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Old 09-16-2016, 11:39 AM   #1
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Consider a Van as a Tow Vehicle

Would like to start a discussion on the possibility of Vans as tow vehicles. Would like to consider all makes, models and looks.

Would like to use this as an educational thread for us, for forum members who are considering a van, for people who have already used a van or maybe currently towing with a van.

In our case we would tow a 62 Ambassador and a 61 Globetrotter. We would occasionally go off road as in forest roads, not off road as in 4 wheeling. Would use it for hauling "stuff" or maybe outfit it for an ocassionall overnight. A lottery daydream would be a Airstream Grand Tour pulling a Airstream but that will never be in our budget. But we have to eventually replace our Chevy 1500 250,000. mile pick up and we would like a van to be part of the options.

Would like to learn more about unibody, long wheel base versus short, cargo loads, V8 -V10, transmission coolers etc.

Yes we have read the very educational ExploreMore and the various E350 and new Nissan threads. Just didn't want to hijack their threads to much.

Thanks for participating.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:06 PM   #2
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I should probably stay away from this thread.

Because I switched to vans from pickup trucks before I bought a trailer. I needed it for work, because I needed to keep my cargo warm, I can get around easier in the back of my van than I could in the back of my pickup, and I liked vans for camping.

I like the van for towing because I have tons of room to store gear without loading up my trailer. I also use the van as a spare room for the kids and I still use the van for quick, down and dirty camping or for when I camp way off the road on rougher terrain.

Not sure but I think my van has a longer wheel base than my short bed pickup had. (also the longer Pickups seemed like they might be harder to park in the city)
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:29 PM   #3
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Thanks Mandolin appreciate the input from a Chevy Van driver.
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:17 PM   #4
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This is just completely left field........If I were to consider towing a vintage trailer with a van I would look at the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 or even the new Ford Transit (especially if they make an AWD version).

I would have the van customized to have a full bathroom with shower in the back, with a day bed up top. This way I don't need a bathroom in the trailer which reduces weight and gray/black tank overload (especially on vintage trailers). You could keep a porta-potti in the trailer for night use but think of all the extra space taking out a bathroom gives you in a vintage trailer.

The other up side having a bathroom in the back of the van is it travels with you even if the trailer doesn't, also giving you access to the head while moving for your passengers (if you need to use the head, just put the van in cruise).

Like I said, left field; but I'm known for thinking outside the box.

Cheers
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:34 PM   #5
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Isuzu, love that train of thought not to out of the box at all.

Those are some of the things were thinking about. Nice ideas.

Probably want to keep a toidy bowl in the trailer too so we don't to leave the trailer, especially at night.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:30 PM   #6
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If I could own only one vehicle it would be a van! I never take the shell off my pickup like I thought I would anyway because it's eaisier to hook up the utility trailer than wrestle with the shell. The GM brand long wheelbase vans have the rear axle farther back than Ford or Dodge so I would lean towards a Chevy or GMC and avoid an extended body van. The closer the ball to the rear axle the better! A van with a locking differential makes a very good camping vehicle by itself, and would be my preferred TV by a long shot. I don't know why you don't see more people towing with a van.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:33 PM   #7
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Ijustlee thank you for your input.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:22 PM   #8
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I tow a 1989 Avion 30TP with a 2008 3500 GMC Savanna van with a 6.0l engine. I used to tow with a Ford Excursion with a V10. The van has the advantage of being able to put my bikes inside and just about anything else. It's a twelve passenger van and we take the back seats and the first row of seats out. So we are still able to seat 5. The vans been a good tow vehicle with the exception of the brakes. When they heat up going down hill I get a lot of shaking in the front end. Hopefully I'll find a solution to the problem. It has no braking problems on flat ground so I'm just very careful when driving in the hills. It gets better gas mileage then the Excursion (9 mpg towing, 11 to 12 not towing). We normally get about 10 to 11 towing (55 to 60mph) and 14 to 16 not towing. The van also has a great ride weather towing or not towing.

Mike
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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I am now towing my 25' EB with 2016 3.2 L diesel Ford Transit van. I traded in my f-250 6.5L diesel truck for the van. It was not by choice but for necessity. My wife became very ill and it required a vehicle that was wheelchair accessible. I also needed a van that could pull our trailer since I knew this would be our home away from home while staying at various health facilities.
I really liked our truck and was very concerned about replacing it with the van and using it as our day to day plus tow vehicle. I must say I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the van operates in both capacities. Granted I do not have the power that I had with the truck but so far it seems to be more than adequate plus the handling and the ride seems just as good. What I am really pleased and surprised about is the better mileage and the greater versatility the van gives me.
Unfortunately I lost my beloved wife recently. I could if I wanted to get another truck but I like the van so much I don't think I will. In fact now that there is just me I think I will sell my EB and buy the new basecamp. We bought the EB to haul our kayaks, bikes and other type of outdoor gear. With the van I can do this as well as make into a separate traveling bedroom if need be. Oh one other thing I have gotten with the van is lot of attention. More people approach me about the van now than the trailer.


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Old 09-17-2016, 03:48 PM   #10
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@Harpo

Many prayers for your loss.

I hope your Airstreaming days together brought her much joy and am very glad you're considering continuing them. I wish you the very best.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:01 PM   #11
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Thank you for the condolences. Our camping days together are some of the most cherished times I have and will always have. To go it alone seems formidable but getting into nature through travel and adventure again I believe will only help with the tremendous loss I feel.


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Old 09-17-2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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Ford E150 Van

We love the E150...for the same reason...plenty of room for our bikes & other cargo. 8-cylinder 5.4L with tow package. Towing a 20-foot Bambi with ease.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:11 PM   #13
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Picture with van

Sorry...previous photo didn't show the van...here's one.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:28 PM   #14
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We tow our 34' with a GMC 3500 equipped with a Duramax 6.6l diesel. The van lacks refinement but has the towing and passenger capacities we want. I do wish there was an awd version without an expensive after market conversion.

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