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Old 05-29-2020, 03:30 PM   #1
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Towing a 2017 Roo 23IKSS with an SUV

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My 2017 Roo 23IKSS has a GVWR of 6848. Hitch weight is 688. I'm pretty sure with 2 slideouts and the island that this is the heaviest Roo. For the past 3 years i've towed it with a 2014 Toyota Land Crusier. Although it is a comfy SUV, towing with it is not my favorite experience. It is a V8 4x4 beast and is rated to tow 10k lbs, but I think the wheelbase is too short and likely the transmission is not ideally geared for towing a 25 ft trailer. That said, i'm looking to move to a TV that will tow this little rig better and I also need to seat 5 & German Shepherd, so I think i'm stuck with an SUV as the only option. It seems from reviewing these forums and the internet in general that the Ford Expedition Max with the 3.5 V6 EcoBoost motor is probably the best option, the GCWR is 9000 and tongue weight of 900 with a WDH. according to the numbers, I think I am under 9000 with the Roo fully loaded, 3 adults/2 teens, and a dog in the TV. We do both mountain and desert trips, and you can't really get out of SoCal without going over a pass so every trip will likely involve a grade.


That said, I'm still anxious about this since it seems the general opinion is that published tow ratings are not bound to any real science or logic and are made up by marketing dept's. I am wondering if anyone has towed the 23IKSS (or similar) with a newer Expedition Max and this motor, and what I can expect. I would consider the Yukon XL as well. I appreciate everyone's wisdom and guidance.
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:51 PM   #2
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I have a 1500 suburban that I use to tow my 23ss roo. Loaded my trailer is normally around 56-5800lbs and the tongue weight is about 550. The truck tows it well but is on its limit as far as cargo capacity. Its cargo capacity is 1350. When I have 2 adults, 4 kids and 2 large dogs in there it leaves little for tongue weight and no real cargo. If you consider a yukon it should be a 2500, but they don't make them anymore so it would need to be used. Last year I ran into a guy at a campground that towed his trailer with a 1 ton chevy passenger van. He gets 1 ton towing capability, ultra cargo/passenger capacity and in PA pays the registration of a passenger vehicle. I love my suburban but the van idea sounds good.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdischino View Post
[...] My 2017 Roo 23IKSS has a GVWR of 6848. Hitch weight is 688. [...] I also need to seat 5 & German Shepherd, so I think i'm stuck with an SUV as the only option. [...] the Roo fully loaded, 3 adults/2 teens, and a dog in the TV.

[...] the general opinion is that published tow ratings are not bound to any real science or logic and are made up by marketing dept's.[...]
I'll start with the last bit first and then come back to the stuff up top. It's not that Tow Ratings are baseless. It's that they're irrelevant. For 1/2 ton trucks and SUVs, the vehicles will always run out of payload (GVWR) long before they even sniff the tow capacities. So, the tow capacity numbers might be scientifically driven, but they're just not practical in the real world.

And, that's why if you do any reading here, you'll find myriad posts about this very topic: ignore the tow capacity and focus on payload. Since about 2004-ish, all vehicles will have a driver's side door jamb sticker with some yellow accents that will have a vehicle-specific number. You can't look these numbers up on Google.

This is important, because you are actually carrying a TON of weight. Literally. It might *seem* not a big deal -- small sub-7,000 lb, 25' trailer and the family. Easy peasy. No problemo. Not true, though.

It's very unlikely that a 6,850 lb trailer will be dropping only 688 lbs on the hitch. That is close to being dangerously too light on the tongue. 12-13% is much more common. I'd expect at least 850 lbs on your hitch, but it could easily be over 900 lbs.

3 adults and 2 teens would tip in at around 700 lbs, fully clothed (and I used pretty light weight estimates). Add your German shepherd and 50 lbs of WDH for an even 800 lbs. So, that brings the total up to 1,650 lbs, and we haven't so much as tossed in a jacket, bottle of water, or stick of wood into the car. After accounting for gear, accessories, tools, and other stuff, you'll be pushing 1,900 lbs. So, yeah, you're pretty much at a ton.

Not sure what the payload capacity for 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser is, but I doubt it's 1,900 lbs! I'm guessing you're well over 500 lbs overloaded. My guess is that you're in the realm of being dangerously overloaded.

There are SUVs out there that can fit this bill, but you'll have to shop carefully. Again, this is a payload game. As you shop, check out those door jamb stickers. And, again, you can't look up payloads ... you'll only get a meaningless MAX payload for a given vehicle model that is bogus and unhelpful.

Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthuck88 View Post
[...] Loaded my trailer is normally around 56-5800lbs and the tongue weight is about 550. [...]
Tongue weights should be at least 10%. If those numbers are accurate, I'd encourage you to change your trailer loading to increase tongue weight for a safer tow. If you're just estimating, then I'd suggest you're too low. More likely, your trailer will be dropping 700 - 800 lbs on your hitch from a 5,700 lb trailer.
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:18 AM   #4
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You said your hitch weight was 688. Coincedentally, that is Forest River's published EMPTY trailer hitch weight.

Our 23IKSS fully configured for camping (~6350lbs) with only about 2-3 gals of fresh water and black water, has a hitch weight of ~950lbs! I STRONGLY suggest that you use a Cat Scale to determine your actual trailer and hitch weights BEFORE you start looking at other vehicles. You can save yourself a lot of money, aggravation and uncertainty.

Also, you may want to examine your weight distribution hitch to make sure that you have it set up for the actual numbers you calculate from the Cat Scale data.

Finally, here is the yellow door jamb label to which folks are referring:



Your weight, your family's weight (including pets), and everything else you carry in the tow vehicle added to the hitch weight (~900+ lbs) should never exceed the red-circled number. Of course, this will be an unknown until you actually go to the Cat Scale.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 67L48 View Post
Not sure what the payload capacity for 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser is, but I doubt it's 1,900 lbs! I'm guessing you're well over 500 lbs overloaded. My guess is that you're in the realm of being dangerously overloaded.
Yeesh, ok. This makes sense. I have read and read and read, but you just layed it out and it makes a lot more sense now. Just checked the sticker and payload capacity is 1300 lbs, so you're right i've been dangerously over, as I sometimes have bikes on the roof of the TV. So, as I am shopping for a new vehicle, I really need something that has 1 ton payload capacity.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Theo View Post
You said your hitch weight was 688. Coincedentally, that is Forest River's published EMPTY trailer hitch weight.

Our 23IKSS fully configured for camping (~6350lbs) with only about 2-3 gals of fresh water and black water, has a hitch weight of ~950lbs! I STRONGLY suggest that you use a Cat Scale to determine your actual trailer and hitch weights BEFORE you start looking at other vehicles. You can save yourself a lot of money, aggravation and uncertainty.

Also, you may want to examine your weight distribution hitch to make sure that you have it set up for the actual numbers you calculate from the Cat Scale data.
This might force my hand to a truck since it seems there, and the mother-in-law may have to stay home.
Finally, here is the yellow door jamb label to which folks are referring:



Your weight, your family's weight (including pets), and everything else you carry in the tow vehicle added to the hitch weight (~900+ lbs) should never exceed the red-circled number. Of course, this will be an unknown until you actually go to the Cat Scale.

Correct, I was going off of published spec. We travel with our tanks dry, but would every lb of cargo in the trailer translate to a lb of tongue weight? I would expect it to be distributed, so it would be some fraction, but still good to acknowledge.

There is a CAT scale about 25 miles from me, I will look into this. How would I determine if my WDH is configured correctly for my tongue weight?

Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:39 PM   #7
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Other posters are right on that the payload capacity is the key spec to look at when shopping for an RV tow vehicle. Are you totally opposed to a crew cab pickup? Just be aware that the more bling you get (trim levels and aftermarket accessories) the less payload you’ll have. If you’re preference is for an SUV, some European SUVs have surprisingly high payloads specs if you can afford them.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdischino View Post
{snip}...How would I determine if my WDH is configured correctly for my tongue weight?...{snip}
YouTube is your friend! Search YouTube for "RV cat scale".

Basically, you want to distribute (transfer) the tongue weight as evenly as you can between the TV's front and rear axles. Knowing the front and rear axle weight ratings and using the Cat Scale's true axle weights will allow you to make the adjustments.

HERE is a guide for weighing from one of our own members (ependydad).

Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:16 PM   #9
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{snip}...would every lb of cargo in the trailer translate to a lb of tongue weight?...{snip}
No. Your hitch (tongue) weight will usually be around 12-14% of your (laden) trailer weight. Of course, it depends on how your trailer is loaded. Your trailer will tow better with the load biased a bit toward the front. That's usually why the LP tanks and batteries are there.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:17 PM   #10
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Other posters are right on that the payload capacity is the key spec to look at when shopping for an RV tow vehicle. Are you totally opposed to a crew cab pickup? Just be aware that the more bling you get (trim levels and aftermarket accessories) the less payload youíll have.

Not opposed to a crew cab pickup, that is actually where I started my research. Took my wife to look at the super crew F-150s, and she was not impressed with the backseat room (the dog is used to having the whole back of an SUV behind the seats; now this would be sharing it with an adult and a teen). I think I might need to revisit though, now that I have a better understanding of payload capacity vs. tow ratings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by itat View Post
If youíre preference is for an SUV, some European SUVs have surprisingly high payloads specs if you can afford them.
In the interest of a saving some money, was hoping to buy something American. Does European imply Land Rover? or do you mean BMW/MB? These are definitely not in my budget. We only have the Toyota LC because it was a great deal that I could not pass up and at the time we were only towing a popup.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:30 PM   #11
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There are a bunch of used e-350 vans out there or transit 350 if you want something newer- turbo and diesel units.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tdischino View Post
Correct, I was going off of published spec. We travel with our tanks dry, but would every lb of cargo in the trailer translate to a lb of tongue weight? I would expect it to be distributed, so it would be some fraction, but still good to acknowledge.
Yes, everything loaded in the trailer, will affect the actual tongue weight. That's why they recommend using 12-14% of the GVWR, as a ballpark loaded tongue weight.
Not paying attention to PAYLOAD capacity, is a common mistake and using fictional brochure/website dry weight numbers is another common mistake.
Fictional "dry" numbers are based on a stripped-down version of the trailer, no batteries, no factory options, no water and no cargo. That's why RV forums constantly tell people NOT to use these numbers.
And a WDH does NOT lower the actual tongue weight, it simply moves some of the weight to the front axle.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:52 PM   #13
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I've seen some folks here towing with a Nissan NV Passenger Van. Nissan's website says up to 2800 lbs payload.

BUT: More bling = less payload. The ONLY way to know the actual payload is to eyeball the payload sticker on the drivers door. Meaning you have to actually LOOK at any van you may consider for purchase.

I don't think your average Nissan dealer actually stocks them; probably only in large metropolitan areas. You'll have to do some sleuthing. If you find one that's not close by and you're interested, have them send you a pic of the payload sticker.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tdischino View Post
... For the past 3 years i've towed it with a 2014 Toyota Land Crusier. ...
I towed a 2016 23IKSS with a BMW X5 for 12000 miles, including going up the IKE in Colorado and I can tell you from experience that the X5 is (I still have it) more safe than my current F150 with HDPP towing that camper.
That being said, I also learned that a lot of the towing experience with a SUV is related to how your weight distribution and antisway system is set up.

At least you need:
1 - to bring the front of your SUV back to where it was when the SUV was not connected

2 - to tilt the hitch ball back the maximum you can.
3 - to bring the hitch ball the closest to the bumper you can.

Those three, working together, will improve your experience dramatically.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:45 PM   #15
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...Took my wife to look at the super crew F-150s, and she was not impressed with the backseat room ...
You can try to find a 3/4 ton / 1 ton Ram with a megacab or if you want to stick with F150, you can start bulding one at Ford site, then call the rep online and ask him/her to locate you one that has the HDPP and the max towing package.
That will give you the max. that the F150 can do which, in many cases, is better than many 3/4 tons in terms of payload capacity but you will be limited to 12900lbs of towing capacity.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:50 PM   #16
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Towing

You should have the spec. sticker on the driver's door. My 2014 Tundra1794 Cargo Capacity was 1320, so I doubt you have 1900 Cargo Capacity. The Land Cruiser is basically the same frame and power train w/ more seats and body. If you go on the website for CAT scales it tells you how to do the 3 weight seps to determine all the numbers to figure where you are on weight. There are spreadsheet available to plug actual weights and sticker numbers into. I use one that is available off the B&W hitch site or look at previous posts on this site.
Going to a 3/4 ton SUV or Van would give you a better towing experience and room for 5. I traded up do to running out of cargo cap pulling a nose heavy 7500 lb. trailer. If you are close a set of Timbren bump stops helped until I went to a larger truck.
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:33 PM   #17
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I’ve got a 233s and tow with a 2017 Expedition EL with same engine and towing package you mention. Works great and I love it. Good space in the Expedition and never a problem towing.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:04 PM   #18
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Setting up the WDH

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdischino View Post
There is a CAT scale about 25 miles from me, I will look into this. How would I determine if my WDH is configured correctly for my tongue weight?

Thanks for the heads up.
The goal in setting up the WDH is to distribute tongue weight. Instead of having it all on the TV rear axle, you move some back onto the trailer and (this is important) some back onto the front axle. If you don't do this, there won't be enough weight on the front tires and steering will be flakey (unsafe).

The general scheme is as follows:
  1. With no trailer or WDH attached, on flat ground, measure the distance between the top of a front tire and the bottom edge of the fender (alternately from the front bumper to the ground).
  2. Attach the WDH and trailer. The TV will squat and the front end will rise. Repeat the measurement you made before.
  3. What you want to do is tighten the WDH bars so you bring the front end back down. At a minimum, you want to bring it back halfway to the original distance. Ideally, bring it back to almost exactly the original distance.
  4. Tighten the WDH bars to until you achieve this.
  5. This is the setup you want when you go to the scales. You can do it at home before you go to the scales.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:13 PM   #19
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So true about published specs. The dealer had a big sign on my trailer that said Hitch Weight 880 lbs. Come to find out it was actually 1400 lbs!
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:29 PM   #20
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Yeesh, ok. This makes sense. I have read and read and read, but you just layed it out and it makes a lot more sense now. Just checked the sticker and payload capacity is 1300 lbs, so you're right i've been dangerously over, as I sometimes have bikes on the roof of the TV. So, as I am shopping for a new vehicle, I really need something that has 1 ton payload capacity.
I'd be considering a 3/4 ton extended cab Pickup. 2500+ lb payload capacity with maybe shell for your gear and pets.
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