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Johnxhc

Please advise - determining max motorhome tow capacity

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Hi,All,
I have a 2017 Thor WindSport J34, The GVWR is 22,000 lbs, I could not find the GCWR for 2017, but for 2020, it is 26,000.00  (link as following)

https://www.thormotorcoach.com/hurricane/specs/

I assume it is the same as 2017 (please let me know if anyone believe it is different for 2017 model). 

The dry weight of the motorhome is 16,800. so my calculation is as following:
Max towing capacity = 26,000 - 16,800 (Motorhome Weight) - 2,000 (cargo, passengers) - 420 (water) - 88 (propane tank) -  480 (gas) = 6,212 (lbs)

I would like to flat tow my 2019 Escalade , curb weight  5,856

The motorhome hitch  is rated 8,000lbs.

the difference between Max towing capacity 6,212 - Escalade weight 5,825 = 400 lbs.

I understand this is not ideal, I definitely would prefer more than 400 lbs difference between my Max towing capacity and towed vehicle. However it is what it is, I figure I probably will not able to drive 70 miles/hour or even 55 mile uphills.

Other than that, does any experts here see any major problems here? (I would like to drive around north American with this)

Please advise.

Thanks in advance.
John


 

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John, you are on the right path. First question: can you tow your Escalade four-down, or do you need a dolly or trailer? According to Remco, you can tow four-down if you have AWD, but not if your is RWD. What's the difference? Weight. If you have to use a dolly or trailer you will have an appreciable weight on the hitch, which is carried by the motor home. You will also have at least 400 pounds more to tow, which will put you at or maybe above your max tow weight.

Since you are kind of pushing your upper weight limits, you may want to consider putting your whole rig on a diet. You can't do much about the propane, but you can reduce your water weight. Maybe carry only 1/4 tank of fresh water on travel days, and be sure to dump your black and grey tanks. You can also plan grocery trips with weight in mind. Use up the canned goods as much as possible before traveling, then restock when you are landed.

One thing you didn't mention was a braking system for your towed. You really need one. Do some research on that, and get it installed BEFORE you hit the road. That can usually be done at the same time as the base plate is installed. Cost will be $3000 or more for the two, depending on exactly what you get and how much work it takes to install them. Figure on being without the car for a couple of days.

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David,

Yes, the Esclade is 4x4 and it will be 4-wheel down, no sure what you means by "brake by two") .I will have the hitch depot guys do the whole flat tow package(including connect the motorhome brake with the Escalade brake, tow bar, plate etc) for me, they quoted me $4,500.00, another shop quoted $5,500. 

That is a very good advice to reduce the motorhome load, I will definitely going to do that when I am towing, what do you think is the ideal buffer between the max tow capacity and the tow vehicles? 1000 lbs?

 

Thanks again for your help.

John

 

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10 hours ago, Johnxhc said:

The dry weight of the motorhome is 16,800. so my calculation is as following:
Max towing capacity = 26,000 - 16,800 (Motorhome Weight) - 2,000 (cargo, passengers) - 420 (water) - 88 (propane tank) -  480 (gas) = 6,212 (lbs)

What concerns me is the assumed weights that you are using....  The proper way to compute what you can tow is to take the motorhome, fully loaded as you will to travel with all people and supplies on board to a scale and weigh the RV. The suspect area is that 2000# for people and everything the bring with them. 

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Thanks for all of your help! Your guys are wonderful!

Here is what I found out from Thor Customer service about my couch by giving them my vin number.

GCWR: 26,000
GRWR 22,000
Vehicle Dry Weight: 16,646.

My flat towed vehicle is 4x4

Taking David's suggestion, I will only fill 1/4 of my fresh tank( I am camping at fully hookup camp site 100%) , that will reduce the load by 300 lbs.

The Weight of the whole family(assuming everyone in the family goes): 860 lbs

Taking David's suggestion, I will not take more than 500 lbs of luggage with me (if I do, I will reduce it to under 500 lbs)

Also the curb weight of my towed vehicle DOES include the weight of the driver (165 lbs) since no one will be at towed vehicle when it is flat towed , the weight of my towed vehicle is only going to be 5,856 - 165 = 5,691 lbs

So What I can tow is as following:
26,000 - 16,646 (Motorhome Weight) - 860 lbs (passenger) - 500 (cargo) - 100 lbs (1/4 of fresh tank water) - 88 (propane ) - 480 (gas) = 7,334


My buffer = 7,334- 5,691(towed vehicle weight ) =1,643

So looks like I still have 1,643 lbs buffer to play with. Even I fill the whole fresh water tank, I still have 1,343 lbs buffer.

That makes me very comfortable.

Of course I will definitely weight the motor home when it is loaded.

Thanks again to all of you

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7 hours ago, Johnxhc said:

Taking David's suggestion, I will not take more than 500 lbs of luggage with me (if I do, I will reduce it to under 500 lbs)

Um. Probably not doable. Please take a moment to weigh blue jeans, your most used pans, your bedding/towels, your favorite groceries, etc. Most RVers find they need about 1500 pounds for one person with add ons for more people.

Dave and I started out with only 800 pounds available for the two of us so I traded my jeans for light cotton slacks, my shoes/boots for one pair of Crocs with wool socks, our Corning dishes for plastic plates, canned goods for freeze-dried meals, etc. It was quite the challenge and even being the minimalists we are I wouldn't want to go that low again.

Linda Sand

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Until you get it weighed with everything on board, you have no starting point.  And remember, it isn’t how much you can carry/pull, it is how much can you STOP.   Please check and verify your hitch, 5000# and 10000# are common, 8000# ?   How many people are you talking about?  Usual measure is 1500#/person, that gives you better safety margins.  And that is just the ‘stuff’, not the weight of individuals included.  
and no, you won’t be doing 70 down the road unless your goal is to stop at every truck stop in the country.  55 on hills, well people do have fantasies.

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John, many years ago Wally Byam, of Airstream fame, wanted to show the world how easily one of his trailers could be towed, so he attached one to a bicycle and pedaled it around some. He didn't go very far and he didn't go very fast, but he did go. No word on how long it took to stop, but I'm guessing that whether or not he used the bike's brake didn't make any difference.

More recently, Oldsmobile advertised their brand-new Toronodo by attaching an Airstream to one, using a weight-distributing hitch, then removing the back tires on the car. They then drove it around in front of the camera for a series of advertisements. Again, they didn't go very far or very fast. At least they had brakes on the wheels that were left.

The point of those two little stories is that there is a difference between what can be done and what should be done. Yes, you can load up your motorhome so that you can't stuff anything else in it, then fill up the car, and finally attach a rooftop carrier (full, of course) to the car. You will be able to go down the road, but it won't be safe OR fun. The ride will be awful, and you will be stopping at every other gas station you see. You are wise to pay attention to your loading.

Your motorhome has a data plate somewhere near the driver's seat which gives you the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, and the Gross Axle Weight Ratings for the front and rear axles. Once you find that data plate you have the first bit of information you need. Now load up the rig for a typical trip. Don't forget the wife, kids, toys, and the beer. Head to a place where you can get your rig weighed. You want a place that gives you the weight on the front axle, rear axle, and total. Many truck stops have such scales. There is a cost, but it is well worth the $10-15 to know this. Sometimes you can get the weights done for free at feed stores or scrap yards. Worth a few phone calls to find out.

Once you know what the ACTUAL weights on each axle are, and the total weight, compare to the Gross Weight Ratings from the data plate. DO NOT exceed any of those ratings. For example, my MH has a gross axle weight rating for the front axle of 9500 pounds. If I have 8700 pounds there I'm fine. If I have 9501 pounds there I'm overloaded there. It is common to find that one axle is overloaded by a bit, while the other has plenty of capacity available. Simply move some of your stuff one way or the other to fix the problem.

As for how much of a safety margin to have, that's up to you. Theoretically, you are safe if you are under EVERY max weight number. Some people want a 10-20% safety margin. Personally, I'm happy if everything is in the safe zone.

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Wow, 1,500 lbs per person?!!  I just could not image that!

Probably I am too optimistic, since I am not full time RVer, the longest trip for me probably no more than one month in the summer, I really do not expect to carry too much things with me.

Will definitely weigh the couch before I hit the road.

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57 minutes ago, Johnxhc said:

I really do not expect to carry too much things with me.

Will definitely weigh the couch before I hit the road.

We are no longer fulltime either and while it is important to weigh the RV, I doubt that you will have an excessive amount for your trip. A lot depends on the length of the trip so be careful in what you take but since you'll not be carrying all of your possessions, I would think that you could keep things down in weight. 

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37 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

We are no longer fulltime either and while it is important to weigh the RV, I doubt that you will have an excessive amount for your trip. A lot depends on the length of the trip so be careful in what you take but since you'll not be carrying all of your possessions, I would think that you could keep things down in weight. 

It's possible to keep weight down but only if you understand we are not just talking about what you'd pack in a suitcase for air travel. In an RV you also have to count bedding, cookware, food, tools, hobby gear, etc.

Linda Sand

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