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Old 07-14-2011, 08:55 AM   #21
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I know for a fact I could stop the airstream and the F-350 I was towing it with by just squeezing those two little finger handle thingys on the ford dash, and applying the trailer brakes alone. I did it several times.

God, i would LOVE to be able to tow with a vintage Caddy or Lincoln. Or a Mercedes...

But we live in a time when soccer moms think they need four wheel drive to navigate the smooth concrete of I-10 between Houston and Katy. I mean, how can one handle freeway traffic without a full roll cage and winch these days?
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:59 AM   #22
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My plan...if I see what I consider an un-safe traveler, I steer clear.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you....never mind.
I get the feeling you do a lot of steering.

Here's another angle to this. Last weekend we camped next to folks towing a "lightweight" 24-foot-long SOB with their newish Jeep Liberty. That trailer weighs around 4000 lbs and sits fairly high on its axles. (In other words, it won't tow like an Airstream.)

The Liberty has a high center of gravity and a so-so wheelbase. Libertys don't really handle or stop well, partly due to sacrifices made for their "Trail Rating." They don't have much power either. While it does have the advantage of a short rear overhang, the weight-distribution hitch they were using wound up placing the hitch ball nearly a foot from the rear bumper.

So sure, that Liberty was rated to tow 5000 lbs and can theoretically handle that trailer. But I have no doubt that a professionally set-up configuration using a Airstream, a better-handling and -braking car, and a properly set-up weight distribution hitch is a safer rig.

Tom
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:15 AM   #23
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Texas

Yes, I really do mean always. When you are going downhill, you either need to use the brakes or engine braking to keep your speed under control. The tires/pavement friction do not know or care what is providing the braking force to slow the wheels down. I don't believe that I have ever lost traction going down a slippery hill using engine braking. Now, I do not use complete engine braking to control my speed. I always use the brakes a little bit, so that if I start slipping, the anti-skid feature of the brakes can perform their function. I have had quite a bit of experience in slick conditions as I go to Snowshoe skiing (WV) quite often in the winter. I also grew up in Michigan.

Dan
I understand what you are saying now. I read the "always" in the earlier posting as meaning exclusive - i.e.. without any other braking.

Seems like we are in agreement that the use of engine braking when towing on slick surfaces needs to be done in conjunction with the use of the trailer's brakes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:11 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post

~~

But we live in a time when soccer moms think they need four wheel drive to navigate the smooth concrete of I-10 between Houston and Katy. I mean, how can one handle freeway traffic without a full roll cage and winch these days?
Actually, for driving around Houston, a full roll cage is probably pretty useful. And a full clip! The winch, not so much.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:06 AM   #25
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Actually, for driving around Houston, a full roll cage is probably pretty useful. And a full clip! The winch, not so much.
I hear ya! Really, the only time I am ever in Houston, proper, is however long it takes me to get from George Bush International to the town line. I circumnavigate the rest of it.

and a Glock 27 is one of my favorite insurance policies.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #26
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He tends to work on the math and physics of towing rather than the general received wisdom and hearsay that is prevalent in the RV world. He then proves his work with track and road testing and ultimately, of course, with thousands of happy customers.
It is always interesting how fear and paranoia seem to supersede experience and measure in topics like this. The OP says the rig owners had extensive experience with their rig and were happy with its performance. Who are you to refute or dismiss that?

The creativity involved in the denial of the experience is amazing. How about facts rather than fears, facts that are pertinent and in context? Since the record of performance is fairly well established, those facts need to be rather well sounded as well in order to match. -- but then look at the downgrade standard advice and how it was contested for an example of difficulty in this area.

It may not be your cup of tea, but tolerance for others and their 'cup of tea' might be a worthwhile goal, I think. Maybe we can learn something if we are open to the experiences and preferences of others?
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:01 PM   #27
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It is always interesting how fear and paranoia seem to supersede experience and measure in topics like this. The OP says the rig owners had extensive experience with their rig and were happy with its performance. Who are you to refute or dismiss that?

The creativity involved in the denial of the experience is amazing. How about facts rather than fears, facts that are pertinent and in context? Since the record of performance is fairly well established, those facts need to be rather well sounded as well in order to match. -- but then look at the downgrade standard advice and how it was contested for an example of difficulty in this area.

It may not be your cup of tea, but tolerance for others and their 'cup of tea' might be a worthwhile goal, I think. Maybe we can learn something if we are open to the experiences and preferences of others?
Amen! I got the same naysayer comments last year when I posted about my assembly (2001 BMW X5 @ 5,000# + 31’ ASCL @ 8,300#) which relatively speaking is much more robust. You’d think by now there would be acceptance of these PROVEN assemblies! Come to think of it, I haven’t ever seen accidents which have been atributed to assemblies of this sort.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:17 PM   #28
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Amen! Come to think of it, I haven’t ever seen accidents which have been linked (blamed on) to assemblies of this sort.
x2

Even if there are some which are blamed and somehow linked to the towing inadequacies that everyone is convinced are present in not having an F450 Superduty to tow a Bambi, then I would contest that 99% of those accidents are user error and mental inadequacy. Maybe I'm just biased because I live in Los Angeles and where everyone likes to be beyond agressive in their driving tactics, but I can count on one hand how many improper towing/hauling/driving setups I see in one day (i.e. someone carrying a 15 foot, unsecured pile of metal in their pickup, or someone towing a flatbed car hauler with an old 80's Toyota Pickup, etc.). On the flip side, I can't even begin to document how many times I see big rigs, RVs, TTs, and even school buses not even checking their blind spot (or not caring) before merging into and almost taking out a car.

Going down hills and in other scenarios where the vehicle can supposedly not stop an Airstream, I would bet that any issues with stopping are likely from the driver not giving sufficient following distance in the first place, or going 75 mph downhill and then realizing there is a turn at some point.

Ok I'll stop my rant.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:26 PM   #29
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I really like the idea. I cannot comment on how safe or unsafe a TDI is because I don't know the specs, the only thing I have used to pull my Cruiser is a f-350; and I could immediately tell that was overkill.


I don't plan on actively pulling my Stream for another two years, but when the time comes I would much rather invest in a vehicle that could get 40+ mpg when I am not pulling vs 20mpg...it is just tempting.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:43 PM   #30
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Just out of curiosity, what happens when the Airstream's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade when a Jetta is in front?
Just out of curiosity,
  • what happens when the Airstream's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500 is in front?
  • what happens when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade? Will the Airstream's brakes save the day?
Paula
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:02 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Just out of curiosity,
  • what happens when the Airstream's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500 is in front?
  • what happens when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade? Will the Airstream's brakes save the day?
Paula
I wish I'd said that....
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:44 PM   #32
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how do the guys at Can Am work it? I looked at their websites and didn't see anything specific to matching up vehicles to trailers as a service. Is this just something they do for people who buy trailers from them?

I am very curious as to the alternatives to a pickup truck or big SUV for towing a 7,600 lb. trailer with it's own electric brakes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:54 PM   #33
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how do the guys at Can Am work it? I looked at their websites and didn't see anything specific to matching up vehicles to trailers as a service. Is this just something they do for people who buy trailers from them?

I am very curious as to the alternatives to a pickup truck or big SUV for towing a 7,600 lb. trailer with it's own electric brakes.
Nope, give 'em a call.
Their on the forums,(Roadruler can hook you up)
surprised they haven't chimed in here. I'm sure they would be more than happy to give you all the skinny.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:09 PM   #34
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I was referred to Andy by Rich Lehr. Andy knows his stuff about hitches and towing!

He setup my MB ML350 diesel and it is a dream to tow my 25' Eddie Bauer. Very safe and comfortable -- have to keep checking that it is back there plus I get 16 MPG at 70 MPH.

There is just so much mis-information out there by everyone trying to sell us stuff!
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:08 PM   #35
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It's interesting to follow this thread.

I simply asked a "What happens when..." question and the answers could simply have been "nothing unusual", or "it could still safely stop with no added stopping distance", but many people are quoting my question - with no real answers, just speculation and criticism for even asking the question in the first place.

I too grew up with cars pulling RV's - I'm just curious how these modern small cars manage to safely pull larger RV's.... hence the question referring to a possible loss of RV brakes scenario involving a Jetta.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:38 PM   #36
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I too grew up with cars pulling RV's - I'm just curious how these modern small cars manage to safely pull larger RV's.... hence the question referring to a possible loss of RV brakes scenario involving a Jetta.
I guess there's a few ways to look at this:

- Not that many people know how a full-size truck handles stopping an Airstream without brakes because it seldom happens. (Certainly not never, but seldom.)
- Brakes in general have gotten tremendously better in the last few decades. While a lot of folks feel fine towing with (say) 80s Suburbans, something like a Jetta has better brakes. A sports sedan like a Caddy CTS has even better brakes.
- The 3300-lb Jetta isn't exactly a small car. (I get similar responses about towing with my 4500-lb minivan.) Few small cars are really all that small anymore, and no one is towing with a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris.
- If you're towing with a truck, you need to stop the added weight of the truck (heavier than the car) as well as the trailer. Trucks typically take longer to stop unladen than do cars. Some of that is due to weight, some of that is due to tires.
- Most of the trailers that are being towed by Jettas are 19 or 20 foot trailers. The largest trailer I've heard Andy (or one of his clients) tow with a Jetta is a 23' International.

My guess as to a direct answer to your question: You'd stop the car and trailer. Eventually. Adding in some engine braking would sure help. You don't want to do it repeatedly, but that holds true for any vehicle.

Tom
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:46 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
how do the guys at Can Am work it? I looked at their websites and didn't see anything specific to matching up vehicles to trailers as a service. Is this just something they do for people who buy trailers from them?

I am very curious as to the alternatives to a pickup truck or big SUV for towing a 7,600 lb. trailer with it's own electric brakes.
I'm one of CanAm's clients. While I bought my used Argosy from them, they'll happily set up a tow vehicle if you don't buy a trailer from them. Andy is rather good with giving advice - he's seen and driven lots of different tow vehicle combos.

I know that Andy tows trailers like you describe with his Jaguar XJ. Other clients tow trailers like that with minivans (very stable tow vehicles due to their design) or SUVs like the Buick Enclave.

Tom
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:04 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Just out of curiosity,
  • what happens when the Airstream's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500 is in front?
  • what happens when an F-250 or a Silverado 2500's brakes fail on a 10% downhill grade? Will the Airstream's brakes save the day?
Paula
Well, since I put 4 wheel discs on our Tradewind, it stops like a dream - very quickly. It will easily stop my truck w/o touching the truck brakes (although I've not tried this on a 10% grade). The opposite is also true; I towed our Airstream home w/o brakes when we bought it (the truck outweighs the 'Stream by 2500 lbs or so). Good brakes are a joy; I grew
up driving a '65 1/2 ton Suburban w/ drums all around and no trailer brakes. The 'burb would do one stop from 70 mph before the brakes faded to uselessness.

Keep in mind, folks; if you double the weight to be slowed down, you double the energy that needs to be dissipated. If you double the speed, the energy goes up by a factor of 4. So it takes 2 times the brakes for the
Jetta to stop from 120 mph w/o a trailer than it does from 60 mph w/ a 3000 lb trailer. The Jetta has a speed rating in Germany of 128 mph, and is governed not to exceed that speed.

- Bart
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:18 PM   #39
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Well, hell, I fer shure ain't gonna tow my Airstream with no danged Jetta if we're gonna be limited to 128 mph.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:55 PM   #40
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Some of that is due to weight,
almost all of it is due to weight.

more weight=longer to stop.

The mistake people make is the assumption that "big truck/big brakes=small car/small brakes". It doesn't work that way. The heavier you are, the longer its going to take to stop. even with perfectly functioning tv and trailer brakes. Without one or the other, you've got a problem.
I think people tend to think of trucks as having "excess capacity" in all measures. they do have excess capacity in some areas; but it doesn't apply to their braking.
for example, I can drive my pickup around carrying only myself. 10 others my size could suddenly jump into the bed, and the truck wouldn't even feel it. But I can't stop an extra 10k lbs in the same distance as when empty.

fwiw, I have had the trailer brakes fail, and stopped it with the truck; and I have had the truck brakes fail, and stopped it with the trailer. neither was fun; but it is nice to have a spare set of brakes.
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