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Old 10-01-2009, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Which model can I tow?

I have read on this message board some that say the tow ratings given by TrailManor are inflated. I currently have a Mazda Tribute but am thinking of buying a GMC Terrain. Both of which are compact SUV's with tow ratings of 3500. I want to get a used TrailManor but am having a hard time finding the 2720 that I want. Would I be pushing it trying to tow a 3023? I know the dry weight is 2915 but I want the advice of those of you with more experience. I plan to tow it in Oregon, California, Mt. Shasta, Lake Tahoe and San Diego? Please let me know what you think.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rottimom View Post
I have read on this message board some that say the tow ratings given by TrailManor are inflated. I currently have a Mazda Tribute but am thinking of buying a GMC Terrain. Both of which are compact SUV's with tow ratings of 3500. I want to get a used TrailManor but am having a hard time finding the 2720 that I want. Would I be pushing it trying to tow a 3023? I know the dry weight is 2915 but I want the advice of those of you with more experience. I plan to tow it in Oregon, California, Mt. Shasta, Lake Tahoe and San Diego? Please let me know what you think.
Hi, You Will Get Lots Of Info Here, Maybe I Can Help A Little....

I Have A 2008, With The Basic Options Ac,Awning, 40 Gal Water Tank, Swing Hitch.

I Took The Weight Of My Tm With Full Propane Tanks, Full 40 Gal Water Tank & Full Water Heater (6 Gals). Weighed Everything I Put In There To Go Camping And I Came Up With About 3850 Lbs Fully Loaded.

If You Travel With An Empty Water Tank, Empty Water Heater, And Toilet Is Not Precharged Subtract Abouit 450 Lbs.

So With A Max Tow Rating Of 3500Lbs A 3023 Might Be Pushing It, Depends On How You Travel.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:46 PM   #3
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I tow a 2720SL in the areas you mention. Those areas can have lots of mountains and steep elevation changes, as well as hectic freeway traffic. Both conditions require the ability to stop quickly. I personally would not feel comfortable towing with a less capable vehicle than the Toyota Sequoia we have now. But I know some folks tow around here with a minivan, so perhaps they will chime in. I have not tried it so perhaps it's not as bad as I make it out to be.

However, I don't think anyone would disagree with these points:

1) stopping a trailer is way more important, and harder to do, than getting it going.
2) all else being equal, the smaller the vehicle you tow with, the more you are at risk for a collision

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Old 10-01-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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I second the comment that a lot depends on how your travel.

My 2720 weighs 3380 on the axle. I estimate the total weight at 4100 pounds.

But I am always fully loaded with water and a bunch of other stuff.

The general rule of thumb is that most people carry about 1,000 pounds of stuff. To reduce weight, take less stuff.

Use aluminum pots and pans instead of cast iron. Better yet, eat out.

Paper plates may weigh less than china.

Choose your clothes carefully. My wife probably does not need 4 pairs of choose for a weekend trip, but I am not going to tell her that.

I really do not need a fully stocked bar. I don't tell my wife what shoes to take and she does not ask me if I really need both bourbon and brandy.

It isn't just the weight. The longer the trailer is, then the longer the wheelbase of the tow vehicle should be. That will reduce the risk of sway.

You mentioned California. Towing in the Sierras, where I frequently go, may put a real strain on your transmission. Donner Summit is a bit over 9,000 feet. Some parts of I80 are a little steep. If you are towing with a company car that is replaced every two years then that is not important. If you own it, then you need to understand the wear and tear on the transmission. How often will you be towing? Once a year is different than every weekend.

For someone with a tow rating of 3,500 pounds, I would suggest the 2720 or 2619. Anything bigger and I would recommend a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.

But, if you travel light and don't mind wear and tear issues than give it a try.
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:19 PM   #5
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Be sure and check the GCWR or your vechicle. From reading this kind of post in the past, it appeared to me that most people agreed that you really SHOULD have a vechicle rated at 5000 lb tow rating. But....there's a lot that don't and they seem to be happy and do OK.
If you are purchasing a new may want to consider something with a higher tow rating. I suspect you know that though. I tow a 2619 with the Highlander rated at 5000 lbs and wish I had looked harder at the Sequoia. A used PU may be in my future once I have more time to travel.
Good Luck!!!
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:51 PM   #6
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I am one of the minivan TVers out there. It does fine so far for me but I work at traveling light and fully intend to purchase a full-size truck to do the towing in the future. The Sienna works but I a more robust TV would provide more safety margin and require less active weight management. If you are in the buying mode why target something that would just barely cut it? I could understand "settling" more if you already had the TV and weren't in a position to upgrade it
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:57 AM   #7
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Rottimom -

You're asking a good question, and it looks like you have done some of the research. Let's be sure we are clear on a couple things.

First, TM does not give tow ratings. Car manufacturers give tow ratings - no one else could do it. Whether you believe those tow ratings is a different question. However, Trailer Life magazine gathers all those manufacturer's tow ratings into a magazine article each year, and the TM web site simply references that article.

Second, you mention "dry weight", and that's good. That's part of the research. But are you sure that you understand the full meaning of "dry weight"? Dry weight does not include several rather heavy factory options that you will usually find on a TM. I'm thinking particularly of the air conditioner and the awning, but there are at least half a dozen others. So the actual weight of an empty TM, sitting in your driveway before you add any of your own stuff, will be substantially greater than 2915 pounds.

Wayne says that most people add about 1000 pounds of "stuff" to their TM. My own take would be a bit lower, say 500 to 1000 pounds, but in the same ball park. As he says, you don't have to add that much weight - you can pack lighter - but no matter how light you pack, there is still some basic stuff that you will want to have. Think dishes, bedding, food, clothes, a few tools. And how about the equipment and food and stuff for the dogs? So you can't down-pack all the way to zero.

Finally, you need to ask how many people will be in the tow vehicle. And how much stuff you will carry in the tow vehicle. The weight of these must be directly subtracted from the tow rating of the vehicle. If you are going out alone, that's one thing. But if you will have hubby and two kids and two big dogs, that's another.

As you can tell, I am in the camp that says a 3500 pound rating isn't enough. But as you also see, we have members who regularly tow with a 3500-pound vehicle, though often in the flatlands, not the big mountains. So the choice is yours. Your vehicle will move the trailer, and will stop it. It will struggle on long upgrades. On long downgrades - well, you better drive in such a way that it doesn't struggle, or the situation will deteriorate quickly. You must maintain your vehicle extremely well, and probably expect a few extra repairs. And, oh yes - pack light.

Good luck, and welcome to the world of TM. You'll love it.

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Old 10-02-2009, 08:22 AM   #8
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I know this has been discussed in previous threads, but worth doing again. You do not mention how your TV is configured. At a min you should have a full tow package including aux transmission cooler, HD alternator, HD brakes, a good class 3 receiver and a WD hitch. Without these you will be able to move the TM around but will be impacting the reliability and service life of the TV and passenger safety. As you can see from my signature, I have a configuration that tends to be conservative, but there have been several instances where I was very gad I had the extra margin. With the current financial pressure on TV and Trailer manufacturers they can not afford to build in lots of extra safety margin and although technically correct in their advertisements generally not realistic.
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:41 AM   #9
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fwiw, of the approximately 1,000 pounds of stuff that I take with me, 48 gallons of water weighs 400 pounds.

So, my other stuff weighs about 600 pounds.

40 gallon water tank
6 gallon water heater
2 gallons (approximate) to charge the toilet.

For where we go, I must carry water. I also have plastic containers for an additional 28 gallons in the bed of the truck.

If you arrive in camp with no water of your own, and the campground water is not available, what is your backup plan? Perhaps it is to turn around and go home. That is not my plan.

I have encountered contaminated water at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterrey and no working water pump at a Shasta Lake forest service campground.

If you always camp in RV parks that get their water from a city water supply then the risk of no water is near zero. So you can forgo the 400 pounds of water.
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