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Old 04-02-2016, 11:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 39
Unibody Tow Vehicles

Anyone interested in seeing how others have towed with their "non-truck" tow vehicles? Maybe sharing numbers if you want, pictures if nothing else.

There are many examples of vehicles that are capable towers when staying in the numbers .. like the grand cherokee, even though the close cousin M class mercedes states that you should not use WD. And BMW going the 8% tongue limit like VW and Porsche.

Then you have the limited but usable ford explorer that IS unibody but states that WD MUST be used to get to the 5000Lb max. While the Honda ridgeline is going the European route of saying no.

I would love to see what people are towing without pickups as the pickup people have had the run of the industry so far..

no flames intended or wanted ..

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Old 04-03-2016, 12:04 AM   #2
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We towed over 25,000 mikes with a Ridgeline. TT was molded fiberglass, 3300 pounds loaded with a tongue weight of about 315. We never felt the need for a WDH or sway control but we were comfortably under the rated tow capacity.

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Old 04-03-2016, 08:56 AM   #3
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sounds perfect, just needed more space?
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ricksterv View Post
sounds perfect, just needed more space?
Yes, the Casita became too tight, so we went big time. Still have the Ridgeline but tow a CRV.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:02 PM   #5
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I know this one will put the weight police on my tail...
Nothing in the SUV except the wife and kids. Everything else is packed in the trailer. I'm stretching all limits to the max but at least using a ProPride 3P to eliminate all risks of sway. Breaking is not an issue as compression on the diesel helps a lot and I never go over 62MPH - usually cruise at 55-57 and I do keep my distances just in case. Knowing what this setup can and can't do is what keep us safe.

I had the hitch reinforced since it's rated at 680# and I am at 750# tongue weight with the PP3P. Also have extra load tires (XL) on the SUV to add to the comfort of the ride.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:24 PM   #6
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2010 Honda Pilot. We tow 2016 MicroLite 19FD. Dealer installed WDH. First trip was from Boise area to Sandpoint thru Oregon and Washington. Mountains, 4 lane, 2 lane, rain, wind, even some snow over the Blues in Oregon. Stayed between 55-60 mph. MPG average about 10. Really no big issues....went just fine. Trip was great confidence builder....ready to go again!
2016 MicroLite 19DD
2010 Honda Pilot WDH
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:14 PM   #7
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2010 BMW X5 diesel. SP220 about 5000#s. Tows well get about 12.5-13.5mpg don't go over 65 and usually tow off freeway at 55mph. Not supposed to use wdh, but I do anyway just don't tighten the bars down very much Click image for larger version

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Old 04-04-2016, 12:47 AM   #8
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nice to hear about and see some fine combo's. Funny how in three post you covered ideas I had considered b4 the touareg although the MB was going to be stretching the limits. The latest x5 seems to have been crippled by a bad choice of hitch choice by BMWNA. Limited to a 2 inch ball on the factory setup i think.. My only other idea would have been a grand cherokee. The Honda is just a great design all around. Nice storage below the bed.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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As long as the OEM gives it enough rating, and you use the right equipment as specified (brake controller, WDH, etc), use it.
I towed a 3000 lbs loaded popup camper with 2 Chrysler minivans for 7 seasons. That's about as unibody as it gets (rolling jelly bean). Used a Prodigy brake controller (same one I have now), and a 400 lbs Single Bar WDH kit.

A unibody will be very stiff and a good vehicle. The question comes when you see how the trailer hitch is attached. On a true truck, you are bolting/welding the hitch to big beefy frames directly. This allows big tow ratings that are likely only limited by the drivetrain.

On my minivan, the hitch bolted to some lighter frame-members, which were welded to the unibody. Not as strong. But then again, it only had a 3800 lbs rating (2000 without the WDH). The drivetrains in today's minivan's can probably handle more, but the structure isn't designed for more.

Enter the modern crossover (Grand Cherokee, Acadia, Explorer, etc). These have higher ratings (5000+) certainly because they have beefed up that connection point. An Acadia does not have more engine than a minivan. It has more structure.
thebrakeman ('70), DW ('71), DD ('99), DD ('01), DD ('05)
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #10
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The biggest issue trying to pull a hard sided camper with a unibody SUV is that the wind profile KILLS you.

Whether its 16ft long or 23ft long really makes no difference.

I had a 23ft R-Vision Crossover that we bought specifically because it only weighted 3300 lbs dry and was "SUV Towable". It was only 90" wide and it was under 9' off the ground in height. I tried towing it with a 2011 Ford Explorer with the 3.5L V6 (5K towing capacity). We bought an Equal-I-Zer 4 point hitch. We took it on 2 trips and I traded the Explorer in. Honestly, I was afraid I would have ended up blowing up the motor at some point. Trying to stay at 60-65MPH was a chore for it....and then add a 20MPH head wind, and on our longest trip with it, it never dropped under 3500 RPM on a 4 hour drive. 2 weeks later, my wife agreed to getting a new truck. Unfortunately, we purchased an "SUV Towable" Camper....not the size camper we REALLY after 1 year of camping in that, and after getting a bigger truck, we had to take a 15% hit on our camper to get what we really wanted.

Ultimately, I think it depends how far from home you are planning on going as well. If they're shorter trips, you can make it work. You might not enjoy the ride, but you can make it work. If longer trips are what you're will be highly disappointed.

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