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Old 02-22-2014, 05:04 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by rostam View Post
True, but if you are knowingly violating towing recommendations/guidelines/laws, you will be in a much worse position to defend yourself. That is just obvious.
Laws, sure. Agree completely. Guidelines from a vehicle manufacturer, not so much. My vehicles are licensed under a set of regulations (in BC) that are covered by reciprocity rules with other jurisdictions in North America. The trailer towing rules here have performance based braking requirements. Those matter. They can be used as a defence against charges of violating vague guidelines, IMO. And since my vehicles are insured by a government insurance company they will be the ones defending, they won't be using someone else's rules to try and deny liability.

Incidentally, I went back to review the Alberta regulations. Unlike the RV guidelines that were posted above, the Traffic Safety Act in Alberta doesnt cover GCWR. That term is defined under the commercial vehicle regulations in Alberta, which don't apply to most of us. Illustrates the difference between laws and recommendations for RV towing, IMO.

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Old 02-22-2014, 05:35 PM   #58
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First off, I started this thread because I agree that manufacturers use tow ratings as a marketing tool to promote their most profitable vehicles. Some of the posters here have taken shots at vehicles that have ratings well within safety standards. You want a truck, buy a truck, but please refrain from telling me as well as others that we don't know what we're doing when we choose to tow with an alternative vehicle. Now I'm going to play with my 110 HP Model A that came from the factory with 40 HP!
Wow!
I am sorry you feel as though you are being picked on.
My intent was to simply point out that the United States is the place a woman successfully sued McDonalds because her coffee was too hot!
I have a lot of respect for the work Andy does at Can-Am.
Would I tow with a Chrysler 300? No, but I have a lifetime of experience repairing cars that colors my opinion. If you want to, feel free. I have seen trucks towing Airstreams that were so poorly set up that I am certain they were more dangerous than anything coming out of Andy's shop.
Maybe I will begin collecting pictures of dangerous looking tow set ups. I have seen a few!
No bad feelings I hope.
Bruce
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:52 PM   #59
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Hey! That's my trailer.



I think my Ody will do just fine.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:35 PM   #60
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Hey! That's my trailer.



I think my Ody will do just fine.
The car in that ad was of a different ilk. It has more in common with my truck than your Ody! Front engine, rear wheel drive, solid axel....Then to compare it to really modern vehicles, no drive by wire throttle, traction control, sway control, anti lock brakes, electric transmission control or any of the myriad of systems that modern autos have. All systems with software designed to operate in a world of known variables. Variables that may or may not include towing depending on the application. It is this kind of thing that makes me nervous about towing with a small car above and beyond the liability issue I mentioned earlier.

That and the ability to absorb the punishment of towing. The built in "margins" that car companies put into heavy duty vehicles.

Again, I understand that a person may never have an issue using a smaller vehicle to tow. In my work I see all kinds of extremes when it comes to how people treat their cars. I have a customer who can not go more than 10,000 miles on a set of brake rotors and pads no matter what we do, I followed her in traffic once and saw why! I stopped counting after 100 applications of the brake (as indicated by the brake lights) and this was in just a couple of miles. I didn't touch my brakes more than twice in the same stretch following her. If she were towing anything I would suggest a tank!

I am sure people consider it a badge of honor to tow with a small vehicle. I get it! I do not believe it is for everyone though...and I still remain a skeptic.
I will say this, whenever anyone asks about setting up a car to tow with I send them directly to Andy at Can-AM. He is a smart, capable man.
Enjoy your Airstream and be safe!
Bruce
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:07 PM   #61
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I wonder how those cars that towed trailers 30-50 years ago would be tow rated today? Same for trucks of long ago? Of course those trailers, for the most part weighed a lot less.

I think it can be argued many of today's cars may be better suited to tow most Airstreams than the cars and truck's of yesteryear—I don't believe there would be a simple answer, but if they are fairly heavy and have rear drive or AWD, they may be much better than the standards of long ago, though may not so good for today's standards.

I don't think we have any hard evidence about what went on 30-50 years ago except for anecdotal statements. Thus, comparisons have to be looked at skeptically.

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Old 02-22-2014, 07:35 PM   #62
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Apples and Oranges

This is an interesting conversation.
My ol' 1970 Chevy C20 Custom Camper with a 350/350 and 4.10 gears has a GCW of #10,250 The truck weighs a tad less than #5,000 full of fuel without a driver. So it is rated, in the best case scenario, for towing a #5,000 trailer. This is for a truck with 249 HP 304 lb/ft TQ and 4 wheel drum brakes. Interesting indeed.
scan 1970.pdf
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:42 PM   #63
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:42 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post

I have a customer who can not go more than 10,000 miles on a set of brake rotors and pads no matter what we do, I followed her in traffic once and saw why! I stopped counting after 100 applications of the brake (as indicated by the brake lights) and this was in just a couple of miles. I didn't touch my brakes more than twice in the same stretch following her. If she were towing anything I would suggest a tank!

Bruce
LOL! Yes, I taught my daughter to drive and the best advice I gave her was if you want your brakes to last, "Drive like you have no brakes". Think about it. Look ahead, anticipate your stops and most of all don't let your foot go directly from the accelerator to the brake. This applies even more so to trailering.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #65
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I found the article informative and accurate. What article did you read!? Most half ton trucks on the road are the basic models or four wheel drive with low tow ratings. Many of these owners tow like they have a three quarter ton or larger. No WD, etc,. Jim
Title: "... Towing more than 5k pounds with a half-ton pickup is against the law." At best an ignorant generalization that is invalidated by a huge number of half ton pickups such as my own, which has a tow rating of 9500 lb.

The quote from Bruce Smith, ostensibly some sort of expert, "Half-ton pickups have a 5,000-pound towing capacity, period," he says. "The weight of the towed equipment alone usually exceeds that limit." As stated, this is a falsehood. It would be accurate to say "Half-ton pickups require a weight-distribution hitch to tow more than 5000 pounds" but what he said is patently false as a general statement.

It's not until the 7th paragraph that they grudgingly admit that using a weight-distribution hitch allows the truck to "take on extra weight" but at no point do they specifically state that a properly-equipped half-ton truck may be capable of safely and legally towing much more than 5000 lb.

Lest you think I have a dog in this fight, I tow an Argosy with a GVWR of 5300 lb with a half-ton pickup using a weight-distribution hitch, and the trailer never weighs close to gross, so the author's poor writing is an offense to me just because of its dishonesty, not because I think he's accusing me of "breaking the law."
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:17 PM   #66
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All these numbers being thrown around. Might as well add another. My half ton is tow-rated for 11,200 pounds. The 2014 GMC half ton trucks vary from 5800 to 11,500 lbs. tow rating, and from 1751 to 2108 lbs. payload. Pretty variable.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:33 PM   #67
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Wow!
I am sorry you feel as though you are being picked on.
My intent was to simply point out that the United States is the place a woman successfully sued McDonalds because her coffee was too hot!
I have a lot of respect for the work Andy does at Can-Am.
Would I tow with a Chrysler 300? No, but I have a lifetime of experience repairing cars that colors my opinion. If you want to, feel free. I have seen trucks towing Airstreams that were so poorly set up that I am certain they were more dangerous than anything coming out of Andy's shop.
Maybe I will begin collecting pictures of dangerous looking tow set ups. I have seen a few!
No bad feelings I hope.
Bruce

In no way do I feel picked on. FYI, the damages that were awarded to the gal by McDonalds over the hot coffee episode were greatly reduced on appeal. When I bought our 2006 Safari 25 FB, I towed it with a Ford F-250 with a V-10. Traded for an '06 GMC 2500HD. Traded again for a Silverado 2500HD in 2012. Now towing the same AS with a 2013 Grand Cherokee with the factory tow rating of 7200 pounds.

Based on my experience, there are alternatives to trucks. Now if you have kids or want to take extra toys, then a truck is great. Again, nobody is bashing trucks, just pointing out that there are alternative tow vehicles.

Before ramp trucks came into vogue, drag racers used Chrysler wagons to tow match racers and funny cars in the mid seventies.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:44 PM   #68
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For me, In general, to the greatest extent, the safety of any vehicle with regard to towing a trailer with a light to moderate tongue weight, (I.e.Airstreams), is largely dependent on the vehicles ability to stop well on demand.

It doesn't take long to figure out if a vehicle is ill handling, and to make a fix and/or replace a tow vehicle.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:42 PM   #69
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For those who think modern cars are too light to tow a moderately substantial trailer....... Well, by all accounts, modern cars are BRICKS.

http://whatiscurbweight.com/vehicle-...urb_weight.htm
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:35 AM   #70
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I was looking forward to the article but by the end felt any message was all muddled up. I think every reader knew before they started reading that a badly set up combo is not the best and that manufacturer tow ratings are no substitute for applying common sense and paying attention to tongue weight and correct hitching. What the article did imply was that a truck is not a modern tow vehicle and that a Volvo is better. I'll concede that if you are OK with ignoring manufacturer published limits for tow rating, hitch rating and in some case trailer frontal area and altering the vehicle a bit you can end up with a stable set up that will deal with the majority of scenarios but it's clear that many RVers don't want all these limitations or worries. I mean if I'm dropping say the best part of $100K on kit to go on vacation I don't want to have to worry about putting something in the trunk in case I ruin my dialled in set up, or driving so slowly so it doesn't boil over or melt the brakes. I know that's sounds harsh and I'm not so pro truck that I can't see how for example the big Merc R class looks like a great TV but the sedans and big new trailers just aren't for me.

If Andy's point was that going over the numbers you can find a greyish area and if it all works well that's one thing; but I got a feeling that he was suggesting that the numbers may as well be ignored in favour of low centre of gravity, IRS and low profile tires.

I guess I was expecting to read about actual tow rating information and maybe see some neat trailer TV combos. What I got was a on opinion regarding auto manufacturers risk versus reward motives to sell high profit vehicles from an RV dealer presumably generally motivated to sell bigger high profit trailers. I completely get that from a business perspective once you've established a niche for yourself as a set up guru you should play to your strengths for maximum benefit and I am interested in using one of my vehicles (Jeep Unlimited) as a small TV for a smaller trailer one day but I won't be ignoring all the manufacturer warnings to get there.

I'm pretty sure a decision making profile could be whipped up to categories attitudes to this subject and some of my branches would be

"am I within manufacturer ratings or very close> YES/ NO"
"can my TV tow my trailer(s) without WD down the road a few miles if the need be > YES/ NO"
"Can I accelerate to get out of trouble even it involves a hill? > YES/ NO"
"does my desire to use my TV as my only vehicle override all else? > YES/ NO"
"does my desire to save fuel override all else? >YES/NO"
"do I think that what works on another continent with all the variables means it will always work here? YES/ NO"
"do I think my TV brakes will make up for any drum brake fade on the trailer? YES/ NO"
"do I believe what was good in 1950 works in todays world? >YES/ NO"
"will I ever want/ need 4x4 or AWD? YES/ NO"
"would my wife ever drive a minivan? YES/No just kidding with this one, it's a NO but I threw it in to illustrate how emotion affects our decision here"

As I write this I realize I should probably just hit delete and/ or unsubscribe and move along but I really am interested in tow ratings and will read the next article on SAE standards. I hope against all odds that it's less anecdotal scaremongering and more educational.
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