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Old 01-23-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Towing a 17B?

We are thinking of moving up from a tent trailer to a travel trailer (TT) in the next year or two and are in the process of buying a tow vehicle. We are looking at a 2012 Ford Escape FWD, 3.0L V6 w towing packing (Class II hitch-ball mount and transmission cooling) option. Towing capacity is 3500 lb. The 15 and 17ft Escape dry weights are 1750 and 2100 lb. Even with 1,000 lbs cargo, it would seem that the Ford Escape should be able to pull either trailer. However, when I look at the combined weight of a Ford Escape and 17B the numbers don't seem to add up.

Numbers for Ford Escape
Base curb weight = 3300
Gross vehicle weight (GVW) = 3300 to 4300
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) = 4300
Numbers for Escape 17B
GVW = 2100
GVWR (or MLTW) = 3500
Combined weight calculations:
Gross combination weight (GCW) MIN = 3300+2100=5400
Gross combination weight (GCW) MAX = 4300+3500=7800
Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) for Ford Escape = 5000
So GCW both MIN and MAX are > GCWR for a Ford Escape = 5000.

So does this mean that a Ford Escape would NOT be considered an adequate towing vehicle for the 17B. I have heard that many people are pulling a 15 and 17 ft Escape with the Ford Escape. What specifically would the problems be if people were doing this? If not adequate, then presumably that means that all SUVs with towing capacity of 3500 would not be adequate?

If it is adequate, what type of a hitch would you recommend to pull the 17B with a Ford Escape?
I've been doing a lot of reading and people talk a lot about:
- putting a Class III hitch on a Ford Escape, but then others suggest that this could affect the warranty?
- weight distributing hitch or load equalizing hitch (or are they the same thing?)
- electric trailer brakes - brake controller
- friction sway device - sway control
- etc., etc.

But the Ford towing package seems to come with a ball mount and safety chains and that's about it.

Some people seem to go overboard (although better safe than sorry) and others seem to just want to do the minimum. It's a bit(?) difficult to figure out what's reasonable and safe. Any info you could provide to help understand would really be appreciated.
Eric
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:16 PM   #2
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I'm hopeless at numbers, but.

You need a class III hitch for WDH and I highly recommend a WDH especially for what is essentially a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

It's worth noting that the RAV4 'factory hitch' is also a class II, but that you can buy an after-market class III for the RAV4 and it's cheaper than the factory hitch. I paid $650 for my Hidden Hitch, wiring harness and brake controller installation. The Toyota class II hitch alone cost almost $1,000. And, my 'after market' Hidden Hitch was installed at the Toyota dealership prior to delivery. So, you might want to speak to your dealer about the class III hitch.

Hidden Hitch rates their hitch for RAV4 at 4,000 lbs.

baglo
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:33 PM   #3
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Also, the 2008 RAV4 manual says it "does not recommend a weight distribution hitch". Doesn't say why or anything about the warranty so I ignored it, especially since the hitch was installed at the dealership.

You will need a brake controller and the wiring harness to accommodate it. Many have bought the Prodigy.

I would also spec the size of the disc brakes on your selected tow. Even though the trailer has electric brakes, I want the largest disc brakes I can get.

And, you have to consider what you use the vehicle for when you're not towing.

baglo
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:27 AM   #4
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Hi, Eric D!

I think you have answered your own question with your numbers. It looks as if you would need something else. One of the big factors is the curb weight. Do you expect to load your trailer to nearly that? As someone said to me, "You need a lot of weight in front of that trailer!" In other words, your vehicle curb weight would hopefully be a good bit heavier than the expected load. Some people recommend that you not tow over 80% of the vehicle's capacity. Others would not even tow that.
Since you do not have a vehicle yet, you might want to consider a few. Of course, I don't know what the numbers are for the 15B. You are exactly right to look at those numbers.

Cathy
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Hello

We have a 17B and we tow it with a 2006 4x4 3.0 motor Escape.(automatic)... I have the book in front of me and it states that the GCWR is 7,240 lbs or 3284 kg...Trailer weight is listed as 3,500 lbs (1588 kg) we do always use a WDH...

We have the class 3 hitch installed under the factory installed class 2 hitch...--good spot for the breakaway switch wire to be hooked onto...

I know ours is well within the limits as we have weighed it a few times..Haven't weighed it yet with the front storage box but I know we had plenty of room (and believe me--our trailer is well stocked)
We did originally buy a 3.0 ford ranger4x2 thinking it would do the job. (as the salesperson assured us it would) NOT---we took it to the dump one day and weighed it--realized it would not do the job--so we returned it and got the Escape..

We have been in some failry high mountain passes and we gear down a bit when climbing and also when going down an incline--but with the electric brakes...everything works really really well...

(we are just 2 adults in the vehicle when pulling the trailer)
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I ran my own set of numbers and was surprised how they came out. Based on the rated tow capacity of 3,500 lbs and a combined rate of vehicle, trailer, occupants and contents of trailer and car you are limited to 7,300 lbs. If we want to stay safe we can take 80% of the combined weight, that would be 5,840. A curb weight of 3,549 plus the trailer at 2,100 empty totals 5,649 lbs. That means you can carry 191 lbs of passengers, fuel, propane and food, if you want the 20% safety margin. Are you willing to go with a 10% safety margin, then you can carry 921 lbs.

I think not. Looking at the real world weights of Escape 17B they run from 2,660 to 3,000. Using an average of 2,850 you would be down to 171 lbs in the vehicle with a 10% safety margin.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:28 PM   #7
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Re: Towing a 17B?

Anybody care to run the numbers on a RAV4 and 17B. I'm numerically challenged.

I especially curious since the combo seems pretty much perfect and has been the choice of so many.

baglo
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I "thought" the 20% was already factored in with the manufacturers GCWR.....anyway, ours tows very well,stops well and seems to be a good fit for us..
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:50 PM   #9
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Re: Towing a 17B?

I do not think the manufacturer pads the numbers with any safety margin. They using are their best judgement based on who knows what. I am sure there are people exceeding the limits every day, many unknowingly.

Remember, these numbers are using figures from a 2012 Escape vehicle, 4 wheel drive with the tow package. Look up your vehicle's rating. You need the year and exact model and if you have the factory installed tow package. You are looking for two numbers: curb weight and the GCWR gross combined weight rate. You need to be careful that you find the numbers for your exact vehicle, not a model that is close. Usually you can Google: 2012 Escape 4WD V6 specifications and find it, you may need to look at several links to find details.

If you want real world trailer weights, the best are over at fiberglassRV.com, I dislike their search engine and use Google instead. Try your search in Google like this: "fiberglassrv.com:real world weights" no quotes. There is an excellent table on page 1 courtesy of Frederick Simson.

Once you have the numbers it is pretty easy:

GCWR minus Curb Weight minus Real World Trailer Weight equals What You Can Put In The Car (people included).

Anna Marie I come up with 240 lbs that you can put into your car and remain under the maximum for the vehicle without any safety margin. Now, I think your 3500 lbs for the trailer is high, unless you bring everything, a figure 3,000 is closer to other weights that have been posted.

I ran the calculations on my combination and was surprised at the results:

2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 V8 Tow Package
GCWR = 10,510 8,408 at 80%
Curb weight = 4,410
Escape 19
Scale Weight = 3,480
Vehicle Contents Limit = 518 lbs

There are three of us travelling and with bikes plus fuel we are at 794 lbs. We are cutting into that 20% safety margin. One reason why I try to travel with empty or near empty trailer tanks.

There certainly are other factors to consider, too numerous to mention but a WDH can? make a difference. roof mounted items, and of course many other safety items such as tongue weight, weight distribution, tires, and probably the most important factor - SPEED. My opinion is driving the rigs we tow at or over speed limits is asking for trouble. Here, we have two vehicles in combination at the limits of safety and we test the gods by driving over 65 mph.

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Old 01-25-2012, 05:29 PM   #10
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Re: Towing a 17B?

There is no need to use an 80% load safety factor. While it is nice to have, it is not necessary. as the ratings the manufactures give are good to go by. They would not take a chance otherwise. Performance begins to diminish long before safety does.

Loads with my 2009 Honda Pilot.

GCWR = 9,572 lb
Less Curb Weight of 4,499 = 5,073 lb
Less guesstimated (at the high end fully loaded) weight of my Escape 19 of 3,500 = 1,573 lb
The Max Paylod Capacity is = 1,592 lb

I would guess even fully loaded up we are under 1,000 lb of load, though I would think one should likely include the hitch weight in the payload weight.

I have not weighed my trailer, but I know we carry no where near what many do. Plus, the weight we put in the car itself is probably closer to 600-700 lbs with fuel.
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