Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-23-2014, 10:01 PM   #43
Rivet Master
 
MrUKToad's Avatar

 
2011 28' International
Chatham , Ontario
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,372
Images: 17
Blog Entries: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomeGuy View Post
Maybe "mid size" vans would also be a good name for these vans - especially since there are now 4 cylinder compact vans on the North American market like the Ford Transit Connect and Mazda5 that I think are deserving of the name "minivan." They're small, 4 cylinder vans with sliding rear side doors. Grand Caravans, Siennas (which can come with All-wheel-drive), Odysseys, etc, should really be called mid-size vans when taking into account the size of those smaller vans on the market today, as well as the traditional full size vans. But, old habits die hard, including the names we gave certain segments of vehicles decades ago.

The Grand Caravans, Siennas, Odysseys and even older models like Chevy Uplander, Astro, Ford Windstar and Freestar, etc, could easily pass as mid-size vans today. With the except of the Astro (rear wheel drive) and Sienna (the can come with all-wheel drive), these are usually mid size to large front wheel drive vans that are very capable of hauling lots of cargo, including - as far as I know - sheets of plywood, and towing larger trailers - certainly most Airstreams under 28 feet. Maybe even bigger, but that's pushing it.

Looking back 30 years, it's incredible to see how the original Dodge Caravan has evolved into a much more refined, larger, vastly more powerful and reliable, better built and more fuel efficient van packed with modern and reliable technology that can do just about everything its original model did, only better, and probably for less or comparable money when the money is adjusted for inflation. I think Dodge is giving away the base model American and Canada Value Price Grand Caravans too cheaply. And even the higher end trim levels and the Town & Country seem like bargains when you consider what you get and what the vans are capable of.

It's too bad more people don't realize, or believe that these vans are capable of more than they think, especially trailer towing. I bet there are many people who bought a 3/4 ton or 1 ton, or even diesel dually pickup or Suburban to tow a trailer that a modern "minvan" could tow - all with the added benefit of being smaller to park and more fuel efficient to drive when not towing.
Check the manufacturers' tow ratings for the old vans, I'll bet most are 3,500lb, the same as the current day Mid-Sized vans (I like that term)
__________________

__________________
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"

http://toadsoftowedhaul.com
MrUKToad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2014, 08:38 PM   #44
3 Rivet Member
 
JustSomeGuy's Avatar
 
1990 25' Excella
Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 117
Images: 3
Resurrecting an old thread here, but I figured a few people might like an update and a review on how a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country (with a Can-Am custom hitch) towed a 1990 Airstream Excella across Canada, from Toronto to Vancouver. Sorry I didn't reply sooner. Almost immediately upon getting to Vancouver, I put the Airstream in storage as I don't have room to park it at my new condo. And then there has been a lengthy and challenging time with my elderly parents where I had to go back (without the trailer). I just returned to Vancouver, but have to go back to Ontario in a month - I might be going back for a few months actually, this time possibly with the trailer, although it's a bit cold to stay in a travel trailer at this time of year. But it will get warmer in a few months, and I may be there for a while.

Anyways, in case anyone was wondering how my maiden voyage went, it was pretty good. Just to recap, the tow vehicle is my new used 2012 Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L (like a Dodge Grand Caravan) with a 3.6 Pentastar V6, 6 speed automatic and Can-Am special hitch. The handy dash-mounted transmission gear selector worked nicely with the ability to tap it left to manually downshift and tap it to the right to manually upshift. It was recommended that I always tow in 5th gear, not 6th or overdrive.

The trip was in mid-May 2014. I drove from the Toronto area, through northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and finally British Columbia. I should mention that the water tanks were about half full and I had a bit of cargo in the back of the van, plus a bit of canned food, bed sheets, etc, in the trailer, and in the van, two passengers and my dog. I would have taken more, but did not want to overload the van or trailer, especially being my first time towing.

The back end of the van was squatted down quite a bit, but then again, it was like that with the van empty, and I asked about that at Can-Am RV. They told me it was fine, and since they are the towing experts (with a few Chrysler minivans in their fleet), and having set up over 2000 front wheel driving minivans over the years, I took their word on it that it would be fine. And it was. I made it. A 3/4 turbo diesel pickup or full size V8 SUV may have handled the payload and super steep hills in the Rocky Mountains a bit better, but overall, my van got the job done and is a great compromise between an every day vehicle for times when I'm not towing (most of the time) and being able to tow the trailer when I need to.

Going through northern Ontario was fine. The hills weren't too bad if I downshifted to 4th gear as I recall. The new Pentastar V6 has a decent amount of power and torque. Through the Prairie provinces with their nice, flat land, it was even easier and fuel consumption was a bit better. Leaving Alberta, I started my trek through the Rocky Mountains. Definitely steeper than any hills in northern Ontario. With manually downshifting and pressing the accelerator a bit more, I was able to go through there. I can only imagine the challenges people had when towing travel trailer 20 or 30 years ago with less powerful V8 family sedans and station wagons. I would not have wanted any less power or torque than I had with my 2012 Chrysler Town & Country.

Not feeling comfortable pushing the van, the trailer or myself beyond our limits, I kept to the speed limit, or a bit less, especially as it got more hilly and twisty. Keep in mind, this was my first time towing. It was at this point where I figured I had just enough power, torque and towing capacity, but not much else in reserve. Then I made the decision to take the Coquihalla since it has two lanes in each direction and people could easily pass me, so I wouldn't hold up traffic driving slowly. Plus, you save about two hours driving time going that way. But, if I had to do it again, I would not take the Coquihalla towing my 25 foot Airstream with this van. There were several times, especially leaving Kamloops, that the van did not have enough power or torque to even make the speed limit. Then again, neither did most of the tractor trailers, so I wasn't alone. But some of those hills are so steep that even shifting to third gear, the engine was screaming and I was going about 50 or 60 km/hr. Not wanting to overheat the transmission or engine, I tried to find the best compromise speed. Going down some of those hills, I decided to gear down, like the truckers have to, so that my brakes would not heat up and become useless.

So, all in all, I think a recent model Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan with a Pentastar V6 makes an OK tow vehicle for my 25 foot 1990 Airstream Excella. I think the newer Airstreams are wider and heavier, so your mileage may vary. Most of the time, I felt the van was adequate or more than adequate. Going through the Rocky Mountains, I felt like I was at the limit of what the van could do. And through the high mountain roads with super steep inclines and declines on the Coquihalla, I decided that when I need to cross the Rockies again, while towing with this van, I will take the longer, but less hilly Crows Nest highway a bit further south, or better yet, the nicely engineered Interstate highways in Washington state as it approaches the Idaho panhandle. I have driven all of these with the above mentioned van, driving solo (not towing) and the van seemed to have loads of power and torque in reserve.

I might be going back east for a few months in 2015, and if I decide to take the Airstream with me, I am definitely staying off the Coquihalla and taking a southern route (be it in Canada or ideally the US). Otherwise, I'd say a minivan like this is great for people towing occasionally in the Rockies, or even better if you live in the US Great Plains, Canadian Prairies or even areas like northern Ontario. And when you're not towing, this is a great van for driving in urban and suburban areas as it fits into smaller parking spaces easier than a 4 door crew cab 3/4 pickup would.

Solo driving, fuel consumption in the city is on par with most large V6's. But on the highway, when driving solo (not towing) I find the fuel economy to be exceptionally good, considering the size of the vehicle and the engine. Only slightly higher fuel consumption than a 4 cylinder compact or midsize car. I can count on at least 25 MPG or 11 litres/100 kms, sometimes even better, depending on weather, road conditions, descending hills rather driving up hill, etc. Of course, expect a bit less if you're speeding, driving into a headwind, going up a lot of steep hills, etc.

And when towing, I found it pretty consistent that I used about twice as much fuel when towing my 25 foot 1990 Airstream Excella. But that's to be expected, and I think you can pretty much count on using twice as much fuel when towing a travel trailer like this, no matter what kind of vehicle you're driving. I would need to add up all of my gas receipts, but if you'd like a rough idea of what I used for fuel, it averaged about $25/hour. In some cases less, in some cases more. There was about 52 hours of driving time, and fuel was about $1.35 a litre on average (less in some places, higher in others). So, 52 hours of driving at $25/hour = $1300 worth of fuel. For comparison, I had to drive back to Ontario (solo, no trailer) a few weeks later due to a family emergency, and I went through the US mid-west (WA, ID, MT, ND, SD, MN, WI, MI and entered Ontario through Sault-Ste-Marie). I forget what the gas prices were, but they're always cheaper in the US, and with an empty van and no trailer, I only spend about $400 US on fuel.

While in Ontario, I had to take a load of furniture to Montreal (from Barrie, north of Toronto) and rented a tandem axle 6x12 foot U-Haul enclosed cargo trailer. Just under 1200 km return trip, a mixture of flat and gently rolling hills, in 5th gear (again, did not use overdrive when towing) and this was just before gas prices fell. I used about 25% more fuel than driving solo. That's about $200 for the 1200 km return trip, towing the trailer both ways (cheaper to return to the same place than a 1-way rental). I did that drive with the same van, empty, and it was about $120 return trip, give or take. Fuel prices keep changing, so it's hard to be consistent. But now that fuel prices are below a dollar a litre in much of the country (and around $2 a gallon, give or take, in much of the US with 2.35 being the national average), driving and towing should be a lot more economical than if you go by the prices I've posted here. Let's hope the fuel prices stay down for a while!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1561.jpg
Views:	103
Size:	292.8 KB
ID:	229174   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1566.jpg
Views:	117
Size:	386.6 KB
ID:	229175  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1581.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	407.0 KB
ID:	229176   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1499.jpg
Views:	113
Size:	203.3 KB
ID:	229177  

__________________

__________________
1990 Airstream Excella 25 Double
2012 Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L with the Can-Am Special Hitch
JustSomeGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 06:15 AM   #45
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,603
Images: 1
Nice report. Thanks.


from the AIRphone
__________________
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
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 06:44 AM   #46
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
Nowhere , Somewhere
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,419
Blog Entries: 2
A well written reasonable report by someone who has done it. Points out the pluses and minuses of towing a mid weight trailer with a mini van. Thanks for all the info and good camping. Peace, jim
__________________
avionstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 08:05 AM   #47
1987 Avion 34W owner
 
PaulnGina's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Good Ol' , USA
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,895
Was that towing set-up made by CanAm? Could the hitch not be adjusted to eliminate the nose-down attitude of the trailer? The description you provided of your trip is exactly why I would never recommend towing a larger trailer with a small tow vehicle. I would bet that after not too many trips like that, the minivan will be ready for the scrap heap. I like the way CanAm reinforces the receiver hitches on tow vehicles, but I'm not a fan of their tow vehicle recommendations.

Glad you made it to your destination.
__________________
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth"
1987 Avion 34W
1995 Ford F250 7.3L PowerStroke
PaulnGina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 12:41 PM   #48
Rivet Master
 
Vintage Kin Owner
N/A , N/A
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 995
Images: 1
Thanks for the honest report. IMO this report confirms that the 3500# rating auto manufacturers put on minivans is indeed accurate.

Merry Christmas to all.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
__________________
rostam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 01:32 PM   #49
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
Quote:
Originally Posted by rostam View Post
Thanks for the honest report. IMO this report confirms that the 3500# rating auto manufacturers put on minivans is indeed accurate.

Merry Christmas to all.


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
Funny you would make that summary. This report is very close to the performance we experienced with our former 2006 Tundra 4.7 rated to tow 7100#, twice the minivan.

Twice the towing rating, similar actual towing experience. My take is the tow ratings are anything but accurate.
__________________
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 01:42 PM   #50
Rivet Master
 
mutcth's Avatar

 
2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,632
Gosh. It sounds like people will just read into this report/post what they want. Human nature, I guess.

The main complaint seemed to be power pulling up a big hill. I bet a gas-powered truck or truck-based SUV with a similar power to weight ratio would experience the same lack of performance.

Andy Thomson has mentioned many times that the vehicles his clients drive might be slower up a big hill, but they save time by not stopping for fuel so often. I know that my Odyssey was far better dynamically towing my Argosy than my higher capacity SUV - but yes, torque is addictive.

Man, I despise these threads, or at least where they end up.
__________________
Now: 2007 Safari SE 23' "Anne" towed by 2011 Dodge Durango "Herman"
Before: Argosy Minuet and T@B, towed by various Honda Odysseys
mutcth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 08:43 PM   #51
1987 Avion 34W owner
 
PaulnGina's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Good Ol' , USA
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,895
I LOVE these threads that report real-world experience, and the honest responses and input that are provided.
__________________
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth"
1987 Avion 34W
1995 Ford F250 7.3L PowerStroke
PaulnGina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2014, 11:21 PM   #52
Rivet Master
 
mefly2's Avatar
 
2015 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Western , ** Big Sky Country ** Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
I LOVE these threads that report real-world experience, and the honest responses and input that are provided.
These threads are great! Very entertaining at times ...
__________________
mefly2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 07:24 AM   #53
Rivet Master
 
andreasduess's Avatar
 
1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,496
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 1
So, in a nutshell, it worked really well but was a bit slow going up larger mountains. Apart from the low trailer nose, which puzzles me and surely is fixable, this sums up my own experience towing with a minivan.

Given that there are several people now full timing with their vans, reporting no problems, there appears to be zero reason to assume the van should be ready for the scrap heap anytime soon.
__________________
andreasduess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 07:41 AM   #54
Rivet Master
 
Currently Looking...
Nowhere , Somewhere
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,419
Blog Entries: 2
I think the op said the van squatted down, that doesn't mean the front of the trailer was low. The trailer can be level and the tow vehicle can squat. Not necessarily a problem depending in the original profile of the tow vehicle. Peace, jim
__________________
avionstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 07:52 AM   #55
Rivet Master
 
andreasduess's Avatar
 
1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,496
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 1
Looking at the pictures, it seems to me the nose is down a little, but that might just be the angle. The T&C has a soft suspension with tons of travel, which might explain the squatting.
__________________
andreasduess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2014, 08:50 AM   #56
Rivet Master
 
Vintage Kin Owner
N/A , N/A
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 995
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Funny you would make that summary. This report is very close to the performance we experienced with our former 2006 Tundra 4.7 rated to tow 7100#, twice the minivan.

Twice the towing rating, similar actual towing experience. My take is the tow ratings are anything but accurate.
2006 was before Toyota adopted SAE's J2807 towing standard. I would not be surprised if the tow rating of your Tundra was inflated. As an example, Toyota Sequoia had a 10000# tow rating; After Toyota adopted J2807, the rating was dropped to 7400#. J2807 has made life easier for everyone. It allows apples-to-apples comparison of vehicles from different manufacturers. Customers know the vehicle was tested for pulling/stopping/cooling/etc. using a set of standardized tests. There is much less ambiguity now.

Given that there now is a standard for determining the tow rating, subjective opinions of what is fine cannot be used anymore. You guys are all entitled to your opinions, but the only way to show that the 3500# rating of the minivan manufacturer is incorrect is by having J2807 tests run by a heavier trailer in tow and showing the minivan actually passes those tests. I have not seen anyone do that yet. Until that happens, the claim that minivans can tow more remains just an unsubstantiated claim.
__________________

__________________
rostam is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tundra Tow vehicle tires wlanford Tires 25 07-10-2016 12:53 PM
Tow Vehicle Mrs. Bale 2008 Safari SE 4 08-23-2011 12:46 PM
Good Tow Vehicle for 3,500 lbs ventport Tow Vehicles 20 08-20-2011 08:50 AM
Help a girl find a tow vehicle star kitty Tow Vehicles 58 08-14-2011 08:51 PM
Tow Vehicle Cab Storage Containers JBinKC Tow Vehicles 2 07-07-2011 06:35 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.