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Old 11-01-2014, 08:03 AM   #15
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1430lbs of combined payload works for me so my plan is still on track....but think I'll take a gander at a capable SUV just for the fun of it anyway.

Thanks again.
WR... Do lots of research when checking out SUV's for towing. The numbers don't tell the whole story. Some SUV's are train wrecks when used as TV's while others are ranked at the top of the list.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:38 PM   #16
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Yes you can....



As was noted by a previous poster, I've been happy with my minivan and Airstream set up over the past four seasons.

It's a 2011 28' International Serenity and is towed by a 2011 Toyota Sienna LE; that's the V6 3.5L with a six speed automatic transmission.

Can-Am RV in London, Ontario, set it up and beefed up the aftermarket Hidden Hitch with a couple of lengths of steel, which limits the receiver's tendency to twist with the torque applied by the weight distribution bars, and so help transfer a good proportion of the trailer's tongue weight to the front axle.

The Sienna also has an additional transmission oil cooler, and a Prodigy P2 brake controller, along with the requisite wiring for the seven-pin connector. We have a basic EAZ-LIFT WD set up with 1000lb bars, and a pair of friction sway control bars. The additional mirrors are by McKesh.

We have towed from Ontario down to Florida and back, by way of New Orleans and Birmingham, AL. We also went to Plymouth, MA, in 2013 by way of Upstate New York and home via Quebec City. We've also done many more local trips, and ventured to the Finger Lakes on a couple of occasions. The Sienna has coped well under it's normal maintenance schedule and has thrown us no problems at all over the past four years. The hitch receiver has needed a little attention from Can-Am and I can see the day when it may need to be replaced, but they keep an eye on that for me.

The cons of using a Minivan with a 7,000lb trailer are:
You can't be taking your generator or your firewood along. The Sienna has an OK payload, better than some half-ton pick ups, but there's not too much room to play with people and cargo to consider
The Sienna is quite low-slung and will ground the hitch receiver quite easily if you don't think about it. I can foresee issues getting onto ferries and suchlike.
You get constant harassment from people who will tell you that it can't be done - that is, tow an Airstream with a Minivan - despite the darned thing sitting right in front of them. Talk of Fairy Dust and Accidents Waiting To Happen are insulting at best and borne wholly out of ignorance.
The Pros are:
It's a good tow vehicle. Low, wide and very stable. It starts and stops well, has plenty of power and ours has dealt with everything we've thrown at it
When not towing we get 28 mpg, which is most of the time, 12 mpg when towing, which isn't any worse than most other TVs
It's a whole lot more comfortable than a Pick Up and treats the front of the Airstream very gently.

My general message is that properly set up, the Minivan is a great tow vehicle. Think about how much you want to haul in addition to your trailer, though, as payload can be an issue. For us, as we travel very light, it's not a problem.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:05 PM   #17
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Your experience represents a logical approach. My folks pulled a 26' Vaquero with a 76' Ford Elite, 5.8 Windsor V-8 2bbl. It's successor was an E-150 Club Wagon van, same engine, more curb weight. Close friends pulled a 28' Mobile Scout with a 77 Monaco 5.9 2bbl Lean Burn, and another an AS with a 69' Valiant 225 slant six. All performed satisfactorily all across the southern US with provisions for adequate transmission cooling. We even ran with A/C on during the hot summer months. Dad never blinked; and the underpowered Ford didn't, either. No Strokes, Cummins, DMAX's, or even a 460 V-8 LTD Country Squire with tow package, much less an IH Travelall 392 fully equipped for severe towing duty (far too expensive).

I think your setup is awesome; let it demonstrate that common sense coupled with common sense equals, well, your satisfactory results.
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:44 AM   #18
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Thanks for the additional feedback and experiences. I'm still pretty happy my Grand Caravan is a good mate for the 16'
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:13 AM   #19
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Towing with a Caravan

I have been towing my 66 Caravel for 2 1/2 years with a 09 Caravan. Its been a match for my AS. The Caravel is under 2500 lbs. My van has the 3.3 eng. I avg. 14 mpg towing. The best MPG has been 17.5.


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Old 11-11-2014, 03:53 PM   #20
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I have been towing a 34' 1984 International for two years now, with a 2008 Honda Odyssey. My experiences mirror those of MrUKToad, so no need to repost them.

With a Hensley hitch, LT tires and a proper setup, a modern minivan makes for an exceptional tow vehicle.

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Old 11-11-2014, 11:05 PM   #21
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What happens when you get to a long 6% grade towing a 7000lb trailer. Can you maintain 50 to 60mph?

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Old 11-11-2014, 11:23 PM   #22
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With all due respect, even if a 6% grade pulls the combination down to 35, chances are that a truck will be doing 30 that they can follow up the hill anyway.

The thing about hills, is that 99.9% of interstate miles are inclines of less than 6%.

If a person is slowed down for a few miles..... Well,,, so what?

At the end of the day five or even ten minutes isn't going to matter a lot.

The ability to pull any hill coast to coast at 85 is over rated.


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Old 11-11-2014, 11:31 PM   #23
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I kind of find it amusing that on one hand there is a kind of forum consensus that 60 mph is fast enough,,,, thank you very much.. and another kind of consensus that a tow vehicle that can scale any hill at 85 is essential.

Not REALLY meaning to ruffle feathers here, it is just kind of funny.




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Old 11-11-2014, 11:47 PM   #24
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Meh. I'm just not in a hurry on the highway when towing. 45-55 in the hilly areas and faster with the flow on the flats. I do try to keep the Taco from working too hard by shifting to stay around 2,000 to 2,500 rpm or so. Don't want to lug it, don't want to over rev either. Did get going fairly fast cross Texas on the flat bits, but still get passed a lot--which is fine by me--I'm on vacation and 'gotta get there itis' is a good way to get hurt. I routinely advise campgrounds that we'll be in very late. Had one nice KOA owner call when she got concerned that we were in trouble or something after not arriving at 10pm or so. We ended up staying an extra day due to weather in west Texas that time. Got very good at setting up in the dark quietly😊. Good thing our dogs don't bark much in strange places either.


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Old 11-12-2014, 05:03 AM   #25
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1/2 ton towing a 30' and never exceed 65 (although it is quite capable of doing so) due to the ST trailer tires.
Even when I get LT truck tires I will not exceed 65 for extra safety- more reaction time, less stopping distance- and better fuel economy.
No need to go over 65, and I haven't found a hill/grade that it wouldn't pull at 65 mph, which tells me 381 horsepower, 400 ft. lbs. of torque, and 4:30 gears is enough, maybe more than enough. The only benefit of a 3/4 ton is more payload- the ability to haul more stuff if you want to-
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:11 AM   #26
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I kind of find it amusing that on one hand there is a kind of forum consensus that 60 mph is fast enough,,,, thank you very much.. and another kind of consensus that a tow vehicle that can scale any hill at 85 is essential.

Not REALLY meaning to ruffle feathers here, it is just kind of funny.




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I just figured the diesel pickup owners were just justifying their expensive purchase.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:35 AM   #27
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I just figured the diesel pickup owners were just justifying their expensive purchase.
Hey, don't deny us that pleasure!
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:40 AM   #28
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Interesting thread. Thanks for the links to Can Am and all of your photos. Can Am is renowned for their work with smaller tow vehicles. An adequate hitch and receiver, good radiators for engine and transmission, stiff tires and patience on long grades both up and down make the minivan a viable option.

My father used to hunt pheasants with a .410 single shot shotgun. He did quite well with it.

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