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Old 02-18-2019, 04:55 AM   #1
Bikemore97
 
1999 25' Safari
West kennebunk , Maine
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Tongue weight and vehicle limits

My first post so Iíll try to be concise. My 2011 pick up is aging and I need a replacement option. My choice is the BMW X5 diesel. No issue with power but the limit may be weight. Tow capacity is 6,000 lbs. but the tongue weight is 600 lbs. the BMW payload is 1,100 lb limit. My 1999 25ft Safari has a dry weight of 4,850 lbs. So a lighter loaded trailer is no problem to stay under the 6,000 lb limit. The Safari hitch weight is 680. Over the 600 lb limit. Is there a way to use weight distributing hitch and careful loading to get my tongue weight down below the max of 600 lbs? I know its tight but I really want one vehicle not two and I would rather not be in a truck for daily driving.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:28 AM   #2
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General rule of thumb is you need 10-13% trailer weight on the tongue. Doing that math means you'll want/need ~500+ lbs on your vehicle.

I'm no expert, but I've towed enough to recognize when a trailer is unbalanced and in my opinion the margins with your setup are too tight for me to be comfortable.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bikemore97 View Post
The Safari hitch weight is 680. Over the 600 lb limit. Is there a way to use weight distributing hitch and careful loading to get my tongue weight down below the max of 600 lbs? I know its tight but I really want one vehicle not two and I would rather not be in a truck for daily driving.
You can't cheat the laws of physics. The tongue weight will be 680 pounds, PLUS the weight of the WD hitch. What you are trying to do is the equivalent of standing on one foot on a bathroom scale to try to make yourself weigh less.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:20 AM   #4
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That weight trailer is well within the capabilities of the X5. The first thing to do is plan to reinforce the OE hitch receiver to solve the 600 lb weight limit of the standard hitch. The vehicle is capable of more, but not so much the receiver.

With a reinforced receiver, use of weight distribution equipment, and proper setup, you will be fine up to the published tire and axle weight ratings of the X5.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:45 PM   #5
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give andy at CANAM RV in London ON a call.
he has solved this issue for 100's of TV/trailer combos over the years

he is able to pull at 25 As with a jetta
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
give andy at CANAM RV in London ON a call.
he has solved this issue for 100's of TV/trailer combos over the years

he is able to pull at 25 As with a jetta
Yeah, but it was a 3/4 ton Jetta turbo diesel.

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Old 02-18-2019, 02:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bikemore97 View Post
My first post so Iíll try to be concise. My 2011 pick up is aging and I need a replacement option. My choice is the BMW X5 diesel. No issue with power but the limit may be weight. Tow capacity is 6,000 lbs. but the tongue weight is 600 lbs. the BMW payload is 1,100 lb limit. My 1999 25ft Safari has a dry weight of 4,850 lbs. So a lighter loaded trailer is no problem to stay under the 6,000 lb limit. The Safari hitch weight is 680. Over the 600 lb limit. Is there a way to use weight distributing hitch and careful loading to get my tongue weight down below the max of 600 lbs? I know its tight but I really want one vehicle not two and I would rather not be in a truck for daily driving.
Arenít you already driving a pickup? A 2011 with how many miles? Anything specific going wrong?

You can reinforce the hitch of the BMW to take the weight. But you already drive a pickup. Maybe fix whatís wrong with it or get a newer one?
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:59 PM   #8
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I'm waiting for the day I read a news article that someone's family was killed by someone else towing a trailer with a modified hitch to have a "proper setup". Or, no deaths or injuries, but an insurance company who denies a claim based on the modifications or being outside the manufacturers limitations on towing.

Just not worth it imo.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:03 PM   #9
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Arenít you already driving a pickup? A 2011 with how many miles? Anything specific going wrong?

You can reinforce the hitch of the BMW to take the weight. But you already drive a pickup. Maybe fix whatís wrong with it or get a newer one?
Perhaps what is wrong with it is that it is a pickup.

OP noted that it is aging, and that they donít want a pickup as a daily driver.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:08 PM   #10
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I'm waiting for the day I read a news article that someone's family was killed by someone else towing a trailer with a modified hitch to have a "proper setup". Or, no deaths or injuries, but an insurance company who denies a claim based on the modifications or being outside the manufacturers limitations on towing.

Just not worth it imo.
Towing within the rated axle and tire weight limits is not outside the manufacturerís limitations. If the receiver is not designed for WD equipment using a heavier receiver that is so designed isnít negligent, it is prudent.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:39 PM   #11
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I could put a "class XX" receiver on any vehicle, but it doesn't mean the original frame/vehicle rating is heavier.

I'm just saying it's an unnecessary risk. An X5 isn't cheap. There are better suited alternatives that don't require mods to get a hitch within specs.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:16 PM   #12
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No need to make the X5 any stronger, it is very capable as shipped. The limiting factor is the receiver. If one replaces or strengthens the receiver, then one can access the full capability of the vehicle platform.

There are even better handling alternatives, like the Porsche, but the X5 is very near the top of the pyramid as a tow vehicle. Not as a firewood/generator/motorcycle/boat carrying vehicle, for sure, but as a tow vehicle.

Hitches are routinely modified on Suburbans, and 3/4 ton RAM and GM vehicles. That isnít interpreted as those vehicles being poor tow vehicles, just that the receivers arenít strong enough.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:22 PM   #13
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Towing capacity of BMW X5 is 7,700 lbs. Only for the US market the hitch receiver is rated to 6,000 lbs.

OP, the trailer you are planning to tow will be piece of cake for X5. I logged over 15k towing miles with Jayco trailer: longer, higher, heavier (7,000-7,200 lbs), etc. It tows like a dream.



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Old 02-18-2019, 04:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LuckyCloud View Post
I'm waiting for the day I read a news article that someone's family was killed by someone else towing a trailer with a modified hitch to have a "proper setup". Or, no deaths or injuries, but an insurance company who denies a claim based on the modifications or being outside the manufacturers limitations on towing.

Just not worth it imo.
You would have to look carefully to find these stories, buried within the thousands and thousands of deaths caused by unmodified vehicles, and defects produced by OEMs like bad ignition switches etc. I ride a motorcycle and my #1 fear isn’t a carefully driven SUV towing a trailer; it’s the average idiot on the phone or the dude with all the Cat scale tickets doing 80mph and passing everyone because he’s within limits and thinks he’s OK.

By the way, I tow with a 2500 Diesel and think towing with a car is ridiculous. But all the gloom and doom seems a little overblown. Once your brake pads are worn, your frame is a bit rusty or your tires are less than 3/32” you’re in the same boat as the guy who modified his hitch. The lawyers will tear your stuff apart until they find something, sue to the max and we all pay in the form of higher premiums.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
Perhaps what is wrong with it is that it is a pickup.

OP noted that it is aging, and that they donít want a pickup as a daily driver.
Iíd like to know whatís wrong with the pickup. No one wakes up and says ďmy pickup sucks, I want a BMWĒ.

OP?
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:44 PM   #16
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If your limiting yourself to one new vehicle, to replace the aging pickup, the new pickups today drive very much like cars. Very good suspensions, luxury interiors and a lot safer towing long distances with a pickup.

If you have your heart set on the BMW X5, I saw a 2017 BMW X5 being out fitted with the equalizer WD, for towing a brand new 2018 23FB at Colonial Airstream. I do not know if the hitch was upgraded, but the vehicle and trailer were quite level.

Also, throughout Europe, many use cars for towing their family trailers, without out incidents.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:45 PM   #17
Bikemore97
 
1999 25' Safari
West kennebunk , Maine
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The truck has 200k mikes and a rebuilt tranny. Itís days are numbered. But I must say the Chevy half ton with a 5.3 liter hauled the Safari to the west coast and back last March with zero issues. Just looking forward.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:54 PM   #18
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1999 25' Safari
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Just looking forward. Lots of helpful advice. Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:11 PM   #19
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Many hitches are rated for higher "tongue weight" when weight distribution is used. The torque from the WD reduces the effective tongue weight. Compare the total load on the TV tires with WD off and WD on. It will be less with WD on. The only thing that is changed is the load at the tongue.

The trailer tongue weight is not applied to the TV with a WD hitch. It is applied to the hitch. The hitch presents a weight and a torque to the receiver. It seems odd that receivers don't have specs on both as "tongue weight" is not a complete description of the load on the receiver.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Al
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:22 PM   #20
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Iíd like to know whatís wrong with the pickup. No one wakes up and says ďmy pickup sucks, I want a BMWĒ.
Unless, perhaps, they have driven both. Or a Porsche, Toureg, or Audi, among others, in addition to a pickup. Any pickup.
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