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Old 06-15-2015, 04:27 PM   #1
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New to RV's; Looking for Right Tow Vehicle

Good day to you all,

I've had such great success with forums and posts for vehicle repair, I figured I'd post my questions on here. I just bought a really cheap 2006 Shamrock 2006 M17 Hybrid Travel Trailer. Its a light 2,400lbs or so without any loading and we only have a Ford Escape. Needless to say, its a terrible tow vehicle and we are barely able to do 55 mph at 12 gph and its not something I want to continue to tow our Shamrock. However, My wife and I are not full size or any size truck people and we really want to keep an SUV. I am a huge fan of the BMW X5 diesel (xDrive35d) and VW Tourage TDI Diesel. I really like the idea of a diesel, and these 2 cars sport a 6000/7700 lbs tow rating respectfully. However, I'm curious to find out anyone's experience towing any kind of a travel trailer with these as they are more "Sport Activity Vehicles" than true SUV's and not sure if wind surface area of the shamrock will be terrible with them, should I look at a V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee in the same price? Any thoughts. I just don't want to get either the BMW or VW and be dissapointed, and not want to drive from NC to FL, becuase they are terrible to tow. We don't plan on ever getting a larger TT, and would keep with the 17, and maybe only ever go up to a 21 (if ever) and maybe one day tow a small boat likea 18-19 ft center console. Looking for any/all thoughts you could provide.

Also, it appears the Touareg is easier to hook up a pre-wired brake controller, and the BMW appears quite the expense to get a brake controller, and BMW OEM trailer hitch. Love to hear anyone else's experience! Thanks again

- John
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:49 PM   #2
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It's funny. I said the same thing when I bought my popup. "This is all we'll ever need". That was four trailers ago and have been as long as 30 ft. I thought I would never need anything else and found after a few short years that I was wrong. That being said, I would consider very hard whether or not this will truly be the only trailer you ever will want. If you decide maybe not then I would look at the 2500 Suburban if you prefer an SUV. Then if you decide you really like camping and want to upgrade your tow vehicle will not be an issue. I make this recommendation because I have made that very mistake. My next TV will be a 1 ton. Good luck with what ever you decide and happy camping.
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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I definitely hear you Stormrider. If we ever do upgrade, we are going to stay in our same size area, between a 17' to maybe a 21 foot which we'd already said if we ever upgraded to, we would, and those weights are still below a 1000' buffer from what we've researched for any of those tow vehicles we want. We like to keep it small and simple and be more light and nimble.

With that said, just thinking about our 17 Shamrock, would those be a choice we'd be happy with? Or when we go to tow our tiny new RV baby, would be kicking ourselves? I feel like the diesel would be a good option for both non-towing highway MPG, while also being a great torque to get the added weight of a RV up and going. However, just like to hear experiences from others. We were looking at a Chevy Tahoe, which I can imagine would be no issues there,but we like the SAV or so called "Sports Activity Vehicles" of the VW and BMW. Just want to ensure for what we have now for the next 4-5 years, if we keep what we got, we won't be disappointed on a trip from NC to FL, or similar legs.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:00 PM   #4
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Also, like you said about upgrading, we bought the 17 Shamrock because we knew we'd IMMEDIATELY be unhappy with a pop up. I know we still have to push out 2 beds, but its so much easier than the pop up camping I did with the family as a kid, and watching my dad run around for 30 min cranking, leveling, etc.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:11 PM   #5
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I would say as long as the vehicle is rated to tow the weight you will be ok. One thing to consider though is that a 21 foot center console is pretty heavy.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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Honestly I don't know anything about the VW or the BMW as far as towing goes. In my opinion the Tahoe would be a great choice for the trailer you have. You can't have too much tow vehicle. You can however not have enough. For long trips I would be much more comfortable with more TV than I needed. Especially on the interstates where you are contending with big trucks and a lot of wind. The heavier truck will give you a much more stable feel. Remember to when considering a TV that it should be equipped for towing. Tranny coolers, oil coolers wire, and so forth. These are usually included in the manufacturers towing package
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:18 PM   #7
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Find out the payload capacity for the VW and the BMW.
Most vehicles like those, have poor payload capacities, compared to their towing capacities.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:29 PM   #8
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I can say I really like how well my 2014 Ford FLEX Ecoboost tows our 2014 Vcross Vibe 6504. The empty weight is about 3200 lbs and with our usual load of stuff for the adults and kids we are about 4000 lbs or so. The FLEX is limited to 450 lbs tongue weight and 4500 lbs towing on paper but I feel that is a bit under rated. I have also upgraded my FLEX too with rear suspension kit from Timbren, and more goodies under the hood, making about 350 whp now.
If you tend to go boondocking, off the beaten path than that Suburban or Explorer would probably be better as tow vehicle for ground clearance. But if your towing only on roads and decently maintained camp grounds, something lower that drives more like a car than a truck might be in order.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:37 PM   #9
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IMO...the heavier, fullsize SUV option will be a more comfortable TV, especially if you plan long distance - hwy runs for the stability, mostly.
Add in a longer wheelbase, fullsize SUV and that'll be even a better option

If short runs under hwy speed, on smaller roads are mostly your camp trips...I think a midsize suv that is appropriately outfitted for towing will do just fine



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Old 06-15-2015, 08:41 PM   #10
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I have no problem towing our 30ft surveyor with our VW Touareg TDI, and we probably get one of the best MPG towing too, we also use a Hensley hitch.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:44 PM   #11
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Remember these two vehicles have a shorter wheelbase than the Tahoe. That shorter wheelbase is going to be your problem with side winds and semis passing on the interstate. Having not had enough tough vehicle, I strongly suggest the takeover the other two vehicles. Another SUV to consider is the Armada. It will tow the boat, current HTT and future possible upgrade without issues.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:24 PM   #12
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Personally, liking diesels, I would be looking at a ram 1500 Eco diesel with crew cab. I would put a cap on the back for storage and enjoy 30s mpg and trouble free towing.

Just my 2 cents, they ride like a car and not hard to get in and out of tight spaces.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:27 PM   #13
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No problem with simis or side/cross winds, the only disadvantage I find is when driving on icy roads but I don't do that so no problems.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:10 AM   #14
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No problem with simis or side/cross winds, the only disadvantage I find is when driving on icy roads but I don't do that so no problems.
I imagine you don't with that Hensley hitch, costly but works as advertised...as long as OP is aware of this, if he uses a lesser hitch setup, most likely will not get the same towing comfort as you



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Old 06-16-2015, 11:38 AM   #15
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:49 AM   #16
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I tow a 30' with a ML350 Bluetec and a ProPride 3P and a reinforced hitch. No sway. Tows like a champ. But payload is at its limit and becomes a mandatory planning item on each trip. I do manage to keep it at around 650# each time.

That being said, if you stick with a lenght lesser than 21', you should not have any issues with one of the SUVs you mentionned, as long as you get the right hitch system (Equilizer might be good for you 17' and would be lighter on the hitch).

My personal preference would be the Touareg TDI with a Hensley Cub. But that's just me.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:56 AM   #17
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The Jeep Cherokee is also available with the 3.0 liter Ecodiesel, and is rated to tow #7400.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:02 PM   #18
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No one keeps their first camper, hardly no one, we all trade up bigger and bigger, or some don't camp anymore (not in the blood), or they love the camper they bought the first time (the lucky ones). I started with a tent - then got a pop up (hard work) - moved up to a 27' (less work) and now a 38' - more room. I would say Get a real truck. A truck that will give you room to grow - (camper size that is). A Ram (formerly Dodge) or a Toyota Tundra rated at 10,500 lbs. That will give you almost endless possibilities -, unless you go 5th wheeling and that is a different story. My camper loaded is over 10,000 lbs. Its a Travel Trailer and I have pulled mine all over the Wild West - Yellow Stone - Grande Canyon - Bear Tooth Parkway. The Tundra has never given me any problems. Eight families with 8 separate Truck and Trailer configurations from church all went went out west together - This made for a good pull vehicle comparison. Over all every one did fine. I had the Heaviest TT and the only Toyota. The new Ford F150 Turbo pulling a passport 250 BH ran hot climbing Bear Tooth Parkway at 10,940' above sea level and smoked the breaks coming down, the Ford was pulling 5500 lbs. We had to pull over to let every one cool their breaks, the Toyota was fine and did not over heat (14" calipers Brake surface). I did share with them to used the lower gear to keep the speed down and help the breaks.
If I could wait, I would wait on the new 2017 trucks to come out and shop around. The new C.A.F.E laws will regulate the Truck market. The government is requiring better mileage and better power plants. Just my thoughts - not wanting to start a truck war. Some people are so sensitive about product loyalty.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Cajun Po-Boy View Post
I imagine you don't with that Hensley hitch, costly but works as advertised...as long as OP is aware of this, if he uses a lesser hitch setup, most likely will not get the same towing comfort as you
^Bingo^ listen to the knowledge above. With travel trailers, The lesser the tow vehicle and shorter the wheelbase the more problems you will have keeping it straight going down the road. You will have to make up the difference in a high quality hitch.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jstockton25 View Post
Good day to you all,

I've had such great success with forums and posts for vehicle repair, I figured I'd post my questions on here. I just bought a really cheap 2006 Shamrock 2006 M17 Hybrid Travel Trailer. Its a light 2,400lbs or so without any loading and we only have a Ford Escape. Needless to say, its a terrible tow vehicle and we are barely able to do 55 mph at 12 gph and its not something I want to continue to tow our Shamrock. However, My wife and I are not full size or any size truck people and we really want to keep an SUV. I am a huge fan of the BMW X5 diesel (xDrive35d) and VW Tourage TDI Diesel. I really like the idea of a diesel, and these 2 cars sport a 6000/7700 lbs tow rating respectfully. However, I'm curious to find out anyone's experience towing any kind of a travel trailer with these as they are more "Sport Activity Vehicles" than true SUV's and not sure if wind surface area of the shamrock will be terrible with them, should I look at a V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee in the same price? Any thoughts. I just don't want to get either the BMW or VW and be dissapointed, and not want to drive from NC to FL, becuase they are terrible to tow. We don't plan on ever getting a larger TT, and would keep with the 17, and maybe only ever go up to a 21 (if ever) and maybe one day tow a small boat likea 18-19 ft center console. Looking for any/all thoughts you could provide.

Also, it appears the Touareg is easier to hook up a pre-wired brake controller, and the BMW appears quite the expense to get a brake controller, and BMW OEM trailer hitch. Love to hear anyone else's experience! Thanks again

- John
Something to think about, the shorter the vehicle is, the more white knuckle driving you will experience.
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