Anyone Towing With a Ford E-series Van - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-01-2007, 08:31 AM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Freedom Deluxe
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I currently tow my 17ft Casita (3500 lbs) with a Chevy Astro van (4.3L v6). I am wanting a larger van (i.e more passenger room) to use in my ministry work. So I am thinking of taking the plunge and get a 2006 Ford E350 12 pass. 5.4L V8 pass. van.

Does anyone already use this van to tow with or use its smaller brother the E150?

My current Astro has just enough (but just barely enough) power to tow in the steep Utah mountains where I live. So I am wondering about the tow prowess of the E-350? The Astro is a 1/2 ton with a 5500 lbs tow rating, the E-350 is a one ton van with a 7000 lb towing rating.

Does anyone know what kind of gas mileage I will get with the E-350? Right now with the Astro I get 21 unhitched and about 15-17 while towing.

Anyone have any opinoins about Chevy vs. Ford in the full-size van area?

Doug in Southern Utah.

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Old 01-01-2007, 09:45 AM   #2
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The E-350 is a large van with a V8 and should be no problem pulling your 3500lb trailer. In fact, I would estimate that that vehicle could pull up to 7500lb as my Silverado with the equilivant engine can.

The thing to do is to study the specs on the van to insure it has the tow rating.

Right now is a great time to purchase a GM van as there is a major sale ongoing. The GM vehicles also have a E85 compatable engine that will take regular gas or E85 which is 85% ethonol. Go Green with a Chevy or GMC.

Here is my question: Since Ford sells more pickup trucks than anyone else each year, why are there more Chevy trucks on the road. Seams to me that they just might outlast the others.

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Old 01-01-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
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I would rent one for a week, see what kind of pulling power, and mpg .. stickers lie a lot, see for yourself b4 you buy... chevy or ford offer good products, I pull my 5th wheel with a chevy 4wd 4.3 engine it does okay, up in the hills it suffers a little, iam happy with it. Paul Smith Orlando fl
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:30 PM   #4
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Renting sounds like a good idea, but I have found it difficult to find a company which will rent vehicles with hitches and permission to tow. Even if you find one which is okay for towing, it won't be set up with an electric brake controller, and thus may not be suitable.

The last time this came up, someone did have a suggestion for a company which rents pickup trucks that you can use for towing... perphaps they have vans, too.

An E-150 isn't so much the E-350's smaller brother, as it is the lighter brother. I believe that the bodies are the same: although the longest version is likely not available in the E-150, and the one-ton sits higher off the ground, the width is the same and the interior height is the same. It sounds like the 12-passenger spec might be important, but if not, I would consider lighter versions (E-150 <strike>or E-250</strike>).

Edit notes:
The E-250 model is no longer offered... sorry for any confusion.

It appears from the Ford specs that the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight is limited by the drivetrain, so every extra pound of a Super Duty (E-350) or extended body detracts from the towing capacity. Even in the ideal case for an E-350 wagon with the 5.4 (the 3.73 axle ratio) the towing capacity is 7300 lbs minus all of the passenger and van cargo weight. Realistically, this is not towing 7000 lb, but it should still have lots of capacity for the Casita!
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:41 PM   #5
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I have an E-150 with the 5.4 L V8 and the trailer towing option package. I think an E-350 is a little more than required for a Casita. I tow a 17 SD 2004 Casita with no problem. I live in Alabama but tow to Ohio and in most of the States in the Smokey Mtns. My gas mileage is around 15 MPG without the trailer and 13.5 with the Casita in tow. I prefer a van over a pickup because of the inside storage and it doubles as passanger van. Mine is the Club Wagon version with bucket seats. The trailer option package is essential because it provides a transmission intercooler and other more robust equipment. It is wired for the brake controller and plug connection to the trailer.
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:58 PM   #6
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I would think you could tow a mobile home with that thing!

AND, it makes for a nice spare bedroom for the trailer!
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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Name: Gina D.
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oh, and in answer to this:

Anyone have any opinoins about Chevy vs. Ford in the full-size van area?
I often need to rent passenger vans of that size for work. Most often, it's the Ford, but the few Chevy ones I have gotten are more comfortable and easier to handle FOR ME. Seems like a more carlike ride.

I have no experience with mechanical issues.
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:54 AM   #8
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<Moderator Hat ON>

I split a couple of posts from this thread and moved them to a new thread about fuels.

<Moderator Hat OFF>

I had a '92 E150 that I towed a 5500 lb sailboat with, and it had a 300 C.I. in-line six! Despite that it had some issues with the front suspension (now long resolved in the line), I absolutely loved the van.

The E350 with a tow package will tow your Casita just fine. My concern, though, would be that the 1 ton suspension is too stiff for a lightweight trailer. The trailer depends on the rear suspension of the van for dampening shock transmitted through it by the tow vehicle. One-ton suspension is pretty stiff for such a light-weight trailer, and the tongue weight won't compress the suspension at all. The one ton suspension may jar the trailer pretty hard.

There are some after-market fixes, essentially air-ride hitches, but they're pretty expensive. I'd stay with the 1/2 ton van if it's at all possible.

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Old 01-03-2007, 06:53 PM   #9
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I suspect that with a one-ton truck/van, one won't see much difference in gas mileage when towing an egg (mostly because the mileage won't be very good to start with).

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