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Old 01-01-2010, 09:08 AM   #1
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Smile Buying my first TT-safe towing advice please!

Hello,
I am new to this site and have a usual first-timer question about towing a TT! (I have experience towing all sizes of boats up to this point)
I am bumping up from being a lifetime tenter' to looking at buying a hybrid. I recently purchased a 2006 ENVOY XL SLE with axle ratio of 3.42 which puts me at 5,100 lbs maximum loaded trailer weight rating. Tow vehicle GVWR is 6,408 and GCWR is 10,000.
I am looking at two used TTs to get started:
1.) 2002 AERO Cub 236 hybrid, GVWR of 4,840 and UVW of 3,728. Axle wt. 3,413, dry hitch 315. This trailer is in excellent condition and a great price.
2.) 2005 R-Vision Trail Lite BANTAM 19 hybrid, GVWR of 5,341 and UVW 2751. Axle wt. 2,410, dry hitch 341.
Is the AERO to much for my truck the time I load it up with stuff? The AERO is a lot more for the money but I am worried about the weight. With the TT, I do not see taking as much stuff. My calculations using many different formulas place it at borderline. The thing I don't understand is the GVWR is lower on the AERO than on the smaller Trail Lite. I was more comfortable with the UVW of the Trail Lite but everyone is saying to ignor that figure. I live in southern Ohio and traveling to places such as TN with the hills is my concern.
Of course the three sales people at three different dealerships have said that both are ok for my vehicle. Their point was that max stuff I would bring is 500 lbs. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Connie ("plus 2" are my two kids)
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:33 AM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2 and congrats on joining the RV world. I would suggest that you read THIS ARTICLE by one of our members. It has a lot of great information on towing, the terms and a spread sheet at the bottom that you can work through the numbers.

First thing to do is forget about dry weights unless you never plan to put any load in the RV or tow vehicle. Depending on how much load you ad to the tow vehicle, you will reduce the towing rating on it. Kids, cargo and options all reduce the tow rating.

Got any questions, just ask.

Ken
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:40 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the site. Hope we do not scare you off. but at least I will be brutally honest with you.
First DO NOT believe what any salesman telly you. They are there to get as much of your money as possible and nothing moire.
Now, I originally started towing with a Trailblazer. Basically the same vehicle. It was not a fun experience for me. So the very first thing you must do is load the vehicle up with kids, ice chests, dogs, how ever you will normally be towing a trailer with and go to the scales. Get an accurate weight. Now, look on the drivers door post and get the vehicles GVWR number and do the math. This will tell you how much actual load carrying capacity left over. Now, take the intended trailers GVWR number and using 15% as the tongue weight add that number to the trucks scaled weight. Does that put you under or over the GVWR? Many people claim that you should never tow over 80% of the vehicles GCWR and that really will serve you well. Look to find the vehicles GCWR and when you add the trucks scaled weight plus the trailers GVWR you should be under 80% of that number. This will be the safest numbers you can use lacking actual numbers. That suv is heavy and does not have a very high GVWR so do not be too surprised if you discover that you have nothing left for much of a trailer. I have BTDT.
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:10 AM   #4
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Thank you for the information.
to TXiceman - I have used the www.klenger.net worksheet and found that article you referenced. I figured my vehicle and proposed TTs to basically be borderline.
to 450Don - I certainly plan to weight the truck on a scale and let you know the results. I did a rough estimate and the remainder for the 80% calculation is 2,433. (Vehicl GVW 4,967 plus guess of 600 cargo=5,567. 80% x 10,000= 8,000-5,567= 2,433!) That seems awfully low remainder for a TT. I do appreciate that you owned a trailblazer of the same type of vehicle class as the Envoy and your experience. I just have seen similar vehicles as mine at campgrounds with the TT Hybrids and they seem to tow just fine. I am still confused about it. Am I stuck with a 17 ft or smaller? Geesh, did I buy the wrong vehicle!
Connie
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connieplus2 View Post
Thank you for the information.
to TXiceman - I have used the www.klenger.net worksheet and found that article you referenced. I figured my vehicle and proposed TTs to basically be borderline.
to 450Don - I certainly plan to weight the truck on a scale and let you know the results. I did a rough estimate and the remainder for the 80% calculation is 2,433. (Vehicl GVW 4,967 plus guess of 600 cargo=5,567. 80% x 10,000= 8,000-5,567= 2,433!) That seems awfully low remainder for a TT. I do appreciate that you owned a trailblazer of the same type of vehicle class as the Envoy and your experience. I just have seen similar vehicles as mine at campgrounds with the TT Hybrids and they seem to tow just fine. I am still confused about it. Am I stuck with a 17 ft or smaller? Geesh, did I buy the wrong vehicle!
Connie
Sadly Connie IMHO you did buy the wrong vehicle. After only one trip with the TB we traded it for a Tahoe and it was way more vehicle and the fuel economy was nearly the same. Im the exchange we also got way more towing ability. Our Arctic Fox 19B was a lot of trailer even for the Tahoe. Towing in second and third with the engine screaming was not my idea of fun camping. Hope you find a trailer you are comfortable towing.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:14 PM   #6
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Connie there are some smaller trailers you can pull with your vehicle. Having started with smaller vehicles, an S10 Blazer and a Ford explorer, they were pretty well taxed to the limits with a 21' Coachman Lite series. They worked fine for shorter trips, but were never very comfortable for longer trips. You need to weigh the tow vehicle and see how much trailer you can tow.

In the smaller and entry level trailers, the dry weight does not include any items listed as an option in the brochure. So, the dry weight will NOT include the A/C, microwave, batteries, awning, propane and none of you added supplies.

Have you looked at the Casita or Scamp trailers?

Ken
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:18 PM   #7
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TXiceman - I do agree that I will have to switch directions in the size of TT that I can consider. This will probably need to be in the 17 ft. range with GVWR of 3,500 and a single axle and pack light. These have UVW of around 2,500-2,900 which does not leave much room for all the extra items you mentioned as well as cargo and our bicycles in the TT. There is extra cargo capacity in the TV as I calculated it up, so that may help. With a smaller TT at GVWR of 3,500 and my TV at 6,400 GVWR, this puts me under the GCWR of 10,000 for the TV. Since this is at max cargo, I think I should be ok. I will also check out the two manufacturers you mentioned, overall there seems to be a good selection of manufacturers of smaller TTs.

450Donn - I did check the inside of the door on my TV and it's at 6,400 GVWR. I also looked at the Artic Fox 19B you mentioned and I noticed the weights are much heavier than what I am considering at 7,000 GVWR and 4,380 UVW (if that is accurate, per their website). A Jayco 19 footer I was considering weighs in at 4,950 GVW and I was thinking that is too heavy?

Oh yes, I will not believe anything the sales folks try to tell me now about tow weight, because they have all been way off. Thanks for your input before I made a big mistake! I may need to upsize my TV and TT in the future.
Connie
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:32 AM   #8
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Sorry, guess I might have misled you a bit. That is what I had, not what I was suggesting. Yes, the Fox was really over the TB's limits, but being dumb at the time, I listened to sales people. Actually that trailer was at the limits of the Tahoe too. Climbing up the mountains was no fun. That is the reason for my caution. The Trailblazer family of vehicles are a nice size, but the fuel economy is not much to brag about for their size. Couple that with the very limited towing capacity and you really don't get a lot. Camping wise that is. Look up the vehicles GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) and after you have a loaded ready to camp scaled weight you will be able to determine how much trailer you can comfortably tow. Remember one factor that is never considered is that towing a regular trailer is sort of like trying to tow a sail boat with the sails open. Or think of it as a giant brick broadside behind your vehicle. Please don't let anyone scare you into not camping. But please be open to all suggestions and shop carefully.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:09 PM   #9
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No problem, I just wanted to be sure I understood your scenario.
I did act on your advice and loaded up the Envoy with my kids and our max amount of stuff like we would be going TT camping and headed for the nearest Truck Stop to get weighed. We came in at 5,700 lbs. Wow, that really helps define what I have to work with and knocks out that guessing. So this begs me to target no more than the 17 ft. hybrid TTs with GVWR of around 3,500 lbs or less. That gives me a 800+ lb. buffer, or 8% for GCWR, and the hitch weight falls well within the limits at under 500 lbs. I will have to remember the wind drag factor too, I see how that can be overlooked. I assume the weight distribution hitch and sway bar will help somewhat with control. If anyone sees a red flag with my target thinking, please let me know!
I too am disappointed with the actual tow capabilities of the Envoy and likewise the Trailblazer now that I have a much better understanding of the vehicle tow weights. I guess we all go into that a little blind at first...live and learn. Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:01 PM   #10
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Hi ConniePlus2 ... I have to agree COMPLETELY with 450Donn. First... I know very little about tow weights, correct vehicles, etc... EXCEPT for my own experience as a kid. My dad towed a 24' trailer with his station wagon and then Ford LTD. He was too cheap to buy anti-sway bars. At least until a cross wind almost put us into a deep ditch. Second ... hubby and I were watching an RV show and a family of 4 (couple w/2 kids) were looking at 24' toy hauler trailers. The sales person AND the cute itty bitty host of the show told this family ... "Oh ... yes ... your Subaru Outback will be plenty to tow this trailer". Like I said ... I don't know much about this ... but I am pretty certain a Subaru Outback is NOT equipped to tow such a large toy hauler! It's ONLY MONEY MONEY MONEY they want.
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:46 PM   #11
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Hello marielw824 - thank you for your input. I definitely am looking way below the tow weight of what the sales folks are suggesting, I agree with you. I appreciate you sharing the life experience scenario. I would like to hear from anyone else with a similar scenario in my tow weight class just to be sure I am ok in real life experience with what I am looking at to buy. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:10 PM   #12
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What they said.

We've been there, done that. You're going to end up buying a stronger tow vehicle, or back in a tent. I strongly agree with the 80% recommendation. Those others may appear to be towing "just fine", but at what cost in additional wear and tear. How many stories can they tell about "mysterious" transmission failures or "premature" brake wear?

One thing not mentioned above, but can be a big variable, more so if you're anywhere near maxed out on your wieghts, is wind resistance. Trust me, the big square front end of a hard sided TT will make it's self known, especially when pulling into a head wind. Back in the early 80s we bought an 18' trailer, well under the tow rating of the station wagon we had at the time. Into a 20 MPH head wind I was lucky to see 50 on the speedometer, with the gas pedal on the floor! We owned a Chev Suburban very soon after that purchase.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:32 PM   #13
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JMonroe - I do see a larger tow vehicle down the road if this works out. I will need to work with what I have in the Envoy for now and start with a small HTT. I think I can make the 1,000-2,000 rule with a small lite 17ft. NOT the size I originally wanted, but it is a start. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:16 PM   #14
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We all started someplace. For us it was a very used 15' TT with no bathroom. But hey, it was a dry place to sleep on those rainy camping weekends. It always seemed to rain on our camping weekends back then. I only had one a month off from work so we went camping, regardless.
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