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Greywolf1
April 20, 2006, 07:04
I am considering getting a pull-behind camper, and need a little advice.

If a car manufacturer says that the towing capacity of a vehicle is 3500 pounds, is it REALLY only 3500 pounds, or could you, say, tow 4000-4500 pounds safely without damage to the vehicle, especially if you drove normally and not accelerated hard or went too fast?

Is there a particular manufacturer of campers that is consistently better and more reliable/less prone to problems than others?

Any special hitches or devices to consider getting for either the camper or the towing vehicle?

We are thinking of getting a V6 RAV-4 (new one) that has a towing capacity of 3500 pounds, but most of the campers we are looking at are about 3800-4000 pounds.

raeldridge
April 20, 2006, 12:05
realizing I am not an expert...

and realizing that the manufacturer is going to 'de-rate' things

when you get up close to the edges of the recommendations on things that might kill you makes me nervous.

you may be able to safely tow something out of the limits on level ground. stopping, unless you have a brake controller and are using the brakes on the trailer also.

staying in-control and going up and even more importantly *down* hills may be another subject.

I'm sorry, in some subjects I'm the worlds biggest coward. and some of the interest is selfish, since I may be the guy going by you on the interstate.

seriously, I could see doing it for very short trips. but I would think long and hard about it.

and God forbid, something bad happens on the roadway. if there's legal action, a good crash reconstructionist is going to look at the limits and ratings on the vehicles.

Mad Dog 7.62
April 20, 2006, 14:28
You need to consider the *loaded* weight of what you're pulling, not the empty weight. Water in the holding tanks, food, etc add quite a bit of weight. It also depends on how far you are pulling it, in what weather, and the kind of terrain. Pulling a camp trailer that is close to the vehicles max towing capacity up a steep hill on a hot day is going to leave you sitting on the side of the road with a boil-over. Better to have more towing capacity than you need than not enough. It also gets real hard on the tow vehicle when you push it to the max.

MD

Bwana John
April 20, 2006, 15:38
If the car said it was good to tow 3500 lbs, I would try to never tow more than 2500 lbs.

You are askin for problems (while on vacation no less).

GW870
April 20, 2006, 15:48
What they said.

More power than you think you need to pull it.

DEFINITELY more power than you think you need to stop it. AMHIK!

GW

trodery
April 20, 2006, 15:50
That question could most likely be better answered here.... http://www.rv.net/forum/


With that small of a tow vehicle I honestly would not pull anything other than a Pop-Up camper.

Go to the forum above and you will find all the answers to your questions about towing and camper trailers.

We just bought this set up last year...
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v726/trodery/TruckCamper.jpg

Cybercop
April 20, 2006, 16:31
Originally posted by Greywolf1
I am considering getting a pull-behind camper, and need a little advice.

If a car manufacturer says that the towing capacity of a vehicle is 3500 pounds, is it REALLY only 3500 pounds, or could you, say, tow 4000-4500 pounds safely without damage to the vehicle, especially if you drove normally and not accelerated hard or went too fast?


GW,

Please don't do that, I've seen too many bad thing happen when people push the limits. It's not just the drivetrain, the suspension and frame may not stand the stress. And I doubt it will do much for emergency manuvers.


Is there a particular manufacturer of campers that is consistently better and more reliable/less prone to problems than others?


I've had good luck with the Mallard line and Trail Bay, The Mallard was almost bullet proof, but heavy. Trail Bay gives you alot of features for the money, but I've had a few QC problems. But to their credit they made good on all of the repairs.


Any special hitches or devices to consider getting for either the camper or the towing vehicle?


If your buying a trailer get the sway control, you will understand why when you get passed by a semi and you rig starts doing the mambo at 65 mph! If you have the coin the easist rig to tow are fifth wheels. They even have S-10 (fifth wheel) sized campers. On the tow vehicle get the tranny oil cooler with filter if availible. You can nurse a sick engine for awhile but if the gearbox is TU .... your done.


We are thinking of getting a V6 RAV-4 (new one) that has a towing capacity of 3500 pounds, but most of the campers we are looking at are about 3800-4000 pounds.


If you looking at campers in the 4000lb range you should be looking at a towing capacity of around 5000 lb's. I'm not an expert by any means but I've been towing 'em for about 80,000 miles

HTH ... Jim

hagar
April 20, 2006, 20:24
With everybody dumping all their V8's, try and find a decent used Expedition/Suburban and use it exclusively for towing the camper. My 3.5L Mitsubishi Montero Sport Limited has a heck of a time towing my fully loaded toy hauler when I have the ATV and motorcycle in there.

mbrs4evr
April 20, 2006, 21:49
I pull my 3,000lb. fishing rig with a '99 Explorer 5.0 V8. It's rated for nearly double that, but I can tell you that even at only 3K, that rig sure takes a long time to stop at highway speeds, even with new brakes.

There are so many variables when it comes to towing. Exceeding (or even pushing) the recommended max. towing capacity is not a variable I would want to deal with.

Not to mention what kind of havoc overloading your tow vehicle can play on your transmission.

My advice is to "club up" on your tow vehicle or go smaller on what you pull.

Also, I would immagine that if you were to become involved in an accident, you could be found liable.... and....I doubt if your insurance co. would just let it slide.

Powderfinger
April 22, 2006, 11:36
Originally posted by Greywolf1
I am considering getting a pull-behind camper, and need a little advice.

If a car manufacturer says that the towing capacity of a vehicle is 3500 pounds, is it REALLY only 3500 pounds, or could you, say, tow 4000-4500 pounds safely without damage to the vehicle, especially if you drove normally and not accelerated hard or went too fast?

Is there a particular manufacturer of campers that is consistently better and more reliable/less prone to problems than others?

Any special hitches or devices to consider getting for either the camper or the towing vehicle?

We are thinking of getting a V6 RAV-4 (new one) that has a towing capacity of 3500 pounds, but most of the campers we are looking at are about 3800-4000 pounds.

It should be called "Braking Capacity". You can "tow" 3500# with a 4 cylinder. Stopping it is a different matter. Now go and add a half ton more and see what you get coming down off that pass in a sidewind.

Get a self-leveling hitch for your camp trailer and check the tire pressure cold on your tow-er.