Author Topic: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?  (Read 9275 times)

Offline belfert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6039
Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline Hard Headed Ken

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 373
  • 1988 Prevost Angola Conversion Repowered With 14L Series 60 & Eaton Ultrashift
    • Link to my engine swap
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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
Link to my engine swap slide show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxAFFBcoTQI

Offline Nusa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 542
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.

Online TomC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8699
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline bevans6

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6040
  • 1980 MCI MC-5C
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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
1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Allison MT-647
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Offline steve wardwell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
  • 73 MCI 7 8/71T combo just happy to be here
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.
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%

Offline belfert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6039
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline John316

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3547
  • MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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
Sold - MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.

Offline belfert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6039
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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?
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline Chopper Scott

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1303
  • MCI 7
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.
Seven Heaven.... I pray a lot every time I head down the road!!
Bad decisions make good stories.

Offline mountain goat

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 09:59:07 PM »
WOW! Check out Nevada.
Looks like you can have a trailer 143 feet TALL :o
"We had motor trouble that turned into a struggle half way across Alabam'  ....  Well that Hound broke down and left us all stranded in downtown Birmingham"  ..... Elvis

Offline belfert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6039
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline steve wardwell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
  • 73 MCI 7 8/71T combo just happy to be here
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 07:39:28 AM »
look at mississippi, 99' long
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%

Offline kyle4501

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3806
  • NEWELL in South Carolina
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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 . . . . .  ;D
Life is all about finding people who are your kind of crazy

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please (Mark Twain)

Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance. (Sir Claus Moser)

Offline rv_safetyman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2199
  • Jim Shepherd
    • Bus Project Details
Re: Am I crazy to tow a 20 foot trailer with my bus?
« 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
Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/