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Old 04-27-2012, 10:19 PM   #1
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Considering an A102 - Tow Vehicle Questions

Hi Folks. We're new to the forum and appreciate all of the informative and colorful posts!

We are seriously considering the purchase of the new A102 hard side, liking the small size, light weight, no canvas and ease of setup ... upgrading from the tent wars. Very cool that we could put this unit in our garage! There's not much on line in terms of reviews, but it looked good at the local dealer.

Wanted to get a little forum input on our potential tow vehicles. We have a 2005 Kia Sedona and 2004 Saturn Vue. Not your ideal TVs, but paid for! Both are maintained in good shape, both are FWD V6s, both have 3500 lb. tow capability. The van has a longer wheelbase and more room, while the Vue has the 17'' wheels and a 250 HP Honda power train. We're going to install trailer brakes, Class III hitch and a tranny cooler. Any suggestions from the forum as to the better TV? May be a wash.

Thanks for any input, and happy trailering!
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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From what I can determine, either one of your tow vehicles should do the job. However, the one with the longer wheelbase would be the better choice, for better handling and stability. Your dealer could recommend a sway control which would ensure stability in strong crosswinds or while being overtaken by fast buses or semis. Not imperative, but recommended. A simple friction control doesn't cost much but would more than suffice.

The max. gross trailer weight, ie. fully loaded is over 1000 lb. lighter than your tow vehicle's capacity, so you would have a good margin of safety.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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Cool, didn't know about the A102. Looks like a nice smaller unit.

The dry hitch (tongue) weight is 252 lbs, so with both tanks and battery I'd say you'll be close to 300 pounds since the dual tanks and battery are close to the tongue.

I would imagine with a rating of 3500 pound towing that the max tongue weight should be 350 lbs. If when hitched up you don't have too much lift in the front end you would be OK. I would tow with the longer wheel base vehicle if it were me. Why not go to the dealer and hitch up and see how it balances out?

I'm impressed that the 102 packs all the same features of the larger units. I'd also imagine the front location of the cool cat heat pump/ac contributes to the tongue weight being so similar to the larger A Series campers.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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Thanks much, terrystevens and Jeep4Two. Your posts will be good reference info, going forward. We also welcome the forum's thoughts related to the new A102. (It's a fresh face in the lineup, so I wouldn't expect much too much experience with the model.) Appreciated! Cheers and regards.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #5
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I got curious about the 102 since I hadn't heard of it before. Here's a link to photos for others who are intrigued:
http://www.fairfieldrv.com/detail.cf...2%20Premier%20
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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i live near Fairfield RV and saw this A-frame.
are you sure it has electric brakes? as light and small as it is, it may not come with electric brakes or need them.
if it does come with electric brakes, then you need to install a brake CONTROLLER in the tow vehicle, not electric brakes.

as far your two tow vehicles, both have a 3500lb. tow capacity IF it has the factory tow package. since it sounds like you are having to install the equivalent of one, they actually only can tow around 2000lbs. unless you duplicate the factory tow package.

if i had to choose between the two, since they basically have the same tow rating, i would go with the minivan, since it has a lower center of gravity and probably longer wheelbase.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:21 AM   #7
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The Vue will do...

Just picked up and drove our new A128S to the lake and back 100+ miles. We also have an '04 Saturn Vue with V6 FWD (electric brake module was added). It drove great!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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Thanks much for the Saturn-related input! They are cool little vehicles! By any chance, did you install a weight distributing hitch on your 2004 Vue? Also, when hooked to the A128S, did the rear of your Vue dip noticeably? Thanks again.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yayus View Post
Thanks much for the Saturn-related input! They are cool little vehicles! By any chance, did you install a weight distributing hitch on your 2004 Vue? Also, when hooked to the A128S, did the rear of your Vue dip noticeably? Thanks again.
I figured it would be a stretch to have the Saturn haul this size trailer (Actually, I was pretty worried). However, I was surprised just how good it was in handling the load.

There was not much more than an 1" or so dip (It sat pretty level). I did not put too much in the front storage. - Chairs, grill, awning, and a few odds and ins. However, I had 2 full tanks of propane. I did not install a weight distribution hitch. I figured that if Saturn rated it to do the hauling that they would have carried the risk. Note: We are well aware of the weight capacities and how much we will carry. I will only be carry my wife, Sheltie, and myself. We won't carry water on in it if we can help it (although water may be a good counter balance for the tongue weight with the storage).

Again, we drove it on curves, bumps, a few crummy roads, and the interstate. It performed well and while I knew it was there, it never affected my steering and there was very little noticeable sway. Plenty of power in the V6 for the rolling hills in this area of Alabama. The electric brakes worked flawlessly and the rear suspension is what the Saturn boys put in it when I bought it new in '04.

(Curb weight on the A128s was 2027 lbs.). I'll try to post some pictures a little later.
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