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Old 12-04-2013, 09:01 PM   #29
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Thanks so much for this thread. TVs are the current topic of conversation related to our trailer.

Just got our AS and have been on 2 trips - current TV is a 1999 Ford E-250 conversion van. We have a 2007 Honda Odyssey Touring and are thinking about towing with it. Little afraid since so few use it as a TV. Given that we have 6 kids and will likely take 2-4 with us on most trips, we would prefer a vehicle with 5+ seats. We also have a 2001 Mercedes ML55 AMG and are exploring this as a TV. That said, we are also considering trading vehicles and getting a diesel truck.

We are trying to find as much information as we can about TVs, however it is limited. If anyone can point us in the right direction, we'd appreciate it. I found one AS Life article that seemed to be in a series of 8, however I never found the reference for the full series.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:04 PM   #30
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Andy, I must have been writing as you were posting! I think I'll PM you to get more information about the Odyssey as a TV.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:27 PM   #31
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Yeah, they did make a wagon until 2012. They are rare. I have been looking but not seen one on the lots yet. I seen them on the street this week. Two of them. I too am a wagon lover. I had two Country Squires and loved them both. I have a Suburban, which is a big wagon. I am anxious to drive the Hemi. If it is nice, I will set out on a search for a HEMI wagon!
Actually I think they dropped the Magnum wagon after the 2008 model year, so it was a 1st-gen LX platform car, a bit more primitive than the current Chrysler 300. I shopped it pretty hard when it came out, I really liked the exterior and REALLY hated the interior, both from an aesthetic point of view and for the fit-and-finish and materials. Finding one with the V8 and doing a custom interior might work for me. The V8s got a 5-speed auto, the 6s were all 4-speeds I think. If they'd offered is as a Chrysler with the nicer interior, I might've ended up with one.

I'm still driving the car I chose over the Magnum, a 2005 Subaru Legacy GT Limited wagon, turbo-4 with a 5-speed manual. I wouldn't tow more than a jetski with it, but it's a BLAST to drive and has been dead reliable.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:48 AM   #32
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Audi Q7 diesel. Wife's car, love it. 30 mpg highway. Seats 7
I drive the Expedition EL limited and love it too. Only 15.2 mpg average though. Seats 8
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #33
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GMC Acadia - $24K (40k miles). This is one size smaller than my Burb. V6 making 288 HP with a 6speed. Nice mid size SUV. Probably would not handle as well as some of the sedans, but I don't really know. A bit high. I feel like lower would be better.
As an owner of a Chevy Traverse, this is a very astute observation. When we towed our first trailer, a 30' SOB, we used a short wheelbase Yukon. It had sufficient power but I never really liked the high center of gravity...created a bouncy and unstable feeling even with a Hensley. We ended up with the Traverse, GM's largest cross-over SUV, for several reasons and although it's more stable than the old Yukon was, for maximum towing stability you really want a sedan, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. Still, we're pleased with our Traverse...got an 8-month old rental return AWD model with 20k miles for $26K, which is a good price in Canada.

As for why we chose the Traverse, read on....

When it came time to trade the Yukon all I knew is that I didn't want V8 truck as we had no need for such a vehicle and knew I'd be happier with a more comfortable passenger-friendly TV. That falls right out of the fact 90% of time the vehicle won't be used for towing, so we wanted something that best fits our needs most of the time, but can tow reasonably well.

4WD/AWD was also a priority for us. Although it's not needed often, when you do need it there's no substitute. AWD is essential when trying to manouver a 5000+ lb trailer on wet grass or in sand in the Provincial Parks we visit. Otherwise, if you're camping on asphalt all the time, FWD should be fine.

We considered the AWD Sienna, but were advised that the rear end may loosen after years of heavy towing. This was a concern as we used to tow a heavy Coleman popup with an older model 2000 Sienna and after a while the rear end did start to creak and groan under the load, which we took to mean the unibody structure was weakening. (I should point out the hitch was a simple Class III, not a "Can-Am special"). This created an uncomfortable feeling when towing.

One reason we went with the Traverse is the manufacturers higher published tow capacity (5200 lbs) as opposed to most minivans (3500 lbs) and the fact that its unibody has been specifically constructed be very strong. This appealed to me because although our current 25SS Safari weights in about 5000 lbs empty, nearly 6000 lbs loaded, and we have been considering moving up to heavier 27FB.

We also briefly considered a Jeep Grand Cherokee and Touareg diesels but they're very expensive to buy new and are rare as hens teeth to find used here in Canada. Their servicing costs are also high.

Anyway, we ended up with the Traverse which didn't cost a fortune and after Can-AM set it up, tows like a champ. If you're interested in all the gory details of the setup, here you go...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rse-91344.html

Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:23 PM   #34
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Whew! Busy day road testing cars. First, I drove a 2010 Cadillac DTS base model with V8. Great luxury ride, but totally wrong for towing. Too soft, too cushy, to much give. It only had 235/60/17 tires and I could wiggle the back end around with one hand. I ruled it out.

Then came a 2008 Cadillac CTS with V6DI and 305HP. Totally different car. This one was on rails. Very stiff and precise tuning with loads of power. Could not budge the car off it's tires by pushing on it. It had 235/50/18 tires - much better. The car is however a little smaller inside. Feels cramped. I am keeping this one on the list, but I'd like to find a newer one.

Then the big surprise. I had been looking for a Chrysler 300 Hemi and just couldn't find one. I did find a base 300 with the Pentastar V6 with 304HP. WOW! This is a 10" longer WB than the two Caddys and it sits low to the ground. Very stiffly tuned and precise handling with oodles of power. And, it has a genuine back seat that people could sit in. Lots of nice goodies, even in this base model. However, it only had 17" tires, where the premium version would have 20s. This car feels right. It has an 8 speed trans which shifts smooth and crisp. THis has risen to the top of my list, but I want to find the lux version to compare to this base version. I can almost imagine the Flying Cloud tucked in behind this brute.

I am moving all the SUVs to the bottom of the list. The Acadia and the Edge will not match this Chrysler in handling. No way. The only question I know have is how Andy got a Class IV hitch on the Chrysler!
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:34 PM   #35
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The 300 is a great car - too small for us, but when I had it as a rental I loved it. On the highway, it really sips fuel and is still fast and responsive. I saw Andy's hitched to a bunkhouse last time I was in London, it's a great looking rig. I bet it's stable as stable can be.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:43 PM   #36
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Also, the 300 was spinning just 1500 RPM @ 77 MPH on the highway! I found a Limited close by to look at tomorrow. If anyone has one with Andy's hitch a photo of his hitch would be cool to see.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:31 AM   #37
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Just email him. I am sure he'd be more than happy to oblige.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:15 AM   #38
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[*]Low center of gravity
At this time we towed with the Nissan Van and was considering a Lincoln LS with a V6, 5 speed manual. Mr. T commented that they checked the LS out and new they could put a hitch on them. Found one and decided to buy it. By the time I had gone back to firm up a deal the car had been sold.

By chance we had parked by an LS and a pick up and got this shot. Shows the physical differences.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:18 AM   #39
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Arrow Guess we're in the minority....

My ''fantasy" tow vehicle is in the garage.

Point being it's primary job is towing, Airstream or Allison.
Dual use was not a purchase criteria, although it does travel without a toad at times it remains a tow'r in form & function........for us.

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Old 12-06-2013, 06:30 AM   #40
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I thought this might help here. This is the article I wrote for RV Lifestyle Magazine on the new 300S we have.

When Chrysler introduced the 300 Sedan in January 2004 during the press preview day at the Detroit Auto Show I was pretty excited about the car. With 120” of wheel base and a fairly short rear overhang, 4 wheel independent suspension and a Hemi Motor I felt it was sure to be a great tow vehicle.

They were also introducing the Dodge Magnum at the time on the same chassis and they were promoting a 3,800 pound tow rating. One thing I needed to know was the axle and transmission gear ratios, I kept asking people until I wound up speaking with the head engineer of the platform. Once I found out the gear ratios I asked the engineer if they thought about giving the car a higher rating as with its stance, and suspension with that engine it would be easily capable of handling many 6000 pound trailers and that Chrysler would have a niche vehicle as there are people that would like to tow with a car they just don’t know they can. He said “well if they put more than 700 pounds on a ball on the back they will overload the back tires”. I responded “but you would not do that you would use a weight distribution system and only put 300 pounds on the back tires. He said “I don’t know that they are going to do that”. Still trying I said “you rate the Jeep and Durango to tow 7-8000 and you would overload those tires without weight distribution”. He said “look there is not enough profit in a car like this to take a gamble on a tow rating”. I asked “have you towed anything with it?” He said “No”.

I did not win that discussion and knowing what I know about the towing dynamics of some trailers (especially non RV trailers) and how poor some hitch set ups are I guess I can’t blame Chrysler for being careful. It was a good insight into what determines a tow rating. We had one of the first 300’s with the 390 HP Hemi Motor in Ontario and ran the car for 4 years. In 2008 we bought a used 2007 Dodge Charger with the 3.5 Litre V/6 & 5 speed transmission we still have it today and it has 150,000 kilometers with a large amount of that spent towing. We have also set up about 100 for customers to tow a variety of trailers so we are very familiar with the platform. Last year Chrysler replaced the 3.5 litre with their fabulous new 3.6 Litre motor mated to an 8 Speed ZF transmission which is used in a huge variety of vehicles from the Ram 1500 Pick-ups, VW Touareg even the Rolls Royce Phantom.

The 3.6 produces 300 HP and 264 pounds of torque, and because it has variable valve timing it produces a lot of power over a wide RPM range, combined with the 8 speed transmission you always have the perfect gear for the job at hand. This summer we connected the 300 to a 30’ Airstream and took a trip to Washington DC and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The picturesque drive south out of Buffalo through Altoona Pennsylvania to Washington has quite a few medium length steep hills and a combination of 2 and 4 lane highways. For the trip home we crossed the spectacular Chesapeake Bay Bridge and then drove north through Philadelphia and along Interstates 476 and 81 which has a surprising number of long steep grades as you climb through the Allegany Mountains. On the steepest Interstate grades the 300 would climb at 100 KPH in 4th gear at 3200 RPM on one of the steep grades on the two lane section it climbed in 3rd gear at 4000 RPM still at 95 KPH. This is a hill that 30 years ago you would have been climbing in first gear at 50 KPH. Though not the same abundance of power as the Hemi I never felt wanting for more, the engine and 8 speed gave it great performance with finesse instead of cubic inches. 0-60 with the 30’ Airstream loaded for travel is a very respectable 20.2 Seconds.
Where this car really shines is the economy all the time that you are not towing the trailer. During the 3 days we drove around Washington DC which is combination of city and highway it averaged 25.9 U.S. Gallon or 9.0 L/100. Running 100 KPH solo along the highway in Cape Hatteras which is perfectly level on a windless night it was sitting on 6.8 L/100 over 40 MPG imperial gallon. Towing we averaged 13.3 miles to the US gallon or 16 Miles to the old imperial gallon 17.7 L/100Km which is outstanding considering all the hills and two lane road we covered. Friends we were traveling with have an R Class Mercedes diesel and we were within a gallon on each fill up. The Mercedes has All Wheel Drive and they have a 34’ Airstream so it is not a direct comparison but it was still surprisingly close. Our other friends with a 5.3 Suburban and a 34' narrow body were generally about 40% more fuel which is to be expected.

So what is it like to tow with an 8 speed, like a lot of newer vehicles I did find this one worked better if you shifted it manually, this is no great chore thanks to the paddle shifters. Shifted manually this transmission pretty much acts as a manual the torque convertor stays locked and you can put it to the floor and it will not shift down. You can leave it in automatic mode but every time you slow a little for traffic or go down a bit of an incline it shifts all the way up to 8th gear and then all the back down to 5th where it tows most of the time. Once on the highway I would just click into manual and let it run in 5th gear except when climbing. With a tail wind it tows in 6th gear though it did not appear to be any more economical the 5th. One of the best things about this car is the excellent vehicle information system. There are digital readouts for the engine coolant, oil temperature and oil pressure, transmission temperature and even engine hours. The transmission temperature is amazingly consistent always running between 190 and 206 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest I saw it was after backing up a steep hill into a campsite with a lot of stops and starts and it got to 212 degrees.

One nice feature on the 300 is the availability of all wheel drive for about $2,200.00 additional cost. This adds a couple of inches of ride height and ground clearance. It also changes the rear axle or final drive ratio from 2.65:1 to 3.07:1 which would improve performance especially if towing a trailer not as aerodynamic as the Airstream. Transport Canada changes the highway fuel economy on the AWD to 7.3 L/100 as opposed to 6.3 for the rear wheel drive.

There are several models of 300 available some have the Touring suspension which is the option you want to have. Even though it is called the touring package it is still fairly soft, the ride is very comfortable though the handling is not quite as dialed in as say the Taurus SHO it still handled the 30’ Airstream easily even in heavy cross winds. It could use a little taller rear spring we will add air shocks or go to the rear springs from the All-Wheel Drive. The steering feel is considerably more direct than the original 300 or our 07 Charger. The bucket seats are among the most comfortable I have taken a long drive in and that has not changed from the 05 300.

The only thing about the car I don’t care for is the gear shift lever; it does not have a position for each gear it just springs back and forth a little. A few times I thought I was in part but was in reverse and other times I thought I was in drive it turned out I had found Neutral. Maybe they asked a bunch of video game playing 20 year olds how they liked it and got a positive review. It is not the end of the world just a little annoying.

So the 300 gives you a good looking, safe, comfortable and quiet tow vehicle with excellent fuel economy for a pretty reasonable price. Amazing what modern technology can do, we will have this one around for a while, if you are in our area stop in and take it for a spin.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:34 AM   #41
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Can 20 inch tires be had with enough load rating? Jim
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:43 AM   #42
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The 245/45 20's have around 600 pounds per axle of excess capacity also since they are a high speed tire they dissipate heat well and run nice a cool at towing speeds. Our Charger which has extensive towing, and you don't want to know what it has been asked to do over the years has the same size.
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