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Author Topic: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?  (Read 4170 times)
belfert
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« on: July 26, 2010, 02:44:46 PM »

I've been looking at possibly buying a larger trailer to tow behind my bus.  I have my eye on an 8.5x20 foot enclosed trailer on Craigslist because it is cheap.

Would I be crazy to tow something this long and heavy behind my bus?  The trailer weighs around 3,000 lbs and I figure on around 2,000 lbs of stuff in the trailer.  My Dina has a full C channel frame in the rear that extends from the rear bumper all the way past the drive axle.  The engine and tranny are mounted to the frame without a cradle.  If I had a traditional engine cradle I wouldn't even attempt this.

Will I notice a large drop in MPG and performance with a trailer like this?  I am a little worried about having too much space and everyone bringing too much stuiff.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 03:30:21 PM »

I have an enclosed trailer that is 28 feet long from the end of the tongue to the rear of the trailer. I have pulled it many miles behind my 4104 (which had 6V92/V730) It was a little slower accelerating but It didn't make much difference in fuel mileage. I pull the same trailer with my 40 foot Prevost 8V92 475HP/ 5 speed A/T) I only notice a slight difference in acceleration and again very little difference in fuel mileage. The trailer is a "V" nose conventional steel construction and it usually has a small automobile (about 3,000 lbs) plus 2 motorcycles (about 1000 lbs) inside. You just need to think about the places you are pulling into and get brakes on both axles.

Ken
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 03:40:38 PM »

Another question should be whether you're going to exceed the maximum combined vehicle length restriction for your state or the states you want to use the trailer in. http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm And once you get away from the truck routes, you often find even lower limits imposed at the city and county levels. And, of course, there's the problem of finding parking/camping spots that can handle you.
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 03:46:17 PM »

Brian- Series 60 with B500-no problem with power!  20ft, with 40ft'r, is 65ft overall-should be just fine.  I would suggest using surge disc brakes, then you don't have to hassel with electric brakes, or hooking up air brakes.
At least in California, with a class C license (normal car license) you may drive up to a 40ft 3-axle house car AND pull up to a 10,000lb trailer behind (15,000lb fifth wheel).  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 03:49:25 PM »

My trailer, which I haven't towed with the bus yet, is 30' from ball to rear, actually a 24' trailer with a 4' vee nose for a 28' long floor at the middle of the trailer.  I think it will be OK, I can keep the weight to 7,000 if I try, and the length is OK here, I will be 6" over in a lot of states, which I figure I can get away with.  I am not really looking forward to a lot of hills, to be honest.  I will have electric trailer brakes.

Brian
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 04:10:30 PM »

I pull a 24' and love it. A slight difference but well worth it, clean car, able to back up, bring the toys, when empty we have a great shed, the Queen drys the clothes inside ( in 3 minutes these days with no complaints from the neighborhood). What's not to love?If correctly balanced when loaded with brakes, lights ,plate all the safety equipment it tows like a dream.  so well infact when I lost two tires off the port side and the only way I knew was when I went by a Jersey barrier and I could hear the rims on the road....HINT: don't run old tires even if they are unworn, and carry at least 2 compleat wheels with you and maybe even 4. With the tools to change them.......the only people out there looking for over long rigs would be DOT and so far they seem to be busy with bigger fish to fry.
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Sometimes the more I think about something the less I think about something.    As soon as I save a little money my bus finds out.                                      Why grab a plane when you can take the bus ?                         If I'm wrong 10% of the time how can the "Queen" be right 100%
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 04:22:00 PM »

I can't afford a new trailer so I have to buy something with electric brakes.  Length is certainly a concern.  I would probably be about 67 feet long or so.  I didn't realize Illinois and Indiana are both at 60 feet.  That would limit me to less than a 14 foot trailer to be fully legal.  A trooper probably isn't going to be able to spot a 2 foot overage by eye, but 7 feet would raise a red flag.

The state of Minnesota was known to stop RVers over 65 feet just after they crossed the border.  The limit was recently raised to 75 feet so don't tell me the tickets weren't about revenue.  The state didn't suddenly make changes to better accomodate 75 foot lengths.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 04:54:07 PM »

One of the biggest things that they have issues with the length, is in a wreck. You might have excellent trailer brakes, but if you rearend a car that stopped in front of you (that you couldn't avoid period), you WILL get cited if you are overlength.

No matter what, they will find anything wrong with your rig, that they can....

God bless,

John
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 05:06:42 PM »

The liability in an accident isn't something I had thought about.  An accident where one might be considered to have no fault automatically becomes your fault if a citation is issued.  (Of course, how many times is a driver assigned zero fault?)

With a long motorhome, it is almost impossible to find a trailer or toad that would be 100% legal in all states.  Personally, a 12 foot trailer does me almost zero good, but it is all I could legally tow in a 60 foot state.  I would still have to stay out of states with a 55' limit.

I might be able to get by with a 12 foot double stacker, but who the hecks builds something that short and tall plus how would I ever afford it?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 07:50:25 PM »

I have a 16'x 102" enclosed that I pull. I don't even know it is there. I insulated it, put in windows and air and made it into a toy box so I can take others and let them stay in it. I went with the electric brake controler as I have a 12 volt system as well as the 24 volt set up. So far just hauling bikes but down the road maybe a toad. I really was amazed at how well it towed.
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 09:59:07 PM »

WOW! Check out Nevada.
Looks like you can have a trailer 143 feet TALL Shocked
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 04:42:29 AM »

I've also found a different trailer that is less expensive that is shorter.  This trailer would have me legal in most states.

I'm not sure if the larger trailer would even hold both a golf cart and my 4x8 utility trailer so there might not even be a reason for the larger trailer.  The smaller trailer would hold my 4x8 utility trailer along with other cargo just fine.  I don't even have a golf cart and no idea when I might get one.

The trailer length doesn't matter for the places I go.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 07:39:28 AM »

look at mississippi, 99' long
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Sometimes the more I think about something the less I think about something.    As soon as I save a little money my bus finds out.                                      Why grab a plane when you can take the bus ?                         If I'm wrong 10% of the time how can the "Queen" be right 100%
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2010, 07:40:50 AM »

Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
 
YES

But that doesn't mean you can't . . . . .  Grin
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 09:31:48 AM »

Brian, just an observation.  I have been in a very large number of states and I see 45 foot motorhomes dragging trailers that are longer than 20 feet.  I am sure that could be an issue in many states, but the law enforcement does not seem to go after these folks.  That does not make it right, nor does it say that tomorrow the law will not start going after these units - just an observation.

Jim
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2010, 11:23:44 AM »

Yes, you are crazy or you wouldn't be involved in this foolishness!
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2010, 11:35:45 AM »

I have a MCI 7 and tow a 24 foot trailer which holds my jeep and Harley trike.  When hooked together I am just at 70 feet long and I have had no problems.  I have 12 volt electric brakes on the trailer as I have a seperate 12 volt system for them as well as running lights. To get out of the Verde Valley, AZ I have a 7 per cent grade no matter which way I go all about 10 miles long.  The only thing I have to be careful of is the temp of the bus, as long as I can top the hill and not over heat I don't care what the mph is.
ED
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2010, 02:00:49 PM »

Brian, I think you asked about mileage impact.  I don't pull a trailer, but my service truck is about 9600 pounds.  I have the 12.7 and you have the 11.1, but I don't think there should be any big HP issue.  You may note some MPG loss on the big hills, but the real impact will come if you get on a two lane and have to go through a bunch of small towns.  The acceleration at each town really eats into my mileage.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2010, 07:46:20 PM »

My friends are pushing me towards the 8x20 trailer though I may yet go with the smaller one.

Does anyone think tongue weight will be an issue?  Trailer will be around 5,000 lbs loaded so tongue weight ideally should be 500 to 750 lbs.  I do have the large C channel frame in the rear instead of a traditional engine cradle.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2010, 07:26:38 AM »

Brian,
Go for it! Your bus will handle what you put behind it, no problem! As you have already pointed out your bus is built like a truck from the luggage bays back!
I wouldn't worry about length if you keep  it under 70' I see 75'-80' rigs EVERYWHERE and nobody bothers them!

Shoot just check out some of the entertainer coaches rolling out of Nashville sometimes 45' coach pulling 24'-30' trailers heading out on tours. (and I guarantee they travel straight thru the states your worried about with NO PROBLEMS, or they wouldn't ever head out with them in the first place!
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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2010, 08:01:31 AM »

Yep, BK, we see the same thing all the time. Nothing is going to drag that bus down.
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« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2010, 09:58:02 AM »

I'm heading out to look at the 20 foot trailer in a minute.  It has some damage, but that is why it is dirt cheap for the size.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2010, 10:47:50 AM »

20' worked just fine for us. hauled the camaro, motorcycle, and 2 electric scooters.

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belfert
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« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2010, 09:05:17 PM »

I went and looked at a used 20 foot trailer today.  It was a total POS.  Every panel was dented or had a hole in it.  The whole front end needed new sheet metal.  Neither the side door nor the ramp door close properly.

That trailer would probably need 20 man hours of labor and $500 to get it into decent.  I would almost have to completely dismantle the trailer and rebuild from the ground up.  (Not unlike some Eagles Cheesy)

I think I have a line on a trailer I can use for free this year while I look for an affordable used trailer.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2010, 07:55:27 AM »

Brian as the old saying goes (and 9.9 times outta 10 is true) "Ya get what ya pay for!"

Sounds like there was a reason this trailer was cheap! (OK maybe not cheap enough, but I'm sure you get the drift! Wink)
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2010, 11:15:47 AM »

I too was hesitant when I wantes to pull a 20 foot stacker but was highly encouraged to so, and glad I did. As others stated, take off from a dead stop is a little slower but after that, it's Katey bar the door.  2 bikes, tools and golf cart not to mention odds and end toys etc. make it a no brainer for me.
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