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Old 12-21-2014, 03:35 PM   #71
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Stephanie I would look at the Caravan or T&C. My 09 Caravan now has 170k and still ride and runs like a new car. I have had no major problems. Brakes and rotors a tune up at 140k. It tows our 66 Caravel great. I've got as high as 17.5 mpg towing. I avg. 14.5 mpg towing and 25-28 mpg not towing. Plus I love the stow and go seats.

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Old 12-21-2014, 04:10 PM   #72
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Thanks for that advice. When you stow the seats, does it have a flat loading area? I have to say, I shy away from the Chrystler minis because we had a Caravan back in the early 90s that wasn't great, but obviously they are completely different cars now.
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:57 PM   #73
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Thanks for that advice. When you stow the seats, does it have a flat loading area? I have to say, I shy away from the Chrystler minis because we had a Caravan back in the early 90s that wasn't great, but obviously they are completely different cars now.
Yes the cargo area is flat in the caravan. Mine has 2 bucket seats and the third rear bench seat. All the rearseats stow independently. I have road camp out of my van for weeks with no problems. My van has a smaller engine only the 4 speed transmission. The new ones have a larger engine and a seven speed.
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Old 12-21-2014, 05:00 PM   #74
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Here is my van in road camp mode
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:19 PM   #75
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The GCs are awesome for road camping. 8x4 flat space in the back means easy sleeping, with tons of storage space leftover. I wish they'd be around when I was younger, they would have made fantastic music festival campers.
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:28 AM   #76
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Then next year we can look for an older Honda Odyssey in excellent condition to pick up to be mainly a tow vehicle.
You want to do your homework on those, too - some years of them had serious transmission issues (early 2000s I think, probably older than you'd be looking at, but it's worth knowing when you are looking).
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:50 AM   #77
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I have done some checking on this "flex issue" primarily I know three people with them that love theirs so I looked into it a little more just as an FYI.

Since 2009 the Flex has been marketed as an SUV crossover- people hauler on a car frame. There are two distinct packages as far as towing is concerned. The standard model Flex, which Ford spells out as including aftermarket hitches and equipment added and the tow package model with significant upgrades. The standard model can haul up to 2000 lbs, the rest follows the car scheme as far as payload. The tow model can haul up to 4500 lbs with a class III and WD hitch -quite a difference. The tow package includes coolers, axles, etc. as I said, quite a different animal.

I do not know which one you have but I looked up the 1968 Caravel and oddly Airstream has TWO different weights listed for that model. SO, here tis:

Tongue 300 lbs. Weight 2460 (based on one of their ratings, the other says 2350) so around 2400 lbs. Is this the trailer weight or loaded weight (GVWR) I do not know.

At any rate, a standard Flex would be over specs hauling a 17' Caravel and that, would just be considering the weight factor, not transmission cooling, etc.

A standard Honda van is 3500 lbs. but they rate it strangely in the manual. They subtract any cargo, people, etc. from the towing figure rather than a payload and tow capacity separation. I will share that my coworkers, heavy campers, purchased a new Honda van in 2006 and a new 26ft SOB trailer and had extensive hitching work done to their van and burned it up their first trip out west somewhere halfway there. They tell the horror story and their remorse constantly. They told me not to buy a trailer but rather a class C as they ended up doing. They got rid of the van and bought a new Honda van again but just for commuting.

The problem is that nearly every vehicle sold now no longer has a frame to bear weight. They are like Honda, a triangular tube running down the middle (simplified) with things attached to that and rated a bit beyond their vehicular needs. Towing is most times not even recommended. Personally I would stay away from people haulers for towing- FWD vans, etc. Consider a used truck. I bought an '09 super crew that has room for six people inside with a bed than can be covered with a cap if need be for tons of space and, you could easily tow that Caravel without any concern. I was NOT a truck person but now that I have seen how it is like a full-size car inside and rides quite and nice, I'm OK with it. Once you lose that area of the third row in a flex for equipment, you basically have seating for five- six if you don't have that 2nd row console and you would gain 20" more wheelbase, a bit of width. MPG would be less with a truck but not too much. A used 2WD F150 like mine gets 13/21 actual rated 15/20 compared to 17/24 of the flex. A new model would be about the same as the Flex- a 2015. Add to that the multi-purposeness of a truck.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:25 AM   #78
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Fairy is truly dismayed by your Ford Flex Dilemma.



She's not a shoulda-woulda-coulda type, but if you do join the Dodge mini-van camp, she offered to take time off from her busy unicorn hauling schedule to fly out and dust it for you.



Just be sure to hide your hub-caps if you want to keep them...


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Old 12-22-2014, 11:45 AM   #79
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The standard model can haul up to 2000 lbs, the rest follows the car scheme as far as payload. The tow model can haul up to 4500 lbs with a class III and WD hitch -quite a difference. The tow package includes coolers, axles, etc. as I said, quite a different animal.
I'm curious where you found that because I believe the only differences between tow equipped and non tow equipped is a little engine oil cooler. The Flex already has a transmission cooler for all models, and the suspensions are supposed to be the same.

Either way, we went the truck route for the last ten years, and it was overkill for us. We travel lightly, there's only us and two little dogs, and we don't carry a lot of stuff (in the TV or the trailer).

Either way, the towing has nothing to do with the issues we have had so far, except for worrying that towing is going to hasten whatever that noise is in the transmission, the thing tows beautifully. And it has hardly had to do any towing, we've only had three weekend trips with it. It's mostly just used for driving around.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:46 AM   #80
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Hi Rod

I know there is a comfort level when you look under an F150 and see a frame. These days however that is very dated technology the real strength in any vehicle is the body structure. Of coarse in a pickup other than a Ridgeline there is no body structure so it has to use the old fashioned body on frame construction. 30 years ago when we were setting up Chev Caprices etc. for towing one of the things we would do is weld plates onto the rear rubber body mounts so they would not squash from the torsion bar pressure. The strength came from the body not the frame.

Another example is if you tow with a GM pickup you can feel the flex or whip in the truck frame, from the cab to the bumper there is no strength really you to pulling with a couple of diving boards. Drive a Suburban which is on the identical chassis and the flex goes away because of the body strength.

In our fleet at the moment are three vehicles with over 100,000 miles on them that have towed extensively two are unit body's a Chev Impala and a Dodge Charger the third is a 2500 2008 2WD dodge quad cab. The Impala and Charger are just about as tight and solid as they were when new the 2500 is full of rattles and has substantial chassis flex today.

One disadvantage of the chassis flex in a truck is that you would not get much added value from independent suspension. The reduction in unsprung weight would be helpful but the wider suspension stance would just result in more chassis twist.

There are lots of good reasons for many people to own a pick up but a frame is not one of them.

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Old 12-22-2014, 12:01 PM   #81
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Opinions vary on the relevance of that info and its accuracy over a larger vehicle sample. Jim
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:05 PM   #82
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Lets not get into the truck vs car argument. Towing is not the issue here, Ford quality (or lack thereof) is.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:24 PM   #83
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Here is a Flex towing since 2011. This one is the EchoBoost it towing the 34 Limited could out accelerate my Jag towing a 27 Flying Cloud.

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Old 12-22-2014, 06:32 PM   #84
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Stefr, thank you. Jim
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