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Old 01-29-2019, 11:33 AM   #1
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A-frame owners ONLY: your experiences towing with mid-size SUVs?

I am starting to think about my next vehicle purchase.

Currently I own a compact car and my TV (Ridgeline). As both are quite high-mileage, I am considering selling both of them and purchasing a single newer "compromise" vehicle (high gas mileage + sufficient towing ability). Much as I'd like to continue owning a car and truck, as a single guy it doesn't really make sense.

I would probably end up with a mid-size SUV, and I believe most of those have a 3,500-lb towing capacity. My T12RBST has a dry weight of 2,100 lbs.

I am seeking opinions and reports from any A-frame owners towing with a vehicle in that specific category. Just as an example, I was looking at a Hyundai Santa Fe, which is rated for 3,500 capacity (haven't checked GVWR or other specs). But it has a 4-cyl engine, as I think many in this class do, and I can't really get my head around towing with that.

Also, I understand with this switch I would probably need to use a WDH, which currently I do not, and I am not excited about that.

I'd appreciate any input!
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JArry View Post
I am starting to think about my next vehicle purchase.

Currently I own a compact car and my TV (Ridgeline). As both are quite high-mileage, I am considering selling both of them and purchasing a single newer "compromise" vehicle (high gas mileage + sufficient towing ability). Much as I'd like to continue owning a car and truck, as a single guy it doesn't really make sense.

I would probably end up with a mid-size SUV, and I believe most of those have a 3,500-lb towing capacity. My T12RBST has a dry weight of 2,100 lbs.

I am seeking opinions and reports from any A-frame owners towing with a vehicle in that specific category. Just as an example, I was looking at a Hyundai Santa Fe, which is rated for 3,500 capacity (haven't checked GVWR or other specs). But it has a 4-cyl engine, as I think many in this class do, and I can't really get my head around towing with that.

Also, I understand with this switch I would probably need to use a WDH, which currently I do not, and I am not excited about that.

I'd appreciate any input!
I do not have an A Frame, but i have towed my boat (2004 crestliner angler 16sc, roller trailer, 40hp 2 stroke) with a 2001 Santa Fe with 6 cyl and sport shift transmission. boat was under the weight of your camper, and about the same length all in from outboard to hitch. Tongue weight around 200-300 lbs (never measured, could not lift it alone). this was the most ill advised tow vehicle i can imagine. the engine would not stay in its power band unless in third gear on the highway and wound up to 4k RPM. hills were a dangerous adventure. it would barely maintain 45 mph on steep inclines. mileage suffered greatly, around 12-14 mpg. i did it twice, disapointed each time. you dont mention what year Santa Fe you are looking at, but my experience was horrible!
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:41 PM   #3
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I do not have an A Frame, but i have towed my boat (2004 crestliner angler 16sc, roller trailer, 40hp 2 stroke) with a 2001 Santa Fe with 6 cyl and sport shift transmission. boat was under the weight of your camper, and about the same length all in from outboard to hitch. Tongue weight around 200-300 lbs (never measured, could not lift it alone). this was the most ill advised tow vehicle i can imagine. the engine would not stay in its power band unless in third gear on the highway and wound up to 4k RPM. hills were a dangerous adventure. it would barely maintain 45 mph on steep inclines. mileage suffered greatly, around 12-14 mpg. i did it twice, disapointed each time. you dont mention what year Santa Fe you are looking at, but my experience was horrible!
Thanks for that report. If even a 6 cyl is that bad, a 4 does not bode well! (That said, I looked back into the Santa Fe, and there still is a 6-cyl but for 2019 it's now branded XL [different model]).
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:10 PM   #4
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I tow my 2018 T21TBHW with a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, 6cyl. Its max tow rating is 6000lbs, camper weighs in a little over 2600. We live and travel through mountain roads, some quite steep, throughout New Mexico and Colorado with no problems at all. On flat roads, it's easy to forget it's even behind us. We also have a Santa Fe, 2007, that is a 6cyl and at nearly half the tow rating, I cannot imagine trying to tow the A-frame. I never even used it when we had a rather small canvas side popup that weighed in at around 1500lbs. Some SUVs are cars... some are trucks, which makes some more suited to heavier loads. I also tend to prefer to err on the side of caution and would not go anywhere near maxing out the tow limit on my Pathfinder. When it comes time to replace my Pathfinder, I want something with more tow capacity, which isn't going to make my husband very happy because he knows bigger vehicle=bigger camper in my mind, lol.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:32 PM   #5
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I tow my 2018 T21TBHW with a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, 6cyl. Its max tow rating is 6000lbs, camper weighs in a little over 2600. We live and travel through mountain roads, some quite steep, throughout New Mexico and Colorado with no problems at all. On flat roads, it's easy to forget it's even behind us. We also have a Santa Fe, 2007, that is a 6cyl and at nearly half the tow rating, I cannot imagine trying to tow the A-frame. I never even used it when we had a rather small canvas side popup that weighed in at around 1500lbs. Some SUVs are cars... some are trucks, which makes some more suited to heavier loads. I also tend to prefer to err on the side of caution and would not go anywhere near maxing out the tow limit on my Pathfinder. When it comes time to replace my Pathfinder, I want something with more tow capacity, which isn't going to make my husband very happy because he knows bigger vehicle=bigger camper in my mind, lol.
This is kind of confirming my thoughts. I see what you mean about not nearing max tow limit - supposedly my Ridge can do up to 5,000 but really I probably wouldn't tow anything bigger than I have now (though some do).
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:40 PM   #6
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Tow limit is a marketing number to impress buyers. The weak link in the entire decision process is generally cargo capacity and for small passenger vehicles hitch weight. The cargo capacity for a vehicle is posted on a sticker on the drivers door jamb. That is the total additional weight that the frame and suspension can safely support. For a tow behind, that number is roughly 12-15% of the total weight of the TT plus another 80-100lbs for the hitch and then any equipment and passengers loaded in the TV. That number should be less than the cargo capacity. Towing capacity is the ability of your TV to pull a load ( think four wheeled farm wagon that adds no weight to the TV)
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:19 PM   #7
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my 2014 RAM with 5.7 hemi and 3.21 gearing tows my 1600# boat like it is hardly even there and still gets 21 +MPG on the highway... about 15-16 in town...

the 8 speed tranny and 3.21 gears are awesome combo for gas mileage and I have a crew cab with about 1400# payload... a two seater cab would do even better as the curb weight would be less...
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:20 PM   #8
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I have towed my T-12 over 15,000 miles with an Acura MDX. Basically the same as the Ridgeline and Pilot. I carry a generator on the front tongue and a motorcycle on the rear, so I am at about 3000 Lbs. total ( with a 375 lb. tongue weight). The V-6 has more than enough power in all conditions. I usually drive at around 62 MPH, and barely know the camper is back there. Normal MPG towing is 22 vs. 29 not towing. I do not feel the need for a WDH, even though I use one for my bigger trailer.


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Old 01-29-2019, 02:26 PM   #9
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Hello. I pull my A122S with a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee that is rated at 6200 lb (6-cyl with towing package). I have no problems...the electric brakes are a big help. I previously towed with a Ram 1500 that surprisingly (at lease to me) was only rated at 3500lbs. Towed with that to Florida and back without any real issues, but I could tell it was back there. Of course the loss of cargo space was huge! Always better to go too big than too small, although Slim Potato Head pulls his A-Liner with a 4-cyl Jeep.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:35 PM   #10
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When we first bought our 2016 T21TBHW we towed it with a 2011 Nissan Pathfinder with the 4.0 v6. We towed our camper from FL. to WI. and back, getting about 12-14 mpg cruising at 65 mph. I usually got 18-20 mpg when not towing The only times we had any reservations about the TV abilities was going thru the mountains of TN & northern AL. The Pathfinder even started to over heat coming south thru AL. I had to pull over and let it cool down for 45 minutes at a rest area. After that I went out and got a 2017 Ram 2500 CTD CC SB. I know that's overkill but now we don't even feel the camper back there and we're getting 17-19 mpg cruising at 70 mpg thru mountains (Smoky Mtn, Appalachians, Alleghenys). Of course to cruise at that speed I changed the camper tires to LRD type. Most of today's SUV's are front wheel drive and are more car than truck. If you're looking to "step up" your towing capacity, I would be looking at a 1500 series PU truck, but don't expect much better mpg's unless you get it with an EcoDiesel or whatever diesel Ford is coming out with for their F150. Personally, I wouldn't consider a SUV for towing unless you went with a full size type and get it with a diesel.
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:40 PM   #11
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I used to have a regular 2015 Jeep Cherokee KL (not Grand) with a 3.2L V6 and it pulled everything from a PUP to a light TT just fine. The Cherokee has best-in-class towing for a compact SUV and got great gas mileage. 4500# max towing. I loved that car....
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:16 PM   #12
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I drive a F150 with the 2.7 V-6 EcoBoost, good gas mileage more than plenty of power.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:28 PM   #13
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Have you concerned a mid size pick up. Canyon/Colorado? I have the Canyon V6. 4 door. 18/24 mpg city/hw no tow. 13 with my motorcycle enclosed trailer.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bluepill View Post
I have towed my T-12 over 15,000 miles with an Acura MDX. Basically the same as the Ridgeline and Pilot. I carry a generator on the front tongue and a motorcycle on the rear, so I am at about 3000 Lbs. total ( with a 375 lb. tongue weight). The V-6 has more than enough power in all conditions. I usually drive at around 62 MPH, and barely know the camper is back there. Normal MPG towing is 22 vs. 29 not towing. I do not feel the need for a WDH, even though I use one for my bigger trailer.
Wow, comparisons to the 2006 Ridgeline don't go very far... I only get 20 MPG max highway not towing and 14-15 towing, which is typical for them. Seems even stepping up to a 2nd gen Ridge or one of the similar SUVs would be a vast improvement in this regard.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:32 PM   #15
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I drive a F150 with the 2.7 V-6 EcoBoost, good gas mileage more than plenty of power.
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Have you concerned a mid size pick up. Canyon/Colorado? I have the Canyon V6. 4 door. 18/24 mpg city/hw no tow. 13 with my motorcycle enclosed trailer.
Yes, have considered both of these if SUV doesn't pan out, particularly F150 EB, but haven't looked much into pricing. Same for the new Ranger - my first TV for this trailer was a 4.0 Ranger and it did better than my current Ridgeline (2nd gen of that is also an option). Many many options...
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:50 PM   #16
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Close to your situation

I have a Rockwood A192HW, which is the same length as yours but in the high wall (HW) design, so it's about 200 lbs more overall and adds about 50 lbs of tongue weight. So, I'm very familiar with the type of trailer you're asking about.

The difference is that I tow mine with an F150 Super Crew with the twin-turbo 2.7 L V6 EcoBoost engine (325 hp) and tow package.

I'm not sure why, in moving to a single vehicle, you are opting for an SUV instead of just getting a new truck. My F150 is my every day driver and one of the most comfortable vehicles I've ever owned. And it tows my A-Frame like it's not even back there (w/o any weight distribution or anti-sway).

If you prefer midsize, it might be worth waiting for the new Ranger to be available. That thing sounds really exciting.

BTW, if you do end up needing the hitch upgrade, I recommend looking at Anderson. I had one with my 26 ft Flagstaff tandem axle, and it was effective and totally carefree.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:53 PM   #17
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I tow my 2018 T21TBHW with a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, 6cyl. Its max tow rating is 6000lbs, camper weighs in a little over 2600. We live and travel through mountain roads, some quite steep, throughout New Mexico and Colorado with no problems at all. On flat roads, it's easy to forget it's even behind us. We also have a Santa Fe, 2007, that is a 6cyl and at nearly half the tow rating, I cannot imagine trying to tow the A-frame. I never even used it when we had a rather small canvas side popup that weighed in at around 1500lbs. Some SUVs are cars... some are trucks, which makes some more suited to heavier loads. I also tend to prefer to err on the side of caution and would not go anywhere near maxing out the tow limit on my Pathfinder. When it comes time to replace my Pathfinder, I want something with more tow capacity, which isn't going to make my husband very happy because he knows bigger vehicle=bigger camper in my mind, lol.
Tlspencer, I took with an Armada Platinum. Good vehicle to upgrade to.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:10 PM   #18
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Tlspencer, I took with an Armada Platinum. Good vehicle to upgrade to.
That's what I've been drooling over, lol. I love my Pathfinder, spent more nights sleeping in the back of it than I care to think about while out of state and my mom was in the hospital (hotels get too expensive and they lived an hour from town) SUVs can come in handy when you already camp and have stuff to turn one into a camper. I love the thought of 8000+ tow capacity on that Armada, definitely going to have to consider it at some point.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:21 PM   #19
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I'm not sure why, in moving to a single vehicle, you are opting for an SUV instead of just getting a new truck. My F150 is my every day driver and one of the most comfortable vehicles I've ever owned. And it tows my A-Frame like it's not even back there (w/o any weight distribution or anti-sway).
I don't have much need for hauling materials (in bed), so if there is an SUV that gets significantly better gas mileage than a pickup and can handle my trailer, that is what I prefer. I acknowledge that all else being equal, a pickup is the ideal vehicle for towing, which is why I referred to a "compromise."

Also, considering the ridiculous (IMO) prices of pickups these days, I would probably buy one quite a few years old when they may have had worse gas mileages compared to SUVs of that time.

These are some of the factors I'm thinking about.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:40 PM   #20
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That's what I've been drooling over, lol. I love my Pathfinder, spent more nights sleeping in the back of it than I care to think about while out of state and my mom was in the hospital (hotels get too expensive and they lived an hour from town) SUVs can come in handy when you already camp and have stuff to turn one into a camper. I love the thought of 8000+ tow capacity on that Armada, definitely going to have to consider it at some point.
Absolutely love it. My only regret was the color. Wanted the Tuscany sun which is red.
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