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Old 07-29-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Default Fun Finder vs Viewfinder

My wife and I were looking at the 189 FDS (dry weight 3040) and the WBS210 dry weight 3370). We like both and we were having a hard time deciding between the two, then we happened to see the the Viewfinder V-19FK (dry weight 3873) on the dealer's lot. Our tow vehicle is a Honda Ridgeline (towing capacity 5000 lbs).
The FDS and WBS are within the towing capacity of the Ridgeline (adding 1000 lbs for cargo, options, water, etc), but the Viewfinder is cutting it tight.

My question is does the V shape of the Viewfinder cause less drag and therefore make up for the extra weight? Will the Ridgeline, which by all accounts in the Ridgeline Owners Forum is a great tow vehicle, be able to tow the Viewfinder V-19FK?

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Old 07-29-2011, 07:38 AM   #2
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The V-nose configuration has no empirical data supporting "ease of towing" nor any "fuel efficiency" claims and most advertising is deceptive in how they lead people to believe that it does. The drag on your vehicle combination is a compilation of many factors and the V nose shape is just one of those factors. The modern "curve" of the fronts of most travel trailers is just about as effective in cutting the wind as a V nose. The V nose, if there are any advantages in towing, certainly doesn't change the physics involved Weight is weight, and in that arena, the V nose is actually a hindrance in most cases.

If you look at the advertised weights for the V nosed V19FK, the dry weight is 3873 (it will actually be several hundred pounds more as it doesn't include a full load of LP nor battery and other "options"), yet the tongue weight is already 625 lbs (will actually be over 700 with the above LP and battery). The V19FK is very "nose" heavy; all of the "heavy stuff", kitchen and slide are forward of the axle assembly. Not uncommon with V nosed trailers, virtually all of them have the kitchens in the nose (the kitchen is easier to configure into that weird "V" shape without a lot of wasted space). If you look at that floor plan very carefully, you will see that in addition to all the "heavy hardware" being placed forward of the axles, all of your storage space for the heavy items you will take with you is also forward of the axles; kitchen supplies, food in the pantry, etc. I, truthfully, would not be surprised to see hitch weights exceeding 800 lbs with that configuration. You've also got at least one tank that would be forward of the axle (I'm guessing on that given the configuration), but, if you don't tow with anything in the tanks, that becomes less of an issue.

The 189FDS, on the other hand, has a dry weight (again, it will be heavier when the LP, battery and "options" are added) of 3040 lbs, but, a hitch weight 200+ lbs lighter than the 19FK model. The 210WBS has similar specs (to the 19FK), but, since I own that particular model, I'll give you my "real world numbers". Ready to roll on the highway, my 210WBS comes in right at gross; 5,928 lbs (+ or - a few lbs) and my hitch weight as measured yesterday with my Sherline scale (we're leaving on trip on Sunday) was 737 lbs. A far cry from the "advertised" hitch weight of 395 lbs for that model.

As a "rule of thumb" figure 1200 lbs more than "advertised empty weight" to allow for options and reasonable loading of the TT and at least 300lbs more of hitch weight, again for options and loading. Also keep in mind that the best stability for towing a full faced RV is going to be a tongue weight of 10-15% of gross trailer weight with ~13% being the sought after "norm".

As for your Ridgeline... It will be actually be borderline for any of these trailers. While it may be "touted" as a fine tow vehicle, and it may well be (I've never towed with, nor owned one), with a 5000 lb rating it is going to be borderline for any of the mentioned trailers when they are loaded for the road. You've got a V6, and yes, Honda makes a stout 6, it is still just a 6 cylinder engine. You don't have the rotating mass (inertia) of two more cylinders to aid in torque, and torque is what moves a trailer. Your payload is also rated at ~1500 lbs. That's total payload...that has to include options on the truck, passengers and cargo. With ~700 lbs of hitch weight, plus, another 70-100 lbs for the weight distribution hitch itself, leaves you around 700 lbs for passengers, cargo and options. If you look closely at that 5000 lb tow rating, at no time do they say or show a full fledged RV with those weights being towed (the ad on the Honda site actually shows a boat being towed . While the truck may be capable of towing 5000 lbs, that 5000 lbs that it was rated for was a low faced utility trailer with cinder blocks (concrete) stacked on it. Most advertised towing in the 3500 - 5000 lb range is aimed at boats, utility trailers, motorcycles, personal watercraft, etc. and not RVs. A "full faced" RV has a huge sail area and wind resistance, V nose or not, and is much different in requirements when being towed. Try some experiments with your hand out the window next time you are driving...wind resistance on a closed fist vs. wind Resistance on a full open hand... I tow my 210WBS with two vehicles. The 3.5 ton Jeep Commander with a Hemi pumping out 363 HP, rated at 7200 lbs towing, is adequate for my 210WBS...I know the trailer is back there all the time and it is not unusual for me to pull at 4,000 rpms on grades >6% (the peak horsepower/torque is at 4100 rpm). My Ram 2500 HD with the high output Cummins Turbo Diesel (800 ft lbs torque), doesn't even know the trailer is there.

Can you massage the numbers so that you can tow any of those three trailers with your Ridgeline? Yep, but, though the numbers you are looking at aren't lies, they don't speak to the real world numbers you will encounter when towing, they all have to be taken in context and with a close eye to how those numbers were derived. I believe, though, that for safety, comfort and longevity of your Honda, you'll be better off with the 189FDS of the three that you mentioned.


My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:36 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 25

You will be a much happier camper if you find a trailer that does not push your tow vehicle to it's limit.

My experience with our Viewfinder trailer has shown real world better towability with the V frontend and 7'6" width. The propane tanks on my trailer are in a compartment in the rear of the trailer and the fresh water tank and hot water heater and behind the rear axle so I find that the trailer is nothing but a well balanced unit when I am ready to travel. I get good MPG (11.5) and have never experienced any sway. I have not pulled any other trailer with my current tow vehicle but have pulled many different trailers with my suburbans and 1/2 ton Silverados and F-150s and this by far is the sweetest combo that I have ever owned.
Having said all of that, would I want to tow my trailer with your Tow Vehicle?
NO... To much trailer and not enough tow vehicle for me..
2009 GMC Sierra XLT CrewCab 5.3 4X4 w/Runningboard lift
2009 Viewfinder V21FB w/ Handicap Assists
Yamaha EF2400ISHC
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:15 PM   #4
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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Thanks for your insightful comments. I have crossed the viewfinder off my list of possible trailers.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:15 PM   #5
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Oops, double post - sorry
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