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Old 04-05-2008, 06:43 AM   #1
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2013 30' International
Ottawa , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 17
Smile towing with a Nissan Pathfinder


I have a Nissan Pathfinder V6 (275HP) with 6000# tow rate and 600# hitch weight.

I am considering purchasing either a 19 or a 23 foot International. Obviously, the 23 foot would be preferred (I am planning to be away foro about 6 weeks during our very the long winter months) but I am concerned that its listed hitch wight is 700#.

Would either a Hensley of Reese Dual address this problem, or would I be better off with the 19 foot Bambi.

I am new to this so any advice would be much appreciated.


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Old 04-05-2008, 07:31 AM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hello sunseeker -- Welcome to the Forums! Pathfinder? Maybe a 19' Bambi but I surely wouldn't go much larger. The Pathfinder-titled thread doesn't really address the issue. But Pathfinders are mentioned quite often if you do a general search -- there's a bit of work to pick through the threads.

Excess muscle is always the easy answer to any tow equation. I do feel that a 23-footer is asking too much of a 6 cylinder Pathfinder. Consider that the listed 700# 23' International hitch weight does not reflect the added weight of propane in the tanks or weight distribution gear mounted at the A-frame/bumper. Most of this up front weight is going to add to hitch weight. With a modest amount of personal gear aboard I will almost guarantee a hitch weight of 850# -- probably a bit more.

Nissan's Pathfinder online specs don't begin to provide useful figures -- a caution. Your manual would have load capacity (also called payload) figures. This is the total amount of weight you can load in or on your Pathfinder and keep it within specs for frame, suspension and running gear -- with safety of emergency braking and maneuvering being my principal interest. For instance Edmunds lists a 1186# payload for a 2007 V6 4WD LE. That gives you a scarce 300 pounds of added driver/passengers, pets, options, gear onboard the tow vehicle. And this assumes that the listed payload already includes a heavier Class III/IV hitch receiver. A tow package with tow prewire and extra tranny cooling is almost mandatory.

Buying a smaller Airstream than fits your needs could result in an unsatisfactory user experience or buying again in a couple seasons -- resulting in eating out-the-door depreciation twice. For that kind of money I'd say kick the tires on all the Airstreams in sight, plan for what fits your needs, and then go for an adequate tow vehicle. With this path you could economize more than you would by staying shackled to such a limited Pathfinder ... in my opinion.


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Old 04-05-2008, 08:05 AM   #3
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Welcome Back From the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I wholehartedly agree with Bob. A 23 towed with the Pathfinder would most likely make for an unpleasant towing experience. Even a 19 would probably be marginal. To be a happy camper, pick the Airstream that works for you and your situation. Then get a TV that can safely handle the load.

Remember that unpleasant towing experiences are the leading cause of perfectly good Airstreams becoming very expensive pieces of yard art.

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Old 04-05-2008, 08:53 AM   #4
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Hi Sunseeker, and welcome to the forums. I have 1 1/2 years tow experience with a 2004 Pathfinder and a 24" 1960 Tradewind at 3150# dry weight and unloaded tongue at 300#. When loaded for the road with empty holding tanks the Tradewind came in at 3700#, probably less then a loaded 19 or 23 foot International. With the Pathfinder packed for camping, passengers, and hitched to the trailer, the combined weight on CAT scales was always between 500 and a 1000 less then the combined gross vehicle weight rating (CGVWR) of 9500#. The original Reese weight distribution set-up worked fine for most sway issues, but I felt an occasional nudge from a passing semi. The Pathfinder wheel base is so short. But my biggest problem was being underpowered on moderate hills even when traveling with empty holding tanks. Steeper grades where slow and laborous at best. Speeding up quickly (i.e. in an emergency or passing) was out of the question. Like CanoeStream mentioned, I wouldn't have not even attemped towing any Airstream with the Pathfinder had I not installed a transmission cooler and more appropriate wiring to the 7-pin connector.

You can push the envelope with a Pathfinder if you keep your CGVWR under specs, but you still loose some of the safety margin and will probably be disappointed with performance.
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Old 04-05-2008, 07:53 PM   #5
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Nissan makes a 5.6L Pathfinder, though its availability is limited. If you are "stuck" with the Pathfinder, get the best towing setup you can find to help compensate, and as soon as you can, you can get a more adequate tow vehicle.
V8 power is not mandatory, but strongly suggested. If you can wait to get a new tow vehicle until 2010 model year, you will have some more interesting choices available to you, depending on economic conditions.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:29 AM   #6
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Waterdown , Ontario
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I have been towing our 1973 Airstream Overlander with a 2005 Pathfinder. There is no question that although we are well within limits, a bigger truck would have better performance.

Like many SUVs the Pathfinder has a high center of gravity. I have found that towing with a Hensley has really helped establish a better feeling of stability on the highway.

That being said, not a bad choice in vehicle for your application.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:29 AM   #7
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Nissan engines rock

I have never towed with a Pathfinder but have used 2 Nissan V6 engines over the past 12 years for towing and they have been very good power plants for our 23'. For us using aerodynamics to full advantage the VQ 3.5 version IMHO has power to spare.

One guy from Montreal "Claude B" on the Trailer Life forum has talked about his Pathfinder/25'SOB experiences quite a bit. He says it works well for him. An aerodynamic Airstream should work even better.

Here is the connection to Claude if you want to do some info gathering..

Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Member Profile: Claude B

Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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