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Old 05-19-2016, 09:13 PM   #1
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Question ISO the Ideal Tow Vehicle

I'm working on pursuing my retirement dream of life as a road gypsy. As the proud new owner of a 2011 Wildwood T20RBXL, I've got the cart, now I need the horse. When I started this hunt, I thought I wanted a tow-equipped mid-size SUV (ie Pilot, Highlander) because this will be my daily vehicle as well as TV, but the more I learn, the more I think I'd be happier with something a little more powerful....and I'm looking for the wisdom of experience to help me narrow the "ideal" tow vehicle field.

So I've done some math, and this is what I've come up with:

The "label" on the trailer states:
Dry Weight: 3649 lbs The weight of Cargo should not exceed 3638 lbs
That makes the GVWR 7287 lbs (wow, that's a lot for a small trailer!)

Full Propane Tanks = ~100 lbs
Batteries = ~100 lbs
Full Black Tank, 35 gal = 292 lbs; Full Fresh Tank, 46 gal = 384 gals. For ease of calculating I'm rounding that up to 700 lbs. I don't see any likelihood that both the fresh and grey tanks would both be full at the same time, so didn't include the weight of the 35 gal grey tank.

Those necessities add up to less than 1000 lbs, leaving more than 2600 lbs cargo capacity. Since I'm already used to traveling light and we're talking about myself and just my 60 lb dog, I can't imagine ever packing in more than another 1000 lbs. bringing the GVW to the neighborhood of 6000 lbs.

I'm trying to narrow down my tow vehicle market....Wouldn't a vehicle with tow package designed to handle up to 7000 lbs be sufficient based on my calculations?

Thanks!
Terrie
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:39 PM   #2
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Fact is, the majority of your black tank water is going to come out of the FW tank as well, so you can effectively discount it from your equations.
The old adage is, you can never have too much truck. Of course we want to be fairly reasonable about it.
Cutting to the chase, I think an F150 crew cab eco boost with max tow option will suit your needs quite well. It is over kill for that particular TT on flat ground, but you will appreciate it when you get into mountainous regions. Additionally the truck will be well mannered for daily driving.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:54 PM   #3
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An F150 Ecco Boost would be a nice fit that size TT but I would check the yellow sticker and try to find on with at least a 1600 lbs yellow payload sticker. You find that sticker on the door jam on the truck, don't believe the ones on the webpage since those are stripped down trucks. If you think you might migrate to large TT or 5er in the near future you might what to buy a truck large then you need but if not the F150 would be a good choice.
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:41 PM   #4
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We just took in a beautiful '14 ecoboost with 8k on it at my dealership. Payload is only 1320 though.


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Old 05-19-2016, 11:34 PM   #5
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Have a look here...
Trailer Towing Guides | Trailer Life Magazine

They list the towing capacities for most (all?) vehicles going back to 1999.

A vehicle rated at 7000lbs will be marginal for your described load, but would work if properly loaded and driven. Personally, I would rather have a little more "cushion" as far as weight capacities...it makes for a much more comfortable tow.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:51 AM   #6
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You are thinking along the right lines. You are not likely to put 3000 lbs of cargo in the trailer. On average people tend to add 1000-1500 lbs to a trailer. Let's go with 1500 given your numbers above.

3649 lb dry weight + 1500 lbs cargo = 5149 lb loaded trailer weight. Ideal tongue weight is 13-15% of loaded trailer weight. So that would be 670 lbs - 772 lbs tongue weight. If you wanted to be even more conservative, you could bump up to the 6000 lbs you were guessing. That would be a tongue weight of 780-900 lbs.

Now let's talk tow vehicle. No way you can do this with a mid sized SUV. I think a properly equipped full sized V8 SUV or half ton crew cab truck would do it for you. If you get a short bed truck with a crew cab it makes for a pretty easy daily driver. You can put a tonneau cover or a cap on the bed to secure belongings. Make sure whatever you get has a tow package with a heavy duty transmission cooler.

The key here is tow ratings for the vehicle you pick. You want a TV with not only enough Tow capacity but also enough payload. Calculate the weight of all occupants, pets, and gear you will have in the TV when towing. Add this number to the tongue weight calculated above (775-800 lbs is probably a more than safe tongue weight estimate). What you get will be the amount of weight you expect to put in or on your TV. That is the literal definition of payload. Look inside the drivers side door jamb on any TV you look at. There will be a tire loading sticker gateways "all occupants and cargo should not exceed X lbs". Make sure this number is greater than the calculation of occupants and gear plus tongue weight.

I honestly think something along the lines of a suburban, expedition, armada, f150 eco boost, tundra, etc. Would work for you.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:25 AM   #7
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Thanks for all your input. I feel the TV list shortening....I think I'm now leaning towards a 4-door F150 & will take a look at what's on the used vehicle market.

Always open to advice and new information.

Terrie
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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If looking at the f150 do yourself a favor and get eco boost with HD and max tow package so you will be comfortable now and have enough truck for a future trailer upgrade (trust me we all upgrade after a couple of years).
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:14 PM   #9
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I think Nissan Armada might be the ticket. 9000lbs towing and the Suv that you wanted originally.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:17 PM   #10
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not all Ecoboosts are created equal. Make sure it has all the right options for the higher payload and towing capacity.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:45 PM   #11
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Actual Weight is LOW

OK, so with my trailer packed with the basics (kitchenware, tv, bedding, linens, towels, bbq, folding chair, table, & hook-up essentials) 2 full propane tanks and 1 battery; empty water & waste tanks, no food, clothing or personal items. Weight on truck scale came in at 3550 lbs. In all reality, I can't imagine that I'd ever add another 1000 lbs to that, which has me requiring a towing capacity of under 5000 lbs.

Now having this factual information, I am back to thinking that a mid-size SUV, properly equipped, could be a very satisfactory TV choice.

I drove an Avalanche and a Dodge Ram 1500 recently, and they just feel so BIG for me as a daily driver. Just getting in and out is a bit of a workout for a lil old chubby lady like me.

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:16 PM   #12
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Is that 3550# just the dual axles or did you include the tongue weight too? I agree that you won't likely add more than 1000# of cargo. I used to tow a 5200# (loaded) Roo hybrid with a Toyota Tacoma Double Cab with a 4.0L engine rated to tow 6500#. It was only adequate for the task and I was right at it's GVWR with 2 people in the cab. So I don't think you'd be happy with a mid-sized SUV like a Highlander.

I have a step bar on my F-150 and my 72 year old Mom can climb in it but it is a bit of work for her so I hear you about that concern.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelGypsy View Post
Weight on truck scale came in at 3550 lbs. In all reality, I can't imagine that I'd ever add another 1000 lbs to that, which has me requiring a towing capacity of under 5000 lbs.

Now having this factual information, I am back to thinking that a mid-size SUV, properly equipped, could be a very satisfactory TV choice.
Taking the trailer to the scales was the best way to figure out what you really need. I'm guessing the 3550 is the axles only? Do you have the weights for the tv while connected and just the tow vehicle?

This decision is really going to come down to payload of the tow vehicle. The issue with most SUV's isn't the tow rating, its the payload. You need the tongue weight, the hitch, you, the dog, fuel, and whatever else is in the vehicle to be less than the max payload.

Its a trade-off here - smaller SUV is a better daily driver, but a truck is going to have heavier duty suspension, transmission, brakes. The SUV's would probably pull the trailer fine, but if you rack up a lot of miles at or slightly over the payload rating it can take a toll as far as wear and tear.

If you have those other numbers from the scale, so can fill in the blanks and make an informed decision about which option is going to work best for you.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:38 PM   #14
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Our trailer comes in around 3100 lbs loaded and a tongue weight around 390-400 lbs. We towed it for a long time with a properly equipped 2001 Explorer with a 4.0 V6. While it was adequate we were at the edge of its practical towing capacity (as opposed to rated capacity which was higher). It did pretty good on flats but would need to downshift for modest hills. Not that it mattered to us but to keep a decent RPM we would also have to slow down quite a bit when driving in the mountains. The newer Explorers have an even lower rated towing capacity so I expect they would pushing more than we did in the our old one.

The Explorer has since been retired for an F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with a rated towing capacity of 8200 lbs and an as equipped sticker payload of ~1600 lbs. Towing with this has been much more enjoyable and I can now maintain highway speeds without having to worry about stressing the vehicle. At the risk of calling the weight police I also don't have to pay as much attention to total cargo weight as I have more than enough for the trailer, wife/myself and our cargo. This wasn't always this way with the Explorer where we were a lot closer to the limits. So I guess what I am saying is a mid-sized SUV might work based on the numbers but you are likely near the maximum of the practical towing capacity even at the lower trailer weight. Given this you might not be as satisfied after you have been towing for a while and realize a bit more capacity would make the drive more relaxing and enjoyable.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:35 PM   #15
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At that weight a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the v8 or the diesel would also work, armada as I previously suggested. A Ford Explorer with the Eco boost might work but it will be really tight. A Dodge Durango would also work, again with the v8.

Volkswagen Touareg with the diesel or Mercedes ml320 with diesel could work also

Hope that helps
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:07 PM   #16
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Anyone with a 1-ton diesel DRW don't read this post. But for someone originally looking at a SUV and in the tow range OP is looking for, nobody has mentioned the new Colorado/Canyon twins.

Properly equipped they have a 7000lb (gas) or 7700lb (diesel) tow rating.

2016 Colorado: Small-Midsize Trucks | Chevrolet

Just another option to consider as a daily driver it may be a better option.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YEGrolo View Post
Anyone with a 1-ton diesel DRW don't read this post. But for someone originally looking at a SUV and in the tow range OP is looking for, nobody has mentioned the new Colorado/Canyon twins.

Properly equipped they have a 7000lb (gas) or 7700lb (diesel) tow rating.

2016 Colorado: Small-Midsize Trucks | Chevrolet

Just another option to consider as a daily driver it may be a better option.
Good call
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:48 PM   #18
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Was just going to suggest the Colorado/Canyon with the duramax. Was just watching a fast lane truck YouTube video on it.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:21 AM   #19
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A '14 or newer 1500 with the max tow package could tow you TT with ease. I had a '14 Chevy 1500 with the 6.2 max tow that I towed my 32' Tracer with and it towed it with ease. As others, said, since this is your retirement plan, do you plan on upgrading your TT in the future, if so, then I'd get the trucknow that will tow the TT you would like to get
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:14 AM   #20
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For the price of a f150 ecoboost you can buy a decently equipped 2500 series truck with a gas motor, and have way more versitile vehicle without the high tech stuff to cost you money down the road
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