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Old 11-12-2014, 05:57 AM   #29
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Here we go again, bashing truck owners. Really gets old. Remember the thread is about minivan towing.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:58 AM   #30
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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.

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Old 11-12-2014, 08:57 AM   #31
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I'm hoping someone with a minivan towing can answer the question about towing up long grades especially out west at higher altitudes. A mini van in eastern Canada may be viable for the majority of road conditions but if you have traveled the west what has been your experience, especially during hot conditions? Might be good information to pass along to anyone considering using their minivan to tow an Airstream.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:09 AM   #32
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Minivan Towing

I just find it interesting that this issue is a hot button issue at all.

Like big trucks? Good!

Like smaller tow vehicles? Great!

Like gas? Like diesel? Terrific!

Do what makes you happy without worrying about consensus.

Worried about another person making a mistake to the point of getting angry? STOP.

Let experience be the best teacher of all and allow individuals to be individuals and make their own choices and even their own mistakes.

Useful dialog requires is not avoiding controversy but presentation without letting emotion drive the conversation.

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Old 11-12-2014, 09:19 AM   #33
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Minivan Towing

When I built my trailer in four months, I ended up replacing a good portion because what seemed right at the time didn't work for me in practice. So I changed it. In the end I enjoyed doing the changes as much or more than doing the first build.

Still the way my trailer is now, (and I like it like what it is a lot), it would not be anything like it is had I bent to consensus.

We as a culture are too bent on the Idea that in fact, there is only one way to skin a cat, and we should make sure our neighbor "does it right".

Should we help and offer our opinions? Absolutely!

Should we get angry when another choses a different path? well that is just silly talk.

I have been on public forums for a long, long, time. Long enough to know how things work. There are no posts about the build of my trailer on here during the build for a reason. I knew that many of my choices would drive controversy, and I knew that many would state "that wont work" and even get angry in the process.

How shall I put this,,,, as a rule Airforums consists of "mature" folks, present company included, we should learn to act our age without the need of "enforcement" from forum management. Enforcement stifles meaningful dialog and even serves to drive consensus opinions via omission of dissent from "allowed conversations".

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Old 11-12-2014, 02:06 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I'm hoping someone with a minivan towing can answer the question about towing up long grades especially out west at higher altitudes. A mini van in eastern Canada may be viable for the majority of road conditions but if you have traveled the west what has been your experience, especially during hot conditions? Might be good information to pass along to anyone considering using their minivan to tow an Airstream.

My fathers '76 Cadillac weighed at least 5600-lbs for empty adjusted weight and had 215HP/360TQ out of an eight liter engine. Pulled a near 8k Silver Streak. One could watch the fuel gauge waver ever downward on a 28-gl tank on an ascent like Raton Pass. Steady in second at 28-32 mph. WOT all the way. Hard work that kept that big engine young.

A Honda Odyssey has 260TQ and far better gearing. And weighs at least 1000lbs less. I'd rather have the Honda. And I really liked that old Cad. It ran out to nearly 190k before being sold to a guy who ran it past 240k pulling a race car. One trans rebuild.

You might look to AndrewT's comments about the difference from rwd to fwd cars in 1986. Close-coupled hitch advantages with no slack or sloppiness due to poor vehicle design is not always shown in number comparisons like TQ.

It would never concern me to make a slow ascent. No car could make other than a slow ascent prior to about 1990. I also prefer slow descents and rate them more important. In this the Honda would again be superior.


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Old 11-12-2014, 02:48 PM   #35
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All I'm asking is for a minivan owner to post their experiences about towing a larger AS up a long grade. My question was meant to be controversial. I'm not posting an opinion I'm just asking a question so why is everyone getting bent out of shape? I don't care what type of tow vehicle people use but I'd like to hear from someone who can share their experience with this class of tow vehicle because I find the topic interesting.

I've had experience on long grades in the west back in the 80's with my Toyota Dolphin motorhome on a 1 ton chassis with a 2L 4 cylinder. I could maintain 45mph without taxing the power train and I thought that was reasonable. That's my experience and if someone would ask me the same question I would state my experience to them. If that is not considered safe or fast enough for that person they can make another decision about what is best for them. If V6 minivans can pull a 20, 23, 25 or 28 up a grade faster or slower that is all I'd like to know.

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Old 11-12-2014, 03:04 PM   #36
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Slow on a grade up or down means I turn on clearance lights and 4way flashers to warn approaching traffic from the rear. Far right lane is the correct position unless it's trucks only lane. I don't go down any faster than I went up, and select the same gear for safety.

Aside: saw a Toyota Dolphin on the road the other day here. Seemed to be keeping up on the flats ok. Always wanted one before we got the AS.


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Old 11-12-2014, 11:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
All I'm asking is for a minivan owner to post their experiences about towing a larger AS up a long grade. My question was meant to be controversial. I'm not posting an opinion I'm just asking a question so why is everyone getting bent out of shape? I don't care what type of tow vehicle people use but I'd like to hear from someone who can share their experience with this class of tow vehicle because I find the topic interesting.

I've had experience on long grades in the west back in the 80's with my Toyota Dolphin motorhome on a 1 ton chassis with a 2L 4 cylinder. I could maintain 45mph without taxing the power train and I thought that was reasonable. That's my experience and if someone would ask me the same question I would state my experience to them. If that is not considered safe or fast enough for that person they can make another decision about what is best for them. If V6 minivans can pull a 20, 23, 25 or 28 up a grade faster or slower that is all I'd like to know.

Kelvin
I haven't been out west so I can't speak for towing up or down those grades at altitude.

Here in the east, we've towed down the I75 and there's a reasonable climb up into the mountains just as you enter Tennessee. I don't know the grade or the distance but our Sienna with it's six speed transmission pulled our 28' International comfortably up at 55mph, and would have gone a little faster had I felt like flooring the throttle.

I've also towed through the White Mountains in New Hampshire; steep grades but not long hauls, and again it was 55 mph without too much of a problem. Going down was worse, keeping the the speed sensible without using the brakes too much takes a bit of care.

We towed up quite a long grade in Upstate New York, just south of the town of Mohawk. That was a county road, narrow and twisty, steeper than 6% I think and went for about six miles climbing. We were at 45 mph up there, fully loaded, and the engine temp was higher than usual, although it topped out at 97C, which is well within bounds.

There's a sharp grade up the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario, that I've towed a few times and always been able to accelerate past trucks and other travel trailers, easily exceeding 60mph.

I appreciate that none of these hills have been at altitude so a comparison with the West isn't really fair. However, when we do head out west I'll not be too concerned at the minivan's ability to pull up a hill; others with more experience than I have tales of hauling some long grades using sedans as tow vehicles; Can-Am Andy and his crew have done them all.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:52 AM   #38
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We tow up the grade in Hamilton mentioned by MrUKtoad all the time because our trailer is parked nearby and the highway takes us out west to Lake Erie and our favourite campgrounds. I am always surprised by how much of a non event it is, 55mph at 3000rpm.

There is a considerably nastier grade going up the escarpment the other way, up Highway 6 towards Guelph, where we do max out at 40mph. Going down that grade needs just as much care as going up, if not more. It's not helped by the fact that this road can get very busy indeed, so if there's stop and go traffic I do tend to avoid the area by adding ten minutes to our trip and drive a different route.
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:43 AM   #39
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What happens when you get to a long 6% grade towing a 7000lb trailer. Can you maintain 50 to 60mph?

Kelvin
I can't do that with my 1/2 ton pickup and a 5000lb trailer.
Its just the way its geared, and the torque curve of the motor. (very "peak-y"). Its got nuthin' at low rpm. If I start off at the bottom of any significant grade going slower than 65mph, it'll be going 40mph in 2nd gear within a few seconds. If there's a climbing lane, (and we do have them in New England), I need to be in it. Sometimes, I've thought I was going to have to get out and push. If I'm able to be doing 65+ at the start of the hill, I can often maintain highway speed all the way up...but there always seems to be someone in front of me that wants to go 64 that prevents this, and then I'm in 2nd gear, roaring up the hill at 40.
Certainly, newer trucks with the Hemi (and other brands with their modern plants) don't have this issue. My engine was built in 1999...so its not an antique, but it was designed in the 1960's. Just saying...this notion of crossing the continental divide without dropping below 70mph is kind of a new thing.
Oddly, no one bats an eyelash when I pull into a campground with this "big" truck pulling my camper.
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:53 AM   #40
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There's a sharp grade up the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton, Ontario, that I've towed a few times and always been able to accelerate past trucks and other travel trailers, easily exceeding 60mph.
MrUKT... We lived in the west end of Burlington and made that grade many times with our Nissan Van/23' combo.

I recall the last time I did that climb, the trailer was empty, towing about 2 tons.
In 3rd gear (3,200 RPM) I didn't drop below 55MPH and many 18 wheelers were crawling up the same hill. Amazing what a 150HP/180TQ vehicle can accomplish. The 3:89 final drive gears with a 27" dia tire helps too.

Note... I tow the same trailer as Chuck above.

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Old 11-13-2014, 07:03 AM   #41
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There are folks in this forum that have towed a 3500# trailer with a minivan and have found it "inadequate". There are others who are towing 8000# trailers and think the minivan is "fine". I believe both of them, as they are expressing their subjective opinions. Subjective opinions are just that, subjective. It does not help me understand the towing capability of a minivan. Hence, we need an objective measure, which fortunately we do have and is called J2807 SAE towing standards.

It would be great if someone could run the J2807 tests on the minivans and tell us the actual towing capacity. Can the minivan with 8000# in tow do a 0 to 60 in less than 30 seconds (important when you are merging to highway)? Can it go up a grade, with 2 people on board, and AC on and maintain a certain speed without overheating? and all the other tests in J2807.
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Old 11-13-2014, 07:18 AM   #42
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Yeah, but your AC unit is in the wrong hole, further aft, which obviously lightens the tongue weight. Plus, I have rear and street-side awnings.

Seriously, though: its all about the gearing. The ol' 318 has 230hp and 300ftlbs (allegedly). But with the 3:55 rear-end.
If you do the math, the combination produces 2000lbs of thrust in 1st gear. (torque x 1st gear x rear end/wheel diameter). Weighs about 5200lbs.
Modern mini's (they're all very similar) produce about 3000lbs, and weigh about 4600lbs. 6 gears instead of 3. Same payload as a 1/2-ton pickup.

I'm replacing the truck with a 2011 GMC Acadia, which has similar power/payload to the mini's. Can't wait to try it, but sadly, its gonna be a while, as the trailer is still under renovation.
I figure this way, I'll have the more appropriate daily-driver/mom-mobile for the other 355 days of the year, and yet, you can't give me too much crap for towing my camper with it, because it'll still likely be within the manufacturer's ratings.
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