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Old 09-23-2012, 11:34 AM   #81
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For the average guy like you and me that is not practical so why not take some information/suggestions from someone who has gone down that 40 year road.

I am reading these threads in order to learn from the more experienced people on this forum. However, when I am being told it is O.K. to ignore vehicle and hitch manufacturer recommendations and specs the persons making these recommendations need to provide documentation. Stating they did it with their TW and trailer and expect people like myself to accept such suggestions is just not enough. I would prefer some sort of evidence and/or documentation instead of unsupported assertions.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:17 PM   #82
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[QUOTE=OrangeKid;1206522
I am reading these threads in order to learn from the more experienced people on this forum. However, when I am being told it is O.K. to ignore vehicle and hitch manufacturer recommendations and specs the persons making these recommendations need to provide documentation. Stating they did it with their TW and trailer and expect people like myself to accept such suggestions is just not enough. I would prefer some sort of evidence and/or documentation instead of unsupported assertions.[/QUOTE]

Obviously you are one of those persons who follows the rules and does everything by the book. And that is fine.

You say that you are following these posts to gain knowledge from everyone's experiences, but then you choose to ignore them because they do not provide documentation. I don't think very many of us have written documentation to support our knowledge of towing because it comes from EXPERIENCE, good and bad, which forms our opinions.

The only towing documentation you are going to find is what the manufactures provide, so you probably need to use that info as your base for picking a TV and not question what everyone else tows with.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:36 PM   #83
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Obviously you are one of those persons who follows the rules and does everything by the book. And that is fine.
You got it. I worked in the nuclear industry for many years and following rules and procedures was the only way to assure quality assurance. I spent almost my whole working career being trained in quality assurance as it applies to the nuclear industry.

So I expect all procedures and rules to be documented and supported by facts and evidence. Hearsay and assertions are just that hearsay and assertions.

For example I have seen forum members state that users should not exceed 80% of manufacturer's ratings of tow vehicle and trailer load and tongue weight specifications. I have never seen a manufacturer state such an 80% limit. I have never seen any documentation supporting the 80%. If 80% is better than 100%, should not 70% be better than 80%?

Sometimes if an assertion is repeated often enough if takes on the appearance of a fact. But absent data and evidence it is not a fact, its only an assertion.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #84
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Most of my life has occured without documented instructions.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #85
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Most of my life has occured without documented instructions.

Really? You must not have grown up in post-socialist America.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:35 AM   #86
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I see a lot of statements in your note about tow ratings that come across as assertions as opposed to facts. For example, how do you know the ratings are developed mainly by marketing departments? How do you know they cannot be enforced? How do you know that tow ratings are not based on any "... measurable or proven manner"?

I'm looking for factual information that supports your assertions.


Ah well, Orangekid, there's the rub; there is no documentary evidence that either proves or disproves my assertions.

The Truck Trend article does mention and quote named individuals in the auto industry and attributed quotes are pretty hard to argue against, so that is (in my opinion), fairly sure evidence in favor of my view. Also, the new SAE system for tow ratings has been implemented exactly because there was no definable method used in the past; it is an attempt to make the ratings mean something.

One thing we can be sure of is that there is a complete lack of technical data published by auto manufacturers about how they actually defined their tow ratings - make of that what you will.

Enforcement is another area where there is a lack of documentation. In my own research, I've not been able to find any reference to the enforcement of manufacturers' tow ratings in State or Provincial Towing Regulations. Sure, I'm no lawyer and my research may have been limited, but it seems to me that if the regulations don't document the issue then it cannot be enforced. The issue of why the law doesn't use manufacturers' tow ratings is another debate, but it will be linked to the lack of technical data from the manufacturers.

No one is saying that it's foolish to stick entirely within the specifications laid down by the tow vehicle manufacturer; if you're happier doing that then all is well. I certainly couldn't say for sure that vehicle A would happily and safely tow trailer B, but my point is that neither can the manufacturer because their ratings are not derived through any definable engineering methodology. This is routinely proved by thousands of customers who tow safely and legally outside the manufacturers' specifications.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that top end minivans, regardless of their brand, have had a tow rating of 3,500lb set ever since they were introduced into the US over 30 years ago. The original models bore little relation to today's offerings in terms of horsepower, torque, brakes, wheelbase, transmissions and weight and yet they are still set at that pitifully low tow rating. Speculate all you like on why the tow rating has never changed but I'm certain that it has very little to do with actual capability and everything to do with marketing.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:05 AM   #87
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MrUKToad you have written an excellent summary of the issues wrt towing and I don't have many quibbles about what you state. It reminds me of the state of automobile tires and brakes back in the 60s when many autos had undersized tires and many brakes were inadequate for the weight of the vehicle. Today a brakes are adequate and adequate tires are specified for each vehicle. The vehicle placard inside the door jamb also lists the maximum load the vehicle is rated to carry.

I did recently test drive a 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser and noted that the ratings for towing were 8500 for a trailer with a 850 pound tongue weight. The specs clearly stated that the ratings were based on SAE J2807. So, in my mind, that vehicle is suitable to tow my 23 Airstream. When other manufacturers adopt that standard then we will better be able to compare towing abilities among different brands of TV.

WRT the use of a weight distributing hitch I think the European manufacturers need to redesign (if necessary) their vehicles to formally allow the use of such hitches. Several European brands advertise their towing ability. Recently Mercedes Benz sent me an email pointing out the 7500 lb. tow limit of the GL350, even though I did not even mention I was thinking of using it to tow a trailer. After I asked about the use of a WD hitch MB replied that one was not necessary. I'll be test driving both the ML and GL BlueTec versions next week.

Finally I saw a 2012 20' Flying cloud today and both my wife and I really liked the layout of the interior. It makes incredibly efficient use of interior space. So now I am starting to think I can downsize my Airstream and maybe make it work with my favorite European diesel, the BMW X5, to my satisfaction. I have been leery of single axle vs two axle trailers, and I have to research it some more.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:36 PM   #88
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The actual measured tongue weight of our Airstream is between 780-880 lbs. I would never tow without a WD hitch.
Did you take the dealer up on the offer to deliver the TV to your trailer and check it out? Ask if they might also let you "test pull" with the BMW. Our BMW lightweight was "weigh" too "light" to tow even our FC20 without a WD hitch ... just our opinion, of course. A lot of $$ tied up in the BMW and AS ... too much to risk damage for us. (note that we rarely pull with our jeep either) YMMV
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:22 PM   #89
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Did you take the dealer up on the offer to deliver the TV to your trailer and check it out? Ask if they might also let you "test pull" with the BMW. Our BMW lightweight was "weigh" too "light" to tow even our FC20 without a WD hitch ... just our opinion, of course. A lot of $$ tied up in the BMW and AS ... too much to risk damage for us. (note that we rarely pull with our jeep either) YMMV
No I did not. It was obvious to me that towing a trailer with a 780-880 pound tongue weight without a WD hitch was out of the question with the X5 considering it has a tongue weight rating of 600 pounds. I was not going to waste my time or the BMW dealer's time when I had realized that the X5 was not going to work with my 23' Safari.

I think of the TV, Airstream, propane, batteries, liquids plus all the contents of your trailer and vehicle as one system that should be optimized for safety, drivability and usability. The current state of standards in the industry makes it very difficult for the average consumer to do so.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:18 AM   #90
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Your observations on the FC20 are shared by us. We downsized to the 20 and have not looked back! You will get even more enthusiasm about the layout from my wife ... we added a microwave and toaster oven for her and she still has counter top to spare. Fresh muffins, choc chip cookies, or rolls are the order of the day - usually the first priority when we get "set up". She preps the dough in advance and keeps our campground neighbors happy. As well, there are advantages to the single axle units. Go Beavers .... we have several friends wo still call Portland home - enjoy.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:42 PM   #91
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Your observations on the FC20 are shared by us. We downsized to the 20 and have not looked back! You will get even more enthusiasm about the layout from my wife ... we added a microwave and toaster oven for her and she still has counter top to spare. Fresh muffins, choc chip cookies, or rolls are the order of the day - usually the first priority when we get "set up". She preps the dough in advance and keeps our campground neighbors happy. As well, there are advantages to the single axle units. Go Beavers .... we have several friends wo still call Portland home - enjoy.
Sounds great, please see my private message.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:49 PM   #92
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I've been waiting for a 1/2 ton diesel vehicle for years, and there's always a rumor that one's coming "next year". Don't hold your breath. I think the trailer you're looking to tow is probably too big for an X5, it probably weighs as much as the X5.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #93
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I've been waiting for a 1/2 ton diesel vehicle for years, and there's always a rumor that one's coming "next year". Don't hold your breath. I think the trailer you're looking to tow is probably too big for an X5, it probably weighs as much as the X5.
I beg to differ; see my avatar which shows a 4,900+ pound curb weight 2001 X5 hitched to an 8,300 pound GVWR 31 foot 2002 ASCL; been pulling it for over 35,000 miles, no problem.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:10 PM   #94
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I beg to differ; see my avatar which shows a 4,900+ pound curb weight 2001 X5 hitched to an 8,300 pound GVWR 31 foot 2002 ASCL; been pulling it for over 35,000 miles, no problem.
Well there you are, shows how much I know.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:00 AM   #95
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Well there you are, shows how much I know.
One has to ponder just how effective the brakes are after repeated use - when the load more than doubles (4900 changes to 4900 PLUS 8300) and the design capacity is possibly exceeded - regardless of manufacturer's tow rating ... reminds me of the tail wagging the dog. In our case, we didn't want to risk damage to our BMW or Jeep and settled on the addition of a Ram PU. Didn't the older advertisements show an AS being pulled by a bicyle -clearly it can be done ... I always wondered just how they got the AS/bike stopped (with the limited brakes) without a long run down... just sayin'. "Proof" by example, huh? YMMV
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:55 PM   #96
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X5 Brakes FAR EXCEED Ram PU

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One has to ponder just how effective the brakes are after repeated use - when the load more than doubles (4900 changes to 4900 PLUS 8300) and the design capacity is possibly exceeded - regardless of manufacturer's tow rating ... reminds me of the tail wagging the dog. In our case, we didn't want to risk damage to our BMW or Jeep and settled on the addition of a Ram PU. Didn't the older advertisements show an AS being pulled by a bicyle -clearly it can be done ... I always wondered just how they got the AS/bike stopped (with the limited brakes) without a long run down... just sayin'. "Proof" by example, huh? YMMV
The X5 braking capability FAR EXCEEDS that of ANY Ram PU. The X5 was designed to "run the twisties" and thus along with brakes that can take the punishment the engine is set so low that the front drive shaft actually passes through the oil pan. Additionally, the battery is located at the lowest postion in the rear of the X5 and the tires are 255 mm wide in front and 285 mm in the rear. If I should loose the Airstream brakes I would much rather be towing with my X5 than ANY pickup.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:49 PM   #97
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Trailer brakes stop the trailer. And any upscale TT like an A/S deserves best brakes. State of the art is currently electric over hydraulic disc with antilock. That set of brakes will stop the whole rig (no braking from TV) faster than you'd imagine. Electric drums simply blow out . . can't do it in any acceptable fashion.

The thinking that one needs a "big" (clumsy) TV to pull a fair sized trailer is backwards. Wasn't done in the 1960's any more than today among those who understand how these things work.

For a fulltimer wanting to carry 2,622-lbs of cargo, a truck is what they are stuck with. For the vacationer, the TV that best suits solo duty and can also tow the TT is the best starting point.

As this is an A/S, questions about weight are not so important, as with any TT it is the aerodynamic resistance which is the first consideration. And as this TT type constitutes a small fraction of TT's (or aero: of any type of trailer), this is not entered into vehicle "towing ratings".

Get the right brakes, get the best hitch, and then spec the TV that (as above) is all around best.

.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:13 AM   #98
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The X5 braking capability FAR EXCEEDS that of ANY Ram PU. The X5 was designed to "run the twisties" and thus along with brakes that can take the punishment the engine is set so low that the front drive shaft actually passes through the oil pan. Additionally, the battery is located at the lowest postion in the rear of the X5 and the tires are 255 mm wide in front and 285 mm in the rear. If I should loose the Airstream brakes I would much rather be towing with my X5 than ANY pickup.
Wow. I like red! Our beamer was green, however and the closest repair facility is over 200 miles away ... we'll stay with the Ram for towing ... however stupid that may appear to some ...my experience and opinion is still mine. And just because the battery in our 300 series convert is in the back of the trunk has nothing to do with braking potential - handling twisties, yes; braking ability / fade resistance, NO. So I guess that I will keep an eye open for fleets of x5s as potential commercial TVs... should also be cheaper to operate than the darned old trucks anyway. E=m*v^2 .... hmmmm, now if we can just change that darned formula for energy ... I SAID, YMMV.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:30 AM   #99
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Evidently I failed to effectively communicate.

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Wow. I like red! Our beamer was green, however and the closest repair facility is over 200 miles away ... we'll stay with the Ram for towing ... however stupid that may appear to some ...my experience and opinion is still mine. And just because the battery in our 300 series convert is in the back of the trunk has nothing to do with braking potential - handling twisties, yes; braking ability / fade resistance, NO. So I guess that I will keep an eye open for fleets of x5s as potential commercial TVs... should also be cheaper to operate than the darned old trucks anyway. E=m*v^2 .... hmmmm, now if we can just change that darned formula for energy ... I SAID, YMMV.
Evidently I failed to effectively communicate.
  • I used red hi-lite ONLY to reference your statements; no “rage” intended; maybe I’ll use green next time.
  • Stupidity and ignorance are two separate entities; one is only stupid after their ignorance has been logically enlightened and they reject the enlightenment.
  • Width of tires = pavement adhesion = stopping tractive effort.
  • Size of brake disks/calipers & venting = less fade = duration of stopping tractive effort.
  • Lower engine & battery placement = lower center of gravity = more stability/controllability during stopping tractive effort if AS brakes fail.
  • The X5 is initially expensive and somewhat difficult to have repaired if your stuck out in the toolies (unless you’re a ‘gear head” like me), but for 109,000 miles it has never failed me mechanically (yes I had warranty items) and does very effectively for the price replace the purchase of three separate vehicles basis the following:
    • Excellent stable, powerful tow vehicle.
    • Excellent build quality and luxury.
    • Excellent twisties capability when not towing.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:41 PM   #100
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Evidently I failed to effectively communicate.
  • I used red hi-lite ONLY to reference your statements; no “rage” intended; maybe I’ll use green next time.
  • Stupidity and ignorance are two separate entities; one is only stupid after their ignorance has been logically enlightened and they reject the enlightenment.
  • Width of tires = pavement adhesion = stopping tractive effort.
  • Size of brake disks/calipers & venting = less fade = duration of stopping tractive effort.
  • Lower engine & battery placement = lower center of gravity = more stability/controllability during stopping tractive effort if AS brakes fail.
  • The X5 is initially expensive and somewhat difficult to have repaired if your stuck out in the toolies (unless you’re a ‘gear head” like me), but for 109,000 miles it has never failed me mechanically (yes I had warranty items) and does very effectively for the price replace the purchase of three separate vehicles basis the following:
    • Excellent stable, powerful tow vehicle.
    • Excellent build quality and luxury.
    • Excellent twisties capability when not towing.
No, W-
I think that you did communicate your condescension rather well with implied "stupidity and ignorance" reference (uncalled for IMO) but I couldn't agree with you more. Actually, we had two BMW coupes paid for as well as a convert; multiple Porsches and corvettes ... all with great handling and performance. However, none were designed to handle a load behind the rear axle. Yes, as you point out; they were all expensive. None of them had axles or load rated (not speed rated)tires with appropriate loading for LD TT towing. None had brake sizes designed to carry loads down long hauls. So, your denegratig reference to toolies must be precisely where we live... Spokane, WA is the closest BMW dealer (over 200 miles away) and we haven't bought a new BMW 4-wheel machine for over 5 years ... even with promised flat bed retrieval for warranty repairs... the BMW X-series that we tried simply did not inspire any sense of confidence when pulling a load- yes, I have been in multiple professional drivers classes. Sometimes mass in the e=mv^2 is the most significant variable to address for safety. Grasshopper, I have been enlightened for many years! YMMV as I said right up front.
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