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Old 04-15-2012, 08:48 AM   #29
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The man trans is the icing on the cake, no question. The balance of power and economy is mediated extremely well by throttle opening and gear shift points. One can have any combination of those two.

But the utility and mpg of your TV is really impressive. Parking this truck at any retail store, the library, etc, is a chore. A van has no peer in many instances.

.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Globie64 View Post
everyone I've known with a water cooled VW since has had more than their share of problems.
Not I!

I've got an "05 Passat TDI, and after 225,000 miles I've replaced only wipers, tires, a battery, and headlight bulbs. Well, that's not quite true; that's what I HAD to replace. I finally broke down and decided to put new brake pads on the little beast a few months ago, even though they said it didn't need it yet! And at a constant 70 mph, I get over 45 mpg.

Statistically, I think it's true that VW had some quality issues a decade or so ago, but is purportedly doing much better. Everyone I know with VWs of recent vintages (and I know a lot of such folks) has had great experiences with them. This is all anecdotal experience, of course, but I sure couldn't be happier with mine.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:54 AM   #31
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This Sprinter is a super cool rig. Seeing your picture makes me want one. I already test drove one a while back and really liked it. Smooth and powerful engine. Wife didn't like it too much as it's a bit too big for a Target or school parking lot and she would be the one driving it most of the time.
We need to get a wheelchair lift installed for our 9 year old kid and that narrows down your vehicle options quite a bit. On the one hand you have the full size vans (i.e. E350, Safari) which are gas guzzlers and on the other you have the conversion vans (i.e. Grand Caravan or Sienna) and I'm not sure about how they tow after a chassis conversion. The Eurovan and the Sprinter strike me as a real alternative. MB is considering importing the VITO into the US but who knows.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:36 PM   #32
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I just yesterday had a look at the DURAMAX-powered 1T Chevrolet vans. Put 'em on your list for comparisons.
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Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:34 PM   #33
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Sprinter drawbacks

"Wife didn't like it too much as it's a bit too big for a Target or school parking lot and she would be the one driving it most of the time."

The problem with new Sprinters, for me, is that they no longer offer a short wheelbase (118") version. Since '08, the smallest is the size of a full size pickup. I'm frequently in Chicago, and can park mine anywhere a medium size car fits. New Sprinters have a larger, thirstier engine, too. I'm not planning to replace mine anytime soon, unless I get a bigger Airstream!
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:09 PM   #34
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I have now replaced my Subbie with my new Caravan. I very pleased with it so far. Took it to DC last weekend and got 25+ mpg.
That sounds pretty nice! I would be hesitant to own another Caravan because the one we had in the late 90s was junk, only car we ever had a transmission fail on, and had the brakes just go out more than once, plus electrical gremlins all over. But if they make 'em better now, it sure would be nice to get 25mpg, since that would more than double what we get with our E150.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:49 PM   #35
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Euro,
That's a fine looking Tow Vehicle/Travel Trailer combo. Say what you will about VW, I'm on#7 VW, and can't be happier, of course, all of mine were produced in Germany......
Thanks, Derek
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:31 PM   #36
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Ford vs Dodge

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That sounds pretty nice! I would be hesitant to own another Caravan because the one we had in the late 90s was junk, only car we ever had a transmission fail on, and had the brakes just go out more than once, plus electrical gremlins all over. But if they make 'em better now, it sure would be nice to get 25mpg, since that would more than double what we get with our E150.
I'm not to worried about my Caravan. I drive it very few miles. I use another van for work and my wife has her own Subbie. I owned a 99 E150 the tranny was very weak. I towed with it for years. I babied it and it never let me down. I find keeping it out of OD most of the time. Plus taking it easy help also. I will be add a tranny cooler too.

Ace in PA
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #37
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It just goes to show any individual car can be a lemon, but it sure turns you off of that make/brand! Our E150 has been a trooper for us.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:03 PM   #38
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I just yesterday had a look at the DURAMAX-powered 1T Chevrolet vans. Put 'em on your list for comparisons.
I did just check out the duramax Chevi van. What a beast. At $48,000 it's twice as much as the base model and easily competes with Mercedes prices. I agree with you, it sure is an option and I will check it out further. The web pages do not give you diesel consumption. I assume it's quite thirsty?
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:25 PM   #39
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I would assume the van is no better than the truck. Diesel mpg is like anything else though . . steady, easy pace.

There's quite a history with upfitters. With the wheelchair requirement -- meaning extended idle, battery bank, big alternator, etc -- all the ambulance stuff comes into play. That is why I brought it up.

Dig around some per these questions/requirements on WOODALLS. Those guys have surprising depth on TV questions. Meaning in the business of using a lot of different trucks. Or cop cars. Or, EMT. Or, . . . .

Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Tow Vehicles: Interesting comparison between Express 4500 and E-450

Several other good threads at present. Gearhead pleasure. Probably plenty more on Bowtie forums, but harder to wade through.

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1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:34 AM   #40
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I just came back from a 2 week 1,400 mile round trip with the entire family + Nanny and thought I would update this thread.
The Route:
We went fully loaded with water in the tanks, 5 passengers and lots of gear from Orange County, SanDiego, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Las Vegas and back to Orange County.
The Heat:
While the temperatures were solidly in the triple digits in places such Lake Havasu, the Eurovan pulled the Airstream without any problem and the engine temp never moved one bit.
The Gas Consumption:
The gas consumption is really bad to start with and is usually between 13 to 17 mpg without towing. Over the entire trip it averaged at ~12 mpg.
The Transmission:
The 10 year old vehicle with over 90,000 miles gets a lot of bad press for its transmission. However, we had no problem at all. I could normally maintain 55 - 60 mph in either 3rd or 4th gear and only occasionally had to use 2nd for really steep hills. I manually shifted the automatic however to avoid frequent shifts.
The Driving dynamics:
The driving experience was very pleasant as the rig feels like on rails. I used a Reese although I ma not sure how much its impact has been.
I did not experience any white knuckles whatsoever even on steep downhill grades, wind gusts or with semi trailers passing us.
The engine:
Clearly, with only 200 hp this vehicle is seriously under powered even without towing (lethargic might be a good descriptor)
The Issues:
1. An Oxygen sensor temporarily quit on me although I'm not sure if that is related to the towing.
2. One of the trailer tires developed a "slow leak". The tire shop could not find any problems but I had to top off air frequently before I finally switched to the spare tire.
The summary:
Don't let anyone tell you that you cant tow a small Airstream with an Eurovan. Just make sure you have time.
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:29 AM   #41
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Nicely done!!
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Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
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