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Old 06-29-2008, 09:33 PM   #71
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Over the last few days on the Trailer Life forum there has been an on going thread about a guy who was considering towing a Chalet with a Honda Civic. He reported the trailer weights 1500lbs dry and the Civic is rated in Europe for 3,000lbs. Lots of ya and nay comments, usual stuff but there were a couple of posts that stood out.

One was a follow up post by the guy who actually went through with the idea and it went like this....

Quote: 29JUN08 RESULTS AFTER 850 MILES in the MOUNTAINS:

This turned out to be a no brainier as was predicted by the knowledgeable who contributed to this thread. I am pulling 30 pounds per horsepower....need I say more, look at what you are doing! It handles like they were made for each other. I cruised the speed limit + 5% on mountain highways of British Columbia, excepting free ways in WA state where I did 60-65 MPH. All this with the A/C full blast at 85 DegF OAT and I am getting about 22 M/USG, down from 36 M/USG. As I say a perfect match that goes like h... engine cooling system never changed one iota.....





Another was this post from a guy who claimed to be an automotive Engineer.
Here is what he had to say....

QUOTE:

I'm a ME working under Daimler. Let me tell you, a MAJORITY of the design specifications are not finalized by the engineering department. We can go through rigorous testing to prove the safe limit of a component, and marketing or the lawyers can slap on their veto stamp due to customer demand, perception, and other stupid reasons.

While I have never worked on design for towing, I can almost gurantee that most sedans and minivans are under-rated for marketing reasons. Simple law of physics tell you that the power-weight ratio, handling dynamics, and stopping power of a 3300 lbs, 270hp Altima + 5000 lbs trailer is superior to a 300hp F150 + 11000 lbs trailer.

Tow rig to trailer weight ratio is also largely irrelavent with proper design. Proof: commerical rigs tow trailers weighting many times heavier than the rig itself.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:28 AM   #72
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Towing Delema

Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
Over the last few days on the Trailer Life forum there has been an on going thread about a guy who was considering towing a Chalet with a Honda Civic. He reported the trailer weights 1500lbs dry and the Civic is rated in Europe for 3,000lbs. Lots of ya and nay comments, usual stuff but there were a couple of posts that stood out.

One was a follow up post by the guy who actually went through with the idea and it went like this....

Quote: 29JUN08 RESULTS AFTER 850 MILES in the MOUNTAINS:

This turned out to be a no brainier as was predicted by the knowledgeable who contributed to this thread. I am pulling 30 pounds per horsepower....need I say more, look at what you are doing! It handles like they were made for each other. I cruised the speed limit + 5% on mountain highways of British Columbia, excepting free ways in WA state where I did 60-65 MPH. All this with the A/C full blast at 85 DegF OAT and I am getting about 22 M/USG, down from 36 M/USG. As I say a perfect match that goes like h... engine cooling system never changed one iota.....




Another was this post from a guy who claimed to be an automotive Engineer.
Here is what he had to say....

QUOTE:

I'm a ME working under Daimler. Let me tell you, a MAJORITY of the design specifications are not finalized by the engineering department. We can go through rigorous testing to prove the safe limit of a component, and marketing or the lawyers can slap on their veto stamp due to customer demand, perception, and other stupid reasons.

While I have never worked on design for towing, I can almost gurantee that most sedans and minivans are under-rated for marketing reasons. Simple law of physics tell you that the power-weight ratio, handling dynamics, and stopping power of a 3300 lbs, 270hp Altima + 5000 lbs trailer is superior to a 300hp F150 + 11000 lbs trailer.

Tow rig to trailer weight ratio is also largely irrelavent with proper design. Proof: commerical rigs tow trailers weighting many times heavier than the rig itself.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX

There are 2 points to be made from this,
1st Part; you notice in his post that he towed this with out any mention of any occurances wind, rain, idiot drivers, etc. I would be one to ask this person if he had any occurances and how long he has been towing with this set up and what distance he travels as well as is he still towing this way.
2nd Part; This is a person who sits at a desk and looks at numbers and comments on a piece of paper and relys on what that paper says, no experience, no actual testing himself. So his comment is highly unreliable, this is where Leipers comments ring true. Just because it works on paper does not necessarly mean it is that way in real life situations.
Looks at the engineers point about semi's, I have drove truck for 22 years and logged 2 mil miles and have drove different set ups and what the engineers lack of experience does not say is that semis are set up to tow certain types of loads EX single axle up to 50,000 lbs, tandom 80,000 lbs, Tandom heavy duty 100,000 lbs, Tri-axle 100,000 lbs plus, speed direction, traffic, are all controlled, this is why the trucks above 80,000 lbs have to be permited to travel: each made to handle its load not just in pulling but in stopping and steering.
I took a single axle tractor and put it under a 80,000 lb load and even though it would pull it, turn, normal stopping, I found that under certain circumstances this truck could not handle the trailer or weight
under other than normal happenings. The push/pull factor took over and caused problems. Fortunatley for me no one was hurt only my pride and the vehicle I was driving.

Point here is not always can you go by what the engineers say because they only know whats on paper, and you can not trust a person that has towed and did not have any instances where he had to test the towing set up he is using under circumstances that are not normal. When you see people in here speak of certain set ups that are dangerous it is because of experience either personally or as a witness to it.

Definition Push/Pull Factor: the point at which the tow vehicle is being pushed or pulled by what it is towing,
Newtons laws says; that once something starts in a direction it is going to travel in that direction until something of equal or greater force changes that direction.

Sarge
PS; As I am sitting writing this the local news has just broadcasted a news report of a small SUV towing a trailer lost control and hit a semi head on, 3 of the 5 family members was killed. This happened Saturday morning in Wyth County VA, I fully intend on looking up that report to see what was the cause and see if it applies to this post and if so I will post it.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:37 AM   #73
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Here below is the news article on the crash that I mentioned in Post #72, when you read you will see a Dodge Durango pulling a 35 foot trailer, the durango is considered to be a mini truck or as the manufactuers call it Midsize, rated at 5500 lb towing capacity, capable of towing this trailer YES, Underrated YES. Driver lost control and unable to control it.
I am betting that when the investigation is done you are going to find that something occured that caused him to loose control. I would also tend to bet that the investigating officer will verify that if towed by the proper vehicle the accident could have been not as serious or even avoided.
Look at the fatility/survivor report. Is taking a chance really worth this price???
I intend to find out, I have a freind on the force who can inquire for me.

Sarge

Three killed in I-77 crash

Jeffrey Simmons
Wytheville Enterprise: News >
Fri Jun 27, 2008 - 01:20 PM


By WAYNE QUESENBERRY/Staff
Three members of a Canadian family were killed and two others injured Thursday night in a crash on Interstate 77 near the 45 mile marker. The fatalities included a father, mother and 7-year-old daughter.
According to Sgt. M.T. Conroy of the Virginia State Police, the victims were William Walter Smith, 33, of Hamilton, Ontario; his wife, Sandra Anne Smith, 35; and their daughter, Kayleigh Jane Smith.
Conroy said the father was operating a Dodge Durango pulling a 35-foot camper and headed southbound on the interstate around 7 p.m. He apparently lost control of the vehicle, crossed the median and hit a northbound tractor-trailer rig head on, the sergeant said.
Two of the Smiths’ other daughters were injured. One was airlifted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and the other was transported by ground to the same hospital. Their conditions were unknown at press time.
Conroy said the truck driver was not injured.
The northbound lanes, Sgt. Conroy said, were closed for several hours while the wreckage was removed. He noted traffic was rerouted off the interstate onto Rt. 52 until around midnight.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:58 AM   #74
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The Durango is "rated" to tow much more than that...equal to the Dodge 1/2 ton pickups, as it shares an identical power train. 35 feet of trailer sounds like alot, but how much did it weigh? they don't say. Usually, when I hear "crossed the median...", I suspect that the driver fell asleep. There is as much indication of that in the report as there is of an overload/improperly rigged condition.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:37 AM   #75
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Very sorry to hear about the accident involving that family.

FWIW, here's the Consumers Report "model summary" for the Dodge Durango.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Durango straddles the midsized and large SUV classes. It is a body-on-frame SUV with a high towing capacity. Handling is clumsy but secure, and the ride is compliant but somewhat unsettled. The cabin is fairly quiet, but the engine is a bit noisy. The optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is responsive, but fuel economy is poor at 13 mpg overall. Towing capacity is the Durango's forte. The third-row seat is relatively usable. Fit and finish is unimpressive. Reliability has been average. Stability control and curtain air bags are standard.

Highs
Acceleration, ride, interior room, towing capacity.

Lows
Clumsy handling, fuel economy, braking, location of rear-wiper switch
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:46 AM   #76
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Quote:
Point here is not always can you go by what the engineers say because they only know whats on paper, and you can not trust a person that has towed and did not have any instances where he had to test the towing set up he is using under circumstances that are not normal.
This is why the Can Am test track results and the individual (first hand) reports based on rather extensive experience are so interesting, especially in contrast to those wanting to make bets or prognosticate about what they believe must be ...

There is no way that anyone can engineer or test for every possible circumstance. That is why it is a consideration of risk versus benefit and not a yes versus no issue. We can reduce the uncertainty in risk by engineering, paperwork, testing and experience but must realize there is always some risk - no matter what choice you make. If this was not the case, we would not need insurance. Your insurance policy is a "bet" and you can look at what you pay for some indication of the odds involved in the risks actually encountered.

Where this conversation seems headed seems to be something analogous to the odds of getting hit by a meteorite while on the road. Do we worry as much about that?

Quote:
I suspect that the driver fell asleep
this fits the published crash statistics as highest odds by a large margin.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:13 PM   #77
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I use a 2005 Odyssey (I see earlier in the post that this is a higher hp, I do not know this as true or not) and have no problems with it. I am pulling a 1985 31' Excella and so far get 11 - 13 miles to the gallon. So far no power issues, definitely handles well.

CANAM RV did the mod on the hitch. They claimed at the time to have done 300-400 of these vehicles. Hitch lines right up with trailer (no raise or lower of hitch to meet trailer). It has very low center of gravity for the tow as well as VERY close to the rear axle.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:28 AM   #78
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I never said that these couldn't tow this size of trailer. I am refering to the capability of the vehicle to handle this size of trailer in other than normal circumstances. Push/Pull rule applies to this situation. What I and others have failed to mention is the weight of the tow vehicle plays a big part of this, a heavier vehicle can control a trailer better than a smaller vehicle as well as minimize the push/pull from causing major problems.
After I having spent so many years in transportation industry am a firm believer in matching the tow unit with what is being towed and I think that is what everyone else here is also attempting to say.
Point here is a vehicle that weighs in at around 9000 lbs is going to handle 10-20,000 lbs much better and safer than a vehicle that only weighs in at 4-5000 lbs.

Sarge
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:16 AM   #79
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Usually, when I hear "crossed the median...", I suspect that the driver fell asleep.
I'm buying that theory also. It's just over 600 miles from their hometown to the scene of the accident, and it was early evening. The driver was probably overdue for a nap.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:35 AM   #80
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The Ody has a 250 HP engine so it has the power. For the 2000's the weak spot may be the transmission but that can be handled with proper cooling.
You can only cure so much with proper cooling. Heat isn't the only thing that destroys a transmission. Excessive time in lower gears, frequent shifting, high radial loads on the bearings.

There's a big difference between 250HP in an Honda Odessey and 250 HP in a truck. Bigger displacement, lower RPM, lower piston speeds and accelerations, and don't forget to compare the size of the radiator cooling the thing. Go up a hill and you lose speed induced airflow through the radiator, so you need a large radiator and fan to move air through it.

Pulling more than the maximum recomended weight on any vehicle is a lousy idea, regardless of the modifications made to the tow vehicle.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:11 AM   #81
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a heavier vehicle can control a trailer better than a smaller vehicle as well as minimize the push/pull from causing major problems
This is one reason why the rear overhang distance and wheelbase mentions were pertinent. Mass is only one factor. When combined with velocity to get inertia you get back to that concept of avoiding sudden emergency maneuvers. This is also why CanAm is so strong on suspension and tires and wheels as they, along with proper hitch selection, can have a significant impact on handling.

For those following the relative mass line of rebuttal I suggest taking it to an extreme. Look at the problems encountered with very light and small trailers. One of the best sway essays I have seen was on a pop-up tent trailer website.

The lesson is that you cannot depend upon mass alone for salvation in your towing rig. Wheelbase, overhang, suspension, and many other factors are just as important in being able to control your rig down the road.

and when you start talking abnormal circumstances, you can go to any extreme you want without gaining insight into any rational conclusion. When that meteor strikes it makes no difference what rig you are driving.

Quote:
Heat isn't the only thing that destroys a transmission
but it is the factor most cited and why so many threads talk about transmission coolers and temperature gauges. What I get from this is that other sources of problems fall into the meteorite risk category as far as traumatic occurrence odds.

The key here is that heavy loads do create a need for an aggressive maintenance program. That is true no matter whether overloaded or not.

There are some who will assert that running any big heavy RV down the road is a "lousy idea" but it seems we do it anyway. Most of us, by making our own choices, have decided that types of RV we did not choose are a "lousy idea" too. I think we should be careful to avoid confusing our preferences with rationalizations and allow others to have their own view of things.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:16 AM   #82
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Yes, terrible crash.. but, this reads like any other crash.. doesn't have to be a Durango... locally, take your pic on I 5.. I came upon a F350 that flipped towing a large toy hauler... also stories in the forums of (ice induced) F350 jackknifing and flipping... or just recently, a F250 and a 22ft Argosy...

Personally, I'd like a close to the ground CG with a long wheelbase anyday.
Again, I'd love to test a Dodge Magnum ... but I digress!
I'd like pics of the NY Oddy and AS! Again, somebody is doing it!
Marc
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:04 AM   #83
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The key here is that heavy loads do create a need for an aggressive maintenance program. That is true no matter whether overloaded or not.
You can only fix so much with maintenance. You can't undo the fact that you are putting higher specific loads on metal parts, and changing the oil doesn't magically undo the fatigue history of the metal parts bathed in that oil. The only solution is to reduce the strain in the metal by distributing the force over a larger area. Manufacturerer's decide on a "reasonable service life" and "reasonable load" and design their parts to last that time with a hopefully low probability of failure. If you overload something you can always expect a less than reasonable service life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper View Post
There are some who will assert that running any big heavy RV down the road is a "lousy idea" but it seems we do it anyway. Most of us, by making our own choices, have decided that types of RV we did not choose are a "lousy idea" too. I think we should be careful to avoid confusing our preferences with rationalizations and allow others to have their own view of things.
That's taking what I said way out of context. I said exceding the manufacturer's maximum limit was a lousy idea, and it is.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:33 AM   #84
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You can only cure so much with proper cooling. Heat isn't the only thing that destroys a transmission. Excessive time in lower gears, frequent shifting, high radial loads on the bearings.

There's a big difference between 250HP in an Honda Odessey and 250 HP in a truck. Bigger displacement, lower RPM, lower piston speeds and accelerations, and don't forget to compare the size of the radiator cooling the thing. Go up a hill and you lose speed induced airflow through the radiator, so you need a large radiator and fan to move air through it.

Pulling more than the maximum recomended weight on any vehicle is a lousy idea, regardless of the modifications made to the tow vehicle.
There is probably a lot of truth to what you say and at one time I would have assumed the same through pre conceived ideas.

I once addressed this thought with Andrew T. He replies by saying that based on his experience and the feed back from customers that the heavier trucks and SUVs cost more to operate than the smaller, lighter, cars and Mini Vans.

In our own experience with over 12 yers of towing with a "selected, pro set up", Mini Van and now a car we have never had the water temp gauge go off the normal setting when towing and have not have any mechanical issues related to towing. We tow only 20% of the time so wear and extra stress is minimal and not an issue.
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