Chevy Astro for Tow - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-10-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
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Has anyone every used a Chevy Astro for a tow vehicle? I have been researching them and it appears that a 2000 and new is equipped with a "Tow/Haul " mode for the transmission. I would like to tow a 2900lb. X-Treme lite with 430lb tongue weight. Do you think it would work? These are exact weighs since I the scaled the camper myself. I was blown away with the tongue weigh but it is correct.

Thanks,
Gary Little
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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There are folks here towing with Astros. They can chime in on thier experiences.

Meanwhile, check your owners manual. That will have the best answers. If you have no manual, I am sure the answer can be found online. There is a group for everything!

Try a Google Groups search.
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Has anyone every used a Chevy Astro for a tow vehicle? I have been researching them and it appears that a 2000 and new is equipped with a "Tow/Haul " mode for the transmission. I would like to tow a 2900lb. X-Treme lite with 430lb tongue weight. Do you think it would work? These are exact weighs since I the scaled the camper myself. I was blown away with the tongue weigh but it is correct.

Thanks,
Gary Little

As far as the weight of the trailer, you'll be OK. But as for the 430lbs tongue weight, i'm not sure. I have a AWD Chevy Astro with a 3.42. According to the GM owners manual, I can tow up to 4500lbs with my vehicle. If you have a AWD Chevy Astro, with a 3.73, you can tow up to 5000lbs. If you have a two wheel drive Astro with a 3.42, you can tow 5000lbs, and if you have a two wheel drive Astro, with the 3.73, you can tow up to 5500lbs with your vehicle. My Bigfoot weighs 2618lbs, with two full propane tanks, but no water in the tanks. When I tow my Bigfoot with the Astro, it's like it's not there.

I always tow on 3rd speed(not on "D" overdrive), with the tow/haul function engaged.

I think your only concern is with the 430lbs tongue weight. You should check with GM, as they're the only one who could give you the proper answer to this question. But if you to tow this trailer, I think you should at least install a weight distributing hitch, like the Reese weight distribution hitch.

Hope this helps.

Yves.
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:19 PM   #4
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Howdy, a few years ago I looked at an Astro to use all the time and not for towing purposes and one thing that turned me off was the minimal foot room on the floor on the passenger side......there isn`t much room for the passenger's feet, especially in the winter when we wear snow boots, between the dog house and the door hinge area.....for this reason I didn`t buy one and then considered front drive vans with a flat floor but instead bought a pick up truck.....not suggesting a truck for you but just relating why I didn`t get an Astro van.......Benny
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
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I always thought that the Dodge Sprinter Van (Mercedes in Europe) either passenger or panel van would make a great tow vehicle. Comes with 5 cylinder turbo diesel that gets 22mpg. The new Winnebago View uses the dual wheel chassis and gets 16 to 18mpg.

To get that kind of mpg and all the storage room you need would be very tempting for me to switch to diesel.
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:56 PM   #6
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I also tow with an Astro. My Love Bug weighs in at a whopping 1000 pounds so that is not much of a comparison. However, I heat my house wtih wood and frequently tow 3500 pounds of wood without a problem. The Astro has great brakes and mine came with tranny cooler, oil cooler, power steering fluid cooler, & 15qt radiator. The van has never heated up even when pulling 3500 lbs in steep, long hills. For those of you wondering about the PS cooler, the Astro does not use vacuum boost for the brakes, it uses the power steering pump for hydraulic boost.

The Astro will tow anything you want, but Yves is right about the tongue weight. I added air shocks to mine and it really helped with the tail end sag.

Benny is right about the foot room also. I have put on many 700 mile days and the foot room leaves something to be desired.

All in all, I like my AWD Astro for all-around comfort and the family likes it for long trip. It is the best tow vehicle I have used to date.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:39 PM   #7
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I used to have a '99 Astro until the oil pump went out about 50 miles east of Boise, ID last Christmas. It only had 108K and was well cared for, but hey, breakdowns happen.

It towed okay, but the tranny was always fishing for the right gear on upgrades even while in 3rd.

What surprised me most was the tow hitch. Shortly after I bought it in '99, I had a hitch installed by a reputable installer. I wasn't towing anything at the time, so I never gave it much of an inspection. Years later I got my 13' Scamp and after the 5th trip I saw the next morning that the hitch was pointing towards the ground. I discovered that the hitch was only bolted to luggs welded to the uni-body extension which is made with thin sheet metal. The trailer was ripping the hitch right off the van. The dealer said that it looked like the hitch was installed correctly, but could only scratch their head about what was happening. About 8" further in there is solid frame with two pre-tapped luggs for a hitch. If you recall, the original Astro was a short body van but some were made with an extended body. Later the short bodies were discontinued.

I took the van to a different hitch shop and they repaired the tearing metal and shored up the hitch with some 1/8" plate steel welded in several places all for $100. The dealer wanted $800 just to repair the damage and not add any reinforcements.

Maybe there's a different hitch made that now extends all the up to the second set of luggs. Anyway, if you're driving an Astro look at the hitch installation and make sure it's solid.

Fred
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Has anyone every used a Chevy Astro for a tow vehicle? I have been researching them and it appears that a 2000 and new is equipped with a "Tow/Haul " mode for the transmission. I would like to tow a 2900lb. X-Treme lite with 430lb tongue weight. Do you think it would work? These are exact weighs since I the scaled the camper myself. I was blown away with the tongue weigh but it is correct.

Thanks,
Gary Little
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Has anyone every used a Chevy Astro for a tow vehicle? I have been researching them and it appears that a 2000 and new is equipped with a "Tow/Haul " mode for the transmission. I would like to tow a 2900lb. X-Treme lite with 430lb tongue weight. Do you think it would work? These are exact weighs since I the scaled the camper myself. I was blown away with the tongue weigh but it is correct.

Thanks,
Gary Little
We tow a 2800# dry weight (3800 # loaded with everything) hard wall trailer with our Safari which is a sister to the Astro. The weight has never been a problem . I think the biggest problem to trailer owners is wind resistance and long slow hills . I have pulled our trailer from Alerta to the Island twice through the mountains and (while hills are tough) the weight is not the issue if you are within the towing limit. While towing in Saskatchewan last year I found the 8" wide front on our hardwall the biggest issue. Milage and passing were both problems. I think that with my Boler 13", both wind and hills would have been a lot easier on the Safari. The tongue weight on my hardwall trailer is 300# dry.The way I load it I'm sure I'm at the 500# weight. I have an equalizer hitch by the way .
Good luck with the Astro .I'm sure you'll be fine. Remember, there is still weight back there and electric brakes are a must.
Randy
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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I think I mentioned this on one of the forums but, on our way through Oregon this summer we ran into 2 canadian family's towing Airstreams coming from a rally at twin sisters. one had a 36 footer pulled by a big chevy suburban which seems normal, but the other dude was pulling a 28'er with a GMC Safari , I almost croaked, I got talking to them and he said he'd towed it that way for 4 or 5 years @ about 27,000 miles with no real problems, go figure. I guess if he can pull that hoss you have a pretty good chance
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:40 PM   #11
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I used to tow with a Safarri van. It had a 4.3 engine rated at 190 hp. The truck was rated as a 3.4 ton, and we had no problems taking the trailer and a load of furniture 3000 miles.to Edmonton Got 20 plus miles per gal. when towing and being a van means that there is little wind against the front of your trailer.
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:08 AM   #12
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I have a 2001 Chevy Astro Van and i am considering buying a 16 1/2 ' fiberglass camper..weighs in at 1750 dry weight and 250 for the tongue.. my astro is fairly loaded at the moment..i am a bit nervous because i will be driving this from AZ to Oregon this week and i have never pulled a travel trailer before.

I have the receiving hitch.. it has a hitch and ball with the trailer. I will need to hook up a 6 prong light connector. Does anyone know what else i will need to pull this safely.. will i need the sway bar right away??..

thanks for all the tips posted. So i will try towing in 3rd speed..not overdrive and with the tow/haul function engaged.

Should i keep it a certain speed..such as 50-55? do i need extended mirrors? I am trying to just get what i need to get back to Oregon and then can I take it in and get the extras if need be. thanks
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:39 AM   #13
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i am considering buying a 16 1/2 ' fiberglass camper..weighs in at 1750 dry weight and 250 for the tongue
What is it? It's easier for us to give specific answers when we know more details
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:19 PM   #14
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What is it? It's easier for us to give specific answers when we know more details
It is an 82 Fiber Stream thanks
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