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Old 03-11-2019, 12:37 PM   #1
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Towing 27' trailer with SUV (2018 Nissan Pathfinder)

I own a 2018 Nissan Pathfinder SL. The manufacturer says it can tow up to 6,000 lbs. It has a tow package installed, etc. I'm currently looking at purchasing an Apex Ultralite trailer (27' from tip to bumper - 7.5' wide).

I'm told the trailer is designed for powerful crossover SUVs (and that market). Both the Nissan dealer and the trailer dealership says my 2018 Pathfinder will be fine as long as I don't go over my maximum.

We're experienced RV-ers and always pack light, so I think we'd be around 5200 - 5500 lbs. (maximum), giving us a safe gap of 500 lbs. Despite the reassurances, I'm simply not feeling 100% reassured. Any perspective from this forum contributors that tow longer (ultra light trailers) with SUVs or other, would be appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:16 PM   #2
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No way would I pull that long of a trailer with a mid size SUV.
What is the trailers GVWR? You may not hit that number, but you guaranteed will never see any other advertised numbers in this lifetime. Also please remember tow ratings are generally made up taking the vehicles base, read that as made up, weight plus one 150 pound driver and a 1/4 tank of gas. Every thing else reduces towing capacity.
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Dry weight, trailer is 4586 lbs and GVWR of 6500 lbs. Make any difference?
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:00 PM   #4
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You were told a lie. No way that SUV can tow that TT. Several factors involved.
One is the SUV's payload capacity. 4586 dry weight will be more as you load the TT. 5500 would be a round number to work with.
@5500 lbs loaded you need 10-15% for tongue weight. 12.5% being optimum.
12.5% of 5500 is 687 lbs. I'm guessing your receiver has a 600 lb max tongue weight rating. Usually they rate receivers at 10% of the max tow rating. 6000 lbs=600 lbs.
That 687 ;bs comes off the Pathfinders CCC. You need to look at the drivers side door panel and see what the loading sticker says you can put in/on the Pathfinder for cargo.
Anything that goes in or on is ruled as cargo. Passengers, weight distribution hitch, tongue weight, camping items, dog, etc.
The other factor is that the new Pathfinders are unibody. You need to read the manual to see what Nissan says about using a WDH.
The other factor is the loaded weight of the TT vs the power of the Pathfinder. You'll struggle a lot to keep speed up on any minor hills. The Pathfinder will work hard in medium hills and Mtns will slow it way down if you're towing upwards of 5500+ lbs.
Couple that with poor MPG's and a smallish fuel tank and you'll be stopping a lot for gas. Which sometime can be problematic if you're not in populated areas.
A 19.5 gal tank and using 17 gals as a safe margin will only yield you 150 miles max.
Figure 8.5 mpg or so.

I would suggest you look for something in the 3000-3500 dry weight range and around 21-22' long.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:19 PM   #5
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Personally I wouldn't want that combination. I don't know how light you can pack but consider that dry weight likely doesn't include: 60 pound battery, 40 pounds of propane, 50 pounds of water in the water heater, 50 pounds or more water in the fresh water tank, or the weight of a weight distributing hitch (if you can use one with that vehicle).
There are many types of trailers: boat, flatbed, horse, dump, utility, cargo, travel trailer, etc. By far the most difficult one to tow is a travel trailer. They have a large frontal area, a large side area to catch wind, a high percentage of tongue weight, and not much way to move the tongue weight around. I would bet that you could tow a 6,000 pound boat or flatbed load of lumber easier than you could tow a 5,000 pound RV.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:23 PM   #6
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Even if the numbers work, unless you use a cam-lok anti-sway WDH you will regret a trailer that long on your SUV.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:25 PM   #7
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Imagine a strong side gust of wind hitting your Pathfinder and trailer in tow. The pathfinder probably has nice soft P rated tires, a somewhat short wheelbase, and it will already be near, and maybe over, it's Cargo Carrying Capacity. It won't be as pleasant an experience (read: it won't be pleasant at all) driving that combination in The Real World of rough roads, big rigs, side winds, and other people on the roads doing what they do, but often shouldn't.

Can you? Maybe. SHould you? Think real hard on what you're hearing from others before you spend any more money, because money makes regret expensive.
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Old 03-11-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your replies. As mentioned in my original post, I don't believe what I'm hearing either. Your detailed responses affirm my suspicions, too.
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Old 03-11-2019, 07:36 PM   #9
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Pulled a 30' 5500lb Trail Cruiser with a 2001 Ford Expedition and would never do that again. With a Pathfinder? You are begging for a roll over.
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Old 03-11-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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You've received some good advice and, in contrast to some similar posts I've read, this is still pre-purchase and you had your own suspicions from the get-go.

When it comes to tow ratings and related issues you can't trust either the TT salesperson or the tow vehicle salesperson. This is especially disgraceful since it's a safety issue.
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Old 03-11-2019, 10:55 PM   #11
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You are wise to be skeptical. As noted by KD4UPL, travel trailers are more unstable than a cargo, flatbed, boat, etc. because of the high front and sides. Thus, you should not tow a travel trailer that is over 80% of the tow vehicle's maximum towing capacity. Since the max tow of the Pathfinder is 6,000 lbs, it should only tow a trailer of up to 4,800 lbs (6,000 x .80).

Unless you want to get bigger tow vehicle, I suggest you consider a small travel trailer such as one of the R-pod travel trailers with a gross weight (GVWR) below 4,800 lbs or a nice popup trailer. It will be safer towing and be a whole lot less wear and tear on the Pathfinder drive train.

Wishing you the best. Please keep us informed on your progress.
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:31 AM   #12
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You aren't supposed to use a WD hitch with the Pathfinder. Nissan refuses to come out and admit it clearly but it's buried in the towing guide. As stated above its a unibody design and WD hitches don't work for correctly on a unibody.

This issue was also had with the Toyota Highlander where they also gave a towing capacity that wouldn't be realistic with out a WD hitch. It's BS that they can do this.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:45 AM   #13
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I have seen uni-body tow vehicles where the back doors will no longer latch closed because the body has been tweaked from the weight of a large trailer. They do OK on flat ground but what about potholes and bridge approaches at highway speed? I want a real frame for that kind of workout.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
I have seen uni-body tow vehicles where the back doors will no longer latch closed because the body has been tweaked from the weight of a large trailer. They do OK on flat ground but what about potholes and bridge approaches at highway speed? I want a real frame for that kind of workout.
My brother is towing with a PF and a high low style trailer and I told him it's a bad idea but he's not a "technical" tower. We have a pathfinder too and I did the research just for kicks and people pull it off fine but I'd never use it to tow. Our trailer is too big to use our PF anyway so that's why I have the F250.
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