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Towing with mid-size SUV?

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...The "label" on the trailer states: Dry Weight: 3649 lbs...

 

...I've got the official actual weight of the trailer, with basics packed, 2 full propane tanks, 1 battery and empty water/waste tanks. No clothing or food packed. Came in at 3560 lbs...

 

Usually the manufacturer's dry weight is light because it does not include options. Have things that were standard equipment been removed from the trailer? How sure are you of the accuracy of the weight that you got? How and where was the trailer weighed?

Edited by trailertraveler

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Usually the manufacturer's dry weight is light because it does not include options.

 

3560 is actually right on track. The 3649 is showing on the newer models, however, the MFG's dry weight on a 2011 is actually listed @ 3313 and GVWR @ 7325. With the addition of a battery and 2-30's... it "tracks"... although, "standard" equipment on that year and model was dual 20's. Tank capacities and others the OP has mentioned so far lines up with the factory sheet for a 2011 20RBXL.

 

I don't know where the 3649 "label" came from (possibly dealer applied if the original was no longer readable), but it's likely in error. There may also be some variation between the West and Midwest factories at that time as base equipment packages may be different.

 

Nevertheless... "it is what it is". I wouldn't be too suspect of a major scale discrepancy.

 

Just a side note for the OP.. Be sure to check your tires! If they are still original equipment (barely capable to begin with), I would 'highly' recommend switching them out as a first order of business.

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I have to agree with yarome I work on the theory that you don't really want to tow something that is at your maximum towing

capacity, about 80percent is good, especially if you are going to do a lot of miles,it is a lot kinder to your tow vehicle..

 

mick

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I forgot to add in my last post that if I had just bought a new travel trailer I would fill the tanks, load in every thing I wanted to take with me, then hire or borrow a vehicle with a towbar and take it to a weighbridge and find out for sure exactly how much weight I was pulling, then I would set about finding a suitable tow vehicle.

 

mick

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...3560 is actually right on track...

You may be right. I read the

I've got the official actual weight of the trailer, with basics packed, 2 full propane tanks, 1 battery and empty water/waste tanks. No clothing or food packed.

 

 

to mean that everything other than clothing and food that would be taken along was packed in the trailer not that just the propane tanks were filledl and a battery added.

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to mean that everything other than clothing and food that would be taken along was packed in the trailer not that just the propane tanks were filledl and a battery added.

 

Ohh! You're right.. I missed that and would have taken it to mean the same.. had I read more carefully. I 'was' only considering dry weight + LP and a battery. If that is indeed "everything" except food and personal clothing then there is a major discrepancy. Unless.. "everything" is 4 paper plates, 2 plastic spoons, and a sheet. :P

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I forgot to add in my last post that if I had just bought a new travel trailer I would fill the tanks, load in every thing I wanted to take with me, then hire or borrow a vehicle with a towbar and take it to a weighbridge and find out for sure exactly how much weight I was pulling, then I would set about finding a suitable tow vehicle.

 

mick

I agree. If you have not already found them, here is an article about how to get all the weights you need and a link to a calculator that will help choose a tow vehicle.

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We started towing our 3600# GVWR travel trailer with a 5000# rated SUV. It did do the job, but we now tow with a 3/4 ton diesel truck and the difference is dramatic! The SUV had a V-6 engine and it cut the mpg on it by 50% or more. Folks with the same SUV but in a V-8 and a slightly heavier RV did better on mileage towing than we did. But the major difference was in handling. With the SUV we felt safe enough but we also felt that we were at pretty much the maximum all of the time. Now with the truck, it is critical that I watch my speed as it is so much easier that I tend to slowly increase in speed unless I am using cruise. It has been said often here, but is very true that it is difficult to have too much tow vehicle.

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I forgot to add in my last post that if I had just bought a new travel trailer I would fill the tanks, load in every thing I wanted to take with me, then hire or borrow a vehicle with a towbar and take it to a weighbridge and find out for sure exactly how much weight I was pulling, then I would set about finding a suitable tow vehicle.

 

mick

Mick, that's more or less what I included before weighing (except for empty tanks):

 

Kitchen: cook ware, dish ware, drink ware (down to the martini shaker), flatware, utensils, and a supply of corresponding paper goods, trash cans & trash bags

Bathroom: tp, toiletries, 1st aid, cleaning supplies, towels

Bedding and linens

TV, coffee maker, elect heater

Spare tire

2 full Propane tanks

1 Battery

All camp set-up supplies: hoses, elect cords, chocks, etc.

BBQ, camp chair, small folding table

Basic toolkit

Spare tire

& a few other odds n' ends, but nothing weighty

 

Not included: food & beverages; shoes, clothing and personal toiletries; entertainment (games, cards,) & recreational items (like hiking poles, I'm not an athletic sportsperson); pet food & supplies; and all empty water/waste tanks (estimated weight of which we can easily calculate)

 

Nephew took trailer to local CAT scales. Receipt he received showed the truck weight (Avalanche) 6740 lbs and trailer weight 3560 lbs.

 

I'm still believing that a TV with 7000 lb tow capacity, especially V8, will more than adequately meet my requirements since in all likelihood I'm always going to be at least 1000 lbs below max. Now I guess I should look at TV payloads...

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...Nephew took trailer to local CAT scales. Receipt he received showed the truck weight (Avalanche) 6740 lbs and trailer weight 3560 lbs...

Sounds like he may not have disconnected the trailer from the truck. If that is the case, the 3560 represents the trailer's axle weight not its total weight because some of the trailer weight is on the tongue/truck. To get the true weight of the trailer, he would have had to disconnect it and move the truck off the scale or disconnect the trailer and weigh the truck by itself to get the tongue weight of the trailer. The tongue weight is one of the numbers you will need to select a tow vehicle with adequate payload capacity.

Edited by trailertraveler

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...even though the truck was on a different scale pad than the trailer?

If the truck and trailer were connected. The tongue weight of the trailer was included in the weight of the truck. You can weigh the truck exactly as it was then subtract that weight from the 6740 to get the tongue weight. The tongue weight plus 3560 will be the weight of the trailer as you have it loaded so far. Depending on what else you put in the trailer and where it is located, the tongue weight may change. Think of the trailer as a teeter totter. Weight put behind the axles will decrease the tongue weight. Weight put in front of the axles will increase the tongue weight. In many travel trailers, the holding tanks are over or very close to the axles so that whether they are full or not there is not that big a change in the balance of the trailer.

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Terrie,

 

I have been reading through the threads and was looking at a similar weight trailer. I own a Nissan Pathfinder (2008) before it went to a car like design. The major plus for this vehicle is the power and max towing of 6000 lbs. The downside is the mileage around town. I rented a Forest River Vibe so we could travel through Yellowstone. It was similar to what you purchased. The scary part of the drive was on the interstate. The rental didn't include sway bars and any speed over 60 became a white knuckle drive because of the short wheelbase, a situation in which I hope to never repeat.

 

Second thing (fine print in the SUV manual that people don't read) is the allowed trailer frontal area for towing. The Pathfinder has a limit of 60sq ft. which basically rules out most travel trailers, per the owner's manual. This would also mean, most mid-sized SUVs would have that frontal area limitation. There is a big difference pulling a 5000 lbs flat load verse a 5000 lbs travel trailer. Most travel trailers are 8 feet wide and at least 9-10ft high, which puts the frontal area at 72-80sq ft. If I was only pulling a camper 60 miles to the lake every weekend, then I wouldn't be concerned. If I was driving it around the country, totally different story. As someone already pointed out, the new trucks with have cylinder manage or V6 with a turbo, gives you the power to pull the camper, stability of a long wheel base and fuel economy when you aren't towing. Good luck!

 

Mathew

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We started towing our 3600# GVWR travel trailer with a 5000# rated SUV. It did do the job, but we now tow with a 3/4 ton diesel truck and the difference is dramatic! The SUV had a V-6 engine and it cut the mpg on it by 50% or more. Folks with the same SUV but in a V-8 and a slightly heavier RV did better on mileage towing than we did. But the major difference was in handling. With the SUV we felt safe enough but we also felt that we were at pretty much the maximum all of the time. Now with the truck, it is critical that I watch my speed as it is so much easier that I tend to slowly increase in speed unless I am using cruise. It has been said often here, but is very true that it is difficult to have too much tow vehicle.

 

I tow our 17 foot Casita with my 1-ton Dodge Diesel long bed truck. It works great....the only downside is at every gas station a RV'er will walk around the truck and trailer combination, shake their heads and ask "Are you sure you have enough truck for that trailer?".

 

But.....Gypsy Traveler.....we are going through the same process as you trying to find a SUV for my wife so she could tow the Casita on her own. So keep posting your adventure on finding a rig. Hopefully, I can learn from your experience.

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I have a 2011 Nissan Pathfinder. We are looking at getting a 28' TT, empty weight 3900 lbs. we will be getting weight distribution/sway control hitch. Any thoughts would be appreciated. We use to own a F350 dually and pulled a 5 horse trailer so we are use to pulling something but not sure about a midsize SUV and its capabilities. Thanks for any information you have!!

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Know and understand your weight safety ratings (SUV and Trailer). If possible get LT tires for the SUV if frequent towing is planned.

Matching Truck to Trailer - basic video

Get GCWR of SUV

Weigh SUV loaded, if possible, to get real/measured weight

Subtract real/measured weight from GCWR to get loaded trailer max.

 

Check ratings on all towing components to make sure ratings exceed actual weights.

Get loaded rig weighed to determine actual tongue weight.

Proper loading, 10-15% tongue weight (closer to 15% is better), is the number one defense against trailer sway.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! And thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you as we will do our very best.

 

Trey has given you good advice. Remember that the empty weight of your RV means nothing at all unless you plan to never put anything into it. The gross weight is much more meaningful in determining what to tow with and you need to keep that weight in mind when loading the trailer because those weight ratings are safety factors. And I am a big believer in the use of sway prevention equipment on trailers, particularly those of very light weight.

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...I have a 2011 Nissan Pathfinder. We are looking at getting a 28' TT, empty weight 3900 lbs. we will be getting weight distribution/sway control hitch...

I will also add my welcome to the Forum!!

 

A sometimes ignored/overlooked contributor to sway is the relationship between the wheelbase of the tow vehicle and the length of the trailer. From what I could find out about the 2011 Nissan Pathfinder, it has a wheelbase of 112.2". That is well short of the 142" wheelbase recommended for a 28' trailer in guidelines developed by the RV Consumers Group and recommended by many others. This link discusses wheelbase and other issues in selecting a tow vehicle. Mid-size SUVs are pretty notorious for having sway issues when towing mid-size to long trailers. One popular way to get more room in a shorter trailer is to get one of the models that extends the bed slide out the back of the trailer when parked.

 

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

Edited by trailertraveler

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! And thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you as we will do our very best.

 

Trey has given you good advice. Remember that the empty weight of your RV means nothing at all unless you plan to never put anything into it. The gross weight is much more meaningful in determining what to tow with and you need to keep that weight in mind when loading the trailer because those weight ratings are safety factors. And I am a big believer in the use of sway prevention equipment on trailers, particularly those of very light weight.

I have a KZ 19BH about like yours. Tow it with a Ford Flex with factory tow package and it tows it fine. Do not use sway equipment, but am considering something light weight such as the single bar friction type. What particular unit were you referring to in the post?

 

Dick N

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I second the F-150 Eco-boost truck as well. I had a 2011 with the max tow package and it worked very well towing a 7800# trailer, very comfortable on long trips and plenty of power even with that heavy trailer. With that said it was rated to tow 11,500# but I was close to being maxed out on the truck's tongue weight of 1150, I was 1050 and within 200# of max payload. Those max tow ratings are pretty useless imo. You will exceed your payload before most other capacities. On our last 8-week road trip, I only saw one dummy towing a fifth wheel with a 1500 size truck and a lot of SUV's towing much too large of trailers behind. I'll admit we wanted to do it but once we looked at the numbers I decided against it. Bottom line, do your research. There's tons of info available. Good luck.

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Took me 8 months to make my match, but I wound up with a 2012 Dodge Durango V8 Hemi with factory tow package. According to KBB: "If you need the ability to tow up to 7,400 pounds, check out the 2012 Dodge Durango. With its sporty styling and impressive road manners, the Durango is far superior to most full-size truck-based SUVs and even earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating." I added WDHitch and anti-sway, and a good trailer brake controller. I've felt very comfortable on short local runs with this configuration. In 2 weeks, I'm heading to Jackson Hole WY to work/camp for the summer season.

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