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Old 09-17-2013, 12:16 PM   #43
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I convinced myself via information on this forum that my 2007 Mercedes ML 320 CDI diesel could tow a larger trailer than a 19' Bambi International with a 4,500 pound GVW and a 550 pound tongue weight. The Mercedes was rated 500 pounds on the hitch and 5,000 pounds towing.

I drove across the US from Phoenix to London Ontario (2,200 miles each way) to reinforce the hitch so I could tow a 25FB International Serenity with 833 pound tongue weight and a 7,300 pound GVW.

When I arrived at the dealership in Los Angeles, we installed the Hensley hitch head and I checked the weight using a Shurline scale that reported the tongue weight was 1,150 pounds as it sat on the dealership lot.

I was able to tow it home to the Phoenix area through the mountains, especially the steep grade coming out of Palm Springs where I down shifted the transmission from 7th to 5th as the grade got steeper all the while maintaining 55 mph. When I went to the nearest CAT scales, I was under the GVW and axle ratings on the Mercedes. I was about 5,600 pounds trailer weight on it's axles. I was pulling more than the recommended 5,000 pound trailer and with substantially more tongue weight.

My wife joined me on a trial run to the scales with our "stuff" in the trailer and a full fresh water tank. We had a few tools, a small air compressor and a few blankets in the car. The tongue weight on the same scales was now 1,175 pounds.

This time the CAT scales reported that the front axle was overloaded by 75 pounds and the GVW was exceeded by 260 pounds. We did not have the generators and the gasoline tanks with us in the car along with other camping supplies. By some new strange sounds, I knew the transmission was not happy with the slight grades on the loop around Phoenix, even though I downshifted to lower gears. The car was pulling closer to a 7,000 pound trailer.

To put it mildly, I was very disappointed and came to the realization a much more substantial tow vehicle would be necessary. I went to a local Ford dealership and downloaded all the information I could find on the F150 with the Eco-Boost twin turbocharged V6 engine. I pushed the numbers as much as possible, but could not get our payload to work out in the 1/2 ton truck.

That pushed me into the 3/4 ton diesel pickup market and the 2012 Dodge did not have the urea tank system to contend with. About this time, we also decided to jump from a 25FB International Serenity to a 27FB Classic which was a large increase in GVW (7,300 pounds to 9,000 pounds) and a slightly lower tongue weight as many options on our 25FB were standard on the 27FB.

I know the numbers for the truck when it was full of equipment in the pickup bed and have the reserve capacity to now consider bypassing the Classic 27FB and go directly to the Classic 30 with a 10,000 pound GVW and a 110 pound lighter starting tongue weight than the 25FB had according to the factory literature.

We saw a lovely 2011 34' tri-axle Classic with a 11,500 GVW (#25 of 25 so it was the last one built), but it would have been to much combined weight for our current truck even though the literature tongue weight was only 710 pounds.

I limit the load on truck per the axle and tire ratings of 11,510 pounds. The truck is rated to tow a 12,650 pound trailer with a gross combined weight of 20,000 pounds. We could be close to the legal weight limits with the maxed out payload Classic 30 and a full load of gear in the pickup.

Our rig could be weighed at maximum load and be legal. I am not sure lighter vehicles could meet that criteria and still be safe.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:48 PM   #44
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It isn't so long ago that there were no "tow ratings". Or that those of us with TT's of sophisticated design (aero, low ground clearance + independent suspension) set up WD hitches with the 1/3-1/3-1/3 formula = Don't exceed tire or axle ratings. And had better combined rigs than with any pickup-truck TV, then or today, could provide. In braking, handling and steering. IOW, in what matters.

Weight is the last consideration, and not the most important, what is was listed above parenthetically.

The rollover propensity of a truck is far higher than with cars. And payload additions plus a trailer don't improve that. Far from it.

The range of vehicles suitable to pull a given A/S model or year is worth the time to explore. And solo miles mean more. So the "safer" TV will be the one that is best-suited to solo dutes as well as being able to tow the TT.

As to corporate responsibility the cigaret analogy is an excellent choice: those tobacco firms never put profitability before user safety, did they? Nor have the automakers ever fought against proposed safety regs even when proven elsewhere in the world, have they?

Tow ratings -- compiled by an intern with a spreadsheet -- are designed to funnel everyone into high profit margin vehicles. Were the automakers honest -- and they are not -- we'd see every vehicle sold given a rating based on a wider range of criteria than what is used to befuddle the ignorant.

The trailer choice was the important one. The TV is secondary. And hitch rigging is the third leg of the stool. THey work well together or they don't.

So, if the TV can get through the slalom as fast as an A/S can behind some TV's it is a good starting point. Check off boxes on 60-0 braking as well. And check statistics of injury due to vehicle type, even when corrected for income/education level/age. Pickups are dead last every time (well, except for the Ford Excursion).

Weight "ratings" and "safety" don't correlate in an exact manner. If at all.

.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:18 PM   #45
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However, one may have a dedicated tow vehicle because they have a fairly economical daily driver whose tires and axle ratings could never carry the loads imposed by a large trailer and a lot of heavy equipment carried in the towing vehicle.

When the share of the tongue weight and "in the tow vehicle" cargo are close to 1,900 pounds plus the driver and passenger, the crowd of four wheel drive vehicles capable of carrying that payload weight with a separate carrying space for generators, extra generator gasoline along with propane tanks for grills is composed of trucks with storage outside of the passenger capsule, not sedans, SUVs, station wagons, etc.

Then the research rapidly weeds out the wannabe vehicles built with car axles, soft suspensions, passenger car tires, small disk brakes and light duty drive lines.

Peterbuilt and Kenworth make trucks for towing large loads with axles, suspension and tires sized for the job. They have the power to get the load moving and the brakes to get it stopped. They do not drive shalom race courses for handling. They are working vehicles. One does not see working 20,000 pound sports cars on the race tracks.

I consider a 10,000 pound trailer a big load, aerodynamics not withstanding. Add to that another 1,000, pounds of cargo on the tow vehicle and there is a significant mass to start and stop in addition to the weight of the tow vehicle.

A sub 5,000 pound trailer with similar weight tow vehicle will be far more nimble that a rig twice as heavy because of the laws of motion.

The big rigs go straight because it takes a lot of force to change the direction of that large mass.

Everyone gets the opportunity to select the trailer, the hitch, the tow vehicle and all the accessories. If a less good choice is made on any one or several and an incident happens, hopefully they can live with the consequences of their choices because then it is too late to change them.

YMMV
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:12 PM   #46
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I think what Slowmover and others are saying is the heavy duty truck may not be the good choice to avoid an incident from happening. They just don't handle well, with or without an Airstream.

doug
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:30 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by AlphaInfinit View Post
It doesn't matter what the primary aim of the manufacturer is. That is not relevant to the conversation. The only thing that matters is what the published towing limitations are on the vehicle. That same manufacturer will be called as a witness for the plaintiff when a driver who makes the decision to grossly exceed the towing limits of a vehicle kills or injures another person. It will be one more piece of evidence that is used in a civil or criminal suit. Sorry, it is that simple. The plaintiff's legal team won't care what was reinforced or modified on the vehicle.

it is your assets, future earnings, and possibly your freedom at risk. Choose whatever school of thought you wish.

Here is a quote from a towing article online(you can google the text to find the specific page):

"

Nobody is suggesting to ignore the weight rating.

Weight ratings and published towing capacity are two very different things and more often than not in direct conflict with each other, especially in 1/2 ton trucks.

One is meaningful and based on engineering principles, the other, in my opinion, is often a number made up by the marketing guys.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:53 PM   #48
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You are the one who promotes exceeding the tow ratings. The burden of proof is on you, not the other way around. You should prove that it is safe to exceed the ratings, as it is already established that staying within the rating is safe.
I'm not the one claiming that it's unsafe...
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:30 PM   #49
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I'm not the one claiming that it's unsafe...
Toyota, your cars manufacturer, says its unsafe. You claim otherwise.
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:44 PM   #50
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Toyota, your cars manufacturer, says its unsafe. You claim otherwise.
If we're going to be legalistic pedants, Toyota claims only that it is safe up to their stated capacities and makes no other claim besides a blanket "use at your own risk" CYA.
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:02 PM   #51
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Just as a btw, my owners manual also gives me the following instructions:

Quote:
Do not exceed 55 mph (88 km/h). At higher speeds, the trailer may sway or affect vehicle handling.
According to this and logic used above, anybody choosing to drive at, for example, 65mp/h has just made themselves culpable, should an accident happen.

The truth is, this is yet another example of the manufacturer trying to protect themselves by setting an artificially low limit.

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Old 09-17-2013, 10:14 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by switz View Post

A sub 5,000 pound trailer with similar weight tow vehicle will be far more nimble that a rig twice as heavy because of the laws of motion.

The big rigs go straight because it takes a lot of force to change the direction of that large mass.
Clearly, you have never ridden in a Challenger tank tackling an obstacle course.

Mass is not an issue when it comes to rapid maneuvering for as long as you have traction, power and a low centre of gravity.

It becomes an issue if your tow vehicle can't change lanes without losing grip because the suspension design is 50 years old or the centre of gravity is artificially high.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:52 PM   #53
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Toyota, your cars manufacturer, says its unsafe. You claim otherwise.
How would Toyota know it's unsafe? What testing has the company done?
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:28 AM   #54
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In the states, the latter philosophy is based on what the vehicle is engineered to tow. The manufacturer(the expert on what the vehicle is capable of), along with their engineering teams, vehicle designers and finally, the legal team all came to a consensus on what the specs should be. The safety systems like the abs, the vehicle stability system and on some, the TCS...they are all designed with the manufacturers recommendations on towing limits.

Some who tow in the flat lands may be lucky and never have a problem ignoring those limits. Others will push the envelope and put their safety, along with the safety of others at risk. I personally won't put my life, assets and all of my future earnings at risk, but that is just me. I also have a wife who is an insurance agent, so she deals with the aftermath of accidents all the time.

Good luck!
Do you know of any source of accumulated accident data for vehicles towing trailers? I've hunted many times and I find no data at all, let alone data indicating some percentage of accidents were caused by TVs with trailers that exceed some towing specification. You know, a 8,000 lb trailer being towed by a vehicle with a 7,000 pound rating. Where is the data?
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:26 AM   #55
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How would Toyota know it's unsafe? What testing has the company done?
They are the manufacturers of your vehicle. They definitely know more about the car than you or any other individual. Give them a call (I'm sure there is a 1-800 number) and just ask.

Also, they have implemented the SAE towing standards, so they should know about the limits of their cars like no other car company (Toyota is the only manufacturer that has implemented the test).
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:40 AM   #56
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They are the manufacturers of your vehicle. They definitely know more about the car than you or any other individual. Give them a call (I'm sure there is a 1-800 number) and just ask.

Also, they have implemented the SAE towing standards, so they should know about the limits of their cars like no other car company (Toyota is the only manufacturer that has implemented the test).
Not for all vehicles in their lineup, only for their trucks. Here's an interesting, and illuminating, article on Edmunds (hardly a mouthpiece for CanAm) talking about how marketing is affecting tow ratings: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/f...w-ratings.html

Also, when I first started researching my set-up, I did actually talk to people who work for Honda, the manufacturer of my vehicle. I tried and call customer service, they had no idea. I went up the line as much as I could - still no idea. I then talked to some of the people at my dealership who are usually well informed - they had no idea either. Their head engineer, with 30 years experience, did take a look at my hitch set-up and nodded in approval though. I asked him outright if he thought this would damage the car in any way, drive train, brakes, body. His response was "I can't see how".

In short, nobody could tell me just how the published tow rating had been arrived at. The best I got was from a private conversation with an automotive engineer who refused to be quoted but who said something along these lines:

" It's a mixture of what we know the car can support and what we assume the needs of the end user are. You may well be able to tow much more than we say you can, but it's not worth our while to figure it out."

I then talked to a lawyer friend of mine, who laughed and told me about idiot-proofing and risk vs. reward and made a couple of other interesting observations.

Nobody was prepared to go on the record, but the professionals who looked at my setup all thought it was well thought out, well put together and would do what CanAm says it does.



I also wanted to make a point about legal liabilities, which is frequently brought up.

The user manual of your vehicle has about as much legal clout as the user manual of your fridge - i.e. zero.

Unless there is a law in your state/province/country that states that it is an offence to exceed the published towing recommendation as stated in your user manual it is just that - a recommendation.

What a manual says is: Up to this point, we've tested and believe it to be safe. After this point, you're on you're own. You break it, you own it.

An example of this can be found in the Airstream user manual. It warns in strong language that riding in the back of the trailer while towing is dangerous and can lead to injury and death. Reading it, you could be excused for believing that there are legal implications should you choose to ignore this advice.

However, riding in the back of your trailer whilst towing is perfectly legal in a number of states. Stupid? Perhaps. Dangerous? Probably. Legal? Absolutely.
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