Hummer H3 - Maximum?

Discussion in 'Towables' started by Harry_, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member


    some newbie questions:

    I own a Hummer H3 which has a towing capacity of 4,500. What would be the longest/heaviest trailer I legally could use, and what in practical terms?

    And/or: I really would like to get one of these long 33' trailers. What kind of car would I need to tow it? Or would a large RV be better than a large trailer?

    I did not see many trailes yet, but I assume that the inner height is better than in most RVs?

  2. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Hummer H3 - Maximum?

    I don't think there is an actual 'legal' limit. However, the practical limit would be 4500 minus whatever accessories you have added to the hummer, whatever cargo you are carrying in it, and the weight of any passangers (and any amount you weigh over 150 pounds). Exceeding this value could increase that chances of having an accident, increase the chance of excessive wear or even breakdown of the vehicle, reduce or eliminate warranty coverage, and if there is an accident, increase your vulnerability to lawsuits. The safest limit would probably be in the 2000 to 3000 range, depending on how heavily you load the hummer.

    Really, with that vehicle it sounds like you are limited to a pop-up or other 'micro' trailer.

    For a 33' foot trailer, I doubt any car will tow it. You are looking at a 3/4 ton rated vehicle at the minimum, which probably means a large truck or van. Whether a motorhome is 'better' depends on your needs. The motorhome is generally 'better' for travelling, but the trailer can be 'better' once you get to a place where you are going to stay a while. If the trailer is light enough that a pickup truck can tow it, that is probably the cheaper way to go. Once you get up to where a MDT or bigger is required to tow, then the costs become more equivalent.

    Travel trailers tend to be fairly low inside. I'd guess about 6'4' ceilings. Fifth wheel trailers can be much better. My old one was probably about 7' in the rear, and perhaps 10' in the middle. Of course, the bedroom area (over the truck) was only 5' or so. Class A motorhomes (busses) can be about the same as the trailers up to 7' tall inside or possibly even a bit more.

    So basically, it boils down to what you want to do with the RV, and how much money you have.
  3. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member

    RE: Hummer H3 - Maximum?

    Thanks for your information hertig, very useful for me!

    I am thinking of two options now:

    1: get an RV - like a Fleetwood 32V Southwind (good/bad?) I saw today for an 89.990 sepcial - and tow my H3. This looks like a very decent solution but would set me back at least 100.000 (incl. taxes etc.), or

    2: get rid of my H3 and buy a truck and opt for a 5th wheel trailer. I guess this would make it much cheaper as I think I could get a used F250/350 (or whatever) for my 1 year old H3, and I guess a trailer the same size (31') - like e.g. a Terry Quantum 305RLDS (good/bad?) - would maybe end up at 40 to 50.000 (not checked yet)?

    For me, again as a complete rookie in that field, it seems that "the same size" RV would cost me double the amount than a similar trailer? Maybe I am completely wrong, but what would be the advantages of an RV over a trailer justifying that huge gap?

    Back to my original question and after reading some postings here.
    What are the main differences between a trailer and a fifth wheel - or in other words which one should I go for as I would need a new car/truck anyway? And, towing a huge trailer does not seem to be that much fun. I am sure there are already discussions about the "ideal" truck to pull. But which one would you suggest? I am from Austria, Europe, so I know about small hatchbacks but nothing about huge pickup trucks!

  4. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Hummer H3 - Maximum?

    I don't know anything about the Southwind. It probably has a hitch, but how much it can tow will need to be determined. If it is gas, it is possible the H3 would be too much for it. My diesel motorhome will tow 10,000 pounds, which I suspect would be enough for the H3.

    But there are other considerations. First, can the H3 be towed? Many cars cannot be towed 'four down'. Some can be if they are modified (some kind of pump to circulate transmission fluid). Some can be if you do wierd things, like pulling fuses or other set up. And some can be towed 'as is'. Of course, you could use some kind of trailer, but then there are the costs of that, and the incoveniance.

    If you do set up a vehicle for 'four down' towing, there is then the hookup to the trailer (tow bar) and the auxillary braking system (so when the motorhome brakes, so does the towed vehicle).

    A fifth wheel (5ver) is towed by a hitch mounted in the bed of a pickup truck. A travel trailer (TT) is towed behind a vehicle. The 5ver is a more stable towing methodology, so is 'easier' to tow and hook up, but can only be towed by a pickup truck, and takes up most of the truck bed to do so. The TT needs special and complicated hitches to tow safely and comfortably, but can be towed by any vehicle rated to do so. There is a hitch call the 'PullRite' which claims to allow a TT to tow as well as does a 5ver and makes hooking up easier to boot. The 5vers tend to have higher headroom and more storage, TT generally have better aerodynamics and may have more versatile floorplans. The 5vers have a split level floorplan, with steep steps to the upper part (over the truck bed). The 5ver/truck combination is shorter than the equivalent TT/truck combo.

    A trailer and truck would probably be cheaper than the equivalent motorhome. I don't know anything about the Quantum, but I had a 24.5' Terry fifth wheel which I got cheap and found to be entirely adequate for a beginning unit.

    So what are the advantages of a motorhome? 1) the passangers can go to the bathroom and get you drinks/snacks without having to stop and go back to the trailer. 2) You don't have to get out of the trailer to leave if the weather turns bad or the area becomes unsafe (still have to unhook though) 3) You can get a motorhome with an automatic levelling system. Leveling a trailer can be a royal pain. 4) Backing a motorhome is easier than backing a trailer (although you have to unhook the towed vehicle first, as it is 'impossible' to back a toad) 5) Usually the connections on a motorhome are better protected than those on trailers. 6) if you have pets, you don't need to shuttle them between vehicle and trailer. 6) Almost all motorhomes have generators, so you have the option of running the house air conditioners while travelling, so there is not that temperature shock when you enter the trailer after a period of high heat.

    The advantages of the trailer? 1) Easier to replace the 'house' part if that becomes necessary. 2) you don't need to unload your stuff and/or find a hotel if the 'motorized' part needs to go to the shop. 3) Maintenance of the 'vehicle' part may be easier/cheaper. 4) No toad - One set of vehicle insurance and maintenance. 5) Registration may be cheaper.

    With the proper tow vehicle and hitch, I don't see any problem towing a trailer. Backing it can be frustrating, but I hear that 'big' trailers are easier to back than small ones. If you are big, it is possible to find a motorhome which is much more comfortable to drive than a pickup truck. In my GMC 2500HD pickup, I can drive for at most 2 hours before my legs go on strike. In the motorhome, I have enough leg room to go 3 or 4 hours.

    Which truck has been debated endlessly on this forum. Basically, the choices are diesel (generally better for towing) or gas, Standard cab or extended cab, short bed (may need a special hitch and/or pin box) or long bed, 4X4 or regular, Ford, Chevy/GMC or Dodge. Arguably, Dodge has the best diesel engine and Ford the worst. Again, arguably, GMC seems to have the best choice of transmission.
  5. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Since the OP was six years ago his hummer is most likely near worn out.

  6. Tony the travel tiger

    Tony the travel tiger Junior Member

    Upgrade your brakes, rear swap bar and your transmission cooler and you will be able to tow a bit more. However, unless the trailer has brakes I don't recommend going too high above the in-book limit.

    With brakes on the trailer, upgraded TV brakes and upgraded transmission cooling you should be able to tow 2-3x what is listed.

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