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Old 12-29-2014, 08:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by SilverLining View Post
...
I have to re-read on those GVWR etc numbers to see how it works, as I'm understanding from everyone, the simple 3500 lb towing capacity is not really valid ?
...
It's valid but it's only one of the manufacturer's ratings that you may not want to go over.

Tow capacity and GCVWR
Payload and GVWR
GAWR (especially rear), not sure if these are avail for mini-vans?
Hitch receiver rating (with or without a Weight Distribution Hitch)

Usually people exceed the vehicles Payload (or GVWR) before the Tow Rating (or GCVWR).

And if you are looking at Trailmanors, they have an excellent and helpful user forum where you can ask questions as well.
http://www.trailmanorowners.com/forum/index.php

And yes, I neglected to mention that they can be pricey.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverLining View Post
I have to re-read on those GVWR etc numbers to see how it works, as I'm understanding from everyone, the simple 3500 lb towing capacity is not really valid ?
The 3500 lb towing capacity is simplistic. It tells you only the gross weight of a trailer you can pull without exceeding the GCWR of the tow vehicle (TV). The GCWR minus the actual weight of the wet and loaded TV tells you the real-world tow rating, i.e., the maximum weight of any trailer you can pull without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic when climbing steep grades such as hills and mountain passes.

But the GCWR (and tow rating which is based on the GCWR) ignores the hitch weight you can haul without overloading the brakes and suspension of the TV. SUVs and minivans can haul a lot of people, and they can tow a decent-size trailer, but they cannot do both at the same time without exceeding the GVWR of the TV.

So to properly match TV to trailer, you need to have the TV first. Load it up with everything and everybody that will be in it when towing, including the shank and head from the hitch. Drive to a truck stop that has a CAT scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the wet and loaded TV. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded TV from the GVWR of the TV and the answer is the maximum hitch weight you can tow without being overloaded. Divide that max hitch weight by 0.15 and the answer is the max GVWR of any TT you want to consider towing with that TT.

If that GVWR of the TT is less than the tow rating of the TT, then use the computed GVWR of the TT instead of the tow rating as your max trailer weight.

You can estimate the weight of the TV, but most folks severely underestimate the weight of a wet and loaded TV. Since you will have only two people in the van, and no luggage or other weight that could be hauled in the trailer, then the tow rating of 3,500 pounds with a tongue weight of 525 pounds might be your limiter. But double check by weighing the rig when on the road loaded for bear.

DO NOT use the shipping weight of the TV or the dry weight of the TT in your estimates. Those are both severely understated when compared to the actual weight of wet and loaded TV and TT. Use the GVWR of the TT as the actual weight of the wet and loaded TT, and use 15% of the GVWR of the TT as the probable hitch weight of the TT. Then you won't be overloaded when on the road.

If you don't have the TV yet, then it's difficult to obtain the actual wet and loaded weight of the TV. A decent estimate will be the shipping weight of the TV, plus 500 pounds, plus the weight of any passengers, pets and other stuff that will be in the TV when towing.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:22 AM   #17
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Don't confuse GCWR and GVWR. They look similar and are therefore easily confused, but they are much different.

GCWR is the max combined weight of TV and trailer. Only the TV has a GCWR.

GVWR is the max weight on the axles of the vehicle. Both the TV and the TT have their own GVWR, so pay attention to which GVWR you're talking about.

Payload and tow ratings are computed, and usually drastically overstated.

The tow rating is GCWR minus the weight of an empty TV with no options and nothing in it but a skinny driver. Subtract the tow rating from the GCWR and the answer is the weight of the TV they used to compute the tow rating. Your TV will weigh more than that, so the tow rating is overstated..

The payload rating is GVWR minus the weight of an empty TV with no options and nothing in it but a skinny driver. Subtract the payload rating from the GVWR and the answer is the weight of the TV they used to compute the payload rating. Your actual TV will probably weigh more than that, so the payload rating is also overstated.

To compute your real-world tow rating, subtract the weight of your wet and loaded TV from the GCWR of the TV. To compute your real-world payload rating, subtract the weight of your wet and loaded TV from the GVWR of the TV.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:56 AM   #18
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...
The payload rating is GVWR minus the weight of an empty TV with no options and nothing in it but a skinny driver.
...
For payload, there's no skinny (150#) driver, just the full tank of gas.
There is for tow rating though, like you say.

Also, if the payload you are talking about is what's on the vehicle's yellow sticker (not the Max possible Payloads listed in the brochures), it does include the truck's options as it came from the factory. But not anything added since then.
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:20 AM   #19
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SL..I think in general you need to rethink trying to tow a regular RV trailer with a minivan. Yes, you can get away with a popup & a minivan, but comparing the price of a new pop-up and a new entry level boxed RV trailer, you will find you get so much more space other than a pop-up.

We had a older Coleman pop-up (bought new). and I can say moving up to a 24' hybrid with a small slide we gained 4-5 times the storage space. We now have a 26' hybrid also bought new. Both hybrids cost about $16 -17k new (out the door including tax and fees). Top of the line pop-ups ( High Wall) were in the same price range when we were looking for a new RV back in 05'.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:23 PM   #20
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SL..I think in general you need to rethink trying to tow a regular RV trailer with a minivan. Yes, you can get away with a popup & a minivan, but comparing the price of a new pop-up and a new entry level boxed RV trailer, you will find you get so much more space other than a pop-up.

We had a older Coleman pop-up (bought new). and I can say moving up to a 24' hybrid with a small slide we gained 4-5 times the storage space. We now have a 26' hybrid also bought new. Both hybrids cost about $16 -17k new (out the door including tax and fees). Top of the line pop-ups ( High Wall) were in the same price range when we were looking for a new RV back in 05'.
I'm certainly getting that feeling, that there are not any good choices that I can see.

I can get the minivan, handy for around town, and travelling, possibly even use it as a temporary campervan at times, and buy an overpriced popup (compared to TT value).

or

Buy a big engine 8 cyl 150/250 pickup (I have looked online at them) which will need to buy a 1K cab cap, then can pull a nice sized TT , but will kinda suck when just driving around town due to mileage.

What surprises me about the TT industry is they build these giant pretty flat wall sails for people to drag around. There doesn't seem to be any thought to making them aerodynamic (like how you see transport trucks doing now).
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:36 AM   #21
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I'm certainly getting that feeling, that there are not any good choices that I can see.

I can get the minivan, handy for around town, and travelling, possibly even use it as a temporary campervan at times, and buy an overpriced popup (compared to TT value).

or

Buy a big engine 8 cyl 150/250 pickup (I have looked online at them) which will need to buy a 1K cab cap, then can pull a nice sized TT , but will kinda suck when just driving around town due to mileage.
...
No need for a V8. There are two very capable 2015 4x2 pickups out there that get better mileage than the Toyota Sienna on the EPA circuit:

Brand City Hwy
Sienna 18 25
Ford 19 26
RAM 20 28

The Ford F150 has the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 engine
The RAM has the EcoDiesel 3L V6.

Both of them are turbo v6s and have good low end HP for towing within their limits. The EcoBoost has more HP at higher rpms, the RAM has more low-end torque.

Of the two, I would prefer the F150 as you can get the 2.7L Payload Package which lifts the MAX possible payload up to about 2000# and a Tow capacity of over 8000#.

With the RAM EcoDiesel you will be lucky to get close to 1500# payload, and most I've seen are much lower.

However, both these 2015 trucks are new and there's not much in the way of discounts that I've seen so far. So they are pricey.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:48 AM   #22
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Try it with a rented trailer before committing to a TT purchase. Car companies try to make minivans as light as possible, while satisfying crash-test requirements. IMO, this does not make a useful tow vehicle for anything larger than a riding mower.

I had a 2011 Sienna AWD LE for just over a year. I towed a rented 12ft U-Haul trailer full of furniture about 200 miles, and never towed again. It didn't feel stable, even though I was within the owner's manual limits and U-Haul's conservative limits.

I now drive a 2007 Honda Odyssey with no trailer hitch, and that's how it will stay.

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Old 01-03-2015, 09:14 PM   #23
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Yes, there are many other vehicles out there to use as a daily driver and tow a RV. My 2005 4Runner was a great 2 way SUV. That V-8 (4.7L) and suspension was silky smooth being used as a daily driver. Pulled both my 4500 lb. and 5100 lb hybrid tt's for 9 years. As a daily driver I got about 17 city and 23/24 hyway. My wife used her car to do all the family things. ( Corolla 32 mpg city, 40 mpg + hi-way) I used the 4Runner to get to work and to tow the RV. Had to move up to a truck now because the V-8 is no longer made for the 4Runner.

Everyone thinks mini-vans get great gas mileage. The size of minivans has increased over the years to a point where V-6's are the only option to push the box.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:04 PM   #24
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I would not tow anything close to 3,500 lbs. with a mini van. What you will experience is a white knuckle scary driving time.

I would try to stay under 2,000lb to make the camping/travel experience much more enjoyable.

Two campers that come to mind are the T@B teardrop type, and A-Liner type trailers that fold down to cheat the wind when towing.

Think of it this way...how much does the mini-van weigh? 4,000lbs? A 4,000lb vehicle towing a 3,500lb trailer...

Good luck
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:55 PM   #25
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Everyone has been so great, and the input has convinced me that I am limited with a van.

I'm going to get a van, use it for tenting, and possibly some lightweight popup type trailer up to 2,500 lbs.
I realize the TT is out, as the wind factor on the big flat front is a huge drag, and made worse by sometimes driving into the wind.

If that does not satisfy us or our needs change,
Then I'm going for a Ford 150 with tow packages and the brake connector, I've looked at them and its true that certain smaller engines (not the biggest ones) can pull 7,500lbs which should be good for a 20 ft trailer.

Course before buying a truck, I'll know exactly what trailer I'd want, so I can match them up.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:07 AM   #26
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We have an '05 Odyssey, limit is 3,500#'s with the towing package (extra cooling basically). I've towed a small utility trailer with yard of gravel (2000#'s if you include the trailer weight which you have to do). and I wouldn't try towing ANYTHING heavier and I have many years experience with TT's too. I towed a 23' TT with a '69 Buick Gran Sport and that was about it. When we got the 26' TT I went to a ton pickup which wasn't all that good either as I only had a 350 cu engine in it and the Buick had a 400.
Both the Odyssey and the Buick were no match for the trailer weight in corners.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:40 AM   #27
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Then I'm going for a Ford 150 with tow packages and the brake connector, I've looked at them and its true that certain smaller engines (not the biggest ones) can pull 7,500lbs which should be good for a 20 ft trailer.
For a newer F-150 (2011-up), most will not tow a 7,500-pound TT without being overloaded over the GVWR of the F-150. With 5.0L or EcoBoost engine, they all have plenty of power (GCWR) to pull a 7500-pound TT, but not enough suspension and rear axle (GVWR) to haul the weight of a wet and loaded pickup plus the hitch weight of a 7,500-pound TT.

Ford makes F-150s with more GVWR, but they are not popular so dealers don't stock them. For the popular F-150 SuperCrew (crew cab) 4x2, standard GVWR is 7,100 pounds. Same truck but 4x4 has GVWR of 7,200 pounds. The extra 100 pounds of GVWR is not enough to offset the 400 pounds increased weight of the 4X4 drivetrain, so it will be even more overloaded than mine.

My 4x2 is overloaded with my TT that grosses less than 5,000 pounds, including 650 pounds tongue weight. Move up one notch to the same truck but with the option of the maximum towing package, and the GVWR goes up 500 pounds. That's what I need to tow my 5,000-pound TT without being overloaded, but even that's not enough to handle a 7,500 pound TT for most families with normal payload in the truck if you don't want to be overloaded. So you need the very rare HD Payload Package, which gives you about 1,000 pounds additional payload capacity. Dealers don't stock those, so plan to order your new F-150 with the HD Payload Package about two months before you need it.

For engines, Ford offers the twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost engine that is great for towing. Mine has plenty of power and torque to drag an 8,000-pound trailer through the Texas Hill Country without a sweat, even though the suspension and rear axle were severely overloaded.

So Ford makes the F-150 you need to tow a 7,500-pound TT, but you probably won't find one in stock at any Ford dealers. When my daughter in Knoxville was looking for an F-150 with the HD Payload Package, there were zero available in stock at any Ford dealer east of the Mississsippi River. She didn't want to wait two months for Ford to build her a new one, so she bought an F-250 off the lot. They had numerous choices in F-250s with the 6.2L gas engine, so she could pick the one she wanted. She is very happy with her F-250 for towing her 7,000-pound horse trailer.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:03 AM   #28
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I would buy a 3/4 or 1-ton because they will tow most any trailer you might buy, now or in the future.
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