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I wanted to offer my personal observations and assessment of the Ascent as a tow vehicle now that my first towing season has concluded. Starting in May of this year through the end of September I placed 5000 miles on our 2019 Premium towing a 2019 Jayco Jayflight 154BH (Baja Edition). This vehicle/trailer combo was weighed, loaded for travel, at the beginning of each trip to ensure I was within all weight limits using a state roadside scale run by the Washington State Patrol. Of note, at least in my case, is that the manufacturer's dry weights, especially for the tongue, are overly optimistic. A 315lb dry tongue weight ballooned to 368lbs once a single battery and full 30lb propane tank were added, though this was expected. This is in spite of me loading virtually everything inside the camper behind the single axle, with the exception of bedding and five gallons of water in the FW tank for emergency potty breaks. I've observed some posters to this site looking at trailers with dry tongue weights of over 400lbs, and I'd strongly suggest that you actually weigh the tongue as I believe some people will be in for a rude surprise as just how close they are to, or over, the Ascent's 500lb tongue weight limit. At no time did the trailer weight exceed the manufacturer's GVWR of 3250lbs, with the average trailer gross weight generally around 3000-3100lbs. The tow vehicle weight never exceeded 5100lbs fully loaded, including a full tank of fuel. The roads driven generally were interstates and state highways across Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, and Nevada. Every trip involved summiting several mountain passes crossing either the Cascades and/or the Rockies, sometimes in warm weather, but nothing warmer than 90 degrees. Mileage averaged between 11mpg to 14.5mpg. The boxy shape of the trailer, plus the higher profile of the Baja Edition, certainly didn't help with the mileage. My average speed, assuming the speed limit allowed, varied between 55-60 mph. However, when going up long grades I tried to adhere to the owner manual's direction to not exceed 45mph. The trailer has light truck tires on it (Goodyear Wranglers), not the more common trailer tires. Another observation I've made is some people are towing campers at speeds without regard, or knowledge of, the speed rating of their trailer's tires. Most of those out there, or at least many, especially what I would call an "off" brand, have fairly low speed ratings of around 65mph, but some posters talk about driving faster than that, which they are doing at their peril as well as those in the adjacent lane and behind them. My overall assessment of the Ascent as a tow vehicle after these 5000 miles is that it does a very good job towing my trailer over the terrain I'm required to navigate where I live and where I travel to, but I would not want to tow a larger trailer given these constraints that I face when towing. Some may say I'm being overly cautious, but there were several times this last summer that I was going up a grade at 45mph and am glad it wasn't a heavier trailer behind me. Just a final note, I use the Tekonsha Prodigy P3 brake controller, and it performed flawlessly (when adjusted properly) in its braking duties.
 

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Another observation I've made is some people are towing campers at speeds without regard, or knowledge of, the speed rating of their trailer's tires. Most of those out there, or at least many, especially what I would call an "off" brand, have fairly low speed ratings of around 65mph
Just sectioning that out, because it is of the utmost importance. I've heard of some cheap overseas tires sold here that shouldn't exceed 55 mph, and read stories of blow-outs at not much more than 55 mph.

Thanks for bringing it up!
 

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It's a very good point. The load on a tire goes up exponentially with speed, so 75mph is a much much larger load than 65mph.

The only time I exceed 65mph was when I was towing my flatbed trailer empty, so it was under light load. Those tires are rated to 75mph (at full load).
 
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I agree with the importance of good tires, but I wonder how the Castle Rock tires meet DOT specifications. I know I was concerned with a bulge in one of my Castle Rock tires, NOT a bubble, but a bulge, and have relegated it to the spare position, at least through the winter.
I just read on etrailer that Lions Gate, the maker of Castle Rock tires, is also the manufacturer of other brands. That worries me some, as I am seriously thinking of replacing the tires in the spring.
 

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If you show a picture of your bulge, can probably determine if it's a worry or not. I did have one set of tires where the sidewall bulged a bit where the belting met.
 

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Hi Kevin,
Here's a link to my best photos of the bulge and non-bulge tires.

The bulge is where the belts meet the sidewall.

If you scroll down, you'll see that I changed it out and then had my brother-in-law come over and inspect it.

He was the head hands-on guy for the testing of brakes and tires for Ford at their Dearborn, MI, facility.

That bulge is still there even when off the trailer. I know that it is on the bottom in the photo, but it just happened to be there when I took the photo. I didn't take a photo of the tire after it was off the trailer. I should have, but just forgot to do it before mounting that wheel and tire on the back bumper bracket and covering the trailer for the winter.

Thanks,
Ken
 
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