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Old 07-18-2019, 12:19 PM   #1
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Help...Towing a 4000 lb trailer with an SUV

All,
I'd like to purchase a NOBO 19.8, which has the following specs:

Specifications. Hitch Weight: 395 lb. UVW. 3789 lb. CCC. 1006 lb.

I plan on camping trips, with wife and 3 children, no longer than one week, at campsites that are within a 4 hour drive of home.

I have both an Acura MDX and Subaru Ascent for towing. I plan on purchasing an F150 within 2 years, so I don't want my present vehicle to limit my options to a trailer that weighs around 3000 lbs.

Each vehicle has a 5000 lb towing capacity and approximately a 1150 lb payload capacity. If I properly load the trailer, I believe I can keep the tongue weight fairly constant and limit the total trailer load to < 4100 lbs. Is this a risky a proposition? Should I downsize to a smaller trailer or wait 2 years until I have the more capable vehicle?

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:25 PM   #2
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Do not go by the UVW as it is never going to weigh that little after it leaves the factory. The actual weight of the trailer will be closer to the 4700 weight loaded.


Are you sure that YOUR vehicles are prepped and rated at 5000 lbs ??

You will be very close to max or over on your payload cap and towing cap.


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Old 07-18-2019, 12:39 PM   #3
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What's the max tongue weight rating on your hitch? I would imagine no more than 500 lbs.

You'll be pushing 550 lbs. + tongue weight (12% GVWR) if you pack relatively light. You can pretty much figure on 10-15% of GVWR for tongue weight, although on my last two trailers we've been around 12.5-13% and we pack light.

I can't imagine you not being over on payload with that size family, all the stuff in the vehicle plus tongue weight. Your TW will take half of the payload right off the bat, figure another 100ish lbs for a weight distribution hitch, unless you opt for an Andersen No-Sway (which will probably take the hitch weight down to 50ish lbs).

So with TW and the hitch you're down to about 500 lbs of available payload. Take out the weight of your family and I'm betting that you're maxed out without a single person item in the vehicle.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:40 PM   #4
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Whatever you do, you might seriously consider taking 2 vehicles. Tow with one and passengers in the other.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:03 PM   #5
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2 vehicles is a good idea, also what does your SUV's manuals say about using a WDH? I recall at least one smaller SUV that said don't use a WDH, if yours says this I would not tow it as it is too heavy not to use one.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:15 PM   #6
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What does the stickers on the door pillars say for your Acura MDX and Subaru Ascent? I'll bet you will be over loaded on both vehicles.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffaloguy123 View Post
All,
I'd like to purchase a NOBO 19.8, which has the following specs:

Specifications. Hitch Weight: 395 lb. UVW. 3789 lb. CCC. 1006 lb.

I plan on camping trips, with wife and 3 children, no longer than one week, at campsites that are within a 4 hour drive of home.

I have both an Acura MDX and Subaru Ascent for towing. I plan on purchasing an F150 within 2 years, so I don't want my present vehicle to limit my options to a trailer that weighs around 3000 lbs.

Each vehicle has a 5000 lb towing capacity and approximately a 1150 lb payload capacity.

Thanks!
As was said, you're using fictional "dry"weights. No trailer weighs those amounts because they are based on a stripped-down version of the trailer. No battery, no options, no water and no cargo.
I agree that loaded for camping, the tongue weight could easily be over 500lbs, ESPECIALLY because it's a single axle trailer. Single axle trailers put more weight on the tongue, than a comparable tandem axle trailer.
And your "approximate 1150lb payload capacity can't be right. Payload capacities are not approximate and are specific to each vehicle, as equipped when it left the factory.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:04 PM   #8
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Each vehicle has a 5000 lb towing capacity, 500 lb max tongue weight, and approximately a 1150 lb payload capacity (sticker says "1158" for Ascent and "1150" for MDX which includes cargo, passengers, tongue weight). The manuals for both vehicle recommends NOT using a WD hitch due to the stability control systems. The GVWR of the Ascent is 6000 lbs. The vehicle weighs 4500 lbs. There are multiple Subaru threads questioning why there is a 350 lb difference between payload capacity and (GVWR - vehicle weight), but that is a different story. Fluids aren't that heavy.

In the MDX manual, the allowable tongue weight decreases significantly with additional passengers based on the allowable weight on the rear axle rather than just subtracting from the payload capacity. The Ascent manual treats tongue weight the same as passenger weight. Therefore, if I have 4 - 150 lb passengers (w/out cargo) in the Ascent, I can still have a 500 lb tongue weight without exceeding capacity. With the MDX, the manual says the allowable tongue weight drops to 370 lbs. The Ascent has a higher rating on both the front and rear axle. The Ascent manual also recommends a tongue weight of 8 - 11% of the total trailer weight rather than the standard 10 - 15%.

I was thinking I could load the extra cargo, behind the axle of the trailer to reduce the tongue weight or at least keep it around 400 lbs. I'm not too worried about the payload capacity of my vehicle as the family could always drive a second vehicle if need be.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:20 PM   #9
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I'm not too worried about the payload capacity of my vehicle as the family could always drive a second vehicle if need be.
Good plan if you're willing to do that. Most people are not.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffaloguy123 View Post
Should I downsize to a smaller trailer or wait 2 years until I have the more capable vehicle? Thanks!
I towed a 6000lbs camper with a BMW X5 for 12K miles with success so I can relate to your situation.
We also didn't want to change vehicles and that is the reason we limited the camper we bought to the weight we could carry.
This is another "do what is right" vs "do what you want" situation.
Many will say that wait 2 years and get the truck is the way to go for you would be safer on the weight side and do not lose money trading the camper to a bigger one (like we did) 2 years later.... BUT ..... that also means that you will not enjoy 2 years of camping with your kids and they are growing....
We lost money buying a brand new camper and selling it 18 months later but the memories we made are priceless so I'm on the side to recommend buying what you can tow today and go for it...


Now, towing with a SUV:
Camping is an activity that for a strange reason lead you to accumulate "stuff" so you will realize pretty soon that lack of space and payload to carry stuff is one of the big shortfalls of towing with SUVs. For example, where will you carry your bicycles?

That being said, towing with a SUV is very comfortable and can be, in my experience, safer than towing with a truck IF properly set up.
With properly set up I mean the adjustments recommended in the articles below:
https://www.rvhotlinecanada.com/deal...unt-angle/169/
https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/post/hit...izing-hitches/
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffaloguy123 View Post
I was thinking I could load the extra cargo, behind the axle of the trailer to reduce the tongue weight .
You will have to test that strategy carefully.
Usually increasing weight in the rear of the camper and making the tongue light at the same time increases the sensibility of the rig towards sway but this is a small camper so it may not be a problem....
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:30 PM   #12
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Your NoBo 19.8 will actually weigh 5000lbs with a 500 lb hitch weight when you are ready to tow. An Acura MDX/Subaru Ascent loaded with 5 people will be already be heavily loaded without the weight of the hitch.
Get the F150.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Buffaloguy123 View Post
Each vehicle has a 5000 lb towing capacity, 500 lb max tongue weight, and approximately a 1150 lb payload capacity (sticker says "1158" for Ascent and "1150" for MDX which includes cargo, passengers, tongue weight). The manuals for both vehicle recommends NOT using a WD hitch due to the stability control systems. The GVWR of the Ascent is 6000 lbs. The vehicle weighs 4500 lbs. There are multiple Subaru threads questioning why there is a 350 lb difference between payload capacity and (GVWR - vehicle weight), but that is a different story. Fluids aren't that heavy.

In the MDX manual, the allowable tongue weight decreases significantly with additional passengers based on the allowable weight on the rear axle rather than just subtracting from the payload capacity. The Ascent manual treats tongue weight the same as passenger weight. Therefore, if I have 4 - 150 lb passengers (w/out cargo) in the Ascent, I can still have a 500 lb tongue weight without exceeding capacity. With the MDX, the manual says the allowable tongue weight drops to 370 lbs. The Ascent has a higher rating on both the front and rear axle. The Ascent manual also recommends a tongue weight of 8 - 11% of the total trailer weight rather than the standard 10 - 15%.

I was thinking I could load the extra cargo, behind the axle of the trailer to reduce the tongue weight or at least keep it around 400 lbs. I'm not too worried about the payload capacity of my vehicle as the family could always drive a second vehicle if need be.
You keep referring to towing capacity. This parameter is usually the last one to be exceeded. You will be over the recommended tongue weight on both. No one is trying to discourage you, just insure you and your family are safe and enjoy the experience. A tongue weight of 8-10% will make for a very uncomfortable ride especially in a short wheelbase vehicle.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:29 PM   #14
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I towed a 192RBS at 4700 actual pounds with an MDX and a Blue Ox WDH with 550 Lb rated spring bars.



Cross winds out West limited my "Safe" feeling speed to about 55MPH. No problem with power for MDX. We did 7500 miles in 7 weeks, and it was quite tiring after about five hours a day on the road. The independent rear suspension that gives the MDX a nice ride works against stability. I would use a truck for that kind of trip.
If you are mostly short trips from home, it would be no problem.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:20 PM   #15
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Everything Iíve read on the Subaru forum suggests itís on the high end of the capacity but doable. People on the forum keep referring to the 4300 lb Airstream tow test that Subaru ran which I recognize isnít representative of a normal trip, but itís still informative. I plan on limiting the weight to something lower than 4100 lbs. The GVWR of the NOBO trailer is around 4700 lbs. I will only camp at sites with all hookups until I get the f150. At that point, Iíll stock it up.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:37 AM   #16
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Ok hereís my .02 cents on this. I have a 2010 Chevy traverse. Pretty close to the same size TV as you. The furthest we like to travel at this time is about 4 hours away on fairly level roads. You will feel pushing and pulling from wind and vehicles.

On my TV Towing capacity is 5200 lbs and max TW is 600 with WDH. Payload is 1586 lbs. with a max towing capacity of 10,250 combined weight rating. I have a 2017 shamrock 183. Real weights have been off from published weights since day one. My actual TW when I got home from the dealer was 420 or so and trailer was about right around 4000 lbs if I remember correctly. Published TW was 380 or around there and max capacity on the trailer is 4760 or so. Trailer is about 4500-4600 lbs loaded when we go. My TW is at 540-550 including WDH. Take that number off my TV payload and just for argument sake subtract 600 lbs. this gives me just under 1000 lbs payload left.

We have 4 people that travel. Everything we have that we want or need is in the TT and we travel with no water, little to no food in trailer. Basically we are empty minus clothing and trailer needs. We shop for food after we get to the site. We are not over our numbers but I am basically at the max for our TV. With such a low payload on your TV You would be limited on what TV you use. I have taken 2 cars before just to have more stuff on extended traveling lengths but it is a pain and just extra money. We have been with this setup for 3 years now and I have finally got the green light for a new TV early next year . I know I bounced around a little with things but I hope this helps you in decision making.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:59 PM   #17
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Consider a compromise, look at travel trailers (TT) close to 4,000# GTWR range. As others have referenced, tongue weight plus weight of a Weight Distributing Hitch (WDH) plus weight of people plus stuff piled in/on the tow vehicle is the cargo weight of your tow vehicle (TV). Cargo carrying capacity (CCC) is normally what first gets exceeded.
I bought my TT to be able to tow it with my Ford Explorer. It was well with most specs but loaded for camping I was overloaded slightly on the TT single axle(TAWR) and the TV's CCC by a couple hundred pounds or so, per CAT scales. TV rear axle within specs with the WDH, overweight without WDH. My GTWR is 3877, TAWR 3500. Explorer had a tow rating of 5225 with a hitch rated 5000/500 without WDH. My wife would tell you I was brutal removing every ounce of weight from the TT AND TV!
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:43 PM   #18
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Safe tow weight

It is 20% of your max tow capacity for safe towing. So if your tow vehicle has a max of pounds your max on your trailer loaded will be 4000 pounds max (not dry weight). So to be on the safe side a trailer weighing in around 3000 pounds would be ideal.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:08 PM   #19
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It is 20% of your max tow capacity for safe towing. So if your tow vehicle has a max of pounds your max on your trailer loaded will be 4000 pounds max (not dry weight). So to be on the safe side a trailer weighing in around 3000 pounds would be ideal.


If you donít mind can you state where you got your 20% number from. If it is dealership then the manufacturer would have set the number 80% lower to keep from being sued. I do assume you meant 80% your math comes out to 75% of your example. I have heard of manufacturers providing cautions for length of vehicle towed, frontal surface, but never a caution on safe percentage to tow. Some people give reduced towing capacity to safe wear and tear on car. However most HD trucks share same power train options across the board so that theory is a hard sell as well. Now if the 20% or 80% is your opinion I canít knock it just donít sale it without the caveat of in my opinion.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:58 PM   #20
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20% safely tow

Not only did I get the info from the Chevy dealership I also got the info from my brother-in-law who has towed several trailers over the many years and the rule of thumb is 20% of your total weight capacity. I also researched it and it says to safely tow any trailer that you don't want To max out you vehicle when it comes to braking. Some states require it when you tow a trailer either a fifth wheel or a travel trailer or any other trailers. Every place I check said 20 to 25% of max tow capacity. Me, I just like to be safe for me and my family as well as others on the road. The best thing anyone can do is just look it up.
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