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Old 02-22-2012, 04:32 PM   #113
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The title of the piece, "Towing Illegally", is a misnomer. Manufacturers tow ratings are advisories only and are not legally enforceable. As to liability, I'd suggest that any lawyer trying to apportion blame would need to establish how said ratings were derived which, as others have pointed out, would be impossible as most tow ratings are either 30 years old or plucked from the air. Can-Am have been producing custom towing solutions for 40 years and have not been hit with any liability claims whatsoever - I, for one, will trust their judgement
I didn't title the article so I won't defend it. They do talk about commercial towing in the article, which does have some legalities surrounding it. And yes they are legally enforceable in commercial applications. I can site a huge conundrum we had relative to landscaping crews, a crackdown on no riding in the bed of a truck, and lack of a crew cab-cab and chassis with sufficient GVW for a large enough landscaper body, and lack of GCWR to go to work with the number of crew on board. End result: Landscapers were overloading both GVW and GCWR and GETTING TICKETED....a lot.

Tow rating are assigned to each and every new platform that is developed. At least at my employer. They are only as old as the vehicle development age, and often get updated when a component is revised within the platform's life cycle (ie. a new engine, or transmission, or and added final drive ratio, etc.) Ratings are NOT established by anyone other than the Chief Engineer for that product line, as the components are designed by the folks under him/her. He has a target which the product development team has established with input from focus groups and information which competitive analysis has uncovered.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:38 PM   #114
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But, I as an individual, don't want to be caught in an indefensible position.
Now, waitasecond...that's it? That's it? Your argument against using my Jetta to tow my Airstream is that you don't want to do anything that a lawyer could make litigable?

What do you do for fun, sit at home and quiver?
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:58 PM   #115
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Now, waitasecond...that's it? That's it? Your argument against using my Jetta to tow my Airstream is that you don't want to do anything that a lawyer could make litigable?

What do you do for fun, sit at home and quiver?

Pretty much, but it's more like a shiver than a quiver.

I'm not against nuttin'! Anyone can do whatever they want. I have clearly stated the reasons why I am kind of strong on this subject, upthread. I just feel that there has been so much mis-information given to folks by people who have a vested interest in the information being given out.

I have no horse in this game. I do work for a manufacturer, but I'd bet all the mfr's reps, if they were here would line up with my mindset.

For some reason, that is a complete mystery to me (some sort of social phenomenon) folks choose to believe some folks because they just want to....rather than folks who have experience in a particular area.

In my case, yes, I do claim expert status on the mechanical and manufacturer standpoint relative to how ratings are arrived at, how much margin is in the spec, and the mechanical ramifications for exceeding the specs.

In the arena of economics, I have experience in investigating, with my commercial accounts, the financial and durability ramifications of overloading various specs.

On the legal side, I am no expert, but have had input into manufacturer legal cases and have knowledge of the outcomes. Also, I have knowledge of my commercial accounts who have had legal issues relative to overloading, whether they be tickets or sometimes worse. Some of these outcomes are outrageous, but they happen.

I think it is irresponsible to say it's "ok" to tow my 30' Classic with your Jetta. Likewise, I think it's irresponsible to say you need a 1 ton dually to tow your Bambi.

For me, I would be irresponsible for not sharing what I know to be the truth through my personal experience. If I didn't care for the folks here as well as their property, I wouldn't go to the trouble! Spec'ing a tow vehicle for a particular application and person is a very detailed and rather complicated process. Very few automotive dealer salespeople know how to do it....and many AS dealers don't either.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:28 PM   #116
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Hon, again, there's often a deep divide between reality and the law. I am satisfied, after much investigation, that my rig is safe, in fact statistically safer than quite a few of the rigs out there if you believe the insurance agencies. I'd like it to be a bit more powerful, but it's safe. (And I didn't have to go into debt for it!) And now I'm saving up for either my ideal TV or as close as I can come, without having to put off living the life I've chosen to lead until that happens. As far as I'm concerned, that's a win situation all the way around.

(Funny, we were just talking today over coffee, some friends of mine and I--it's interesting how many people say that they really really want my life...except they obviously don't, because that's not what they choose to do.)

All I can tell you otherwise is to come up to CanAm RV with (or without) me and talk to the crew there about your concerns. They're very careful about how they spec a tow vehicle, and the result is that I have not been able to find one single person willing to say that they was robbed. (If you know anything about customer service, you'll know that I can't find even a 10% of these is amazing.) Experiential proof is still proof. Unless, of course, your main concern is to not actually find out and just go along with "what everybody knows!"
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:53 PM   #117
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Here's one of my experiences, which may be of interest to Can-Am folks. Here in the east we don't have commercially available CAT scales, but the Ministry of Transportation highway truck weigh stations are very obliging in letting you run through their scales. I have used them probably half a dozen times this past summer as I dialed in my hitch setup. For the record, I have a F150 towing a 2011 International 27FB.

Imagine my surprise on my last weighing. We were headed out for three weeks - kids, dog, bikes, canoe, generator, gas, water, etc. etc. I wanted to check out the last adjustment I made to the hitch, so I went through the scales and pulled ahead and parked, and then walked over to the shack to get the ticket indicating my axle weights. The attendant was taking an unusual amount of time and after a moment, asked me to come around the counter to his computer screen. He proceeded to show me all the data in the vehicle registration database on my truck, including the specified GAWR and GVWR numbers, and pointed out to me that my rear axle was overloaded. As a transportation officer he indicated he had the authority to ground my vehicle then and there until the issue was corrected, and ticket me for a violation of the highway traffic act. I was not over by much so he let me go on and was pretty good about it. Not so much my wife when I got back in the truck.

So, this experience has shown me that there is a legal requirement with respect to axle loadings. It's just not being enforced outside of commercial vehicles. I won't presume to offer anyone advice on what they should or should not do. Just thought I would share the memorable start of my three week holiday!

Don
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #118
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Wow! Hot thread today!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:16 PM   #119
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This blog post made a large impression on me when doing research, as did this one...
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:27 PM   #120
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First off, I am an engineer. I believe that the manufacturers ratings are not pulled out of the air, but are based on engineering tests and blessed by the marketing folks and the lawyers. I think that Can-Am does a terrific job of modifying cars, so that they can tow much larger trailers than anyone thought possible. I don't see power, braking or handling as a problem. My biggest concern is how they get around the axle rating. I am sure that there is a significant safety factor built into the design of the axles, but I would not be surprised if the axle rating is not being exceeded by at least 50%-100%.

I don't think that it is a good idea to exceed the manufacturers ratings if at all possible. I do believe that if you cause an accident and you are exceeding the manufacturers ratings that the lawyers will come after you with a vengence. Juries are made up of people, not engineers. I think they will side with the manufacturers because it is black and white. Just my .02 worth.

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Old 02-22-2012, 07:33 PM   #121
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Not trying to take sides here, but this is a great vid. To little TV to much TT....

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Old 02-22-2012, 08:27 PM   #122
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First off, I am an engineer. I believe that the manufacturers ratings are not pulled out of the air, but are based on engineering tests and blessed by the marketing folks and the lawyers. I think that Can-Am does a terrific job of modifying cars, so that they can tow much larger trailers than anyone thought possible. I don't see power, braking or handling as a problem. My biggest concern is how they get around the axle rating. I am sure that there is a significant safety factor built into the design of the axles, but I would not be surprised if the axle rating is not being exceeded by at least 50%-100%.

I don't think that it is a good idea to exceed the manufacturers ratings if at all possible. I do believe that if you cause an accident and you are exceeding the manufacturers ratings that the lawyers will come after you with a vengence. Juries are made up of people, not engineers. I think they will side with the manufacturers because it is black and white. Just my .02 worth.

Dan
Agreed, but my concerns are not only legality, or safety, but the entire powertrain, among other components. Just one example; An engine is designed to put out X amount of torque. Fine and good. A transmission designed for that engine is designed to take that same X amount of torque,but on an intermittent basis for a passenger, street vehicle. ie. zero to 60 while getting on the ramp for a period of 30 seconds, repeatedly over it's life. This hypothetical vehicle, when overloaded, is demanding high amounts of torque, maybe nearing X almost all the time. Not only do temperatures rise, but the metals which were designed to spend most of their lives at lower torques (internal trans plates, gears, splined shafts, etc) will wear at a much greater rate than a non-overloaded like vehicle. That's just one example....u-joints, cv joints, axle bearings, ring and pinions, etc. all will wear at a much faster rate.
Frame or integral frame components stress and fatigue crack pretty commonly. The list goes on and on. These things are not theory...these are things I deal with every day on my job, and I have seen it over and over again.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:31 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by zlee
This blog post made a large impression on me when doing research, as did this one...
I get your point. I have posted this elsewhere but don't know how to provide the link using my iPad, so at the risk of repeating my other posts.....the payload rating of passengers and cargo on my truck (truck now, not a car, a real truck from Ford), is 878 pounds. Not kilograms, pounds. That's what is on the door sticker from Ford, along with the GAWR and GVWR numbers. This data is recorded by the government when the vehicle was first licensed, as I embarrassingly found out. So I appreciate the reference to the blogs about not taking it all with you, but I can't leave my kids home, or the dog for that matter, or my wife. Just the hitch weight, with load distributing, and the five passengers eats up most of that payload restriction. But hey, I guess if I went alone with the clothes on my back and a bag of marshmallows everything would be fine!

Anyone know the load rating of a VW Jetta or Toyota Sienna compared to a 2011 F150? Would be mildly amused if it is greater, but not entirely surprised.

Don
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:41 PM   #124
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I respect physics, mass, velocity & the tensile strength or lack there of in some vehicle frames, roll cages, etc.

I appreciate the engineering that goes into modern vehicles, trailers, hitches, etc.

I have little affinity for the AS/TV debate based on the after effects of a calamity & gobs of ensuing litigation, fault & defensibility. You can't undo dead/disfigured.

My only "dog" in this fight is safety, on the part of the Airstreamer current/soon-to-be & the rest of us on those same roads. Few crash survivors are/will be the same again & many have a list of "if I could do it over again I'd...". My career in public safety has left me biased, my personal experience with being extricated from under a semi' & in courtrooms have left their mark...but I certainly don't see cowering at home in a hermetically sealed bubble as an option either.

I have looked into & marveled at some of Can-Am's set-ups (or those on the roads in Europe). I genuinely applaud Zlee, her Jetta & their recent winter cross country trek home. I personally prefer to occupy a smaller AS & tow it with my Euro SUV, but I know not to swear it's the one, only or best option for all. Some of the more precarious set-ups make me shudder not because of axle weights or those previously debated "arbitrary" numbers... but because I've seen what those vehicles look like wrapped around a tree at speed or tossed down a hill with/without a 10k/lb trailer added to their velocity. I've held commercial & amateur racing drivers licenses and have felt the limits of many vehicles & my own AS/TV combos, and can't fathom what other less prepared or experienced drivers could/would encounter with some of the more "out of the box combos"!

All towing set-ups have huge variables! All trips/destinations require very different roads, elevations, speeds.
All towing drivers have very different understandings, educations & backgrounds.
In the end it's up to each of us to do our research & make that educated leap... If you don't understand all the variables you are committing to, then by all means PLEASE don't exceed those basic vehicle, hitch, trailer safety advisories & local laws/regulations about those weights/speeds...and/or seek out some real RV/drivers training before taking whatever that AS/TV dealer sold you on & hurtling it down the road at 75mph!

If you do opt to tow a PanAmerica with a Ducati (send us pictures first), then be highly mindful of that potential risk of life/limb & litigation nightmare.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:43 PM   #125
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I get your point. I have posted this elsewhere but don't know how to provide the link using my iPad, so at the risk of repeating my other posts.....the payload rating of passengers and cargo on my truck (truck now, not a car, a real truck from Ford), is 878 pounds. Not kilograms, pounds. That's what is on the door sticker from Ford, along with the GAWR and GVWR numbers. This data is recorded by the government when the vehicle was first licensed, as I embarrassingly found out. So I appreciate the reference to the blogs about not taking it all with you, but I can't leave my kids home, or the dog for that matter, or my wife. Just the hitch weight, with load distributing, and the five passengers eats up most of that payload restriction. But hey, I guess if I went alone with the clothes on my back and a bag of marshmallows everything would be fine!

Anyone know the load rating of a VW Jetta or Toyota Sienna compared to a 2011 F150? Would be mildly amused if it is greater, but not entirely surprised.

Don
I kind remember your other thread, but can't remember you exact configuration. Thing in the truck world got really squirrelly when the suburbanite family man cowboy started buying pick'em up trucks.
To appeal to these folks, crew cab, short bed, soft suspension trucks with p rated tires (or worse). Consequently they weren't trucks anymore. A regular old fashioned, gotta get some work done, truck should have 1700 - 2000 lbs of payload. If it's a crew, ya gotta have more suspension and tires to keep the payload after 6 folk get inside.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #126
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I kind remember your other thread, but can't remember you exact configuration. Thing in the truck world got really squirrelly when the suburbanite family man cowboy started buying pick'em up trucks.
To appeal to these folks, crew cab, short bed, soft suspension trucks with p rated tires (or worse). Consequently they weren't trucks anymore. A regular old fashioned, gotta get some work done, truck should have 1700 - 2000 lbs of payload. If it's a crew, ya gotta have more suspension and tires to keep the payload after 6 folk get inside.
It's an F150 Platinum Crew Cab 6.5' box with the max trailer towing package, and you are right. It came with 20" low profile P rated tires. The tow rating (pull rating is a better description) is ~11,000 lbs but the payload is less than 900 lbs. I changed the tires to Michelin LTX2's but that doesn't change the sticker on the door unfortunately. I agree with you - this is less like a truck and more like a big car.

Don
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