Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-01-2011, 12:57 PM   #71
Rivet Master
dkottum's Avatar
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,842
It should be noted that the Buick and European SUV's discussed here weigh almost as much as half-ton pickups, and some have larger brakes. So no matter how you look at it, they will stop in a shorter distance, even with the trailer.

If you look at mojo's earlier post, he has both vehicles, Touareg and F-150, and has towed the same trailer with both. Either vehicle has it's advantages, but the Touareg handles and brakes better with the trailer. This has become a "don't confuse me with the facts" argument based on old assumptions.

I have to make the assumption that if it handles and brakes better, it is a safer tow vehicle. If I also needed the extra load capacity for gear, work, or whatever, the pickup would be an excellent choice.

doug k

dkottum is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 01:15 PM   #72
Rivet Master
Lumatic's Avatar

1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,876
Images: 16
This horse ain't dead yet

Another perspective:
You have 5000 pounds rolling down the road unrestrained. The heavier vehicle has that much more resistance by virtue of the heavier weight having more inertia to overcome in order to being pushed down the road by the following trailer.

Yes you are right it is a double edge sword it also does have more moving inertia to overcome in order to stop.

Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
Lumatic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 01:16 PM   #73
2 Rivet Member
easplund's Avatar
2014 28' Land Yacht
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 36
Images: 3
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
in front of this irresistable force?: 1. a 3000# vehicle with brakes only designed to stop the vehicle with a shorter wheelbase or 2. a 5000# vehicle designed for increased load capacity with a longer wheelbase. Hint: Newton's 1st Law of Motion.

Another example:
Same trailer. Same choice between a light tow vehicle and a full size pickup or SUV. You are going down a steep hill. At the bottom is a sharp curve. At the outside of the curve is a cliff. No trailer brakes. What would you choose?
In general, I thought that SUV's were heavier than pickups. They have a lot more to them than an empty bed in the back. Anyways, at ~6000#, I think that mine is.
easplund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 02:29 PM   #74
Rivet Master
Lumatic's Avatar

1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,876
Images: 16
Anti Lock Trailer Brakes

Does anyone make an anti lock trailer brake system?

I have been told having your trailer brakes locked in a panic stop is a bad thing because of the risk of jack knifing.

Does anyone remember the scene in "The Long Long Trailer" where the the trailer dude was teaching Desi to tow? Trailer brakes were a separate control from the tow vehicle brakes. An add on lever on the steering wheel I think. 'Trailer brakes first' was the recommended technique that was inculcated in Desi's head by the trailer guy.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
Lumatic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 02:34 PM   #75
retired USA/USAF

2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,021
The trailer brakes first was practiced for a long time in highway trucks. They had a switch on the dash for wet / dry. I think the wet position would selectively apply the trailer brakes before the tractor brakes. This has been done away with for a long time so I guess it was determined to only cause a delay in full braking action.
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

polarlyse is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 03:01 PM   #76
4 Rivet Member
phbarnhart's Avatar
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 411
Images: 14
So, 2 quick points and I'll get out of the way...

1) There seems to be a conflating of civil and criminal liability here. Unless there is a specific law against towing over manufacturer's specs criminal liability is probably out. Civil liability is another issue entirely. While most states differ somewhat in the standard that must be proved to show that the defendant acted negligently, most states basically say that people must act as objectively reasonable individuals. Failure to maintain that standard of conduct subjects one to civil liability where damages and causation can be proven.

2) I would much rather try and convince a jury of average folks that someone towing at nearly double the recommended towing capacity was negligent, regardless of vehicle modifications, than I would like to convince them otherwise.
phbarnhart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 03:15 PM   #77
Rivet Master
noreen&sal's Avatar
1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , South Jersey
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,179
Images: 9
NJ State police

Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
After I retired I worked for a couple of years for my friend that owns a heavy duty towing business. Here in NJ the State Police have a commercial vehicle inspectioin team. So far they only bother commercial vehicles. I've never seen them get involved in RV units. However, again with commercial units they will look at the manuf. weights and the tires and if they don't jive, impounded. They carry portable scales and go to town. A few years back they were quite busy. Don't work there now so not sure how busy they are these days. They are well trained and don't miss a trick. If they ever branched off into the RV combinations they would have a field day. Modifications do not make them very happy so beware.

Happy & SAFE towing.
Back around 1981 I was rolling down US 206 in Columbus, N.J. A N.J. State Trooper pulled me over in a rain storm and did a full iunspection. He could not find a thing wrong, Except the back-up light didnt work. 30$ ticket. I feel so much safer these guys are protecting us. Always remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Sal.
Sal & Nora
Let us live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry. Mark Twain
AIR 42483
TAC N.J. 17
WBCCI 24740
noreen&sal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 04:00 PM   #78
Rivet Master
dkottum's Avatar
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,842
Liability. It's a rainy, windy day and I wish there was better reading than this.

How many of us go down the road without an altered trailer or tow vehicle. Or never make a driving error? Why are we using Eqaul-i-zer hitches or after market brake controllers, when they are modifications themselves (did you install it or have a professional do it?) or much safer models are available? Or none at all because our big truck don't need it?

Why would we tow an Airstream with a high center-of-gravity, solid axle pickup designed for heavy hauling chores or trailering twice as much weight, when we could use a modern SUV that handles and brakes better? Is that irresponsible? A liability?

I don't think the speculation on liability belongs in this sort of discussion because it is about as relevant as the effect of a full moon on our moods. And I prefer gearhead talk.

doug k
dkottum is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 04:50 PM   #79
Well Preserved

1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,575
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
Does anyone make an anti lock trailer brake system?

I have been told having your trailer brakes locked in a panic stop is a bad thing because of the risk of jack knifing.
ABS is available on commercial trailers (18 wheeler type). If you're driving along, and pass one on the left, you will see a yellow light along the left side, over the rear wheel area of the trailer. that's the ABS fault light, like we have in our ABS equipped cars and light trucks.
AFAIK, there is no ABS system currently available for travel trailers. There were some of us talking about adding tone rings and pulse generators to disc rotors for trailers, and installing an ABS module similar to what was installed on GM light trucks, with that same yellow light on the front corner of the trailer. Then Airstream stopped putting discs on their trailers, and the idea was dropped.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2011, 09:25 PM   #80
2 Rivet Member
L.D.Clara's Avatar
Brandon , Manitoba
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
The answer is really quite simple, at least for me. Given towing a 5000lb plus trailer with a complete loss of brakes and the inertia generated. In a panic stop which would you rather be sitting in directly in front of this irresistable force?: 1. a 3000# vehicle with brakes only designed to stop the vehicle with a shorter wheelbase or 2. a 5000# vehicle designed for increased load capacity with a longer wheelbase. Hint: Newton's 1st Law of Motion.
According to Newton's 2nd law I'd say whichever will stop faster on it's own after accounting for the tongue weight imposed by the trailer (because after the effort required to stop itself it has more left for the trailer)..

Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
Another example:
Same trailer. Same choice between a light tow vehicle and a full size pickup or SUV. You are going down a steep hill. At the bottom is a sharp curve. At the outside of the curve is a cliff. No trailer brakes. What would you choose?
I choose explosive bolts on my hitch...

Seriously, though, should you be heading down such a hill and allowing speed to build up that you aren't capable of carrying around the corner? No matter how big your tow vehicle, I'd argue you're courting disaster of some sort if you are.... Driver habits and reaction to situations are a huge part of the safety equation..

It was mentioned a while back in the thread, but I'm not surprised that a European vehicle doesn't have a weight rating for a weight distributing hitch. I used to live in the UK, and hadn't seen a weight distributing hitch until I came to Canada. Admittedly I was more into boats than trailers back then so I may have missed it...
L.D.Clara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2011, 08:00 AM   #81
Rivet Master
mutcth's Avatar

2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,621
Originally Posted by easplund View Post
In general, I thought that SUV's were heavier than pickups. They have a lot more to them than an empty bed in the back. Anyways, at ~6000#, I think that mine is.
Depends on the particular car. Here's some (empty, but with fuel) curb weights of light-duty tow vehicles. Notice that the curb weights of some modern car-based SUVs come really close to the weights of some pickups.

2005 Honda Odyssey: 4615 lbs
2011 Toyota Sienna (V6, front-wheel-drive): 4445 lbs
2011 Chrysler Town and Country: 4685 lbs

"Smaller" trucks:
2005 Toyota Tacoma (crew cab, V6, 4x4): 4115 lbs
2005 Honda Ridgeline: 4540 lbs

Car-based SUVs:
2005 Mercedes ML350: 4845 lbs
2008 Buick Enclave: 5100 lbs
2011 VW Touareg TDI: 5060 lbs
2008 Mercedes GL320: 5655 lbs
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (4x4, 3.6-liter V6): 4930 lbs

1/2-ton trucks:
2011 Ford F150 (crew cab, Ecoboost, 4x4): 5705 lbs
2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (crew cab, 5.3-liter, 4x4): 5370 lbs
2009 Dodge Ram 1500 (crew cab, 5.7-liter, 4x4): 5480 lbs

1/2-ton truck-based SUVs:
2007 Chevrolet Suburban (4x4, 5.3-liter): 5935 lbs
2008 Toyota Sequoia (4x4, 5.7-liter): 6025 lbs
2007 Ford Expedition (4x4, 5.4-liter): 6325 lbs

And for some of CanAm's more interesting set-ups:
2010 VW Golf TDI: 3165 lbs, towing a 16' Sport (that weighs about the same as the VW)
2008 Mini Cooper Clubman: 2780 lbs, towing a Argosy 20' (that weighs about the same as the Mini)

mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #82
Vintage Kin
slowmover's Avatar
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6,277
Images: 1

I think we'd all agree that being prudent is the answer to any of the questions raised above. What specifically constitutes prudence is the sticking point.

TV & RV manufacturers are in business to make money. Period. On safety questions (part of the confusion in these threads) their record is execrable. And SAE is a captured group: given definitions to work within, they will . . even if it means the "answer" given is not comprehensive. It will only be workable within defined parameters. Change the parameters -- any of them -- and different answers will arise.

So, to be specific, "tow ratings" are among a pre-selected group of vehicles. Not all vehicles. An enormous difference. And, if one only chooses a single trailer type with which to conduct tests -- with low COG, no appreciable side or length wind loadings, just frontal -- how can it be said to be "comprehensive"? Does anyone here think that a construction trailer loaded with sheet steel handles the same as a high ground clearance, enormous sail area square white box? I didn't think so. But the hoopla around J2807 would have you believe so.

For the pickup trucks chosen as the focus of this standard, for the commercial operators and contractors, farmers and ranchers, the J2807 guideline may well be worthwhile. But it is only by a leap-of-faith extrapolation to a variety of RV's behind pickups and their closest cousins that the ratings are valid. The farther one is from the test vehicles, and the conditions, the less the "validity".

Pickup trucks (and derivatives) are the worst handling, most dangerous type of vehicle to own and operate. The propensity to rollover is unacceptable. That is the trade-off to the payload and trailer towing capacity wanted for working vehicles. They are better than they used to be . . but it means they are still handicapped in all areas of performance. It's pretty easy to lose traction at the wrong time.

So, that a pickup can do a lot of work is a given. And standards that make comparisons among them a bit more valid are worthwhile is understood. But J2807 makes no attempt to test the range of vehicles for sale, with a variety of trailers, and then add footnotes for performance limitations.

There is also no definition of what constitutes a "good" versus a "bad" trailer. We've all seen the A/S video on the handling characteristics of a leaf-sprung square SOB and a I-S A/S through the same road course. It's simple enough to understand that a crap trailer behind the crappiest-handling TV (a pickup) is the worst combination on the road. Or it ought to be so understood. The TV, not the A/S trailer, is the weak link when the TV is a pickup (see the same trailer faster through the slalom on CAN AM's website behind other TV's).

One can go back in time with older SAE papers and see the same effect. Poorly chosen TV's with poorly-done "hitch rigging" (air shocks, anyone?). If there has ever been a recommendation by SAE for what constitutes the best hitch rigging for a given TV with a variety of TT's (and other) then it's as well hidden as aliens at Area 51. This would more properly be the role of government (DOT) . . but, as that might hurt the profitability of RV and TV manufacturers, it doesn't happen. Some government drone might not get that private sector job later. Other countries have different experiences (and some danged good ideas in some instances, such as mandatory trailer parking brakes). This is where the desire for clarity would happen, if it did.

"Safety" is hard to define, but profit is easy to understand. One may think it cynical, but it is the only rational response to obviously exclusive "testing". Short of an examination of the assumptions underlaying the OEM's idea of "safety" it's what we're left with. The less information, the better, apparently.

As to exceeding the ratings themselves, well, every day in probably every state of the Union are dually 1-T pickups running the roads, perfectly legally, grossing 10,000-lbs or more beyond manufacturer towing ratings for those trucks. And those trucks will do it 24/7/365 for over 300k miles. The states look for properly tagged/apportioned licensure, insurance and that axle/tire ratings are not exceeded. That's about it.

Having done this work -- oilfield hotshot -- with a 1T dually and a gooseneck flatbed trailer (8k empty) and with loads of up to/around 16k on top of the trailer one has to have an idea of how to load what/where. So what does this have to do with RV's? After all, RV's are essentially static for weight, size, etc. Nothing much changes outside of a given range. Thus, an RV is easily predictable. Unchanging. No CDL experience required on every trip outbound.

Those who are quick to criticize AndyT's approach are also those too lazy to have read what he has written, I'll wager. In more than one post or Internet available article he has laid out how an analysis of a TV works within the numbers, overall. No differently than was done by many in the 1960's and 1970's with cars pulling trailers.

The TV manufacturer gave a recommendation. Often easily exceeded provided one was aware of deficiencies which most often could be properly addressed. More easily done today due to the proliferation of accurate 3-pad weight scales nationwide. But what was true then is true now: probably 90% of tow rig combos aren't properly hitched. A little bit, or a lot. Those quick to criticize may also be those who haven't ever adjusted according to scale numbers, and/or those who don't trend changes to the vehicles via numbers and new adjustments the same way.

The weight differences trip to trip in a TT are minor, rarely 1,000-lbs, more likely 100 to 300-lbs trip to trip. So, predicting what works, and having set up ten thousand or more tow vehicles in forty years is a database of experience based on analysis that makes for decent advice. Comprehensive advice.

Then, to say (as has been said here ad nauseum) that one's insurance company will not cover an overweight situation (and that is about legal definitions, not private party "ratings") is the same as saying that running the road at 73-mph means an accident (of even partial liability) will not be covered, is hogwash. That insurance company would be facing a devastating loss and action by the state besides. Fraudulent coverage.

What may "go" in a civil suit is different. So if someone has information concerning those, please affix a link. I've only seen rumors. Closed settlements constitute "rumor", thus no weight there. A democracy wouldn't allow closed court settlements (risk entailment), so you are on your own as regards where we live, or what you deserve to know. A non-starter thus far.

So prudence is for many a matter of both comfort and effort. For those wishing to avoid the latter in favor of a blinded former, stick with what is no more "proven" (ratings) and drive on. 90% with less-than-ideal-hitch-rigging covers pretty much all of us on any given day . . . and so should make pre-trip and post-trip rig inspections more rigorous.

But saying something cannot be done when it is being done and being done well fails the test implied. As well as what the law addresses and doesn't.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #83
Site Team
Aage's Avatar
1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11,169
Images: 25
Thanks very much for this article, Rednax.

It should become required reading for all that get involved in discussions regarding what can pull what.

Thanks for my "Word of the Day", execrable meaning: abominable - odious - loathsome - abhorrent - detestable
Aage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2011, 09:03 AM   #84
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
Andrew T's Avatar
2008 34' Classic
1960 17' Pacer
London , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 784
Great Discussion everyone!

In fairness to the car makers they are in a very difficult position. When we set up a combination we pretty much have control of the entire combination. We know how the trailer handles, what the real weights are, we configure the hitch and we speak with and often take a test drive with the person that is going to drive it. Often we have towed with that combination or one close to it before. I would never make a blanket statement like an automaker that this vehicle can tow all trailers of this weight, weight is part of the equation but balance suspension and aerodynamics are far more important. Likely 75% of the trailers on the road that weigh 4000 pounds do not handle as well or stop as quickly as a 34' Airstream. A discussion that happens all the time at our store is yes you can tow that 34' Airstream but no you cannot tow that 26' box over there.

J2807 is likely a good thing I have followed it closely and was a liason on the committee. I don't care for their handling test it is not really a valid one in my mind. The high speed one involves turning the steering wheel 180 degrees and immediately back to centre. From what I see of it the problem is that it does not account for differences in wheelbase or steering gear ratios. This maneuver in a Ford Crew Cab long box produces a very mild reaction and change in direction. In a Mustang it is a very dramatic change in direction. So even as solo vehicles the Crew Cab can likely do the maneuver at a much higher speed than the Mustang. Hoever if I am trying to avoid an accident give me the Mustang every time.

My concern is that the vehicles tested are only rated to their lowest number but you won't be told what the limiting factor was. For example a Enclave likely beats the pickups and traditional SUV's in the handling test but it may not be able to pass the cooling system test. I might say well I don't plan to visit Arizona in July and I would rather have the handling and the fuel economy but you won't get to make that decision based on the published standard. Another anomoly is that dual wheel trucks are given more time in their 0-60 acceleration standard. So a dually could have a higher tow rating based on that alone but if you did not need the weight carrying capacity a single wheel would do the job just as well just not have as high a rating.

All in all it is possibly a step in the right direction it will keep some of the rediculous ratings out of the mix like 7200 pounds on a 4Runner but if they don't test a vehicle it does not mean it won't tow you just don't have their blessing which is understandable.

I delivered a Fifth Wheel to Florida last week. My 25th trip down I75 each one with a different combination. I towed a 30' Classic back so I had to tow it with our 3/4 Ton Dodge Hemi with 4:10 Gears. Coincidently the last time I drove to Florida was with our 300C also with a Hemi towing a 34 Classic with 4 people in the car and a fully loaded trailer. What amazed me was how much worse the performance was with the truck. Though the truck is heavier than the 300 the trailer had to be 2000 pounds lighter. So though I was moving less weight in total the perfromance was still dramatically less with the the truck with the same engine and 5 speed transmissions in both. Off the line the truck was as good but hills the 300 would sail over at 70 MPH had the truck down to 60 and a gear lower, the truck would have gone over them at 70 but it would have meant climbing at 4500 RPM in 3rd gear. Also I found myself driving the truck in a much more timid fashion as I just did not have the depth of control that is there with 300. Kind of in the back of my mind all the time was "push this too far and it won't come back" kind of a feeling. Not that that is an all bad thing I likely should be more timid when I drive. If halfway back some said here you can take this 300C with 1000 pound tow rating the rest of the way home I would have given up the 3/4 in an instant. Besides the difference in stability the level of comfort in the 300 is dramatically different.

I hope this helps.

Andrew T

Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot
Andrew T is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towing Question from a novice imaginair Tow Vehicles 13 10-20-2011 07:15 PM
Towing with an older 4Runner, lots of mods... JDMDA9 Tow Vehicles 9 08-25-2011 08:56 PM
Towing with a TDI VW Jetta PA BAMBI II Tow Vehicles 102 07-21-2011 09:27 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.