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Old 04-14-2015, 06:43 PM   #29
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In the event of a major accident while exceeding tow limits, you likely will worry less about your insurance claim for repairs, than the likely lawsuit that will result for exceeding limits. Know all your rigs limits to include hitch and tow bars as well as TV and trailer. If you choose to ignore the limits, then it's on you.

I also have USAA and they cover my trailer under my auto policy with Progressive. After a recent claim, it was handled by Fleetwood. Regardless, my policy is with USAA.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:30 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by MrUKToad View Post
You've summed it up nicely, jcl.

I fully understand why people want to steer clear of litigious insurance companies and if sticking to the manufacturer's tow recommendations helps make them feel more comfortable then that's fine. There isn't a whole lot of available evidence about insurers taking hapless tow vehicle owners to the cleaners so, until I hear otherwise, I shall be taking the advice of my insurers and staying within the law rather than be concerned about things that are pure speculation.
Agreed, JCL's comments certainly sound reasonable.

But when he makes reference to axle loading, GVW, - and I would imagine GCVW would fall in the same category - are you saying that your TV & trailer trailer combination do comply in these areas?

If so, then I agree your assessment sounds reasonable, and so maybe manufacturer's tow ratings (3500# for Sienna?) might only be relevant if your vehicle were still under warranty, and it were an issue relating of a warranty claim rather than an insurance claim.

I'm still not entirely sure though, and I guess that's why I fall the category you describe (i.e. wanting to feel more comfortable - maybe I worry to much about these things!)

Brian.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:43 PM   #31
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Why would you want to exceed the recommended towing capacity ...other safety issues come in to paly ...??
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Old 04-15-2015, 02:51 AM   #32
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Agreed, JCL's comments certainly sound reasonable.

But when he makes reference to axle loading, GVW, - and I would imagine GCVW would fall in the same category - are you saying that your TV & trailer trailer combination do comply in these areas?
I can't comment on another's specific weights, but my original comment did not include GCVWR. It isn't applicable to RVs where I live, register, and insure my vehicles. GVWR for each of the TV and trailer, yes, but not a combined GVWR. YMMV.

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Old 04-15-2015, 03:02 AM   #33
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Why would you want to exceed the recommended towing capacity ...other safety issues come in to play ...??
Here is one example. My vehicle is rated to tow X lbs in other geographic markets, places where the manufacturer offers a hitch rated to tow X lbs. In my market they only offer a lighter hitch and so state Y lbs. The vehicles are identical, down to cooling system, rear axle ratio, and so on.

With the installation of a heavier duty hitch, I am comfortable towing at the limits prescribed for that heavier duty hitch, even though I had to modify the vehicle by installing a heavier hitch. For decades, installing a custom hitch was pretty standard practice. No other modifications required in this case, whether to cooling systems, or otherwise. Also, the rig is within axle loads, tire loads, and GVWR loads published in this market.

Why do it? Because it provides the vehicle I want, without buying a dedicated tow vehicle. Should everyone do it? Not if they want to carry much more weight in the TV than I do and thus can't fit into the weights described above. We all have different requirements. But it works for me. And I feel safe.

The manufacturer of this vehicle also says I should only use their branded engine oil, buy only OE parts, have all service done at their dealer, and so on. Those are manufacturer recommendations that relate to safety and vehicle maintenance standards, and I made a judgement in each case as to whether I will follow them, as the situation dictates.

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Old 04-15-2015, 06:15 AM   #34
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The internet is full of excogitations on importance (or not) and bedrock solidity (or rubbery elasticity) of manufacturer's towing and gcwr ratings.
Wikipedia has a great write up on the psychology of risk perception (Risk perception - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). We humans tend to misjudge risk. My background is in safety engineering (particularly in aircraft avionics). There are straightforward processes for focusing engineering investment on the greatest peril in order to minimize the resulting risk of the finished system. Inaccurate perception of risk is the enemy of safer systems. Commercial airplane manufacturers have achieved very safe systems by focusing on actual risks instead of perceived risks. Not that the automotive industry generally does not yet embrace this level of safety engineering (in my experience because of perceived expense and lack of knowledge). Perhaps if the FAA folks hung out more with the DOT folks. :-)

I recognize that insurance is not made cheaper or more expensive by actual risk. In my understanding insurance pricing is guided by claim history. Risk history is a reasonable estimate of actual risk but is not the same as estimated actual risk.

I am overjoyed to see that several insurance industry experts have chimed in. Now if we just find an retired insurance actuary who is sitting in his or her Airstream and wants to help us out.

What I would dearly love to avoid is not just people's perception of risk but the rumor of risk (a perception of risk caused by someone else's implication of risk, ug).

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I'm pretty sure, though, that for noncommercial towing of recreational vehicles, there is no jurisdiction in the U.S. where the manufacturer's GCWR or towing capacity has the force of law. No different than the manufacturer's recommended tire size or brand of transmission fluid.
I suspect this might be true. It's hard to prove a negative but I did search through the code of several states (Utah, Virginia, and Maryland) to find any related law and could find nothing about tow capacity or GCWR for RVs.
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:17 AM   #35
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My insurer was concerned only that both tow vehicle and trailer were insured and that I complied with all the relevant laws in the operation of said tow vehicle and trailer.
Thank you! A wonderful datapoint.
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:09 AM   #36
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Here is one example...

Why do it? ...
You hit the nail on the head. In my case with the X5d's U.S. rating of 6,000 lbs and European rating of 7,700 lbs.

And I picked up my X5d from the BMW South Carolina factory where all X?'s are made for the world (70% are exported). The line literally has a U.S. left side drive followed by a European right side drive. It was very impressive. And I left with confidence that there are no structural differences between the U.S. and European X vehicles. Hitches are a dealer mounted and are not similar.

My hitch is a masterful collection of steel and elegant welds from Canam RV. :-)
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:17 AM   #37
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"The manufacturer of this vehicle also says I should only use their branded engine oil, buy only OE parts, have all service done at their dealer, and so on. Those are manufacturer recommendations that relate to safety and vehicle maintenance standards, and I made a judgement in each case as to whether I will follow them, as the situation dictates."

True, there are "recommendations", as you describe relative to oil, etc., but that shouldn't be confused with owner manual statements like "Never exceed...". Those are definitive statements, no recommendations.

The english language is still definitive, regardless of those how would try and change it like, "it depends what the definition if 'is' is".
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:30 AM   #38
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A short "read" for everyone here: Towing The LIne

If it comes to litigation and the fact that weight distribution was, or was not being used, don't you thing that actual towing capacity will have already been considered?
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Old 04-15-2015, 08:50 AM   #39
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You hit the nail on the head. In my case with the X5d's U.S. rating of 6,000 lbs and European rating of 7,700 lbs.

And I picked up my X5d from the BMW South Carolina factory where all X?'s are made for the world (70% are exported). The line literally has a U.S. left side drive followed by a European right side drive. It was very impressive. And I left with confidence that there are no structural differences between the U.S. and European X vehicles. Hitches are a dealer mounted and are not similar.

My hitch is a masterful collection of steel and elegant welds from Canam RV. :-)

This issue has been discussed to death yet it is still brought up in these conversations.

The vehicle may be the same but the trailers are certainly not the same. European trailers have a different design in that the axle is more froward, hence they have a very light tongue weight (300# tongue weight for a 28" trailer is normal, In North America a similar trailer has over 1000# tongue weight). The Euro trailers are also narrower (less wind resistance), are pulled at a lower speed limit and they don't have the Southwest heat or the Rockies in Europe. Travel distances are also shorter. Give all this SOME vehicles are rated slightly higher in Europe (BTW, my Mercedes is rated the same in Europe and North America).

So, unless you are pulling a narrow European camper, with 300# tongue weight, at 45 MPH, mostly on flat lands, with moderate temperatures, the Euro ratings do not apply to you.

Also, there are other regulations in Europe which you do not talk about. Someone mentioned the TV must b 15% heavier than the trailer. This makes the tow rating a BMW X5 actually lower in some European countries.

Finally, hitches are not dealer mounted. They are installed at the factory.
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Old 04-15-2015, 08:57 AM   #40
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When I was a very young teenager while teaching me how to drive, a wise old man once told me, "you can do anything you want to in a car as long as you don't get caught".

Relating to the subject of this thread, you can tow anything with anything as long as nothing bad happens.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:24 AM   #41
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....snip.....

Relating to the subject of this thread, you can tow anything with anything as long as nothing bad happens.
Exactly. Folks keep coming back to this thread and trying to justify exceeding posted factory limits, and one way they attempt this is to explain legalities in black and white terms. Law, as practiced, is seldom black and white. Especially if you end up in front of a jury. Then it comes down which side can make the shades of gray best suit their argument. In this discussion, risk minimization, from a legal standpoint possibly comes down to, once again, trying to stack the odds in your favor. Staying within manufacturer stated limits is one way to help in this quest.
Another little tidbit my lawyer told me one time was, "never confuse the facts with the truth". Think about that for a bit.

Hey for those who want to see all these numbers as guidelines, that's fine with me. I just think that for the sake of folks new to towing, they are well served to consider both sides of the discussion. Then they can make their own decision regarding how they wish to manage their own risks.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:40 AM   #42
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I'll just add one more thing....just because nothing bad has happened, that does not mean it's not going to happen.
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