The Kindle Fire HD might be a good choice if you are doing a lot of book reading. My wife loves hers and she does her Facebook stuff and surfing as well.
If you see posts from someone using any kind of a take-off of the Windows names (Windoz, etc.) they are just likely Apple fanatics.
Or spent 30+ years working in the industryOr grossly uninformed and ignorant. As a user stuck working with Windows daily, I prefer Apple at home. 4 months ago I tried a Windows 8 smartphone. It has been more stable, efficient and secure than ANY Android device. It's faster than IOS on Apple devices, and completely surprised me when it proved to be more stable than Windows PC operating systems. Windows Mobile is way better than people assume.
You should not tow a 2700lb dry trailer. The tongue weight would be close to 500 lbs loaded to camp and you do not have the capability.
350 tw is your max....sorryWrong answer.
350 is the maximum tongue weight with a class II hitch. You can buy class III hitches for the Freestar that not only get you the higher tongue weight capability, but the ability to use a WD hitch.
From memory, the class III Hidden Hitch (custom fit, not universal) on our Freestar was rated for 400 pounds of hitch weight without WD, and 550 with WD. The max trailer weight was 5500 pounds.
Freestars are some of the most under-rated tow vehicles in the world. A 4.2 liter Freestar will easily pull a travel trailer up to around 5000 pounds, despite carrying the rubber-stamp 3500 pound minivan tow rating. With some modifications, trailers over 5000 pounds are even possible.
I have been running Windows 8 on at least 4 computers since January when it was on sale. Every single application I ran in 7 runs exactly the same in 8. I don't use the Metro screen much, but I even find value in the live tiles when I do.
The OS has been stable, secure and fast. I have had no crashes, intrusions or infections despite connecting to public network all the time when I travel.
As best as I can tell, the people complaining about 8 are generally not computer-savy, and therefore cannot adapt to change when it happens. Even though the change here is nominal at best, it is still change.
BTW, I upgraded all 4 of my Windows 8 machines from various versions of Vista and 7. None of them were brand-new computers, and none came with 8 originally. All of them run faster, more stable and more secure after the upgrade. There is plenty of reason to upgrade a Windows 7 machine to 8.
I waved waved the BS flag before on some posts, but the Suburban out accelerating and out stopping a BMW 5 series has to take the cake. This is delusional to say the least. If this were remotely possible, I would think you'd see a lot more Subs out there competing in road racing, since all that has to happen to out-perform a BMW is some simple bolt-ons.
What happened was simple, the guy rear-ended you because he didn't see you were stopping in time, or possibly because his reflexes were poor. Reading anything else into that post above is pointless.
Personally, I find Suburbans to be about the WORST accelerating, braking and handling rigs ever mass-produced for the road. Simple laws of physics predict that an object which is top-heavy, weighs more than the biggest pickup truck, and comes with the same brakes and suspension cannot POSSIBLY out-perform a BMW. I don't care what was bolted onto it, short of a completely new suspension, brakes and drivetrain.
Has anyone changed from a timed controller to non-OEM inertia style and if yes what differences were found?
Yes, I have. And I agree with above posters that the timed controllers should be removed from the market.
The problem with the time-based controllers is that in a panic stop, you will NOT have full trailer brakes the instant you need them unless you crank the ramp up to the max.
But then if you do that, you can't stop smoothly the 99% of the time you aren't panic-braking. You have to back down the ramp to stop smoothly, which is effectively neutralizing the trailer brakes.
So you can either stop smoothly, or you can have your safety in an emergency. But in no way can you actually have both.
My ramp-time controller is in the bottom drawer of my toolbox as a backup spare. I hope to never use it again.
You seriously need to get you facts straight as almost everything you state here is incorrect.
Where do you get this from anyway?Actually I think it is you who isn't paying attention. You are technically correct when you state there isn't such a thing as an "HD antenna", but that is splitting hairs.
Pre-HD (analog TV days), UHF channels were the minority of channels in most markets, and they were also often independent channels people didn't care about. So the antennas made back then were tuned for optimal VHF reception, since those tended to be the more difficult channels to tune in over a long distance. In order to recieve UHF channels, you either had to get an antenna with a UHF grid, or add one to your antenna stack. Many people didn't care enough about UHF to bother with this step. (I know 2 personally)
Newer antennas marketed as "HD" as simply tuned to receive much better UHF, since that is now the vast majority of broadcast network transmissions. They still recieve VHF (mine does) so you don't lose any of those channels either, but the UHF reception is dramatically improved, so your HD reception is dramatically improved.
I will agree with you, that if someone HAS an old antenna on their roof or RV that picks up UHF acceptably, it will work fine with HD. (Hence no such thing as an "HD antenna")
But if your old antenna had weak UHF reception to begin with, then it will suck picking up HD. Installing one of the newer designs will make a dramatic improvement.
My own house is right in between 2 major markets, unfortunately 50+ miles from each. In the old days, I couldn't pick up ANY of the UHF analog broadcasts, they were far too weak. But I paid decent money for a massive beam antenna that picked up VHF reasonably well, even though it had to run through a rotor to get both markets. After the HD broadcasts began, I replaced this massive beam antenna with a small grid-style "HD antenna", and removed the rotor completely. I now receive all channels, from both markets, with no need to turn the antenna at all. I went from a beam antenna that weighed 30 pounds and had about a 5 foot span and needed a tripd mount on my roof to support, to a grid about 2 feet square that is light enough to mount on a pole attached to my gutter.
So don't tell me there isn't a benefit in the new antennas.
This is not as black and white as the OP implies.
Most HD channels broadcast on the UHF band, not VHF. Around this area, most of our channels (pre-HDTV) were VHF bands, so many people spent a lot of money on VHF antennas for their roof, some even skipping the UHF grid altogether. My Father-in-law was one of these people. When TV went HD, he lost almost all his channels because his VHF antenna wasn't picking up the right signals.
The HDTV antennas I buy are tuned specifically to pick up UHF signals, and will provide MUCH better reception. After installing a new HD antenna on his roof (which by the way cost LESS than the VHF antenna he had up there), he got all his channels back, and some he never was able to pick up before.
Not everything is black and white. His neighbor was an electrical engineer who also told me there was no such thing as an HD antenna. After I showed him what I installed, and the resulting reception improvement, he went and bought one too.
Someone mentioned that with a maximum hitch weight of 200lbs, this would be more of a determining factor than the 2,700 lb tow rating.
I'm sure boaters do this more than RV people, but how about a longer tongue on a trailer to effectively reduce the tongue weight? Some boat trailers are modified with swing away tongues which increase the tongue length. This effectively decreases the weight on the hitch of the tow vehicle. Just a thought.
Keep in mind, my main tow vehicle is my diesel truck. This Outback idea is more as a second choice tow vehicle for a small A-frame trailer (yet to be purchased). My primary tow vehicle will always be my truck.Tongue weight limitation is a function of the hitch platform. Subaru factory hitches available in the US are limited to class I, and thus have the 200 pound tongue weight rating. It is easy to buy class II hitches that go up to 350 pounds aftermarket, and any welder can make a class III hitch for one that can handle weight distribution if needed.
A lot more than some on this forum will want to admit. One thing about Subaru tow ratings is that they ARE NOT based on an empty vehicle like most other trucks are. They are based on the assumption of a fully-loaded vehicle (GVWR) plus a trailer behind. Check the Subaru towing guide, you will see. THis can make a remarkable difference in what would otherwise seem like a narrow choice.
I had a 2004 Forester 2.5x 5-speed manual for about 4 years. Officially it had a "US Spec" tow rating of 2400 pounds. A little research showed me that only in the US (where trucks are pushed down the throats of willing consumers) was that rating so dismal. In Europe and Australia, the EXACT same car with a 2.0l engine had between 3500 and 4000 pounds of tow rating.
Subaru makes a really reliable, durable and dependable vehicle. The advanced independent suspension, 4-wheel disk brakes, all-wheel drive, low torque curve of the boxer motor and low center of gravity all combine to create a tow vehicle that is stable, safe and solid on the freeway.
I installed an aftermarket hitch on mine and was able to tow our rather large and heavy popup with remarkable ease. Holding 70mph on the freeway with the car loaded with people, dogs and gear, AC on and 5th gear was not a problem at all. I managed 25mpg typically. I also had electric trailer brakes, something I strongly recommend over 2000 pounds. We drove and towed with this car for several year trouble-free until I traded it in on my Fusion. I would recommend a Subaru to anyone, towing or not, if they want a practical and versatile vehicle. I even did some off-roading in mine, surprising a lot of pickup trucks in the mud while I was out there!
I hope this information finds you well.
EDIT: I should have mentioned that I have a Demco dolly with steering.
I would really like to see one of those Acme EZE tow dollys that have the vehicle steering do the steering for the dolly. I find it difficult to believe! Seeing is believing. When I see it, I will believe it.
I too am having a hard time wrapping my head around this - so towing a car without wheels locked will steer a tow dolly that does not pivot?I have worked with the static, non-pivoting car dollies in the past. I hate them. Yes, they rely on the cars steering wheels to be free so you can go around corners. The concept is similar to using a tow-bar and towing with all 4 wheels on the ground, and the car will steer itself as it track behind the motorhome. The difference is simply lifting the front wheels up and putting the dolly underneath.
I hate them because they are a pain in the butt. You have limited turning radius before the fenders of the dolly will actually hit the vehicle itself. They handle extremely poorly, and I also found it hard to keep the car strapped down because constant relative motion always had the straps working loose. (I would tighten them at every gas stop). Given the choice, I will never use a static car dolly again, nor would I recommend them to anyone. They are cheap because they are simple, but you get what you pay for.
Find a modern conventional tow-dolly with pivoting platforms for the cars wheels, lock the steering wheel and remove your keys. Everything will work better. They invented these as an improvement to the above.
The answer has to do with the dolly you are using. If it has a pivoting platform under the front wheels, then the vehicle's steering MUST be locked for the trailer to function correctly.
Cheaper dollies may not have the pivoting platform, and these types rely on the vehicles steering to be unlocked in order to turn around corners. In most cars, you have to leave the keys in the ignition and have the ignition unlocked at all times because otherwise the wheel wheel lock at the first turn you make.
Then you will never learn anything!
Oh, I've learned plenty with this.Actually, you would do well to listen to Road Ruler, and read that article. Many people have a false impression of what minivans can or should do, partly because they have all been rubber-stamped with the same 3500 pound tow rating.
I can tell you from personal experience, the BEST tow vehicle I have ever had the pleasure of driving was a Ford Freestar. Sure, our Expedition has 3x the tow rating, and twice the power. But the minivan was more stable, more economical and easier to own and drive. It gave up nothing to the Expedition in braking, steering or stability. It had plenty of power for up to 5000 pounds of towing. In 140k miles, I replaced a front wheel bearing. The van is now used by my brother's widow to haul around my nieces and nephew.
To the OP:
I think a minivan is a great choice for your trailer, however (and it hurts me to say this) the Grand Caravan would not be my first choice. If there is a reason people have a negative opinion about towing with minivans, it is because the Chrysler minivans have historically been the most popular and least reliable tow vehicles used. I love Chryslers, and owned many. But in the minivan market you are far better served by a Toyota Sienna or Nissan minivan. If you are buying used, the best choice would be to find an 07 or 08 Freestar with the 4.2 liter engine and tow package. You won't regret it.
I know receivers must be over engineered
No. Many are under engineered. Proceed with caution.Absolutely correct answer.......Just ask the GM owners from a few yeas back what happened to them and their receivers, NOT a pretty picture.
There are a lot of limits I take with a grain of salt, but hitch ratings are not among them. As far as I am concerned, the receiver is the one key component holding the trailer to the vehicle. Lose that, and no other ratings matter.
I have even gone so far as to special order class III hitches for some of my vehicles. Before I overloaded an OEM receiver, I would replace it with a quality aftermarket one.
I have been running Win8 on 3 of my home computers since last December. I actually went with Win8 because it was on promotion for $40, far less expensive than Win7. I has been stable, fast and fully featured. Functionally, I find Win8 no less useful or capable than Win7, and in many ways much better.
I do not have touch screens, so I installed Classic Shell, as noted above. Once that is done Win8 functions and works just like Win7, except faster.
People are freaking out because they don't like the Metro screen. It is one click to dismiss it and return to your desktop. People are freaking because there is no start button. It is easy to put that back. People are freaking because their documents don't open in the programs they expect, that is as simple as changing your file associations (picture open in adobe instead of "photo app").
The first thing I do with all my Fords is have a 3rd key made that stays at home. As long as you have 2 keys programmed already, the cost of adding the 3rd is about $30 from my Ford dealer. The only time you pay those excessive fees is when you only have 1 key to give them. The system is programmed to accept additional keys as long as 2 programmed keys are available.
If the rear axle can carry 8000 pounds, and the front 5000 pounds (total to 13k), but the vehicle can only safely stop 9k total, that will be the GVWR.
Actually a vehicles braking capacity equal the vehicles axle ratings. Thats one reason why many states/provinces weight regs allow the sum of the GAWR to = the trucks GVW. The axle manufacturer rating don't apply.
NHTSA says this about components of the GAWR:
"Gross Axle Weight Rating is the rated load-carrying capacity of an individual axle and wheel assembly. (It represents the load that may be steadily sustained by the components in the system; i.e., tires, rims, hubs, bearing, axles, brakes, suspension, sub frame, etc. with the GAWR limited by the components with the lowest working rating".
and this from;
• GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating (for each axle) -
The maximum weight rating that the components
(tires, rims/wheels, brakes, springs, and axle) of
each axle are designed to support. This is
determined by the lowest design capacity of any
component. In other words, if the wheels have the
lowest design capacity of any component on that
axle, installing tires with a higher load capacity
does not increase the GAWR. By regulation, the
tire load rating times the number of tires on that
axle must equal or exceed the GAWR for that axle.
Dexter says the same so if the truck has 8000 RAWR and 5000 FAWR = 13k total. Then the trailers 7k tandam axles has 14k of braking gives the truck and trailer a 27k combined braking capacity (GCW).
Actual stopping power is not included in either of those quotes. Only the weight of the braking system that must be supported. Braking is set by GVWR, and is typically lower than the sum of the two GAWRs on most light-duty trucks.
I disagree completely that GCWR is "purely" a performance rating."The GCWR is a function of the torque output of the engine, the capacity and ratios of the transmission, the capacity of the driving axles and tyres, and the ability of the chassis to withstand that powertrain torque."Sounds like a performance rating to me. No mention of braking, control, safety or even tow rating.
To many people on this thread are mis-interpreting the ratings and abbreviations. Some ratings are more important than others, and it doesn't take an engineer to understand why. What it takes is an open mind and a willingness to learn rather than be led around by salesmen.
GVWR is the maximum amount of weight the vehicle can carry and stop safely. If you load a vehicle to maximum GVW, the brakes and suspension must be able to control and stop this load because no trailer brakes are in play to help you. GVWR is intended to be applied to the guy loading his pickup with gravel and finding out he can't stop at the redlight. If you look in every towing manual I have ever seen, a statement to the effect of "Trailer brakes are required for trailers over XXX" or "Trailer brakes required if GCW exceeds GVWR of the vehicle". These statements speak directly to the stopping power of a vehicle. I try to stay under GVWR, but if a trailer has brakes I don't stress about going a little over as long as the tires can take it.
GAWR ratings are weight carrying ratings. How much weight can a given axle carry. If the rear axle can carry 8000 pounds, and the front 5000 pounds (total to 13k), but the vehicle can only safely stop 9k total, that will be the GVWR. Those same axles installed under a different truck with different brakes will require a different GVWR. GAWRs I follow, because the failure is losing a wheel bearing or snapping a spindle. That is a safety issue, no question.
GCWR is purely a performance rating. Often people put more value in this spec than is really there. The intention is that if you follow the GCWR of the vehicle, you should have a minimal set of performance specs you can rely on. For example, you should be able to hold speed on a grade, accelerate onto a freeway, start out on a hill...etc. That is why it varies with axle ratio and powertrain choice even in the same body. Exceeding the GCWR only means you cannot guarantee you will meet those specs anymore. At no point is vehicle braking or handling a part of the GCWR rating! However many people have found the performance is still acceptable even at or over the GCWR. This is personal preference, and everyone's opinion of "Acceptable" will be different. Take two identical 1500 Chevy trucks, one with a V6 and 3.42 axle, and the other with a V8 and 3.73 axle. The second truck will have a MUCH high GCWR because the pulling power is greater, but the V6 truck is no less safe at the same weight. It will just be slower, and probably less reliable in the long run.
Some people will want to pull 80mph up a 8% grade, with the front and rear AC on, vehicle and trailer both loaded to max GVW and never hear the engine drop out of overdrive. These people SHOULD follow GCWR, or even better the 80% rule. That is the peace of mind you buy when you follwow the GCWR spec to the letter.
Other people (myself) don't mind hearing the sweet sound of an engine working up a hill. I don't mind an occasional downshift, nor do I mind slowing down some going up a grade. I figure as long as I can hold the same speed as the big rigs, I am still safe. For me, I have often exceeded GCWR with various vehicles and never had a problem. I have never been unsafe, never had a towing-related repair, and I never overheated.
Personally, I would put my Freestar towing 105% GCWR up against most 3/4 ton trucks without a trailer for a handling, braking and stability tests. And that is from experience. Will the van be slower in the 1/4 mile, sure. Do I care? Nope. Not as long as I can accelerate with enough power to safely merge onto a freeway! I will take stability, braking and handling over acceleration every time.
So there are multiple perspectives, and no blanket statement that covers everyone's needs. Some people say you can never have enough truck. I say you can easily have too much truck. The cost and penalty of owning/operating a 3/4 ton truck is rarely justified for the weekend warrior. If I would have waited until I could afford and maintain a 2500 truck before I first took my family camping, we never would have made it out there. Instead, I took our Honda Civic with a 1500 pound tow rating, hitched up an 1800 pound popup, and put 160k miles on that car camping, commuting, and towing without a repair. And I am sure glad I did.
Maybe an oblique view of 'MINE' might help some understand my
side of the coin.... :)Ben, I couldn't agree more. Your entire post speaks what I have been trying to say, but better worded. Thank you. I know we don't always agree, but I guess we found one thing!