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Old 04-12-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
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Help! Hitch Capacity, Towing, Etc.

So I'm contemplating purchasing a 28 foot Serenity and started researching the towing requirements to ensure compatibility with my current vehicles - both new model Land Rover Range Rovers.

I found the empty weight of the Serenity to be 5,583 lbs and the gross weight to be 7,300 lbs, both under the 7,700 lb towing weight limit prescribed in the Range Rover owner's manual.

I then go to the hitch weight for the Serenity to be 880 lbs yet the maximum hitch weight prescribed by the Range Rover owner's manual to be just 550 lbs. Interestingly, I look at the actual hitch mechanism (a Westfallia product Land Rover installs on all Range Rovers during production) and it lists a maximum tongue weight capacity of 770 lbs.

Now doing a TON of research I found the maximum tongue weight manufacturer's prescribe seems to be some voo-doo science that ends up just being some magic ratio of of the total towing capacity. I'll explain:

In Europe I found trailers are simply built different with more balanced loads and it's conventional to have very small tongue weights on trailers (called caravans there!) traditionally 7 1/2% of total towing ability. In fact, a prominent EU caravaning club suggests 7 1/2%. (almost precisely the 550 lbs in the owner's manual I might add)

Interestingly however is the load given on the Westfallia hitch of 770 lbs, precisely 10% of the total capacity. 10% just so happens to be the low end of what North American car makers specify (10-15%) for ratio of tongue capacity to total towing capacity.

Hence the inconsitency, hence the voo-doo science that I believe is not based in any actual hard scientific analysis by Land Rover.

NOW MY QUESTION AND WHOLE POINT OF MY THREAD:
Who really cares about tongue capacity when you can manipulate the tongue load by how you load your trailer? It's hard for me to believe plus or minus a hundred pounds makes any difference what so ever.

I've hauled my old 1964 Land Rover on a 14K lb trailer before with a total load of roughly 7,000 lbs just fine -without trailer brakes even....And a crudy utility trailer doesn't haul nearly as well as an Airstream! (well at least you guys say so!) (I have trailer brakes now for the record)
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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The answer to your question is, it depends. Generally speaking, the manufacturers' towing capacities are voodoo. It's a good idea to stay at least 10% under spec.

Range Rovers are probably not the best tow vehicles for a 28', 7500# trailer. They are not rated for that kind of weight, and their super short wheelbase exacerbates their mediocre towing qualities.

Some of the tongue weight can be mitigated by a high quality weight distribution/sway control hitch system. Loading the trailer to lighten the tongue weight can create a dangerous situation. For a trailer to pull safely, it needs to have at least 10% of its gross as tongue weight.

There may be some extraordinary methods you could use to make this work, but you are starting at a significant deficit.

Brian
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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Hitch Capacity

I agree with moosetags. That short wheelbase will get you.
That being said you dont need a one ton pickup either.
For that weight range a 1/2 ton pickup with adequate Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating will do fine in combination with a properly set up Weight Distributing Hitch System.
The CGVWR is a good sanaty check or rule of thumb and usually only comes into play when there is an accident that ends up in court cus comeone else got injured.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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Just to clarify - the Serenity IS under the total towing capacity allowed by the vehicle. It's the hitch capacity that isn't.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:35 PM   #5
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Be sure you're looking at the maximum tongue weight for a weight DISTRIBUTING hitch. For many vehicles the maximums are specified separately for weight carrying and weight distributing hitches.

In theory yes you can manipulate the tongue weight by changing the way you load. However running tongue light can exacerbate sway and other bad manners on the part of the combination. Most people don't find it convenient to check tongue weight frequently on the road though scales intended for the purpose do exist. The main problem is that it generally requires unhitching.

The manufacturer's maximum tongue weight specification is supposed to be based on what the frame and suspension can actually carry though many people believe that the numbers get jiggled around by the manufacturers and don't always reflect engineering reality.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:35 PM   #6
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If it's the hitch that's a problem get a different one.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aausland View Post
Just to clarify - the Serenity IS under the total towing capacity allowed by the vehicle. It's the hitch capacity that isn't.
actually this 28 is NOT under the tow rating for the rover...

IF ANYBODY or anyTHING is inside the rover.

((payload IN the tv reduces TC pound4pound))

also the wheelbase/trailer length proportion is bad.

and your MAIN question about manipulating the tongue weight suggests very little understanding of...

sway and mitigation
a/s construction and load placements
differences between usa trailer towing/axle placement and euro designs and towing differences...

and so on.

all of this is covered well in many threads...

the hitch as a % of total, why and how...
the rovers limitations (receiver, wheelbase, payload, tow rating)
the wheelbase/length issues...

and so on...

a 28 foot NEW stream is simply too much of everything for any modern rover sent to the usa.

but somehow i suspect doubt about all of these issues.
___________

so back to the original question buried in the o.p....

you will NOT manipulate the tongue load MUCH by moving personal gear alone...

LP TANKS, batteries and interior furnishings would have to GO somewhere else, to lower the tongue weight significantly ...

and a w/d HITCH is still needed and the rover receiver is NOT designed to take the STRESS of w/d ....

and YES 100 lbs +/- matters, especially with a grossly UNDER capacity, SHORT tow vehicle.

go read, this is all covered in detail...

and welcome to the forums

cheers
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
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Thanks guys - good info. However I now made the mistake of asking my wife if she'd prefer a new Toyota Sequoia Limited - which has adequate towing credentials.... So I've got a new problem on my hands needless to say........!!!!!!
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:11 PM   #9
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shopping is good!

but a new 28 is STILL a lotta trailer for that vehicle.

check the PAYLOAD for the seq'

again, tongue weight, hitch weight and people/cargo IN the seq' will max out the payload...

towing rating/capacity is ALWAYS misleading.

since it's a mythical MAX that goes down in real world conditions...

find payload and gCwr for any tv considered.

those are much better numbers to reference.

cheers
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Here is another thread --> Click on me <-- that might shed a bit of light as well...
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #11
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i have a 2004 toyota 4runner and want to tow a 63 globetrotter with it. the trailer is well below the capacity, 2770 < 5000. im aware of the wheelbase issue. would a propride setup be the right hitch for this application?
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:12 PM   #12
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UPDATE - I ended up buying a Lincoln Mark LT truck. Doesn't pull any better than the Range Rover (worse mileage and not even in the same stratosphere as far as comfort) but it has better hitch capacity - particularly with the WD hitch... Rides level and and the wheel base length helps with yaw.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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G1obetrotter - I doubt anyone on here is going to condone your situation - people in here tend to be "by the book" I've learned. But my two cents is that as long as you're careful and don't do 200 mile trips three times a month, you'll probably be okay. I've done dumber things.... )
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:42 PM   #14
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thanks, i think...
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