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Old 12-01-2013, 01:06 PM   #197
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Discussions about safety are mostly filled with air. I can't even FIND information on RV accidents to begin understanding what the statistics reveal. I think one reason is that people towing or driving big RVs tend to be very careful. I did find some really bad news on accidents involving Class A motorhomes though. OUCH! But I am unable to find solid information on TTs.

Likewise, information on broken axles or busted hitches is also not very solid. There's a few anecdotes here and there, but nothing statistical that I can find. I lieu of such solid information, what we seem to be talking about when we talk of safety is the "feeling of safety." Something we know from the early days of the SUV is that people felt safer because of the size of these early SUVs, even though they were actually very unsafe due to rollover and other problems.

There is one true generality, which is that in any collision the car with the most mass has an advantage without considering the specific crashworthy design characteristics built in to each. That's not much to go on when talking about towing.

My intuition tells me that when towing the risks have to do with stopping and maneuvering. Braking power of any vehicle is important, and is always being improved because of how important it is. e.g. Anti-lock brakes, disk brakes, anti-fade pads and so on. If one tows in the mountains, you know you really want LOTS of fade resistance and lots of stopping power.

Next, you have the Interstate. I have had two occasions to need to swerve quickly. On the first, I elected not to try it and took a hub cap into the front of the trailer's protection plate doing some small damage. On the second I had to swerve to avoid a spinning car. I had slowed to about 35 before needing to absolutely avoid hitting it. I felt "modestly comfortable" in the maneuver, but not as confident as I would like to. When I see those CanAm slalom videos of cars going 55MPH with a 30-footer, I think that looks really great!

Now that I have towed my 25' for 20,000 miles and two years, I have a very different perspective than when I started out and I simply looked for a "big horse to pull a big wagon." My current view is a bit more complicated. Yes, I do like the big cavern in the Suburban, and it does have a good safe feel to it. But, I am pretty sure that 300C would leave me in the dust in any kind of maneuvering. Can we fit out junk in a 300C? I dunno.

Then there is the total cost and economy to consider too. I am currently at 10.7 MPG and when you tow as much as we do, that's a tonload of money.

It's very useful to have these discussions of the alternatives to the big truck. Without CanAm, I don't know where the information would come from?
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:12 PM   #198
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Andy,

I've always been interested in your setup with the Honda. What engine and trans do you have? Was the receiver special made installation? And can you climb long grades in the mountains?

I'm still hoping to get more miles on my 6 year old Suburban, but if the repair costs climb, we'll be looking to change to something more economical. We're definitely open to the "alternative" world of TVs, like the 300, the Flex and so on.
The Honda works for us and our use - but might not be for everybody.

Our trailer, despite it's size, is relatively light; 6250lbs empty, about 7000lbs ready for camping. Tongue weight on the old triple axles is also low, just over 600lbs when empty, about 850lbs fully loaded. With good WD, the car ends up carrying around 600lbs - this with an official payload of 1400lbs.

The Honda has a V6, developing 260hp. The torque is adequate, with 240 pound-feet. I've got an OBD II reader installed that measures hp output at the wheel, I've yet to exceed 141hp - this on a relatively steep incline from a standing start. Towing on the level, with my setup, requires about 40-50hp, standard acceleration from a stop light about 65hp. In other words, we don't need a huge engine to get our trailer moving.

We had an oil cooler and a custom hitch installed by CanAm, as well as the standard brake controller.

How we camp

We're a young family of five, with three kids under the age of four - a three year old and 17 months old twins. Long journeys are currently out of the question - the best we can hope for in a day is about three hours of travel time, then it's meltdown time.

As a result, we tend to camp in Provincial Parks close to Toronto - from Algonquin to Long Point. We're incredibly spoiled and lucky that we have so much natural beauty within easy driving distance.

We come from tent and canoe camping, and perhaps because of that we tend to camp lightly. We look at the Airstream as more luxurious camping, not as a mobile home. We don't carry generators, firewood (illegal on the Provincial Parks to bring your own), or huge propane BBQs.

The PP campsites don't have full hook-ups, often we make do with no hook-ups at all although it's nice to have power during the height of summer. Next year, I am planning to make the Airstream even more independent by installing more solar panels (currently we've got 100W) and a composting toilet.

Ontario, or rather the part of Ontario we're camping in, is mostly flat or rolling hills. I have spoken to WBCCI members who have taken their Sienna across the continent, including the Rockies, although that did mean making some compromises in terms of speed that I personally might not be prepared to make.

The future

Once the kids are old enough to not need the van anymore, we will probably move to a large Diesel SUV, either the Jeep Grand Cherokee or the Mercedes GL350 Bluetec. Another contender would be the Dodge Durango that shares the Mercedes platform, although that would mean the loss of the diesel.

The main reason to move to either one of these would be the increase in torque, which would make it possible for us to take the family on a cross Canada trip without having to worry about towing in the mountains.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:57 PM   #199
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OK now that we have FINALLY determined that a Flex can pull an AS, how about where to get good tow mirrors for the Flex? Anyone?
Barry & Karen
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:17 PM   #200
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M'Kesh work great on most vehicles. We use them on our G35.
Best to ask a Flex owner to know for sure.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #201
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The Honda has a V6, developing 260hp. The torque is adequate, with 240 pound-feet. I've got an OBD II reader installed that measures hp output at the wheel, I've yet to exceed 141hp - this on a relatively steep incline from a standing start. Towing on the level, with my setup, requires about 40-50hp, standard acceleration from a stop light about 65hp. In other words, we don't need a huge engine to get our trailer moving.
=============
Andy,
Thanks for all the details. Very informative!
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #202
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What fuel economy are some of you experiencing when you tow a 25 foot or larger AS with a mini-van like an Odyssey or Sienna? I did own a 2010 Odyssey EXL and typically got about 23 mpg on the highway. I never did tow with the Odyssey or think of towing a travel trailer as possible.

The reason I never thought of a mini-van as a tow vehicle was because of my experience hauling clay in my Odyssey. My wife is a potter and I would some times pick up 600 - 700 lbs of clay for her in the Odyssey. If I loaded the clay in the rear of the van behind the rear axle the steering would be very abnormal. I learned quickly to distribute the clay to equalize the load in the van. I did not consider a weight distribution hitch as an option for an Odyssey until I started reading post on the Airforums about towing with mini-vans and such.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:00 PM   #203
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If you want to tow a trailer with your Odyssey a weight distributing hitch and trailer brakes are a necessity. The tow vehicle and trailer need to be set up right.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:30 PM   #204
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OK now that we have FINALLY determined that a Flex can pull an AS, how about where to get good tow mirrors for the Flex? Anyone? Barry & Karen
See my photo in what did you get for your airstream today. On line, Costco. Out worth the old, in with the new. Jim
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:47 PM   #205
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