Weight and Towing question

jenniferlzrjenniferlzr Member Posts: 18
Hello from Texas!
I haven't camped in a few years because I've avoided going alone, but I've decided it's time to bite the bullet and just do it. Of course my parents and siblings will think I'm crazy. 
I'm hoping to get a TAB 400, but I'm not sure my car can handle the weight. I see varying weights of the TAB listed. I have a 2017 Volvo XC60 T5 with a towing capacity of 3500lbs. This is a big decision for me, so I want to make the right one. 
Should I trade in my SUV for the AWD that has a 4000-5000 towing capacity, get a truck, or?  BTW I think the smaller campers would be too small for me. Thanks!
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Comments

  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    You will definitely Ned a bigger tow vehicle.  I use a mid size truck, with a 6,000 lbs tow rating and 600 tongue weight max limit.  I would not want to use anything smaller.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Member Posts: 1,244
    @jenniferlzr, although I have a [email protected] 320, if I was towing a 400, your vehicle's capacity is not adequate. Without going into the minutiae,  you don't ever want to be in a situation where the "tail" wags the dog. Also I believe that that 400 has a much heavier tongue weight. Depending on the year 400 you are looking at, your hitch weight on the trailer would exeed your vehicle's capacity, thus negating your insurance. Upgrade your tow vehicle. I personally would recommend a full size pickup, but I do realize many people are completely comfortable with a mid-size that is appropriately towing equipped. With over 40,000 miles experience for myself, towing across the USA, even choosing the proper vehicle is a part of the adventure. Good luck and enjoy the journey. -Denise 
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2015 Silverado 2500hd(Behemoth). Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • dlbdlb Member Posts: 9
    The 400 has a dry weight of about 3000 pounds and depending on year up to about a 375-400 pound hitch weight.  The current, 2021 model has a hitch weight of about 325 pounds.  You should be fine with a vehicle having 4500-5000 pound tow capacity and 450 hitch weight.  There are lots of vehicles that can tow a 400 that are not full sized pick ups.  Look around and choose something that fits you needs.

    Also for reference: https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a29339668/how-truck-tow-rating-is-calculated/

    This is a good read on how tow capacity is measured.  
  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 302
    There has been much discussion about 400 tongue weight and towing weight on this forum. NuCamp has made several changes to the 400 to decrease the tongue weight since first introduced. I have a 2018 400 and depending on how it is loaded, the tongue weight can be north of 450 and the trailer weight in the 3400 range according CAT scales and a Shurline tongue scale. 
    I am fortunate that the TV I own is a full size pickup and weight and power have never been an issue where ever I have traveled. (20,000 miles so far). Other than filling the gas tank on a frequent basis, my TV/400 combo has been ideal regardless of the destination. Everyone has their own needs and for my peace of mind on the road, excess capacity is appreciated. 
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    @jenniferlzr since you are asking here I believe you already know the answer.

    While on paper it shows it is possible.....the reality is much less clear.   

     Is it safe?  We can chase what ifs all day, if a van full of preschoolers pulls out in front of you can you safely stop or make an evasive manuver to miss them.    With a tow vehicle over max capacity probably not.  

    Durability?  Nope, it is well known that towing is hard on tow vehicle.  If you above or near Max capacity you exponentially accelerate that wear.

    Weights.....do you want to take chairs, food cloths, bedding, bikes, on and on.   It all adds weight.   You need to look on your door frame to see what your max vehicle weight I looked on volvos website and they don't list it....I suspect that you will exceed it with a 400 and tow vehicle loaded for a trip.   There have been some discussion regarding liability of over weight vehicles..... 


    Ultimately it is your decision and responsibility.

    Personally, I would not pull that trailer with that tow vehicle in my opinion it is marginally safe in the best circumstances  
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • SubaruLouSubaruLou Member Posts: 41
    Hello fellow TX solo traveler!  =)

    My TV is rated 500/5000. While in theory I could tow a 400, especially now that the hitch weight is lower, I did not want to constantly fret that the hitch weight would exceed 500 with gear and full tanks or that I’d have trouble in heat and/or elevation. 
    I love that I don’t have to worry about weight or stressing my TV. It makes the journey so much more enjoyable. If I ever wanted to get a larger camper, I would definitely go with a more than adequate vehicle. 
    2019 [email protected] 320 S  |  2019 Subaru Ascent
  • berggerbergger Member Posts: 66
    jrhamel said:
    Another thing to consider when looking for a new TV is what are your needs in terms of extras you will be taking on your trips. We ended going with a full size pickup with a topper. The bed is a our garage were we store things we don"t need or want in the camper including toys such has our mountain bikes. I feel much safer with our bikes in the covered bed of the truck than out in the elements. We also wanted a TV that wouldn't limit us as far as places we could or couldn't go. 
    Pick one that will suit your life and activities. 
    Lastly don't think about gas mileage, no matter what you end up getting once you hook up your 400 the milage will suck. 
    Have fun 
    I agree completely.  I've towed all my past trailers with a Tacoma equipped with a topper. I too like having the bed to keep things secure and out of the weather.  Never have to worry about running out of space.  Very easy to pack.  While the Tacoma would have been adequate to tow the 400, due to the elevation we live at, we decided to get a hardly used new to us full size truck.  While I've only had very limited towing so far I do not think there will every be a lack of power and torque.  In addition to the engine there are so many other benefits to a full size truck.  The weight, wheelbase, built in safety features, alternator.  I'm very happy I made the change.  Yes get a TV that will fit you the best and tow your trailer safely.
    2021 [email protected] 400 BD  "Vixen Gail" 
    2018 Nissan Titan Pro 4X "Big Bird"
    Leadville Colorado
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    Yes, their are more things to consider than just towing capacity.  Engine cooling, alternator capacity, additional cargo requirements (which include the tongue weight) width of the TV  and its mass compared to the trailer, and finally braking ability.  All are good considerations, to take into account.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 138
    edited April 26
    I own a 2019 Volvo XC60 T6 and when I purchased it I didn't have plans to purchase an RV. In the interim, I had the Volvo retractable hitch installed. It's a nice marriage between the center monitor, back up camera, etc. Awesome technology. That said, after I installed an updated box on the tongue with twin tanks, etc. it was readily apparent that the Volvo was NOT the vehicle to tow the 400. 

    So, I started this way:

     
    And end up going this direction:


    Just some food for thought from someone who ones a very similar vehicle and make the decision to avoid significant wear and tear on what I regard as a remarkable SUV...best vehicle I've ever owned (save for the '63 Chevy Impala SS of my youth!) 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Stndrd w/solar;3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com
  • jenniferlzrjenniferlzr Member Posts: 18
    @Airboss Thanks! Yeah, it'll be hard parting with my Volvo since I've only had it 2 years, but it's best. Thanks for the confirmation. I wish they made a truck! I've driven them for almost 20 yrs. 
  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 138
    edited April 26
    No doubt. I'm continually impressed with XC60! Being retired and sans kids, it's a perfect fit for me. Time will tell how long I keep both vehicles...but for now (and until this Wuhan stuff is behind us), I'm looking forward to putting miles on both! 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Stndrd w/solar;3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com
  • MarcelineMarceline Member Posts: 668
    @Airboss Thanks! Yeah, it'll be hard parting with my Volvo since I've only had it 2 years, but it's best. Thanks for the confirmation. I wish they made a truck! I've driven them for almost 20 yrs. 
    You're still paying for the Volvo and it sounds like you like it. I would look at finding a [email protected] 320 instead of the 400. You could maybe find a used one so you're not taking a huge hit if you decide that it's really not for you. 

    San Francisco Bay Area
    2013 CS-S [email protected]
    Battered but trusty 3.5l V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Member Posts: 564
    Any machine being run at or near its maximum rated capacity requires constant attention and adjustment to avoid problems.  This is true whether your are talking about a hand held mixer or an eighteen wheeler rolling down the highway.  This required attention causes stress and anxiety that is very fatiguing and can quickly take the joy out of travel (or mixing). 
    Keeping in mind that everything you put in your TV including passengers lowers your towing capacity, it is generally considered prudent to have a TV rating about 50% greater than the expected load.  This will create a comfortable and capable rig and helps assure even unexpected events are manageable.
    Have fun!
    Bob 

  • jenniferlzrjenniferlzr Member Posts: 18
    @rfuss928 Can you show me an example of how you would calculate the towing capacity? When you say expected load, do you mean the total, loaded trailer weight or the total for everything including TV loaded weight and loaded camper weight?
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    The towing capacity of a vehicle is determined by the manufacturer and is stamped normally on the driver’s door pillar, and should be in the documentation that came with the TV.
    one rating is the GVWR, which is the gross vehicle weight rating, this includes the weight of a trailer, the tow vehicle weight, the weight of all passengers and vehicle cargo.  Just add all this up, and you should not exceed 80 percent of this limit to have a safety factor.  Towing at full rated capacity can lead to a bad accident in emergency situations. 

    The tow vehicle will also have a trailer load rating, this is the max wieight of a trailer with the trailer’s total load in it.  You take the trailer’s curb weight, and add the weight of water, propane tanks, and anything you load into the trailer and add this all up, or go have the loaded trailer weighed on a truck scale. 

    The max tongue weight for a TV is also in the towing capability documentation for the vehicle,
    the best way to determine your trailer tongue weight when it is loaded is again at a truck scale, or most RV/trailer repair facilities have a tongue scale.  My 2018 TaB 400 was weighed with 1/2 tank of water, propane tank, and trailer batteries (no personal stuff loaded in the trailer) and it came out to 400 lbs.
    cheers

    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Member Posts: 564
    jenniferlzr
    Generally speaking, you must subtract any weight added to the TV from its tow rating.  So, if the TV is rated for 5000# towing capacity and you and your companion plus all your stuff weight 1000#, you have 4000# towing capacity remaining.  Many light duty SUV/CUV style vehicles do not have the GVWR rating mentioned. 
    You may be surprised by how quickly the weight of "stuff" adds up.  I suggest you take a quick look at this thread.
    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/4748/how-much-stuff-do-you-carry-in-your-t-b-cargo-weights#latest
    Be careful & have fun.
    Bob


  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    edited April 28
    Not directly, the GVWR includes the lot, the trailer weight, the TV weight, everything on or in the trailer, and all the stuff in the TV, including passengers, and the tongue weight.  So a vehicle with a 800 lbs cargo capacity, with a 400 lbs trailer tongue weight added to it, only has 400 lbs left for driver, passengers and any cargo in the TV.  So it can add up quickly.  The TV trailer weight rating/restriction, is just the total weight of the trailer and the trailer contents that the vehicle can tow.  The GVWR includes the trailer and the TV, etc.  However, one can restrict or impact the other, when sailing close to,the wind, by towing close to a vehicle’s max ratings.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • jenniferlzrjenniferlzr Member Posts: 18
    Thanks everyone. I've been researching for hours. I wish they'd just list vehicles that can tow it! Would make my life easier.  :) I want to get a TAB so bad, but I can't until I get the TV. Thanks again. I'm not a truck person, but guess that's probably best. Just such a big vehicle for one person. 
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    You can use a mid size truck with a factory tow package, like a Dodge Dakota, Chevy Colorado, Tacoma 2X (not four wheel drive), and the Jeep Gladiator.  I had a Jeep Renegade, and knew that would not handle a TaB 400, so I upgraded it to a Gladiator, always wanted a Jeep truck!  These all have a smaller 5-foot bed, but with factory tow can handle from 5,000 to 6,000 lbs trailer.  They also have about the same tire width/track and should tow well. A larger 1/2 ton truck is nice when you have extra stuff and passengers you are taking with you, or are doing a lot of mountain driving like in Colorado or the Rocky Mountains.  Traveling Robert used a mid size truck, towing a Winne Mini across the country.  The Winnie Mini is about the same size as a Tab 400.
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Member Posts: 1,244
    @ChanW, but it's gonna be a little tough on the [email protected], unless she's getting a [email protected] 4000!
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2015 Silverado 2500hd(Behemoth). Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,622
    True @dragonsdofly.  But it looks like there might be room to simply mount the Tab on the back... Has that handy add-a-room up front there, near the cab, for the grandkids.  ;)
    Bet it gets relatively good mileage too! (I was talking to a guy about his and his wife's coach - they get about the same mileage as I do, using diesel of course)
    Apologies for the thread tangent...
    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • jrhameljrhamel Member Posts: 67
    @ChanW, we were in Big Bend NP in January and a family pulled in with a 5th wheel being towed by a big rig. They bought it just to pull their trailer because they went through to many pickups towing. 
     2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite and 2019 Ford F 150 4x4

    Madison, Wi
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 823
    @ChanW I was going to post the same when I first saw that comment, lol.

    Those pulling with a HDT get the same or better mileage than towing the same with a pickup and a whole lot less wear and tear.

    It is same as towing a Tab with an undersized vehicle, doesn't go well.

    I drove a Volvo truck commercially for awhile and have a number of FB friends in the business still, I don't know about the new Volvo truck mileage, but friends with new Freightliner trucks can get 10+ MPG and one has averaged just under 10 for several years pulling a 53 foot semi trailer. It is possible some of these guys are getting better MPG than a small TV pulling a Tab!
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    I do not think so, i get about 14mpg average towing out TaB 400 with the Jeep Gladiator.
    not m ugh better, but still 4 more miles per gallon.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • jenniferlzrjenniferlzr Member Posts: 18
    I drove 140 miles today round trip to the RV place, and she said my Volvo would absolutely have no problem towing the TAB. I'm not convinced!
    lol  It WAS my first time seeing a TAB in person though. 
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 441
    I drove 140 miles today round trip to the RV place, and she said my Volvo would absolutely have no problem towing the TAB. I'm not convinced!
    lol  It WAS my first time seeing a TAB in person though. 
    Dealers will tell you anything to make the sale. Definitely do your own research on that score.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 470
    Yes, barley tow an empty TaB400, check out your vehicle’s tow capacity with your Volvo dealer, if you can not figure it out from the vehicle’s paper work.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
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