Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-09-2003, 11:53 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 307
Consequences of overloaded tow vehicle?

This has been discussed many times, but out of pure curiosity, I would like to know. What exactly happens if your tow truck and A/S unit are sorely mismatched? What's the first thing that happens? Transmission overheats? High RPMs? Slow speed? Inability to stop?

(My tow vehicle is a full 1 ton exceeding A/S ratings, so I feel comfortable with it)
__________________

__________________
Justice - When you get what you deserve. Mercy - When you don't get what you deserve
Grace - When you get what you don't deserve
ipso_facto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 11:33 AM   #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 544
Images: 29
I am not one to go trough things one point at a time, so it's time I let Mike talk... sort of.
He wrote a long essay a while back to someone asking his advice, here is the short version:

"Hi,

Something too many people overlook is the towing capability of the tow vehicle. I'll go right to real-world experience.

I've towed a 29ft 7,000 lb Airstream about 9,000 miles a year over the last 12 years or so. When we decided to enter the ranks of tailer enthusiasts we devoted quite a bit of thought to the tow vehicle. There was no question that for our purposes we needed a Van with lots of payload capacity. We decided to get nothing less than a one-ton van.
......
A vehicle rated for greater weight will come equipped with a sturdier suspension and more powerful brakes. In our 12 years of pulling a travel trailer we never ran into any of the people who stopped suddenly in from of us, but there were plenty of times when I had both feet on the brake pedal, my fingers crossed, and my teeth clenched. And again, on a downhill, brakes tend to warm up. If they can't cool adequately between applications, they get quite hot. Brake Fade is the effect of overheating the brakes to the point that they lose their ability to produce the friction you need to slow the vehicle. Most passenger vehicles are designed to make two or three severe stops. After that you're on you own.

And the last item I can think of at the moment: The drive train. You will be moving at least twice the weight of the vehicle. Regardless of what your engine and transmission *can* do, you should be concerned with how long it can do it. Vehicles designed for heavy duty service will have engines and transmissions designed from the ground up for the job. Transmissions get hot in the mountains or even in stop and go traffic. Engines run hotter pulling a trailer - will the radiator be up to it?

We found that our one-ton Chevy van fell short of every point, in spite of the fact that it had the heavyest of everything. It's brakes weren't powerful enough and as a result required constant and expensive attention. The transmission had to be replaced, as did water pumps, and a radiator. The front suspension collapsed, and we blew tires. I will say, I have NO Complaint about the Engine. It is a monster and it seems to be eternal.

To be fair, we we're very hard on the equipment. We carried the maxium load the vehicle was rated for. We had schedules to keep and didn't always have the option of choosing the easiest route. Our business is in the North-East where highways often look like they were carpet bombed. It isn't likely that you will stress your equipment as badly as we did, but you must choose it wisely.

We now use a commercial duty truck and are delighted with it.

"Mike"
__________________

__________________
femuse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 01:37 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
InsideOut's Avatar

 
1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,793
Images: 108
Thumbs down 1st hand experience....arrrgh!

When we first got our Airstream, we had a Jeep Cherokee. Being that our trailer is only 19' long and under 3000 lbs dry weight we were within the "towing limits" set by Jeep (5000 lbs). However, in reality...they were sorely mis-matched, especially at altitude. We would overheat (boil over!) at the slightest incline, hills that we never even noticed before became very noticable. We towed in 3rd, instead of overdrive and still had problems if we tried to go over 50 mph on the flats or 30 mph on mountain roads. Needless to say, there were no freeways in our travels and we were soon shopping for a new tow vehicle. We now have a 1/2 ton GMC Yukon & it is much more pleasant when towing...we can even run the A/C and travel at highway speeds 55-60 mph

We also had some problems with the brakes overheating coming down out of the mountains.

Here's a link to a previous thread in which these experiences were discussed by myself & others. You may also want to perform a search using "SUV" or "Jeep" as keywords.

Shari
__________________
Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
InsideOut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 05:15 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
LOST , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,193
Unless something mechanically was already marginal, I think the first thing you would notice is a total lack of control. The steering tires would be very light from overloaded tongue weight. Most of the braking would come from the trailer. The tow vehicle would accelerate, the larger mass of the trailer would take control.

John
__________________
74Argosy24MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 05:56 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 130
So a 1 ton isn't heavy duty enough? Maybe the answer to the question depends on the expected use. I think a Jeep is ok to tow a trailer SLOWLY 15 miles down the road. Maybe a 1/2 truck isn't big enough to go on long distance trips up and down the Rockies. But I can't see for the life of me how a F-350, or similar other makes, isn't heavy duty enough to pull an Airstream.
__________________
TBKP's Overlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 06:30 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
InsideOut's Avatar

 
1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,793
Images: 108
Quote:
Maybe a 1/2 truck isn't big enough to go on long distance trips up and down the Rockies.
TBKP's Overlander~ I think you may have misunderstood me, our 1/2 ton does great pulling our GlobeTrotter anywhere we want to go, even in the Rockies.

Shari
__________________
Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
InsideOut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 06:45 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 130
I was refering to femuse. I would think your vehicle would be fine.
__________________
TBKP's Overlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 07:47 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
LOST , Hawaii
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,193
From Femuse:

Quote:
We carried the maxium load the vehicle was rated for.
Quote:
about 9,000 miles a year over the last 12 years or so
Quote:
Our business is in the North-East where highways often look like they were carpet bombed.
Put all these together and it is reasonable that a 1 ton won't be heavy enough. But most people won't subject equipment to these conditions a couple of weeks and a few weekends a year. Whenever you work equipment at it's maximum it will require more maintenance and have more breakdowns.

John
__________________
74Argosy24MH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 08:15 PM   #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 544
Images: 29
Quote:
it is reasonable that a 1 ton won't be heavy enough
actually, it did a pretty good job for about 7 or 8 years.

We weighed the rig several times, and yes, it was just under the limit.
And the van can stop the whole rig, and it did .... the times Mike forgot to set back the brake controller (we are still debating who was at fault). But we stopped. A very, very steep down hill. We needed new brakes after that. But we stopped OK.
We had the heaviest duty brake pads that we could get. I cannot imagine a 1/2 ton pick-up being able to stop.

As far as stability is concerned, it is a long wheel base Chevy, no overhang like Ford & Dodge. It is heavy in the first place, and even more when loaded. But we never had a time over the years when we felt the van was not up to the job. With Reese dual cam, it was as stable as you can hope. And it could climb hills faster than our truck. Had to run the heater sometimes..... It now has about 170,000 miles and still doing OK.

In the end, Mike destroyed the brakes one too many times, and we needed more cargo space. So we got a truck.
__________________
femuse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2003, 11:51 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 307
Unless something mechanically was already marginal, I think the first thing you would notice is a total lack of control.
......


It's a frightening thought.
__________________
Justice - When you get what you deserve. Mercy - When you don't get what you deserve
Grace - When you get what you don't deserve
ipso_facto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2003, 02:49 AM   #11
qqq
4 Rivet Member
 
qqq's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 403
Images: 4
I have been hauling a 10.5 ft slide in camper on my 1500 Chevy Silverado shortbed , 10000 miles a year for past 4 years, and it handles like a dream. The camper is 2500 lbs , and the truck has Airlift helpers.
The steering is perfect and doesn't feel light. I refrain from going down steep mountains & all is 100 % OK
Actual trucks can handle much more than the rating set by the manufacturers LAWYERS...

Hart


ps: now feel free to flame me and tell me how unsafe I am, and where will I be driving, so you can stay far away. bla bla bla....
__________________
qqq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2003, 08:19 AM   #12
Aluminut
 
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
 
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,334
I think a good rule of thumb for the hardware is simply to use the tow vehichles specs and try to stay below them.

I work in technology and I never get three complaints--EVER.

1) The machine is too fast
2) The machine has too much RAM
3) The machine has too large of a hard drive

The same holds true for tow vehicles:

1) It has too much horsepower and torque
2) The cooling system keeps it too cool (being that there isn't a problem)
3) It has too much towing capacity

In the first computer senario, I figure if I ever get one of these, I can retire.

The longer the wheelbase of the tow vehicle, the better. Having the correct gears and cooling is a must. A bit of overkill is NOT a bad idea.

I feel if you follow the basic gen rules, you should be fine. Keep in mind condition of vehicle, driving habbits also play a crucial role as well.

Speaking strickly from years of exp with a '77 Ford 400ci station wagon and a bit more than 2 decades using GMs to tow, I can say that there have been ZERO issues following these guidelines. The lest weight of all has been the current Bambi with a 4500-4600 GVWR fully loaded. We've had thousands upon thousands of uneventful pulling as a result of proper planning, vehicle maintence and driving habbits.

Regards,

Eric
__________________
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2003, 11:50 AM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
Lug Nut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20
Towing Capacities

Thanks to all who shared their towing experiences in the above threads. For a newbie like myself, who is trying to figure out which A/S trailer is within the limits of my Toyota Tundra V8's towing capabilities, these are sobering thoughts you've posted. I was trying to find the most trailer I could tow within my Tundra's 7100 GVWR limit. I was thinking about the Safari 25C, rated at 6300 GVWR. Now, I'm having misgivings about pushing the limit. Better to have misgivings now, than when careening down a mountain side while wildly pumping the brakes.
__________________

__________________
JR, the Lug Nut
Lug Nut is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


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
Which is best tow vehicle Van or Sedan? Mr Jody Hudson Tow Vehicles 10 10-06-2016 10:14 PM
Tow vehicle advice needed.... crazylev Tow Vehicles 86 04-27-2007 07:11 PM
Tow Vehicle Options wlanford Tow Vehicles 10 05-23-2005 01:18 PM
Tow Vehicle Question SCBrat Tow Vehicles 3 09-25-2003 09:43 AM
Suggestions on new tow vehicle Diana Langley Tow Vehicles 3 07-08-2003 08:31 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

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