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Old 05-23-2011, 09:02 PM   #1
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Future X17Z or 176RB owner.....

Okay, so maybe I'm a little weird, as we don't own a travel trailer yet. We've been researching them to death, and have narrowed down our choices to either a Jayco X17Z or a Starcraft 176RB, but will more than likely purchase the Jayco for the better warranty, location of dealer, and competitive price. I've been reading as much as possible on every topic imaginable so that we can be as informed as possible. Though there are Jayco/Starcraft units we like better than the ones listed above, we are limited by our tow vehicle, and replacing the tow vehicle is not an option for a few years. We are limited to a MAX GVWR of 3500 lbs, and that will be at the max rating for our tow vehicle. We have a 2006 Sienna, and though I know it CAN tow more than 3500, I don't feel comfortable exceeding the rating that Toyota has put in place, though I'm pretty sure the figure is fairly conservative. As a matter of fact, I know there are Sienna owners towing nearly 5,000lbs, and though the van can probably tow it OK, I don't know about towing that kind of weight safely. When we are able to replace our tow vehicle, it will probably be with a Tundra. At any rate, we are saving up to buy our TT outright, as we do not want another payment. We will be primarily camping locally, and not towing in the mountains, as we will be at our towing limit already, so I'm aware of the limitations placed on us by our current vehicle. We are a family of 4 - two adults, a 4 year old daughter, and our 6 year old son. We think that the X17Z layout and sleeping arrangements will suit us for some time to come, and although we like the Jayco 23B a little better, that unit is simply too heavy for us at this point in time, though maybe after upgrading our TV, we may upgrade to a larger trailer. At any rate, I am learning a lot from this website, as well as a few others!
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:16 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have a great plan inplace. One thing I would seriously consider is perhaps asking those people you know who are towing 5000 pounds about thier towing expierence. I'm not an expert on towing when it comes to the numbers, but if your plans are to stay local, no mountains etc, I might consider the larger RV mainly because in a few years when you do go to the tundra, those adorable little ones, will be larger and have friends they might want to bring along. At that point you will probably not only want a larger tt but need one. Then you will not only have a note on the new truck, but more than liklely on the new TT as well, cause you wont make out on the trade. I only know this, cause we went from a pop up to antigua made by starcraft 195ck..was a great unit, but when we got it our twins were 2, they are now just shy of 7 and we out grew that unit two years ago...and just traded it on saturday for a 28bhs..
No matter what you do, you will love it, and your kids are gonna love it too!

Just my thoughts...
Best of luck,
Andy
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:59 AM   #3
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"... I don't know about towing that kind of weight safely." IMHO your statement says it all. Congrats for knowing and heeding the tow limits of your Sienna. Too many are influenced by what the salesperson will tell them about what they can tow, but safely tow is another story. Whether you go Jayco or Starcraft I hope your family gets many years of enjoyment out of it.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Word to the wise--- Don't by a used Sienna / with a trailer hitch in Colorado except for FOCONOCO owned
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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We have a Sienna and just got a x17z and took it out on our first trip this weekend and it towed very well. We had storms all weekend and it was very windy on the way home and with the Equalizer hitch it hardly swayed at all even when trucks passed. I would never attempt this without a weight distribution stabilizer hitch!
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FoCoNoCo View Post
snip......We are limited to a MAX GVWR of 3500 lbs, and that will be at the max rating for our tow vehicle. We have a 2006 Sienna, and though I know it CAN tow more than 3500, I don't feel comfortable exceeding the rating that Toyota has put in place, though I'm pretty sure the figure is fairly conservative.....snip
Welcome to the Jayco forums, and your do-diligence will pay dividends once you select the right camper and head out on your first family trip.

Since you are making an effort to stay within your TV's weight limits, please note that Automobile Manufactures base there specified "Towing Capacities" on the "Curb Weight" of the standard vehicle in question. A 2006 Sienna 3.3L/215HP, 5-Speed/Auto, Tow Capacity of 3,500lbs......, has a Curb Weight of 4,140lbs. (http://www.carmax.com/enus/specifica...enna-1203.html). The curb weight includes a 150 lb driver and fluids to operate the vehicle.., but doesn't include options, passengers, and cargo.

To confirm the actual towing capacity that is available, a simple drive across a local CAT scale will provide you with the information you'll need:

Actual Tow Capacity = 3,500 lbs - (CAT scale "loaded weight - 4,140 lbs)

I have read on other forums that "some" WDH's may have ground clearance issues on the Sienna, keep this in mind if a WDH is part of your purchase plans.

Also, depending on how "you" load the Jayco X17Z, your actual TV towing capacity may still keep things within the weight limits.

Just food for thought.

Bob
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:35 PM   #7
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The Jayco 17Z is a great compact unit that packs alot of RV in a small package. We downsized to one last year and our only regret is not having done so sooner.

Bear in mind the 17Z has a very light cargo carrying capacity, about 500lbs, so be prepared to pack some of your stuff in the TV. Think and pack smart. Carry minimal water and if possible buy some of your groceries and heavy stuff at or near you destination.

You stated you intend to stay on the flatlands so I think your TV will be ok on moderate trips. Speed and drag are going to be your enemy and they will work your TV pretty hard. Cut back on your MPH as safely as possible and cut back a gear if the transmission is "hunting" back and forth while cruising. Be prepared for a drastic reduction in your MPG because you are basically pulling "parachute" behind you.

Welcome to the group and keep us posted>
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:35 PM   #8
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Word to the wise--- Don't by a used Sienna / with a trailer hitch in Colorado except for FOCONOCO owned
Sorry, must be tired, but you lost me on that one....
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:42 PM   #9
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We have a Sienna and just got a x17z and took it out on our first trip this weekend and it towed very well. We had storms all weekend and it was very windy on the way home and with the Equalizer hitch it hardly swayed at all even when trucks passed. I would never attempt this without a weight distribution stabilizer hitch!
We are considering the Equal-i-zer WDH as well. Have heard great reports about it as well as the Reese Dual Cam, and some of the other Reese products, but also had heard that the Equal-i-zer and Reese Dual Cam are the only two that leave enough ground clearance - that the trunnion bars on some of the other WDH's will drag on any type of driveway, transition, etc. Do you seem to have enough ground clearance? Also, how much rise does your X17Z require from the hitch shank?
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:57 PM   #10
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Welcome to the Jayco forums, and your do-diligence will pay dividends once you select the right camper and head out on your first family trip.

Since you are making an effort to stay within your TV's weight limits, please note that Automobile Manufactures base there specified "Towing Capacities" on the "Curb Weight" of the standard vehicle in question. A 2006 Sienna 3.3L/215HP, 5-Speed/Auto, Tow Capacity of 3,500lbs......, has a Curb Weight of 4,140lbs. (http://www.carmax.com/enus/specifica...enna-1203.html). The curb weight includes a 150 lb driver and fluids to operate the vehicle.., but doesn't include options, passengers, and cargo.

To confirm the actual towing capacity that is available, a simple drive across a local CAT scale will provide you with the information you'll need:

Actual Tow Capacity = 3,500 lbs - (CAT scale "loaded weight - 4,140 lbs)

I have read on other forums that "some" WDH's may have ground clearance issues on the Sienna, keep this in mind if a WDH is part of your purchase plans.

Also, depending on how "you" load the Jayco X17Z, your actual TV towing capacity may still keep things within the weight limits.

Just food for thought.

Bob
Thank you for all of the good info. I will have to check the actual weight, but I believe our Sienna is about 4245, if I remember correctly, with a GCVWR of 8700. The maximum hitch weight on a weight carrying hitch is 350 lbs, but 525 with a WDH (taken from the owner's manual). This particular unit will need a WDH to tow safely, for sure. As I mentioned earlier, we plan on camping near home (as there are a lot of beautiful spots to camp within the same general elevation), so we can load lightly, and with empty to near-empty tanks. Am also considering adding an external transmission cooler for good measure, but not so sure due to winter weather here. We are hoping that we will only have to two with the Sienna for about a year, maybe two at the most. We are really wanting to get into RV'ing, but also don't want to completely destroy the van, hence the plan to camp relatively close by and loading lightly. We've been thinking this through as much as we could, and have found some units that are a tad bit lighter, but not confident of their build quality. We know we will be at or near our max, but we're not stupid enough to hitch up a 6,000 lb TT and haul a$$ over Loveland Pass at 12,000 feet, though I have seen some set-ups that appear to be WAY overweight - once saw a 19'-20' TT hauled around by a Hyundai Sonata - I've done some dumb s$%t in my life, but not THAT dumb.

At any rate, I think we will be able to load light enough to stay within our ratings. Thank you again for all of your wisdom and experience.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:01 AM   #11
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FOCONOCO What I meant was, don't buy one of the Sienna that has been towing 5000lbs, yours would be a safe bet since you are trying to stay within the mfg's tow rating.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:20 AM   #12
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we have only taken it out once this last weekend and the hitch was not set properly from the dealer on the way to the CG but after I adjusted it by moving the L bracket one hole and that seamed to make things much better! Just a word of warning it is noisy. I added some grease and it got much better.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:24 PM   #13
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FOCONOCO What I meant was, don't buy one of the Sienna that has been towing 5000lbs, yours would be a safe bet since you are trying to stay within the mfg's tow rating.
Oh OK.....I was just checking b/c I was starting to read some sarcasm into it! Thanks!
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:43 PM   #14
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Sounds like you have a great plan inplace. One thing I would seriously consider is perhaps asking those people you know who are towing 5000 pounds about thier towing expierence. I'm not an expert on towing when it comes to the numbers, but if your plans are to stay local, no mountains etc, I might consider the larger RV mainly because in a few years when you do go to the tundra, those adorable little ones, will be larger and have friends they might want to bring along. At that point you will probably not only want a larger tt but need one. Then you will not only have a note on the new truck, but more than liklely on the new TT as well, cause you wont make out on the trade. I only know this, cause we went from a pop up to antigua made by starcraft 195ck..was a great unit, but when we got it our twins were 2, they are now just shy of 7 and we out grew that unit two years ago...and just traded it on saturday for a 28bhs..
No matter what you do, you will love it, and your kids are gonna love it too!

Just my thoughts...
Best of luck,
Andy
Thanks Andy! We had considered that, but thought it much safer to stay within our limits. We're planning to keep the van until it either falls apart or is too expensive to repair - bottom line is we would like to keep it for at least a year or two (or longer) after it's paid off. We are concerned that if we tow too heavy, it will put considerably more wear and tear on the vehicle, more so than what towing it's rating will do, thus decreasing it's longevity faster.

As for what I was saying about people towing near 5k with their Siennas. I don't know them personally. What I read was from other online forums. Some people were saying their minivans tow 5k incredibly well. That may be----on level ground. Where we live is fairly flat along the Front Range, but there are some great camping spots in the foothills (maybe 1000-1500 foot increase in elevation). Should we decide to camp in the foothills, which are thankfully right behind our house, I think we'll have our hands full with 3500 pounds - let alone 5000. The elevation that we MAY encounter, combined with having a marginal tow vehicle is what is limiting us to 3500. In all honesty, if we were only planning to tow a few times and then replace the tow vehicle, I would buy the larger trailer up front, or just wait until after we had a new TV, but we'll have to tow with the family truckster (National Lampoon Vacation reference there) for a while. Thank you for your insight, I do appreciate it very much.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:53 PM   #15
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snip.......We are concerned that if we tow too heavy, it will put considerably more wear and tear on the vehicle, more so than what towing it's rating will do, thus decreasing it's longevity faster.....snip
Can't disagree with that logic, well said. There is also that little thing called "safety", some manufacture limits are established to reduce the potential for mechanical failure while in tow (not just for warranty issues).

Bob
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:38 PM   #16
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I just realized we have two threads running the same info.. but rather than move things around, I will just post a link to that thread for those that want to read more....
-----> Here <-----
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:33 AM   #17
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I get your concern on the weights...when we bought our Antiuga, it was because the dealer said my wifes minivan would pull it. I borrowed a buddy's truck to pick it up and decided I did not want to risk the fam by pulling it with the van. bought a used expediton, and was confident on towing it with that, then wished I had the expedition first, cause I would have shopped differently for the camper. At any rate, you sound like you know what your doing, hope you make that decision soon, summers' here and you're all gonna love it!
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:36 AM   #18
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We are no longer owners of a Jayco, however we started out just like you. We had an '07 Sienna and purchased a 2011 17Z - famaily was myself, Wife and 3 boys (9, 6, & 5). The room was tight, however we managed and ended up having 6 great trips in the limited time we went from August to October. I did install the Airlift 1000 airbags to help with the rear sag (great install pic on www.siennachat.com/forum). I am almost positive we were at or just above the 3,500lb limit on most of our trips.

Unfortunately on our last trip as we were leaving the park my front tires couldn't get any traction up an incline on a dirt camp resort road (a road I had used once already when leaving). With needing to back the camper up and take an alternate road to leave I made the decision that it was time to upgrade the TV. We now have an '08 Tundra 5.7L V8 DC 4x4 with tow package rated for 10,300.

Again you will find many people that tow with their Sienna, some even more than the 17Z. It may have been my tires needing to be replaced and the weight I was towing. However it was well worth the limited time we had it.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:41 AM   #19
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We are no longer owners of a Jayco, however we started out just like you. We had an '07 Sienna and purchased a 2011 17Z - famaily was myself, Wife and 3 boys (9, 6, & 5). The room was tight, however we managed and ended up having 6 great trips in the limited time we went from August to October. I did install the Airlift 1000 airbags to help with the rear sag (great install pic on www.siennachat.com/forum). I am almost positive we were at or just above the 3,500lb limit on most of our trips.

Unfortunately on our last trip as we were leaving the park my front tires couldn't get any traction up an incline on a dirt camp resort road (a road I had used once already when leaving). With needing to back the camper up and take an alternate road to leave I made the decision that it was time to upgrade the TV. We now have an '08 Tundra 5.7L V8 DC 4x4 with tow package rated for 10,300.

Again you will find many people that tow with their Sienna, some even more than the 17Z. It may have been my tires needing to be replaced and the weight I was towing. However it was well worth the limited time we had it.
Thanks for the firsthand knowledge. Every bit of info really does help. We've been looking at trucks again recently, but may end up with a Tacoma/Frontier sized truck instead of 1/2 ton. We know that even with a Taco/Fronty, we will be limited realistically to a 5,000 lb TT, but have found an abundance of TT's in that weight range. What we are going to do once we are able to purchase our TT is tow it locally-only with the Sienna. Once the last payment is made on the Sienna, we would end up buying a truck at that time, which may only be about a year, or maybe even less. In all likelihood, we would probably only tow with the Sienna for one camping season, before getting another truck (wishing I would have kept our 2007 Tacoma...GRRR). We simply can't afford two car payments at once (well, we could, but then would have no money for anything else). By the time the Sienna is paid off, it won't be worth a whole lot as a trade, so we'd prefer to keep it as long as practically possible. Once it's paid off, we can look into a truck, though. Speaking of tires, our Sienna is almost through it's second set of tires....that will have to wait until a bit later in the summer...these Yokohamas sure didn't last very long....
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