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Old 04-16-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
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Need info about V shaped trailers

We have gotten out of motor homes and want something lightweight to do some camping. We looked at the Vibe by V-Cross (Forest River) Anyone know anything about them. We are interested in the 20' model (weight- less than 3200 lbs.). I read in an advertisement for anti-sway bars that v-shaped trailers are harder to pull (more sway) than flat front ones. We have a Honda Pilot rated to pull 4500 lbs. Any thoughts will be appreciated. It is discouraging to read of so many problems in general. We had enough problems with some of our motor homes. Thought a little trailer to use occasionally would be simple; now I'm beginning to have second thoughts.

Beverly
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:42 PM   #2
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"I read in an advertisement for anti-sway bars that v-shaped trailers are harder to pull (more sway) than flat front ones."
I don't believe that - it makes no sense.
Can you provide a link to the ad? I'd like to read it.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:23 AM   #3
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I do not know much about computers; I do not know how to do "links." The article I was referring to was found by typing in "V-shaped travel trailers" on Google. It was "Hensley Hitch Towable Products Trailer Sway and V-Nose Trailers."

Since I placed this ad, I have done some more research on V-shaped trailers by looking under "V-shaped travel trailers" on Google. There were some good forum discussions on the V, mostly concluding that it did not improve gas mileage and good be a cause for more sway. The more impt. thing seems to be the back of the trailer configuration.

We are definitely in the "research mode" here and any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Beverly
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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I'm sure your going to get alot of different answers, So here's mine....I have a 2012 V-Cross, Super-Lite, bunkhouse, 30'. I have towed flat nose trailers and still tow a friends 27' flat front. The V-Cross pulls smoother than any I've ever towed. IT is NOT affected by the cross winds near as much as the flat trailers. I get from .5 to 2.0 miles better milage per gallon of diesel, depending on the terrian, wind ect. So, if have a choice I will always choice a V nose trailer. Good luck, I'm sure you would enjoy it.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:33 AM   #5
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Longarrow,

Thanks for this reply. We looked at the little trailer again yesterday and liked it even better than the first look. That is a good sign. It is the very small, 20', 7' wide, 9 1/2' (including AC, so is about 8 1/2') high 6500 series VIBE. We realize it is a "camping" trailer as opposed to a "travel trailer," so we wouldn't be loading it with much stuff (there's not much storage room in the living quarters, anyway). The hitch weight is 330 lbs., with trailer at less than 3200, allowing about 600 lbs. for stuff. Our Pilot is rated to tow 4500 lbs., so we thought it would handle it fine. Also thought it might not knock our gas mileage more than 5 mpg. Perhaps that is optimistic. Even some of the pop-up tent campers weigh 2800 or so with hitch weights close to 300.

We have had experience pulling an 26' Airstream in the 80's, then went to Class C's (two Lazy Dazes), then three diesel Class A's and a gas Class A.
At age 75, Buddy just wants something simple that we will use for one or two long trips a year (we like to go to the West) and a few short ones to camp nearby. We want something bigger than a Van and haven't cared for the floor plans of the Sprinter Class C's. Also, no more than we plan to use it, a small expenditure (they are NOT investments) would be better for us. We like the permanent queen bed and the nice bathroom in the Vibe, model 6504. The bunk would be nice for our grandson.

We welcome your opinion or those of any others who have had experience along these lines.

Beverly
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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We have a Honda Pilot rated to pull 4500 lbs.
The 4500 pounds tow rating assumes your Pilot has the tow pkg with the tranny cooler, and that you have almost nothing in the Pilot except a skinny driver. I went through that exercise with my 2009 Odyssey EX-L. After adding the tranny cooler and the brake controller, I finally decided to trade it for a pickup with more towing capability.

If your Pilot has the tranny cooler, then here's the drill: Load the Pilot with everything that will be in it when towing. You, Sweetheart, Fido and/or Puddy Tat, tools, whatever you usually have in the car when traveling. Be sure the shank, ball mount and ball of the hitch are in the receiver. Then go to a truckstop with a CAT scale an fill up with gas. Then weigh the wet and loaded tow vehicle.

Add the weight on the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle to get GVW. Subtract GVW from GVWR to determine the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded over the GVWR of the tow vehicle. Subtract the GVW from the GCWR to determine the max weight of any trailer you can tow without being overloaded over the GCWR of the tow vehicle.

The GVWR is on the door sticker that includes VIN, tire size and PSI, paint codes, etc. The GCWR is in your Owner's Guide.

When wet and loaded for the road, that trailer will probably weigh about 3,700 to 3,800 pounds and have a hitch weight over 400 pounds. So if your Pilot doesn't have enough GVWR to add 400 pounds hitch weight, and/or if it doesn't have enough GCWR to add 3,800 pounds of trailer weight, then you'll be overloaded when on the road.

Note: RVWholeSalers.com has one in stock and they say the GVWR is 4,025. But the Forest River website says the GVWR is 3,795. That 230 pound difference might be significant in a TT with that little bit of cargo capacity.

If your computations prove that you won't be overloaded, then be sure you get the best hitch available for that rig. You mentioned the Hensley Arrow, which is excellent, but a newer model designed by the same engineer is the ProPride. With either the Arrow or the ProPride hitch, you won't need to worry about trailer sway, V-nose or not.
Trailer Sway Control Hitch Guaranteed to Eliminate Trailer Sway - ProPride 3P

We too moved down to a smaller rig over the winter. Nomad Joey 196 Select, with a GVWR of 5,600 pounds.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:49 AM   #7
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B & B, I would be very careful about pulling the trailer with the Pilot. I'm sure it CAN pull it, however it will be a cost, your fuel milage may really drop alot, it could put undue stress on the vehicle, (Transmission, engine & Brakes). Your part of the country has some rollings hills and steep grades which also add to the effort. The lighter the trailer is in weight, the more it will be affected by the cross winds. I would op for something with alittle more "towing" power. Best of luck! Happy camping!
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for these replies. Our Pilot does have the towing package, but we don't want to overload it. Also, if we can't get about 14-15 mpg highway at around 55-60 mph., we would not want to do it anyway. Yes, we want to be able to pull in the mountains (we "live" in the mountains--we are 1 mile from the NC border). We will weigh these suggestions very carefully. We definitely need to do all the weights at the CAT scales. We probably need to rethink the whole idea. We have an old Tundra pickup, but I find pickups too uncomfortable for long distances. We may just need to go another route if we continue to RV.

If towing even this little trailer cuts our gas mileage in half, I wouldn't want to do it.

Thanks.
Beverly
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Smoky Wren,

Were you pulling your Nomad with the Odessy? The VIBE literature says the hitch weight on the model we like is 330 lbs. Can one not believe those figures? Are they based on an "empty" trailer weight and not a "real life" situation? Yes, about 600 lbs. is all the cargo weight recommended.

Beverly
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:45 PM   #10
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Smoky Wren,

Were you pulling your Nomad with the Odessy?
No. We have a 7x14 cargo trailer with GVWR of 7,000 pounds. We pulled that trailer with the Odyssey on one 600-mile round trip to El Paso. The trailer was nearly empty going west, and grossed about 6,000 pounds coming home with a load of non-perishable food (sugar, flour, beans, rice, wheat, etc.) for an LDS congregation. The Odyssey did okay, but I didn't have a tranny temp gauge so I was worried about burning up the tranny, especially when crossing three mountain ranges on I-10 in west Texas. And I could feel that the Odyssey was straining hard to tow that trailer. My Honda dealer was no help in installing a tranny temp gauge. So I decided to trade the Odyssey for something with a bit more towing power, including a tranny temp gauge.

We also had a '93 F-150 4.6L 2V, and it didn't handle that cargo trailer any better than the Odyssey did. We took a load of furniture from Midland to Phoenix for a friend, and the F-150 was simply too light in the britches for that trailer.

So we traded both the F-150 and the Odyssey for the new F-150 SuperCrew EcoBoost. The old F-150 had a tow rating of 6,500, the Odyssey had a tow rating of only 5,000, and the EcoBoost has a tow rating of 8,400. All tow ratings are overstated, but we're hoping our EcoBoost will be able to easily handle the 5,600 pound Joey on long trips, and the 7,000-pound cargo trailer on the occasional trip to El Paso.

After we traded the 4.6L F-150 and the Odyssey for the F-150 EcoBoost we decided to buy the Nomad Joey.

Right now we plan a shake-down trip with the EcoBoost towing the Joey to Austin in the middle of May. Then a much longer trip to Knoxville and Detroit in late May/early June.

Quote:
The VIBE literature says the hitch weight on the model we like is 330 lbs. Can one not believe those figures? Are they based on an "empty" trailer weight and not a "real life" situation?
Yes, the specs are based on a dry, empty trailer with no options. TTs have a hitch weight about 10 to 15 percent of the weight of the trailer, and most have a hitch weight of about 12 to 13 percent of the weight of the trailer. The CAT scale says my Nomad Joey 196S has a hitch weight slightly over 15 percent of the trailer weight, so it's heavier hitch weight than normal.

If your trailer has the "normal" wet and loaded TT hitch weight of 12% and it weighs 3,800 pounds, that's 456 pounds of hitch weight. You might be able to reduce hitch weight by moving heavy stuff inside the trailer to behind the axle, but I doubt you can achieve only 330 pounds.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:04 PM   #11
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I don't believe you'll get 14 mpg out of it... That will be interesting.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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I can give you an example of pulling a small trailer with a RAV4. The RAV4 has the V6 & tow package - rated at 3500 lbs. I am single, and tow an Escape 17B, dry weight is 2100 lbs. Loaded for a 5 month trip with 1/3 fresh water & empty grey & black tanks - actual weight 3020 lbs.

At the suggestion of the Escape factory, I use an equalizer WDH, and the few times I've tried short tows without it I can definitely appreciate what the hitch does for drivability.

After about 20K miles of towing, I get 24mpg highway without the trailer & 15 mpg towing. While there would be less of a mpg drop towing with a truck, the non-towing mileage would probably be less than 24mpg. For me the advantage of a truck would be external storage for things like a generator, fuel for it, etc, but since I already had the RAV4 prior to purchasing the trailer I decided to give it a try.

As to how the combination works - I've towed both east & west coast mountains, generally avoid interstates, tow at 55 - 60 mph, and although I'm rarely in a hurry to get anywhere, I usually have no problem keeping up with traffic. I follow Toyota's instructions - tow in 4th, not using overdrive. No problems with overheating or drivability. The Escape is a fiberglass "egg"; the rounded front helps cut down wind resistance, at least compared to a flat front.

Worst case was on I70 climbing to the Eisenhower tunnel in CO - down to 40 mph in 2nd gear, but still passing trucks...
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
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I can give you an example of pulling a small trailer with a RAV4.
Hey, Jon!

I'm considering a RAV4 to replace my Corolla as my next runabout, but I don't want the spare tire on the tailgate. My Toy dealer hasn't had any RAV4s without the spare on the tailgate when I've been by there. Can you get a normal spare tire - or even a temp spare - on a new RAV4 without that tailgate bump? I certainly don't want run-flat tires, but I don't want that weight on the tailgate either. And putting the spare on the roof rack ruins the aerodynamics of the rig, so I don't want that either.

Have you noticed a difference in MPG with the spare on the roof?

Honda CRV now comes without that spare on the tailgate, so if Toy doesn't make what I want then I guess I'll have to buy another Honda.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:05 PM   #14
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Believe me, if I had half a brain in my head I would have gone with the tailgate "bump". The Sport model with the Appearance package does away with the tailgate spare, but requires run flat tires. They are expensive, only last 20K miles, provide a very harsh ride, and are completely useless in snow (we usually get around 180"-200" here so that is important).

I've been told there is a Sport model without the Appearance Package that has 17" standard tires & the tailgate spare, but I haven't seen one at our local dealer. As far as I know there is no version without a spare on the back that doesn't have run flat tires & I sure don't recommend them.

My solution after buying one replacement set was to give up on them & buy a extra stock 18" aluminum rim, a set of snow tires for the winter & and 5 Goodyear Assurance Gas Saver tires (for about the same as 4 replacement run flat tires) for the rest of the year.

I carried the spare inside, but eventually wanted the additional space, so I built a carrier to attach the spare to the roof rack. While I haven't driven enough so far to make a good guess at how it effects mileage, it isn't a major difference. Who knows, with the trailer it might even break up the air flow & improve things (just hoping!) There is a photo of the carrier on the March 27 post at my blogger page - Jon's Journys

I like the CRV as a towed vehicle, but it doesn't have the tow capability of the V6 + tow package RAV4. The RAV4 with the V6 is a gutsy machine. When I'm not pulling the trailer it reminds me of driving my '69 Camero SS convertible - come to think of it the engine only has 31 less horsepower, and weighs quite a bit less.
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