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Old 06-07-2016, 08:03 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle question

I am new to this forum so hopefully this question has only been asked 10 times or so My wife I will be purchasing a new Rockwood roo 183 or 19 just not sure which floor plan to go with. We have a 2010 chevy traverse with the tow package. I know the TV is rated at 5200#. I am just wondering if anyone has had experience towing something this size with this vehicle. If so, how did it tow? Ride? I know the 183 is lighter than the 19 but both have the GVW under the 5000# mark. we will be traveling with 2 adults and 3 kids. I plan on getting the vehicle weighed to find the total weight of the traverse. I think I will have a decent safety margin but before we sign on the line I am trying to cover all my concerns. I plan on getting a WDH with sway control also. Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:20 PM   #2
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I pulled my 2012 Roo 19 for one season with my 2011 Traverse in the flat Midwest. Just the DW and I. Probably 4000lbs loaded. Equalizer WDH. I was NOT a happy camper. Problem is not the weight, but the drag. Ran in 4th gear, 3100 rpm, 60 mph. Any slight increase in slope dropped it into 3rd. I didn't like that. Last thing I wanted to do was mess up the DW's vehicle - I'd never hear the end of THAT!

Bought a Silverado and I'm a LOT happier. (And was able to trade up to a bigger TT when the DW was ready for it!) As others have said, "Better to have too much truck than too much trailer."

All that being said, this subject comes up on the Traverse forum all the time. There are a number of Traverse guys who don't mind running high revs in lower gears all the time. One guy claims to have pulled an Airstream to Alaska. (A lot more aerodynamic than a Roo, I must point out.) Of course, there are a lot more who agree with me.

If you do it, I positively agree with the weight distribution hitch. (Remember, it's 100 lbs or so is added to your tongue weight!)
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:20 PM   #3
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I would think about this! Youroo!!
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:39 PM   #4
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Your Traverse's 5200 number is with only a 150lb driver. All the other passengers and cargo in it, will lower that 5200 number by their weight.
Also, what are the hitch weights for each and what does the owner's manual say is the max tongue weight for the Traverse?
Yours does have the factory tow package, right?

My sister has one and I wouldn't tow a HTT or TT with it.
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:51 PM   #5
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The Traverse owner's manual is pretty crappy wrt tongue weight.

It says:
"Weight of the Trailer Tongue - The tongue load(A) of any trailer is an important weight to measure because it affects the total gross weight of the vehicle. The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo carried in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle. If there are a lot of options, equipment, passengers or cargo in the vehicle, it will reduce the tongue weight the vehicle can carry, which will also reduce the trailer weight the vehicle can tow. If towing a trailer, the tongue load must be added to the GVW because the vehicle will be carrying that weight, too. See Vehicle Load Limits on page 9‑12." No real limits are provided on page 9-12, of course.

Then it says:
"If a weight-carrying hitch or a weight-distributing hitch is being used, the trailer tongue(A) should weigh 10‐15percent of the total loaded trailer weight(B). After loading the trailer, weigh the trailer and then the tongue, separately, to see if the weights are proper. If they are not, adjustments might be made by moving some items around in the trailer. Trailering may be limited by the vehicle's ability to carry tongue weight. Tongue weight cannot cause the vehicle to exceed the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or the RGAWR (Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating). The effect of additional weight may reduce the trailering capacity more than the total of the additional weight. It is important that the vehicle does not exceed any of its ratings — GCWR, GVWR, RGAWR, Maximum Trailer Rating or Tongue Weight. The only way to be sure it is not exceeding any of these ratings is to weigh the vehicle and trailer"

So there's no real tongue limit in the owner's manual.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:47 PM   #6
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The tow package one the vehicle is the factory one. The book sucks for giving certain weight but it does cover some valuable points in how you calculate things. That being said is has a GCVW is 10250#. The rating on the hitch is 5200# with a 600# tongue weight with or without weight distribution. I plan on weighing the traverse at a public scale just so i know what my weights are for sure. I am taking in all these factors to make sure I do make a smart choice and not overload the TV. I have thought about going to a Reese hitch to give me a little more tongue weight cushion but that's about it and I don't know if that's a waste of time and money. Keep in mind we have not made any real decision as of yet. As far as weight and sway stuff I am looking at the new Reese steadi-flex system. It looks Like it may be a good fit. It's only 75lbs so a little weight savings over some but we will see.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mopwr4me2003 View Post
The tow package one the vehicle is the factory one. The book sucks for giving certain weight but it does cover some valuable points in how you calculate things. That being said is has a GCVW is 10250#. The rating on the hitch is 5200# with a 600# tongue weight with or without weight distribution. I plan on weighing the traverse at a public scale just so i know what my weights are for sure. I am taking in all these factors to make sure I do make a smart choice and not overload the TV. I have thought about going to a Reese hitch to give me a little more tongue weight cushion but that's about it and I don't know if that's a waste of time and money. Keep in mind we have not made any real decision as of yet. As far as weight and sway stuff I am looking at the new Reese steadi-flex system. It looks Like it may be a good fit. It's only 75lbs so a little weight savings over some but we will see.
I don't know where you're getting 600# tongue weight rating on the hitch. Is it written on your hitch? There's no "600 lbs" in my 2011 Owners Manual. Only the "10-15%" of total loaded weight. Going with the tow rating of 5200 lbs, that would be 520-780 lbs. Of course, you have to subtract the weight of the wife & kids and stuff from 5200, then go with 10-15% of that.

Maybe you're trying to rationalize why the Traverse will be OK. And maybe you'll be happy. Just be prepared to NOT be happy.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:06 PM   #8
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Umm ok. It is wrote on a big white sticker on the hitch that was supplied from GM to go on the vehicle. so I'm not trying to rationalize anything. I'm trying to make a choice that will not kill my family or anyone else on the road which is why I am asking questions and looking for better answers than what the book tells me. so with that being said if anyone else has some insight without being rude that would be great. Thanks
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:34 PM   #9
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Wasn't trying to be rude. Sorry you took it that way. No such sticker on MY hitch.

You have MY opinion from personal experience. Feel free to do what you want.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:06 AM   #10
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The rating on the hitch is for the hitch itself, not necessarily for the vehicle.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:25 AM   #11
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Fill up with gas and have a family outing over to the scales. You may need a broom handle to reach the call button. Subtract your weight from the GCWR. If the trailer GVWR is under that great. Now look at the GVWR of your vehicle and subtract your vehicle weight. Enough for a 500-600 lb tongue weight? Good, you have done everything you can to insure your family's safety. Towing a trailer is more dangerous (to some degree) than not towing a trailer, but there are always trade offs in life.

If you move forward be advised it is nerve racking the first time you tow. It gets easier each time.


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Old 06-08-2016, 09:38 AM   #12
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I am one of those Rockfordroo mentions who has no issues towing with my wife's 2011 Traverse. The two trailers you mention would probably be at the upper end weight-wise that I would recommend, but I would have no major concerns.


It is not going to tow like a V8 truck, but it will be fine as long as your expectations and comfort level is realistic.


Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:08 AM   #13
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Out of curiosity what is the payload capacity of the Traverse?
Its on the (usually) Yellow sticker commonly found in the drivers door jamb. It'll be somewhere near the tire PSI recommendations.

Take the payload number, subtract the weight of the contents of the SUV (people and stuff) subtract the drivers weight over 150#, subtract the tongue weight of the loaded (dry) camper. If your payload calcs are less than the sticker, your within the suggested GM guidelines.

It still may be hairy to tow though. Are Traverse's front wheel drive or AWD?
The suspension may be to soft to handle crosswinds, sway and road irregularities
Are the brakes and tires adequate?
Are your driving abilities adequate?

A quick google shows Traverse payload is around 1750#. iT varies by options on the SUV, yours will be different.

1750
less driver (amount over 150#) 75 (225lb driver
co-pilot 150
kids 150
dog 50
hitch 75
stuff in back of SUV 400# (clothes, water, beer cooler, whatever else)
leaves you 850# for trailer tounge weight.

30# LPG cylinder is what, 40lbs? times 2 for 80#
12 volt battery is 15#

The Roo 19 is #3650 dry. contents max is #1140 = #4790 (your results may vary)
TW is generally 15-20% of combined weight (above #4790), so use 18% or 862# as a starting number.

Remaining payload (from above( #850)
TW 862
Using my crude calculations your over by 12lbs.

IMO, pack very light.

BTW if your in an accident and your insurer does the calculation regarding weights (as i did) and they determine that you knowingly overloaded your SUV they MAY deny your claim.

I had a F150, just my trailer dry and empty was nearly the max payload of the truck. One case of water or beer and I was over. I asked MY insurer about knowingly loading over my payload number and the response was "We would have the basis to deny a claim, YES". They didn't sy they WOULD, just they have the basis (or grounds) to deny it. It wasnt worth the risk to me and my family, so the F150 was replaced by a Ram 2500.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:19 AM   #14
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I've posted this before, but it's relevant for your question. The Explorer and Equinox are the same size vehicle with nearly identical capacities.

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 wanted....so 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 planning....you will be highly disappointed.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:32 PM   #15
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Just pulled into a CG site in Wisconsin. The guy next to me has a Jay Feather X23B (dry wt 4225 lbs and GVWR 4950 lbs.) He's pulling it with a GMC Acadia (Traverse twin). So he's REALLY nuts. He's got one of those little balls next to his tow ball that you put a stabilizer on. So he doesn't even have a WDH, it appears. He's from in-state, so I suspect he didn't come from too far away. Pretty flat around here, lucky for him.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:50 PM   #16
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That little ball is for a sway bar. Doesn't mean he doesn't have a WDH. Look for snap up brackets on the A frame. I had a GMC Envoy at one time, the Acadia eventually replaced my model, and it was a great stout truck.


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Old 06-08-2016, 08:06 PM   #17
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That little ball is for a sway bar. Doesn't mean he doesn't have a WDH. Look for snap up brackets on the A frame. I had a GMC Envoy at one time, the Acadia eventually replaced my model, and it was a great stout truck.


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Sway bar is what I wanted to say, not stabilizer. Yeah, he might have a WDH. DW thinks it might be.

Still too big for an Acadia, IMHO.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:40 PM   #18
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I tow a mini lite 2306 weights around 4300 with everything with a 2012 traverse with tow package and installed air bags and wdh yes it sits at 3000 rpms but that is what the tow button does it puts the power on the engine you have a beefy cooler. Of course I wish I had a bigger truck but I don't have that luxury with a family of six the traverse does ok you just can't fly down the road like I see these idiots with a f250. Yah it could be miserable but u would also run across a miserable time with a truck too and yes it gets like 8-9 mpg but so does the bigger trucks.


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Old 06-09-2016, 11:51 AM   #19
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Your Traverse's 5200 number is with only a 150lb driver. All the other passengers and cargo in it, will lower that 5200 number by their weight.
Also, what are the hitch weights for each and what does the owner's manual say is the max tongue weight for the Traverse?
Yours does have the factory tow package, right?

My sister has one and I wouldn't tow a HTT or TT with it.
Not true. These GM crossovers (and many others) are structure-limited in max tow rating. But their drivetrains can handle more. This is seen if you do the math starting with it's GCVWR (something like 10,500, IIRC). When you subtract the max tow rating and the actual empty Traverse weight from the GCVWR, you end up with 300-400 lbs, not 150 lbs. So you actually have some capacity in the vehicle, even with the full 5200 in tow.

Truck aren't like that. They have such beefy structures, that they are almost always drivetrain limited. That's why cooling packages and axle ratio changes have big effects on a truck's max tow rating. It's also why the base V6 pickup won't tow as much as the V8, even though it has the same strong structure.

To the original question, if you are the type that will camp close to home 2-3 times per summer, you'll be fine. As stated regarding the Traverse chatsite, a lot will depend on whether you are OK towing in 4th to prevent excessive hunting.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:05 PM   #20
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If not TW limit is actually given, then the limit is 15% of trailer weight, but never to allow exceeding the Traverse's GVWR or rear GAWR.


I also read the OP subsequent comment about the 10,250 GCVWR, and their plan to weight the empty Traverse. For crossovers, minivans, and other such non-trucks, that's the best way to determine how much you can "haul" (within and behind the vehicle).


PS - You can do this for a truck, too. But unless you have a stripped down work truck, you'll almost always have 150-200 lbs left over, which is the driver's allowance.
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