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Old 04-13-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
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1969 18' Caravel
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Eurovan aint that bad for towing

OK guys, I was somewhat worried that the VW Eurovan (6 cyl, 200 HP, 440 lbs tongue weight) wouldn't pull my newly renovated Caravel (~3,500 lbs) but after taking it out for an extended spin over spring break I am quite happy with the performance.
Over the 220 miles trip to Julian, CA, gas consumption averaged 11.7 mpg which is not that much worse than the usual 13 - 16 I get not towing. On the highway I could go 65 in 4th gear easy. Clearly, up in the mountains, we were a bit of a road block being in 2nd gear quite often but so were all the other large trucks. Going downhill the Reese weight distribution hitch and the Prodigy did a good job keeping the whole rig in check.
Would I buy a Eurovan for towing, probably not but using one to tow a smaller trailer is certainly not that big of a deal either.
BTW, the form and the color (silver) actually goes very well with the Airstream too and we got lots of positive comments.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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That's some pretty serious horsepressure. I still think of the flower-power VW's straining to maintain between Boulder and Estes Park in the 1970's. Loaded past 13k could pass them on any road (the kids waving to the hip-eyes) with a loaded luxury sedan and 28' Silver Streak. But they don't make V8-500's any more. And Joe Bageant was buried last year.



Post a pic or two if convenient.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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We found our Eurovan camper to be a very stable towing platform as well, front wheel drive and independent suspension all around. We had the earlier 5 cylinder stick taking trips (including a cross-country) towing our Suzuki Samurai to go exploring. As with so many factory tires, they were inadequate and upgrading tires/wheels and Bilstein shocks changed everything.

doug k
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:58 PM   #4
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2007 25' International CCD FB
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Euro, you were in our backyard...(should get snow this weekend). Did you get your Caravel on the scales? I'm hoping to get our Safari trimmed down to that weight.
Oh, nice rig, both the TV and La Nina...
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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1969 18' Caravel
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Elfirebob,

visiting Julian was quite an experience. We booked 2 nights at the local campground (Pinezanita) and the lady from the front desk called us while we were driving to tell us that the weather isn't that great and that she would advise us either not to come at all or to stay only one night. Talking about customer service! In Orange County they would have just taken your money regardless if you'd liked the weather or not Since it was pouring we did end up spending just one night but the location sure was nice.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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EuroA.. I enjoyed reading your account and towing experience with the Van. Great looking rig!
It is very similar to the 1993 Nissan Van we used for towing our 23 a few years ago. Like your van payload in the 3/4 ton range is nice with a gross vehicle weight close to 6,000lbs is not to shabby either.

Our Nissan had less power (150HP, 180TQ) but easily handled our 23' in the hills of Ontario but we didn't get a chance to try any serious mountain passes.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:37 PM   #7
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Wow...you're brave.

I don't hardly trust my turbo New Beetle to make it home when its only load is ME in the car without something breaking on it...let alone pulling that much weight.

Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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Road Ruler,

150 HP for a double axle 23 ft trailer is quite something.
I saw that you used mirror extensions. Another advantage of the Eurovan is that you actually can use the side mirrors as is without extensions.

and GGoat, give your Beatle some credit. 40 years ago, my dad took the whole family of 5 on a ski vacation. We had the skis and a Christmas tree on the roof, 3 kids in the back and everything else in-between. I am sure you could tow with it if you wanted to.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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I will give my Beetle credit when it stops breaking.

VW of today is not the VW of yesterday. 40 years ago Beetles were made in Germany...mine was made in Mexico with the cheapest quality of parts. When you reach for the door handle and it literally breaks off the door...or the entire dash is sticky because they coated it with some sort of rubberized black paint that eventually turns to goo...or your oil light comes on because of a design flaw in the 1.8T engine that turns oil to sludge (VW will replace entire engine under warranty if it's in a Passat, but the SAME ENGINE in a Beetle is NOT covered)...as I stated, I will give VW credit when they deserve it again.

The only kind of towing my Beetle will be involved in will be next time it breaks and it has to be towed to a garage.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:22 PM   #10
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Great Posts

Hey EuroAir and Road Ruler great posts. I've been wanting to pull the tiger and start towing my 66 Caravel with my 09 Caravan. You guys have just pushed me over the edge. I will be order my hitch and wiring this week. I found etrailer has everything i need. But the prices on ebay are a little better and I can use $ i have sitting in my paypal acct. I will have to order my trans cooler off etrailer. I have many miles of towing under my belt. So think towing experience help also.

Thanks again for your posts.

Ace in PA

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Proud owner of:
1966 Caravel
1967 Serro Scotty Tonga
2002 Chevy 3500 Express
and now 2009 (Silver) Grand Caravan
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:29 PM   #11
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I like hearing about people towing with something other than an F250. One reason I bought our Globetrotter was that our Volvo 850GLT had the capacity to tow it. As for reliability, that is another story entirely with the Volvo. We use a Tundra because we have it for other reasons, but I've been looking at the new Nissan Frontier because it got good ratings from Consumers Reports for towing acceleration. AS for the VWs, we grew up with the air cooled ones, but my mom's 78 Rabbit was absolutely terrible, and everyone I've known with a water cooled VW since has had more than their share of problems.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflys View Post
Hey EuroAir and Road Ruler great posts. I've been wanting to pull the tiger and start towing my 66 Caravel with my 09 Caravan. 2009 (Silver) Grand Caravan
I think you will be pleased with how well your van works. Note our nissan van was totaled when it was 16 years old. At that time it had the original problem free drive train. Very impressed with the durability.

Here are a couple of articles that relate to your vehicle. Interesting read for sure.....

RV Lifestyle - Hitch Hints

RV Lifestyle - Hitch Hints
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:55 PM   #13
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Thumbs up No extension mirrors needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by EuroAir View Post
Road Ruler,


I saw that you used mirror extensions. Another advantage of the Eurovan is that you actually can use the side mirrors as is without extensions.
Euro, that would be nice to not have to install the McKesh each time we get set to go.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:54 PM   #14
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You guys have just pushed me over the edge.
That's what it took to push you over the edge, Ace? Seriously...I think your idea is great! I hope to see you down the road soon with your new Caravan towing package!

Do you think my Corvairs will tow the Bambi II? (I doubt it...)

Ben (also in PA)
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