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Old 07-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #15
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Good info, thanks. Considering what you get for you money a good gas powered pickup, 2WD, good rear ratio, maybe even manual transmission would be a better choice compared to a diesel.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:21 PM   #16
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As mentioned elsewhere, have a chat with Andrew T at Can-Am RV. If I remember rightly, he likes the Explorer as a tow vehicle, making much of the independent rear suspension, amongst other things. He'll tell you the pros and cons of using a 'greener' TV, which will then allow you to make a more informed choice.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:27 PM   #17
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Heres a link to Andys article of towing with the new explorer:

RV Lifestyle - Vol. 40 No. 2
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:58 PM   #18
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Thanks Dan, I'd not seen that article before but I remembered Andy saying something about the Explorer on one of his talks.

I can vouch for the effectiveness of his Can-Am set up Siennas as that's what we use to tow our Airstream. Despite the collective gasps of horror from the towing 'traditionalists', it all works really well.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennie View Post
I really appreciate all the prompt advice. Actually, this challenges the idea that my husband had, of pulling with a smaller car since the ratings matched. Trouble is, the Suburban has a LOT of miles, and will need to be swapped out. We are trying to hit the road with bikes and kayaks, so we could really overload? I haven't heard from any couples travelling in a 16' Sport, so don't know what to think there...
Your NCC (net cargo capacity) is 789 lbs. The water weight if you traveled with full holding tanks (combined capacity is 62 gallons) is close to 496 lbs. So assuming you want to carry full tanks at times, you have a margin of 293 lbs of options and camping load available. So even adjusting for no water in the tanks, you will be towing at 90% of your smaller vehicles towing capacity. That to me is pushing the envelope and you will be pushing that smaller tow vehicle harder, your transmission will be running more loaded, and you will probably be using much more fuel than you think.

If I were in your shoes I'd try to find something that may be more in the 6,000 lb towing range. You might be surprised to find that you will spend little of any additional fuel. For example I towed my 28' Safari with a half ton Chevy van. It required towing in 3rd gear. My road mileage was about 12 mpg when towing. I'm towing a 30' Classic slide out with a 3/4 ton GMC van. The GMC is rated for 9,900 lbs where as my Chevy was 6,500. My Classic weighs about 2,400 lbs more than the Safari did. Bottom line the GMC due to its heavier components and transmission can tow in OD. My mileage is that same 12 mpg when towing. Where I take the hit is when I'm not towing and the GMC van doesn't show a lot of improvement in city mileage vs. the Chevy.

My dealer noted to me that the smaller Airstreams come in for trade much faster than the larger units. The major reason is that most couples find that smaller trailer loses its luster after several trips or when you find yourself confined due to inclement weather. My advice would be to stick to the 20' Flying Cloud.

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Old 07-21-2012, 12:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennie
We have put some money down on a new 20' Flying Cloud, excited about this, supposed to pick it up next weekend. Plan to tow with our existing vehicle for the time being, a 2000 Chevy Suburban 4WD. However, we anticipate getting a new vehicle in a year or so, and wanted to step down to a Ford Explorer, but its max towing is 5000lb (matching the gross vehicle weight of the Airstream!) I am worried this doesn't seem to allow for the 20% extra-capacity I have seen recommended for towing. So, two questions:
1)Anyone out there towing a 20' Flying Cloud 5000# trailer with a truck/car/suv that has a max towing capacity of 5000? Ever have trouble (maybe in the mountains?)

2)We have started to have discussions about whether we should be getting a smaller Airstream (say a 16' Bambi Sport, these are hard to find by the way!), which at 3500 gross vehicle weight would allow us to tow with a bigger variety of lighter cars.

I am more concerned about how green we can be (ie., carbon footprint), but we are planning to be on the road for 4-6 week chunks of time (I like the challenge of going as light as possible).

Happy to hear your thoughts....especially if you are in either a 19-20' flying cloud, or a 16' Sport.

Thanks. Excited to be on here!!!
Jennie, something else to note,that I haven't seen mentioned, is that when the vehicles "tow" rating is rated, it is usually rated as GCWR,which is gross combined weight rating. That is of course, the total weight rating of the trailer ,vehicle , and contents.
It it always quoted with the TV with fuel and driver. The average weight used for that 1driver is 150 lbs,so you also have to consider the weight of the other passengers and vehicle cargo ( bikes, pods, watercraft. etc).
What you need to do is weigh the vehicle with all it's intended cargo and passengers, and subtract that from the rated GCWR, and you will find out the real maximum your TV should be pulling.
You might be quite surprised at the result. Also both vehicle and RV manufacturers only give you the dry weight of their product. Then of course we start Adding options, like canopies,etc for trucks and forget that they add to the total weight of the package.
One of the reasons that you will see a lot of cars and some SUV's rated a lot lower that you would think is because of the unibody construction. There is really nothing substantial to attach that hitch to that is hauling and stopping that 5000 lb load. Not to mention the stresses caused by the equalizer.
Personally, I wouldn't haul anything over 2000lb unless I had a real frame under me.
If I were buying a TV today to pull my 20 ft, I would set my lower limit at no less than 7500 lb. then you have no worries as long as you have the appropriate rear end ratio .
Just my opinion though.
George
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bovk
Good info, thanks. Considering what you get for you money a good gas powered pickup, 2WD, good rear ratio, maybe even manual transmission would be a better choice compared to a diesel.
I wouldn't go manual on most gas as the tow rating for a stick is always lower than the rating for the auto version ( torque multiplication factor for the auto) Exception of course is for diesels because of their massive low end torque. Yes , 2 wheel drive is great as long as you buy something with a locking rear end. I live and camp in hilly country and that's why I use a 4wd.
George
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:14 PM   #22
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I have a 3/4 Ton Dodge pickup with a 360 engine and a 5 speed manual transmission. It has an 8800# GVWR. I have had no problems towing my '74 Argosy 26'. The trailer weighs 5,600# when loaded. While the engine is under powered for the 10,000 foot passes in the mountains. The manual transmission is great for holding back going down hill. I rarely use the brakes when going down hill. I run in 4th gear when towing. I get almost 13 mpg. It will drop below 12 mpg when I try to run in 5th.
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie
I have a 3/4 Ton Dodge pickup with a 360 engine and a 5 speed manual transmission. It has an 8800# GVWR. I have had no problems towing my '74 Argosy 26'. The trailer weighs 5,600# when loaded. While the engine is under powered for the 10,000 foot passes in the mountains. The manual transmission is great for holding back going down hill. I rarely use the brakes when going down hill. I run in 4th gear when towing. I get almost 13 mpg. It will drop below 12 mpg when I try to run in 5th.
That is one of good things about a manual. The hold back capabilities, going downhill.
The 8800 lb GVWR that you mention, is only the total weight capacity for your truck. It doesn't have much to do with the GCWR which tells you the total weight capacity that your engine, truck, and rear end ratio can legally pull,combined.
You could for example have your truck with a 3 .30 rear end which wouldn't pull as much as your truck with 3.73 rear, yet still have the same weight carrying capacity.
Great mileage from that 360 btw.
George
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:37 PM   #24
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We have a 16' Bambi and have made many trips in it, long and short. However, we are generally a twosome plus a medium-size dog, rarely with an adult child or two. In a pinch, we did sleep four in it once, but had to put the dinette back bolsters in the truck!

Although we have considered a bigger unit with a better kitchen, dry bath, and more storage, the "little guy" advantages are:

1. Our 16-footer weighs 3500 pounds. We tow it with a 2011 crew-cab Toyota Tacoma. Since the vehicle is rated for much more weight, we don't have particular problems with power. We do tend to cruise at around 60 MPH in order to get 15mpg. At higher speeds, the gas milage falls.

We have a shell/canopy on the back of our truck, which allows us to store most things we want that don't fit in the Bambi. Also, we decided that we wanted to have only one vehicle in our lives and the Tacoma is a good all-around truck.

2. We enjoy camping in national parks and other public campgrounds that were often built prior to the popularity of big campers. We have never been told that our trailer is too long to fit into a national or provincial park site.

3. It's cheaper. However if you want a normal kitchen, a 20' unit is more suitable.

In addition to what you don't get (above) with the sixteener:

1. Our roof is too small for solar panels.

2. With only one sink, you have to think about hygiene. We use baby wipes for hand-cleaning in the small wet-bath, and lysol-wipe out our sink frequently.

3. You have to work out with your spouse/partner who does what when in a small space. If someone is cooking or washing up, for example, the other one usually hunkers down in the dinette, on the bed, or outside. The awning is helpful when it rains, as it provides useable outdoor space.

After a while, this "do-si-do" becomes normal.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:59 PM   #25
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I've been towing a 20' Safari with a Mercedes ML500 for five years. The ML is rated for towing 5,000 lbs. Been through the mountains, NY to Alaska, several times out west. I've never had a complaint. I can get into small camping spots and the ML is a great daily driver. I couldn't be happier.

The ML500 does have a V-8.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:46 PM   #26
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We had a Suburban but towed a larger trailer. In 2008 we bought a Tahoe and last May we bought a 20 ft 2012 model. We have used it several times now and we are taking it to the Mammoth area for a week of fishing in the Sierras in Aug.
I think the Tahoe is a very good match for the 20 ft especially getting out of the LA basin where you have to pull some steep hills. Either the Cajon pass or the Grape Vine to the North, not to mention Shirwin summit out of Bishop. I'm very happy with the Tahoe. 21 MPG hwy solo and 13 towing about the same in town. I feel very green where ever I go.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:59 PM   #27
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gmeikl: The truck has a 4:10 positraction rear end. I do realize that the GVWR rating of the truck is really not relative to it's towing capacity. But it does indicate that the axle ratings are high and the tongue weight of 820# is not a problem for the truck. Even when we have the bed full of stuff. The truck weighs 5900# with a full tank of gas (42gal) therefore the cargo capacity is 2900#. Subtract the 820# tongue weight and I still have a ton of capacity. No pun intended.
The more weight in the truck makes it easier to handle the trailer. I also have rear axle air bags to compensate for tongue and cargo weight.
I bought this truck from a friend who ordered it and equipped it specifically to pull a 35' fifth wheeler. It has no problem handling the Argosy.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:29 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam
I've been towing a 20' Safari with a Mercedes ML500 for five years. The ML is rated for towing 5,000 lbs. Been through the mountains, NY to Alaska, several times out west. I've never had a complaint. I can get into small camping spots and the ML is a great daily driver. I couldn't be happier.

The ML500 does have a V-8.
Wayne and Sam, I think that the only reason that you are only rated at 5000 lb is due to the class III hitch. You certainly have the power to pull more. I think that in Europe your vehicle was rated around 7000lb? so is probably underrated here which is why you have no problem. I'd love to use something smaller to tow than my truck, but with a canoe, tandem and single bikes, and two dogs..... well you get the picture. The 20 ft is probably the perfect size trailer to tow though.
George
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