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Old 03-25-2011, 05:22 AM   #1
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Default Towing A Viewfinder

Hi, I'm a new member w/a question I haven't seen yet. We currently own an '08 FF-189FBS and tow with a 05 4Runner V8...I want to move up to a '10 Viewfinder 24SD that has the front kitchen. Our vehicle has a stated tow capacity of 7000lbs which is well above the weight of either camper; I think the "listed" weight on the VF is 4300 or something close. My husband is VERY concerned about the hitch weight with the VF's front kitchen which is almost double what we currently tow. We have a stablizer bar, but currently do not tow with the weight distribution feature that I've seen on some larger campers. I've heard the V-front camper is a dream to tow, but what would we need to do to make my husband more comfortable towing the VF? Do we need a larger vehicle to safely tow this vehicle or would the addition of the weight distribution device do the trick? We live in FL and mostly travel on flatlands, maybe a stray trip to the GA/NC mountains, but want to travel out west at some point. We usually travel to state parks, so we don't carry any liquids in the tanks (other than the gas tank ) Is the hitch weight really something we should be concerned about in this situation?? Seems like there should be a trade off gas wise of dragging a big box down the road to dragging a v shaped box down the road...I welcome all opinions & info...
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2008 Chevy Tahoe V8 - 2018 FF-24RK
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:45 PM   #2
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The hitch weight on those V-nosed ViewFinders is very, very heavy. I would be concerned about it also with your current tow vehicle. The listing is for 795 lbs...that is the "dry weight" listing. You'll have to add several hundred additional pounds to allow for "options", battery, LPG and kitchen furnishings; it mounts up fast. Consider, even conservatively, 150 lbs (and that is real conservative); you are looking at a tongue weight of 945 lbs...you, most certainly, would require a weight distribution hitch for that kind of mass to keep your 4Runner level and with enough weight on the steering axles. Figure another 100 lbs for the weight of the hitch and you are looking at dropping over 1,000 lbs of dead weight into a truck that is rated at a maximum of 1500 lbs. You also have to add the weight of the vehicle's occupants and traveling cargo to that 1000+ lbs. when you are calculating that 1500 lb. limit.

You will be right at the limit and you may be overloading the 4Runner's axles (I can't find specs for those), particularly given the age of the 4Runner. No matter how well maintained, a 6.5 year old truck's suspension and drivetrain show wear and tear. IMHO, the V-nosed front kitchen trailers are getting up on 5th wheel pin weights as far as loading goes, and I feel that a 3/4 ton p/u is a much better tow vehicle when you start talking tongue weights approaching 1/2 ton and over...

As for V-nosed trailers towing better... No empirical data to prove it. In theory if all the wind resistance was coming at you dead on, and your tow vehicle weren't in the way, the V-nosed trailer should, in theory, have an advantage. In real life, the tow vehicle is taking the brunt of the air being in front of the trailer and very rarely will you always have a headwind, which BTW, is worse for over-all fuel mileage (a tail wind is much better for mileage). In what I've seen, read and learned talking to folks that have V-nosed trailers; utility and travel, there is no real-life towing advantage of one nose design over another. The V-nose does allow for additional floorplan configurations, but, IMHO, that is their only true advantage. Their big minus is the additional tongue weight that the tow vehicle must support by having all the appliances, pots, pans, refrigerated foods and other kitchen necessities sitting way forward of the axles.

Short version... Can you do it? Yep, the numbers jive. Should you do it? Probably not with your current tow vehicle and it's age.

PS... Welcome to the forum. Much information here, even if it isn't always what you want to hear



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Old 03-25-2011, 09:36 PM   #3
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Thanks SO much for your input...it's great to hang out with smart people
My husband will be SO happy with your comments! I'm the one who likes the Viewfinder, and he's been totally against it. But that's ok--we love our little 189FBS. The only real reason we're thinking of selling is because of the wall-to-wall bed. We're getting too old to "crawl over" anymore. Our 2nd choice is the FF 210WBS which I don't think is that much heavier that what we have now, and that might be our new direction. Thanks again, you just might've saved our lives ~
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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I think the 210WBS would be an excellent alternative (I know we love our '08 ). Mid-kitchen, good balance and a tongue weight that you and your 4Runner will be much more comfortable with. In fact, we travel with the three cats for months at a time and I have to pack the bulk of their canned cat food in the front compartment to keep my tongue weight up (I have a Sherline tongue weight scale to check my loading before heading out). We mount two bikes on the back and if I put all the cans in the pantry in the rear bathroom, it makes the tongue weight too light for our total weight...I try and keep the tongue weight on ours to around 12% (~650 lbs in our "2 months loading") for best towing. Coupled with the Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch, 12% keeps the trailer cool, calm and collected behind the Jeep.



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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 03-26-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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I find that my Viewfinder tows very well. Although it might have a little higher percentage of the trailer's weight on the hitch than your current trailer, the Viewfinder that you are interested in should tow just fine with a WD hitch. My trailer has the fresh water tank behind the axles so I can lower my hitch weight by filling that tank if I wish to but I have never felt the need to. The V nose and narrow profile of the trailer make a large difference in the amount of wind restance that we experience compaired to the 26' Wilderness that we used to tow. Many people discount this as not important until they actually experience it.
What ever you decision, enjoy.
Al
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:51 PM   #6
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Thanks again for all the comments regarding towing a Viewfinder...it'll be quite awhile before we can upgrade to a different camper, but it's always a good idea to be prepared with the knowledge to make the right decision. BTW-we have 4 cats, 3 being mouthy Siamesers and as much as I love them, I can't even imagine traveling with them. They are way too bossy.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:26 AM   #7
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Our cats have always traveled with us... We are exceptions to the rule with regards to traveling with cats. From talking to friends and folks on the road, most think cats don't travel well and certainly not as well as dogs, but, we're fortunate in that regard; ours love to travel with us. That's why our trailer is nicknamed the "Cat House"

Always amusing when we stop to gas up, the remarks we get from folks around us... "Look, there's a kitty in the window (when we stop, Rags like to get on the dash), and look there! There's another kitty in the middle, GEEZ!, there's another cat in the back! Hey Mister, how many cats you got in there!!!!?????"



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My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

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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 04-25-2011, 03:19 PM   #8
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Air bags may also offer a solution.
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