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Old 07-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #85
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This isn't an Ody but probably not too far off

at Airstream sightings- they were heading over Conway Summit on US 395 towards Yosemite for the night with friends. If I recall correctly, this was a family vacation starting in Pennsylvania, I think.

We encountered them south of Yerington heading towards Bridgeport. The driver knew his stuff.

re "You can only fix so much with maintenance." - my point is that digging into metal wear and lubrication such things is a gross exaggeration in this context. One only has to look at actual experience to see that this isn't really an issue in the context of this thread.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:28 PM   #86
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A long way off an Odyssey.

Hi Bryan

All this surmizing about how a tow vehicle might work is kind of bewildering for those that have been using them for years.

Over the years I have set up a couple of hundred GM Wagons like the Roadmaster in the picture and since 1999 more Odysseys. It is easy to assume that every vehicle that is smaller than a truck must work the same but the reality is there are vast differences. The Roadmaster is a very durable vehicle and it will likely outlast any other vehicle built before or since (partly because they are so inexpensive to repair). One of our staff drives a 1989 Caprice that we set up new for towing it was used for towing by 3 different families and now has 250,000 miles on it. Two of our customers with Honda vans have over 150,000 miles on them, One tows a 30' 2002 and the other a 27' that they full time in and travel extensively with.

The big difference between the Roadmaster and the Odyssey however is in handling stability. When Gm introduced the B body cars in 1977 we were amazed at how well they handled and performed towing. They were massively better than the 1976 full size cars with 454's and 455's pretty much any way you measured them. However compared with today's vehicles they are what you would expect from 30 year old technology.

The Roadmaster has a 3" shorter wheel base 117" vs the Honda's 120" but the big difference is the rear overhang 68" vs 42". As well the buick has a live rear axle with about 3" of side sway and a 43" rear suspension stance. The Odyssey has independent rear suspension and a 67" wide rear suspension stance. The track on the Honda is 67", 62" on the Buick. As well the Honda has rack and pinion steering and a better tire and wheel combination. The Honda does have a higher centre of gravity than the Buick but it is much lower than most trucks and SUV's.

By the way the Buick in the picture has the ball set too high and not enough tension on the torsion bars. Though with the early 80's 27' I am sure it is not that critical.

I hope this helps.

Andy
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:59 AM   #87
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overweight trailer blamed for crash

Quote:
Originally Posted by SARGE/AF View Post
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.

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Here is the latest news article from the Hamilton Spectator. Police determined the overweight trailer caused the crash.

TheSpec.com - Local - Overweight trailer caused fatal crash, police determine

Overweight trailer caused fatal crash, police determine TheSpec.com - Local - Overweight trailer caused fatal crash, police determine

Dan Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator

(Jul 2, 2008)
Virginia State Police have determined a fatal crash that took the lives of three members of a Hamilton family was caused by their overweight trailer.
William Smith, 33, his wife Sandra, 35, and their daughter Kaylee, 7, were killed last Thursday night on I-77 in Virginia when their vehicle and trailer went out of control and struck an oncoming tractor-trailer in the northbound lanes.
Two other children, Madison, 9, and Genna, 3, were treated at the Wake Forest University Baptist Center in Winston Salem, N.C., and were expected to be released into the custody of their grandparents by yesterday.
"It's been determined the weight of the trailer did cause the crash," State Trooper O.J. Lilly said Monday, adding it was a "terrible and tragic" accident.
Smith, an HSR bus driver, and Sandra, who worked in the accounting department of Turkstra Lumber, were driving a 2005 Dodge Durango and it was pulling a 35-foot trailer built in 2004.
The family, who had left their east Mountain home Thursday morning, were on their way to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with two other Ontario families. The accident occurred about 5.6 kilometres from a campsite where the three families were planning to spend the night.
Lilly said the Smith's trailer weighed about 8,000 pounds (about 3,630 kilograms) empty.
"Once you start throwing in bikes, camping gear and portable water tanks and sewage tanks and propane tanks, that makes it heavier," he said.
Investigators determined the vehicle and trailer were travelling down a four to five per cent incline on the Wythe County highway that stretches for about 1.6 kilometres.
"There was the downhill incline and in combination with the weight ... he hit the brake and the trailer started swaying on him," Lilly said.
"Once it lost control, it went into the median strip and then into the northbound lanes."
The surviving girls' grandparents, John and Jane Poulton, live in Florida and travelled to Winston Salem after being contacted by police.
Lilly said the couples travelling with the Smiths were "mentally in shock" after the crash, but assisted police with the two injured girls.
They stayed with the girls at the local community hospital and then at the hospital in Winston Salem until the grandparents arrived.
Meanwhile, a trust fund has been set up by friends and family to help the Smith family pay for ongoing expenses such as medical bills, transportation, funeral costs and the long-term needs of Madison and Genna.
The Smith Family Trust Fund has been set up at Hamilton Community Credit Union, with branches at 698 King St. E. and Mohawk Road.
The account number is 3196800, Branch No. 828, Transit No. 21152.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
dnolan@thespec.com
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:24 AM   #88
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This crash is such a good example to examine for how perceptions and biases surface it deserves a bit of thinking about IMHO. As for this thread, take note that the latest rationale is 'overweight trailer' and not 'trailer too big for tow vehicle'. Conflating such things is a good indicator of a confused argument.

Look at the story as the media presented it: 'while traveling down the highway, all of a sudden, boom, the overweight trailer caused the rig to go out of control'. If indeed the cause was as cited, why did it pick that particular moment to surface? An overweight trailer was overweight all the way from home so why did it pick just that particular moment? Did it sense an oncoming truck and use a malicious intelligence to determine when it would act? How did it act? What did it do to stimulate the out of control situation?

The only sane conclusion is that something else actually caused the crash. The weight of the trailer along with other factors such as speed may have contributed to the result but the cause must have been something else. So we look at the article and we find:
Quote:
"There was the downhill incline and in combination with the weight ... he hit the brake and the trailer started swaying on him," Lilly said.
Now we get back to the earlier discussion about emergency maneuvers in this thread. The driver did something and the vehicle went out of control. That means the cause was likely that what the driver did or how he did it was inappropriate for the rig he was driving.

The sad fact is that this particular scenario is fairly common in RV crashes. Downhill, pile on the brakes, maybe try to steer around an obstruction, and end up as a pile of debris.

If you want to avoid such crashes, I'd suggest looking to the causative factors. Don't think that a massive tow vehicle, a particular brand of hitch, or other such magic cure is going to solve problems such as driver error or meteor strikes.

and be very very careful about what you read in the so called news.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #89
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So, was it perhaps a case of failed trailer brakes? Otherwise, surely the trailer wouldn't have "wagged" if it was the TT's brakes that were applied!?

Again, I suppose if they were trying to carry the equivalent of Lucy's rocks (The Long, Long Trailer) or worse, perhaps no matter what the driver did they were doomed: over-loaded and the TT's brakes fail...?

Who knows? The description in the article wasn't all that clear about precise mechanical causes. It will take a court case to have more information made public, I suppose.

Sad, very sad.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:33 AM   #90
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yeah, I'm not thinking that this article is at all "conclusive".

DOT investigations take months; The state police made a determination within a week?
they give an empty weight for the trailer...but a fully-equipped '05 Durango can have a tow rating of 8900lbs; yes, likely over the rated limit with gear, and certainly by airforums.com weight police standards; But nothing like an Intrepid with a 34 footer.
Even if it wasn't a "fully equipped" model, those features that make it so would have absolutely no bearing on the "stability" of the rig, in the configuration where the accident occurred.

We've also seen described, first hand on this site, a situation where even the most capable tow vehicle, irreproachable by even the most conservative of forums weight police, had a catastrophic loss of control, when encountering a hill. (3/4 ton Dodge/Cummins Diesel, experienced driver, etc, etc.). It can happen to any rig.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:19 AM   #91
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On a related and possibly relevant note...

I learned to fly sailplanes in New Mexico. The club was about 40% national lab types and about 30% ex fighter pilots. At altitude things happen that don't at lower altitudes. After flying, we talked a lot about those sorts of things (and others, how to stay warm if you land out in the desert, what to do if you hear a rattlesnake in the cockpit, how to keep it in the air after losing a primary flight control, that sort of thing)

One of those things is flutter. (model aircraft on youtube experiencing flutter) If you ventured into the area beyond design limits, you were at risk.

Guys who had experienced it agreed with the theoretical consensus that it could set in with little or no warning but and that the first thing to do is to change the loading (e.g. slow down/speed up, pop the spoilers, reflex the flaps) immediately but with incredible smoothness. Of course, a small change in the loading or configuration of things is what set things on in the first place.

So... how does this relate?

With a given set of circumstances, pavement, suspension, cross wind, etc, I could easily imagine that something operated at beyond nominal limits would get into some sort of dynamically unstable condition that might be a little tough to get out of.

I think, however, that speeds under 60 really help the odds, regardless of what one is driving.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but I try to stay alert for any unexpected sway and will drop 2-3 MPH or tap the brakes a little, especially in windy conditions, sometimes even when it's just a semi going around. I'm sure this annoys Mrs R, but she patiently indulges me.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:57 PM   #92
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I've read a number of times over the past 35-years that more than 90% of TV-TT rigs are incorrectly hitched. That, along with driver error (and fatigue) is what strikes me as most likely.

If so, then it fits my preconception of what I see on the highway regularly. And why I'm willing to sweat the details.

I feel terrible for that family.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:50 PM   #93
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Those who use the pergorative term "weight nazi" would be wise to look up the tow vehicle weight to load weight ratios of semi-trucks and train locomotives. They aren't as massive as you think. You should check out the weight of a semi-tractor or railway locomotive.

It's not to say you can't exceed the tow vehicles rated towing capacity, just be aware of implications and manage the risks: Slow down, take measures to avoid aggressiving breaking such as slowing down well in advance of turns and don't follow closely behind vehicles that are far more nimble than yours. As well, keep enough cash to replace the engine or transmission that you're greatly increasing the probability of sudden failure in.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:32 PM   #94
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Hey, welcome to the forum, canadianguy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianguy View Post
Those who use the pergorative term "weight nazi" would be wise to look up the tow vehicle weight to load weight ratios of semi-trucks and train locomotives. They aren't as massive as you think. You should check out the weight of a semi-tractor or railway locomotive.
This is an interesting point. I would also add that on a side note, it doesn't help any of us to use terms such as the one you quoted. My feeling is that there is a ton of expertise here that needs to be repected, but there is also other information being put forward that needs to be treated with respect too.

Having said that, the derogative terms won't help us to understand one another and really only serve to raise the hackles of those at whom they are aimed.

From what I've seen, this forum is better than that. Anyway 'nuff said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianguy View Post
It's not to say you can't exceed the tow vehicles rated towing capacity, just be aware of implications and manage the risks: Slow down, take measures to avoid aggressiving breaking such as slowing down well in advance of turns and don't follow closely behind vehicles that are far more nimble than yours.
This is key to understand and believe. If I decide to try something out of the box, it behooves me to ensure that I do everything Iin my power to stack the deck in my favour, as canadianguy suggest above.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:41 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aircreek View Post
I'm looking into purchasing a '75 Sovereign. Have a 2000 Honda Odessey. I've tried to figure it it out and I'm confused. The weights are:

Honda: GVWR-5656 lbs.
GAWR: 2840 lbs.
Sovereign: 5065 lbs.
-hitch wt. 650 lbs.
-ball ht. 19.5 inches
If someone could tell me it can be done, I'll go for it!
Thanks for the help.
I have a 2000 Honda Od and have towed Airstreams 120,000 miles in the last 16 months. It is rated for 3500 pounds and yes I have towed up to 4300 pounds but no way to plan on towing a 75 SOV. Older Airstreams are about 100 pounds lighter per year. My 56 Overlander is only 3200 pounds at 26 feet. I now have 230,000 miles and still going strong........Mark the Airstream Guy
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:17 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper View Post
This isn't an Ody but probably not too far off

at Airstream sightings- they were heading over Conway Summit on US 395 towards Yosemite for the night with friends. If I recall correctly, this was a family vacation starting in Pennsylvania, I think.

We encountered them south of Yerington heading towards Bridgeport. The driver knew his stuff.

re "You can only fix so much with maintenance." - my point is that digging into metal wear and lubrication such things is a gross exaggeration in this context. One only has to look at actual experience to see that this isn't really an issue in the context of this thread.

Roadmasters rule! The perfect tow vehicle, says me.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:26 PM   #97
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What transmission is in the Roadmaster? Please don't tell me it's the 700R4.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:02 AM   #98
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I don't know about the transmission of the Roadmaster in the pic but I recall the driver telling me that what was under the hood was not stock. That fits with Andy's 'easy to repair' comment.

Interesting also about the compare and contrast of wheelbase, overhang, and suspension between the Roadmaster and the Ody - especially in light of the fear about being unable to provide adequate control.
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