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Old 01-25-2012, 06:50 PM   #11
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Jim

You are probably correct that applying a safety margin of 80% is a bit over the top. At the same time I know that there are readers who will feel it is important to have some leeway. Different strokes for different folks.

I like your calculations, they make sense to me. Hey, like anything these are guidelines, but they do add a numerical qualifier to the capacities of a tow vehicle and trailer combination. I think the most important thing is, it causes us to look at the combination of tow and trailer. So often, we latch on to the tongue weight and towing capacity and fail to recognize that the 100 lb generator, kayak and extras we stuff in the back of the tow need to be a part of the calculation.

Calculations like these puts some of those real life observations into perspective. There is a danger in accepting anecdotal observations such as: "we have been towing our 13 footer for years with a reconditioned 1975 Trabant, over mountains and everything, we never had a speck of trouble." Anecdotal evidence is useful but not always trustworthy.

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Old 01-25-2012, 08:49 PM   #12
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Paul, no doubt you are quite right about people loading up their vehicles. I am willing to bet that very few have any idea as to their vehicle's cargo capacity. It may often be under 1,000 lbs. Put some people and equipment and bags and beer and gas in there, not to mention a boat, I would not be surprised if the limit is frequently exceeded. Add that to a loaded trailer and the GCWR may often go out the window. The worst accident I ever saw was an overturned travel trailer and pick-up. So I will already want to watch out even if loaded "lightly" with only a few thousand pounds.

Jim, some of us have never towed and we have to be very, very careful. We all do not have your vast towing experience. Of course, people naturally take into account their experience or lack thereof when looking at all of this. Some have towed much lighter boats but not travel trailers, or maybe a much smaller trailer. "Can't be too careful." Who said that?

Cathy
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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Re: Towing a 17B?

When I said trailer was 3,500 lbs--I meant what it said in my ford manual! Ours is no where near that!!

I remember when we first got it we did the weights at a couple different scales and I had it all accounted for....on the car--off the car etc etc---but I can't find the papers--(I must have actually thrown something out!!!)
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #14
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Paul, I too think somewhat of a margin is a good thing. Much better than going over, which is unsafe. Some go way too far though with this margin, and end up with a vehicle that does not serve them well for all its other uses. I do have a big 3/4 ton diesel F250 that pulls my 19 like it is not even there, but it is a pig to drive, and not as good on fuel. I have actually only used it twice, and that is because the truck was needed to haul a bunch of weight itself.

Cathy, relative newbies to towing definitely have to take care, but so do those with lots of experience. Complacency is not good either. The point I was trying to make, was that performance is the real issue as you approach the vehicles maximum ratings. Less weight is only marginally safer, driver performance is the real key. By taking good care, and paying good attention, one can safely tow, even with marginal experience. Heck, you have to learn some time. I think it would be a mistake to assume that because you are well under the weight rating of your vehicle, that you would be safer to much of a degree.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:34 PM   #15
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I got out the manual for my 2008 RAV4 Sport V6.

Checked the index and closest I could find to "curb weight" was "cup holders". Under 'G' for GCWR I found "Grocery Bag Hooks".

Under Specifications I found: Trailer and cargo 3500 lbs.
Under Vehicle I found: Occupants and luggage 825 lbs.
Through some miracle, if you have the third seat option 825 rises to 1155 lbs.

So, I'm no closer to figuring out my safety margin.

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:22 PM   #16
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I'm trying to interpret the numbers in the owners manual to justify my choice of the RAV4.

So: it says Trailer and cargo 3,500 lbs. and the Escape 17 is 2,100, leaving 1,400 for cargo.

And: it says for vehicle: occupants and luggage 825 lbs. So, two people is 310 lbs. leaving 515 lbs for cargo.

It would appear from those numbers that I'm well within my limits.

Or am I mis-reading the numbers?

baglo

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Old 01-26-2012, 12:35 AM   #17
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I think you will find that the 3500 lbs includes the cargo in the vehicle and the trailer. Most tow ratings allow only for the driver in the vehicle and they usually only allow for a 150 lb driver. So in other words if you have 400 lbs of cargo in the RAV and the driver then your tow limit is now 3100 lbs because you have to subtract the vehicle cargo from the towing limit.

The 825 lbs is the maximum amount of cargo you can carry in the RAV, trailer or no trailer but any amount of cargo in the RAV must be subtracted from your tow limit if you are towing.

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Old 01-26-2012, 12:44 AM   #18
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Okay, Jim, you put it on me, the driver. Ha! Yes, I thoroughly agree that the driver is the key.

I start from the premise that towing a trailer is an incredibly unsafe thing to do and I go from there. My aim is to make the unsafe into the less unsafe.
To that end, I expect to:

Use a scale to balance the load properly,
stay off of the Interstates most or all of the time, as I don't even want to be on them with no trailer,
tow slowly,
keep the weights a good bit below capacities,
use tire sensors to have proper inflation,
have a weight distributing hitch,
and anything else I can do to offset the riskiness of the whole set-up.
May use cameras, too.

Anyone have other suggestions?


Sometimes I think I am crazy to even consider towing 38,000 lbs. Or whatever.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:48 AM   #19
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Make that 3,800!
No wonder it seems so daunting.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:23 AM   #20
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Re: Towing a 17B?


The 825 lbs is the maximum amount of cargo you can carry in the RAV, trailer or no trailer but any amount of cargo in the RAV must be subtracted from your tow limit if you are towing.

Barry
[/quote]

Thanks. I needed that.
So, I think I am comfortably within the limits. I removed the cast iron pans and replaced them with aluminum. The kid has the television. I've made an effort to remove stuff that I don't really need. I'll renew that effort before the next trip.

baglo
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