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Old 11-12-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
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questionable TV ????

Dang --- after working on my post for 15 minutes I accidentally hit *enter* a few too many times and lost it! Here it goes again.

I've been reading this forum a bit too much (as it's during work hours) and getting a little nervous about my TV. When I first posted a pic of my set-up, no one said anything (well, except that my axles are shot). Figured I was a-okay with regard to TV. But, as I read more, I wonder if I'm being naive......

For a TV, I have one unique requirement - that my dogs' crate fit inside the vehicle. It's a doozie at 48"L X 30"W X 33"H - but my 40 lb whippet and 80 lb greyhound fit! Guess another concern is mileage and vehicle cost. I'm planning to quit my job at KSC and return to school FT ASAP.

Right now, I intend to use my AS for weekend camping with (2) dogs. I doubt that I'll ever leave the state of FL but, if the opportunity arises, maybe I'd go as far as GA or south SC ??? I have little experience towing - drive very conservatively (< 55 mph) and will choose a city roadway over interstate anytime possible. Here's the rest of my "run-down"...

TV: 2006 Nissan Xterra, 2WD A/Tic
curb weight 4192 lbs
wheel base 106.3 in
max tow 5000 lbs
tongue 500 lbs
GCWR 9,658 lbs
GVW ~ 4850 lbs
VQ40DE 4.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine, 265 hp
261 hp @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Gear ratio 2.937 (I think, how do I verify this?)
Frame: built on the same platform as Nissan's full-size Titan - fully boxed ladder frame (F-Alpha platform)
Suspension: independent dual-wishbone design with coil springs fwd, solid axle/leaf spring combo aft

Towing equipment
Tekonsha Voyager brake controller
Draw Tite Equalizing hitch
transmission cooler (stock)
McKesh mirrors
7 way harness

AS: 1973 27' Overlander
weight 4570 lbs
tongue 500 lbs
obvious mods: removed univolt, new refer (110V)
personal items: table fan, 19" flatscreen, radio, 2 folding chairs, side table, table top grill, linens, plastic dishware, and food (incl dog food)


So, what do you think? Should I continue to use my beloved Xterra or start the search for a suitable SUV that will accommodate my dog crate and, hopefully, not incur much additional cost after my Xterra trade? My prior reviews resulted in a short list to consider: Tahoe, Durango, Sequoia.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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I am by no means a towing "expert", however - these are what would concern me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkill View Post
TV: 2006 Nissan Xterra, 2WD A/Tic

max tow 5000 lbs
tongue 500 lbs


AS: 1973 27' Overlander
weight 4570 lbs
tongue 500 lbs


So, what do you think?
Seems a bit too close for comfort for me.

Is the Overlander weight above the actual weight of your trailer loaded for a trip (having weighed it at a scale) or the literature published weight? My guess is it weighs more than the literature weight because that never counts options (A/C, TV, Microwave, modifications), fluids (water, propane, waste) or gear (clothes, food, ice chests). IMO, you may be able to "move" your trailer without any problem, but if you are actually "towing" in the real world and encounter hills or are at elevation your truck will be straining. Also, you truck's allowable maximum is assuming it is running perfectly...which is highly unlikely to be the case all the time. Also, manufacturers sometimes over/under estimate their capabilities.

Sorry to be a wet blanket ~

For example - our 1964 GlobeTrotter is stated to weigh 2,890 lbs. with a tongue weight of 385 lbs. in the literature. In actuality when heading out for a trip, it weighs 3,450 lbs with a tongue weight of 435 lbs.

When we started out we had a similar ratio of allowable-to-actual ratings and had to get a new truck - we just about burned up the old one. I think the general rule of thumb is only use 80% of the allowable.

Shari
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:01 PM   #3
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No, haven't weighed it --- haven't ventured to an interstate yet. Waiting to replace my axles before that trip. Driving solo, don't want to do anything *unnecessary* risks.

Shoot, had no idea the mfg weigh didn't include A/C, etc.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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I do consider myself a towing expert with 45 yrs of towing experience with everything from farm wagons to 53 ft trailers. What concerns me is what concerns you. I'm so glad HE is stayin down south with that accident goin some place to happen.
I think he has pushed way beyond the limits of his tow vehicle.
This is only my opinion, seems alot of the youngones are pushin the limits these days.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:12 PM   #5
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I like Xterras, I think one would be perfect to tow my Caravel with. But you've got another 10 ft of trailer!

We tow with a full size Ford Van. Similar to you, we need room inside for dog crates and stuff like that. Plus it's our work van the rest of the time. We've been pretty happy with it for the past 5 years.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikethefixit View Post
InsideOut
I do consider myself a towing expert with 45 yrs of towing experience with everything from farm wagons to 53 ft trailers. What concerns me is what concerns you. I'm so glad HE is stayin down south with that accident goin some place to happen.
I think he has pushed way beyond the limits of his tow vehicle.
This is only my opinion, seems alot of the youngones are pushin the limits these days.
Don't know where HE is but SHE plans to stay down here. I guess I'm not only in the class of dumb youngin's that you fear but I'm also a SHE. Well, you could consider that I am at least asking for help.

They didn't teach us nuthin' bout towing in my engineering classes - maybe because I'm a girl - who wouldn't understand all those concepts anyway - BSME girls are just trying to snag a husband anyway. Though it didn't work for me - is that 2 or 3 strikes?

Expert advice is something that I've definitely been missing - so thanks for your genuine response. I'm certain you didn't mean it to sound as mean-spirited as it does, right? I'll try not to let it sting as long as Andy's response to my first, enthusiastic post/photo by telling me that my "axles are shot".

Laura - who wants to learn in a more gentle manner. I listen better when it's nice.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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Laura:
I believe everybody in their own way are not trying to be abbusive. You will find most people on the forum actually want to assist and help in anyway they can.
My first A/S was a 27' 1971. I first began pulling it with a 1979 Ford 150 with a much too small engine (302) and needless to say it was very much underpowered. I later went to a Chev. Suburban 1/2 ton and it was quite adequate. Withthe size of your you might consider upgrading to a little larger unit, i.e. Tahoe, etc. We travel with a Standard Schnauzer and when we were on the show circuit the cages etc. got a little cumbersome because we had 2 Schnauzers. We now have a 98 Excella 28' and we use a 3/4 ton F-250. I wuold say that the weight of your unit being loaded will be close to 6,000 lb. That was about what my 71 unit was. In our unit we have several people that travel with 2-3 dogs and they have Tahoes or some of them have Toyota Tundras.
Anyway I don't claim to be an expert but I have towed A/S for about 30 years and have towed a unit comparable to yours. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:13 PM   #8
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questionable TV ????

Greetings Laura!

I am afraid that you will find your current tow vehicle a bit underpowered for your Overlander. My '64 Overlander approaches 6,100 pounds (its advertised weight was 4,250 pounds) when fully loaded for my usual summer excursion. I had a K1500 Chevrolet pickup as my second tow vehicle for this trailer and its 5.7 liter V8 had all that it could to motivate the truck and trailer in any kind of hills -- flat lands weren't a particular problem.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:17 PM   #9
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The weight will be too much b/c after you factor in fuel, passengers, cargo (in the truck or in the RV), you will exceed the rating. That honestly concerns me less than does the 106.3" wheelbase.

Go with your instincts. A 27' trailer should have *around* 130" of wheelbase. Regardless what hitch setup you put on it, that vehicle may be an accident waiting to happen with it's high center of gravity and short wheel base, with 5000lbs behind it. I can't see towing up or down grades being a comfortable exp with this TV. If you had a 20' or smaller I'd be less concerned, but at 27', it not the same thing as towing a 20' or smaller. I realize it's only 7', but that is about 56sqft of dead weight that can and will contribute to the movements of the trailer in wind, emerg maneuvers, etc.

My vote is upgrade tow vehicle. No one ever said "Boy, my tow vehicle has too much power, control and margin of safety." Ok, maybe a few of us have and can say that, but I'm not quite sure you are even close....yet.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Thanks all for your quick replies. Obviously I was already questioning the safety of my TV, else I wouldn't have spent the time constructing my post! You all have graciously verified my concerns and I have spent the last couple hours looking at available used vehicles. Sorry I sold my Armada last year. It probably would have been very adequate. Maybe I can find another one that will fit my budget. And I'll see how a crew cab works for loading a dog crate - maybe even using one of those vehicle safety barrier/bars?

Laura - who often considers mutterings unfair....
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:39 PM   #11
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I agree that your tow vehicle is marginal, but I'm not going to say you can't use it. I agree with some other posters that a larger SUV would be the ticket but they don't exactly give them away do they?

If it's a choice of using what you have or stay home I suggest you use what you have - but put your engineering skills to work.

Can Am RV's in Canada has had remarkable success towing Airstreams with vehicles anyone can tell are too small. But they have some very interesting mods they make, and they find the old rules can be broken or at least bent, if you go about it the right way.

Their formula seems to go something like this:

Install low profile tires, this has 2 benefits: lowering your effective gear ratio for more pulling power, and reducing side sway.

Add a transmission cooler. This used to be standard practice when equipping a vehicle for towing. To which I would add, change the trans fluid and filter and use only an OEM filter and name brand synthetic fluid.

Their biggest "secret" is that they use Hensley hitches exclusively, and go to a lot of trouble to set them up right. They build their own hitch receivers and do everything to make the hitch as short as possible, to get the pivot point as far forward as possible.

As far as balance (side to side as well at hitch weight) get the weight equal on your tow vehicle wheels and on the trailer wheels.

I believe that if you set up your rig right, and if you travel light, I think you have enough savvy to enjoy all the weekends you and your pets can stand.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:42 PM   #12
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Incidentally I'm not saying you have to use a Hensley hitch. Your present hitch should work fine for you. I am suggesting you are smart enough to make your present vehicle work. You just have to set it up right then take it easy on the road.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:47 PM   #13
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While I think about it... synthetic oil for the engine, and synthetic lube for the differential would be a good idea too.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:15 PM   #14
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The seriousness of the first replies have me sweating bullets. I'm glad the more recent are a bit more, ahem, forgiving. But I am taking this seriously. I can definitely get a more appropriate TV. And though I don't have much wiggle room financially (just got off the phone with Andy - looks like $2000 for my axles), I can assess an older vehicle. It's really the leg-work of fining a new TV that suks - between looking at all the possible options, driving to look and then dealing with the seller. And I loathe haggling.

Looks like I'll be towing the A/S down to my dad's (40 miles) in the right lane, traveling at 40 mph on US-1 and in the dead of night - or whenever the traffic is least - to do my axle work. And I'll remove everything that ain't bolted down!

Thanks again all. I appreciate you all taking the time to respond.
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