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Old 08-14-2017, 06:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bibbs View Post
I don't understand why so many people use pickup trucks? A van makes much more sense! Room to spare! I like the window van because you can see so much more around you.
Not to mention better design with a lower center of gravity and short rear overhang (avoid vans with extended bodies).
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:24 PM   #16
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If I go shopping at the local dealer, finding a batch of pickup trucks to look at is pretty much a given. If I want to see a large van ... none to be found. My guess is that the dealers stock what Ford / Chevy / Dodge wants them to stock. Does that relate to feet milage in some weird way or to something else .... who knows. Pretty tough to buy something the company doesn't want to sell you.

Bob
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:27 PM   #17
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Every region has a dealership which handles fleet sales. Much the knowledgeable new vehicle department. Have to find which one (or location) does this work.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:11 PM   #18
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Every region has a dealership which handles fleet sales. Much the knowledgeable new vehicle department. Have to find which one (or location) does this work.
Exactly, there is one near here and they literally have 100's to choose from, the key is to find one that has what you want.

I have towed with everything available and Vans are definitely the best kept secret, plus you can usually get them for less than a comparable pickup truck.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:14 PM   #19
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.... but, if you go into any one of the other couple hundred dealers in the region, they don't have a clue. With Joe Random walking into a dealer to find something, what's he more likely to run into first?

Bob
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:25 AM   #20
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Not to mention better design with a lower center of gravity and short rear overhang (avoid vans with extended bodies).
GMC's extended body vans use a longer wheelbase (155", versus 135" for regular) and are extremely stable and very strong tow vehicles.
I have used a G3500 extended van with 6.0l gas for many years as my trusted tow vehicle and have pulled a 34' and currently a 30' widebody. Foiled Again's 25' would be a breeze for that type of van.
In 2017 they discontinued the duramax diesel model.
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Old 08-15-2017, 06:59 AM   #21
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GMC's extended body vans use a longer wheelbase (155", versus 135" for regular) and are extremely stable and very strong tow vehicles.
I have used a G3500 extended van with 6.0l gas for many years as my trusted tow vehicle and have pulled a 34' and currently a 30' widebody. Foiled Again's 25' would be a breeze for that type of van.
In 2017 they discontinued the duramax diesel model.
PeterH makes a good point, older Ford vans tends to be extended by adding overhang at the rear, but GMC/Chevy adds it to the wheelbase. We use the G3500 Extended Express van as well. I am not familiar with newer Ford Transit vans.

FWIW: I also have an '85 G30 Chevy Beauville van that is a unibody design and towed my AS with it. Don't worry about the frame vs unibody for rigidity. Here is a picture of the G30 towing my 24' 10,500lb car trailer weighing ~7500lbs - with no WD hitch (but I do need to move the car further back in the trailer to reduce tongue weight) - I tow with this setup regularly and have no issues.
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:51 AM   #22
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Hi

Be careful of what you call a "large van". I would not put the Ford Transit into that category. It's more a "Euro Van" medium sized van. I'd focus on stuff that has a frame ....I believe the Transit is a unibody.

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Old 08-15-2017, 10:01 AM   #23
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Unit body is stronger and lighter. Better TV, almost always. (See second half of comment above yours )

That said, some vans may not be suitable. Same case for pickups. Trade offs not always worth it.
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Old 08-15-2017, 02:32 PM   #24
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Full frame vs Unibody

Full frame is way more capable than unibody. Example, when ford redesigned the explorer from full frame to unibody, tow rating was cut almost in half. I have driven heavy duty trucks for 40 years and all of them were full frame. in a car application, a unibody may make for more torsional rigidity and less body twist. it will not stand up to rigors of towing. most, not all, unibody suv's will not take a weight distributing hitch for just that reason. the new ford transit is unibody. as a result the tow rating is way less than the E150 full frame van it replaced.
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:49 PM   #25
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Echoing earlier comments, towing with a van is great. Tons of storage for coolers, camping and road gear, and back-up sleeping. Freedom to wander to remote areas with the AS parked safely somewhere.

The new Ford Transit 350 vans still have some pretty decent tow ratings FYI.

http://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/...de_r5_Mar3.pdf

Check the Airstream on PDF p. 2/39, and Transit ratings on p. 27. We recently got a 2017 Transit 350 with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine, and it handles our FC20 just fine [max weight of 5,000]. 3.73 rear end, and GCWR of 12,600, yields max trailer weight of 7,100 with the low roof 130" WB. Thus a slightly larger AS would work too.

Nothing like our old Econoline Club Wagon 350, however, nor the E-250 before that.

As someone said, compromises . . . this niche works for us . . .

Cheers,

Peter
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:26 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
Full frame is way more capable than unibody. Example, when ford redesigned the explorer from full frame to unibody, tow rating was cut almost in half. I have driven heavy duty trucks for 40 years and all of them were full frame. in a car application, a unibody may make for more torsional rigidity and less body twist. it will not stand up to rigors of towing. most, not all, unibody suv's will not take a weight distributing hitch for just that reason. the new ford transit is unibody. as a result the tow rating is way less than the E150 full frame van it replaced.
Body on frame is cheap to build. That's the only reason for it. We were hauling 7k trailers with unibody cars fifty years ago. Unibody is more expensive after a certain point. We had custom hitch receivers built. Factory provided schematics.

"Tow rating" is a fairly meaningless marketing term.

Will the van otherwise suit? That's the real question.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:28 PM   #27
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Echoing earlier comments, towing with a van is great. Tons of storage for coolers, camping and road gear, and back-up sleeping. Freedom to wander to remote areas with the AS parked safely somewhere.

The new Ford Transit 350 vans still have some pretty decent tow ratings FYI.

http://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/...de_r5_Mar3.pdf

Check the Airstream on PDF p. 2/39, and Transit ratings on p. 27. We recently got a 2017 Transit 350 with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine, and it handles our FC20 just fine [max weight of 5,000]. 3.73 rear end, and GCWR of 12,600, yields max trailer weight of 7,100 with the low roof 130" WB. Thus a slightly larger AS would work too.

Nothing like our old Econoline Club Wagon 350, however, nor the E-250 before that.

As someone said, compromises . . . this niche works for us . . .

Cheers,

Peter
Did you happen to scale it with driver and full fuel only? That pair of numbers along with axle/tire/wheel ratings would finish off your recommendation nicely.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:54 PM   #28
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Did you happen to scale it with driver and full fuel only? That pair of numbers along with axle/tire/wheel ratings would finish off your recommendation nicely.
No I did not do that, as the nearest scales are quite far away.

On the registration the weight is 4781. We added a bench seat, so I am guessing the total with driver and gas is going to be at least 5500. The van's GVWR is 9500, and GCWR (as stated earlier) is 12600.

I want to do a full weigh-in with and without the trailer eventually, at which point the axle ratings will come into play, depending on load distribution in the van. With the FC20 maxing out at 5000, there is some room for tools, camping and road gear, a small Yamaha tri-fuel 1000 generator, and so forth. At least a comfortable margin of error I hope. When I get to this stage of gearing up for serious towing, the additional numbers you suggest will get filled in. I have relied on Ford's representations about the overall towing capacity for now. [and our previous Transit's performance, see below]

The Transit tows the FC20 very well, as did our 2015 Transit which got totaled in a rear-end collision last fall.

For larger Airstreams the new Transit is probably not the right tow vehicle. For us, however, the combined rig is very comfortable, in a KISS solution after downsizing from a 25' years ago. Even a 23FB would probably work IMO.

Cheers,

Peter

PS -- Early one morning checking out the lights after the new van arrived --

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