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Old 02-15-2015, 02:49 PM   #1
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Towing with 18,000 pound chassis

I want to tow a jeep wrangled unlimited around 4,500 pounds with a coach having a 18,000 pound chassis. I know the specs say it can handle 5,000 pounds, but after you get loaded up with passengers, supplies, food, water,gas, propane etc.

Would the coach handle that kind of tow vehicle weight without struggling?



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Old 02-15-2015, 05:19 PM   #2
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Hi LJV51,
Based on the information posted, you will need patience on all but level ground. I do not consider this struggling. It is just a fact of life when driving a coach and towing a vehicle that brings the entire unit close to it GCVWR. To increase the pulling power of the engine, consider going to http://www.bankspower.com/ .

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Old 02-26-2015, 04:57 PM   #3
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Hi Lynn,

We have similar situation. We have a new-2-us 2010 Fleetwood Encounter 32' that is also based on the Ford F-53 18k chassis. We tow a 2005 Honda Pilot that weighs in right at 4,500lbs, too. The MH has been weighed at 17,000 lbs when its ready to go camping. It has the 6.8L V-10, and has plenty of power, even with the Pilot behind it. Of course we aren't winning any races no matter whether heading up a hill or down it, well I guess we could downhill if we had a death wish. I can usually keep it at 45 MPH up most hills and keep it to the same speed down, without any problems.

However, handling is where I've had the difficulties. The F-53 chassis usually has a fairly long overhang behind the rear wheels (dependent on overall length of MH.) That combined with the weight of the toad has a strong tendency to push the front of the MH into a turn, resulting in over-steer.

Here's how it works, let's say the driver approaches a left hand curve in the road, turns the steering wheel to the left to choose the path that appears to be the correct route into said curve. However, the toad wants to continue on the original path, resisting the pull of the MH to change course. The toad pushes the rear of the MH to the right side of the coach until there is enough force to pull the toad the right direction. The rear wheels of the MH act as an axis (or fulcrum) thus pushing the front of the coach further to the left. This forces the driver to compensate for the over-steer.

Guess how I found out about all this! On a two lane mountain road, talk about almost pooping your pants!!! Trees on both sides and a MH wants to send you right into them! I quickly (very quickly) learned how to compensate for it and now know what to expect and how to deal with it when it occurs. The previous owners of the coach installed just about every steering and suspension mod they could find, I performed the "cheap handling fix" or CHF (look it up, it greatly improves the handling of your coach for NO $.) I've contacted Roadmaster and their only suggestion at this point is to upgrade the tires to ones with stiffer sidewalls. I'm still communicating with them for more ideas.

Overall, it drives/rides great, except when I want to make it turn. So "Yes" you can tow near the limit just be aware that it will make you think it has a mind of its own. It took unhooking the toad and driving the MH to figure out what the cause was.Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:52 AM   #4
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Keep it cool and under control

Power to pull is the least of your real worries, ability to keep it cool is somewhat more important, but, like a 4x4 on a ice covered road, you'll soon realize the ability to stop and control that extra weight is WAY more important. Obviously there will be no real tongue weight. And obviously you'll need supplimental breaking for that toad, but being so close to the weight limit, if that supplimental braking gives out, you may have a handful of rig containing your loved ones.
Cooling concerns will come in three levels; engine, tranny and brakes. Engine cooling has two levels; coolant and oil. Me?? I'd install a big additional tranny cooler, maybe a fan to blow air over it if you can't or don't want to put this cooler on your radiator stack. Add an engine oil cooler to that tranny oil cooler. I put gages on the pillar, and temp pickups in the drain plugs for the tranny and engine. (The hottest oil is in the pan.)
Maybe think about a smaller toad....best of luck.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:56 AM   #5
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The 18,000 lb chassis has a GCWR (combined weight rating) of 23,000 lbs, so it can tow 5000 lbs in addition to the fully loaded 18,000 lb gross weight.

But that doesn't mean the performance is good. You need to estimate the weight per horsepower ratio to get your answer. Assuming a fully loaded 18,000 bs plus a 4500 lb toad, the total combined weight is 22,500 lbs. with the 362 hp V10, thats 22,500/362 or about 62 lbs/hp. That's pretty good in an industry where 100 lbs/hp is considered adequate (it is, but barely so). However, your car is probably more like 20 lbs/hp, so it's still no hot performer.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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