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Old 05-20-2013, 01:31 PM   #1
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New to trailers

Hi all,

I'm a first-timer when it comes to towing a trailer; lots of tent camping experience but have never towed anything.

My wife and I enjoy the West coast, Sierra Nevada, and other mountainous terrain and are looking forward to 1-5 night trips in California and Oregon and some longer trips throughout the Western US and Canada.

Since I have no experience, I did the easy thing first by purchasing the trailer, a Flagstaff T12RB. But I had to have it delivered since our little econo-box car won't do the job. So now I am shopping for a tow vehicle, but frankly, I have no idea what to pull this thing with! Interested in hearing from anyone with the T12RB or Rockwood A122. What are you using as a tow vehicle? V-6? V-8? 4 cyl.? Factory tow package? If it's a smaller vehicle do you have any issues towing the pop-up?

Our price-range dictates that we'll be buying a Used whatever so if there's a "perfect" new vehicle, I probably won't be getting that.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Mike
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:08 PM   #2
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That's the advantage of a pop-up. You can tow it with pretty much anything (within reason). I see that it's got a GVWR of 3261 which gives you a max tongue weight of ~500#.

I think the main question you should be asking yourself is: How long is it going to be before you want to upgrade to the next RV, and what will you need to tow that.

(To answer your question, I pulled my popup with a Silverado 1/2 ton gas V8 for 7 years and was very happy with it. It was heavier than your popup however.)
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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Tow ratings are very optimistic - you can find guides online but they'll only list the highest possibel rating for that model - and it assumes 150lb driver and no passengers or cargo. As you add people, cargo, etc what you can tow drops. As you add options (power seats weight more than manual for example) what you can tow drops.

Then you have to be VERY VERY specific on options. new it's easy - they're listed on the window sticker. Buying used it going to require a LOT more research on your part.

For example - we had a windstar. With a factory tow package it could tow 3500lbs. Without it the limit was 2000 lbs. Big difference, huh?

My outback can tow more than my windstar - BUT in the small print it's very specific that any trailer over 1000lbs have brakes on it.

An expedition can potentially tow 8900lbs. Mine has 4WD - that dropped it 500lbs, and 17" wheels which dropped it another 500lbs. Even with teh factory tow package.

Safety is concern number 1, longevity/reliabilty is second (wearing out a $2500 transmission every 10k miles gets old very very fast), and the last consideration is what might be called 'comfort' - doing 55 up the moutain instead of 25mph, longer WB will ride better, bigger TV will ride better and have less 'white knuckle' situations.

Gas mileage is sorta last...when towing don't expect great mileage - 9 to 10 is what I've gotten pullng a 6300lb tt with my silverado that gets 16ish as a daily driver and 21 on the highway.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
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since i camp the same places as you do, i strongly suggest a v-6 truck at the minimum, since you have lots of mountains to pull over.
people in flat areas of the country, really don't realize how many hills/mountains we have to get over to get anywhere.
please take this in consideration when looking for a new tow vehicle.
make sure it has plenty of towing power above what the trailer weighs, to compensate for all the climbing you'll do.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:23 PM   #5
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Hi Mike!

You are smart about inquiring about tow vehicle options. As you read more here on the fourms you will have lots of experience and knowledge to tap into. As with most things there can be several viewpoints shared so this can be a learning experience. In the end the choice will be up to you to make.

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Old 05-21-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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I started with a Chevy Colorado and a 1905 RLT. That lasted all of one trip...traded in the truck for an EcoBoost F150 and the 1905 for a 2608WS.

Take the advice...buy what you'd need for your "next" trailer if you can.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Welcome!!
I had a 2006 Ford Ranger, Supercab, 4x4, 4.0 liter V6, 5 speed auto that has a tow rating of 5800 lbs.
It is a body on frame truck and I used a WDH with a friction anti sway device.
I put Bilstein HD shocks and BF Goodrich Commercial Traction TA's on it.
It was an excellent tow rig for the 2004 Fleetwood Utah popup which weighed about 3000 lbs loaded.
It is also an excellent rig for exploring off pavement.


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Old 05-22-2013, 12:37 AM   #8
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Thanks!

Thanks to all who responded. While I appreciate the advice about my "next RV" right now I am most concerned with learning to use my first!

It sounds to me that the concessus is to not waste time and money with anything under a large 6 cyl. engine in a relatively light vehicle (like the Ranger) or to consider a 1/2 ton truck. While I'd love to have a new one set up with all the best gear from the factory, we just can't afford to do that these days. ( After all, I do need to save some $ to actually use the thing!).

I've got about a month to do my shopping since my wife has already made reservations for our favorite State park on the California coast for July. I'll let you know what I decide.

Thanks again for the advice!
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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You can look at used suburbans/tahoes/expeditions. The older explorers are good too (tow rating of 7500lbs).
Honda ridgeline might be suitable, or anything with a rating of 5000lbs or more.

heaver the TV, the longer WB, the bigger the engine the better it will be.
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