I just purchased a 1965
Overlander, under the excuse of needing it to complete my away-from-home short-term grad school residency requirements. Well, my family has become completely smitten with the whole Airstream idea (can you blame them!). This is all good! Now, I need to purchase a dedicated tow vehicle. I think my loaded weight will be around 5500-6000 lbs. For added interest, the tow vehicle must be equipped with a wheelchair lift. My sister is in a power wheelchair, and for the purposes of traveling, she is much more comfortable in her power wheelchair as opposed to her smaller lighter manual wheelchair. She would travel in the tow vehicle in her power chair and then, when in the Airstream, she would use her manual wheelchair. As a grad student, I would like to keep costs down as much as I can. I initially thought of a school bus--yes, a shortie school bus, with a wheelchair lift. These are typically built on medium duty truck frames and, even the short ones, are 25 feet in length so wheelbase would not be a problem. Older ones can also be had for a few thousand dollars. The problem is that they are just so big! And, even though this will be a dedicated tow vehicle, it would be nice to have a tow vehicle that can be used for around town stuff if my daily driver is in for repairs. I then thought of one of those cut-away shuttle bus/vans with a lift. But, I've read that these can be overweighted due to the extra glass and fiberglass added onto a lighter duty van chassis--this results in bending cross-bars and all kinds of structural problems. My third thought, is an older lift-equipped passenger van. There are many to choose from. What size engine (diesel or gas) would be appropriate to pull the weight of my trailer plus the cargo of camping and the weight of the lift. I've looked at Dodge Ram 9-Pass, Ford E150, Ford E250, Ford E350, GM. I really have no idea what the towing capacity of passenger vans are. Would a side-mounted wheelchair lift be better than a rear-mounted lift? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Kathy in PA