Feedback on pushing the limit - Nissan Pathfinder Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Feedback on pushing the limit

Hello everyone! I am in the market for a travel trailer and am considering the capacities of the Pathfinder's 5000 lbs towing / 500 lb tongue weight. I have been searching this forum and read all the towing posts as well as the rest of the web for info.

Does anyone have recent feedback on towing near the Pathfinder's limit? Have there been any major issues to mention like transmission, suspension, brake problems after towing? I certainly don't want to kill the Pathfinder by towing near the limit.

I have read about the PF's soft rear suspension. Does a weight distributing hitch correct this problem? Have aftermarket air bag spring "helpers" corrected this problem? Has anyone done any other upgrades to their suspension? Upgraded brakes or their trailer's brakes?

Solid feedback is much appreciated from someone who tows near the limit. Tell me what kind of weight you are towing. We are looking at travel trailers with dry weights of 4000+ lbs and 400+ lb tongue weights. I have found some campers that are under 4000 lbs but have a 500+ lbs hitch weight. Some say that can be adjusted by shifting the cargo in the trailer. For what it's worth, we camp around 4-5 times a year within a 250 mile radius with 2 small kids.

Thanks and Happy New Year!
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 01:33 PM
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to the forum. Just some thoughts.

We do the same kind of camping that you do (4-5 times a year within a 250 mile radius with an occasional longer trip to visit a specific area.) Our 19' Mallard has a dry weight of about 3750 lbs. In addition to the weight of the trailer, you also need to figure in the weight of all your gear and passengers. If you dry camp and port water, that may need to be considered too. In my situation, I'm guessing that I'm pushing upwards of about 4500 lbs with all my gear and passengers. While the Pathfinder handles admirably, I don't think I'd want to load it up any more than that. A weight distribution hitch definitely is a must and although it helps a lot with the sagging, the rear suspension is still miserable.

We go to the camping shows every year and admire the new model trailers and all the new features that they have. I'd love to move up to perhaps a 22' with a bump-out, but I don't see that happening with the Pathfinder. I'd say you may be better off looking at something that tows 6000+ lbs. if you're looking at a 4000+ lb trailer just to give you that flexibility to take what you want with you and not worry about how many people you can take along.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply. We already have the Pathfinder and will for the foreseeable future. Just trying to match up a travel trailer safely and don't want to break the PF. My head scratching has been, "just because it CAN tow 5000 lbs, SHOULD it tow 5000 lbs?"
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 02:47 PM
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Only you can answer that question, A vehicle towing 5000 lbs. will behave differently than it towing 3500.
A vehicle rated for 5000 lbs. IS capable of towing that much.... check the GVW, not sure what's the rating for the PF but it should be in the manual.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 04:42 PM
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We purchased a coachman freedom express rbs 192 I would highly recommend it. It weighs 3840/ hitch under 400lbs and probably loaded we are close to max. PF tows great, we camped 42 nights this past year

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hank. That is a nice camper. We are looking at similar set ups, but with bunks for the kids. Have you weighed your Coachman loaded, as well as weighed the tongue? I see the weight distributing hitch in your picture. Did you consider air bags for the springs? How does the PF sit? How far does it drop in the rear and raise in the front?

Jman, GVRW is 5986 lbs, curb weight from title is 4401 lbs, max gross combined weight rating is 10,000 lbs.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-03-2016, 10:16 PM
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Never have weighted it loaded, We originally were looking for bunks also (1 child) but settled on the couch that folds into a double bed. No models did that much for us w/ the bunks also we liked the azdele material used in the freedom express. Try checking out the kz line they seem pretty nice. I am 6'4 so head room was the only concern with those. Didn't really consider airbags/springs. Once I am all hitched up the measurement from ground to bottom of fender is 31 1/8 front and 30 3/4 rear so the rear is just about a 1/2 lower than the front. The key to tow is that the travel trailer is as level as possible as is the tow vehicle. I am sure I am a good bit under the 10k combined. The Pf really does tow nice no hunting for gears, I have no problem maintaining 65-70 mph, the hills/sm mountain's you have to adjust a bit, only thing is gas mpg goes down the tubes.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 12:59 AM
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One thing that is often over looked when towing with a vehicle is the payload capacity of the vehicle. I don't have my PF with me to see what its payload capacity sticker says but a quick look on ebay I was able to find a sticker with the info needed.

The one I found on ebay has a payload capacity of 1149lbs.

So what does this mean?

NOTE: After some research I cant find how Nissan calculates payload, so I will use what I was told Ford does for this example. From what I was told Ford uses 150lb driver & full tank of fuel.

With that being said lets say you weight 200#, because Ford says that the first 150# doesn't count against payload you will need to subtract the balance from the payload capacity.

1149 - 50 + 1099lbs

Now your at 1099lbs. So lets subtract the wifes weight, lets use 125 for this example lol. 1099 - 125 = 974lb

Now your at 974lbs. Lets subtract everything else. 1 kid lets say weights 50#, weekend of luggage for 3 people lets say 200#, drinks, ice chest, bbq pit, fishing gear, food, ice, etc we will say 300# for that but its probably more.

974 - 50 - 200 - 300 = 424lbs

So what does all this mean? It means that based of the payload capacity of the vehicle using the weights I have above you can only have a tongue weight up 424lbs.

So saying you have a tongue weight capacity of 500lbs doesn't mean you can put 500lbs on the hitch but if you would that would bring you 76lbs over the payload capacity of the vehicle.

So that's why its always best to put as much as you can in the trailer so it saves your payload for people and other items. The biggest things you need NOT do is listen to the salesman of the camper you are trying to buy. He will say anything he can to get you to buy it. Do your homework.

So in short look at the yellow sticker on the door and see what your payload is. Take that number and subtract everything that's been added to the truck from driving it off the lot. That means purses, yoga mat, 15 water bottles, human weight, pet weight, ANYTHING that's been added to the vehicle. Take that weight and subtract it from the payload capacity that's located on the drivers door jam and that will tell you what the max of your trailer tongue can be.


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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 10:01 AM
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You are so right there Wayne, we put everything in the camper that we possible can. When we were looking at campers last Jan, we went to a couple rv shows and I was shocked at what the sales guys were telling me basically they said you could go over not that big of a deal just stay out of the mountains etc.. The less weight the better. My previous set-up was a 2004 Toyota land cruiser towing a 6300lbs tt and that was never a good feeling going down the road.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the feedback. The KZ travel trailers have really gotten my attention. The E196S is about 3000 lbs. I am tempted by the E250S at 3760 lbs, but the hitch is 540lbs dry. We will see. In the coming months, I will keep this forum posted with pics and probably more questions.

If anyone else comes across this with info, by all means I am listening.
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