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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New poster, but a longtime Volvo owner. We moved out west a couple of years ago and are thinking about a smaller travel trailer that we'd tow with our XC90. We also have an older XC60, but wouldn't even try.

We're looking at this guy, which Camping World will move up to Oregon for us:


The spec sheet says its dry weight is 2,945 LBS and our XC90 is max tow is 5,000lbs/500lbs tongue weight.

Based on what i've read elsewhere, this seems doable. Should I be concerned? Should I pull the trigger?
 

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No reason you can't pull it based on the specs of the trailer and the specs on your XC90 - you correctly mentioned the dry weight, which is important to consider before adding fluids, food, gear, etc.

At the weight of the travel trailer, it's probably a good idea to look into a trailer brake setup on your car, and look into a weight distributing hitch as well. Both of these will make it easier to tow and will be less taxing on the XC90, and most camper dealerships can help set them up specifically for your car. If it's over short distances, neither are needed, but definitely recommended. Cross-country trip - absolutely. Just make sure you get a ball mount that is correctly rated and the right size ball. Great looking camper!
 

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2017 XC90 | T6 Momentum+; p*, Crystal White Metallic/Amber, invisihitch, &more.
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as long as you’ve towed trailers before, you should be fine. We tow quite a bit with our XC90, and have been pleasantly surprised with how well it handles. The only thing I might recommend is getting your brakes completely redone before towing, and possibly upgrading the rotors and pads to “better” ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone. Do folks have advice on a tow package here? My first instinct is always to buy the OEM tow package from Volvo and have our service team install it, but my first principle here is safety and if there is something better that is aftermarket to tow something that will probably be bumping up on the max we're comfortable with when its loaded (~3900- 4000 lbs or ~20% below the 5k max tow weight).

Has anyone been through this before? Any other advice re: break controllers, weight distribution, etc?
 
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2017 XC90 | T6 Momentum+; p*, Crystal White Metallic/Amber, invisihitch, &more.
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Thanks everyone. Do folks have advice on a tow package here? My first instinct is always to buy the OEM tow package from Volvo and have our service team install it, but my first principle here is safety and if there is something better that is aftermarket to tow something that will probably be bumping up on the max we're comfortable with when its loaded (~3900- 4000 lbs or ~20% below the 5k max tow weight).

Has anyone been through this before? Any other advice re: break controllers, weight distribution, etc?
We have the OEM invisihitch and love it- my opinion is that it's usually better to do OEM hitches.
 

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We've towed more than 35,000 miles and counting between our two XC90 varying in tow weights from 2200lbs to just over 5000lbs over a variety of terrain and trip lengths including to over 10,000 feet of elevation and even through heavy snow, and in our 2017 once while fully loaded with 7 passengers, our camping gear, 3 mountain bikes, 2 cyclocross bikes, and pulling our R-Pod.

@mjpierce11 - You'll be fine! What you're considering getting is totally within its design capability. XC90 are excellent tow vehicles with extra safety built in (Tow Stability Assist) when you use the Volvo tow module and harness.

The Jayco likely has e-brakes and in addition to getting the Volvo kit you may want to get the Prodigy RF brake controller. Given the weight it'll be ok without but better with one. When we summited a pass over 10k feet and >15% grade the enclosed cargo trailer we had at the time for that trip didn't brakes and was at its 3500lbs capacity. As with any good mountain driving manually shifting not only makes it more enjoyable but also safer. At viewing look out we encountered a genius in a GMC 3/4 ton (Silverado) pulling his Harley trying to cool his brakes (pretty sure he was 'Merican) - they were smoking, the brakes - and his solution was to add more brake fluid. I made sure to let him leave first. I didn't want to become his e-brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
THANK YOU!! This is all hugely helpful.
 
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Go for it! Anyone smart enough to ask questions will be safer than half the folks on the road towing anyhow =-D

Do keep in mind both the trailer weight but also the payload in the vehicle. The truth is you can max this out fairly quickly. The safer you plan the safer you will be.
 

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Go for it! Anyone smart enough to ask questions will be safer than half the folks on the road towing anyhow =-D

Do keep in mind both the trailer weight but also the payload in the vehicle. The truth is you can max this out fairly quickly. The safer you plan the safer you will be.
Very true on all counts! Many people forget and you see it on the road especially with vehicles that have high tow ratings where they look over loaded with either the rear suspension collapsed or it's nose in the air. The biggest thing to keep in mind and that will help avoid this is to keep not only below the tongue weight but also consider the total rear axle max load (combination of cargo in the car in addition to the tongue weight. Volvo's axle rating is very good and comparable to that of larger cars and that's where people with larger cars tend to make mistakes and you'll see the negative consequence of that. A car with a light front makes for not only poor handling, it dramatically reduces it's ability to steer properly. I've seen a 4Runner go sideways and flip onto its side from hauling a trailer that was either poorly loaded onto its hitch or simply had too much in the back lifting the front.
 

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Just ask @TheWhiteWhale what the towing limits are

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The XC90 is more than capable of towing a 3000lbs camper with relative ease. As long as the tongue weight is acceptable.

I am not suggesting you should ever exceed its 5000lbs limit but I did tow over 6000lbs for almost a thousand miles. Including over the Smokies.

 

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Just read the "towed 6000# thread" with the predictable 'your insurance will be cancelled as you kill women and children' responses .

The guy had a commercial drivers license, knew what he was doing and had no problems at all.

I suspect non-commercial vehicle tow ratings are set by laywers and the marketing department - as low as possible to allow for inexperienced drivers and just high enough to not be worse than competitive vehicles. Amazing how virtually every vehicle in the XC90 class has an exactly 5000# tow rating, XC60, despite being virtually identical mechanically, is only 3500#; same as all it's competitors. Also the same vehicle will have different tow limits in different markets. XC60 tongue weight limit is 100kg in Europe, 240kg in Australia.

An outfit in London, Ontario sets up all kinds of small vehicles to tow large Airstream trailers. Like diesel Jettas towing 6000# coast to coast with no problems.
 

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Just read the "towed 6000# thread" with the predictable 'your insurance will be cancelled as you kill women and children' responses .

The guy had a commercial drivers license, knew what he was doing and had no problems at all.
Exactly right! The difference is a professional driver with experience towing. Plus people forget that tow ratings are manufacturer recommendations for the "average" consumer. This is why you the tow rating wars between Ford, GMC, RAM, and Toyota got so out of control with them at one point upping their ratings with no discernible difference in HW which led to SAE stepping in and creating a voluntary "standard" by which they could measure and compare to each other - SAE J2807. And in actuality the "objective measure" has more to do with torque and power and not stability (of which the trailer is the greater variable relative to the tow vehicle). It's about how well the rig can get to the top of Davis Dam.

SAE J2807 Tow Tests - The Standard

It all goes back to experience - properly setting up your rig and driving in such a way that you are prudent and maintain control. The latter is what is within the legal requirement.

Plus to your point that tow ratings for the same vehicle vary by country where the differences lay in the customs and laws governing driving under varied conditions. Like the higher ratings in EU where tow speeds on highways are limited to as slow as 50kph depending on country, and why it's culturally acceptable to see even small sedans and station wagons towing large trailers. Heck I often see V60 or V70 towing 2 horse trailers which would definitely overwhelm and blow up a the US V60 ?. Where as in the US it's more the Wild West and belief has evolved over time that only V8s make great tow vehicles. A few states have towing speed limits but are often ignored or not understood. A different mindset vs. other countries, cultures and expectations of rights vs. privilege.

Yet it's still important to manage your GVWR and adhere to load ratings (axle and chassis loads - that is manage the tongue weights) and of course drive appropriately - like you have significant extra load behind you affecting your momentum, exactly as @TheWhiteWhale did for his epic tow.
 

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I'd never tow with a Euro SUV. An American 3/4 ton pickup truck would be better (Ford/RAM/Chevy)
Must've forgot Tahoe's and Expeditions, don't necessarily need a "pickup" to tow. And why American? Tundras are great, and my mom's QX80 has been a workhorse that over 140k miles has been problem free.
Speaking of suvs, my 2019 Q7 has a higher payload rating than my 2018 suburban. Of course I rather tow with the burb but the numbers were still a shocker.
 

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Must've forgot Tahoe's and Expeditions, don't necessarily need a "pickup" to tow. And why American? Tundras are great, and my mom's QX80 has been a workhorse that over 140k miles has been problem free.
Speaking of suvs, my 2019 Q7 has a higher payload rating than my 2018 suburban. Of course I rather tow with the burb but the numbers were still a shocker.
Sorry to derail this even more... but Tundras are technically American too...built in Texas . They're about as Japanese as Volvo's are Chinese lol

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I'd never tow with a Euro SUV. An American 3/4 ton pickup truck would be better (Ford/RAM/Chevy)
That is a bit of an uneducated statement. Have you been to Europe during summer? You will see people towing trailers with Golfs, let alone proper XC90. People in Europe camp heck of a lot more than Americans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks to everyone for your advice. We picked up the camper and set out on our first trip this weekend (we live in Portland and headed out to the Oregon coast). The trip was short-ish (~300 miles round trip), across a not particularly difficult stretch of hills in the Cascades and down 101.

Unfortunately on my way back my check engine light went on.

I'm new to towing, particularly something this large (est. ~4000 lbs loaded). We had an OEM hitch put on by Volvo and I have a Curt Echo Bluetooth Brake Controller. We also had a full car (probably 500 pounds of people between my wife and I and two kids). I'm going to take it in to Volvo to figure out what code triggered the light, but any guesses? Has this happened to others? I wonder if I was pushing the engine too hard while I was climbing.

Relatedly, since this is the emissions light, does the quality of the gas I'm using matter? I always fill with regular, but if there's a benefit to higher grade fuel when towing, there's no reason not to switch (other than my poor wallet).

127536
 

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Relatedly, since this is the emissions light, does the quality of the gas I'm using matter? I always fill with regular, but if there's a benefit to higher grade fuel when towing, there's no reason not to switch (other than my poor wallet).
The XC90 manual requires (not recommends but requires) 91 Octane. If you don't know already, Volvo designs and makes their own SPA & CMA engines so you're hearing the requirement direct from the engine designers.

As a design engineer, I can tell you in short "crap in equals crap out". If the engine (or whatever) is designed for a certain quality input but instead is given something other than that, then one can expect behavior outside expectations. That simple. Or maybe one might be lucky and play some statistics using lower octane gas? Or maybe your issue is completely unrelated to octane?


But these engines are highly engineered, masterpieces of art. Here's a list of comparable cars showing how much power is a result of some fine engineering:


2017 Winner: Volvo V60 Polestar 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-Cyl. .

Here's to hoping your engine gets the required 91 octane!
 
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