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Author Topic: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??  (Read 9413 times)

marcb

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Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« on: September 04, 2010, 11:43:12 AM »
We're torn between a mobile home, or a travel trailer. It's only my wife and I and our yellow lab.

So, we're thinking about getting an 18-21 foot lite type trailer, something like a Rockwood- Roo, or some similar small trailer under 4,500GVW.

We prefer an SUV to a truck, so we are wondering which SUV's, smaller than the Suburban, with a class III hitch, will work for hauling a lite trailer. Seems like the Chevy Traverse, Ford Explorer, or GMC Acadia might do the trick, but not sure what, if any, the potential issues might be.

So, looking for some comments from you guys who are/have been in a similar situation.

Thank you,....marc
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 03:08:12 PM by marcb »

Carl L

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 06:55:45 PM »
The Explorer with the 4.8L engine should be ok.  However, I kinda like the full sized, truck based SUVs for towing.  SUVs like the Ford Expedition.   They seem to handle the weight better.   

I would get class IV hitch gear -- TTs do weigh up on the tongue.   A weight distributing hitch with integral sway control will be needed:  Reese Dual Cam, Equalizer, Hensley Arrow, and ProPride are good brands.

With a dawg and two adults I would range my trailer between 21 and 24 feet.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

keebo

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 09:29:28 PM »
We have a 2000 Toyota 4runner ( 6cyl) which can tow 5000lbs. Though we have not towed a travel trailer, we have towed a 4 x8 trailr with a homemade camper/canoe box in it.  About 3500lbs.  We get about 17-18 miles mpg fully loaded and traveling 65mph.  Feels good behind us and the SUV responds well.
We have a fifth wheel which we love.  Sometimes we wish we had a smaller unit for the National Parks.   Good Luck.

Freedom First

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 09:48:39 PM »
I live near an RV park and visit it once in a while to get ideas.  Other than three-quarter and one-ton trucks, one of the more common rigs I see is an Expedition.  I second Carl's recommendation, the Expedition is a great choice for a TV.  I also agree on the 21-24 feet rather than 18-21 feet.  That extra living space will make a lot of difference :)

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2010, 10:01:24 PM »
With a roughly 4500 lb limit on the GVWR you are pretty much looking at 18 footers in something like the Roo. 21 ft usually weighs in around 4800-5000 lbs and will  will be pushing a Class III hitch to its max limits and most mid-size SUV tow capacity too. The GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse twins are up to 5200 lb towing this year (with the factory towing package), though. Probably can handle 18-19 footers ok.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

wrxvette

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2010, 10:58:34 PM »
Tahoe or Yukon!
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax
2010 Keystone Raptor 300MP Toyhauler

camr

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 10:45:45 AM »
We are pulling a 26 ft Heartlnd Edge M22 with a Buick Enclave, 3.6 liter, about 280 hp. The Edge is 3900 lb empty and is 4300 lb on the road. We are exceptionally pleased with the Heartland product. Give it a look!

marcb

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 01:09:34 PM »
Wow, isn't that Buick at it's maximum limits pulling that Heartland?

Have you pulled long distances or in the mountains?

Thank you

Bobandpamlemay

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2010, 01:19:45 PM »
I towed an 8,000 lb 29 foot travel trailer with my 2006 Expedition with no problems at all except gas mileage. About 6-7 mpg  :-[

Bob
Bob and Pam
Schaumburg, Ill
2008 F250 Diesel 
2009 Komfort 34' fifth wheel

camr

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2010, 02:48:48 PM »
The Enclave is rated at 4500 lbs. I have installed an auxiliary transmission cooler, and have not had a problem. There is a dealer in Ontario, CanAm RV, who has been featured in McLeans magazine, sort of a Canadian vesion of Time. They are of the belief that as long as the hitch is of proper capacity and set up properly, then almost any vehicle will serve well as a tow vehicle. He features an Enclave that has towed a tri axle Airstream for tens of thousands of miles without a problem. He recently delivered an Airstream from Ontario to Alberta with a VW diesel Jetta. Before you think that he is a crackpot who got lucky, he is one of Canada's most successful dealers, and has shipped Airstream's to Europe!!!
 

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2010, 09:51:41 PM »
A vehicle can  pull most anything - for awhile. The transmission and the various driveline joints may not last too long, but who's counting? 
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

donn

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2010, 09:57:50 PM »
The difference between towing with a marginal vehicle and a vehicle that is more than capable is like night and day.  Get the largest vehicle you are comfortable with and go camping.  The difference in fuel econmy will be long forgotten with the bitter taste of a poor towing experience.

Carl L

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2010, 10:49:18 PM »
Quote
Before you think that he is a crackpot who got lucky, he is one of Canada's most successful dealers, and has shipped Airstream's to Europe!!!

All that says is that the lad can sell an awful lot of RVs.   It says nothing about whether or not he knows anything about their operation or safety considerations.  After all his occupation is sales, not engineer.   If he sells a 39 foot 5th wheel to a guy with a Ford Ranger for tow vehice he has made his money -- and it is not against the law.
 
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Frank B

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2010, 08:20:57 PM »
marcb:

Stay within the tow specs of your tow vehicle.  You can pull beyond its capacity, but pulling is not stopping.  A small SUV does not have a lot of braking reserve.  Yes, you have trailer brakes.  However, these are drum units, they fade when they get hot, and do not cool well like disk bakes.  That means the brakes on the tow vehicle take up the slack.

Don't skimp on your tow vehicle.  Even one white-knuckle descent out of the mountains with hot brakes is too much.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling Westwind 24' lightweight 5th

crazyv

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2010, 08:53:11 AM »
I will tell you that we have a Chevy Trailblazer EXT 4x4 and are towing a 22 foot hybrid bunkhouse.  Dry weight of 3600.  We use a weight distribution hitch and sway as well.  That said - we haul in third, get about 10 mpg and absolutely know that this vehicle can not handle anything bigger or heavier than what we have.  Our trailer is a bit rare in that it is a foot taller and a foot wider than most hybrids in this length...that height is what is so tough.  Add in some wind and a small hill - and I can tell a difference.  It's not a big issue other than we know the life of the car won't be what it would be while not towing....hence our goal of switching to a larger SUV or truck at some point. 

PS:  this 22 ft hybrid bunk house EASILY holds my family of 5 plus our dog and 2 mealtimes guests (grandparents) when raining.  For your family - you can TOTALLY do 17-21 foot easily.  :)

jerheye

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2010, 11:45:52 AM »
I pull a 24 foot (closed), hybrid cub 3700 empty around 4800 fully loaded counting water (which i never carry), with a 2009 GMC Acadia AWD, 288HP, with factory tow package, including transmission cooler, hd cooling, tow haul mode.  It is rated at 600 pound tongue weight and 5200 pounds towing.  Havent had any problems so far but I only have gone around 30 miles or so.  If dw keeps adding dishes and stuff will soon be at max.

scottydl

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Re: Which SUV to get for a light travel trailer??
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2010, 01:02:06 PM »
"Haven't had any problems YET" (emphasis added) really doesn't mean anything when it comes to possibly towing overloaded.  A panic stop or evasive maneuver can quickly test the limits of your setup, that you'd never notice cruising smoothly down the highway at 55mph.  Or as mentioned, over time you are stressing the suspension/brakes/etc. and they will eventually fail if overworked.  It's just that nobody knows the when or where.  Pretty dangerous risk to take for a few extra mpg's.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...