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Old 10-25-2017, 04:35 AM   #21
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Vehicle lashup. To show hoiw impirtant this is, i had animproperly setup wd hitch on my one ton, an almost impoissible tow. Took off hitchh and towed with two sway controls on the ball, a much bettert conbo fir a one ton. Yes lashup is very impirtant as slow says. Get anexpert to help set up your rig. An improperly set up wd hitch can be dangerous thats why the canadian dealers advuce ius so impoirtant. Tried wd with little weight transfer and it was comp!metely different when set up properly even on a one ton.one tons suv, cars all need the lashup done correctly, each combo is unique. Pleade heed what slowmover abd andy tell you. Sorry for the misspellings.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:25 AM   #22
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I kinda don’t like how some folks are kinda hostile toward any post that has to do with a TV that doesn’t meet their criteria.

There is often more than one way to skin a cat, and some of the ways a tow vehicle cat is skinned has more to do with selection of components and finesse and fine tuning than the sheer mass of a large and dedicated tow vehicle.

I think..... maybe,,, as we are entering the era of $100,000 pickup trucks, different towing solutions should be viewed with a more open mind and less off the cuff hostility. Just my opinion.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:36 AM   #23
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Tow Limits

Lots of good advice here on tow capacity and considerations.

One question I would ask is what is the PAYLOAD of that vehicle. How much total weight can you carry in the TV.

I think you would be extremely limited in passenger and cargo to tow a trailer that big.

I have a 23D, max loaded weight is 6000 lb. I tow with a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep has max tow capacity of 7200 lbs. so fine right? For tow and stop yes.

The payload is only 1100 pounds. The AS takes up 600 pounds due to tongue weight of the trailer, leaving me 500 pounds for passengers and gear.

I can barely get me, my wife And two small kids and dog in and be within the payload. It borderline. Nothing else can be carried in the Jeep.

The Jeep tows just fine, even in Rocky Mountains. But I can’t carry anything and if more people come (my older Daughter) we take another additional vehicle.

So make sure you also research payload. I see a larger truck in our future for these reasons.

Plus, in the mountains, the Jeep engine works hard, revs at 4000-5000 rpms most of the time. Well within safe limit, but working overtime.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:11 AM   #24
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Hi

Another axis to all this: How open are you to relatively simple mods on a TV (any TV, including a big truck) ? To some, "stock" is the only configuration that they will ever consider. Others seem to start thinking about new shocks before the first tank of gas is used up ....

When properly done (and that is a *big* qualifier) relatively straightforward changes can have a major impact on how a TV / TT combo functions. Equally, doing the wrong change can be a problem. You don't want me randomly fiddling with the innards of your TV . You want a pro who's done it before.

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Old 10-25-2017, 10:41 AM   #25
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I never intended to exceed tow limits. I simply asked the question to see where it goes among knowledgable Airstream owners. Questions suggesting overload situations does not imply wanting to be reckless. No accidents in 50 years, one and only moving violation in 1971, I am probably not the riskiest road warrior out there. Answers to my question were very beneficial, and I appreciate the added knowledge gained. Thank you all.
Hello, CV-8, welcome to the forums and greetings from central Kentucky.

You don't mention what year your Highlander is, but I found a Toyota link for the 2017, detailed specification PDF
http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.c...specs.download

This PDF shows the maximum tongue weight as 500 lbs. and towing capacity at 5,000. My 2004 4Runner spec for towing is 7,000 lbs., BUT, the specification also says the maximum trailer weight is 5,710, a 1,290 lb. difference. You need to find that specification for your Highlander. Check with your dealer and don't settle for the maximum towing capacity spec.

Whatever your Airstream's weight is, adding water, having full holding tanks and LP tanks is going to add to that maximum weight. With my 23' AS I have lots of wiggle room, but I wouldn't want to be right up against my limits. it's better to have a relaxed drive than a white-knuckled one.
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Old 10-25-2017, 03:32 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by richw46 View Post
...
This PDF shows the maximum tongue weight as 500 lbs. and towing capacity at 5,000. ...
Hey Rich, you brought up a good point. The low tow specifications of most SUV tow vehicles are because the manufacturer engineered a poor hitch receiver, in you example capable of a tongue weight of only500 lbs.

It logically follows that when the manufacturer uses 500 lbs as the North American minimum of 10% of the trailer weight then the trailer will be spec'd for only 5,000 lbs, regardless of how much better the suspension, handling and drive train of many SUVs are for towing.

Thus the weak link, from an capacity standpoint, is the poorly designed receiver, especially it's ability to take the torque required to transfer some of the hitch weight to the front axle.

If you go to an experienced and qualified hitch builder you can easily upgrade from your stock Class III to a Class IV receiver for a lot less money than it will take to upgrade to a huge pickup truck.
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:58 AM   #27
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. . .
. . . You want a pro who's done it before.

Bob
. . . and who can guarantee in writing that the tow vehicle’s original manufacturer’s warranty will not be affected by the hitch modifications.

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Old 10-26-2017, 06:46 AM   #28
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. . . and who can guarantee in writing that the tow vehicle’s original manufacturer’s warranty will not be affected by the hitch modifications.

Moss-Magnuson, 1971.

As before, OP, those lacking in experience aren't your guide. Going from a Class III to IV with some additional bracing is less of a strain on the TV.

Perspective. A for-instance: it's not trailer weight. It's trailer shape. We can quickly build a 4000-lbs trailer that no pickup of any size can "tow". (Gigantic frontal area).

FWIW, commercial users are far harder than ANY vacationer on a vehicle. Farmers, ranchers, contractors, fleets . . . they'd laugh at any dealer giving them crap like that. Because the competitor down the street won't. A vehicle central to ones income means a thoroughly different relationship between all parties.

Were one to move to carrying 1,200-lbs of tools and gear for business (as I've done the past decade and more) and then load a one ton higher than "capacity" in order to get the TT down the road, then that vehicle choice has become suitable. Not otherwise. Not based on advertising and "ratings" to push pickup sales.

My 35' TT weighs not much more than the ones used by my parents and grandparents. And, oh, horrors, they "exceeded" the mythical ratings. Using cars set up for best WD. Custom-made hitch receivers and welded-up custom hitches -- versus the slop or poor design of those today (and they are) -- caused [?] those tow vehicles to have been sold short of 200k miles forty or fifty years ago. US, Canada, Mexico. With or without the national Interstate. Harder conditions and, in general, lacking the reliability of today's potential TVs.

The "best" TV is one that is inherently stable and genuinely (not wishfully) suits solo duty. 60% or more of miles. That is key to all this. What class, versus brand or model. Then, those, as there are differences that matter. Specification details. And it can also tow the TT. Which concept is a "difficulty" for those without experience.

Mr Thomsons many posts and some threads hereabouts (just read all his AIR posts and/or those threads from their beginnings); his articles in RVLife magazine; or that posted at his website, will give some greater perspective.

"Safety" equates to stability (which isn't such a loaded term; easier to demonstrate). Accidents aren't caused by trailer weight, per se, but by operator error. Specifically, overcorrection at the wheel by the operator when trailer sway in adverse winds have caused sway ("snaking" amplified; oscillation).

It's over in a moment.

To backtrack from there is how to classify componentry best suited.

.

.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:18 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
Hey Rich, you brought up a good point. The low tow specifications of most SUV tow vehicles are because the manufacturer engineered a poor hitch receiver, in you example capable of a tongue weight of only500 lbs.

It logically follows that when the manufacturer uses 500 lbs as the North American minimum of 10% of the trailer weight then the trailer will be spec'd for only 5,000 lbs, regardless of how much better the suspension, handling and drive train of many SUVs are for towing.

Thus the weak link, from an capacity standpoint, is the poorly designed receiver, especially it's ability to take the torque required to transfer some of the hitch weight to the front axle.

If you go to an experienced and qualified hitch builder you can easily upgrade from your stock Class III to a Class IV receiver for a lot less money than it will take to upgrade to a huge pickup truck.
^
X2

This UPGRADE, was less than $450, incl my own labor.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:06 AM   #30
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What if a lot of younger new Airstream owners like the idea of an Airstream, but don’t like the idea of a huge dedicated tow vehicle sitting in their driveway or parking lot?

Is their no technology that would help them have their cake and eat it too?
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:06 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
What if a lot of younger new Airstream owners like the idea of an Airstream, but don’t like the idea of a huge dedicated tow vehicle sitting in their driveway or parking lot?

Is their no technology that would help them have their cake and eat it too?
Custom built hitch receiver, designed and installed by an expert would likely be around $800.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:46 AM   #32
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What if a lot of younger new Airstream owners like the idea of an Airstream, but don’t like the idea of a huge dedicated tow vehicle sitting in their driveway or parking lot?

Is their no technology that would help them have their cake and eat it too?
Hi

You can modify just about any aspect of a vehicle. Want to go faster? We can drop in a bigger engine. Want to be 1/4" off the ground, we can do that. Need big orange flames shooting out the tail pipe ... ditto. Need better towing capability ... can do.

For most people all of this exists on a different planet. If you happen to live here or there, a lot of it shows up at a car show down the street 13 times a year

The issue is that it's not just a "put this kit on any vehicle and you are done" kind of thing. It's not a bunch of crazy stuff, but you need to put on the *right* stuff for this or that vehicle / TT. Knowing what that stuff is takes a bit of trial and error. Much better to let somebody else do the experiments and then go to them for the upgrades that actually apply in your case.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:07 AM   #33
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Hi



You can modify just about any aspect of a vehicle. Want to go faster? We can drop in a bigger engine. Want to be 1/4" off the ground, we can do that. Need big orange flames shooting out the tail pipe ... ditto. Need better towing capability ... can do.



For most people all of this exists on a different planet. If you happen to live here or there, a lot of it shows up at a car show down the street 13 times a year



The issue is that it's not just a "put this kit on any vehicle and you are done" kind of thing. It's not a bunch of crazy stuff, but you need to put on the *right* stuff for this or that vehicle / TT. Knowing what that stuff is takes a bit of trial and error. Much better to let somebody else do the experiments and then go to them for the upgrades that actually apply in your case.



Bob


For example, like the people at Can-Am in Ontario, Canada?
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:06 AM   #34
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Real Weight Matters

Watch out for this spec:

From AS specs: Unit Base Weight (with LP & Batteries) = 'X' pounds

Note that the weight ONLY includes the weight of the batteries and LP.

THIS IS NOT THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF A 'TRAVELING' TRAILER!

One should add "incidentals" such as water @ about 8#/gallon, (depends on how much water is in your tank - did the black and gray tanks get emptied?), and all the gear that you may have added - clothing, shoes, food, cables, etc., etc.

I typically add about 2,000# to the 'spec' weight - but, the best number is found at a truck-stop scale when you're all loaded up and ready to go.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:46 AM   #35
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Hey Rich, you brought up a good point. The low tow specifications of most SUV tow vehicles are because the manufacturer engineered a poor hitch receiver, in you example capable of a tongue weight of only500 lbs.

It logically follows that when the manufacturer uses 500 lbs as the North American minimum of 10% of the trailer weight then the trailer will be spec'd for only 5,000 lbs, regardless of how much better the suspension, handling and drive train of many SUVs are for towing.

Thus the weak link, from an capacity standpoint, is the poorly designed receiver, especially it's ability to take the torque required to transfer some of the hitch weight to the front axle.

If you go to an experienced and qualified hitch builder you can easily upgrade from your stock Class III to a Class IV receiver for a lot less money than it will take to upgrade to a huge pickup truck.
According to Draw-Tite, a class III hitch can be either weight carrying or weight distribution, depending on the vehicle and hitch type.
http://www.drawtite-hitches.com/lear...towing-classes
"Class III hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 6000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 600 lbs."

Class III hitches used for weight distributing are rated up to 10,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1000 lbs.

I have always assumed that a vehicle's towing and tongue capacities were a combination of the vehicle's capability and hitch design. Whether you use a class III or class IV, a Corolla is not going to tow a 35' AS.

For the OP, a Highlander has a 5,000 lb. max towing capacity. A class III WC hitch can apparently support 6,000 lbs., so there is some level of safety there. However, will the axles, drive train, brakes, etc. support 6,000 lbs. without doing some damage?

To my thinking, no matter how big or well built the hitch receiver is, the capability of the vehicle, stated by the manufacturer in its specifications, should be the guiding principle.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:44 PM   #36
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...
To my thinking, no matter how big or well built the hitch receiver is, the capability of the vehicle, stated by the manufacturer in its specifications, should be the guiding principle.
They base the tow rating on the hitch receiver capability, not the capability of the vehicle. IMHO if the receiver is upgraded and you don't go over your axle or tow vehicle GWVR then you are good to go.
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:33 PM   #37
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They base the tow rating on the hitch receiver capability, not the capability of the vehicle. IMHO if the receiver is upgraded and you don't go over your axle or tow vehicle GWVR then you are good to go.
If the new custom hitch does not void the tow vehicle's mfg. warranty, or result in the insurance not covering any resulting damage in the event of an accident.

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Old 10-26-2017, 02:48 PM   #38
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For example, like the people at Can-Am in Ontario, Canada?
Hi

They certainly are one that is worth considering. As far as I know there's nobody any better. If I get worked up enough about this stuff, that's where I would go. That could just be my limited view of the world. There aren't a lot of specialists around that really get into this stuff.

My main point is that Bob down at the local "Super Truck Upgrade Store" may not be the perfect guy for doing this with. He likely can order in this or that part. Knowing what the *right* part is for a specific vehicle / trailer combo ..... maybe not so much. Getting it all tuned up right .... nope.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:41 PM   #39
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Only one person posting on this thread has real-world personal experience with thousands of actual setups. That doesn't mean others' opinions are unimportant, but you may want to consider this personal experience accordingly.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:47 PM   #40
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...I have always assumed that a vehicle's towing and tongue capacities were a combination of the vehicle's capability and hitch design. Whether you use a class III or class IV, a Corolla is not going to tow a 35' AS.

For the OP, a Highlander has a 5,000 lb. max towing capacity. A class III WC hitch can apparently support 6,000 lbs., so there is some level of safety there. However, will the axles, drive train, brakes, etc. support 6,000 lbs. without doing some damage?

To my thinking, no matter how big or well built the hitch receiver is, the capability of the vehicle, stated by the manufacturer in its specifications, should be the guiding principle.
The 6000 lb Class III hitch referenced is a Draw-tite Class 3 product, not Toyota's. A hitch can be rated up to that, but not every one is.

In terms of tongue weight, what matters are that the receiver is strong enough, and then you move to axle and tire weight limits. It doesn't help to use a Corolla to support your point, unless that Corolla has sufficient axle and tire capacity for the likely tongue weight.

My (BMW) SUV didn't come with a tow rating. The BMW marketing company in the US sold a hitch kit through their dealers (there was no factory option). That hitch had a 6000 lb tow rating. Other BMW marketing companies in other countries sold hitches with higher ratings, for the same vehicle, even though they were all owned by the same manufacturer. I was limited by that hitch rating if I chose to follow it, but the vehicle wasn't.

If one doesn't know the true vehicle capacity, and suspects that the vehicle may be able to tow more with an appropriate receiver (perhaps because similar models from that manufacturer have higher ratings, with the same powertrain) then relying on experts such as Can-Am would be an appropriate course of action IMO.

As to issues with the vehicle warranty, I wouldn't expect the vehicle manufacturer to warrant a hitch they didn't provide. I would look to the hitch manufacturer for that warranty. At the same time, if that aftermarket receiver was considered by the vehicle manufacturer to have caused a failure, I would ask them to demonstrate it. They don't get to void a warranty because they don't like something. The warranty impact I did run in to more than once was when an aftermarket item like a receiver blocked service access to another component that was being repaired under warranty. In that case there was sometimes a charge for R&R of the aftermarket device to access the component. Using bolted receivers instead of welded ones is a prudent mitigation there.
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