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Old 10-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #29
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Yikes!! What an assessment, Protagonist!

I would avoid I-10 around Baton Rouge if at all possible, but we have spent MONTHS in Louisiana over the past 20 years and not had any more problems with Louisiana drivers than those in many other states.
Cases in point:
When you're sitting at a red light, when the light turns green, you have to wait for three people coming the other direction to run the red light before you can start across the intersection. Not two, not four, always three. The first one accelerates to beat the yellow light, but doesn't make it. The other two are tailgating so closely that they can't afford to look up to even notice that there is a traffic light.

In a similar vein, I was in the left turn lane, approaching an intersection. The light turned yellow, and I stopped, because I knew I couldn't clear the intersection before the light turned red. The car behind me plowed into my rear bumper, and actually had the nerve to tell the investigating officer that it was MY fault for stopping on a yellow light! And yes, as I was being rear-ended, I noticed three cars coming the other way that ran the red light.

Just last Friday, I was on I-10 in Metairie, about a mile from home. A car coming up the on-ramp decided that he just HAD to be ahead of me, come Hell or high water, and cut in so close that he clipped my grille guard, but missed my bumper proper. Hit and run. He didn't even slow down. Naturally, as I was regaining control after being knocked half-sideways, I noticed that there wasn't a soul behind me for a full quarter-mile, so the guy would have had polenty of room to slot in behind me.

No one ever uses turn signals to change lanes. Or to turn, for that matter. But for the lane changes, if you accidentally use your turn signal to indicate your intent to change lanes, the guy behind you will change lanes first, speed up, and cut you off, just to make sure he doesn't have to follow that annoying blinking red light.

At the corner of Causeway Blvd and Jefferon Hwy on my way to work this morning, I was stopped at the red light, in the center lane. The right lane is right-turn only. I counted fully seventeen cars in a row that made the right turn without turn signals, and without coming to a stop first (happens nearly every day, so I got in the habit of counting them to pass the time, same way some people count rail cars at a railroad crossing). Some hardly slowed down. Just as everywhere else, the law is right turn on red, after stop.

One day last week, at the intersection of Causeway Blvd and River Road, Causeway comes to an end, at a left-turn lane and a right-turn lane. I was in the left-turn lane, and coming to a stop at the red light. It was already red, not yellow about to turn red. The guy behind me whipped over into the right-turn-only lane, and made a sweeping left turn around me, running the red light and cutting off a dump truck loaded with gravel that was approaching the intersection on River Road.

On my way home from work today, I was nearly hit by a person going the wrong way on a one-way street, who, when he saw he was about to hit me, drove up onto the sidewalk and kept going until he got to the intersection I had just passed, where he turned.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. This sort of thing happens every single day! Maybe if I had grown up here, and learned to drive like they did, it wouldn't bother me so much. But I learned to drive in Oklahoma, where people generally do know how to drive.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #30
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Thanks Prota' I think we'll just avoid that scene. Trouble is it's kinda getting like that all over, seems to be directly proportional to population density.

When we travel through western Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico folks still greet each other with with a friendly wave as they meet on the roadway.

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Old 10-25-2012, 05:51 PM   #31
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Very intresting thread. You just discribed the drivers here in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #32
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Anyway does anyone think any Mini-Van could serve back up duty for my 73' AS?

(Our current tow rig is a 2001 Suburban 5.3 V8 with a factory tow package & various tranny & rear axle upgrades)
There are a lot of folks out there towing with Mini Vans.

and........ bonus, no need to mod up the trannys or axle ratio's. They work great right out of the box.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:08 AM   #33
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Very intresting thread. You just discribed the drivers here in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Also the drivers in Philadelphia. Glad i'm retired and never have to go back there. Sal
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:51 AM   #34
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I find it intriguing how Andrew T. sets up non-traditional vehicles just curious how you get past certain limiting factors......

How are these vehicles holding up to the long term abuse of towing outside of specifications?
Are the wheel bearings going out early? Transmissions? Cooling capacity?
In a 3/4 ton truck there is a reason why full floating axles with large bearings are used. Several years ago manufacturers were using non-full floating axles on a "light" 3/4 ton truck - these didn't hold up to long term abuse. My grandpa once owned a half ton truck with a truck camper. The wheel bearings didn't last from all the weight...

Be honest - how are things holding up? Apparently there are a lot of these non-trad combo's being used but I'm just curious about long term results.

On a side note over the summer we had brake issues with our trailer - 3 of 4 new grease seals went bad - greased brake shoes last a long time but don't stop very well, I was very happy I could stop 8k pounds of trailer with only the tow vehicle........ Could a non-traditional stop all that weight? Possibly throw the combo into a jackknife situation?
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:15 AM   #35
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Crispy,

These are questions that we non-traditional tow-ers ask at the outset. The people at Can-Am have been doing what they do for over 40 years now and have a good bank of data from their own testing and from their customers who test in the real world and over long periods of time. It's not in their interest to mislead their customers so when I asked about reported issues with my TV they told me that there had been none reported. There's not a lot more we can do other than speak to our service mechanics as the TV gets older to see if wear is any worse than normal.

Personally, I've towed some 10,000 kms over two seasons and have had no problems yet. As a precaution I did ask my local Toyota dealer how the transmission oil was doing after around 9,000 Kms of towing and they said it all looked fine. So far, so good.

As to stopping the trailer should its brake fail, I'm reasonably confident that the TV will stop it safely, at least once anyway. The modern Sienna's brakes are pretty good and will easily match anything offered in the 1/2 ton truck range. In terms of weight, the tractors on semi-trucks weigh but a fraction of their fully loaded trailers and they cope - usually! Anyway, having a truck is no guarantee that the trailer won't jack knife or even flip the TV, given the right set of circumstances.

You're right to raise these concerns though, and I hope that anyone considering a 'non-traditional' set up asks these questions, too.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:11 AM   #36
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How are these vehicles holding up to the long term abuse of towing outside of specifications?
Are the wheel bearings going out early? Transmissions? Cooling capacity?
- No problems with my assembly which now has 109,000+ miles on the 2001 X5 which has towed the ASCL (8,300 # GVWR) 35,000+ miles.



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On a side note over the summer we had brake issues with our trailer - 3 of 4 new grease seals went bad - greased brake shoes last a long time but don't stop very well, I was very happy I could stop 8k pounds of trailer with only the tow vehicle........ Could a non-traditional stop all that weight?
- I had EXACTLY the same problem. At 10,000 miles I pulled a brake drum to pack the bearings and the shoes were soaked in grease. So I took the ASCL to a local AS dealer for warranty and they discovered that 3 of the 4 seals had failed. AS Jackson Center authorized R&R of all 4 brake assemblies. During the failure period the X5 never had a problem stopping the assembly.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:45 AM   #37
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Long term results? How many decades back do we need to go?
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:15 AM   #38
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Hello Everyone
I likely should have chosen some different vehicles for the pictures in Airstream Life as we are not to that point in the series of articles yet. What I was doing there was showing the difference in maneuverability with different wheelbase vehicles and these were some of the tow vehicles we had around. Having said that we tow with all those vehicles all the time.

I have been writing for RV Lifestyle magazine in Canada for 25 years and a lot of the readers have read through a lot of the principals of towing we try and get across so what we do is not so shocking to most of those readers. Here is a recent article I wrote about the Impala in the picture.

2006 Chevrolet Impala & Element

Though it is neat to write about towing with cool stuff like Jaguars and Taurus SHO’s a great deal of our towing around the store here is done with less expensive older cars. We pile a lot of kilometers on vehicles doing deliveries and factory pick ups so running new high end vehicles all the time gets rather costly especially when you consider what you can often pick up a good used car for. Besides the newer cars on our lot we have a 1997 Cadillac Deville, a 2007 Dodge Charger, and last year we had traded in this 2006 Chevrolet Impala. During our vacation trip last year we needed some extra sleeping capacity so my daughter towed a 19’ Airstream with the 06 Impala. I got to drive the SHO, so there are some benefits to getting old.
In some ways the Impala is like an old friend the first modern front drive sedans we towed with were full size GM products starting with our 87 Olds 88. Over the years we have put hitches on a few hundred of these and for many years I drove derivatives of this platform a great deal. What first attracted us to these cars 25 years ago was the handling. This was the first mainstream vehicle with 4 wheel independent suspension, rack and pinion steering and a very good tire and wheel combination. When we first got the Impala it was not a handling machine however the suspension was definitely geared to be soft and mushy. Mind you the car was 5 years old but it only had 72,000 kilometers on it. The first step was to add some new Munro Sens-a-Track Struts. These made a huge difference to the ride control and handling. This spring it was time to replace the 225/60R x 16” Tires so we decided to ditch the steel wheels and switch to 235/50 x 17” tires which further improved the handling yet the ride is still pretty smooth. In the end this gave us the suspension tuning we always look for, relatively soft springs with lots of shock control and precise tires.
Though most of these had an almost invincible 3.8 litre V/6 the Impala has a slightly smaller 3.5 Litre mated to what is now a quaint 4 speed automatic. Though it is only 4 gears it has certainly proven reliable for long term towing. The 3.5 Litre is somewhat dated technology even for 2006 with only 2 valves per cylinder so it only produces 211 HP & 214 Torque. Compare this to the SHO which produces 365 HP and 350 Torque from the same 3.5 Litre displacement. On the other hand you can buy 6 good used low mileage Impala’s for the price of a single new Taurus SHO.
Fuel economy on our trip last summer the Impala and 19’ Airstream was quite good varying between 13.8 & 17.5 MPG or 16 - 19 L/100 km’s. , solo economy is on the highway at 110 KPH it runs along at 7.5 L/100 km’s or 37 MPG. Towing in the hills of West Virginia the Impala was able to climb easily and actually could run away from the pusher diesel in our group. The only place it was challenged was trying stay with 70 MPH traffic in a 20 MPH headwind. The bottom line is this drivetrain has no real problem with weight but it is limited by its capacity to overcome air drag which makes something like the Element an ideal trailer for it.
So the question is why would you buy a $7,500 car to tow a $45,000 trailer? At first glance it does not seem to make sense but if you think about it there is a case to be made for it.
The Impala cost $7,500 we added the tires, shocks, Hitch receiver, Brake control & wiring and a transmission cooler. By the time we were done the total cost was $10,300.00. If you drive 25,000 kilometers a year you can drive this car for 5 more years without a problem and let’s assume it is worthless at that time. We find aerodynamic, well-made trailers have very good resale value so in 5 years the Element could still be worth $30,000 or more, but easily reliable for 20 years longer if you want to keep it that long.
On the other hand you could buy a new basic trailer for $22,000 and a new half ton to tow it with. The truck is going to cost about $33,000 and be worth around $12,000 in 5 years. The trailer will be worth about $10,000. So in both cases you lay out about $55,000 and in 5 years the Element will likely be worth more than the truck and basic trailer combined. If you decide to replace the truck in 5 years you still need another truck to continue to tow the less than aerodynamic basic trailer but you can choose from plenty of fuel efficient inexpensive vehicles to tow the Element. Now you will likely spend some money on the Impala for repairs that you won’t spend on the truck but you will also spend a great deal less on fuel. But also in the mean time you will get much better handling with greater safety and likely a better day to day vehicle. Bottom line a quality easy to tow trailer is a better investment than a fancy new tow vehicle. On the other hand if you really love driving a shiny new pickup you may never be happy with this plucky little 4 door sedan.
As my accountant once said, “I am not here to tell you what to do, but I hope I have made you think”.
Andy
87 Olds picture. (caption) Our first front drive tow vehicle at the top of 12,000’ Independence pass in Colorado.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:09 AM   #39
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Lots of discussion about "No fault" insurance in this thread. Seems a rather misleading term and in some ways perhaps a bit of a misnomer.

I recently happened to be looking into insurance details following a minor accident that my wife got involved in - turned out ok for us, our deductible was waived as the other party was found 100% responsible.

But in any event, I did come across this article from the insurance Board of Canada that attempts to explain the term "No fault" and I thought it might be of interest to some.

No-fault Insurance: What’s it All About?

I can't pretend to know the answer as to legal implications of a driver involved in an accident found to be towing a trailer far above the manufacturer's stated tow ratings,
I woud almost guess that as long as you were within your vehicles' GVW and CGVW ratings you should be ok, and that the tow rating issue if anything might more likely come into play if trying to claim warranty work on your tow vehicle - for transmission repair as example.

We each make the decisions that we feel comfortable with.

Despite what I have written above, for my part, I feel much more at ease knowing that my tow vehicle is rated as capable of towing a trailer considerably heavier than the one I have!

Especially if I should be involved in a serious accident while towing, no matter what the apparent cause of the accident! I don't want to make it any easier than it already is for insurance companies to find more reasons to avoid paying up!

Safe travels to all - no matter what your rig - I'm sure that none of us hit the road with a setup that they feel is dubious.


Brian.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:08 PM   #40
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Obviously lots of talk of liability with towing over the published specification for a TV - but no concrete examples being cited of this being used in actual cases. Or of insurance companies not honouring a policy due to such issues.

It would seem that if such a case came to light, would there not be some obligation by the plaintive (if this is the correct term) to prove that the weight of the trailer directly contributed to the accident? i.e. the defendant is not automatically guilty of all sins simply because the trailer is "overweight".

It strikes me that there are so may factors, it's going to be exceeding difficult to prove which particular elements of the rig might or might not contribute to an accident - speed, tire pressure, hitches that the perhaps the defendant also installed and set-up themselves, etc...

I have to assume that there have been lawsuits over commercial vehicles that are overloaded involved in traffic accidents? If not, then I don't see what the RV owner has to worry about.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #41
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I’m intrigued by the way in which Andrew T’s work with hitches at Can Am is almost always described as “non-traditional”. Andy and his father before him have been designing and installing hitch systems going on 50 years now, from the time when cars were common pullers.

Maybe they are the traditionalists, rather than the many that in recent years seem to think you need a Cummins to go for the groceries??

The other intriguing thing is how often a discussion about Andrew T’s work seems to pull out the worst American chauvinism in people. The condescension almost drips of the “Canadian” this and “Canadian” that references or innuendos.

Do they think this is an impoverished third world country somewhere? Have they heard about CSA approvals? Do they think we have a functioning insurance industry – or a legal system with lawyers? Do they know about the reputation of our banking system or the way our single-payer medical system covers every citizen, no exceptions?


Sergei


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Old 10-28-2012, 05:07 PM   #42
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I’m intrigued by the way in which Andrew T’s work with hitches at Can Am is almost always described as “non-traditional”. Andy and his father before him have been designing and installing hitch systems going on 50 years now, from the time when cars were common pullers.

Maybe they are the traditionalists, rather than the many that in recent years seem to think you need a Cummins to go for the groceries??


Sergei

I was thinking the exact same thing this morning. I've used the term 'non-traditional' in the past just to make the distinction between a pick up truck and a car/SUV/minivan but as you say, Sergei, perhaps it is the truck that is non-traditional.
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