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Old 04-26-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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Red face GCWR vs Max Towing Capacity, confused.

Hi,

Do apologize if this is an incorrect place for this post. Me and my wife started looking at Travel Trailers. Now I'm just a few years away from getting my personal account of saving to affordable F150. However, our few years old Torrent was a good fit so far.

Now I'm sort of confused when it comes to GCWR and MTC; Pontiac Torrent GVWR is 5225lbs.. but MTC is 3500lbs.

If I understand correctly, should I be making my calculations using the 5225lbs x 0.8 = 4180lbs.

or

3500lbs x 0.8 = 2800lbs

Meaning with my Torrent, pretty much only option I've got is some new good old popup camper to stay under or within 2800lbs.

Anyone want to help out, thanks.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:16 PM   #2
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GCWR for this Torrent is = 7310lbs.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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he he he... it can get even more complicated. There seems to be a difference between manual transmissions and automatic ones. With automatic ones being able to tow more. (go figure)

I'm still learning about this too so I'll be interested to see what the others have to say about this.

In my searching about, I found this link that might help you.
http://www.bwbmag.com/sharedcode/ford/index.cfm
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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I think I'm getting it, the 7100lbs+ is total overall the vehicle can handle... meaning its weight, trailer weights, load in both, etc..

The part I'm confused is that towing is at 3500lbs, so .. overall, the load of the torrent, passengers, etc.. can't be more then 3600lbs... give or take. Am I right?

So, looking at a travel trailer like the Starcraft Lunch being 3500lbs total GVRW, I'm good, .. or not.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:46 PM   #5
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There is no math formula needed for considering MTC vs. any other weight numbers for your SUV.

The GCWR is what Pontiac says is the max total allowable mass that can be rolling down the road powered by your SUV (Vehicle weight, passenger, load in the SUV, AND the weight of the loaded trailer)
See: Gross combined weight rating - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The GVWR is the max that Pontiac says you can load the SUV up to (with no trailer).
See: Gross vehicle weight rating - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The published max tow capacity is what the mfgt thinks is what's left...
But in reality it is: GCWR -minus- actual loaded vehicle weight = max towing capacity.

If the manual says that you "could" haul a 3500LB trailer, then that's a good number to aim for...but don't forget GCWR...If you load the SUV very heavy, then you could be eating into the max tow capacity.

Another number to remember is the tongue weight...without a weight distribution hitch, the tongue weight will be limited by your hitch and rear suspension.

Hope that helps
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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It all comes down to just two equations:

GCWR -minus- actual loaded vehicle weight = maximum loaded trailer total weight

GVWR -minus- actual loaded vehicle weight = maximum loaded trailer tongue weight

When shopping for a TT, the conservative approach is to use the trailer's GVWR for the loaded trailer weight and 12% of the trailer's GVWR for the tongue weight. If both numbers are less than the limits in the two equations above, you should be OK.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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What he said

Another thing to think about is aerodynamics of the trailer...There are a lot of people, now towing with mini vans and small SUV's.

These vehicles actually can tow a pretty good load, BUT they are heavily impacted by wind drag at freeways speeds. So, if you are running near the MAX GCWR, then you might only be able to drive at 55mpg before the transmission will get real hot and the engine starts working real hard.

If you get a V-nose or RV with a round front, the drag will be less of a problem and freeway driving would be easier.

Best of luck
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Now I'm sort of confused when it comes to GCWR and MTC; Pontiac Torrent GVWR is 5225lbs.. but MTC is 3500lbs.
GCWR = the max weight of your wet and loaded rig, tow vehicle and trailer with driver and passengers in the Pontiac, when setting on a CAT scale in the middle of a camping trip.

GVWR = the max weight on the 4 tires of your tow vehicle, including people and stuff in the vehicle, and including hitch weight of the trailer when hooked up and ready to tow.

What you're calling the MTC (maximum towing capacity?) is usually called the tow rating. The tow rating is GCWR of the tow vehicle minus the weight of the tow vehicle. It's not accurate because all manufacturers use the dry shipping weight of the tow vehicle when computing their tow rating. But your actual wet and loaded tow vehicle is going to weigh a lot more than the dry shipping weight of the tow vehicle. So the tow rating is not a useful number. The actual maximum trailer weight you can tow without being overloaded will be a lot less than the tow rating of 3,500 pounds. And it will probably be less than the 2,800 pounds you have calculated.

Quote:
If I understand correctly, should I be making my calculations using the 5225lbs x 0.8 = 4180lbs.

or

3500lbs x 0.8 = 2800lbs
Ummm. No. Neither one.

The limiter on your Pontiac will probably be the GVWR of the Pontiac. So you should be making your calculations based on the GVWR of the Pontiac minus the wet and loaded weight of the Pontiac. That will give you the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Divide that maximum hitch weight by 0.12 and the answer is the maximum weight of any tandem axle trailer you can tow without being overloaded. That maximum does not include a fudge factor, so if you want a 20% fudge factor, then reduce that computed maximum trailer weight by 20%.

Quote:
Meaning with my Torrent, pretty much only option I've got is some new good old popup camper to stay under or within 2800lbs.
Depends on what you haul in the Pontiac when towing. If a family of 5, a dog, some tools and a jack to change a flat tire, and a cooler full of cool, then I'll bet you won't have enough unused payload available to tow a 2,800 pound pop-up without being overloaded. But only the scale will know for sure. So make friends with a scale attendant.
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:16 PM   #9
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Usually, the smaller vehicles will have a maximum frontal area for the towing limits on the trailer. So you also need to look at the width of the box times the Height of the box (not height of trailer).

Often the smaller vehicles are limited to something like 35 sq. ft frontal area. So if the trailer is 8' wide, the box cannot be more than a bit over 4' tall. This pretty much limits you to a pop up trailer.

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:26 AM   #10
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Usually, the smaller vehicles will have a maximum frontal area for the towing limits on the trailer. So you also need to look at the width of the box times the Height of the box (not height of trailer).

Often the smaller vehicles are limited to something like 35 sq. ft frontal area. So if the trailer is 8' wide, the box cannot be more than a bit over 4' tall. This pretty much limits you to a pop up trailer.

Ken
Catbones, assuming that TXiceman is correct with this, your new 2013 Sportsman Classic 18 is going to really be pushing the limits of your Pontiac Torrent.

I would be making a new Tow Vehicle a big priority.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:50 PM   #11
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In a year or two, I'll be looking at something with a bigger tow. Right now, after few trips the Torrent did the job smoothly.

Thanks for all the feedback folks.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:32 PM   #12
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In a year or two, I'll be looking at something with a bigger tow. Right now, after few trips the Torrent did the job smoothly.

Thanks for all the feedback folks.
So...what's the RV that the Torrent is towing smoothly?

Just interested because I saw many, many Casita's (think TT shaped like an egg) being towed by small SUV's and mini-vans n my last outing.

Safe travels
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #13
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... I saw many, many Casita's (think TT shaped like an egg) being towed by small SUV's and mini-vans n my last outing.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Here's the Casita LIBERTY 16':



There are other companies that produce an egg-shaped small TT. Escape and Scamper are two. And EggCamper makes the nearest to an egg shape, IMHO:



EggCamper also makes the Teardropp, which is even smaller than an egg.

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Old 05-13-2013, 12:15 AM   #14
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So...what's the RV that the Torrent is towing smoothly?

Just interested because I saw many, many Casita's (think TT shaped like an egg) being towed by small SUV's and mini-vans n my last outing.

Safe travels
I'm towing an 18 footer Sportsman Classic with my Torrent, about 2600 dry. Hope that helps
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