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Old 12-07-2013, 10:01 AM   #57
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I pick it up this morning and begin the search for a hitch setup. Which model of Infinity do you have? In 1991 I owned a Q45 and really like it a lot. The wife (not this one) rear ended a Buick on the freeway, and totaled the Buick. Crumpled it up. The Q45 did not have a scratch - not kidding. The insurance guy couldn't believe it zero damage to car or wife!
We are using a G35 sedan shown here (post 60) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-105356-5.html

Also at the same link (post #71) there is a Q45 towing an Airstream.

Note our 1993 Nissan mini van had the same tranny Nissan put in the Q45's. It towed for 1,000's of klm's and was problem free at 465,000klms.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:01 AM   #58
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Steve H,

No, I didn't put 8-people in the car and drive it around. Did you read the whole thread? Let me review briefly, just to cut to the chase. There are two ways of selecting a TV. One is by authority, the other is by empirical - e.g. experimental means.

In the authority method, you read the numbers published by the manufacturer (authority), do a little arithmetic, and then choose the vehicle meeting the computation. That's how people end up with a 3/4T diesel truck for towing a 25-foot Airstream. We could also call that the classical method. Everyone here understand that method.

In the empirical method - which could also be called the "scientific method" you analyze, hypothesize, experiment and then observe the results. You find a vehicle that has attributes you want, you try some different arrangements and then you observe how it all works out. In this case, someone has done all of the above using the Chrysler 300, and has dozens or maybe hundreds of people applying this knowledge.

In the empirical method, we can discount all the discussion of why this car or that car has this or that rating. Because, in fact, we are going to test it directly. That rules out all the possible guesswork on why it was rated. Maybe for economics, maybe for marketing, maybe this, maybe that. It doesn't matter if you are going to directly test it.

Now, I didn't do this testing. I am relying on the reports and experience of other testers of whom I have placed some trust and credibility. If there's a place to criticize me, that may be the place. It surely could be said I am too trusting of these other people. I can live with that. If it comes out that they were lying, misinformed, or wrong, then it's on me for trusting them.

Aside from trusting their testing, I did my own analysis on paper to see if the idea made sense. Since I have 20,000 miles towing experience with my current rig, I have some idea of how that rig works. My Suburban is 130" wheelbase, 5400 pounds curb and 320 horsepower with a 4-speed. The new setup is 120" wheelbase, 4000 pounds curb, 300 horsepower and 8 speed. So power to weight ratio is favorable and the power application through transmission is favorable and the wheelbase and overhang are favorable. Good start. The Suburban is 77" high with a 68" track - very tall with a high center of gravity. The new rig is 58" high with a track of 63" and features a very low center of gravity. I have not the slightest doubt that the new rig will out handle the Suburban by a substantial margin in any emergency maneuver. The Suburban is a live axle, the new rig is independent rear suspension. The new rig has 4-wheel discs, as does the Suburban. The new rig has more aggressive tires than the Suburban.

What remains is an area we can speculate about - the axle strength and associated strength of other components. Will the axles break? Will the wheels fall off? Will the springs break? I have two answers. My first, is that I somewhat trust the reports of ACTUAL DIRECT EXPERIENCE by Andy T. who has been in the RV business 30 years and has configured hundreds of tow vehicles. Secondly, I trust my personal intuition about the 30 or 40 cars and trucks I have owned in the last 40 years. I have done all sorts of things from racing to loading trucks and never experienced a broken axle or spring. My own belief is that cars and trucks carry an enormous safety margin in all engineering aspects.

In the end, I have to ask, what is the upside, for which I am taking this risk to achieve?
  • Safer towing with vastly improved maneuverability
  • Improved tow driving comfort
  • Improved towing economy in better MPG
  • Vastly improved non-towing mileage over my Suburban
  • Fun
I am a pretty cautious guy. If I get it rigged and it doesn't work, I will be the most critical observer, and I will be an outspoken experimenter.

So, I don't mind disagreement - I welcome it. But let's not compare this method to the "authority" method. We all know that one thoroughly. I have chosen purposely to set the authority method aside. I welcome all disagreement then based on the EMPIRICAL method being used.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:03 AM   #59
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We are using a G35 sedan shown here (post 60) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-105356-5.html

Also at the same link (post #71) there is a Q45 towing an Airstream.

Note our 1993 Nissan mini van had the same tranny Nissan put in the Q45's. It towed for 1,000's of klm's and was problem free at 465,000klms.
Oh that's nice! How many miles have you towed with the G35?
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:27 AM   #60
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"Canadian Low Riders"

I really loved that expression Steve H. I just read it in Road Ruler's link. Cool.

Ok, I wanted to add one more thing. I haven't sold the Suburban yet, and it is looking like I will have both TVs for a period of overlap. So, if it turns out the Chrysler doesn't cut the mustard, I can bail out of it and just keep driving the Suburban. I would be out a few grand, but it won't be the end of the world.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #61
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"Canadian Low Riders"

I really loved that expression Steve H. I just read it in Road Ruler's link. Cool.

Ok, I wanted to add one more thing. I haven't sold the Suburban yet, and it is looking like I will have both TVs for a period of overlap. So, if it turns out the Chrysler doesn't cut the mustard, I can bail out of it and just keep driving the Suburban. I would be out a few grand, but it won't be the end of the world.
That "expression" was in no way intended to insult either Canadians, or Low Riders, but just that the look comes to my mind when any vehicle is loaded to, or beyond maximum of manufacturer's design, and seems to be most popular in Canada.

All vehicles simply go down when loaded that heavily.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:54 AM   #62
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I didn't see it as an insult. I thought it was clever and humorous. Makes a nice short reference compared to, "guys who follow the Canadian method of using lighter vehicles for towing."
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:52 AM   #63
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mstephens:

I don't usually get into these towing threads, but I have to say that your introduction in post #1 is the clearest explanation I have ever read of why it's important to discuss "alternative" tow vehicles. Your post #58 is the best explanation I've ever seen of why some of us are looking beyond the manufacturer ratings. Excellent work at clarifying a complicated topic.

Some people aren't comfortable with empirical evidence, and you will hear from those people at every gas station and campground you visit. Be ready for that. Even now I still get comments about our Mercedes GL320 towing an Airstream Safari Bunkhouse 30, like this:

"Do you really tow that big trailer around with that little car?"
[No, I pulled it here to the gas station with a rope in my teeth and then hooked it up to the car just for show.]

"You must be getting blown all over the road with that thing!"
[No, that's your giant white square box and high-profile truck you're thinking of.]

Keep in mind that my rig is below the manufacturer's ratings for GVWR and trailer weight (but we run at about 95% of both ratings). It doesn't matter. Lots of people evaluate tow vehicles based on size and perceived brawniness. It's harder to understand the vehicle dynamics you can't see readily, like live axle vs. independent suspension, overhang percentage, transmission design, etc.

Seeing that you are going to do all the diligent things necessary to hitch up your Airstream properly, I think you'll find the Chrysler to be a surprisingly good performer.

Still, the "fantasy tow vehicle" of this thread is a highly individual thing. I've driven Andy T's Chrysler 300M with a 34-foot Airstream. We drove it down Autoroute 20 in Quebec at high speed. I've driven his Jetta towing a 23 footer, and his Ford Taurus SHO with a 25-footer. All of them are absolutely amazing in their performance, handling, and braking. I like them but my general objection is the lack of cargo capacity (compared to a SUV or truck) and occasionally the stiff ride.

No question, they aren't for everyone, but the demonstration of these vehicles benefits everyone. Andy T has led the way in talking about why some vehicle characteristics are better than others, and if this results in trucks that handle better because they have adopted four-wheel independent suspension, decreased overhang and center of gravity, etc., then even the "bigger is better" crowd will owe him a debt — and we'll all be a bit safer.

So talking about "fantasy tow vehicles" is a great exercise. My fantasy tow vehicle is not the Mercedes GL diesel that I currently use but it's as close as I can come in the real world given our needs. It goes off-road very well, and it hauls 7 people when I need it to. If I were a single guy, I might be towing with a Corvette!

The point is, to those who only trust authority, none of these options exist. For those who are willing to explore further, there are a lot of interesting options that have empirically been demonstrated to work.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:12 PM   #64
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Because you didn't like it? Or? Tell me about it! I am only considering it because of the round bars.
It was a great hitch. I have an Equal-i-zer now- less steps/parts and easier to hitch up. I kept it for a while thinking I might use it again someday, but got tired of stepping over/around it in the shed.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:27 PM   #65
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Here is a picture of the hitch on a 300S. Hemi's are slightly different due to exhaust routing. By spreading the hitch loads over a large distance you acheive a very strong installation. In this case we start with a bolt on receiver and add the center bar to absorb the torque from the torsion bars.

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Old 12-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #66
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Rluhr- --

Thanks for the comments, and good wishes. I'd be nuts if I said I wasn't a shade nervous about all this. But also excited. I have the car home and I am crawling all over it trying to see what I actually bought! First good news is that on the 50 mile trip home, which includes 0 to 2700 to 0 elevation change, I got 34.9MPG doing 65MPH most of the way.

Andy has sent me loads of pics and details on the hitch, suspension and more - what a guy! And what a resource here!
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #67
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:52 PM   #68
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Oh that's nice! How many miles have you towed with the G35?
We had Can Am set it up in 2005. Since then we have had it out about 35 times. Many trips to Northern Ontario and some down into New York State. Will guess about 15,000miles of towing. Not a lot considering there are a number of cars that have towed Airstreams many, many, times that amount.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:29 PM   #69
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Fantasy is a correct term here. One of the most common discussions on this forum is about tow vehicles. About a month ago a teacher friend of mine and I were talking about this and I mentioned the forum - about people posting that you can alter vehicles to tow just about anything, etc. Paul laughed and shared his story of their Honda late model Odyssey that was altered to tow their first RV - a trailer they purchased and how it destroyed the Honda on their first trip out west leaving them stranded. He paid a lot for the special altering of their van and hitch. He brought me a DVD video that he got afterwards (RV Video Training Series from RVTV & RV Education 101) I watched it just last month. There is a section that specifically addresses choosing a tow vehicle. The important factors are all the weight tolerances and tow limits. The weight limits he speaks of are axles ratings, payload capacity, power tolerances (transmission, etc). When you get all the way through it the gist is that the vehicle from production must be designed to work with the weight you are wanting to work with to be safe. Anything less is making it unsafe for you and others on the road. Where opinions flourish is how so and so can make it tow this or that BUT I would counter it with the fact that the tranny, the frame, the hitch, the engine ALL have to be able (designed) to do it to tow anywhere for trips etc.

When I first purchased my Airstream I had a 2010 VW Sportwagen TDI that I used as a daily driver -30mpg in town. I sold it to drive my F150 that has gotten 15mpg in town at best; however, the difference I pay in fuel is almost exactly what the insurance premium was for the VW so I am ahead at least in removing depreciation, operating costs and freed up cash. The ecoboost is on my list and will probably be in my next truck. I believe we will be seeing a 25% increase in mpg with Ford at least in the next year - they are all but guaranteeing it. That should put 70 mph highway mileage around 26-27 mpg or so (minimal) not towing. BTW, Paul and his wife now have a motorhome! The bad advice they received did not scare them away from camping but it did alter their choice of RV. I ride a mid sized scooter, recently purchased, to work often. It gets 95 mpg and I can use it camping too!

The manufacturers publish towing guides for their products. These are a good reference. What is being suggested is that "authoritative" data be overridden for another source- someone in business a long time because it supports the desire to circumvent established guideline. Unibody vehicles today have a cage for passengers but do not have a frame per se. That is why they are lighter and cannot tow much by design.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:42 PM   #70
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