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Old 11-15-2006, 09:00 AM   #15
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Trading Tahoe

Well then, it's settled! I can trade in my Tahoe for a Renault to tow our Safari 22' and save tons on fuel and insurance. Wish I knew that three Tahoes ago!

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Old 11-15-2006, 09:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by AlbertF
A comparable new Renault with a 1.2 litre engine (check out the UK website) has a tow rating (a legal limit in the EU) of 1200 kg (about 2,650 lbs). These tow ratings are typically based on startability on a 12% grade. You can imagine that an engine that size would only be good for 50 mph or so, but for some people in Europe, that's OK. I really don't know about highway stability, though.

That European caravan might look large, it was probably under 3,000 lbs.

The car in the video was a neglected, worn out piece of junk, perhaps with defective brakes. The engine quit, the driver couldn't re-start it, and in the process neglected to use the brakes (clutch, gas, brake . . . and only two feet). That appears to be the sequence of events that led to the accident. To compound the problem, the European surge brake system on the trailer would have been entirely useless going backward.
But AlbertF, that still doesn't make it safe. European caravans are apples to 30' Airstream oranges.

A Hensley Arrow Hitch cost approximately $3,000 US and I bet the manufacturer has all kinds of disclaimers about not making unsafe towing situations safe. By the time you add in the cost of vehicle modifications to accomodate the hitch, you will have invested several thousands of dollars (including the Hensley). That is a fair amount of money that can be applied toward trade in for a 1/2 ton tow vehicle or nearly pay for a good used 1/2 ton Suburban or 5.4 litre Expedition. Perhaps even a 3/4 ton crew cab or 3/4 ton Suburban would come into that price range in a gasoline engine if you don't want to use it as a daily driver and keep a small vehicle like the B4000 for daily use. Then you would have the torque and tow power to feel comfortable most anywhere you tow.

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Old 11-15-2006, 09:55 AM   #17
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My comments have been taken out of context.

My point was not at all to suggest that the Renault R5 could tow an Airstream, but simply to to analyze why that accident occurred. Speed and stability problems did not cause that event. The car should have been able to tug that trailer up the hill if it had been running properly. My impression is that it was a neglected old beater. That model hasn't been built since sometime in the 1980s.

Yes, European caravans are indeed very different with respect to overall weight, balance, tongue weight, etc., and are generally limited to a 7 metre length - about 23'.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:28 AM   #18
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I completely yet respectfully disagree Albert ,I read the posts and I saw the
video a couple years ago .That car is a pile of junk ,but the caravan (trailer)
clearly was too large ,cannot say its not ,just look at it .Secondly if the Renault was easily pulled back down that hill and could not even hold the
trailer and itself at a stop ,well how the heck safe is that? To say the engine wasn,t maintained and that was the issue is incorrect .As a mechanic and
technition by trade for 30 years now ive seen alot of vehicals and the engine
has neither the power nor the ability to succssfully tow or pull that trailer.
Ived worked on many imports including a few Renaults ,also a couple Yugos
also ,toyotas and nissans ,hondas etc. No one in the states would even
consider towing any thing with any small ,unstable unsafe little car even
a ford pinto for any reason .Now ,are you trying to say that when the guy in
the Renault could not make it up the hill ,he had a breakdown and let go of the brake pedal and just allowed the whole thing to roll back down the hill?
come on now ,anyone can clearly see the reason for the crash .I think that
the laws then regarding these cars towing these trailers needs to be re written,because this is totally stupid ,unsafe and makes no sense .I for one
cannot view this video or other crazy tow situation like the intrepid business
and not think safety is the last concern thats being considered .I know the
drivetrain in the intrepid ,the bearings on the wheels and the small transmission / weak everything and unibody /non frame etc and so what
because someone is doing this we all should applaude it ? Im about safety
and careful driving and most of all being able to stop my rig in the event of
any kind of problem Ill encounter on the highway ,anything that compromises
anyones saftey as this Renault crash should be an eye opener as what not to
do .nothing in the video suggests otherwise ,shows stupidity at its finest hour
and NO regard for anyones saftey .thats it.

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Old 11-15-2006, 10:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by scottanlily
Now ,are you trying to say that when the guy in
the Renault could not make it up the hill ,he had a breakdown and let go of the brake pedal and just allowed the whole thing to roll back down the hill?
I'm trying to understand what happened in that case. Could the car physically move the trailer? Yes. A simple examination of torque and likely gearing will show that. The available torque is nothing compared to a Duramax, but the combined weight was probably not more than 5,000 lbs.

Was the driver foolish? Careless? Ignorant of safety? Driving with inadequate brakes? Probably all of the above. Maybe he was thinking that he was only a couple of hundred kilograms over his car's weight rating but everything was going to be OK.

When I last watched the video, I had the sound on. After the car and trailer went out of sight up the hill, you could hear a starter churning away. A couple of seconds later, the trailer came down the hill, dragging the car with it. It's clear to me that the engine quit and the driver tried to re-start it. Manual transmission, three pedals, carbureted engine, only two feet. Something had to give. The driver made the wrong choice, but then again, maybe the car's brakes were bad.

What if the tow vehicle was 30 year old half ton pickup with 300,000 miles, a blown head gasket, in desperate need of a carburetor re-build, and bad brakes? The result could have been the same.

The point I am trying to make is that the accident was not simply the result of an undersized tow vehicle that wasn't big enough or powerful enough to move that huge trailer, that suddenly gave up and slid backwards down the hill. There's a bit more to it than that.
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:16 AM   #20
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:56 PM   #21
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AlbertF ,I see that your trying to make a point here that the car had some troubles and thats really what caused the crash .Im sorry ,but,the accident was totally due to the undersized underpowered little car and the idiot driver trying to pull this trailer up a hill no less!! Im at a loss as to why we are debating such an obviouse situation.I can pull my 24ft airstream up any hill and down ,with relative ease ,the temp gauge is normal ,oil pressure is great so on and so forth .Im feeling confident that in most situations Im prepared as much as I can be ,have an adequate TV and can saftely handle my trailer .In the case we are dicussing here ,nothing is right
about this video and crash .what if that Renault and caravan crashed into the bicyclists instead of the other side of the road ? The engine blew up because it clearly was overloaded and under powered by any stretch of the imagination ,the clutch and brakes all way to small ,it doesn't matter if the car was brand new it still would not be safe .so to argue on about how it
was not well cared of or whatever is futile and doesn't matter in the least.
Safety is the whole point here and this was not safe ,that should be the focus of this conversation .The driver Im sure had both feet on the brakes
as it rolled back down the hill ,still wouldn't matter and still doesn't. I believe
people mis interperet just how much 5000# its 2 1/2 tons of weight . So imagine that 3000#s of weight were trying pull you back down a hill ,and your
2000# car with the tiny brakes were trying to stop it ,You then have more
weight pulling you back by a 1000#s and that little car cannot stop that
from happening .Im not going with the brakes were bad ,Im staying with
the fact that it doesn't matter, it was an accident waiting to happen and it did just that .The bigger picture is what matters and you know why this happened and your right ,the driver made the wrong choice to even attempt
it ,risking peoples lives ,I blame the driver for doing just that.

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Old 11-16-2006, 12:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by chuck

But the Charger makes a whole lot more sense to me; its got a hugely powerful engine...the same they put in their trucks.

what I don't get: to what does one attach a receiver, on a unibody automobile? there ain't nuthin' under there but sheet metal.

Apparently Rich Luhr, editor and publisher of Airstream Life mag had the oppourtunity to test drive, and write about the Hemi sedan towing the big one. By the smile on his face I think he liked it!

Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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