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Old 04-19-2003, 12:49 AM   #85
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An Intrepid parked next to me at the grocery store today and I happened to have my tape measure. I pushed the side of the rear bumper of my truck as hard as I could and couldn't budge it sideways on the LT265/75R16 tires on 7" rims, even though they were aired down to 60 psi for commuting. So much for moving one 2-3"! I started to push the Intrepid to compare, but then it occurred to me it might have an alarm, so I just did some measuring. Comparing manufacturers specs and my measurements between the two vehicles, I found the ultra short wheelbase Intrepid actually has more overhang than my long wheelbase truck.

Overall Length 203.7" Wheelbase 113" therefore Total Overhang 90.7"
Rear Axle to Back of Rear Bumper 48" therefore Front Overhang 42.7"
Rear Overhang as a percentage of wheelbase 42%

Superduty SuperCab LongBed
Overall Length 247.6" Wheelbase 158" therefore Total Overhang 89.6"
Rear Axle to Back of Rear Bumper 48" therefore Front Overhang 41.6"
Rear Overhang as a percentage of wheelbase 30%

Now the hitch is usually mounted under the bumper, with the end of the receiver a few inches ahead of the back of the rear bumper, but even considering this, the Intrepid overhang to wheelbase ratio is comparatively poor, and this would be an issue with a conventional hitch.

But with a Hensley, overhang isn't an issue for sway when the rig is pulling down the road in a straight line (it sure is for porpoising though). The Hensley link bars, fixed in a trapezoid, feed sway forces into the tow vehicle and essentially turn the rig into a solid straight framed motorhome. The rig becomes one long moment arm.

Sway forces, such as crosswinds, are applied on that arm at about the trailer's center of gravity, which is slightly ahead of the center of the axles to give the trailer tongue weight. These forces on that arm try to torque the tow vehicle around the center of an X drawn between the center of the four tow vehicle tires' contact patches on the road. The longer the trailer, the longer the arm, and the greater the leverage the sway forces have to torque the tow vehicle around.

Added wheelbase also lengthens the sway forces' arm by half its increase, but that is a much smaller percentage increase than that of the the shorter arms in front of and behind the center of that X that are fighting the torque, which are also lengthened by half the increase.

The further apart the tow vehicle axles (wheelbase), the more the rubber on the road, and the greater the weight per square inch on that rubber contact patch, the more the tow vehicle resists the sway force breaking traction of the tow vehicle front or rear tires due to the torque transmitted by the Hensley. This is even more critical on surfaces with reduced traction.

The appropriate amount of tow vehicle weight and wheelbase for the trailer being towed is no less important with a Hensley than it is without one, maybe even more so. But the snake-oil marketing of the Hensley would have you believe it makes wheelbase irrelevant... or something that only matters if everything else is wrong.

I own a Hensley, and think it's the best hitch made. But it's something you add after everything else is right.

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Old 04-22-2003, 09:13 AM   #86
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Hi Chas

I have never set up the Lexus 400 Sedan but I think it would do a wonderful job. I did have a customer tow for a couple of years with a Lexus SC400 the 2 door coup. It performed very well, it handled fantastic and of coarse had plenty of power. The customer decided to take the caravan to Panama a couple of years ago so they traded to the Lexus RX 300 which had more ground clearance. If you decide to put a hitch on your Lexus let me know what year it is and I will take a look at one for you and tell you where to fasten to. To fabricate the hitch would not be a simple thing to do but I take it you are very handy. We have a few customers that have 2 tow vehicles for example on has a Jeep for going to Northern Ontario to the back woods fishing spots but when they go south for a 3 months they take their car.

Hello DreamStream.
The best sedan I have towed with was a BMW 7 Series that we set up a few years ago. I imagine that the new one with the 6 speed ZF transmission is even better. The cars that perform very well that we have a lot of experience with are the Cadillac STS and DTS sedans. These are 305-horse with 3.71:1 final drive ratios. They have a wonderful suspension system and advanced anti-lock, traction control and Stabilitrac. The Olds Aurora is the same platform with a slightly smaller engine but it also performs very well.

If you wanted something car like but with a higher tow rating the new Volkswagen Toureg looks very interesting this is the same platform as the new Porsche SUV . It has the same 6 speed ZF transmission as the BMW, a great 4 wheel independent suspension and a 7000 lb. rating. I have not towed with this as yet but I had a good look at it at the Detroit auto show. I was able to speak with some of their technical people as well as the people from ZF, I was very impressed with the design. It has full adjustable height Air Suspension so though a Hensley is always better and advisable this is one vehicle where it would be a necessity.

Hi Road King Moe and Femuse

I doubt the people at car have much towing experience with which to base an opinion but why should they be any different than anyone else that has never tried it yet knows everything about towing.

I am not saying you should go replace your truck if you enjoy it. I know some people who like driving diesel pickups around even though they don’t tow anything which is just fine. Not everyone wants to drive one however. I love traveling with an Airstream and cannot imagine any better way to take a vacation but if it meant that I had to drive a truck the rest of the year I don’t know that I would own an Airstream. I suppose the alternative would be a motorhome and I’m sure some people that do not want a truck take this route but they are not all that safe, they are expensive to own and operate and often inconvenient for extensive travel.

If you have any concern about the future of Airstream and the WBCCI I will give you one more thing to think about. In 1975 our Ontario Unit of the WBCCI was about the 40th largest unit, today I believe it is the second or third largest. This is without amalgamating any other units and our membership today is higher than it has ever been and our Rallies have more units in attendance than they ever have. Now this is not all because we do some towing with cars many of the members work very hard at making things happen, but by making Airstream ownership palatable and affordable to more people we have helped our unit to grow. I would hazard a guess that our average age is quite a bit younger as well.
All in all if you were to just test drive one someday you would understand. A few years ago an Airstream owner from Indiana who was well meaning attended my seminar at the Hensley Rally. He was there to take me on and save the world from me. I was able to answer his arguments during the seminar in a nice way and afterwards took him for ride in the Intrepid and Airstream that he will not likely forget. He completely changed his mind and has sent us several people to have their receivers strengthened, brake controls changed and hitches fine tuned.

If I can get out of this place I will be at the International Rally for a 3 or 4 days so if someone would like to test drive a combination there please let me know.

Remember Confucius said “He who says, cannot be done should not stand in way of person making happen”.



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Old 04-22-2003, 11:27 AM   #87
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And Darwin said the process of natural selection wasn't perfect.
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Old 04-22-2003, 01:11 PM   #88
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Some good, some bad things about Canada: they rely on their Citizen's common sense.

(maybe, that's 2 bad things in the end)

"At this time there is no legislation in effect pertaining to the vehicle manufacturers recommended maximum towing capacity. Individual components, hitches, balls, safety chains, and G.A.W.R. must comply with regulations. Common sense should be exercised to ensure that your tow vehicle has the capacity to keep you and the rest of the motoring public safe."

"LOADING ABOVE A VEHICLE'S GVWR RATING? - Vehicles that operate above the GVWR are a potential safety hazard because the frame, suspension, brakes and tires are not designed for weights above the rating the manufacturer has set.
"The Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia prohibits an operator from loading the vehicle in excess of its GVWR.

"Both Alberta and BC require that the G.V.W.R. and the G.A.W.R. of the tow vehicle specified by the vehicle manufacturer must not be exceeded."

If I get this straight, since 02-20-2003 at 01:39 PM we have been discussing the towing capability of a vehicle about as well suited for towing on the road as a motorized wheelbarrow ?????

Are we all going bonkers or what?????
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Old 04-22-2003, 01:28 PM   #89
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There is no way that a 231 V-6 from the factory has the same power that the V8 has stock. Maybe HP, but not torque or equal in HP in the RPM range where it counts Andy. I own an 80' 307 and 2 96 Caprice/Impala with the LT1 350.

The 350 is a far superior tow vehicle than the 307 and the 307 was nothing to scorn either. The 3.8 V6 is a great little engine. I am unsure if the 3.8L is the 231 cube engine you speak, but I also know 3 people that have them. One in an 85 LeSaber (RWD), the other in a '87 LeSaber (FWD) and one in a Grand National GNX (RWD). Nice engine? Sure. Enough power to pull safely? Not in my opinion and also not in the opinion of those who designed and built the cars. The 87 was fuel injected while I believe the 85 was not. They pulled worse than my 307. The torque was was low in the low RPM band. If you are not talking about the 3.8L and talking about the 3.1L, that is even worse.

These are just my opinions mixed in with some fact. I am sure that if you have gotten it to work without problems, good for you, but you won't convince me that a V6s we are talking about should pull a 5000+ lb trailer.

I just got back from a the first trip with my rig. I must say that the 275 (modded) HP (LT1 350) with the ample gobs or torque make a hell of a difference. Far, far better than my 307 could do.

If what you do makes you feel good and safe, great, but I cannot agree at all with your comments on the GM V6 vs. the V8. Put them on a dyno and you will see what I am talking about.

Also on the Lexus front:

It is unibody and does not have what it takes to haul 5000+ lbs safely or effectively. Will it pull? Sure. Was it designed to? No. If you ask Lexus (AKA Toyota) you will get a no way in hell answer. The trans has not the cooling or the internals needed to sustain what it would take to do the job correctly. It has been designed soley as a passenger car. If you or anyone chose to do it, and it works, great, but it is NOT recommeded by the manufac, the engineers or most of the general public that pull. If that were the case, 18-wheelers would be pulled with 350s instead of the monster diesels out there.

I think doing some of what has been suggested or done on this thread is not responsible by any means. I also do not think that going out and getting the biggest and baddest tow vehicle is needed either. I beileve in having the right tool for the job. If I don't have the right tool, then I get it, but I don't cut corners. The 3.8, the 3.1 and the Lexus V8 are not the right tools for the job. The inline 6 in the trailblazer is better for towing than what we have talked about so far (3.1, 3.8 and Lexus). I would however, opt for the V8 option if I used it to tow.

Just my .02

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Old 04-29-2003, 09:36 AM   #90
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Many of us are humbled and some what awakened by the facts and suggestions that "smaller and lighter" is "better and safer". The writing has been on the wall here in this forum about this subject for some time but it seems that the new information has been either ignored or just not believed. Like many I think this revelation is for the better. After all, I am personally getting tired at burning my kids inheritance needlessly out the tail pipe and would jump at the chance to conserve energy. If a V6 sport sedan or Mini Van is the way to go, then so be it. The chance of improving safety, our drive, and saving money is OK with me.

Many thanks Andy for giving us your valued time and insights and helping us to understand the big picture of towing dynamics.

I am interested in hearing much more about towing experiances with these setups from Andy, JD1, Kamadeca, Mr. Bliss, Waynef, Silvertwinkie, and others who are familiar with towing with sedans and V6 mini vans.

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Old 05-09-2003, 10:49 PM   #91
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If not, I can recommend the following vehicle. It already comes equipped whith a hitch as you can see by the PIX


Ouch, that was evil.

Justice - When you get what you deserve. Mercy - When you don't get what you deserve
Grace - When you get what you don't deserve
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