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Old 02-01-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Towing with full Size Ram Van

Does anyone tow with a full size ram conversion van? Either a 1500 or 2500? I need to get a new tow vehicle and noticed the towing capacity of these are pretty substantial! I have a big family and need either a big SUV or van to haul everything.


Please advise!!


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Old 02-01-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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nd48463,
A friend of ours tows a new 34' Classic with a 3/4 ton Ford van and loves it. He says it tows great. Plus an added benefit, in Pennsylvania at least, it is registered as a station wagon and as a result is not subject to the exorbitant annual registration fess that my 3/4 ton pick is.

I think a 3/4 ton van would be the ticket if you need people carrying capacity.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Hi,

We have a ram van and towed with a chevy conversion van, both 3/4 ton models. The weight added during the conversion process takes away from the towing capacity. So, a regular window van would be better.

Marie
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:31 AM   #4
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I tow both our '74 31' sov and our '56 26' overlander with full size chevy van 1500 ( 5.3L 3:73HD). we have more than enough room for the 5 of us plus 2 dogs and all our gear. The van does an awesome job and gets excellent fuel economy (13 - 16 mpg depending on terrain).
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
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Hi, I have a '94 full size 1 ton Dodge 12 passenger van B350. It's a non-stretch model... which has the SHORT overhang. 5.9L engine. I added limited slip to it for snow travel.

I will say it will tow about anything with the OD off. It get awful gas mileage though. I'm lucky to get 15 mgg if I drive around 60 mpg. Otherwise, it gets about 10-12 mpg. On the flats, you really have to watch the speed. It's like a big steamship.... it just goes straight real well... and you find you could do 80 mph if you're not careful (not towing of course!). I put slightly wider tires with aluminum rims on... 255/70/16. Makes it feel very secure. The orginal skinny tires felt tippy.

Towing, I get 7-8 mpg (a 25ft Argosy). I tow around 65 mph which is a real sweet spot in revs. It climbs like crazy, and anything steep, I just drop to second, and it will stay at 50 mph until the hill flattens out.

I'd stay away from a heavy conversion van though... most are built on 1/2 ton chassis anyway. You can tell the 1 ton vans because they have 8 bolt wheels, and the wheel diameter is 16" (vs. 15" for the 3/4 and 1/2 ton). Bigger brakes too.

I'm looking for something else now that we don't have to haul around such a big Girlscout troupe... if you were closer, I'd offer mine up.

I found ours at the local vanpool center (they sell them off after awhile).
Marc
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I'd stay away from a heavy conversion van though... most are built on 1/2 ton chassis anyway. You can tell the 1 ton vans because they have 8 bolt wheels, and the wheel diameter is 16" (vs. 15" for the 3/4 and 1/2 ton). Bigger brakes too.
Newer Chevy 2500 vans have 6 lug wheels, and heavier duty than the 1500.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #7
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Be careful, the older models going back into early 90s and the first ram models came with a 318 and rear ends, not the best for heavier towing. The 318 however is a great engine.

Usually these were work horses and used and abused. I think the last year of production was within the last 5 years. Look for the 5.9 and good luck.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd48463 View Post
Does anyone tow with a full size ram conversion van? Either a 1500 or 2500? I need to get a new tow vehicle and noticed the towing capacity of these are pretty substantial! I have a big family and need either a big SUV or van to haul everything.
I currently tow the '78 31' Sovereign with a '95 Dodge 2500 full blown high top conversion van.

It does an "adequate" job.

It has the 360 with a 3.73 rear end. It is also a "shorty". I would not recommend attempting to tow with a stretched version. The short rear overhang makes a HUGE difference in towing ability. (I have had a dodge stretch conversion van in the past.)

I also have towed the Sovereign with an E-150 high top conversion, 351, 3.73 rear end. Stay away from a Ford 1/2 ton van for towing - totally squirrelly. I used a Reese Dual Cam to tow with both of the vans.

I am pretty anal about documenting every gallon of gas going into these two vehicles – the Ford gets 15 to 16 mpg, and the Dodge gets 12 to 14 under comparable conditions. The towing mileage for the Dodge is 8 to 10, depending of the speed.

I have to say that the Ford rides as good as any luxury car I have ever ridden in. The Ford is currently my daily driver. The Dodge is a rough ride – maybe the difference in suspensions (the Ford has front coils) is what makes the difference.

I DID blow the tranny in the Dodge at about 90,000 miles – I purchased the Dodge with 35,000 miles on it. Almost all of the miles I put on it were towing some sort of trailer – after Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 I made a round trip from Houston to New Orleans almost every weekend for about a year and a half. I was pulling a dual axle 18’ trailer about 60% of the time, a single axle 12’ trailer about 30% of the time, and no trailer the other 10%.

Since finishing the redo of the New Orleans house I have used the Dodge almost exclusively to tow the Sovereign. Two trips to Orlando and many trips to TAHI and other East Texas camping I have been satisfied with the Dodge (besides the tranny, the only other thing I have done was to replace the fan clultch).

Now, having said that, the Ford will be sold in a week or so (it has 160,000 miles on it), but I would drive it to either New York or Seattle right now – the only reason I am getting rid of it is that I fell into a 2005 V-10 Excursion with 35,000 miles on it. The Dodge will become my daily driver and the Excursion will be used exclusively as a tow vehicle.

I was really searching for an E-350 V-10 to use as a tow vehicle, but the Excursion was a “deal that I could not refuse”.

I did a LOT of thinking and soul searching prior to the “decision” to go with a gasser (V-10) E-350 as a tow vehicle – and will defend that decision.

As far as Diesel vs gasoline models – almost everyone I know who has over 100,000 miles on the 6.0 or 6.4 Ford Diesel has had multiple major problems – this entails about 25 trucks total. It seems as if these engines are either relatively trouble free or are subject to all sorts of electrical, injector, and oil/water leaks, and turbo failures. Most individuals have had the major repairs made under warranty, but those without warranty are left out to drain their wallets by Ford.

Most everyone agrees that the Ford V-10 is relatively bullet proof, and, given the current disparity between the cost of Diesel and Gasoline (thank you, all of you tree huggers) the op cost should be much cheaper on the gas version.

One thing I did learn while researching the difference between the gas and diesel engine is that the turbo only needs about two minutes of spool down time to cool sufficiently after a hard pull – please, if you go the diesel route, turn the damn thing OFF when you put it in park – I DO NOT enjoy listening to or smelling a diesel in a parking lot just idling because the owner thinks it is “cool” to leave it running.

Good luck in your decision, PM me is you have any specific questions.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Newer Chevy 2500 vans have 6 lug wheels, and heavier duty than the 1500.
Mine is a 2006 and it has 6 lug wheels
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:56 PM   #10
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Chevy Van

I tow with a 3/4 ton GMC Savana 2500 diesel van. It is technically a conversion van but it started out its life as a cargo van since diesel is not an option for passenger versions. The weight added on mine during the conversion is very minimal because I had it custom done at El Kapitan vans in Westminster, CA. I asked for the bare minimum to basically just increase the seating capacity and added windows.



Mine has 8 lug wheels and I believe can town up to 10k lbs with the proper hitch.

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Mine is a 2006 and it has 6 lug wheels
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:05 PM   #11
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I'm towing with a 2500 GMC passenger van. As noted by others, conversion packages will reduce your towing capacity. Also note that one ton vans usually have a lower towing capacity. I have a 6 liter gas engine with a 4.10 rear axle. Towing capacity is 9,900 lbs. in this configuration, you will many times find that the transmissions in the 3/4 ton vans are upgrades over the half ton versions. Based on the manual, I can tow in OD. Contrast that with my half ton Chevy van in which we could not use OD. My newer van towing in OD gets the same mileage towing my Classic slide out as my half ton towing a Safari which was 2,000 lbs. less in weight.

The other pluses of the 3/4 ton van was the larger wheels, brakes, and a noticeable improvement in the handling of the van and trailer over roads with dips and uneven surfaces.

Jack
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #12
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I'm towing with a 2500 GMC passenger van. As noted by others, conversion packages will reduce your towing capacity. Also note that one ton vans usually have a lower towing capacity. I have a 6 liter gas engine with a 4.10 rear axle. Towing capacity is 9,900 lbs. in this configuration, you will many times find that the transmissions in the 3/4 ton vans are upgrades over the half ton versions. Based on the manual, I can tow in OD. Contrast that with my half ton Chevy van in which we could not use OD. My newer van towing in OD gets the same mileage towing my Classic slide out as my half ton towing a Safari which was 2,000 lbs. less in weight.

The other pluses of the 3/4 ton van was the larger wheels, brakes, and a noticeable improvement in the handling of the van and trailer over roads with dips and uneven surfaces.

Jack

Jack what year is your 1/2 ton van? The manual of my 2006 says that can tow in "D" just make sure the tow/mode is set. Since the new trannys are all forward clutches now it does not matter if you are in OD. The tow/haul mode changes the sift point and keeps the tranny from locking up in high gear. I did however install a monster trans cooler just to be safe.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #13
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Not to dis the entire truck line of Dodge, but I consistently hear of the transmissions in Dodges being not really all that great. Several folks have had their trannies self destruct if not fail in some capacity.

Now I'm not a Ford man by any means, and if I hadn't heard it from handfuls of owners, I might think differently, but I would rather have a Ford than take my chances with the Dodge transmissions. Thankfully (though I'm not quite sure what that means lately the big three being what they are today) I'm a GM fan. Sure they have their share of issues, but I'd feel pretty comfy putting Ford or GM owners against Dodge owners. Even here on this thread I don't see many singing the praises of Dodge.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Jack what year is your 1/2 ton van? The manual of my 2006 says that can tow in "D" just make sure the tow/mode is set. Since the new trannys are all forward clutches now it does not matter if you are in OD. The tow/haul mode changes the sift point and keeps the tranny from locking up in high gear. I did however install a monster trans cooler just to be safe.
The half ton van was a '99 Chevy. The manual noted that towing should be not be done in OD. My 3/4 ton 2003 GMC van has a much different tranny and the manual does state that OD towing is allowable. Like always you avoid excessive hunting when driving in uneven terrain. Tow/hall in my '03 changes shift points. All of the up shift occur at higher speeds, likewise downshifts come earlier. The factory tow package on my van included an external transmission cooler.

Jack
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