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Old 10-23-2017, 10:20 AM   #1
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Really good read

Hey y'all. I ran across this article and thought some of you would be interested. It explains how the Europeans tow "caravans" with smaller cars than we do.

Teach

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/tow-m...611/1609771499
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:50 AM   #2
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So my Kia Soul cannot tow my 2363?

Good article.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-Bev-2363 View Post
So my Kia Soul cannot tow my 2363?
You own a Soul? How'd you get them giant gerbils to git?
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:20 PM   #4
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Hi Teach,

Thanks for the link. Interesting and good read for us towing techy kind of folks. I agree with that he was saying but I'll add a few things he didn't that are very different here in the US. Cost and size are the 2 big things.

I made this post a while back which helps show some of campers in Germany when I worked there. Campers in Germany - Pic's

If we look back at some of the evolution of campers in the US, long ago we started small. I think we are now past 117 years of towable campers in the US. This article was from 2010 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/histo...e-rv-56915006/

Point being, back in 1910 the 8 cylinder auto engine was already starting to get traction and by the 30's it was more popular. RV's and the automobile world go hand in hand. As time went on, auto's went faster, could haul more weight and campers where being made longer, larger and heavier. OK now lets move into our lifetime....

When we were kids, gas was cheap. A gallon of gas in 1960 is somewhere in the $0.25 to $0.30 range. Some maybe even cheaper. Since energy was cheap, auto's kept getting bigger and bigger and campers heavier and heavier and longer.

Then the 70's oil crisis, US max speed limit was brought down to 55mph to save gas and the rationing... Remember that time?

RV's had to survive all this... See how many RV's sold in 1978 up to 2015 They dropped like a rock every time the auto, energy and economy crisis hit.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Historical Glance

In the early 80's we had the first big downturn in the auto industry that was in our life time. Not our parents but our generation. RV sales dropped like a rock. Anyone in machine tools or supporting the auto world with parts or machines were really hurt. I happened to fall into that group being in the machine tool world. I did not even know what a camper was back then... A tent was all I ever been in.

As the country came out first hit at the energy crisis the RV industry had to change. Sunline use to make small campers, very light weight. Then as time went by, the little ones faded away and the single axle Sunline was a thing of the past in the mid 90's until the Que was born.

Once we where hit with the $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon gas not that long ago, the RV industry had to change again. They can't sell large heavy campers like they use too we need to make lighter ones. Half ton towable is the new buzz word. And now that gas is down in the $2 dollar something range, 30 footers and small truck towable declared campers evolved. And now current day they are starting to make big and long campers again. 34 to 37 feet but yet lighter then they used to be in the 70's.

Europe evolved different. Their fuel prices never came back down like ours did. They are use to $5 to $8 a gallon fuel. Many to most things are much more efficient. They learned how to live on smaller and more efficient everything. We have not so much. While our current day campers are lighter, they are no where as small at the European ones. Look at my link of the campers in Germany. How many tandem axle campers do you see? Not many...

How many single axle campers do you see here in the US verse 2 axle campers? While there are some single axle campers, the percentage is very different then Europe. Just count how many 2 axle campers you pass on the interstate verses single axle campers. As a country we just like our larger campers and while there is a trend to be smaller, it is not that fast spreading.

If the price of gas (energy) goes back up into the $4 to $5 range and keeps going up, we will be forced to down size. Our 2 axle larger campers will become seasonal site campers...

The main point being, on average, there are currently many more 2 axle campers and longer campers in the US then in Europe. The RV and auto industry follows what will sell. Your not going to be selling a lot of 30 foot 2 axle campers in Europe as there are not that many auto's that can pull it owned by the average lower to middle class worker. They have small auto's that have gotten better fuel mileage then many of ours for a long time. If they want a camper, it needs to be light weight, less wind drag and very efficient.

At least in Germany, I can't speak for the rest of the EU, they approach towing a camper different. They have speed laws that are enforced and the other things that your link talked about. While they have an Autobahn and they fly on it, campers are not towing like they do in just a plain auto. We can't say that here.

Thanks

John
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:44 PM   #5
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Great article!

To add to what John said, Sunline's introduction of the Que was ahead of that next wave. After all, the Que was European inspired, even down to the model number reading in meters (5.4 meters long). Interestingly, the early prototype Ques had the axle placed farther back than most, creating a relatively heavy tongue weight, especially compared to European standards. It didn't take long for the axle to move forward to lower the tongue weight. The rest of the RV industry hadn't really introduced (or re-introduced) the small trailers in 2006 yet, and it probably would have sold better once others were on board and helping to market the idea.

However, if they simply reintroduced the 1550 in a modern day form, and a few other single axle '80s floorplans, that might have sold as well or better.

As John said, this country, in 2006, was still somewhat in denial of high gas prices. We didn't like them, but we didn't want to change, because we hoped they would come down again. Then the economy turned and forced us to change. The Que was introduced at a time when people didn't want to change to a smaller trailer, and didn't have to yet. That said, it did have a target customer, those in New England and in more populated areas who are limited on storage space and frequent small site campgrounds.

On that note, the 1950 and 2363 were still produced up to the end, all through the early 2000s when large slide trailers were king. People still came to Sunline for a smaller trailer they really couldn't get anywhere else, even though both of those still required a decent tow vehicle compared to the single axle '80s cousins.

Shortly after Sunline closed, there were rumors going around that Sunline was going to come back up in 2007/08 with a new product, based on the Que. Apparently reinventing themselves. I was never able to confirm if there were any plans of this, but it would be interesting to see how things would be today if they could have joined the downsizing bandwagon.
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Old 10-24-2017, 07:35 AM   #6
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Yawn. Steve's gonna love this article. It's really nice towing a 20' single axel trailer with a 1 ton truck. There's NO worry about which part of the rig is in control!
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:16 AM   #7
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Right now I'm contemplating which TV to purchase for towing our 2499 trailer.
A few weeks ago, we got off I-81 in SW Virginia to drive to Grayson Highlands SP. It's a really nice place, but it's a 3000 foot climb from I-81 and getting there can be a white-knuckle experience if your TV is not up to the task.

Our 2002 Silverado 1500 has 198K miles at this point and even though it's towing capacity is rated at (from what I can find from various sources on the web) about 7,800 lbs, our camper, which weighs approx. 4785 dry caused the transmission to drop into 1st gear with the engine revving about 4500 rpm at times. Not good. So, I'm considering a newer (I understand that in 2014 Chevy upped the tow capacity on it's trucks to 10,900 lbs on the 1500 with 5.3 liter engine and 3.73 rear axle. The 2500 is rated at 13,000 lbs. tow capacity with a 6.0 liter engine.

So, I don't know how they feel safe towing what they do in Europe, but it seems for us, more truck can be peace of mind when the going gets rough.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:41 AM   #8
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We drove that road towing the Tweety (same dry weight as your 2499) towing with our 2500 Sierra diesel and had no issue whatsoever. You might consider diesel, especially if you're planning to take it out west eventually. The diesel also has the Alison transmission and Jake brake for those steep downhills.
Steve
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