New van advice needed - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-26-2003, 10:47 AM   #15
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Thanks everybody!

Posted by Nancy D, of Ontario Canada
Thanks everybody!
Well the decision has been made. We are getting a 2000 Windstar with the tow package but never towed. This ordeal has reminded me once again how I hate dealing with salesmen. No offence meant to any salemen out there. Some must really think the customers are uneducated idiots who will believe whatever comes out of their mouths. We specifically said we wanted the FACTORY TOW PACKAGE. Oh we can put a trailer hitch on that for you. NO WE WANT THE FACTORY TOW PACKAGE. Oh we can put a trany cooler on that, thats all the tow packages have.

Well the factory tow package has, full sized spare, heavy duty trany and oil coolers, heavier axel shafts, heavier suspension, different computer programing and trany settings so you don't burn the trany out while towing, trailer wireing etc.

The salesman/dealer we bought from knew exactly what the tow package entailed. Yes we needed it, yes they are hard to find, no don't tow your trailer without it.

So by Monday we should have the van and then can get a hitch and start getting ready to leave in 11 days.
Nancy


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75 Trillium 1300 pulled by 2000 Windstar
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:28 AM   #16
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Posted by John VanDenBerg, of Farmington Hills, MI

I ran into the exact same thing with a couple of Chrysler dealerships when I went to go buy my (used) 2001 Cherokee. I wanted both the Up-Country and the Tow packages. They wanted to slap a few upgrades/additions onto a lease turn-in and sell me that. I finally found a private individual (a Chrysler executive actually) selling his and snapped it up.

You'll be glad you stuck to your guns. Congrats on your new tow vehicle.
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1985 Burro 17' Wide Body
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Old 06-26-2003, 07:07 PM   #17
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Posted by Benita, of Atlanta metro

Quote:
Orginally posted by Mike Watters
If we had to do it all over again - I think we'd likely have picked the Kia Sedona (it was one of the top contenders for us back then). It's front wheel drive (not the BEST for towing, but for a lightweight it's good enough), the FWD will give you better performance on slick, icy roads (we got to do a 360 last winter in the van driving around town...). In addition - the Kia has GREAT crash safety numbers (THAT is what would have tilted things in it's favor for ME if the numbers had been available). Anyway - the Kia wouldn't have the 2nd-row legroom of the full-size van (I can sit in our second row and cross my legs comfortably), but would be better suited to the around-town drives.

mkw
One of my top contenders for the some day buy is the Kia Sorento. Why? A friend has one and I like it. The 3,500 pound tow rating was a little off-putting until I did some research.

The 3,500 pound rating is based upon the factory tow package. According to the folks at Edmunds.com, with a different tow package, the Sorento is fully and safely capable of towing 5,000 pounds. Of course I had to ask a Kia dealer about the differential he said the manufacturer is in the process of distributing a better, higher rated tow package - as a priced option of course.

The vehicle could always pull the 5,000 pounds. The factory hitch, was maxed at its rating of 3,500 pounds. Kia is in the process of revising its dealer training and product literature with the new information. Today, three out of five dealerships won't know what you are talking about if you ask.

I have no idea if the Kia and Sorento have similar frames, but it is possible the Sedona could also be beefed up.

I also was totally seduced by the load leveling feature Kia offers in addition to its tow package (about $500) . Unless the info I've got is wrong. The load leveling option does away with the need for a WDH.
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Benita Fern-Ellen / Sister Scribe
1982 Fiber Stream - The Runabout
Last edited by: Benita on 06-26-03 19:31:06
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:02 PM   #18
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Posted by Paul E Henning, of Warsaw, Indiana
Load leveling isn't really a direct replacement for WDH. Towing level definitely is important, and will reduce the need for WDH, but not eliminate it.

Essentially, load leveling systems just "jack up" the back suspension so that when it compresses under load, the net result is a level tow vehicle. The weight is still sitting on the rear wheels.

On the other hand, a WDH transfers the load to all four wheels on the tow vehicle, so the entire vehicle's suspension compresses evenly, maintaining the front-rear weigh distribution balance that is so critical to vehicle handling.

Example - on many vehicles (for reference, we'll say it weighs 2000#), a 60F/40R distribution is ideal, or 1200# on the front and 800# on the rear. Now, I'll add a trailer with 150# tongue weight:

With a WDH, I can use the tension chains to adjust how much weight I transfer forward. Properly adjusted, I will put 60% up front and 40% to the back. Now, my tow vehicle is carrying 2150#, with 1290# on the front and 860# on the rear. I still have my 60F/40R balance.

With a load leveler, the 150# all goes to the rear, so I have 1200# on the front, and 950# on the rear. My ratio is now 56F/44R. That is still acceptable, but you can see the trend.

Now, here is a real world example: Yesterday, I saw an early '90s Olds Cutlass (front wheel drive) towing a relatively large travel trailer -- I'd guess 24 feet, tandem axle, and probably 4000#. At 10-15% tongue weight, that would be around 500# tongue weight. If that car weighs 2500#, the result (using our 60F/40R ideal) is more like 40F/60R - a complete reversal, and a VERY dangerous situation.

Mind you, this was way to much trailer for this vehicle, WDH or not, but let me tell you, the nose of this car was way in the air, and the front tires were struggling for traction to get it rolling at a stop light, and if they had to negotiate a curve suddenly, they'd have been in real trouble, because the steering wheels didn't have enough weight on them to turn the car. But it demonstrates the principle.

So, just make sure that whatever you are towing is within the tongue weight and gross weight limits of both your tow vehicle and your hitch. If you are close to or over the limit for either, find out what the limits are if using WDH, and then decide if you need WDH or a larger vehicle. But, do one or the other.

By the way, the figures quoted herein are examples only, and are estimates. Real world situations can affect the weight balance and handling, both positively and negatively, but mostly negatively. Also, as a hitch is behind the bumper and not actually over the rear wheels, the effects I've mentioned here are actually worse in the real world (possibly by as much as 10% per foot that the hitchball is behind the axle, or so I was told by a hitch installer).
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Osmo the Great (Osmo is great - Paul is just so-so)

Last edited by: Paul E Henning on 06-27-03 13:08:36
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:06 PM   #19
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Posted by Benita, of Atlanta metro

Gee Paul,

I think I think I understood that explanation. YOU ARE GOOD!

Now if only all the information I have in my head could be transformed into knowledge.

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Benita Fern-Ellen / Sister Scribe
1982 Fiber Stream - The Runabout

Last edited by: Benita on 06-27-03 18:06:53
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:27 PM   #20
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Minivan Options

Posted by Owen Lindsay, of Calgary, Alberta

Minivan options
I have towed both a 13' Trillium and my present 16' Dolphin with the front wheel drive Chryslers since 1987. I have had 1 1987, a 1990 , a 1996 and my present 1999 Caravan. All front wheel drive.
I was in contact with Chrysler's customer service department when we first started towing, and recieved the following advice.
1 Use a 18,000 lb rated transmission cooler.
2. Do not tow a trailer over 7'6" wide.
3. Do not tow with the 4 speed overdrive transmission. Chrysler builds a three speed direct drive transamission and I have never had to repair or replace this transmission in any of my vehicles. I had 371,000 km (232,000 miles) on the 1987 before I replaced the vehicle, and was pleased with the reliability of the vehicle. One other item I found handy was to wire in a manual override switch to the power on the electric cooling fan for long pulls. It makes long pulls through the desert a lot easier.
Cheers

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Just over the Horizon...
Owen & Rosemary
Grand Caravan & 16' Dolphin

Last edited by: Owen Lindsay on 07-02-03 21:28:47
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Old 07-03-2003, 04:55 AM   #21
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Posted by Alain B., of Montréal

Hi!

One thing I like about the Caravan is the very easy access for parts anywhere in North America. I suppose this is true for many other brands, but for Caravan, it is a fact.

But I would not say that it is a very good vehicule for towing. I consider that the breaking system and the transmission are weak.

My 1996, 3 liter, 3 speed transmission has almost 300K Km on the odometer. To get those milleage with a Caravan transmission, according to a mechanic that I know, you need to be very smooth, specially never spin the weels on snow or ice and change transmission oil and filter often.

Still, I am looking for a newer car now and it will probabely be a Caravan. I like this car.

I also like your idea about a switch for the cooling fan, Owen.

Alain
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1977 15' Trillium, Model 4500

Last edited by: Alain B. on 07-03-03 05:04:15
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