question for minivan owners - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2006, 06:36 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1982 Scamp 13 ft
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We are considering buying a minivan for our tow vehicle, but we'd like to know which ones get the best gas mileage. We'd like to hear from those of you who tow with a minivan. We currently have a Ford Ranger, which is fine for our 13' Scamp, but we'd like to upgrade to a 17' one of these days and we don't want to buy a bigger truck. Thanks!
Sandra
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:23 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2002 17 ft Casita Liberty Deluxe
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We are considering buying a minivan for our tow vehicle, but we'd like to know which ones get the best gas mileage. We'd like to hear from those of you who tow with a minivan. We currently have a Ford Ranger, which is fine for our 13' Scamp, but we'd like to upgrade to a 17' one of these days and we don't want to buy a bigger truck. Thanks!
Sandra

We love our Honda Odyssey ... We originally had a 2000 Odyssey and now we have the 2004 Odyssey..

It pulls our 17' Casita Liberty real easy. Mileage towing is usually between 15 and 17...
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:48 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
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We have a '99 Odyssey and kept scrupulous records on our latest long trip, Portland to North Dakota and back. Overall average was 15.7 mpg hauling the Burro, which has an on-the-road weight of 2950 lbs, give or take. Regular gas, 3rd gear virtually the whole trip (still low RPM on this one).

I also made another trip alone recently, without the trailer, of about the same length, driving considerably faster, and I got 25.4 MPG. I'm not complaining.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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I was going to suggest the Oddessy too.

I do not have one, I have an Element, but I know several hauling 17s with one and they are very happy with it.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:28 PM   #5
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I was going to suggest the Odyssey too.
me too! I have noticed that there are a lot of Odyssey owners here.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:06 AM   #6
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Trailer: 2002 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
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Sandra,
Ours is also a 2004 Odyssey. Gas mileage pulling our 17 ft. Casita is also about the same as what others have posted here. Great tow vehicle ! Plenty of room for cargo, ideal for passengers, and without the trailer, gets very good gas mileage.

If you opt for the Honda, suggest you get a height adjustable weight distribution hitch as the minivan does sit low to the ground. If you have an axle lift on the trailer, the height difference is even more. For sure you will need the wdh to level both the van and the trailer, also to shift more weight to the front drive wheels.

The new Honda vans also have a model in which 3 cylinders deactivate while driving under a no load condition, which gives even more miles per gallon, EPA rated at 28 mpg.
Suggest negotiating with the dealer about putting more padding in the seats as the new models seem to have little back support and are not as comfortable as the 2004 or older models. The van otherwise is a more than adequate tow vehicle

P.S. You will also need a transmission cooler, a dash mounted trailer brake controller, and an in line charging isolator to prevent the trailer battery from drawing current from the car battery. Don
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:52 AM   #7
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
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We also have the Honda Odyssey, got it after doing lots of research. Unlike the other Odyssey owners we pull a 13 (bit lighter weight than other 13's as we don't have air conditioning or refrig, or awning, or water tank!).

After pulling our little guy 10,000 miles and keeping very good records I can tell you we get between 17.7 and 19.04 mpg. We travel slower than lots of folks, don't go over 65, usually slower than that. The lowest mileage we ever got on a tankful was around 15 and the highest around 23. All depends on the wind, roads, speed.

We try to keep the load in the back of the Odyssey light. We do not have an equalizer or anything and tend to sit a bit low in the rear. It doesn't bother the driving at all so have no desire to get an equalizer (just would add more weight). If we drove at night it might be a problem because the head lights might just be a bit high. If you don't travel with a lot of weight I don't think you need it. We do have brakes on the Scamp.....because of our neglect they did not function for that 10,000 miles we drove last year. The Odyssey also handled that fine. We *will* get our brakes functioning before we resume traveling.

Now get that new generation Odyssey and let us know how it works!

Nancy in MN
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:06 AM   #8
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In 2005 we averaged about 17mpg towing our UHaul CT13 about 8,000 miles with a Mazda MPV. The UHaul is about 1650lbs. loaded, the MPV tow-rated for 3,000lbs. We are very pleased with the combination, which allows us to haul lots of gear in the minivan with convenient access through the side and back doors. When towing, we usually remove the middle row of seats.

In 2004 we towed the UHaul 12,000 miles with a Subaru Outback tow-rated for 2,000lbs., got about 18mpg. The Subaru did a fine towing job through the Rockies and across the continent, but couldn't touch the minivan for easy access to cargo.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:30 PM   #9
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I should have added that I have added another transmission cooler to the optional one from Honda (anal, huh?) and a transmission oil temperature gauge (Isspro) with a sensor in the drain plug.
After quite a bit of consideration we installed an AirLift 100 set of airbags to the rear of the Honda a couple of years ago in order to bring the towing height back to stock, foregoing the WDH and sway control units. Very happy with the result. Yesterday I finished the install of a compressor/gauge setup for the airbags. Much more convenient than using the bicycle valves with an external compressor. Can you tell that I consider this setup good for the long haul?
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:41 PM   #10
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I'm considering using my 1990 Chevy Lumina APV, molded fiberglass van. Its only got 150,000 mi and it would pull my 940 lb Compact jr easy, and it would be so cool. It now gets 22 mpg but who knows with tow and I don't have a hitch.
My thanks to Donna D for password help. Angel and Raphael E.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:51 PM   #11
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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Somewhere in the sea of Odysseys, there's my Toyota Sienna, merrily towing a 17-foot Boler. Two vehicles are extremely similar (especially 2004-to-current Siennas versus 2001-2004 Odysseys) and like the Odyssey owners I find the Sienna works fine. I am in the no-WDH group, but I don't have a ride height or headlight aim issue because I use air bags in the rear springs (mine are Firestone Coil-Rites).

There is a towing capacity option in the Sienna (which consists of a transmission oil cooler), but all Canadian Siennas come with it, so I did not need to order anything special to have the same 3500 lb trailer rating as just about every properly equipped minivan.

I should point out (since someone else will if I don't) that the air bags do not change the distribution of load between the axles, nor do they increase the load capacity of the rear axle, but neither is a problem in my case. They do correct ride height (which is no more of a problem with the Sienna than other minivans), and increase spring stiffness (which is a different thing) for better control. Some 17' eggs tend to have much higher hitch weight than my B1700, and over 350 lb in the Sienna requires a WDH.

I am hesitant to provide fuel consumption values, because my towing record of a few thousand kilometres is not likely representative of typical experience, being done in mountains and at higher-than-deal speeds on flat highways - although I'll look up my records at some point and see if I have trailer/no-trailer comparison values under similar conditions. The van achieves close to the government rated fuel economy empty, and the trailer significantly increases consumption, as I would expect.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:53 PM   #12
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I appreciate the information from everyone! Thanks!! I can hardly wait to test drive the minivans.
Sandra
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:38 AM   #13
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I must confess, I am waiting for my boss to tire of his Sienna so I can buy it from him...

It drives real nice and I think I would be comfortable towing with it as well.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:17 PM   #14
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Trailer: 2000 Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe ('Millenium Eggloo')
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We tow a 17SD Casita with a 2003 Dodge Caravan and use an Equal-i-zer Weight Distributing Hitch with built in anti-sway fuctionality, we also travel with an 18 cu ft tote box on the roof of the van. Towing the trailer on our last 4000 mile trip we got about 16.3 miles per US gallon, our usual travel speed on the highway was around 65 mph.

The WDH does 3 things, it moves some weight from the rear axle to the front axle and the trailer axle, it limits the sway that naturally occurs during emergency lane change manouvers etc. and it removes a lot of the "porposing" (up and down of the rear end) for a much more comfortable ride.

Without the WDH my rear axle is slightly overloaded from specs, with the WDH I am within all manufacturers specs and ratings for both the trailer and the van.

Overall the combination works quite nicely at meeting the need of being able to legitimately tow the trailer and have a reasonable day to day use vehicle.
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