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Towbars, Hitches and Braking Systems for your Toads, etc. Questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding what equipment to use to tow your Toad with are discussed here.

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2009
1derer 1derer is offline
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Default tow capacity

How do you calculate the tow capacity of a Bird?

Example: My owner's manual notes that the total carrying capacity of my Bird is 31700 lb GVWR. This is the total weight it can carry including itself and anything I put in it. My manual goes on to note this number consists of 12,000 on the front axle and 18,500 on the rear axle. (Don't ask me why these numbers don't add up precisely to 31,700; I'm just quoting the manual.) The manual also notes the weight of the Bird itself without additions such as clothes etc, is 25,000 lb, and that the "carrying capacity" of this Bird is therefore 6,700 lb (31,700 minus 25,000).

But the manual doesn't say how heavy an object I can pull with this Bird.

If I'm willing to get a hitch capable of towing the max this Bird can pull, how do I find out the max it can pull? (I assume tongue weight of the toad would have to be considered part of this Bird's 6,700 lb maximum carrying capacity.) But what about the pulling capacity? (The "RV Consumer Group" says towing capacity is the max that can be pulled up an 8% grade, and can be calculated by subtracting GVWR from GCWR, where GCWR is gross combined weight rating as stated by the manufacturer. But apparently Wanderlodge didn't inform this group what the GCWR is for my 1975 33' FC, and I sure don't know what it is. Does anybody know where this type information is buried?
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1derer View Post
How do you calculate the tow capacity of a Bird?

Example: My owner's manual notes that the total carrying capacity of my Bird is 31700 lb GVWR. This is the total weight it can carry including itself and anything I put in it. My manual goes on to note this number consists of 12,000 on the front axle and 18,500 on the rear axle. (Don't ask me why these numbers don't add up precisely to 31,700; I'm just quoting the manual.) The manual also notes the weight of the Bird itself without additions such as clothes etc, is 25,000 lb, and that the "carrying capacity" of this Bird is therefore 6,700 lb (31,700 minus 25,000).

But the manual doesn't say how heavy an object I can pull with this Bird.

If I'm willing to get a hitch capable of towing the max this Bird can pull, how do I find out the max it can pull? (I assume tongue weight of the toad would have to be considered part of this Bird's 6,700 lb maximum carrying capacity.) But what about the pulling capacity? (The "RV Consumer Group" says towing capacity is the max that can be pulled up an 8% grade, and can be calculated by subtracting GVWR from GCWR, where GCWR is gross combined weight rating as stated by the manufacturer. But apparently Wanderlodge didn't inform this group what the GCWR is for my 1975 33' FC, and I sure don't know what it is. Does anybody know where this type information is buried?
John,

I can't help you with the math, but one of the other members can help, but you may want to mention what you are thinking about towing behind your 'Bird and someone else may be already towing something that heavy already and can give you an idea of what to expect.

The MANUAL will give you a idea of what your 'Bird weighs, but you need to look for the ID and Specification plates for your specific 'Bird.



Similar to these for my 'Bird shown here, they will give you the actual weights;



Then you need to go out and weigh your 'Bird similar to what is explained here Wanderlodge Owners Group > Links, Files, Old Yahoo Forum Database and Downloads > Links > Tires and Wheels and Weighing Your 'Bird > HOW TO WEIGH YOUR BIRD.pdf

Here's the actual weights for my 'Bird and trailer;



I tow a 27' enclosed Auto Carrier trailer about 99% of the time behind my 1982FC35RB model with a CAT 3208NA for power and have done so for around five years traveling up and down some steep grades such as.

After crossing the border into Polk County, North Carolina, I-26 intersects with U.S. Route 74, a limited-access freeway near Columbus, N.C., and it heads up a 6% grade for the next three miles through the Howard Gap.

I-77 makes a six-mile hill-climb of over 1,500 feet, with a grade of not over 4.5%, commencing one mile north of the North Carolina border, with a third northbound truck-climbing lane. The top of the climb on I-77 is a summit called Fancy Gap, and is over 3,100 feet elevation.

I have traveled through Wyoming and Montana as well as my current trip through the southwest, but I'm careful about choosing routes that avoid high percentage grades.


Contrary to what some folks think, it isn't the elevation of the road that makes the big climbing difference sometimes refered to as the West virsus the East mountain debate, it's the grade percentage of the climb, of coarse elevation does make a difference in engine performance especially on a NA engine, but there are things that can be done to a NA engine to help with it's performance such as adding an extra air intake to that CAT 3208NA and while traveling up theses grades I just sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery while scanning the gauges to keep within the engine best operating RPM's and water temperatures and making sure that I turn on the engine cooling fan override switch at the approach of the hill.
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JOHN FINN
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1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2009
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is online now
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1derer.
lets make this easier,what do you intend to tow? A car,A boat or what?
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2009
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Turbokitty Turbokitty is offline
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Great write up and pictures John!

I believe most if not all earlier FC's had a maximum towing weight of #7500?

I have read other places that have said #10,000 but I have never had that confirmed with a placard?

My 1983 FC with a factory BlueBird hitch and placard says #7500 max gross towing weight with a maximum tongue weight of #750.

I have always wanted to get mine weighed to. Did I read right that the CAT scale charged you $9.00?

An extra question or two... How many miles on your Bird. Any engine changes that you know of?

I think you bought yours from a b*#r distributor?

I basically bought mine from a bank who kept/provided all of the travel logs and maintainance records from day one as they were the original owners.

My Bird has about 312,000 miles on it (3rd speedo of which I have the first 2) and had a new factory reman. installed at about 265K miles FWIW...

Hope your trip is going well too!

John, I wish you had a turbo 3208 moving 20 tons around. They say we should have a minimum of 1 horsepower per 100 pounds of weight. You are at 1 horsepower to 195 pounds of weight!! Whew!!

Merry Christmas!
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1983 FC35RB Left me for Atlanta!
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Last edited by Turbokitty; 12-21-2009 at 01:04 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2009
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Hi 1 Derer,

What we really want to know is do you have any photos of the Cumming engine you have in that bird did you do the conversion? The trailer and towing part will be easy to get answers for.

Denny
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2009
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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[IMG]dscn0823.jpg[/IMG]

11,000 + 1500 tongue weight, hitch beefed up a good bit.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2009
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feeble attempt a posting pic, not successful.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2009
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Turbokitty Turbokitty is offline
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Mike,

Maybe a little help with picture uploads...

Below "Reply to Thread" is "Additional Options"

Click on "Manage attachments"

Click on "Browse"

In "Browse", find the picture or pictures you would like to upload.

In the picture file you have choosen, click on the picture you want.

Click "Open"

Click "Upload" at top right of screen.

Click "Close This Window"

Click "Submit reply" in the "Additional Options" section.

Walla, you should have uploaded the picture to your thread...

Hope this helps!
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Timberlake Products Group, Inc.
1985 PT36
1983 FC35RB Left me for Atlanta!
Clearwater, Florida
https://www.timberlakeproductsgroup.com/
https://www.ebay.com/str/timberlakeproductsgroup
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2009
1derer 1derer is offline
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Default Prospective toad

Randy -
What am I towing? I'm still in the planning stages, partly because I'm in the dark on towing capacity, aside from answers provided here so far. Possibilities all depend on
cramming the most step van possible into a maxiumum 17 foot length, tongue and rail lift included:
1) entire step van if I can find one that doesn't exceed 17 feet, tongue and rail lift gate included
2) sawed off step van similar to above with all four wheels on the ground
3) sawed off step van similar to above with only the rear wheels on the ground and the front supported entirely by the hitch

In the case of 2 and 3, I'd remove the motor and tranny as well as the hood and windscreen stuff. In all cases I'd add a diesel genny probably 8KW, water, waste and fuel tanks sufficient to run a rudimentary sink/toilet/shower for 4 adults bunking in the van.

A naked step van without the amenities noted above but still with its motor/tranny/windscreen seem to generally have a GVWR between 14000 to 23000 lbs, and front axle weight on the order of 4500 lb for the 14000, to 9000 lbs for the 23000. Rear axle weight of 9000 for the 14000 to 17000 for the 23000. With possibility 3 above (with only the rear wheels of the step van present), the front weight of the trailer would all be tongue weight I presume.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2009
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well,thats different!
(thats all i could think of to say!)
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