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Old 10-20-2007, 06:13 PM   #15
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We tow our 20' Safari with a Mercedes ML500. It's a great combination -my wife just went from NY to Montana and back with it. So I'd say anything comparable- 5 liter, same weight and wheelbase would be fine.
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:33 AM   #16
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smoses,

I tow our 16' CCD with an FJ Cruiser and have experienced no problems. It is setup with an Equal-i-zer hitch and I have experienced no sway problems.

Yes the FJ is limited in space as is the 16' AS, but it really comes down to what you want to carry with you on "Your Trip" to enjoy yourself.

If you forget or can carry it with you and you find that you need it on your trip, that's what they invented stores for.

Enjoy....FYI I won't tow anything larger then a 16' with the FJ.
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:53 AM   #17
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Steve, before you give up on that 20' which has a much better layout than the 19' or the 16', you may want to consider a VW Touareg as a TV. It has all the capabilities off road that the FJ does and more. With air suspension, it automatically levels the load and raises up for off road travel. Unhitched it handles like a Porsche. Plus it can tow 7700 lbs.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:54 AM   #18
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I think most vehicles with body on frame and very poweful V6 or mild to moderate V8 would be fine for a 20'. Having towed a fully loaded 19', I found that even though it's small, it does have some meat to it and some transit forces that still need to be dealt with. For stability, a bit longer wheelbase always helps.

I would NEVER tow more than 16' with a unibody anything.

I agree, I'd look at some alternatives before giving up on the 20'. The 20 I fully agree has a great floorplan compared to the other smaller sizes. Try Trailblazer, or other smaller bof(body on frame) smaller SUVs. Though I would never argue a Suburban, Tahoe or Expidition couldn't do the job, I'm not sure with a 20 you even need to go as high as a full size 1/2 ton (though it might not hurt). Many of these vehicles can be purchased pre-owned, with very low miles for far less than you'd think.
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I would NEVER tow more than 16' with a unibody anything.
No disrespect intended, but could you explain your rationale for this statement?
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:50 PM   #20
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the vw t-rex, audi, porsche suv is NOT a unibody...

it has a unibody OVER frame rails....

significantly different than typical monocoque/unibody....

the weak issue is the receiver attachment junction...

and that is partly why vw suggests NOT using w/d rigging.

as albertF knows from experience w/d rigging CAN be accomplished on unibody vehicles...

you are towing with a caddie right?

but a hitch fabricator needs to understand how to attach/distribute the forces,

along the unibody platform correctly.

i've seems lots of happy safe towing this past year with a variety of midsized suvs and vans and autos...

using hahas and with proper chassis structural modifications,

beyond gearing, tranny coolers, anti-roll bars or brake upgrades.

i've also seen some VERY SCARY bodyonframe, big rig domestic trucks dangerously towing down the roads...

go get'em albertF!

cheers
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:18 PM   #21
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If you re-read the actual posting, I never specifically came out against one particular car/truck...just said unibody.

As for why, it's fairly simple. Take a look at where a hitch is bolted up on a frame car. Then, take a look at the metal, the thickness, etc where a hitch would connect to a simple unibody vehicle. In addition, a lot "traditional" unibody cars are front wheel drive. Most of those are not up to the task. For example, the Honda Accord V6. Great passenger car, but tow a 19' Bambi? I don't think so. Not designed for it. Another example, there are clowns out there who try to tow and or do move a 34' Classic with a Dodge Intrepid. Smart? Very much no! Does it move it? Sure? The stresses of towning on most unibody vehicles simply aren't engineered for higher loads. Transmissions, axleshafts, weight distribution, let alone the base unibody construction, all lead to what I consider unsuitable vehicles. Do some do it and not have a problem? I'm sure there are folks out there. There are also, even on this forum, stories and pictures of folks not doing the right thing and the results have been less than optimal. To me, it makes little sense to spend tens of thousand of dollars on an RV, and skimping on the tow vehicle. Do these statements I make blindly blanket every situation? Nope, but a good majority, it does apply. Don't beleive me? Ask any person out there that rolled their coach (they are on this forum) and said the same things...it works, what's the problem?

That is why I would never tow with a simple unibody if I had more than a 16' unit weighing more than 3000lbs...but again, to each their own.
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:33 PM   #22
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Always nice to know that we probably are, once again, doing the wrong thing. We tow our 19' Bambi with a unibody vehicle. That vehicle comes with a Class IV factory hitch and a 7500 pound rating and the owner's manual recommends a weight-distributing hitch for heavier loads. It is a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We towed the same trailer with a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee which was, also, a unibody. Almost 6 years of towing with the wrong type of vehicle. Shame on us.

Maybe the Hensley is the only thing that has saved us from disaster?
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:54 PM   #23
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Done Deal

I started this thread. Thank you all for the invaluable advice you provided. My decision has been made, i.e. cancel the 20 ft. Airstream and stick with Plan A: FJ Cruiser and the 16 ft. Bambi. See you down the road.
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
as albertF knows from experience w/d rigging CAN be accomplished on unibody vehicles...

you are towing with a caddie right?

but a hitch fabricator needs to understand how to attach/distribute the forces,

along the unibody platform correctly.

i've seems lots of happy safe towing this past year with a variety of midsized suvs and vans and autos...
It works for me. No, not a Caddie . . . but not a heavy pickup either. The reciever is mounted using factory attachment points plus the centre tube is securely bolted (using two 5/8" bolts) to the rather thick and rigid looking cast aluminum subframe for the independent rear suspension.

7,000 miles of towing have done nothing to convince me that it's a bad idea. In fact, I'm very pleased with stability, handling, fuel economy, pulling power (more is always great, but it does fine), and reliability to date. My wife is comfortable driving the combination as well. She was surprised at how easy it was. She once tried driving her parent's Class C motorhome (unbalanced with a rear kitchen and bath) and gave up after a mile, but towing the Airstream is completely different from that ungainly beast.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim A.
Always nice to know that we probably are, once again, doing the wrong thing.
LOL, we are in the same boat Tim. Our unibody TV is almost as big as a Honda Accord and our Airstream is larger than a Bambi but amazingly we've kept the rig on the road for three years now.

What's wrong with our TV is the issue with noise, or to be specific, the lack of noise. Cruising at 105KPH with the bullet in tow we cannot hear any engine or drivetrain noise. So relaxing! To stay alert we must keep the windows open, the radio turned up or the blower motor on high. So much for the view that a screaming V6 sedan reving at 2,700 RPM is noisy and annoying.
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