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cbagee

Towing an Elite with 2011 Sprinter or 2018 Audi Q5

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I will be picking up my new Oliver Elite this summer and have the choice of towing it with these two vehicles: 2011 MB Sprinter or 2018 Audi Q5. The Sprinter has a towing capacity of 5000 lbs (gvwr 8500 lbs) and the Q5 towing capacity is 4400 lbs. (5357 lbs gvwr). I see where the dry weight of the Elite is 3400 lbs and the GVWR is 5000 lbs. The Sprinter is 188 hp diesel and the Audi is 248 hp gasoline. I note that the Q5 towing capacity is a bit under the 5000 lbs of the Elite GVWR. Any suggestions besides buying a new truck? Thanks!

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cbagee -

 

I presume that you have read some of the other threads on this Forum concerning various towing vehicles.  I think that the general consensus is that when towing - more is better.  Issues like gas tank capacity, being able to tow up fairly steep grades, being able to stop, and, the overall wear on the vehicle are all concerns when towing with a vehicle that is at the margin.  Personally, I'd never tow an Oliver with either of the vehicles you mentioned.  Simply put - I just don't believe that there is enough safety room in either of these vehicles (assuming that the figures you cite are correct).  Yes, if you watch your gross weight and hitch weight, don't tow in the mountains and don't tow for long distances and don't ever have an emergency of any sort, you probably could get away with the Sprinter (or even the Q5).  Which is better?

 

Suggestions? - use the Sprinter.  Why potentially ruin the Q5.  Don't tow very far.  Don't tow in the mountains.

 

Good luck!

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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As others have mentioned, just as important as towing capacity is gross vehicle weight and hitch weight. The size of your Sprinter (e.g., regular wheelbase, extended wheelbase, etc) influences these other criteria. Our Sprinter, (2008, extended wheelbase, has a gross vehicle rating of around 12,000 lbs (if memory serves), but weighs about 9,000 lbs when traveling (with RV interior, water, normal amounts of food and gear). This, in your case, would leave about 3,000 lbs for towing, insufficient for any Oliver.

 

Fritz

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To clarify, I meant a combined weight limit of around 12,000 lbs. Ours has a gvwr of about 8,500, which is approximately what the van weighed when outfitted. We've upgraded suspension to safely handle the 9,000 lbs. Point is, all of these numbers may be substantially different with your van, but there are other criteria than the simple 5,000 lb towing capacity. Good luck!

 

Fritz

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Hi Fritz,

 

I am not completely clear on what to take away from your messages. Do you tow an Elite with your Sprinter? My Sprinter is 2500 cargo van. I have no idea what it weighs as it sits in my driveway, all I know is that its specifications give two numbers: towing capacity=5000 lbs and GVWR=8500 lbs. Since the Oliver specs give GVWR=5000 lbs. and Dry weight=3400 lbs, I was under the impression that this would be an acceptable match. Since I am already spending a fair amount of money buying a new Oliver, I was not planning on buying a new truck to go with it -- money doesn't grow on trees! I am surprised that the Oliver webpage and salespeople aren't more clear about what can tow an Elite and what can't.

 

Thanks,

 

Carl

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Carl, your truck has a max CGVWR (Combined GVWR) which includes the trailer load. This figure is standard for all similar 2500 vans like yours, but the actual empty weight (and your max payload) will vary enormously, based on what equipment and accessories were installed.

 

Lots of vehicles can, on paper, tow a heavy trailer, but the CGVRW (and tow vehicle axle limits) will determine how much extra stuff you can carry in the tow vehicle. It is not much good to be able to safely tow say 5000 pounds when you can’t also carry all your gear or extra passengers....

 

I have no specific knowledge of Sprinters but I do know that there is a bewildering number of different wheelbase, roof type, body style etc etc, and it is not reasonable to expect the Oliver sales staff to know if your vehicle is a good choice, or not. You need to run the numbers for your own truck, and see how much personal stuff you will be able to throw in the back with say 4500 pounds of trailer attached. I have no doubt your van will pull an Elite, the question is, how much reserve weight capacity does that give you?

 

A high percentage of travel trailers you see going down the highway are just too much for the tow vehicle. The driver either is clueless about it, or he knows he is overweight and has added extra equipment in an attempt to make it work; both are accidents waiting to happen, and it is financially dangerous for the owner from a liability standpoint.

 

This subject comes up here all the time. It can be frustrating, especially for those new to towing. You need enough truck for the total load, plus a safety reserve of ideally 20% or more....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Great video that spells this out so that even I understand it, sorta.

 

"Towing capacity, quite frankly, is the least important number..."

 

https://youtu.be/qwFLOBrADBs

 

Chris

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Chris & Duke Chadwell
🐾Maddie & Baxter🐾
Elite II Hull 292
2017 F-150 Lariat 3.5 EB 4x4 Lakeland, FL 

 

2019TravelMap.jpg

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That is a little mind numbing but very informative. Thank you. I laughed out loud around 9:00 minutes when he started describing the trailer he wanted to buy, a 35 ft toy hauler with a 2800 POUND TONGUE WEIGHT.

 

Holy moly.

 

The thing about toy haulers with a big rear garage is that they must be designed to carry half a ton or more of vehicles all the way in the back while still maintaining at least 8 or 10% tongue weight for stability. When they are loaded down, the tongue weight will be reduced to that amount, hopefully. But towing a toy hauler with that rear garage empty can be very bad indeed, due to the huge tongue weight when all that rear ballast is gone. I do not understand why anyone would buy one of these monsters.... you really need a fifth wheel setup with a big dually pickup. It is insane to use a regular hitch for this thing.

 

Sorry to drift off topic. Toy haulers make me really mad. But that is a great video.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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That was a great video. I actually downloaded the excel spreadsheet and did the calculation for my Sprinter and the Elite. Turns out that the Sprinter has ample capacity for this trailer. That's what I had thought originally but was called into question on this message board. Thanks!!!!

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That was a great video. I actually downloaded the excel spreadsheet and did the calculation for my Sprinter and the Elite. Turns out that the Sprinter has ample capacity for this trailer. That’s what I had thought originally but was called into question on this message board. Thanks!!!!

 

Great! Would you mind sharing the weight details of your truck? What useful load do you have? “Ample capacity” is not real precise.

 

Thanks.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Here is screenshot of the Excel sheet. By the way, in Germany this same Sprinter has a MB specified towing capacity (with trailer brakes) of 3500 kg which is 7716 lbs. For some reason in the USA the Sprinter has a 5000# towing capacity. The same discrepancy exists for the Audi Q5. In Germany the Q5 has an Audi specified towing capacity (with trailer brakes) of 2400 kg (with brakes) this is 5291 pounds. For the same Q5 in the USA it is 4400 pounds.

Sprinter-Payload.thumb.jpg.bd1bea550f9dac86706825a3fed2b810.jpg

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Carl, I apologize for the delayed reply. It looks like you are doing your homework. My only point was that Sprinters come in many sizes and weights, and ours (2500, and outfitted as a camper) is close to 9,000 lbs when loaded for a typical trip with passengers, water, gear, food, etc. (I stop periodically at closed weigh stations to check axle weights). This van weight and an Ollie in tow would exceed the CGVWR of 13,500 lbs. (so no, we do not tow an Ollie with it). However, your van, if substantially emptier, or configured differently, could be just fine with regard to weight limits. Good luck!

 

Fritz

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