Anyone Towing with Van? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:27 PM   #1
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Name: Huck
Trailer: ParkLiner
Virginia
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Anyone Towing with Van?

I'm thinking of getting a van to pull my Parkliner. I haven't been able to find any info on how much it would effect mpg.

I get about 14 mpg towing with my Blazer, and I would like to not drop below that. The Blazer is 20+ years old and I just need a more comfortable tow vehicle.

Does anyone have any idea how much towing a fiberglass trailer affects mpg of a van?
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:57 PM   #2
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Name: Eric
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I have a town and country 25 mpg on highway dropped to 18 with a 16' Cassita behind me. Towed easy, drove 65-70 on Interstate.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:47 PM   #3
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Name: Bryan
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I towed my 17' Casita with a Chevy 2500 2008 model Roadtrek class B motorhome for a few thousand miles. V8 6.0 Liter 300hp engine with automatic overdrive transmission Roadtrek got 15 - 16mpg without trailer and 12 - 14 with trailer.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:55 PM   #4
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Name: Steve
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GMC Van

I had 2 different 1 ton GMC vans with the 350 V8 engine as my company vehicles . I used it to tow around a Case trencher / backhole. It towed like a dream even going up long grades.
Mileage was right around 10 MPG when the van was fully loaded.
Plenty of towing and payload capacity so it would easily tow your Parkliner .
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:04 PM   #5
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Name: Don
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Towing a scamp with a shitbox 2006 mazda mpv. Most of the reduction in fuel economy comes from aerodynamic drag... not so much weight.

At 50MPH I get 20+mpg. Speed up to 65 or 70 and my gas mileage is cut in half.

So it depends... if you want to drive on the Interstates then you need something with a bigger engine as 50MPG on an interstate feels like a suicide mission. If you can plug along at 45 or 50 on back roads then you can tow with pretty much anything so long as you stay under the max weights of the hitch.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:08 PM   #6
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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Honda Odyssey, 2014. Get 18-19 mpg towing a, Scamp 16, pure highway driving 32 mpg.

I find the two numbers important. When we travel it's he combination of towing and non-towimg miles, since they are at least equal.

Most important is reliability followed by comfort.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:28 PM   #7
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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2016 T&C 28 mpg hwy 17-18 towing 16' Scamp.
Just got a Reese Mini 350 WDH to meet the requirement over 1800 lbs. Tows like a dream.
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Old 08-21-2017, 10:05 PM   #8
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Vans range from very small (think Mazda 5) to very large (Mercedes Sprinter). What sort of van do you have in mind? New or used?

For a Parkliner, I would think a minimum 3500/350 tow rating would be needed, possibly higher if you plan to carry much in the way of extra people or cargo. It can be easy to overload a van because there is so much space.

Some vans are fairly low and softly sprung. That could be a drawback if you do much off-highway towing.

We started out towing our Scamp 13 with a 2000 Toyota Sienna. It was a good tow vehicle for a small trailer, and one of the best all-around vehicles I have ever owned. Very comfortable and very reliable, like Norm says.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:31 AM   #9
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Hi Huck, just tossing this out to you. You say a van, but you might want to give an example of what you're calling a van. To me a van is the work type and the car mini vans folks are talking about here are.....well, cars and quite different .
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:45 AM   #10
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Name: Huck
Trailer: ParkLiner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Vans range from very small (think Mazda 5) to very large (Mercedes Sprinter). What sort of van do you have in mind? New or used?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Hi Huck, just tossing this out to you. You say a van, but you might want to give an example of what you're calling a van. To me a van is the work type and the car mini vans folks are talking about here are.....well, cars and quite different .
I should have been clearer. I meant a cargo van like a Ford Transit (not Connect), Nissan NT, or GMC Savana.
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Old 08-22-2017, 06:59 AM   #11
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Name: JD
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Cargo vans I don't know, but the passenger vans are all at the 3500 lb. tow rating.
The T&C is 3600, but only without the stow and go seats which is the main reason I chose this van.
4X8 sheets of plywood slide right in.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
...passenger vans are all at the 3500 lb. tow rating...
Traditional minivans, yes. But there are other vans with both lower and higher ratings. The Ford Transit Connect is smaller and rated to tow 2000 pounds. It has both cargo and passenger versions. Chevy, Nissan, and RAM also make small cargo-only vans. Too small for a Parkliner, though.

Larger vans like the ones mentioned by the OP are also available in cargo or passenger form and with various payload and tow ratings, so it's really a matter of choosing the right configuration for your towing and passenger/cargo needs.

An often overlooked in-between size is the Mercedes Metris. With a payload around 2400 pounds and tow rating of up to 5000 pounds, it's well above the typical minivan but smaller than a full-size van. Base price is competitive despite the logo, but options get expensive. Comes in passenger and cargo configurations. Just wish it had a turbo diesel option in North America.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:39 AM   #13
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Advantages of a van as tow vehicle

My brother tows a 32 foot Avion (a heavy vintage aluminum trailer) with a full size Sprinter. The long wheelbase version with dual rear wheels.

It's extreme example given the size of trailers on this forum but he finds the following advantages using a van rather than a pickup:

- gear is securely stored in the van. In their case they can carry kayaks and bicycles locked up inside the van.

- MPG in the van is the same or better than a pickup.

- full height gear storage area

- in the Sprinter the rear suspension is stiff enough that they do not need a weight distributing hitch even though they are hauling a very heavy trailer. Most half ton trucks actually have quite soft suspension to deliver ride comfort when lightly loaded.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:52 AM   #14
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Name: Daniel A.
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I tow with a Chevy Astro van 4.3 in the mountains 10-11 miles per gallon imperial, once on the flats it goes up to 13-14 towing. When not towing it only gets around 16-18 .
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:16 AM   #15
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Van tow vehicle?

That is a very simple question, but has a very complex answer. I have always used full-size vans for tow vehicles of the RV trailers that I have owned over the years. I had a 1988 Chevy passenger van with 305 V8 which was useless going through mountains, don't know how fuel consumption was affected? I later went back to using a 93 Ford E250 and the fuel consumption was terrible, but mainly based on terrain, speed & load. I now use a 2005 E350 to tow my T4500 and don't find much difference in fuel usage. It all depends on frontal area (and age) of the tow vehicle plus speed and weight of the total package, since the T4500 has almost the same frontal drag as the van. An E350 is actually overkill in suspension and springs and I would recommend an E250 or smaller for towing a small trailer. Just remember that even vans made huge progress in improving brakes, transmissions and fuel efficiency in recent years.
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Old 08-22-2017, 11:13 AM   #16
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Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I'm thinking of getting a van to pull my Parkliner. I haven't been able to find any info on how much it would effect mpg.

I get about 14 mpg towing with my Blazer, and I would like to not drop below that. The Blazer is 20+ years old and I just need a more comfortable tow vehicle.

Does anyone have any idea how much towing a fiberglass trailer affects mpg of a van?
Power, acceleration and cruising speed along with gearing are all factors with any Tow Vehicle.
Your question really only adds a couple more variables... areodynamics and handling to start with.
I just bought a Transit Connect so I have limited (about 40 miles) of set up and towing experience with it towing my Scamp13D.
Here are a couple of observations which I think may be generalized depending on what you tow and what you are comparing a van to.

1]Frontal area and areo front design which tapers up toward the rear.
this practically eclipses my trailer from the front except for the A/C which has a faring.

2] The rear axle is very close to the hitch which along with the short wheelbase makes the combo more responsive, ESPECIALLY when backing up.

3] Comparing the new combo to my Escape (now sold) and my Ranger.
it is even more comfortable, and equal in terms of ride and stability, at least in ideal conditions on side roads and on the interstate.

4] Rear doors on a van may prove to allow less access while towing and in many cases may not be opened at all with the trailer attached.
This is really offset by the large sliding doors but it will be a factor when packing.

5] Suddenly your trailer seems closer. This illusion can be disconcerting at first but will soon pass, but still, as with any new combo, check all clearances especially in sharp turns.

6] Compared to a pickup...more caution must be taken with a van when transporting combustibles. Also, You will need to make better provisions for wet or soiled items when loading. Like a bag for your patio mat.

A modern van is as safe, comfortable and capable as a comparable SUV or pickup, and in some ways more versatile. Vans are generally cheaper as well, even when comparably equipped.

I have also owned several Econolines, pickups and even an Aerostar.

I must admit to some trepidation with the new combo, which I am sure will dissipate with the first few hundred miles of driving in various conditions. After 17 years with my truck and 10 with the Escape(both stick shifts) some transition to the change, I think, would be expected.
You will likely experience some of the same when switching to a new TV, whatever you choose.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:26 PM   #17
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Name: J Ronald
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Van towing

Check with John, may be Jon, at Parkliner, he tows with a Honda and gets excellent milage. We tow a Casita 17ft liberty deluxe with 2008 Explorer rated to tow over 7000lbs. We get 13 to 14 mpg towing, 20 not towing. I believe today's Explorers do not tow this much.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:41 PM   #18
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Name: Floyd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Ron View Post
Check with John, may be Jon, at Parkliner, he tows with a Honda and gets excellent milage. We tow a Casita 17ft liberty deluxe with 2008 Explorer rated to tow over 7000lbs. We get 13 to 14 mpg towing, 20 not towing. I believe today's Explorers do not tow this much.
While ratings have been reevaluated across the spectrum, the new Explorer Sport still rates a 5000 pound tow rating, but its still not a van!
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:00 PM   #19
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018- 21FT- FORD
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Congratulations Floyd on your new tow vehicle.
Looks like you made a wise choice .
Of course it's hard to go wrong when you go with Ford
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:48 PM   #20
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Name: Tom
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I view my Tall Sprinter as an enclosed pickup

I used to haul an ATV in it, and it was nice if I wanted to just leave it in there. Unlike a pickup, nobody knew. On a few occasions I fit two ATVs in my medium wheelbase 144" Sprinter and got the back doors closed. Newer ATVs are larger. Fumes were not an issue.

When I bought mine I wanted adequate power, great mileage, and the ability to stand up. Diesel fuel used to be consistently cheaper. No more. I'd consider one again, no regrets. There are more choices now, and diesels have changed. If I drive with an egg under my foot, I get 25mpg. Towing, close to 20mpg. I would also look at Ecoboosts.

Here's a base Sprinter for $33,995, the tall roof adds $2,500. I wouldn't buy one without it. 5,000 lbs towing, plus 3,500 cargo. It is private, secure, adds secure cargo/sleeping space if needed. For plenty of folks, they aren't the tow vehicle, they are the RV. They blend in well with plumber's vans, which is good.

PS, they drive handle and park like a car. Handles way better than the old Westfalia. I miss it, but these tall vans replaced those.

https://www.mbvans.com/sprinter/comm...ans/worker-van
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