient tongue weight will move the center of gravity (CG) of the trailer too far aft causing the trailer to become unstable. The CG of the trailer wants to be forward of the axle and will try to get there if it is not... hence sway.

The best example I can think of is aircraft landing gear. In the early days of aviation there were taildraggers; the planes had the main gear and a small wheel under the tail. This was due to strength considerations and ease of construction (along with some other reasons). In this arrangement the CG is aft of the main landing gear (same as the trailer axle). It takes decent effort to keep the plane going straight on the ground since the CG is always trying to be in front of the main gear.

Now you see planes with nose wheels. In this case the CG is forward of the main gear and the planes are much more directionally stable on the ground.

Admittedly, this is not the best example but it is the best I can think of.

Back to the point, make sure the trailer is loaded correctly, the tires are properly inflated for the weight, and the angle of the trailer is level or slightly nose down. If these factors are in good shape then I would be worried that the vehicle may be an issue.
 




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