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J Miller
post Aug 5 2010, 08:14 AM
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I hope I'm not pestering you folks with a million questions, but I am just getting into the camping scene and I'm looking for as much information as I can gather smile.gif

I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.

Any info or experiences you veterans have would be greatly appreciated biggrin.gif


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J Miller
Warren, Michigan
2011 Jayco JayFlight
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Denali
post Aug 5 2010, 05:40 PM
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QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 5 2010, 07:14 AM) *
I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.
I think your instincts are correct.

First, a rule of thumb in RV circles is that you should not tow a trailer that weighs more than 80% of your tow vehicle's official towing capacity. If you do, you will spend all your time trying to keep up with traffic, and it will have a lon-n-n-ng stopping distance.

Second, a short wheelbase vehicle like an SUV is not appropriate for towing a vehicle that long. The tail will wag the dog every time you meet a big truck on the road, and it can easily start the unrecoverable "sway of death" if you change lanes on a downhill grade.

Third, the dry weight of a trailer does not include any of your stuff. No clothes, no food, no pots and pans, no books, no camping gear, etc.

Before we retired we had a 5,000# (fully loaded) 19-foot trailer that we camped with on weekends. We didn't dare drive over 55 MPH when towing it with either our Ford Explorer or our Ford Expedition. I could feel it want to start swaying if we drove faster. Fortunately, we lived in Alaska, where there weren't many places to drive that fast. smile.gif


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Dave Rudisill
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J Miller
post Aug 6 2010, 07:20 AM
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QUOTE(Denali @ Aug 5 2010, 07:40 PM) *

I think your instincts are correct.

First, a rule of thumb in RV circles is that you should not tow a trailer that weighs more than 80% of your tow vehicle's official towing capacity. If you do, you will spend all your time trying to keep up with traffic, and it will have a lon-n-n-ng stopping distance.

Second, a short wheelbase vehicle like an SUV is not appropriate for towing a vehicle that long. The tail will wag the dog every time you meet a big truck on the road, and it can easily start the unrecoverable "sway of death" if you change lanes on a downhill grade.

Third, the dry weight of a trailer does not include any of your stuff. No clothes, no food, no pots and pans, no books, no camping gear, etc.

Before we retired we had a 5,000# (fully loaded) 19-foot trailer that we camped with on weekends. We didn't dare drive over 55 MPH when towing it with either our Ford Explorer or our Ford Expedition. I could feel it want to start swaying if we drove faster. Fortunately, we lived in Alaska, where there weren't many places to drive that fast. smile.gif



This is exactly what I was afraid of. I definitely don't want to be overturned on the side of I-75. So what do you suppose a good length to two with an SUV would be? Is 25 Ft still too long, or should we look 20' and under. I'm all about safety here, and it won't be MY car that I'm towing this trailer with, it's a relatives. We plan on getting a truck next year, so we may only tow the trailer a handful of times this year. But we are planning a trip up north that's about 250 miles away, so I don't want to take any chances. Thanks again for the input!


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Denali
post Aug 6 2010, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 6 2010, 06:20 AM) *

This is exactly what I was afraid of. I definitely don't want to be overturned on the side of I-75. So what do you suppose a good length to two with an SUV would be? Is 25 Ft still too long, or should we look 20' and under. I'm all about safety here, and it won't be MY car that I'm towing this trailer with, it's a relatives. We plan on getting a truck next year, so we may only tow the trailer a handful of times this year. But we are planning a trip up north that's about 250 miles away, so I don't want to take any chances. Thanks again for the input!
I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what a good max length would be. Without spending a lot of money on either an equalizing hitch or, better yet, a Hensley hitch, I wouldn't tow anything longer than about 20' with an SUV.

Remember, I have no experience with that particular SUV. I would certainly look for input from folks who have actually towed a trailer with that model. Only they can tell you what feels safe. If you drive around RV parks and campgrounds, you will quickly get an idea of what other folks are towing with different tow vehicles.

Don't forget that you will need to buy a brake controller from any tow vehicle you use.


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Sylvie
post Aug 10 2010, 12:56 AM
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QUOTE(Denali @ Aug 6 2010, 05:33 PM) *

I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what a good max length would be. Without spending a lot of money on either an equalizing hitch or, better yet, a Hensley hitch, I wouldn't tow anything longer than about 20' with an SUV.

Remember, I have no experience with that particular SUV. I would certainly look for input from folks who have actually towed a trailer with that model. Only they can tell you what feels safe. If you drive around RV parks and campgrounds, you will quickly get an idea of what other folks are towing with different tow vehicles.

Don't forget that you will need to buy a brake controller from any tow vehicle you use.



I totally agree with "Denali". We drive a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ 4WD with a towing capacity of 7700 lbs. In April we bought a 32' 6" Keystone Cougar Xlite 29FKS with a dry weight of 6159 lbs and a carrying capacity of 1641 lbs (total 7800 lbs). We had a HUSKY CENTER LINE™ Towing System installed. It includes the Center Line Torsion Weight Distribution Hitch and Active Sway Control System. Here's a link that explains how it works:

http://www.huskytow.com/FTP/PDF/P01045_HTCH_CenterLine.pdf

We also have the Hensley Tru-Control Gold Brake Controller and are extremely pleased with it. Smooth braking always!

Anyway, we've weighed our trailer fully loaded at a CAT Scale, on our way to the campground, and we were nowhere near the full carrying capacity. We've never had a problem pulling, accelerating, passing or climbing hills, etc...

Go talk to a dealer whose trailers you might be interested in, and let them explain to you what you can reasonably pull. Numbers are there as a guideline, but every case is different as there can be so many variables.

Hope you find what you want soon and start enjoying RV'ing!

Good luck!

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Sylvie
post Aug 10 2010, 01:11 AM
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QUOTE(Sylvie @ Aug 10 2010, 02:56 AM) *

I totally agree with "Denali". We drive a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ 4WD with a towing capacity of 7700 lbs. In April we bought a 32' 6" Keystone Cougar Xlite 29FKS with a dry weight of 6159 lbs and a carrying capacity of 1641 lbs (total 7800 lbs). We had a HUSKY CENTER LINE™ Towing System installed. It includes the Center Line Torsion Weight Distribution Hitch and Active Sway Control System. Here's a link that explains how it works:

http://www.huskytow.com/FTP/PDF/P01045_HTCH_CenterLine.pdf

We also have the Hensley Tru-Control Gold Brake Controller and are extremely pleased with it. Smooth braking always!

Anyway, we've weighed our trailer fully loaded at a CAT Scale, on our way to the campground, and we were nowhere near the full carrying capacity. We've never had a problem pulling, accelerating, passing or climbing hills, etc...

Go talk to a dealer whose trailers you might be interested in, and let them explain to you what you can reasonably pull. Numbers are there as a guideline, but every case is different as there can be so many variables.

Hope you find what you want soon and start enjoying RV'ing!

Good luck!



Just a quick correction to my statement of "I totally agree with Denali". I agree with his statements regarding the hitch and the brake controller, but I do not agree with the statement: "if you drive an SUV you shouldn't pull anything longer than 20 feet. We have never heard or read that statement anywhere, so........????? As per my post, we drive an SUV and pull a 32' 6" lightweight TT with no problems. And we've seen many SUV's pulling long TT's. Just a thought.


Good luck in your search!
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