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Old 04-25-2013, 07:36 AM   #1
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Towing with a 5 cylinder sedan

I am a tent camper and have started thinking about buying a small trailer/camper. Before looking I need to do my research.

Have a 2000 volvo s70 gte. do not plan on buying a different car anytime soon. It is a 5 cyclinder and has 3500 lbs curb weight.

Owner's manual says ... recommended hitch tongue load is 110 lbs for trailer weights below 2,650 lbs and 165 lbs for trailer weights above 2,650 lbs. for trailer weighs between 2,650 - 3,300 lbs a top speed of 50 mph should never be exceeded. maximum weight recommended for trailers without brakes is 1100 lbs. Maximum weight recommended for trailers with braes is 2" ball 3300 lbs and 1 7/8" ball is 2000 lbs.

My hitch is a draw-tite part number 36262, class II, 1 /14" receiver, rated up to 3,500 lbs GTW.

So when we go camping there are 3 of us, about 150 lbs each person. we carry quite a bit of stuff. usually have a bag on the top of the car.

Looking for suggestions and advice for safety and ease of towing regarding weight of trailer that would be acceptable and if a pop up (low profile) or camper (scamp or similar) would be a better tow.

Thanks
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:00 AM   #2
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What you don't list is your gross combined weight.

Looks like with your hitch your trailer weight could be up to 3300 lbs, but what does your car weigh once loaded with people and "stuff", and how does that compare to the gross combined weight? That could leave you with less towing capacity or it could allow you to go up to the max trailer weight listed, depending on the numbers.

As a general rule of thumb I recommend people try to keep the trailer at or below 80% of your tow capacity for both better performance and a safety margin, although with limited capacity that can be a challenge. Just don't exceed the ratings.

I'd think, once you know your true weight allowance, you'd have no trouble finding a pop-up within that allowance. Some "hard sided" trailers might also come in below that weight, or a "hybrid", but the extra drag you'll encounter with the higher profile can have a tremendous negative effect on performance, especially if you're "on the edge" to start with.

I know there's something out there for you. Best of luck finding it.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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I have towed boats that weighed 2,500 lbs. with V8 powered cars. That I felt was the max I would want to tow with big american cars. One thing you could consider is a SUV.

A 2004 Toyota Highlander is built on a reinforced Camry uni-body. That reinforced chassis can tow 3,500lbs. plus carry more weight. I currently tow a 2,500lb boat with it. It handles the boat better than any V8 powered car that I had. The SUV is built a little tougher than a car.

Towing a trailer is more difficult than towing a boat. Trailers have more tongue weight and are not nearly as areodynamic.

Look at the T@B teardrop trailer, and the small AR-One trailers.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:08 AM   #4
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Don't plan on changing my tow vehicle - the 2000 volvo s70 glt. Looking for suggestions and advice on towing with my current vehicle. thanks.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
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Hi, Brenda, and

You can probably tow a light-weight tent camper with your Volvo, but not nearly as heavy a trailer as your Owner's Guide suggests.

Your problem is the payload capacity of your Volvo. The payload capacity available for trailer hitch weight is the GVWR of your Volvo minus the wet and loaded weight of your Volvo before you tie onto the trailer. Your Volvo can pull a lot heavier trailer than it can haul the hitch weight of that trailer. The Owner's Guide max weights assume there will be nothing in the Volvo except a skinny driver. I'm sure the driver is trim, but you'll also have other people and stuff in the Volvo, so you cannot go by the weights in the Owner's Guide.

So here's how to tell how much trailer you can safely tow:

Find the GVWR of your Volvo. It will be included on the Federal Certification Label, probably on the driver's door frame of your vehicle. That's the sticker that includes the VIN, month/date of assembly, tire size and PSI, GVWR and GAWRs, paint codes, and other codes.

Load the Volvo with everything that must be in the Volvo and not in the trailer when towing. No trailer, but include the driver, passengers), pet(s), and other "stuff" you'll haul when towing. Don't include tools, jacks, or the loaded rooftop carrier if all that stuff can be hauled in the trailer and not in the Volvo. Weight carried in the trailer will reduce your available payload capacity for hitch weight by 10 percent of that weight, but weight carried in/on the Volvo will reduce your available payload capacity for hitch weight by 100 percent of that weight.

Go to a truckstop that has a truck scale and fill up with gas. Then weigh the wet and loaded Volvo on the truck scale.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Volvo from the GVWR of the Volvo. The answer is the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded.

Divide that maximum hitch weight by 0.10 and the answer is the maximum GVWR of any trailer with 10% hitch weight you can tow without being overloaded. You must have a minimum of 10% hitch weight for safe towing, so don't try to get by with less than 10%. And many trailers have more than 10% hitch weight, but we'll use 10% to see if you can tow any trailer at
all.

If you have at least 215 pounds of available payload for hitch weight, then you can tow the smallest, lightest, plainest of the available tent campers. Like this one:
Flagstaff Tent Pop Up Camper by Forest River

The GVWR of that camper is about 2,150 pounds, and you'll probably have the trailer loaded to the GVWR, so use 10% of the GVWR of the trailer as your minimum hitch weight.

If you have more than 215 pounds of payload available for hitch weight, then there are numerous models of tent campers that are bigger or have more standard stuff such as heaters, refrigerators, even hot and cold running water and a bathroom. But don't even look at the ones that 10% of the GVWR would exceed your available weight capacity for hitch weight.

I owned a Wheel Camper brand tent trailer similar to that one, and towed it all over the lower 48 all the time my kids were growing up. Ours had the 8' box, ice box, dinette and the foam mattresses on the fold-out beds. We carried the other camping stuff that we had when tent camping - Coleman stove, Coleman gasoline lantern, Coleman gasoline catalytic heater, porta-pottie, plastic dishes, etc. Worked fine. Darling Wife and I could set up the camper in a rainstorm and not get very wet before we were inside the closed up camper. Lots of fond memories.

Even with only 215 pounds hitch weight, when loaded close to the GVWR of the Volvo you'll probably be better off with aftermarket air shocks or air bags in the rear suspension. If oncoming traffic flashes their headlights at you at night, or puts their headlights on bright as they approach your rig, you'll know you need something to level out the tow vehicle so you don't blind oncoming traffic. I installed air shocks in the rear of my tow vehicle used to tow that tent camper, and pumped them up enough to bring the headlights back down to earth. Worked great.

Expected problems: The tires on camper trailers are minimum weight capacity for the weight of the camper. So be certain to maintain the PSI in the tires at the max PSI on the tire sidewall. Even then, expect blow-outs or other ruined trailer tires. Always have at least one spare ready to mount, along with jack(s) and tools require to change a trailer tire. If bigger/stronger tires will fit in the wheelwells, then upgrade the trailer tires/wheels to tires with more weight capacity.

Please keep us informed as to how much trailer your wet and loaded Volvo can tow without being overloaded, and what you decide to do.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Hi, Brenda, and

You can probably tow a light-weight tent camper with your Volvo, but not nearly as heavy a trailer as your Owner's Guide suggests.

Your problem is the payload capacity of your Volvo. The payload capacity available for trailer hitch weight is the GVWR of your Volvo minus the wet and loaded weight of your Volvo before you tie onto the trailer. Your Volvo can pull a lot heavier trailer than it can haul the hitch weight of that trailer. The Owner's Guide max weights assume there will be nothing in the Volvo except a skinny driver. I'm sure the driver is trim, but you'll also have other people and stuff in the Volvo, so you cannot go by the weights in the Owner's Guide.

So here's how to tell how much trailer you can safely tow:

Find the GVWR of your Volvo. It will be included on the Federal Certification Label, probably on the driver's door frame of your vehicle. That's the sticker that includes the VIN, month/date of assembly, tire size and PSI, GVWR and GAWRs, paint codes, and other codes.

Load the Volvo with everything that must be in the Volvo and not in the trailer when towing. No trailer, but include the driver, passengers), pet(s), and other "stuff" you'll haul when towing. Don't include tools, jacks, or the loaded rooftop carrier if all that stuff can be hauled in the trailer and not in the Volvo. Weight carried in the trailer will reduce your available payload capacity for hitch weight by 10 percent of that weight, but weight carried in/on the Volvo will reduce your available payload capacity for hitch weight by 100 percent of that weight.

Go to a truckstop that has a truck scale and fill up with gas. Then weigh the wet and loaded Volvo on the truck scale.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Volvo from the GVWR of the Volvo. The answer is the maximum hitch weight you can have without being overloaded.

Divide that maximum hitch weight by 0.10 and the answer is the maximum GVWR of any trailer with 10% hitch weight you can tow without being overloaded. You must have a minimum of 10% hitch weight for safe towing, so don't try to get by with less than 10%. And many trailers have more than 10% hitch weight, but we'll use 10% to see if you can tow any trailer at
all.

If you have at least 215 pounds of available payload for hitch weight, then you can tow the smallest, lightest, plainest of the available tent campers. Like this one:
Flagstaff Tent Pop Up Camper by Forest River

The GVWR of that camper is about 2,150 pounds, and you'll probably have the trailer loaded to the GVWR, so use 10% of the GVWR of the trailer as your minimum hitch weight.

If you have more than 215 pounds of payload available for hitch weight, then there are numerous models of tent campers that are bigger or have more standard stuff such as heaters, refrigerators, even hot and cold running water and a bathroom. But don't even look at the ones that 10% of the GVWR would exceed your available weight capacity for hitch weight.

I owned a Wheel Camper brand tent trailer similar to that one, and towed it all over the lower 48 all the time my kids were growing up. Ours had the 8' box, ice box, dinette and the foam mattresses on the fold-out beds. We carried the other camping stuff that we had when tent camping - Coleman stove, Coleman gasoline lantern, Coleman gasoline catalytic heater, porta-pottie, plastic dishes, etc. Worked fine. Darling Wife and I could set up the camper in a rainstorm and not get very wet before we were inside the closed up camper. Lots of fond memories.

Even with only 215 pounds hitch weight, when loaded close to the GVWR of the Volvo you'll probably be better off with aftermarket air shocks or air bags in the rear suspension. If oncoming traffic flashes their headlights at you at night, or puts their headlights on bright as they approach your rig, you'll know you need something to level out the tow vehicle so you don't blind oncoming traffic. I installed air shocks in the rear of my tow vehicle used to tow that tent camper, and pumped them up enough to bring the headlights back down to earth. Worked great.

Expected problems: The tires on camper trailers are minimum weight capacity for the weight of the camper. So be certain to maintain the PSI in the tires at the max PSI on the tire sidewall. Even then, expect blow-outs or other ruined trailer tires. Always have at least one spare ready to mount, along with jack(s) and tools require to change a trailer tire. If bigger/stronger tires will fit in the wheelwells, then upgrade the trailer tires/wheels to tires with more weight capacity.

Please keep us informed as to how much trailer your wet and loaded Volvo can tow without being overloaded, and what you decide to do.
Would you send me a copy of this to my email. It was the first time I understood all this. What a great and detailed explanation. I want to print it out for reference. Thank you. H. Hman66@bellsouth.net.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hman66 View Post
Would you send me a copy of this to my email.
Sorry for the slow response, Hman. I've been on the road from home in west Texas to Denver, eastern Oregon, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and now at Darling Daughter's house in El Paso. I have wireless laptop, but I don't enjoy doing IRV2 on a laptop. DD has cable internet, so I'm using that now with her PC.

Your e-mail is on he way. If you don't get it, look in your junk mail folder.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:22 PM   #8
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Thanks Smokey...I got it. Safe travels man!!
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