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Old 11-24-2015, 10:08 AM   #1
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NV 3500 Nissan Van as TOW VEHICLE

Hi Folks

I would be interested in knowing what peoples impressions are of the NV 3500 Nissan Van as a Tow vehicle especially those who own one and have been using it for towing.

I would also like to hear from people who almost bought one and decided not to buy it and why.

Of course I am looking at the NV3500 with the V8 with the low top.

I currently have a 1973 Tradewind but would wants something that would tow a 25- 27' flying cloud. I have no plans to change but I don't want to be caught with too little tow vehicle again.

I don't want a PU truck because my natural daily driver is a van.

Thanks in advance
Tony
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:32 AM   #2
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???no love or experience with theses beasts

NV3500
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Old 11-27-2015, 07:48 AM   #3
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I don't. But Google it and you'll see a Nissan forum discussion and an rvnet discussion about it. Maybe someone here toes with one and will chime in.

Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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I have a 2004 Nissan Titan which has the same power train so I can speak to that aspect. The truck is just rolling up on 197000 miles.

I have replaced the exhaust headers (which seem to crack on all Titans sooner or later -- I don't know if the NV uses the same headers)
I have replaced the input seal on the rear differential
I have replaced the center drive shaft support bearing
When they were worn beyond spec, I replaced the front brake rotors with slotted/dimpled units

And of course, tires, batteries, wipers, brake pads...

The engine and transmission are rock solid to this day. It doesn't use any oil between changes, there is no smoke, it starts immediately in any weather and tows like a mule.

On a 6 degree climb in Utah, you will be in third running 3600 rpm doing 60 mph as you climb. The gauges (engine and transmission) will not budge.

Life is swell EXCEPT:

It is a big old gas hog. Towing (roughly 65000 miles so far) my 31' Sovereign is pretty much 10 mpg. Unhooked, the Titan gets maybe 15 on the highway, averages 12 around and about.

Nissan paint is pretty cheap. Pretty much any Nissan over 10 years old will have crazed or eroded clear coat.

Hope this helps

Mike
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:18 PM   #5
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Just noticed awetoekirrekt used "toes" for "tows" in my reply above. I apologize pro few sleeves.

😜
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:59 PM   #6
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Isnt that the same vehicle epicdetour.com uses?
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:22 PM   #7
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Thanks n2916s That is the kind of information I am after. I don't want to blow it by not thinking ahead to the next AS not that I can see a change coming any time soon, since I am still finishing up the Tradewind reno/rehab.

The mileage sounds about like my 1/2 AWD Express van. The Express has a 5.3 and 4 speed transmission and a 3.73 rear end. It is a great van it also has doors behind drivers seat too. That is a feature that I have come to love. It has on it a 119,000. truly easy miles on it but it combined weight is 12,000 and I come in a little high fully packed with a canoe on top. I bought it new when I had a tent trailer and thought I would be all set when I moved up to a hard sided trailer and was a little off.

I then bought a sweet 1996 F250 Power stroke that I just sold with 95,000 miles on it and mechanically real nice. My wife called it S & L. Stinky and loud. We came to a truce after I wanted to call it Nellie, she said Snellie and we have a deal. I loved the truck but my 13 year old lab mix couldn't jump up in the bed ( built her a ramp but she was indignant) and it was too nice an interior to have her in it. Well, I would of let her in if it didn't sell. Did I day I loved that truck, it was a nice truck. First person who saw it bought it.

Anyway,

NV3500 Combined Weight is 16,000. With a pay load of about 3750lbs give or take.

I will miss knowing my van is AWD. I know snow tires make more of a difference but the two combined I think would be the way to go with some winter slop.

Any other experiences out there love to hear about it.

thanks all

Tony

Yes I have seen all the links mentioned. Nice conversion. I would love to hear an update on how things have worked out with epicdetour. Theirs is a high top. I am after a standard roof height.
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:41 PM   #8
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I have never owned a vehicle as reliable as my Titan. Yeah, it's a dinosaur with analog guages, nary a touch screen and kind of a monotone, plastic interior. But it is the energizer bunny.

I am waiting for the new Nissan Titan HD to be released. Out first is the pimped out Titanium version with the Cummins diesel which I don't really want. The one I want, the SV version of the HD with the 5.6 liter gas engine probably won't be available until this Summer.

We looked at the NV3500 at the Miami Auto Show a few weeks ago and thought long and hard about it but, we really like our pickup.

Basically, everyone on this forum has their own TV preference, Nissan is just mine.

Mike
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:24 AM   #9
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I wish pick ups would work for us.

A problem I have found out with the NV3500 is the inventory is not very good. I can order what I want. Waiting would be ok but the commercial Incentives I am eligible for now might not be available at the time the van shows up in 8-12 weeks.

I want silver ( I wonder why) and there is not one in the country.
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Old 11-28-2015, 11:47 AM   #10
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Well, they are mostly sold to commercial operators so I would guess 99% are white.

Hope you get the one you want!

Mikeu
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:37 PM   #11
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1973 25' Tradewind
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You have that exactly right, white. I usually go for white but I wanted something different. There are some vehicle that don't show best in white. The good thing, I think, is they show less scratches and chips.

Tony
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Old 11-28-2015, 04:03 PM   #12
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My tow vehicle is a 2010 Nissan Armada SE. It has the same 5.6l gas motor as the Titan and NV3500, which engine for us has been GREAT for 92,000 miles (about 2/3's have been TOWING). Because of the GCWR is 15,100#, we keep the Airstream at 8,500# MAX, which gives us a cushion of 600#. Our fuel mileage is about 11-13 mpg depending on the topography and speed, and we usually drive at 55-65 mph.

Of course the Armada has an independent rear suspension versus the Titan and NV leaf springs. We use Firestone 500# air bags, Rancho shocks and Michelin LT tires to stiffen the suspension. We are also looking for an alternative tow vehicle with greater capacity so we can more fully utilize the trailer's 10,000 GVWR so the NV's and the anticipated Titan HD (with the Cummins) are on our mind.

For your current Tradewind and a possible 'upgrade' in the future, the NV3500 gasser would seem to be a great tow vehicle choice given your work requirements. For us, more torque is what we need for the increased weight, and that will come only with a diesel HD or 3/4 ton diesel from someone else.

Good luck with finding your silver one! For me they look the best with an Airstream.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:45 PM   #13
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Jrolls

Thanks for the info. That kind of sums up that it will do the job I need it to do and if you are happy enough towing a 30 footer

Not to expose my ignorance but here goes. The leaf spring is a stiffer set up than the independent rear suspension?

The NV3500 is pretty low to the ground with I believe 8.5 clearance

Tony
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:20 PM   #14
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After towing our new to us '69 Tradewind home with our '98 Tahoe 2 door it felt on the edge .
So I test drove the NV 3500 passenger van low top and pulled the Tradewind with it up and down I-5 near Lake Shasta, CA. without brakes and it performed great even did a panic stop and it stopped fast and straight. It seemed like it used a lot of gas, and the forums say the same thing . Towing 9-10 mpg, not towing up to 16 mpg. This is on par with a lot of other Tow Vehicles in its weight range.

I would have taken it home that day but the Sales manager only offered $ 350 of msrp on a vehicle that was in their inventory over a year and a half.

Needles to say I didn't bite and 4 months later they still had it but were willing to take $ 7 grand off and the sales manager was fired months before.

Instead I test drove a Tundra SR5 double cab and bought one. It towed the Tradewind a bit better and gets better mpg.

I would have preferred the Van though.

I think if the Cummins v-8 works great in the Titan it would be a great improvement for the NV's mpg. Alas that might be a year away.
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Old 11-28-2015, 06:56 PM   #15
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Tony S

Leaf springs are associated with 'live axles' such as in the NV3500, and even when those springs are progressive as in the Titan and NV3500, they are definitely a stiffer ride. Independent rear suspensions would rarely be found on 3/4 and 1 ton vehicles; they are more suited to light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars these days. My Firestone air bags add stiffness in the rear, BUT do not increase the Armada's weight ratings. The air bags and the LT tires do add significantly to the handling of the Armada under load, though.
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Old 11-28-2015, 10:38 PM   #16
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I know that stretch of I-5 well enough and that is a good test hill for sure. Not the biggest or longest in the west but it will do for test.

It is really shaping up that the NV3500 is a good way to go. I was worried about it being a mushy ride. Sound like stock can be improved with tire upgrades, shocks upgrades and perhaps airbags if all else doesn't get the job done.

I attached my first tow vehicle A Chevy Express 1500 AWD 5.3L. It was not quite enough. Came in a couple hundred pounds heavy. I do things by the numbers so I went out and bought the 1996 f250 Powerstroke with 83,000 on it. It was in great shape and then I went through it added gauges, aux fuel filter, shocks, Michelins, on and on. Then sold it, crazy huh. Bought it right and broke even when I sold it. Minus all the efforts. Why would I sell it. Dog could not jump into bed anymore and we like her with us anyway. Also my wife called it S & L. As in stinky and loud. Beside that, I don't like plugging in block heater and all that. So it is back to a gasser. Also I want integrated towing mirrors. With that said, I do feel a tinge of regret at the PS departure.

Tony
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Old 11-28-2015, 11:40 PM   #17
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We looked at Nissan and were intrigued. We also need lots of space (for our voluminous but lightweight windsurfing gear.) after much research, we replace our Suburban 2500 with a 2013 Sprinter 3500--shortest wheelbase and shortest height (factory special order) and up fitted it nicely as a two passenger SUV. Our AS is s 28' International weighing out loaded at 6950. The Sprinter's GVW is 11,000 lbs, so we're nowhere close to payload--with all of our gear and 1190 tongue weight plus interior furniture and us, I'd guess we still have 3,000 to spare. In fact, we have to out more weight in the Equalizr than is strictly called for to get enough friction fir sway control--that's how overbuilt the Sprinter's rear end is.

Although the diesel is small and hp is low, it handles great and tows fine as long as we don't want to rocket uphill. At Shasta grades, we can downshift and hold about 50 mph.

If we cruise at 75, we'll only get 11 towing on the straights, but if we drop to 60, we do 14.5 towing. Without the AS, with the tall differential in the one ton, we'll do 18-19 at 75, and see the occasional 20-21 on the straights at 60-65.

We found the appointments in the Nissan to be adequate, but nothing exceptional. The Sprinter costs a bit more, but looks nice in appointments and handles like a large sports car.
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:19 AM   #18
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Hi Tony,
I tow an Eddie Bauer 25' with a low roof Nissan NV 2500 5.7 L V8. No problems, tows well and I love having the extra room in the van for my 3 dogs, bikes and golf clubs.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:58 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony S View Post
Hi Folks

I would be interested in knowing what peoples impressions are of the NV 3500 Nissan Van as a Tow vehicle especially those who own one and have been using it for towing.

I would also like to hear from people who almost bought one and decided not to buy it and why.

Of course I am looking at the NV3500 with the V8 with the low top.

I currently have a 1973 Tradewind but would wants something that would tow a 25- 27' flying cloud. I have no plans to change but I don't want to be caught with too little tow vehicle again.

I don't want a PU truck because my natural daily driver is a van.

Thanks in advance
Tony
You may want to wait until the new Titan XD arrives with the Cummins 5litre V8. Should be quite the truck for the long haul. 12000 GVW
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Old 11-29-2015, 11:32 AM   #20
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The new Titan XD has a lot of buzz that is for sure. I'm not inclined to get a model first year out although when push comes to shove I would. I haven't used my "under reno/rehab" for better than two years I doubt I can wait til July to use it.

Good to hear your NV2500 handles your 25 footer well. I suspect it is around to 6000 lbs or more dry. I have in some significant hills?

Thanks
Tony
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