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Old 05-25-2016, 11:31 AM   #1
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A Little Worried

Have been reading the forums and have gotten really confused about what tow vehicle I need for a 19' Escape with lots of options added including reinforced walls and 2 batteries. It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames. All of the trucks are so big. I can only have one vehicle, so I guess I am looking at a car that has a truck body. I don't want to risk not having enough towing capacity causing the car to have a shorter life or risking safety. (I want to be able to explore the US and Canada--mountains and all.) If possible, I would like to get a used tow vehicle from 2012 or 2013 up. I thought about a 4 Runner, but the posts talk about a soft back-end and adding air shocks. I can't do any of that. Are Explorers an option? I have not towed before, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Julie View Post
It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames.
Not true.
Some manufacturers say WDH is "not recommended". That's what my RAV4 says. I asked Toyota and they said they don't have a relationship with a WDH company so don't have a recommendation.
My WDH was installed at the Toyota shop by a aftermarket installer that they brought in. It's been 8 years since and last service I asked them to look at the installation. They reported it was in very good condition.
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File Type: jpg With WDH2.jpg (118.1 KB, 51 views)
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:43 AM   #3
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Hi Julie,

it looks like you have lots of research in front of you - and you are about to hear all kinds of opinions

we went with a Nissan Frontier but not the big cab - the kind of truck with the little wee seats in the cab. in our retirement the Frontier may become our primary vehicle but for now we run with two vehicles.

our decision making matrix was similar to ours - we were new to towing also - we want to be able to explore regardless of mountains and hills - there are only two of us - we went conservative and found a tug with a capacity of 6000 pounds and are very very happy we did.

the last thing we wanted was to be pushed down a steep mountain
some forum members appear quite satisfied with a tug without as much safety spread.

good luck talk to lots of people - don't believe what salespeople tell you without doing your own independent research.

Larry
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie View Post
Have been reading the forums and have gotten really confused about what tow vehicle I need for a 19' Escape with lots of options added including reinforced walls and 2 batteries. It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames. All of the trucks are so big. I can only have one vehicle, so I guess I am looking at a car that has a truck body. I don't want to risk not having enough towing capacity causing the car to have a shorter life or risking safety. (I want to be able to explore the US and Canada--mountains and all.) If possible, I would like to get a used tow vehicle from 2012 or 2013 up. I thought about a 4 Runner, but the posts talk about a soft back-end and adding air shocks. I can't do any of that. Are Explorers an option? I have not towed before, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you.
Julie,
We are not too far from you, but will be on the road for a while. We have an older 4Runner that we towed our 21' with for 20,000 miles or so. We have the Andersen WDH, and would be glad to discuss all of this by phone or together some time. It can get confusing to evaluate Toyota's guidance on the types of actual receivers that mount on the tow vehicle and the hitches themselves.
To make it more exciting, we originally thought we'd be getting a 19' but ended up with our 21'.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:50 PM   #5
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I tow a 17 with my highlander and I use weight distribution bars. I would also tow a 19 with it many tow the 21 with the Highlander it tows great and drives like a car I have not added any extra shocks.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Julie View Post
Have been reading the forums and have gotten really confused about what tow vehicle I need for a 19' Escape with lots of options added including reinforced walls and 2 batteries. It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames. All of the trucks are so big. I can only have one vehicle, so I guess I am looking at a car that has a truck body. I don't want to risk not having enough towing capacity causing the car to have a shorter life or risking safety. (I want to be able to explore the US and Canada--mountains and all.) If possible, I would like to get a used tow vehicle from 2012 or 2013 up. I thought about a 4 Runner, but the posts talk about a soft back-end and adding air shocks. I can't do any of that. Are Explorers an option? I have not towed before, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you.
been the same place as you last year trying to decide on the tug, although not completely sure of the trailer at the time...wanted an SUV but they don't seem to make them for a reasonable price anymore especially if you want one built on a truck chassis instead of the more common less rugged "city" frame...in the end the desire to spend more time traveling than squatting in a house, came down to buying a truck for the long haul...offering more versatility and choices later with whatever trailer and an Escape 19 footer being a minimum...and there ain't nothing aerodynamic about many of the trailers including an Escape...you're pulling a kite about the size of a barn door down the highway......so do you do it with a real horse or a wore out mule...as far as spending more time traveling, gas prices will have a lot to do with that travel bug too....a friend who has been in the RV business for some time said yesterday...just wait, when gas hits 3 to 4 dollars a gal...this whole industry will contract again and the mfgs will be dumping trailers at cheaper prices....good luck with the decision and the trailer.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie View Post
Have been reading the forums and have gotten really confused about what tow vehicle I need for a 19' Escape with lots of options added including reinforced walls and 2 batteries. It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames. All of the trucks are so big. I can only have one vehicle, so I guess I am looking at a car that has a truck body. I don't want to risk not having enough towing capacity causing the car to have a shorter life or risking safety. (I want to be able to explore the US and Canada--mountains and all.) If possible, I would like to get a used tow vehicle from 2012 or 2013 up. I thought about a 4 Runner, but the posts talk about a soft back-end and adding air shocks. I can't do any of that. Are Explorers an option? I have not towed before, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you.
Julie, We just brought our 21 home from Chilliwack to California. The 21 was fairly loaded and probably weighed 4200 lbs. We used our 2015 Explorer with a 5000 lb. Tow Capacity and had no problems. As Alf would say, "It Towed With Aplomb".
We had many steep grades and passes, but handled them fine. Of course, this was only 1500 miles and a small sample size. We have the factory Tow Package and are hoping for a good long term experience.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:19 PM   #8
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By the way......Alf say aplomb weigh about what a Steinway...........
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:49 PM   #9
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Julie:

#1 tip: you/me/everyone gets used to whatever we have, with practice.

#2 tip: a full size truck can be had with "parking radar" and a single cab, though somewhat harder to find at least locally here.

#3 tip: the Frontier/Tacomas have been joined by the GM Canyon/Colorado in the lightweight category.

#3b tip: SUV/truck debate boils down to what "stuff" you are bringing with you. imho.

#4 tip: go rent the biggest moving van you feel like you can't handle. drive straight to the nearest empty parking lot and get a feel for 'staying in the lines'. backwards and forwards.

#4b tip: now go rent a van/truck AND a moving trailer. bonus points if you arrange RV lessons with a truck driving school same day (2 hours?).

#5 tip: go to several rallys and see the trailers and rigs people use. ask what they like and don't like. here's one list: Rallies, Get-togethers, Molded Meets (Upcoming) - Fiberglass RV

#6 tip: https://www.sistersonthefly.com may/may not be a good resource for you at this stage. They are paywalled, but its fair to say they will have some excellent advice.

#7 tip: my intro post and thoughts may help: http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f7...tips-5673.html others have posted theirs.

#8 tip: I use my Andersen sway control on windy days and excessively twisty roads. thats it.


If I may Julie, you sounded like me when I started. Personally, I'm glad I have the full size truck (with parking assist) but I pick my battles when it comes to dense urban parking lots.



Welcome to the "nomad" ranks, even if just kicking tires. HAVE FUN!
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BCnomad View Post
Julie:

#1 tip: you/me/everyone gets used to whatever we have, with practice.

"I'm glad I have the full size truck (with parking assist) but I pick my battles when it comes to dense urban parking lots."
so true especially that last part...welcome to the outer limits of a walmart parking lot..of course the additional exercise walking to the entrance is actually good for you!
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:20 PM   #11
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By the way......Alf say aplomb weigh about what a Steinway...........
Hi: Steve Clark... Whats a "Grecian Urn"? Five bucks an hour.
George Carlin said it best. "Kilometers are less than miles...so take your next trip in kilometers".
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Julie View Post
It sounds like a weight distribution hitch is a good idea, but only vehicles with truck bodies can use them because of the frames. All of the trucks are so big. I can only have one vehicle, so I guess I am looking at a car that has a truck body.
I understand what you're saying, but for clarity: what you are calling a "truck body" is a vehicle with separate body and frame. Very few reasonably-sized vehicles are built this way now, other than pickup trucks, and some of the SUVs with body-on-frame construction (which are now rare) are poor tow vehicles. There's even one pickup (the Honda Ridgeline) which does not have a separate body and frame, just to show that there's more than one design to achieve a target goal.

"Full-sized" pickup trucks certainly are large, and even the next size down (Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon) are long and heavy things.

Rather than starting with the assumption that you need a weight-distributing hitch (WDH) and choosing a vehicle to use it, I suggest choosing a vehicle with the right characteristics, and using a WDH with that vehicle if (and only if) it makes sense for that combination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie View Post
Are Explorers an option?
Auto manufacturers like to re-use names, which can cause confusion as they build very different vehicles over the years with the same name. A current Ford Explorer is very typical SUV, with a design and construction nearly identical to the same-sized thing from every other manufacturer (e.g. Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, etc) Years ago, the Ford Explorer was a body-on-frame vehicle which was mechanically more like a pickup truck... and even then it was nothing special as a tow vehicle.

An Explorer might be an option (you would need to check the capacity ratings), and so would be the other models which Ford builds with the same parts and design: the Ford Flex and the Lincoln MKT.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:30 PM   #13
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Are Explorers an option? I have not towed before, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Please let me know your suggestions. Thank you.
watch out for that cute Ford Explorer ad...owned the previous version of the SUV built on a truck type frame as Brian described and it was an inexpensive workhorse for the money....now they make them to look good and not much else...if you can't handle a full size truck initially perhaps look at the medium sized trucks as mentioned in other posts.....not sure of today's pricing, but a few months ago with the options I wanted it came down to... the new Tacoma was priced about 35k with the 2016 reduced warranty and a new full size 2015 Ram truck was 38K with the last of the 5 yr 100k mile warranties...bought the Ram...now apparently the warranties are less yr/miles unless you pay extra....and the warranty for the Ram was the icing on the cake...break down anywhere in the USA and they send a truck to get it at no charge and repair it at a dealership.....if it holds true that peace of mind is definitely worth something....you might be able to still get a great deal on a new or sales demo/loaner 2015 if you look a bit....had a salesman scour several states inventory over a few days and ended up with pretty much exactly what I wanted....a galactic freighter for pulling a trailer.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:32 PM   #14
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tow vehicle change

Today we did it. Our Jeep Grand Cherokee had 93000 miles, half towing the 19 and then the 21 and I don't think it owed us a thing, I made it work very hard and fast. We couldn't buy another Jeep with the Hemi engine unless we went to 4 wheel drive and I guess a larger turning circle. We bought a Dodge Durango two wheel drive, Hemi engine and a lot of newer extras. The durango is about 200 inches long instead of the 189" of the Jeep, the same turning circle of 37 feet and 6" more wheel base to improve the ride slightly. At our age this will probably be our last tow vehicle unless we down size to a 15'. We did buy the bright red (defensive color) R/T model that looks like a hot rod with all the blacked out grill, trim and 20" wheels. Now that we brought it home and had our naps we'll go drive it somewhere.
Jack and Nancy
P.S. Nancy likes it and that's good since she does some of the driving with the trailer attached.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:45 PM   #15
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Congrats! Look forward to seeing the new rig.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:16 PM   #16
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Sounds like a hot rod Jack, I'm really enjoying mine, while Escapeless.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:34 PM   #17
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Today we did it. Our Jeep Grand Cherokee had 93000 miles...
We bought a Dodge Durango two wheel drive...
I'm glad the Grand Cherokee worked out; the Durango is the same vehicle underneath, just longer and with different body details. It does look like a capable tug.

I doubt you could buy a 2WD Grand Cherokee or Durango here, unless you special ordered it, but if you never need the 4WD then this is the logical choice.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:54 PM   #18
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Just to address the perception that 4runners have too soft rear suspension. Not true in my experience. The 4runner has been a stout tow vehicle. As a precaution I installed air bags (not air shocks) but only have the minimum 5 psi in them. The transmission is good. The 4runner has two trans temp sensors so you can monitor hot and cooled temps. Never a problem.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:58 PM   #19
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Thanks, everyone. Good advice.
If you have the Tacoma and are happy with it, which one did you get? Is the ecoboost in the Ford a really good thing? In your research, have you found a model year in any of the TV choices that is better than others?
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:58 PM   #20
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... If possible, I would like to get a used tow vehicle from 2012 or 2013 up. I thought about a 4 Runner, ...
I am towing with a 2014 Tacoma and have logged about 6000 miles towing my Escape 21. No complaints except that the combination is a bit underpowered for my home state of Colorado. I live in the right lane while climbing to 11,000' going west out of Denver on I-70, but other than that I am keeping up with posted speeds. Gas mileage has varied from 11 to 15 mpg depending on various factors like trailer loading, head winds, driving speeds, etc. There is one factor that keeps me very happy - the manual transmission is always in the correct gear - if I am paying attention. But be aware that a Tacoma drives like an old fashioned 4X4 truck - which is OK by me, but it is not going to feel like driving a car if you need that.

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