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Old 08-22-2002, 09:12 AM   #1
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Question Nissan Xterra

I did a search and didn't find any info on one as a tow vehicle so I am throwing it open to ideas. We have one already....and are using it.

It is rated to tow 5000 pounds and equipped by the factory with the towing package and we got the reese hitch for our '67 22' safari....weight approx 3200 pounds[we don't have the dinette model] per call to Airstream.

We are ripping it up and are restying it and hopefully making it lighter...at least not heavier...removing the furnace, porcelain head[getting plastic] and one closet and using vinyl as opposed to wood floor [as would be nice in today's decor].

I know I can't use wood as light as they used on the original to build with...it's actually corrugated cardboard inside! We are using a lot of 1/4" plywood, inside panel, framed cabinets.

It will only be equipped for 2....no dogs or tv's even....maybe we will just eat dry cereal and granola bars!!! I hope we aren't too far off base! Any other "lightening up" ideas would be appreciated.

We might end up liking the trailer more than the car and getting a bigger suv!!! I hope so... but the Mr seems to think this car's engine and transmission are OK[its automatic].

Can anyone support him in that idea?
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Old 08-22-2002, 09:46 AM   #2
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lightweight

Why are you removing the furnace?

John
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:32 AM   #3
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It came to us in pieces and we didn't want to put it all back together again and we just figured we'd get an A/C with a heat strip or wear long underwear.

It doesn't get that cold here and we don't expect to go that far away while having this trailer. We want to use it while we look for a sailboat to retire on and live in it while we prepare the boat to live aboard and that will be in warm climates. We plan to do this in 3 years and at this rate the A/S will be ready then!!!

Actually we hope to have a little fun with it in the mean time. I always wanted a RV but my husband thought they were not for him until he saw a friend's Airstream and it brought out the pilot and sailor in him and he felt right at home.

You don't suppose there is a market for something like this is there?
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Old 08-22-2002, 06:05 PM   #4
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Furnace

Hello Folks
We too have a furnace in our 23 1973 Safari that dosen't work and we were thinking of removing it as well. Can you tell us what approximately the weight is of your furnace so we would know how much weight it would save? We also have a Nissan but it is a Quest with the factory trailer package. We are very happy with the ride / combination. We are very impressed with the vans cooling system in that the temperature guage has never gone past its normal setting even when traveling in 32 Degree Centigrade weather, going up a steep grade, and with both front and rear air on. Thnxs in advance....
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Old 08-22-2002, 09:15 PM   #5
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I think I read your post elsewhere and send it to my husband because the your size is simular to the Xterra base. Glad to hear you have such good results with it.

I don't think the furnace weighs more than 30-40 pounds..just asking the lifter his opinion.

I hope to get more feedback on the SUV as a tow vehicle rather than talk about the furnace. It's sure a nice little truck...more truck than car!!! A little tall for someone 5' tall to hop into tho!!!
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Old 08-22-2002, 09:41 PM   #6
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More technical details needed

Please try and find all the technical details about your Xterra. The wheel base, gross vehilce weight, etc. That can help others give you a better opinion on the tow vehicle.

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Old 08-23-2002, 10:51 AM   #7
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specs

automatic, 6 cylinder, 199.84 displacement
wheelbase...104.3
curb wt...4130
Torque 200 lb.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
Engine 3.3-liter 170 HP
trailer load...5000 #
tongue max...500#

I just started writing down stuff..
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Old 08-23-2002, 11:21 AM   #8
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"weight approx 3200 pounds"
"trailer load...5000 #"

Well, it looks like your tow rig can, and is able to tow the trailer. How well it will do on long trips, fuly loaded ect is another thing.

Just from seeing Xttera's on the road they are not my idea of a perfect tow vehicle. -BUT- all things in moderation. If you take the Xttera as a light tow vehicle and are carfule then I see no real problem.

Towing a lightend trailer, with a reasonable load and the right hitch set up your more than likely ok.

Don't load the trailer down with everything under the sun, then load the truck down with you and Hubby, two friends, weekend camp gear, a dogy and that box of sail boat parts, run up hill with the AC going....

Given the 75% rule (wich is realy a good guide line), your at 4267 lb unloaded. Add anything you put into the trailer (water, towels, forks, Tp, water), and anything that gets loaded into the Xttera, and your at your limit.

Just use common sence, take it realy easy on down grades, don't do 85 ect...
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Old 08-23-2002, 11:52 AM   #9
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relief

Actually that's just what I wanted to hear...we are and will be careful. We are being considerate of weight with every renovation we are doing. We really wanted a bit smaller unit but this was a good buy and I think we can make it work with compromises.

I appreciate your input....and we don't expect to roam the Rockies...just the east coast...
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Old 08-23-2002, 12:05 PM   #10
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Some additional food for thought:

One weight component that no one talks much of is the GCVWR, or gross combined vehicle weight rating. Each vehicle manufacturer rates their vehicles on a combined weight limit. This is the weight of your tow vehicle plus the weight of your trailer. These two figures added together should not exceed the GCVWR.

Many people forget that the tow vehicle will be full of fuel, passenger weight, and other stuff stowed. It isn't unfeasable that you could exceed your GCVWR for the tow vehicle, yet not be exceeding the tow weight limit based on the weight of the trailer.

Only way you find out this factor is by weighing the tow vehicle and trailer, either together hitched up or separately.

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Old 08-23-2002, 12:27 PM   #11
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weigh station

Our home is located at an exit off the interstate just one exit from a weigh station and that item is on our list!!! But thanks and some others may need reminding!!!

In a few years when we plan to drive a whole lot with this thing looking for just the right blue water vessel, we do plan to get a much larger unit...I feel better about that plan. I just want to use this Xterra carefully to camp in maybe 6-8 times a year for 3 years close to home on weekends...say 2-3 hours away to the beach. We do still like the Bed and Breakfast life too!

Apparently it's not as far-fetched as some tow ideas I've read!!!

I wish I could see your brand new Safari...I would be jealous!!! I'll bet it's beautiful!!! We had to quit looking at the new ones...our money is in the boat fund!!!
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Old 08-23-2002, 12:38 PM   #12
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Good advice!

Jack just mentioned something I should be more aware of, for sure. I tow my Tradewind with a big 1 ton van, which has plenty of reserve tow rating for the trailer, but I never thought of the combined weight rating. We bring EVERYTHING when we go to Baja, including the Zodiac inflatable with motor, 2 big ice chests, an ocean kayak, tools, clothes, gear, water, etc. Next time I will take a little extra time and go to the truck scale before embarking on a long trip again. It is hard to judge without going and actually weighing things. The van barely sinks in the springs, and I don't notice much, but loss of acceleration with increasing weight. So yeah, we have a recycling center not far from here, they have scales for the big trucks. They don't charge much to weigh a rig. Thanks, Jack for reminding us!
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:05 PM   #13
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Uwe,

You may want to try the truck scales if only for this reason. You want to get not only the total GCVWR but also get the indivudial weights at the following locations.

Van without trailer packed as for a trip:

1. Front axle weight

2 rear axle weigh.

Trailer:

1. Tounge weight only

2. Axle weight of the trailer as packed for a trip.

And lastly the indivudial axel weights on the tow vehicle and trailer hooked together.

The reasons for all of these measurements is to be sure that you have not overloaded any one axle, and that the tounge weight of the trailer is correct for the trailer weight. Redistribution of "stuff" may help to get you inside of all of the associated weight ratings as well as making for a safer and smoother ride.

If you have a owners manual for your model it may have this info in it as to the percentages of trailer weight that should be on the tounge. I know there is a maximum of 700-800 LBS but it is still a percentage.

The goal I always strove for was safety and ride comfort. IN THAT ORDER. I belive in taking it all if you can but this would allow you to take it all safely and with peace of mind.

BTW the truck scales if they are slow will quite often only charge you one time for all of the indivudial passes over the scale.
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:35 PM   #14
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Truck scales

We have a nearby truck stop with the computerized scales that gives the weight for each axle set separately (tandems are weighed as one axle). They charge a higher amount for the first pass over the scales and a trivial amount (like $1.00) for successive passes on the same visit.

I weigh truck and trailer with the equalizing bars hooked up; then tryuck and trailer with the equalizing bars loose; then I unhitch and weigh the truck alone.

This series of weighings tells me all I need to know about the rig including whether my equalizing setup is right.
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