How To Confirm Tow Vehicle Will Work? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-22-2015, 01:22 AM   #1
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How To Confirm Tow Vehicle Will Work?

Once I select a vehicle that has a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds for my new 17b (to be completed in Feb), how do I, someone new to the world of towing and trailers, confirm that the vehicle will actually tow my trailer...that it has the proper hitch, weight distribution etc....I don't even know exactly what questions to ask.

Do I rely on the car dealership or Escape manufacturing? I have this fear that I will buy a tow vehicle, and then drive up to pick up my new trailer, only to be told that my vehicle, for reasons x, y, or z, won't work to tow my new trailer.

I have much to learn, but in the final analysis I don't want to rely on my judgment. Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:58 AM   #2
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My RAV4 had "tow package" which along with some standard items ( in Canada ), and to the best of my recollection included heavy duty alternator, larger radiator, transmission fluid cooler. Still had to add the Class III hitch receiver ( Toyota hitch was class II and not suitable for a weight distribution hitch ) had to have the vehicle wired for 7-pin and have the brake controller installed.
Current RAV4 is not suitable for towing 3,500 lbs and can't be upgraded. My buddy just bought a 2015 Highlander and took it to U-Haul to have the hitch receiver and brake controller installed, but the vehicle itself was "tow ready" and rated for 5,000 lbs.

You can buy the WDH hitch from Escape and they will install it, but you need a Class III hitch receiver. The dealer will tell you anything you want to hear and charge you more than if you take it to a hitch shop.
Transmission cooler, larger alternator are cheaper when included in a package when you buy the vehicle.
Not knowing which vehicle you are looking at, the main concerns are transmission fluid cooler, Class III hitch, and 7 pin wiring with brake controller install.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:05 AM   #3
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Make sure what ever vehicle you select has a tow capacity well above the gross weight of the trailer. It has been suggested that the trailer should only be a max of 2/3's of the tow capacity of the vehicle. I am using a 2011 Tacoma rated for 6500 lbs. It is great but I still find that it pulls down a bit on steep hills. I have had to put a quad in the back of the truck and towed the trailer with that load on, it still trailered well.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:08 AM   #4
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Hi, Steve R,
A 3500 tow capacity does not necessarily mean a 3500 tow capacity. You need to look at the manufacturer's numbers for GVWR and GCWR and then you will see if it really does mean 3500. Many people still consider that barely making it for a 17' depending on how much you intend to load up. You might try to give that a good look first using your present vehicle for similar loading to see what kind of weight you will have. Whatever you do, you don't want to go by what a dealer says. They are not known for their towing information.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:46 AM   #5
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All great advice, remember with an Escape you may go thru several tow vehicles as the Escape will last a long time. With a 3500# limit only the 17' Escape can work and then you may have to watch what you carry in both the car and trailer. It is best to over compensate and maybe get something with a little more room to expand, for example a 5000# limit or 4500# would give you some extra safety margin and lessen any issues with overloading.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:14 AM   #6
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Steve,
If you already have a potential tow vehicle or are thinking about one, throw that model out to the forum members, and someone will either already have one or will have had one in the past, and can give you the pro's and con's of what you are considering.

There's a wealth of knowledge among all the members.

I agree with what the others have said. A certain rating only means that the vehicle can barely handle a certain load. Most people want something that will handle a load without a lot of worry, downshifting, watching gauges, and being nervous in mountains. That takes a vehicle with a higher rating, but then costs more initially and later on for fuel.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:26 AM   #7
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but then costs more initially and later on for fuel.
Not necessarily so, a vehicle operating at or near it's capacity will use more fuel to maintain it's speed versus one operating at a lower capacity. Compare a vehicle operating without towing and the same one towing, you can see the difference in fuel. It is finding the vehicle that gives you good mileage empty and good towing, that is the Holy Grail of towing.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:27 AM   #8
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Steve, there are alot of numbers to consider besides the towing capacity, as others have said. The two most important are GVWR and GCWR. As a rule of thumb, you should never exceed the published capacities for your tow vehicle/trailer combination.

GVWR means the total capacity of your vehicle including the vehicle's empty weight (curb weight) and ALL cargo, including passengers.

GCWR means the total weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer combined.

Generally the towing capacity and the tongue capacity are related, with a ratio of 10 to 1. So normally, a vehicle with a towing capacity of 3500 lbs would also have a maximum tongue weight of 350 lbs.

Having said that, myself and many other owners prefer to have a capacity margin. Its possible to tow an Escape 17 with just about any mid-sized vehicle with a published towing capacity of 3500 lbs. But, such a setup leaves little margin.

I would narrow it down to the 3 or 4 vehicles you personally like, then look at each from a towing perspective. Which ones will provide a safety margin? Which ones will tow the 17 more easily? Which ones will give you an overall better towing experience on the road? Which ones will provide the best fuel economy? Its a complex subject but you'll be surprised how quickly you can boil it down to a choice between just one or two.

Lastly, once you've narrowed it down to your favorites, you'll probably find several threads here about towing with those vehicles. Read and research them. People tow Escapes with a wide variety of vehicles, and those who have a better towing experience are usually the ones that have done their homework.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:04 PM   #9
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Very good question as that has crossed my mind also.

Most of this towing stuff seems to be in another language...slowly I'm catching on...I think.

Word of mouth from the helpful folks here is definitely the way to go....a car dealer will sell you property on the moon if you don't know what you're doing. Trust me...I'm in the "I seriously don't know what I'm doing stage.

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Old 06-22-2015, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reetired View Post
Most of this towing stuff seems to be in another language...slowly I'm catching on...I think.

Word of mouth from the helpful folks here is definitely the way to go....a car dealer will sell you property on the moon if you don't know what you're doing. Trust me...I'm in the "I seriously don't know what I'm doing stage.
I'm in the same situation. I've just spent several hours reading past posts on towing vehicles and my brain is just boggled with all the numbers and such. And the foreign language (as in, heck if I know what it all means).

When we start looking at trucks, I figure after we narrow it down a bit by what we like in terms of comfort level for driving, then I'll start asking on this forum what others think of it for towing.

I also have the situation where many times while using it, I'll load it up with at least 600# of inventory for craft shows. (The coasters I make get pretty darn heavy pretty darn fast!) Most, if not all, will be loaded in the truck, either in the bed or the back seat area.

So, yeah, lots to learn, huh? Oh joy!
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