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Old 11-30-2011, 05:55 PM   #15
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Have any of you who use CanAm's services ever called your insurance company and told them you planned on using a tow vehicle that according to the mfg is grossly under powered for your trailer - for instance a vehicle rated at 3500 lbs to tow a triple axle that weighs over 10K - and if you have what was their response? Or are just doing it and hoping nothing will happen?
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:16 PM   #16
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No, I haven't called the insurance company. (I'm towing within the ratings of my van - for now.) Since they'll pay if I'm speeding or commit another offense, they will likely pay if I'm doing something that's actually legal.

Tow ratings have little to do with being "underpowered" or vehicle dynamics or braking safety. They have to do primarily with powertrain cooling (but are tested in a rather extreme test) and hitch strength (which can be reinforced.) Manufacturers also do not pay the extra money to validate vehicles like sedans and minivans to a higher rating because they do not see a marketing benefit to doing so.

If you feel more comfortable towing within manufacturer's weight limits, I won't dissuade you. But I'm tiring of the constant "you can't do that" and "that won't work" that comes from folks who haven't researched the engineering or tried towing with different vehicles.

Tom
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:35 PM   #17
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If we wait long enough the lawyers will sort it out. I just hope it is not my lawyer doing the sorting.

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:36 PM   #18
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I have always said, let's get science involved. Someone's opinion on what vehicle can be rigged to tow has no bearing.
It's the laws of physics that rule.
Existing ratings are inadequate.
If they can rate a quarter back on 10 different attributes with a sum numerical score, it should be possible with tow vehicle/trailer combinations as well.
Acceleration, braking, load capacity, manuvering, stability, etc.
Then, all these debates would be settled with a simple "look up the number."
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
No, I haven't called the insurance company. (I'm towing within the ratings of my van - for now.) Since they'll pay if I'm speeding or commit another offense, they will likely pay if I'm doing something that's actually legal.
Since you're towing within your vehicles ratings your response to what I asked was completely irrelevant.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:00 PM   #20
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I have always said, let's get science involved. Someone's opinion on what vehicle can be rigged to tow has no bearing.
It's the laws of physics that rule.
Existing ratings are inadequate.
If they can rate a quarter back on 10 different attributes with a sum numerical score, it should be possible with tow vehicle/trailer combinations as well.
Acceleration, braking, load capacity, manuvering, stability, etc.
Then, all these debates would be settled with a simple "look up the number."
In reality none of that matters. It is really a liability issue, if you exceed the manufactures rating and an accident occurs it will go to court. The court will decided who was negligent. When the owner of the modified vehicle points at it and says it is your fault Mr. Manufacture the vehicle failed, they are going to say you modified it not our fault. When CanAm dose the work do they accept responsibility for the engineering changes they make or do they have you sign a release? That alone could tell you a lot. Will the modifications standup in court is the real test.

I have no doubt they can modify a vehicle to tow more than a manufactured rates it for and maybe even make it handle correctly. To me the question is do you want to take on the liability that may come with the modifications.

I have a questions what other systems are modified when they uprate these tow vehicles ? Are larger brakes installed, larger alternators, I am curious. There is much more to a tow vehicle than a heavy hitch.

Jim
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:16 PM   #21
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This is not directed at anyone in particular but;
It's not all about moving the trailer and TV, or even all about a hitch set up, to me, it's about being able to stop in an emergency situation.
The Buick and the 34' set up just does not seem safe for most roads and traffic.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I encounter a lot of crazy drivers each time I travel pulling the stream. That holds true whether I travel in Canada or the US.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:20 PM   #22
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Even if a law existed that made it a crime to tow beyond the manufacturers specifications, there would still be people doing it anyway.

How do I know? Because we have laws in place today, many of which may be well founded laws backed by what we call science, that people of a different mindset purposefully break.

Some laws (traffic laws for example) are made to protect the lives of others. We place trust in each individual who has a license to be responsible and make the right decisions that is not in their best interest, but in the well being and safety of others.

That being said, if a person is irresponsible and runs over someone (kills them), then we have another law (involuntary manslaughter) that punishes them: there is consequence.

I personally have a hard time thinking intelligence is at work when someone grossly over-tows (towing way beyond the manufacturers specifications). That said, I do not think we can legislate morality, or intelligence, and to do so would create a society founded in totalitarianism - and that is not the kind of government I care to be party to ...

In other words, I don't want to see laws made to keep someone from doing something I consider irresponsible or stupid: I want them to be able to have freedom. But the second that freedom robs someone else of life or health, there should extreme consequences.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:36 PM   #23
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This is not directed at anyone in particular but;
It's not all about moving the trailer and TV, or even all about a hitch set up, to me, it's about being able to stop in an emergency situation.
The Buick and the 34' set up just does not seem safe for most roads and traffic.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I encounter a lot of crazy drivers each time I travel pulling the stream. That holds true whether I travel in Canada or the US.
I've heard the guy from CanAm's spiel at Alumapalooza and the idea is the brakes on the tow vehicle are for the tow vehicle and the brakes on the trailer stop or slow down the trailer. Of course this doesn't take into consideration things like the Airstream disc brake failures that happened due to actuator problems. And while that could cause problems with any type of tow vehicle I'd much rather have something that the mfg says is adequate for the job if it happened to me.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:05 PM   #24
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Most states have towing laws that say the tow vehicle's brakes MUST be able to stop the entire combination, not just itself. So, unplug your trailer's brakes, go 65 mph (max rated speed for trailer tires), jam on the brakes as if a little kid on a tricycle rolled out in front of you, and tell me how it works out for you.
Don't tell me it can't happen, all it would take is for the umbilical plug to come loose, and you would have no trailer brakes.
Also, Canada's laws regarding liability are somewhat different from those of the United States, so what may not be a problem legally in Canada may be very different here.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:47 PM   #25
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I'll throw my chips in with the crowd that tows WITHIN the rated limits of the tow vehicle. When you do everything right and a collision occurs we call it an accident. When you play outside the box and the collision happens what are you going to call it ???? There's no question that you can make a vehicle tow in excess of rated limits but should you ????? Theoretically, the engineers should be standing behind you if you are within limits but think about who will stand behind you when you don't. I for one will give any tow combination I feel is being unsafe a wide berth.

Happy & SAFE towing everyone.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:15 PM   #26
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I for one will give any tow combination I feel is being unsafe a wide berth.

Happy & SAFE towing everyone.
I am a safe distance behind you.

Jim
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:25 PM   #27
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I suspect that Buick is not only more stable than a heavy duty pickup, it may stop the combo faster and straighter as well.

Would like to see a comparison.

doug k
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:31 PM   #28
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There's much said on this forum regarding people's opinions of mating smaller tow vehicles with larger Airstreams. With respect to the wide spectrum of views that are expressed here, very few of us fully understand the physics that control towing dynamics, and in that number I include the manufacturers of the vehicles we use to tow our trailers. Manufacturers cannot control what we hitch to our vehicles once they leave the factory so they put few, if any, resources into checking how well (or not) things tow. Consequently, tow ratings are not arrived at in any real scientific manner and more often than not are defined by marketing requirements, especially at the smaller end of the market.

With that in mind, people like Andy Thompson have put a lot of time and money into exploring the physics and math of towing dynamics and come to the conclusion that despite what the tow rating might be, many smaller vehicles are actually very effective as TVs, especially given the improvements in vehicle technology in recent years. The OP wouldn’t have been aware who set up this particular Enclave/Airstream combination but Andy Thompson has mated a fair number of these vehicles with larger Airstreams and has produced, with the appropriate modifications, a safe and practical pairing that has been extensively track and road tested. It may be that many people in this forum disagree with what Andy can do but I doubt that anyone has a sufficient technical knowledge of towing to challenge him in any meaningful way.

On the legal issues, these have already been discussed at length in this forum. It has been established that tow ratings have no legal standing either in the US or Canada so to seek to apportion some liability on that basis is a complete non-starter.

Of course, we are free to mate whatever tow vehicle we deem appropriate to our Airstreams, providing that it works. If you feel, for example, that a one ton truck is your minimum then that is your prerogative. However, as Andy Thompson has proved for many thousands of customers, there is a much greater choice of tow vehicle for your Airstream than would be suggested simply by looking at manufacturers tow ratings.

As a final thought, CanAm has been in business for many years and its reputation is staked on its ability to produce safe and practical vehicle and trailer combinations. If any of their setups were proven to be either unsafe or illegal then I doubt that the business would exist at all.
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