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Old 02-08-2011, 05:56 AM   #15
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Pardon another thought. To make theirs a long wheelbase Ford welds a section of chassis to the back end to make it longer, making the distance from axel to hitch point nearly 6 feet. Not good. Chevy lengthens the entire chasis , keeping that important rear measurment much shorter than Ford.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:12 AM   #16
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...extended vans aren't quite as stable as the standard wheel base vans due to the large overhang beyond the rear axle.
The short overhang on a non-extended van is a HUGE advantage to towing - if you have a "longer" trailer don't attempt to tow with an extended van - way too much "tail wagging the dog".
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:09 PM   #17
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DanielB,
Not sure about the whole engine trans issue as I stated before have driven and towed with vans for hundreds of thousands of miles over 40 years. Never more problems with drive train than other vehicles I've had, as I recall 7 some had 70000 when bought from fleet lease. With regular not abnormal care they run to 200,000 to 240,000 miles . One engine at 160,000 oil problem , 700r4 rebuild at 90,000 back when they were first out and then driven to 236,000 no trouble. Current chevy express has 142,000.
Just for reference saw a 06? 08 express AWD passenger loaded full tint and some graphics listed at 13900.00. Was tempted to go look. AWD does drop max tow rateing.
Maintanence other than pulling an engine and full tune up no big deal, just some extra covers to remove

Brad
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:26 PM   #18
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Vans are great tow vehicles, if you stay within GCWR. EXCEPTION: 2 Mfrs, (one no longer in production) 15 passenger vans were lengthened by adding body behing the rear wheels instead of going to the proper trouble and expense of having 2 chassis configurations. Meaning one wheelbase with a LONG rear overhang. IMHO, these are not good tow vehicles and were the root of many rollover allegations a few years ago. Tail waggin' the dog running solo with a lot of weight in the back, let alone towing. Gave the whole van thing a bad image.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:31 PM   #19
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Wow.. the extended length thing is scary. Def. going to stay away from that.
So a 3/4 ton with like a 350 type or bigger engine, try to get a 4. whatever axle ratio if possible. Awesome.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:52 PM   #20
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We had a '94 Dodge B350 1 ton I got for cheap from the local vanpool surplus lot. That thing pulled like no tomorrow... 360 engine.. 3.9 gears. I loved it, but the wife and kids hated it. It was a passenger van with bench seats, standard length.

The wife hated it because the doghouse didn't let her extend her legs out... they always had to be off to the center. That van was LOUD... girls had to yell to be heard. It got HOT in the summer even with the dual AC while pulling.

When I got the Sequoia, it traded much comfort.. and really not that much pulling power... PLUS it gets better MPG... I could push the van off a cliff and it would still get 7 miles per gallon while towing.
Marc
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:54 PM   #21
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Ford E-150 Van

I also tow with a 1999 Ford E-150 van purchased new. I ordered the trailer towing package which gave me a 5.4 L engine and 3.55 rear end. The van works great for my 19' Bambi and I get about 12.5 to 13 mpg. I occasional tow my John Deere tractor with backhoe of about 6900 pound with no problem. The van has over 100 K miles with no problems. The only draw back not cited by other respondees is use of my Yamaha 3000SEI generator. I have to remove it from the van to operate. I did build a small winch that inserts into the hitch receiver that make the removal and replacement easy. I have not noticed any fuel odors inside the van. Otherwise, I think a van is a great option for trailer towing since I can access my junk and keep everythink dry. I don't like crawing up in a truck bed in the cold and rain looking for stuff.
Frank
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:01 PM   #22
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The generator is part of the deal. I have an old 2.7kw Onan that I removed from a 76 motorhome. The thing is a beast. I think it weighs like 170 lbs or something. I'll have to figure out a way to get it on and off.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:08 PM   #23
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Wow.. the extended length thing is scary. Def. going to stay away from that.
So a 3/4 ton with like a 350 type or bigger engine, try to get a 4. whatever axle ratio if possible. Awesome.
Extended, 15 passenger van is great....with one mfr. 2 mfrs didn't extend the wheelbase with their extended vans. One did. That one is a 155" wheelbase with the same rear overhang as the short vans. That one is a GREAT tow vehicle. Other 2...not so much.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:12 PM   #24
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Pardon another thought. To make theirs a long wheelbase Ford welds a section of chassis to the back end to make it longer, making the distance from axel to hitch point nearly 6 feet. Not good. Chevy lengthens the entire chasis , keeping that important rear measurment much shorter than Ford.
I think you'll find it to be well over 6 feet from hub to hitch ball. more like 6.5 - 7'
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:18 PM   #25
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Extended, 15 passenger van is great....with one mfr. 2 mfrs didn't extend the wheelbase with their extended vans. One did. That one is a 155" wheelbase with the same rear overhang as the short vans. That one is a GREAT tow vehicle. Other 2...not so much.
Got it now.. Thanks for clearing that up.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:43 PM   #26
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If I were buying a van for a tow vehicle, I would probably look for a one ton passenger van, so I could tow most any size Airstream and carry all my toys.

Dan
Be careful going to a one ton from 3/4. First the one tons are much harder riding which will translate to more shock back to the Airstream. Secondly, especially in the older vans, the some of the one ton chassis had lower tow rating due to the additional weight of the beefed up frame.

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Old 02-09-2011, 06:46 PM   #27
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Although at one time, it took a 1 ton van to get the full floating rear axle. Is this still the case?

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
Be careful going to a one ton from 3/4. First the one tons are much harder riding which will translate to more shock back to the Airstream. Secondly, especially in the older vans, the some of the one ton chassis had lower tow rating due to the additional weight of the beefed up frame.

Jack
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:48 PM   #28
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I towed with a 93 GM light 3/4 ton conversion van for years. It was not adequate for power because it only had 195 hp and 343 gearing.

Dan
Keep in mind that conversion vans are typically heavier that a same sized passenger van. Many of those deluxe interiors carry some pretty heavy materials.

Jack
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