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Old 06-13-2008, 06:20 PM   #29
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hey red...

predicting the future of towing is beyond my meager abilities...

now to clarify just ONE bit on terminology for ya...

porn as i used the term...

is totally modern, totally hip and defined in a TOTALLY different way than u might imagine...

it means 'eye candy' or a tantalizing and highly customized view of ANY product...

so we have car porn, a/s porn, bicycle porn, SHOE porn, food porn and so on...

generally these are photos or videos of a product in some customized, stylized condition...

and are eye candy for enthusiasts of THAT product...

used this way, the term has got NOTHING to do with neked people in the 'post gen X' world...

so the usage of this word has evolved...

now back to the mundane...

STAYING IN YOUR LANE

-leaving your lane to avoid things is dangerous, IF you cannot first determine there is SPACE to do so...

-but many drivers do exactly that, WITHOUT the space or time...

and CAUSE ACCIDENTS other than the one that MAY happen in their lanes....

here's a relevant example...

-recently i was towing in HEAVY 3 lane traffic with 2 WIDE breakdown lanes...

-trying to leave 'enough' space ahead for safe braking distance IF needed....

-of course drivers in other lanes FILL that space without thinking, so it's work to keep the space there...

-way ahead folks were stopping or slowing down quickly and instantly several un attentive cars scattered left and right...

-headed for the shoulders.

-the problem was, LAW and AMBULANCE were moving IN those shoulder lanes at high speeds to an accident many miles ahead.

-3 cars were side swipped and 2 police cars beat up...

the break down lanes are not designed to ESCAPE an event ahead....

so STAY IN YOUR LANE unless ALL other options are exhausted...

then brake OR STEER, or STEER or BRAKE..

but DO NOT brake AND steer (even though abs makes this less of a sin)...

changing lanes adds to the risks while driving, even IF there is no hazards...

yes we need to change lanes while driving, but like every other variable added to driving it carries risks...

lastly the "german engineered TV with a capacity for 7500lbs" is not that at all...

it is a multi use SUV engineered to do many things.

the towing features are secondary to EVERYTHING ELSE regardless of who engineered it....

there aren't many 28 ft 3-4 TON rv trallers being towed on the autobahn or any place else in europe....

it's a wonderful multipurpose 100k vehicle...and a fine grocery getter.

but not anywhere near as capable as a 50k$+ 2 seater euro coupe on the slalom course

AND a 30k$+ long truck draggin THIS 28 ft trailer...

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:32 PM   #30
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agreed, but in THIS case the merc isn't low, except compared to BIG suvs and trucks...
Yes, and that's the point.

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so YOUR ability to demonstrate advanced handling of a car/trailer is misleading to the average person...
I disagree. Most times the average person, like me, responds to panic situations by just STOPPING or SLOWING DOWN as fast as they can. The thought of avoidence manouvers never enters their mind. (At least not mine, and I'm speaking from experience.) I, for one, am interested in any rig that can stop faster while maintaining control.

At the risk of raising the weight and wheelbase debates I will only say:

1. Why is it that the folks who scoff at Toyota claiming their 1/2 ton Tundra can pull 10,000 lbs (or whatever it is) are the same folks that are quick to believe the 1000 lb tow capacities of all sedans are accurate? The point being that all of these numbers are maniuplated by marketing departments for reasons that have little to do with engineering principles. In the total vacume of reliable towing specifications, real world experience trumps all.

2. The old wheelbase-to-trailer length "rules of thumb" went out the window with modern hitch designs. There's no simple formulae any more.

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but HOW does that really help someone how ISN'T in your market...
Well, they could start by listening and asking questions before making up their own mind. Many of Andrews recommendations can be employed anywhere. Andrew's certainly one of the most approachable and helpful persons I've met in this business.

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so consider the fact/observation that NO SHOPS (that i'm aware of) in the usa DO what you do anymore...
My prediction: That's about to change out of necessity.

Gary
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:56 PM   #31
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The dry weight difference between the 25 and 28ft AS is minimal, they are both roughly 5400lbs. Add your fluids, options and traveling gear and the weight is probably going to be around 6500 lbs. Towing capacity on the GL320CDI is 7500lbs under ideal conditions. I always use an 85% rule and figure the maximum weight the GL should tow is 6375 lbs. You'll be ballpark, but there are more factors involved than just pure weight. I know you were concerned about wheel base. All you can do is hook it up and see how it does. My previous TV was a Chevy Avalanche. It was a great commuter truck and did OK to haul my bass boat around (21 ft), but the tranny shifted up and down and when we decided to buy our 25ft AS, I knew that the Avalanche had to go.

I always say any vehicle can pull something once...

I say buy the trailer you want....the Mercedes is close to being maxed out and miles down the road will let you know if you need more, but I think the TV you absolutely have to have is the Chevy Kodiak 4500 Durmax Diesel! Dimmer has one. I saw that setup at Jackson Center. You could put the motorcycles on the back of it and haul and haul some more.

We upgraded the Avalanche to a 2500HD Crew Cab Long bed Duramax and could not be happier. We have a WD hitch and with the long wheel base and proper hitch setup, sway is not an issue and don't get pushed anywhere. We've been over the Appalachians and love to pass the SOB 5th wheels on the hills. It's fun to drive up the mountain at 75mph.

Cheers,

yakman
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:11 PM   #32
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If the A/S dealer wants to make a sale, he should be willing to hook up the 28' unit to your vehicle and let you pull it down the road to see how it feels. The dealer closest to me has made that offer numerous times.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:51 AM   #33
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Wow, this is getting heavy indeed. It would be wise for all of us to consider where our little hobby of a beast and burden is going. I submit that for our future, Andrew's efforts are paving the way. Our Canadian friends have had fuel cost like ours for decades, and have forgotten more than we know about vehicle capacities and abilities due to SURVIVAL, not desire. We, in the states have been insulated from such realities, and now being slapped over the head by a 2x4. The option of having a 3/4 ton truck and 2 other vehicles that all get 10mpg are in in our past, and the company demo of AIRSTREAM pulling one of our beloved castles through pylons by a Porsche Cayenne speaks volumes. It appears they know something that many on this forum are in denial about.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:17 PM   #34
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Wow, this is getting heavy indeed. It would be wise for all of us to consider where our little hobby of a beast and burden is going. I submit that for our future, Andrew's efforts are paving the way. Our Canadian friends have had fuel cost like ours for decades, and have forgotten more than we know about vehicle capacities and abilities due to SURVIVAL, not desire. We, in the states have been insulated from such realities, and now being slapped over the head by a 2x4. The option of having a 3/4 ton truck and 2 other vehicles that all get 10mpg are in in our past, and the company demo of AIRSTREAM pulling one of our beloved castles through pylons by a Porsche Cayenne speaks volumes. It appears they know something that many on this forum are in denial about.
I've made a few trips to Toronto in years gone by and can't recall any higher fuel prices than what we pay in the US. Now Europe is a different story, but Canada is just one of the 50-something states . They have their Levi's. Fords and Chevy's just the same.

I wouldn't panic about tow vehicles. If you work the math.. it would not pay to buy a new vehicle to squeeze out 25 miles per gallon vs. the 16mpg I get empty in my diesel Chevy. We're talking less than $200 per month with my average daily driving. Any vehicle that uses an oil product is getting hammered right now. Pound for pound the 3/4 ton diesels are the best tow vehicle on the road.

A Yugo would pull an Airstream... once, that is. I pulled a small Uhaul with a Renault Alliance in my college days. The only seat available was the driver's seat. It was packed absolutely to the brim. I drove from Tacoma to Columbus, OH. I topped the Continental Divide outside of Butte, MT doing 35mph with the pedal floored in first gear. I didn't know if it was going to make it. I probably would not have if the incline had been any longer. What finally caused me to break down was the wind on the plains in Iowa. The head wind was so strong I had to drop down in gear and the high frequency buzz of that little engine caused the plug to fall out of the alternator. Luckily it started to rain and I turned on the wipers. They were moving sooo slow that I realized something was going on. I got off at the next exit, and the overpass was uphill. I had so little electricity left that the automatic transmission would not downshift and I bogged up the gentle overpass. I made it into Adair, IA, I believe that was the name of that little town, and the car died right when I backed that trailer into the service station spot that night. Boy, was I lucky! The next day the service guy looked at my Renault and said it may take a day to get an alternator out of Des Moines. He found that the connection had vibrated off from the alternator, hooked it back up and charged my battery for me. Thank goodness for small town honesty. I was on my way and made it to Columbus.

I certainly learned a little from that trip hauling my apartment belongings with that Renault. I still stand by the saying that anything can haul something once... The guy on the bicycle towing the Airstream comes to mind.

Another thing to consider is where you'll be hauling the trailer. If it's 40 miles down flat interstate to the most groomed campground in the world you'll have no problem. If you plan on any mountain travel, beware. If you want that shady rustic campsite in the trees, do you have 4 wheel drive? I've already used mine to get into a tight spot.

cheers,

yakman
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:25 PM   #35
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Hi Yakman

That U-haul likely had 75% of the aerodynamic drag of an Airstream and the Alliance had maybe 90 HP and 120 ft lbs. of torque and my guess is that it was just a 3 speed automatice with a high stall speed torque convertor. Towing and Airstream with 230 HP V/6 with 240 ft lbs. of torque and a multi speed transmission is not a similar experience.

We have always had considerably higher fuel prices in Canada due to additional taxation. Today we are about $5.30 for a US gallon. It does result in a considerably different vehicle mix here. For example 3 years ago Front drive vans were 8% of the U.S. vehicle market but over 20% in Canada. When the top selling vehicle in the US was the F150 ours was the Honda Civic. The F150 was number 5.

I am not positive of the accuracy but I heard that the Pick up sales in the U.S. in May dropped from an average of 24% of vehicle sales to 8%. I am sure this is an overreaction and they will bounce back but not to the level they once were.

Several people have mentioned that you can tow with anything once. However we have many customers with V/6 tow vehicles that have 150,000 miles on them with no serious problems. In our own vehicles we find vehicles such as front drive vans and sedans to be less expensive to maintain than the trucks that we own. Brakes last longer there are no rear axle problems and they just don't give trouble.

Next time you are going to Toronto stop in and test drive what ever we have hooked up. We are just north of the 401 at exit 177B.

Andy
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:38 PM   #36
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If you plan on any mountain travel, beware. If you want that shady rustic campsite in the trees, do you have 4 wheel drive?
We will all (or most of us) start driving what is best MOST of the time. If you drive the mountains everyday, it's different than putting up with less power on the occassional mountain trip.

Back to the original topic, the ML and GL are both all wheel drive.

And yakman- did that old Alliance really have an electronic transmission so the loss of voltage wouldn't allow it to shift? I would have thought it had a mechanical linkage for kicking down into the lower gears.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:11 PM   #37
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However we have many customers with V/6 tow vehicles that have 150,000 miles on them with no serious problems. In our own vehicles we find vehicles such as front drive vans and sedans to be less expensive to maintain than the trucks that we own. Brakes last longer there are no rear axle problems and they just don't give trouble.

Andy
For sure! ... A week ago our V6 Nissan FWD Van was towed to the auto grave yard after being rammed in the side by a lady "looking north, but driving south"

The mini van was 16 years old with 434,000klm's ( about 250,000miles).

It still had the original drive train. The engine ran fine with minimal oil burning. A tranny that worked like new and never had a fault or repair. The axles, rad, CV joints, front struts, alt, bearings etc all original. Even the rear brake shoes and drums original.

This was our TV for over ten years and for 7 of those years we towed a one ton pop up all over the Continent including the Rockies. We then towed the 23' Safari for 3 years without any issues.

Yes the Nissan is gone, but not forgotten. It was a winner.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:30 PM   #38
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Yes the Nissan is gone, but not forgotten. It was a winner.
Have you given any though about what will be replacing it?
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:04 AM   #39
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As to evasive manuevers, one can come up with any number of scenarios which preclude them in accident avoidance. Which is why I made the point that the choice of a tow vehicle has nothing to do with driver skill, it has to do with TV capabilities. Steering control trumps braking .. always, as I said even earlier, since, if one CAN avoid the problem, one is better off (and is common sense, backed by numerous studies a problem here?).

Believe me that as a former truck driver I can illustrate this quite well, for I not only avoided my own death, but prevented that of others in some incidents not of my own making. Luckily [?] I was traveling at a reasonable speed, first, and second, had a good idea of the rigs capabilities. (Not luck at all, but driving according to what guidelines the insurance companies and government, the safety department and old time drivers counsel again and again. With room for improvement, always: Drive at such a speed, according to conditions, that allow for either braking, maneuvering or a combination of both).

And none of this is to say that the rig couldn't have been better. It could, and it can. Brakes, electronic stability, etc.

So can our TT/TV combinations. Attempts to shout down, or preclude this kind of discussion with labels of irrationality -- calling it porn is the attempt to push it beyond the pale, to insinuate that the matter is closed; that those who pursue it are irrational -- is also the attempt to say that this sort of TV is not an acceptable alternative. (cool, hip, modern are terms arising from, or given play by, advertising & the media; perennially suspect sources, but held dear by the insecure and frightened).

We wouldn't, some of us, have chosen any trailer other than an A/S since it's abilities, its' roadability, is superior to the competition at present. Nor would we, some of us, have chose a pivot-point style of hitch rigging as it affords steering control improvements of a magnitude increase.

To say that the discussion stops here, that the contemplation of a Mercedes TV designated by the manufacturer as being capable of towing 7,500-lbs (with the caveats we also discuss here of axle weights, etc.), is itself not worthy of these other, attendant discussions which are about the best on the Web.

A 3/4T or heavier pickup may well be "necessary" for the heaviest trailers, but this does not mean it is superior, only that it is the default choice. It is likely that this default choice is itself the cause of some accidents, as it is a poor handling, braking vehicle, even solo. As a TV its' virtues are notable, but accident avoidance is not one of them.

That this sort of TV [Mercedes, in this instance] is problematic is potentially true. But how else will we know until we learn? Where is the room for the discussion?

I could easily say -- and prove -- that the Airstream is a nice idea with its' semi-monocoque construction, but the ravages of time weaken the structure and leave it an inferior vehicle as a long-term RV unless extra-ordinary precautions are taken. How do I know this? From reading on this forum, the same way I, and some others, expect to learn about TVs that cover a range of capabilities.

So, to be "hip" I guess I could say that the phenomenon of NIH, (not-invented-here), the General Motors disease, is in charge of Tow Vehicle Discussions, and to be avoided.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:32 AM   #40
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look red i get it...

u don't like the terminology i have used.

could care less that ur bothered BUT i'll get over it.

there are MANY forms of vehicle eye candy, porn isn't a 4 letter word and 'pimp my ride' is another example of this word shift,

for ne1 under 35.

also there is NO mention in the post about shutting down the discuss...

no mention of anti import views, all the more funny IF directed this way,

since my lifetime vehicle count is 1usa/14+german/3japan/i italy/i french/1swede and i british.

and no made up scenarios have been offered related to accidents...

will current fuel prices result in a growth of shops modifying undercapacity vehicles for towing?

in the usa, this is unlikely except on the downlow...

because personal, company and corporate liability issues STILL MATTER...

and regardless of how or who establishes payload, towing, gvwr, tire ratings, and so on...

there is NO indication these limits are about to be scraped because of fuel pricing or depressed tv/rv sales.

for 20+ years,

i've owned an 'imported, unibody, 2 seater, mid engine, short wheelbase, roadster WITH a custom constructed/welded receiver...

that was fabricated here, specifically at MY request and used for towing.

for the most part i avoid PERSONAL EXPERIENCE accounts (mine) because they are IRRELEVANT to the discussion.

but i've driven and towed and used this vehicle for 20 years and still do.

and at the time this work was done the shop was one of several doing this work here....

but they are long out of business and the others have ALL stopped doing this.

currently i'm unable 2 locate ANY legit businesses making these alterations in the usa...

that is significant and highly suggestive of the current, reasonable/legit options available for american towing...

it appears there is a vendor in ANOTHER COUNTY that still does this work.

the shop has many LOYAL customers (so forget about getting any independent view) which is heartwarming...

they are repeat customers AND mostly self select to undergo the surgery...

their testimonials and reports and views are inherently and PERMANENTLY biased.

that DOES'T mean they are lying or exaggerating, but it does mean their experiences aren't objective...

AND most of them do NOT live in the states.

so the primary concern (for me) is that folks looking for towing solutions and with little experience with these things...

consider ALL THE ISSUES and RAMIFICATIONS before going across the border and ALTERING their vehicles...

because IF they plan to live, drive and tow HERE, they've go NO BACK UP, NO LEGAL BASIS for the alterations...

and may pay dearly should problems arise.

it is problematic on MANY levels for anyone in the '48' to take their tv to canada or mexico or timbuck2 for modifications...

and then expect to drive, service, tow and insure it back home.

the populist support and encouragement to go north get the treatment and tow happily ever after is naive.

and the observation that 'supporters' of this vendor are directing their anger/frustration, commentary, without basis...

toward ONE poster who DISAGREES on an objective level with going to canada to alter vehicles intended for use in the states...

bothers me NOT AT ALL;

it is more a reflection of an inability to argue the issues only, while feeling the debate is a personal attack...

which it isn't.

and the poor op in this thread appears long gone from the skirmish which is too bad.

lets hope they develop a solution that works, is safe AND that makes them happy...

and complies with the basic rules WHERE THEY LIVE and tow.

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:49 PM   #41
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I like it just like the CB I used to turn down at 2 am because of the chat that happens. I am also an EX over the road driver but now stay local. The great thing is all the opinions are right and that is what makes the world go round.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:12 PM   #42
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Have you given any though about what will be replacing it?
Yes cameront. About three years ago we stopped towing with the Nissan van because the mileage was getting up there and we wanted to experiance another ride.

So many folks in the area here were towing with cars so we decided to try it too. The stability and control is just great. Been very happy with the pro set up from Can Am. The Nissan built V6, VQ series engines are very powerful and reliable.
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