Tuff Tow - Good idea or No?

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Tom

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Ron,

I'll let others comment on the merits of that system, but be aware that it does nothing to increase the total weight of trailer you can tow with a given motorhome. In fact, it decreases the towing capacity by the weight of the gadget.
 

Ron

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Interesting concept but you just can't change facts.  GVWR and GCVWR are facts and whatever the manufacturer has listed is what you have to live with.  I.E If you have a motorhome with a GVWR of 20,000 and a GCVWR of 25,000 that tufftow will not change anything.  you can't legally pull more then what the vehicle specs indicate.  Now our Eagle has a GVWR of 32,000 and a GCVWR of 42,000 but there is no way I would want to even tie anything near 10,000 on the back of it.  Of course you have to consider how much Tufftow weighs and consider that figure when determining the total load. I.E if your trailer with load is 5,000 and the Tufftow weighs in at say 300 lbs then your total load you are pulling would be 5300lbs.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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This gadget would indeed solve a tongue weight problem if you had one, but as Ron & Tom have stated, does nothing to resolve the GCWR issue. Your transmission and rear axle are still at risk due to the towed weight and your hitch receiver still has to be strong enough in its attachment to the frame to pull 10,000 lbs.

A 10,000 lb trailer would typically have a tongue weight of approximately 1500 lbs (15%) and that is within the range for a weight distributing hitch in a standard receiver. What that means is that you probably don't need a Tuff Tow to handle the tongue weight because a weight distributing hitch will do the job. But you still have the issue of towing 10,000 lbs with a hitch rated for 5000 and a motorhome drive train and chassis rated roughly the same.
 

Karl

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I'm wondering if anyone has actually seen a frame break due to excessive tongue weight or bouncing? I've seen many car haulers; both single car and multiple, some with nearly complete machine shops inside, and they don't seem to have any problems. Curious. I also wonder how they came up with how 1,000 pounds translates to 9,000 pounds. Seems to me it would all depend on the lever arm length and fulcrum location along the arm. Am I missing something very basic here?
 

Ned

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Am I missing something very basic here?

Yes, it's all marketing hype.  Any trailer with that much excessive tongue weight as shown in the pictures is grossly misloaded.  This is a solution is search of a problem :)
 

ronhix

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I've seen literally hundreds of race teams pulling giant trailers with various RV's.  The same big trailers are often pulled with Suburbans and Excursions because of the need to not only haul equipment but people as well.

For example, my friend has used an old '85 Georgie Boy 454 gas hauler since 2000 to haul his race rig, I'm sure hauling way more than rated.

So the question is not CAN it be done, but SHOULD it be done.

How exactly do manufacturers calculated GVWR and GCWR? 

We know the manufacturers are gonna be very conservative with these numbers because of possible warranty issues and possible law suits.

Logically, it seems that the weakest link in the chain is what will limit the actual ability to safely tow. 

The components involved are:

1. Hitch
2. Axle
3. Tires
4. Chassis
5. Transmission
6. Engine

The hitch can be upgraded pretty easily.

A unit like this "tuff tow" device appears to remove a significant amount of the downward weight from the rear tires, axles and chassis by allowing the trailer weight to be pulled horizontally by the RV versus the RV carrying a lot of the trailer weight on the hitch, rear axle, rear tires and chassis.

The transmission with overdrive off and temp gauge for monitoring heat should be designed and fully able to handle the maximum output of the engine.  And if not abused with jack rabbit starts and impatient hill climbing, should be up to the task.

The engine, of course, needs to be in good working order and should not be an issue.

SO...

Where is the weak link?

Just thinking out loud here fellas.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

ronhix

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Karl said:
I'm wondering if anyone has actually seen a frame break due to excessive tongue weight or bouncing? I've seen many car haulers; both single car and multiple, some with nearly complete machine shops inside, and they don't seem to have any problems. Curious. I also wonder how they came up with how 1,000 pounds translates to 9,000 pounds. Seems to me it would all depend on the lever arm length and fulcrum location along the arm. Am I missing something very basic here?

I've never seen a tongue break, but I have ridden in some rough riding rigs due to excessive bouncing.  This particular rig was an Excursion with the V10 and the trailer have load balancing and sway bars on it.

I contacted two guys that are currently using the tuff tow and both of them swear by them.  The said the bouncing is totally removing and the trailer sway you get when big rigs roll by is also greatly reduced.  One guy was towing a 38' trailer with a 2003 Allegro 33 Slide.  The other guy was towing a 34' trailer with a Trail Lite 25' motorhome with the workhorse / 8.1 combo.
 

Tom

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Ron,

You left out one important item in your list, i.e. brakes. You have to be able to stop safely.

...SHOULD it be done.

Several folks here have mentioned the safety and liability issues, so you have your answer. What you do is your decision, but don't expect to receive endorsement of an unsafe practice from folks here.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Seems to me it would all depend on the lever arm length and fulcrum location along the arm.

It does, but a typical motorhome will end up with the hitch ball 7-9 feet behind the axle.  Of course, when a hitch is rated to carry 500 lbs, they have already made an allowance for  the downward acceleration that occurs from time to time. Whether  they allowed enough is another question and unanswerable without an engineering analysis of the hitch and its attachment to the frame.

Agree - actual broken frames are pretty rare. Other things usually break first. However, I have seen hitch receivers mounted on frame extensions rather than directly on the frame rails - this is not unusual on Class C's and small A's using a one ton truck chassis or some of the older Chevy P30 and Ford F53 chassis. When the RV chassis builders failed to keep pace with the market demand for larger Rvs, coach manufacturers tacked on extensions to support longer motorhomes. Some of them were OK for the body weight but  a bit too light for heavy trailers. That's why you see some rigs with only 3000 lb hitch ratings.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You left out one important item in your list, i.e. brakes. You have to be able to stop safely.

None of the motorhomes we are discussing are rated to stop more than their own GVWR, so the trailer always has to have brakes sufficient to stop its own weight. That's true whether the trailer weighs 3000 lbs or 10,000 lbs. And all states require brakes on a trailer that size anyway.

but don't expect to receive endorsement of an unsafe practice from folks here.

Well said, Tom!
 

Ron

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I contacted two guys that are currently using the tuff tow and both of them swear by them.  The said the bouncing is totally removing and the trailer sway you get when big rigs roll by is also greatly reduced.  One guy was towing a 38' trailer with a 2003 Allegro 33 Slide.  The other guy was towing a 34' trailer with a Trail Lite 25' motorhome with the workhorse / 8.1 combo.

Did the two guys mention whether or not they were legal or safe in their towing practices?  I sure wouldn't want to be caught or in an accident it I wasn't within the specified weight limits for what I was driving.  When one violates weight limits they are not only illegal but also putting themselves, who ever is with them and others who happen to be around them in danger.  Not something I would want to do or have the potential liability issues that could result from such action.  IMHO the Tuff Tow is just a very bad idea in most cases and would only cover up illegal and unsafe operating practices.  
 
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