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Towing with a PC

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Towing with a PC
« on: October 04, 2011, 03:59:20 pm »
We have an 06' PC 2100 with slide. Love it for travel and weekends. We make several trips form Illinis to new Orleans per year, and do some weekend camping. However with retirement looming, and the prospect of longer and more frequent trips we started thinking about the need for more room.
A big class A sounds nice, untilone looks at price and maintainance costs (The PC can be serviced wherever ford vans are serviced)
The fifth wheels are nice... but we don't want to drive all day in the cab of a truck. (The idea of brewing coffee and making a sandwich on the fly is nice, plus the wife can nap in the back all the way to New Orleans or wherever)
Then we looked at some larger travel trailers, and found some of the newer ones pretty nice and way cheaper than trading in the PC.
So.... the thought hits me, keep the PC for weekends and short trips, and use it to tow a 26' or so trailer for longer trips where we plan to spend more time at camp sites.
Does this make sense? I figure fuel mileage is about the same as towing with a big truck...  We get the convinence of travelling with a small motorhome and the space of a large trailer when needed.
How would the PC 2100, with it's relativewlly shorter wheelbase work as a tow vehicle? I am probably missing something with this plan. I usually do:)
Alan J.


Ron Dittmer

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Re: Towing with a PC
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 04:50:51 pm »

Your logic makes perfect sense to me.  :)(:  I like that idea a lot.

The only thing I would suggest is to prepare your PC-2100 for a significant towing condition.  That is to do what we had done to improve the handling of our 2007 E350 PC-2350 motor home with tow vehicle.  A travel trailer will play hard-ball with your PC's rear end and these upgrades will combat that very well.

These either replace existing components, or are added where there is none.  A 2006 E350 chassis will not have any kind of rear stabilizer bar, nor a rear trac bar.  The original Ford shocks, front stabilizer bar, and steering stabilizer are substandard for the extreme condition you are considering.  The upgrades I state below will be real nice to have even when not towing, so it's a 2x benefit.

- heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars (Roadmaster, Helwig or other equivalent)
- rear trac bar (Henderson or other equivalent)
- E350/E450 motor home specific shock absorbers (specifically Koni or Bilstein)
- heavy duty front steering stabilizer (Safe-T-Plus or other equivalent)
- realign your front wheels (often requiring offset bushings because the alignment can be so far out)

Given the heavy tongue weight of a travel trailer, you might also consider rear air bags, though I have no first-hand experience with them on a PC.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 05:09:43 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Towing with a PC
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 06:27:48 pm »

I towed a 4500 pound  trailer for six years before we got our PC.  The first 2 years I used a 2003 explorer with a 113" wheelbase.  The light weight of the SUV and the short wheelbase made the experience less than desirable.  The last 4 years I used a F150 with a 144" wheelbase.  The heavier  truck and longer wheelbase made a world of difference.  

Even though the 2100 PC has a wheelbase of 138" and should have more than enough weight and power to handle a light weight trailer that is not the major area of concern.

A motorhome was never designed to tow a trailer.  I have a couple thoughts you might want to consider:

   The  Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the rear axle.  A 5000 pound travel trailer will present 500 - 750 pounds of tongue weight to the motorhome and thus to the rear axle.  Depending on how the motorhome is loaded and packed this may over load the rear axle.  The added rear weight may also make the front end feel lighter and affect the steering characteristics.
   The existing hitch is most likely rated at 5000 pounds and might need to be upgraded.

Also, I'm a basic nut for safety and try to keep at least a 20% margin of safety on all vehicle ratings.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
This is the maximum safe actual weight of your vehicle. If you exceed this weight, the vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, and so on will be stressed beyond their design limits.

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)
This is the maximum safe weight of your combined vehicle and trailer. This weight includes all people, luggage, and other material. If your combined towing setup exceeds this weight, your vehicle's engine, transmission, brakes, and so on will be stressed beyond their design limits.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
This is the maximum safe weight that can be placed on your front or rear wheels. The two numbers are likely to be different to account for engine weight and trailer tongue weight and luggage. If you exceed this weight rating on either the front or rear tires, you can create a dangerous driving situation or even damage your vehicle.

The idea sounds good and could solve your space problems but as you see there are many things that need to be considered.

One last thought.  Maybe, you might want to check on a trade in and a new or slightly used larger PC.  Then just add a tow car and your ready to

« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 06:35:32 pm by Barry-Sue »
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