BMW X3 as a tow vehicle for Escape 19 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-14-2016, 08:40 PM   #1
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BMW X3 as a tow vehicle for Escape 19

Can it be towed? The X3 is rated at 3500lb. Escape 19's dry weight is 2610, GVWR is 4000lb. We don't have any passengers with us, not much cargo either. We weigh 250lb combined.
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:08 PM   #2
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My tug is also rated at 3500 pounds, and I have considered the 19', concluding that it can be done within limits but restraint would be required in trailer equipment and cargo.

A significant factor to consider is that while my van can tow a 3500 pound trailer while carrying half a ton of passengers and cargo in the van at the same time, that is not true for most vehicles. The combined weight of the X3 with (skinny) people and (minimal) cargo, plus the Escape with optional equipment, fluids and cargo, must be within the Gross Combined Weight Rating of the X3.

I would also be concerned that this is a substantial trailer for a relatively short tow vehicle to handle. My van doesn't need a weight-distributing hitch (WDH) or sway control device for a 3500 pound trailer with 350 pounds of tongue weight, but that may not work for the X3. Adding hardware (such as a WDH) may not produce acceptable stability and control, and that hardware will add undesired weight.
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:53 AM   #3
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I would say

Just because you can

Does not mean it is a good idea.

;-)
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yhbae View Post
The X3 is rated at 3500lb.
In a quick web search, I only found trailer weight ratings of 3000 pounds, not 3500 pounds. That might not seem like a huge difference, but for a 19', it's the difference between possible and impossible.

Of course a more authoritative source is called for. Unfortunately, the BMW USA site doesn't list a trailer towing capacity for the X3, and the 2016 owner's manual from the same site doesn't even mention the possibility of towing a trailer, let alone define limits. The BMW Canada site is broken, and unable to deliver specifications. This isn't looking good...
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:28 PM   #5
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I've got the number from 2016 towing guide which lists all models from al manufacturers. I assumed it is correct. Still, I won't go with this setup since even if I do manage to stay below 3500lb, it will be too close.

I may end up trading my X3 eventually for something bigger then consider either Escape 21 or Oliver.

Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:43 PM   #6
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I've got the number from 2016 towing guide which lists all models from al manufacturers. I assumed it is correct. Still, I won't go with this setup since even if I do manage to stay below 3500lb, it will be too close.
If it lists all manufacturers, then it is a list that someone (usually an RV or truck magazine) put together... such as the Trailer Life 2016 Guide to Tow Ratings. These routinely contain errors, especially for manufacturers not based in North America and for models (from anyone) less commonly used for towing. It looks like it was close enough in this case to arrive at the same conclusion.

The "2016" (data up to 2015 models) Trailer Life guide does list 3500 lb for the BMW X3, but to their credit I checked a few other vehicles for which I know the ratings and all were plausible... except one (the Jeep Wrangler).
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:53 AM   #7
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Can it be towed? The X3 is rated at 3500lb. Escape 19's dry weight is 2610, GVWR is 4000lb. We don't have any passengers with us, not much cargo either. We weigh 250lb combined.
I would not be comfortable with cutting so close, especially if your towing trips might include higher elevations where air is thinner and your engine generates less power.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:46 AM   #8
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Is the dry weight of 2610 pounds based on actual weighing or an estimate based on ETI's listed dry weight of 2510 pounds? If it is an estimate you can probably expect the trailer to weigh 300 to 500 pounds more than you would think. Threads such as trailer weights in the real world are instructive.
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Old 05-23-2016, 06:07 AM   #9
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I'll throw in my $.02 worth and you can not take that to the bank. What your trailer's r GVWR of 4000# should be the deciding factor, not what it actually weighs nor that you do not carry a lot of "stuff". No law enforcement person is going to carry around a scale except those state troopers out for over weight trucks. But there is a label on the trailer that says 4000# and that label is what licensing authorities will base your fees upon, the max weight, not the empty weight. Some states have 3000#, some have 3500# some have 4000# cut off for inspection or other rules, this number is what the unit is rated for, not it's actual weight.
Therefore if you are using a tow vehicle only rated to pull 3500# and you hook up to a trailer rated at 4000#, you will be towing beyond your limit, irregardless of what the unit actually weighs. These are the numbers that would be used if there were any accidents or claims submitted as they are fixed by the manufacturer, not reduced by the consumer.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:27 AM   #10
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We are thinking about buying a 19 feet version of Escape. We have not quite decided what vehicle will be optimum for our use. We would prefer something which is fairly comfortable and relatively quiet for long trips and has more than adequate power.

Suggestions will be appreciated.

I was wondering if it will be impossible to safely tow a camper 3500-4000lb loaded with a Lexus LS 430 or 460. Both have fairly decent size 8 cylinder engine and we can get higher capacity transmission cooler, radiator, alternator etc.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'll throw in my $.02 worth and you can not take that to the bank. What your trailer's r GVWR of 4000# should be the deciding factor, not what it actually weighs nor that you do not carry a lot of "stuff".
I disagree. If you are not carrying 1390 pounds of options, fluids, and "stuff", you don't need to allow for it. I have seen travel trailers (of other brands) with about 3000 pounds of capacity, and it would be ridiculous to allow to all of this if you're not using it.

Of course, you need to be realistic and consider the actual loaded weight of your trailer, not just the base dry weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
No law enforcement person is going to carry around a scale except those state troopers out for over weight trucks. But there is a label on the trailer that says 4000# and that label is what licensing authorities will base your fees upon, the max weight, not the empty weight. Some states have 3000#, some have 3500# some have 4000# cut off for inspection or other rules, this number is what the unit is rated for, not it's actual weight.
So far so good...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Therefore if you are using a tow vehicle only rated to pull 3500# and you hook up to a trailer rated at 4000#, you will be towing beyond your limit, irregardless of what the unit actually weighs. These are the numbers that would be used if there were any accidents or claims submitted as they are fixed by the manufacturer, not reduced by the consumer.
Jim, this is where I disagree. This is a travel trailer, not a commercial truck rig, so the licensed weight is irrelevant to driving the thing on the road. You can get a cargo trailer which weighs one ton and is able to carry four tons, and legally and safely hook it up to your SUV... as long as you leave it empty.

Also, the maximum trailer weight rating for a non-commercial vehicle (a passenger car, light truck, SUV/van or other multipurpose vehicle) is only a recommendation from the manufacturer (albeit a serious one), not a legally enforceable operating limit. The same goes for the GCWR, which is why the placard on the driver's door edge or frame lists only the GVWR and GAWRs... not the GCWR.

This idea that after a collision someone will look at the trailer's GVWR and find some fault seem ridiculous to me. If the trailer is not too heavy, it's not too heavy, even if it could have been loaded to be too heavy. You could have been drunk, driving too fast, not looking where you were going, or any other stupid thing... but if you were not doing them, you're not in trouble for doing them. Saying "this trailer is at a reasonable weight but could have been too heavy so I'll hold you responsible for operating an overweight trailer" is like saying "you're absolutely sober but you could have pounded down a bottle of whiskey before driving so I'll charge you with impaired driving" - complete nonsense.

Look at this another way: if your tow vehicle can handle up to 4000 pounds and the trailer GVWR is 4000 pounds and you load it to 6000 pounds, are you not in trouble for overloading your tow vehicle because the magic placard says 4000? No, the placard matters to registration (and thus fees, inspections, etc), not to whether or not your operation of the vehicle was negligent.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:54 AM   #12
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I was wondering if it will be impossible to safely tow a camper 3500-4000lb loaded with a Lexus LS 430 or 460. Both have fairly decent size 8 cylinder engine and we can get higher capacity transmission cooler, radiator, alternator etc.
You threw me at first - I thought you were asking about the LX (an SUV based on the Land Cruiser Prado), and wondered where you found a 4.3 litre engine... but it's the LS (a sedan).

I'm sure that the engine is capable; however, towing is about much more than power. If Toyota (Lexus) doesn't rate these cars with high enough trailer towing capacity, then we have no way to know if they can handle the tongue weight of the trailer, if they can control it, or if components such as the transmission can handle the sustained load of pulling the trailer.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam View Post
We are thinking about buying a 19 feet version of Escape. We have not quite decided what vehicle will be optimum for our use. We would prefer something which is fairly comfortable and relatively quiet for long trips and has more than adequate power.

Suggestions will be appreciated.

I was wondering if it will be impossible to safely tow a camper 3500-4000lb loaded with a Lexus LS 430 or 460. Both have fairly decent size 8 cylinder engine and we can get higher capacity transmission cooler, radiator, alternator etc.
Check the Lexus manufacturer's spec's on towing, that will give the correct answer...
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam View Post
We are thinking about buying a 19 feet version of Escape. We have not quite decided what vehicle will be optimum for our use. We would prefer something which is fairly comfortable and relatively quiet for long trips and has more than adequate power.

Suggestions will be appreciated.

I was wondering if it will be impossible to safely tow a camper 3500-4000lb loaded with a Lexus LS 430 or 460. Both have fairly decent size 8 cylinder engine and we can get higher capacity transmission cooler, radiator, alternator etc.
If you meant to say LX, I'd be glad to share my Toyota 4Runner experiences--which were good. If you actually meant LS, try googling towing with those sedans. Most say not to at all, and a few have put on light duty hitches for bike racks or even a jet ski. But nothing more massive. Engine power is only one of many other factors. In a word: Don't.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:54 AM   #15
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Alam - we just bought a new 2016 Highlander. It tows well, has very respectable cargo carrying volume/weight capacity, 5000# tow rating, the seats and driving is very comfortable.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:04 PM   #16
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FWIIW we town with a Acura MDX.... it handles like a very nice car

(not like an SUV)

has full time AWD

300 HP

super comfortable.

very well reviewed

my mechanic says that Honda + Acura, Toyota are most reliable vehicles, by far.

tows very well.



with optional tow package.... 5,000 lb towing.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:03 PM   #17
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Thank you for all of your comments.

I was hoping that we may avoid buying another vehicle but it would be best to buy a 4 wheel drIve SUV. Here are three potential candidates for us in the order of preference: Lexus LX, Lexus GX, Acura MDX. All three have decent ratings for towing capacity.

I did mention the idea of getting our older Lexus LS430 modified for towing to our mechanic and he saw it fit to not even answer explicitly. All he said was that it is my car and I can do to it whatever I wish. Implication was rather obvious. He suggested a Toyota 4 Runner or a Highlander.

To keep the purchase within our budget, we will buy a used SUV at a mid-life point. If the LX wasn't such a gas guzzler, we would have simply opted for it. I am curious about gas mileage drop while towing a loaded 19ft Escape in general, not just the LX.

For a little over two decades we have only driven Lexus cars (and one Acura) and have found their quality quite satisfactory. I am now also wondering if an SUV with a Diesel engine should also be considered. I understand that newer versions are not noisy and they tend to last a long time.

Since I am only in the early phase of information gathering, all relevant suggestions and commentaries will be appreciated.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:26 PM   #18
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FWIIW we town with a Acura MDX.... i

my mechanic says that Honda + Acura, Toyota are most reliable vehicles, by far.

tows very well.



with optional tow package.... 5,000 lb towing.
My experience is consistent with your (and my) mechanic's opinion. Our old LS has about 150,000 miles and drives like a new car (my wife claims that it feels like a Rolls ). Our older Lexus (now driven by our son) has about 250,000 miles. Still running nicely, with the expected maintenance. We have never had American cars fare this well but then our last American was over 25 years ago (a large and comfortable product of Lincoln but it needed too many repairs). I hear that newer Fords are better but my guess is that they may still be lagging behind Toyota and Honda products, as evidenced by resale values.

I have driven an Acura MDX and it is quite nice as far as SUVs go. I imagine it may even be better than many average cars. But it would be unrealistic to expect a ride as smooth as a Lexus LS from any SUV. What surprises me about a MDX IS its 5000lb towing capacity with 6 cylinder engine and makes me wonder how the engine and transmission might fare in the long run. Does your SUV seem to strain in the mountains? I am leaning more towards an 8 cylinder engine SUV.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:26 PM   #19
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Towing capacity is only one number and it can be highly misleading. Need to look at GCWR and the trailer's maximum weight allowed to see if the towing capacity is actually what they say. The towing capacity may be much less than the number you are given.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:23 PM   #20
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Towing capacity is only one number and it can be highly misleading. Need to look at GCWR and the trailer's maximum weight allowed to see if the towing capacity is actually what they say. The towing capacity may be much less than the number you are given.

Sound advice Cathy. When considering capacities you should look at ALL of them, not just towing capacity. The tow vehicle payload capacity and the GCWR are probably the most overlooked.


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