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Old 07-31-2010, 08:20 AM   #29
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I've been towing my 30' Safari for four years now and I would never trust a modern Airstream to something as puny as a Minni Cooper.

that isn't a "modern airstream"; its a vintage argy, and I think people may be missing the point that this is an extremely lightweight trailer. These minuets are quite small, but they are proportioned exactly the same as any airstream, so in pictures, or without any scale, they look much bigger than they are. You need to see it in-person to appreciate just how small they are.
I don't want to speak for AndyT, but I doubt he'd hook up a mini to your late-model 30' airstream, either.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:41 AM   #30
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Perhaps if I were an automotive engineer I might have a different opinion, but I just don't see the Minni Cooper/Argosy as being a safe combination.
MM, you may be on to something with that thought. On another RV forum a ME stepped in and made these comments.....

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 guarantee 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 irrelevant with proper design. Proof: commercial rigs tow trailers weighting many times heavier than the rig itself.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:43 AM   #31
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Minnie's Mate, I fully understand the logic of the 30' Airstream and 3/4 ton pickup. No argument with that.

We prefer the smaller Airstream for our travel, and do not like a pickup as a tow vehicle. When at destinations and unhook, we would much rather have a more agile and economical vehicle to get around the countryside with, especially off the beaten path.

I have wanted to tow our 20' Safari SE with a Toyota FJ Cruiser because of its size and agility, but have chosen not to as the "numbers" do not work. I would still like to, if it could be done safely. Andy?
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:39 PM   #32
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Andy, that would be 2007 20' Safari SE and FJ Cruiser with manual trans and full-time four wheel drive. Yah, yah, I know, the numbers don't work well, but is there some experience in your shop?
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:48 PM   #33
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We have set up several FJ Cruizers for towing. It is not a vehicle I would whole heartly suggest due to the centre of gravity, soft tires and live axle rear suspension but on the other hand you only have a 20' Airstream.

When we set them up we strengthen the hitch receiver by running a tank bar forward to just behind the axle. This bar absorbs the torque from the torsion bars so you get effective weight transfer. The stock hitch will just twist.

Most of the ones we have set up have been with 25' Airstreams and lite trailers and we always use a Hensley with this size. However we have one customer with a 19' and we set him up with a 750 lb. eaz-lift and a friction sway control. I suggested he change the stock tires to 235/65R x 17" XL which have a fraction of the sidewall sway. However the owner is pleased with it with the stock tires and sees no need to change them.

Here are a couple of pictures.

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Old 08-01-2010, 10:54 PM   #34
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Hi, I would be concerned with the hitch spring bars being so close to the ground on this FJ set-up. Maybe an Equal-i-izer would be better. [My opinion]
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:32 PM   #35
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Hans, OB Bambi's Toe Vehicle

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Old 08-02-2010, 05:44 AM   #36
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The torsion bars actually have plenty of ground clearance it is just because the picture was taken over the grass that they are that low.

An Equalizer would not be advisable on a 19' as the "A" frame is not strong enough to withstand the forces of the Equalizer brand hitch bars. Because the bars are not tapered they have limited travel when you go into dips etc.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:52 AM   #37
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The original Beetle is one car we have never put a hitch on. My Father drove them back and forth to work in Toronto for years and it was the first car I ever drove.

This Argosy is not actually and Minuette it is a full 8' wide 1973 model but it is not overly heavy about 3200 lbs. The new 7'6" wide 22' Sport would be a great match for the Mini.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:20 AM   #38
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I would be particularly concerned with whether the transmission of the Minni would hold up to towing a trailer of this size. Also, would the brakes be up to the task without overheating? How well would other components hold up to this kind of load? I suppose you could get by with this combination if you only intended to tow the trailer once or twice per year on short trips and didn't want a separate dedicated tow vehicle, but it really would tax the car when towing I really don't think that the manufacturer designed the car to perform optimally under such loads. Not to mention that a car that small would really wear you down on a trip of any length. However, I have no experience with a Minni and really have no desire to. They are great for what they were intended and that is to be a fun to drive economy car. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:11 AM   #39
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The brakes are not a concern this model has huge brakes for its weight with tons of reserve, likely more reserve braking capacity than a truck would have which ususally does well to stop itself. The Argosy also has the large 12x2" breaks so quite a lot of breaking capability for its weight. Though I did not measure stopping distances as it was not my vehicle I would think it would out stop most any solo truck. The transmission is a 6 speed manual so transmission wear would not be an issue but it would likely need clutches a little more frequently than if just driven solo. Again though the clutch is quite large for the weight of the combiantion.

What you would need to watch out for is overheating the exhaust valves with the turbo. So the turbo is fine to use for entering a entrance ramp or passing slow traffic but you don't want to climb a 5 mile grade under maximum boost or drive all day into a headwind under full boost. So driving it means keeping an eye on the boost gauge, not unlike watching the exhaust manifold temps on the early deisel trucks.

I don't think it has the ground clearance for Alaska or Mexico but I would not hesitate to it drive to BC tomorrow. If the worst case happens you need to spend money on a mechanical repair sometime you are still thousands ahead of operating an separate tow vehicle that does not suite your day to day usage.

Then you have to factor in how much fun it is that has to be worth something.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:28 AM   #40
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My feeling is this: Andrew T knows what he is doing so for him to drive that combo is probably OK. I'm not saying he is wrong. But the average smoe like me doesn't keep all of those factors in mind.

I realize not everyone wants to drive a 3/4 ton truck, or any truck for that matter, so this would probably be an practical combo for some. However, for what the engineering of the receiver, and a $3,000 for a Hensley/Pro Pride/etc. and the installation of all this equipment would come close to the price of a mid-90s era Suburban or Tahoe that could be used for towing only, or fill in for purposes that a Minni can't and you would have a more comfortable ride than a cramped, compact (ultimate compact) car that you have to shift gears in traffic getting in or out of your home port or along the route to your destination.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:08 AM   #41
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Andrew T, I want this FJ Cruiser/20' Safari Se combo to work because we travel the Southwest U.S. in winter, with 80% of our time unhooked touring desert, mountain, and cities. The FJ is agile, inexpensive, reliable, and has a utility interior. We have traveled/ camped extensively, and travel lightly, seldom on interstates.

With better tires, Hensley hitch, and strengthened receiver, would this be a good handling combo for us? If not-so-good, would you have another tow vehicle in mind?

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Old 07-01-2012, 10:12 AM   #42
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The Mini Rides pretty firm with or without the trailer tires are 205/40 18" so there is not a lot of sidewall to absorb the little road seams. We have an equalizing hitch on it with a friction sway control. The sway control does not seem to make any difference but it is cheap insurance.

Our biggest concern was if we could build a receiver for it but it turned out to be fairly simple.

The Countryman may not be as good a tow vehicle. If the power is the same the extra drag from the 4WD will reduce performance. The taller centre of Gravity and larger tires may not be as precise handling, I would imagine they are tuning it for a smoother ride as well.

Here is a hitch picture.

Andrew T
Hope nobody minds the thread revival but this is pretty neat to look at. I would have concerns about the severe rear suspension drop shown in the above pic. That looks like 2" lower than stock when hitched up. What does the MINI and trailer look like when loaded with gear? What is the weight of this vintage trailer (3200 lbs and 550 tongue maybe?)?

I would love to hitch up a modern 16 or 19' International to my MINI John Cooper Works! I have four piston brembo brakes with ~13" disks on the front, ~210 ft/lb torque @ 1850 rpm and ~210 hp, optional sports suspension, etc. which makes for a fun vehicle on the road. I have little interest in owning an SUV or truck TV and I can see the appeal to having a small nimble TV like the MINI.

I would imagine it would be a good idea to swap out the drums for disks to keep up with the huge Brembo brakes on my MINI... but I have a feeling that two people, a dog, clothing and gear, etc. would be to much to ask.
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