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Old 08-03-2022, 05:06 PM   #1
oldporkchops
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Default New Here: Towing Capacity and Hitch Recommendations

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the Trail Manor forum and would like to get a Trail Manor in the next few months. I'd like to ask what hitch you'd recommend? There's currently none on my vehicle.

I've a 2016 Honda Odyssey that has a 3,500 pound towing capacity and a 1493 pound payload. GVWR is 6019 lb and Curb Weight is 4396 lbs.

I've a family of six so more space would be preferable. Could you please let me know which version would you safely recommend for my family?

Since the height of Trail Manor travel trailers are a much lower profile, do I still need to stick to the commonly used rule of thumb by towing only 75% to 85% of towing capacity? Or is it 90%?

Thank you in advance for your time and help with my questions.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:55 PM   #2
Wavery
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Originally Posted by oldporkchops View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the Trail Manor forum and would like to get a Trail Manor in the next few months. I'd like to ask what hitch you'd recommend? There's currently none on my vehicle.

I've a 2016 Honda Odyssey that has a 3,500 pound towing capacity and a 1493 pound payload. GVWR is 6019 lb and Curb Weight is 4396 lbs.

I've a family of six so more space would be preferable. Could you please let me know which version would you safely recommend for my family?

Since the height of Trail Manor travel trailers are a much lower profile, do I still need to stick to the commonly used rule of thumb by towing only 75% to 85% of towing capacity? Or is it 90%?

Thank you in advance for your time and help with my questions.
The Honda Odyssey is a marginal tow vehicle when the TM is packed extremely light and only 1 or 2 passengers. If I were you, I would look for a much larger tow vehicle. Towing with a family of 6 will overload that Odyssey under the best of conditions. Please don't put your family at risk.

Towing safety is all about what the tow vehicle can STOP in an emergency. If you can't stop your tow, it could get really ugly, really fast. Trailer brakes are helpful to a point. The main stopping power comes from the tow vehicle.
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Old 08-03-2022, 07:49 PM   #3
Bill
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I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer here, but your suggested rig is going to have issues. There are a few members of the Forum who tow a ready-to-camp TM with a 3500-pound rated vehicle, but not many.

The first part of the problem is the actual weight of the TM when you hitch it up and go. You need to be aware that the specified weight of any RV or trailer, including a TM, is the so-called "dry weight". Dry weight means the weight before any options (factory or aftermarket) are added. You will need to check the list of available factory options for the year of the trailer you plan to own. Most are pretty light, but the air conditioner and the awning add up to a couple hundred pounds or more. Dry weight also refers to the weight of the trailer before any content is added - meaning no food, dishes, clothes, water, propane, bedding, tools, or anything else that you as an owner/camper would add before you hit the road. Bottom line is that it is common for a middle-of-the-road TM such as a 2720 to weigh in at 4000 pounds when it is ready to hitch up and go. And towed weight, also known as ready-to-camp weight, is what counts, of course.

The other part of the problem is with the "tow rating" of the tow vehicle. A vehicle's specified tow rating applies to the vehicle itself, with no cargo, and no people except a 150-pound driver. Anything beyond this must be subtracted directly from the tow rating. If you add 5 people at an average weight of 75 pounds (375 pounds), the tow rating immediately drops to 3125 pounds. And if you put a couple hundred pounds of cargo in the back of the vehicle, your tow rating drops to 2925 pounds. With a family of 6, and the "stuff" required to support them, both of these numbers may need a little more thought.

When you look at a vehicle's tow rating spec, you will often find an asterisk next to the number, and the asterisk will say something like "when properly equipped". And "properly equipped" usually means it has a factory-installed towing package. And if the vehicle doesn't have a Class 3 or Class 4 hitch receiver, that means it doesn't have a factory towing package. The package is a group of equipment including important things like heavier suspension components, an auxiliary transmission cooler (over and above the cooler that all automatic transmission vehicles have), a 7-way electrical socket to plug the trailer into, and an electrical brake controller.

Again, I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer here, but I would hate to see you get all set up and ready to go, only to find that your rig won't do what you thought it would do.

Bill
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Old 08-03-2022, 09:20 PM   #4
oldporkchops
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Hi Bill and Wavery,

Thank you for putting my safety at the forefront of things I need to consider. Being new, it is also what I am most concerned about.

Compared to a regular height travel trailer, it appears far less challenging to tow a TM. Also, the quality of the Hutterite-assembled TMs is what my local dealer said is something they're proud of. Along with the possibility of storing the 2518KB in a house garage, these are the factors that won me over.

Having said this, I do not currently own an appropriate tow vehicle that has six seatbelts. You guys use pickup trucks as your tow vehicles and from the little I know, those have far more towing capacity than my Honda Odyssey.

I was looking into a Ford Expedition with more than 8,000 pounds of towing capacity. Most, if not all, come with a tow hitch receiver as standard. I guess that would put us at ease? What other two vehicles that has at least seven or eight seatbelts would you guys recommend?

Thanks again for helping with your replies. It is advancing my knowledge.
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:58 AM   #5
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Several years ago, we actually did an informal poll of member recommendations for tow rating. Although there were a few outliers, mostly on the more-is-better side, the consensus was that a tow vehicle should have a minimum tow rating of 5000 pounds. And that works only if you have few people and pack very light. I assume that many of your family of six are young kids, so they don't weigh much. But the "stuff" to support them may make up for it.

Many of our members have opted for pickups, where tow ratings of 6K or more, and with the factory tow package, are easy to get and a great solution. Seating in a pickup would be an issue for you, but many closed-body SUVs should have the tow rating you need, and the seating you need. The Expedition is a moose - I personally love it - and though it might be viewed as a bit of overkill, would make a wonderful rig. Chevy and many of the Japanese makers make similar offerings. I won't point you in one direction or another. You'll need to do your own research and your own shopping to see what meets your other needs.

Just as an aside, you should be aware that a 2518 will be pretty crowded for you, as would a 2720 - especially on rainy days. And when the manufacturer (again, any manufacturer) brags about the number of people a unit will sleep, you should be sure you know exactly how this is accomplished - and how this would be affected as your kids get a couple years older. TM has been getting a little more honest about this in recent years, but "Sleeps 6" requires some set-up and tear-down for the night. Please try to arrange an extensive visit, including setting up and taking down all the beds, before you make a decision.

BTW, are you aware that TM's optional swing tongue reduces the closed length by 2 feet, which helps in garage-parking scenarios?

I'll mention one other thing. Vehicle manufacturers publish a tow rating as a single number. This never made sense to me - obviously you need more capability to tow in high altitude mountains such as the Tetons or Rockies, than you do to tow in the flatlands of the midwest or deep south. Fortunately tow ratings have gotten a lot more honest since the SAE stepped in with their J2807 spec a few years ago, but you should still consider your camping plans as you think about tow vehicles.

Also it is worth noting that a bigger tow vehicle would give you the option to move into TM's 30-to-33 foot class. Big TMs are currently made in only the 29 and 31 foot class, but there are used TMs at 30 and 33 feet that might be interesting.

I don't want to seem like I am pushing you into anything that you don't want, or don't need. I'm not a believer in bigger is better. I will welcome you into the Forum no matter what you choose. But since you are new to this whole thing, some experience-based knowledge could be valuable.

This is a long post - there is a lot to say - and I hope it has been useful to you. if you've read all of it, I thank you. Folks with smart phones tend not to go beyond the first few lines, and ignore the rest, which is a waste of my time. So I'm trying to reduce my long-post count.

Bill
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Old 08-04-2022, 09:32 PM   #6
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Hi Bill,

You are a wealth of knowledge that I need at this stage of my TM experience. Thank you for sharing your years of experience and that the additional space in larger TMs is something I need to consider for my family of six, especially for rainy days.

Yes, I am aware that the swing tongue reduces the closed length by 2 feet, but I didn't know it was an optional feature. I'll be sure to opt in.

As to your long post, not only did I read it to the end, I've read it at least twice. You've made me look for the 33 ft models of years past. The M3326 King made from about 2003 to 2010 is what I've found so far.

Bill, do know you've been immensely helpful and for that I'm most grateful for your time and kindness.

I look forward to continuing the discussion questions arise during my fresh new search for an appropriate tow vehicle and a larger TM.

With sincere gratitude,
David
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:33 AM   #7
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As others have said get a bigger TV.

After you fill the Honda with people and all their stuff, you really shouldn't tow much more than 1500 lbs.
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Old Today, 03:54 PM   #8
larsdennert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldporkchops View Post
Hi everyone,

I've a 2016 Honda Odyssey that has a 3,500 pound towing capacity and a 1493 pound payload. GVWR is 6019 lb and Curb Weight is 4396 lbs.
It would be 3500 pound towing capacity OR 1493 pound payload I believe. A 2720 works for a family of six though.
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Old Today, 09:38 PM   #9
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All great information. I recall we bought back in 2007 a Chevrolet Trailblazer just to be able to haul a TM. It took us three years to find one but we were and continue to be very happy with our 2007 2027SL. It does sleep four comfortably but that's it. Unless would get a 2027 model with a full size bed in the front. As has been indicated, going on vacation with six people with all their belongings for the trip and pulling the camper....not too safe unless you do have a vehicle made for the job.

As we live next to the Rocky Mountains we are used to pull our camper over some 10,000 foot mountain passes. We do have a 2019 Honda Ridgeline and it does a nice job. What I find important as well is GET WATER JUST BEFORE OR AT YOUR DESTINATION. Doing that saves so much on towing capacity. Also
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Old Today, 09:40 PM   #10
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ooops....MAKE SURE YOU PACK THE TM IN THE BEST POSSIBLE FASHION. Lots of news items out there on doing it in the best manner.
Hopefully you'll find the right TM for you and I believe you'll enjoy it very much and save a lot of $ on gas as you travel the miles.
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