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Old 02-12-2014, 06:40 AM   #379
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Smaller tow vehicle quest

WOW this has been fun.. I looked at the trail blazer as well. never got in one to drive so not sure what they were made of or felt like.

I like the fact that most GM's have standard Daytime Running Lights on them. I know my 97 Astro cargo van has DRL and it has prevented dip $hits from pulling out in front of me more time than i can remember now after 4 yrs of having it on the road.

I will be following this thread and hope to hear back from the TrailBlazer owner as they get the TV set up and in use and we get a good first hand account of the good, bad and ugly of the deal.

thanks to all the posters it was fun.. and enlightening.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:02 AM   #380
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Daytime running lights can be annoying to others if you are trying to hook up in the dark to leave a campground. Your lights shine into other rvs. All you have to do is turn your headlights on if you do not have daytime running lights. Jim
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:13 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by zigzagguzzi View Post
Daytime running lights can be annoying to others if you are trying to hook up in the dark to leave a campground. Your lights shine into other rvs. All you have to do is turn your headlights on if you do not have daytime running lights. Jim
Just push your parking brake pedal part way down & they shut off.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:14 AM   #382
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My 51 MPG tow vehicle

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Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
I have heard all about the VW Diesel tow vehicles, and other smaller ones.

How about showing your set up with one of these smaller rides?


I am looking into replacing my V10 Excursion with something drastically smaller. My Overlander is about 4500 lbs.

If I could do it with a VW diesel I would be very pleased. Its the non-towing daily around town driving of the EXC that is killing us.
I'm late getting in on this one. Pictured is our 2001 VW Golf TDI. It is my wife's daily driver. It has gotten a best of 51.4 MPG, but only about 47.2 for daily commutes. I've installed Euro spec larger injectors and a Rocketchip Stage 2 Plus tune on it. We recently bought a '69 Apache Eagle camper in Alabama. I checked mileage going over to pick it up, got 48.7 MPG. Filled up before towing the camper home and got 45.5 MPG towing the Apache. The Apache weighs 450 lbs, no wind drag, sleeps 4 adults and can sleep an additional 2 children. After I redo it and fit it with A/C, we hope to use it for some particularly longer trips...Key West, New England in the Fall, camping on coast of Maine. We have three TDI's (but plan to sell one of them)...any of which can be set up to tow easily. The most roomy is our 1996 Passat TDI, that gets 51 MPG on the daily commute. I just haven't found a Craigslist priced hitch for it yet.

Thanks, G
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:30 AM   #383
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My sprinter and Chevy pickups had no way to turn off the daylight lights. Canada is different on some of these issues. Jim
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:01 AM   #384
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More thoughts on tow vehicles/daily drivers

I've been driving VW TDI's since 2006 and they have served me well. So well, that I'll be driving some sort of VW TDI from now on. There simply isn't another car that can give you this kind of return for your money....hybrid or otherwise. Looking at "real world" hybrid mileage, the initial outlay cost, then the cost of battery replacement that will fall out of warranty and anyone can understand the math. I've put a combined 248,000 miles on the three of them. (the most recent, a 1996, only 7,000 miles, purchased only for more legroom for my carpoolers). The last time I calculated fuel savings, even considering the higher diesel cost, YOU SAVE approximately $1354.00 every 10,000 miles you drive compared to a vehicle that gets 15 MPG on gas. That's 135.00 savings for every 1,000 miles driven, $13.50 saved for every 100 miles driven. My 74 mile commute costs me $5.18 per day. Using the nearly 250K driven, the bottom line is that we have saved 25 x 1354.00=$33,850 compared to a 15 MPG vehicle. I've modified and chipped our TDI's, they put out more than 100 ft lbs of torque more than stock, have Koni shocks/struts, Eibach springs, Audi TT control arm bushings and are fun to drive. I test drove a 2011 BMW recently that didn't feel much different than my Jetta. We're saving on the vehicles that we drive 99% of the time...so whenever I tow our '67 Caravel or when we used to go somewhere in our B190 Airstream, I never worried about fuel mileage...although they both got good for what they were. With the $33,850 saved....you could easily justify either "keeping" your existing tow vehicle or buying an older low mileage Suburban. Lucius and Danielle have one of the nicest tow vehicles I've ever seen...it is a slightly older, low mileage, 3/4 ton Suburban...I don't recall but I would guess around a 2000. They strictly use it for a tow vehicle and store with camper when not using. In my opinion, this is how a tow vehicle should be used. It doesn't matter what year theirs is, there are a lot of older, low mileage Suburbans out there. They are easy to service on the road, reliable and cheap to insure.

More on our other tow vehicle in another post.

Thanks, G
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:04 AM   #385
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Daytime running lights

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Originally Posted by zigzagguzzi View Post
My sprinter and Chevy pickups had no way to turn off the daylight lights. Canada is different on some of these issues. Jim
Most Chevy's will disable by one click of the parking brake. The Sprinter will likely have a relay you can pull. Just Google "how to disable daytime running light on my Sprinter"

Be sure to put the search string in quotes.

Thanks, G
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:07 AM   #386
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G you just have way too many vehicles...LOL

Yes I wanted something smaller that could tow my Overlander, but in my allocated cash price range there just wasn't much, unless I went for the Chevy Impala idea AndrewT suggested. I simply can't use a sedan. I carry a Marshall amp and other music gear and sticking it in the trunk is not an option.
I am happy at this point with my choice, but it remains to be seen what kind of mileage I will get towing the AS. I am looking at a trans cooler and maybe rear air bags ..just want to try one trip first to see how it does for us. I am 3000 lobs lighter and with a way smaller profile. I reiterate that the EXC was one of the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned and I have owned a lot of them.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:12 AM   #387
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Most Chevy's will disable by one click of the parking brake. The Sprinter will likely have a relay you can pull. Just Google "how to disable daytime running light on my Sprinter"

Be sure to put the search string in quotes.

Thanks, G
There's also a switch on the dash for that.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:36 AM   #388
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Not on the vehicle I owned. Jim
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:53 AM   #389
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Why can't we get back on track?
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:04 AM   #390
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G you just have way too many vehicles...LOL

Yes I wanted something smaller that could tow my Overlander, but in my allocated cash price range there just wasn't much, unless I went for the Chevy Impala idea AndrewT suggested. I simply can't use a sedan. I carry a Marshall amp and other music gear and sticking it in the trunk is not an option.
I am happy at this point with my choice, but it remains to be seen what kind of mileage I will get towing the AS. I am looking at a trans cooler and maybe rear air bags ..just want to try one trip first to see how it does for us. I am 3000 lobs lighter and with a way smaller profile. I reiterate that the EXC was one of the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned and I have owned a lot of them.
Alan, I have a friend with a Trailblazer that has nearly 200K on it, bought it new, ate dinner with them recently, they advised it is still running great. I'm sure it will serve you well. The few people I've known with Excursions thought highly of them as well.

I understand what you mean about having to have something with room and versatility...sadly I'll be selling my TDI Jetta soon because it is a sedan. Our Golf is basically the same car but has the hatchback and fold down seats. I've carried things in there that you wouldn't believe.

G
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:14 AM   #391
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Happy your search is over. I find it a bit ironic though, that a thread on finding a "small" tow vehicle concluded by finding 4600# curb weight SUV.
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It's all relative, he had an Excursion.
.... our last change was from a 4,200lb curb weight vehicle to one of 3,300lbs.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:26 AM   #392
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found this on the GMT forum.. its 4500lbs minimum...
there is a guy on there who tows a 7500 lb camper..a bit over I would say
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