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Old 06-01-2020, 08:21 AM   #1
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Trailer/Rig Newbie

Hi everyone, thanks in advance for any help and recommendations. My family is looking to jump into the travel trailer lifeóalbeit a little earlier than expected because of COVID concerns. We were already in the market for a new vehicle, so we started looking for trailers that could be a good fit. Here are the details:

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Explorer XLT (tow package, AWD)
-Tow capacity: 5,300 (2.4L EcoBoost)
-Curb weight: 4,900~5,100
-GVWR: 6,160
-GCVWR: 10,100
-Tongue: 530

Prospective trailer: 2020 NoBo 16.6
-UVW: 3,439
-GVWR: 4,856
-Hitch weight (@GVWR): 382

Iím thinking the NoBo is a bit heavier than I would like, but a number of the calculators Iíve used from here say it may be doable...thoughts?

Also, to add some more excitement, we will be using the TT to move our family of four cross country in the next few months (West to East). Any concerns with this setup before we take the plunge? Thanks again!
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:07 PM   #2
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With the bunk beds, that's a good fit for your family and unless you want a pop up, you're going to have trouble finding a more lightweight trailer.

I'm no expert at towing, but I think you're either at the limits or over of your tow vehicle once you add people and cargo to your tow vehicle. Unless you're taking a separate vehicle for all the 'stuff' you need for moving cross country, you may have a problem.

Unless you've already purchased that Explorer, I'd consider a larger tow vehicle.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:11 PM   #3
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Right off the bat - and I have towed with minivans and past Explorers - you are not going to like the experience, the gas mileage, the turbo boosting all the time because of the frontal area of your TT. Especially when you run into 25MPH+ headwinds on the interstates in the Midwest.

With the EB 3.5L (probably not available anymore on Explorers), you might do OK. But you have a full 80 sq ft frontal area to drag. My high wall A-frame pop-up - not recommended for a family of 4 - has a frontal area of 39 sq ft, and it's all I want to drag at 73mph with my minivan with a 250HP, 225 ft-lbs torque 3.5L V-6. A conventional pop-up (high wall or regular) would be a good match for your family and the Explorer.

Those who are big on weights will take a look at your payload and tongue weight and may find problems there. But at the light weight end of things, being slightly over is not as critical as with full size trucks and 10K lb trailers.

But not having enough power to achieve interstate speeds because of the windage of the trailer in moderate winds is a deal breaker for me. And watching your gas mileage drop to 9 mpg is going to force a lot of gas stops. With the high wall, I get 13-14 mpg at 72mph. With the standard height pop-up I got 17-19 mpg at 65 mph (before trailer tire speed ratings were increased), same tow vehicle.

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Old 06-01-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Ignore tow capacity until AFTER you've figured out payload.

The payload will be on a sticker on the drivers door frame. DO NOT use any payload from brochures, advertisements, website, etc. They will always be the max for a model, not the actual, which is different based on specific options, etc.s You need the sticker on the actual TV you intend to buy.

Once you know the payload, subtract the weight of you, wife, kids, dog, and any stuff you expect to put in it. What's left needs to be enough for the tongue weight PLUS the weight of a weight distribution hitch (WDH).

Since the GVWR of the NoBo is 4,856 lbs, and since you can't actually weigh it until you buy it and load it up, assume the tongue weight will be 13% or 632 lbs. Add, say, 75 lbs for a WDH and you're up to 706 lbs on the TV's hitch. So if you've got at least 706 lbs of payload remaining after subtracting the weight of the family and stuff from the payload sticker, you're OK.

NOW you can worry about tow capacity. But since TV's run out of payload way before they run out of tow capacity, you'll mostly like be OK here, too.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:38 PM   #5
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You're already concerned that the NoBo is a little heavier than you'd like, and that's a valid concern. That little 2.4 is going to be struggling once you're all loaded up. And as others have said, forget about that max tow rating. It's a useless, meaningless and irrelevant number that manufacturers put out for bragging rights. You'll run out of payload capacity, tongue weight limitation and Gross Combined Weight Rating long before you're even close to that 5300 lb max tow rating. Bottom line...that vehicle is really not suited to pull that NoBo.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:59 PM   #6
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The frontal area considerations listed on the Ford site shays 20 Sq Ft or 50 sq ft with class III towing package. I don’t know what the frontal area is on the trailer you are looking at but you need to think about it.

I see the cargo carrying capacity can be anywhere between 1,400 and 1,800 lbs. With 4 people and the other normal stuff that gets tossed into a vehicle for a long drive plus the trailer tongue weight you will probably be very close.

Bottom line is, the posters above are right, if you are careful you can probably keep within the vehicles ratings but you are going to be just about the slowest one on the road or you are going to be running that motor as hard as she will run and with the Ecoboost you don’t really want to run them all out for long periods of time, that creates a lot of heat that has to be dissipated.


https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content...orer_Apr16.pdf
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:02 PM   #7
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Yep, because the NoBo is a single axle with the axle set farther back, on the trailer, this will increase the trailer's real world tongue weight. So figuring 13% of GVWR is very realistic. Which will put you over the max 530lbs hitch weight of your car.
Remember that the fictional "dry" weights are based on a stripped-down version of the trailer. No batteries, no factory options, no water and no cargo.
Unfortunately RV manufacturers market these types of trailers, like the NoBo and Geo Pro, to owners like you that have smaller tow vehicles. They don't explain how single axle trailers can often overwhelm the capacities of smaller unibody vehicles.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:03 PM   #8
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Thank you for all of the replies and feedback so far. You all are hitting the same concerns that I’ve been having as well (ie: payload/GCVWR/tongue limits waaaay before tow capacity).

The Explorer definitely isn’t my first choice for a TV, and while we’ve been thinking about getting a TT in the future, the pressure was on to try to get one for the move to give us the ability to bypass hotels and other crowded areas given the circumstances. Original dream was just a CCX drive, which then turned into renting an RV from El Monte/Cruise America (no availability right now), to getting our own.

I’ve got a line on a 2018 Coachmen 18BHS from a buddy who goes it with his 2018 Tacoma, but he even said that was tough taking up some moderate grades. Assuming a TT is still the way we decide to go, any thoughts on how big a difference the Coachmen might make?
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:07 PM   #9
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The other part that has made this so challenging is the lack of feedback from 2020 Explorer owners on towing so far. Given the new engine (2.3L I4), the transmission issues in some of the STs, and jumping right into a 2,300+ mile trip with this has added even more concerns...Again, not my first choice at all for TV, but trying to find the best solution with the given factors.

As for cargo, our movers will be handling the lion’s share, and we’ll be looking to just take what we would need for a regular CCX drive + minimum needed to make the trailer sleepable. Will most likely keep the tanks dry during transits and stopping at places with services only.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:21 PM   #10
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Some other contenders we’re considering:

-2018 Coachmen 18BH (GVWR: 3800#, Hitch: 350#)
-2020 Coachmen Apex Tera 15T (GVWR: 3800#, Hitch: 396#)
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBo_Noob View Post

Iíve got a line on a 2018 Coachmen 18BHS from a buddy who goes it with his 2018 Tacoma, but he even said that was tough taking up some moderate grades. Assuming a TT is still the way we decide to go, any thoughts on how big a difference the Coachmen might make?
The internet doesn't come up with anything for a Coachmen 18BHS. There is a 17BHS though.
The only 18BHS THAT comes up, is a Starcraft model.
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:53 PM   #12
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Sorry, meant these:

-Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH
UVW: 2850, GVWR: 3800, Hitch: 350
https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2018-...-185bh-tr35458

-2020 Coachmen Apex Tera 15T
UVW: 2862, GVWR: 3800, Hitch: 396
https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2020-...an-15t-tr45059

These are about as small as we can comfortably go, with the 185BH being our preference between the two. Do you all think these are realistically doable, or is it time to scratch the idea of taking a TT with us?
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBo_Noob View Post
We were already in the market for a new vehicle, so we started looking for trailers that could be a good fit.
So I guess I'm confused . . . have you already purchased the Explorer?
If so, yup, you've significantly narrowed your choices for a TT. If not, maybe find the TT that works for you and your family (for the cross country trip AND thereafter ) and then look for the TV to match?
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:25 PM   #14
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Yeah, we’ve purchased the Explorer recently. The Explorer has been the plan for a while to meet a number of other requirements. The TT has been something we wanted to do in the future, but is now something we’re looking to pull the trigger on a bit earlier than originally planned. In this case, trying to find a TT that conforms to the rig instead of the other way around.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:04 PM   #15
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Ahhh, tough way to do it, but it can be done. Just gotta manage expectations . . .
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
Ignore tow capacity until AFTER you've figured out payload.

The payload will be on a sticker on the drivers door frame. DO NOT use any payload from brochures, advertisements, website, etc. They will always be the max for a model, not the actual, which is different based on specific options, etc.s You need the sticker on the actual TV you intend to buy.

Once you know the payload, subtract the weight of you, wife, kids, dog, and any stuff you expect to put in it. What's left needs to be enough for the tongue weight PLUS the weight of a weight distribution hitch (WDH).

Since the GVWR of the NoBo is 4,856 lbs, and since you can't actually weigh it until you buy it and load it up, assume the tongue weight will be 13% or 632 lbs. Add, say, 75 lbs for a WDH and you're up to 706 lbs on the TV's hitch. So if you've got at least 706 lbs of payload remaining after subtracting the weight of the family and stuff from the payload sticker, you're OK. [...]
Read this post above again. This is the philosophy that governs what you can tow and what is overweight. There are a few quick and easy math exercises you can do on your own:
  1. Hitch weight. You really need to stop quoting the published tongue/hitch weights of advertised trailers. It's nonsense. Take the GVWR of the trailer and multiply by 0.13 to approximate your real hitch weight. In this case, it's around 650 lbs.
  2. WDH. You'll want a WDH. This will add 50 -100 lbs.
  3. Family. If you're in a bunkhouse, I'm thinking family of 4. Use real, clothed, shoed weights ... not the stripped down naked weight you might use in your bathroom. 180 lbs for hubby, 120 lbs for wife, 100 lbs each for two kids. That's 500 lbs assuming pretty light weights.
  4. Aftermarket Items. Lights, stereo, grille guards, suspension components, bed liners (obviously not for SUVs), roof racks, and everything else added to a vehicle counts against payload.
  5. Pets. 80 lb retrievers count against payload.
  6. Gear. Tools, bags, clothes, entertainment items, wood, bikes, canoes, and everything else you carry in or on the vehicle counts.
Just people and trailer puts you at 1,200 lbs before you've even thrown a jacket or bottle of water in the rig. I'd suggest you'll be at 1,400 lbs minimum, all-in. But, you should build this out yourself with better numbers to reflect your family.

And, to other people's point: what does your yellow door jamb sticker say? You've posted 5 more times since this question has been posed, but still no mention of what your yellow door jamb sticker states.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBo_Noob View Post
Sorry, meant these:

-Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH
UVW: 2850, GVWR: 3800, Hitch: 350 [...]

-2020 Coachmen Apex Tera 15T
UVW: 2862, GVWR: 3800, Hitch: 396 [...]
No and no. Hitch on the first one will be 500 lbs. Hitch on the second one will be 500 lbs. These trailers would only shave ~150 lbs off your ~1,400 lb load.
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:24 PM   #17
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Thanks again to everyone for all of the insight and advice. Here are some updated bits of information now that I was able to actually grab data from the specific tow vehicle and trailers that we're looking at.

TV: 2020 Ford Explorer XLT (2.3L EcoBoost, AWD)
Curb Weight: 4,727*
GVWR: 5,905
GCVWR: 10,100
Towing Capacity: 5,300 (some of the V6s can get 5,600)
Max Tongue Weight: 530
Payload: 1,324 (from the actual car's sticker)

*The Explorer's curb weight is between 4,345 and 4,725 pounds based on trim level and options, with the ST being the heaviest (twin-turbo V6, AWD, moonroof, etc.). As another swag, GVWR - Payload = 4,581. The XLT with the 4-cylinder is lighter than the ST, but I'm using the ST numbers as a worst case until I can actually weigh the vehicle.

The three potential trailers we've narrowed it down to:

1. 2020 No Boundaries 16.6
UVW: 3,650
GVWR: 4,856*
GVW (planned loadout): 4,029
Hitch Weight: 523 (planned) / 630 (max)*

*Actual GVW would be closer to 4,029 with our loadout. At that GVW, hitch weight would be approx. 523 pounds. This is an extremely thin margin, and we would have to constantly police what we're loading each trip.

2. 2018 Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH
UVW: 2,980*
GVWR: 3,800
GVW (planned loadout): 3,359
Hitch weight: 436 (planned) / 494 (max)

3. 2020 Coachmen Apex Tera 15T
UVW: 2,600
GVWR: 3,800
GVW (planned loadout): 2,980
Hitch weight: 387 (planned) / 494 (max)

TV Payload:
Payload Capacity: 1,324
- 2x adults, 2x grade school kids = 410
- Luggage/Cargo = 150
Total: 560

TT Payload:
- 380-480 regardless of trailer (assuming a 100# WD hitch)

Now for the calculations for each TT:
1. 2020 NoBo 16.6
- Available Payload: 240 (18% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, planned payload): 5,810 (1.6% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, max TT GVW): 5,918 (-0.2% remaining)
- GCVW (planned payload): 9,316 (7.8% remaining)
- GCVW (max TT/TV): 10,143 (-0.4% remaining)

This is definitely the tightest margins between the TTs. This trailer can easily surpass the TV's capabilities and would require a lot of attention to keep within limits. Also, even with the planned payload (which is probably more than it will actually be), it's well inside of the 10% safety margins in a few areas.

2. 2018 Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH
- Available Payload: 327 (24% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, planned payload): 5,723 (3% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, max TT GVW): 5,781 (2% remaining)
- GCVW (planned payload): 8,646 (14% remaining)
- GCVW (max TT/TV): 9,087 (10% remaining)

This gives us back the safety margins for the GCVW (planned and max). Also, even though the TV GVW is tighter, any extra cargo can get added to the trailer since only a fraction of it's weight (13%) will be added to the tongue weight.

3. 2020 Coachmen Apex Tera 15T
- Available Payload: 376 (28% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, planned payload): 5,674 (3.9% remaining)
- TV GVW (hitched, max TT GVW): 5,781 (2% remaining)
- GCVW (planned payload): 8,266 (18% remaining)
- GCVW (max TT/TV): 9,087 (10% remaining)

These numbers are only marginally better than the Apex Nano in some areas, and keep at least a 10% margin in GCVW. As with the Apex Nano, though, TV GVW is close, but can also accommodate cargo being shifted to the trailer during transit. Remember, too, that the curb weight of the TV is assuming the heaviest vehicle configuration and will probably be lighter by nearly 100 pounds.

So, which one to go with?
- The NoBo looks to have a really nice build quality and has a lot packed into a small frame. It also offers bunkhouse sleeping for the kids, a dry bath, and a dining area. Unfortunately, the dining area only fits 2 people, and the kitchen slide out adds a lot of weight.
- The Apex Nano offers a very similar layout as the NoBo, but has a "4" person dinette (2 adults, 2 kids), no slide out, and comes in significantly lighter.
- The Apex Tera is the lightest, but drops the dinette, and saves only a small fraction of weight off of the Apex Nano.
- Also, the NoBo and Apex Tera would be purchased new, while the Apex Nano is for sale used by a private party (2 years old, about 2,000 miles, and comes with a WD hitch and several other accessories included).

All said, we're leaning towards the Apex Nano since it gives us the floorpan we're looking for at the lightest weight, for a more reasonable cost. We were originally drawn in by the Tera, but now think the lack of a dinette and more cramped area is a bigger loss without much gained. The NoBo looks great and I think would do well for most, but it's just not a safe fit for our TV right now.

Ok...what am I missing or what did I screw up? I've adjusted all the tongue weights to 13% of GVW, used the heaviest curb weight for the TV, and compared worst case trailer weights with planned weights as well. Any other recommendations?
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Old 06-07-2020, 06:54 PM   #18
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I see the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor comes with the 3.0 Ecoboost with 400hp.
Can you get that engine?
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:51 PM   #19
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first concern with any of those campers is unless its only 6 feet tall and they are not you will hit the max frontal area for the heaviest package from the factory second with most storage being front pass through you will be tongue heavy you will be surprised at how fast gear in the camper adds up. plus where is the water tank and are you going to run it full of water. we have 3 vehicles that can tow in our home fleet. a small 6 cyl suv and let me tell you it tows 4000 lbs of flat trailer great. but hook my empty enclosed v nose cargo trailer up and it sucks. why its near the limits of the frontal area.
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:55 PM   #20
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I see the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor comes with the 3.0 Ecoboost with 400hp.
Can you get that engine?
I don't think it increases payload capacity nor towing capacity. In fact, it may lower both.
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