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Old 04-18-2016, 06:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
After three seasons towing with our Honda Odyssey, it was time for a new vehicle. The Honda went to a new home, and we started researching our next vehicle.

We ended up settling on the Dodge Durango. Six to seven seats (we've got six), 4WD, based on the same platform the Mercedes GL class and the Jeep GC are using, fully independent suspension and an 8 gear transmission, we were confident this would be a great family vehicle.

After checking in with Andy from CanAm, he highly recommended both the six and the eight cylinder versions, we started looking. Soon after, we found an excellent deal on a R/T model with the HEMI engine, a lease buyout of a 2014 model.

Last Friday, I drove up to London to have the factory hitch strengthened, a brake controller installed and to pick up our trailer from winter storage. The way back to our storage facility was about 200 km (120 miles) in sunny, slightly windy conditions.

To those familiar with the area, I avoided the 401 and 403 and took rural Highway 2 instead to put the rig through its paces on winding roads and rolling hills.

The Durango handles the trailer with power and authority. It is slightly less communicative than the Honda had been and has access to considerably more torque, nice on hills and traffic lights. While cruising at 55mph, the big 8 cylinder engine was ticking along at 2000 rpm, in 6th gear - out of eight available. The Honda would also cruise at 2200 rpm, in fifth gear - out of six available. Fuel efficiency was somewhat worse than the Honda would deliver, but by a surprisingly small margin.

With the Hensley Hitch and the fresh water tank full, the rig handled beautifully, up and down hills, across railway crossings. The only time I took it very slowly was down a very steep slope with a tight turn at the bottom - nasty at the best of times and not somewhere you want to get caught cold with a trailer.

Conclusion? I very much enjoyed the rig. The extra power is nice, over my old vehicle, but the stability is about the same. If you're looking at a GL, a Jeep or a Durango, I recommend them.





I would strongly recommend that you drive/tow at between 2300-2700 RPM, with 2500 being the optimal. Reason?
1)The engine needs to'swing' a little without lugging; just like you would jog easily on your own, as compared to pulling a heavy wagon.
2) All the ancilliary services need speed to operate efficiently; water pump, AC generator, power steering, air conditioner etc. too slow will cause expensive problems.
3) Use the shifter manually to achieve the above. It allows you to use those efficient revs. Forget those absolutely useless many speed transmissions; they are a sales gimmick that will 'bite'you in the future.
(My Ford F-150 Ecoboost: Max torque at 2500, most efficient speed to use. I use the little buttons on the shifter to select the proper speed range.)

My vehicles last a very long time. I'm a retired aircraft "mechanic",(AME) 75 years young, been driving for over 55+ years, and learned a lot about keeping my vehicles in top shape.

"Look after your equipment, it will look after you"!
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:16 PM   #16
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Talking Mr. Thinks He's A Funny Man

You're going to die or something, yada yada yada tow vehicle size, bla bla bla, I'm a legal expert.






But honestly in all seriousness, nice new setup.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:27 PM   #17
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This isn't an official assessment, but man that looks bad-a$$. 😀

Didn't they do a Magnum wagon or something like that 5-10 years ago? I always thought a station wagon like that would be a great TV. The Durango looks like a short station wagon to me.

What's the weight and tongue of your 34?

Happy camping!
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:36 PM   #18
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Dodge Durango

In December we purchased a 2015 Durango R/T with the V8 Hemi to pull our 2003 25' Bambi SS.............what a pleasant surprise........love the paddles to downshift, never any hesitation on hills, ride and vision great, came equipped with the full tow package.
RW
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Old 04-18-2016, 09:43 PM   #19
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What's the weight and tongue of your 34?
Around 7500lbs ready to camp, with tongue weight around 10%. It's a very light trailer, considering its size.
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Old 04-18-2016, 09:59 PM   #20
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Our Ram 1500 Hemi 6-speed loved 2100 rpm highway towing, very seldom needing to shift down for the usual hills along the way, and we used manual selection to keep to there.

Now that we have the 8-speed it finds it's own gear, very little change in rpm between gears so you hardly feel it's smooth transition. The 8-speed is also an improvement in downhill engine braking for the same reasons.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:03 PM   #21
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Our Ram 1500 Hemi 6-speed loved 2100 rpm highway towing, very seldom needing to shift down for the usual hills along the way, and we used manual selection to keep to there.

Now that we have the 8-speed it finds it's own gear, very little change in rpm between gears so you hardly feel it's smooth transition. The 8-speed is also an improvement in downhill engine braking for the same reasons.
Absolutely. I am loving the new transmission. Without a trailer in tow, at highway speeds the engine almost idles at 1500rpm in 8th gear.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:15 PM   #22
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Around 7500lbs ready to camp, with tongue weight around 10%. It's a very light trailer, considering its size.

Indeed. My 27 is about 6K ready to camp but just over 1000# tongue (it's a FB and I use a ProPride).
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:16 AM   #23
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Hey Neil

Sorry to hear that the Merc didn't work out. We actually, briefly, looked at vans as well, but they don't fit our garage, or even the alleyway leading to our garage. I'd be interested to learn how it performs, I know the MaliMish crew loved theirs.

I'll pm you our camping plans for the summer, maybe we'll bump into each other. We're planning on being out a fair bit, but we also just bought this beauty, s/v Fearless, on Saturday, so there's a bit of competition for time now.

She's a 1967 Jenson Marine California 30 in close to mint condition. I'll have her brought to her new home on the Toronto Islands for late April, early May. Year one, with the kids still being very young, she'll be more of a weekend cottage than anything else, but next year I am hoping to take her cruising.


Hey Andreas,
You may wish to try Fifty Point. Camping plus a Harbour.
We camp there often due to proximity. Will fish from there this year as well since they also have a boat launch and boat storage. Jim
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Old 04-23-2016, 01:10 PM   #24
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Hey Andreas,
You may wish to try Fifty Point. Camping plus a Harbour.
We camp there often due to proximity. Will fish from there this year as well since they also have a boat launch and boat storage. Jim
You're the second person recommending Fifty Points to me - our AS is stored less than 30 minutes away, so this would make for a quick getaway. Can you hear the noise from the QEW, or is it quiet. I checked on google maps and part of the park seems to be quite exposed and open.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:17 PM   #25
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We are here now and can't hear a thing. Very quiet. The QEW is not within ear shot. We walked around the Harbour earlier. Some boats in. Most still in their cradles. A few people on the beach. They have a stocked trout pond and there were several families fishing earlier in the day. We could see downtown Toronto tonight, way off on the horizon. Jim
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:32 PM   #26
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We are here now and can't hear a thing. Very quiet. The QEW is not within ear shot. We walked around the Harbour earlier. Some boats in. Most still in their cradles. A few people on the beach. They have a stocked trout pond and there were several families fishing earlier in the day. We could see downtown Toronto tonight, way off on the horizon. Jim
Thanks Jim. Will give this a shot, sounds amazing. Maybe we'll take the boat across
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