Tow Vehicle Suggestions - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:30 AM   #1
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Name: Kevin
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Tow Vehicle Suggestions

My family needs a camper with beds for 3 adults and room for a 50 lb. dog. After seeing and reluctantly rejecting a very nice Scamp 19 fifth wheel camper I've been trying to figure out what I should be looking for. My wife and I don't really don't want a large conventional TT. We also looked at a Casita Liberty deluxe that would be great for the two us but too small to accommodate our son. My latest idea is to look for a camper van that could be used as a tow vehicle for a fiberglass trailer. This way our son could have his privacy in his own space and my wife and I could have privacy in our own. My question is whether anyone here has ever heard of anyone doing this and whether or not it was successful.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:25 AM   #2
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To my thinking all you really need is a touring van with a convertible bed in it. It doesn't need the full kitchen and bathroom set-up. Maybe a porta-potty for nighttime if you felt it was needed.

Touring vans have fallen out of favor, and I don't know if new ones are still being made, but it wouldn't be difficult to replace the fixed seats in a regular passenger van with a jack-knife sofa.

I used a Ford E-150 travel van (regular roof) as a personal vehicle for a number of years as well as a one-person camper. Other than using more gas, it was an acceptable daily driver.

Either way a van should be able to handle any mid-sized molded fiberglass trailer easily. My mother has a Roadtrek class B and it has a fairly decent tow rating even with the weight of the camper conversion.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:01 AM   #3
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Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1974 Hunter Compact II & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
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I have a friend who "tried" and "failed" do to multitude of problems doing just what you are suggesting.

Here's are just a few of the reasons why this idea was a miserable experience, a huge failure and an expensive lesson for my friend !!!

Just remember a limited use "Camper Van" can & will have more potential maintenance problems do to sitting all the time than a "daily driver" tow vehicle that is in constant use. With a "camper van" you also have ALL the potential added maintenance problems of a "camper" that is mounted to that same "camper van" tow chassis. You will also once again duplicate some of those same "camper" maintenance issues with the addition of a fiberglass egg trailer towed behind that limited use "camper van". Do you have enough spare time for all that required and needed camper maintenance?

You will also be making a sizable EXPENDITURE (This is NOT an investment) in 2 different single use camping vehicles that are only good for camping and not much else.

Oh and let's not forget the fact that you now OWN 2 separate limited use camping vehicles that you have to PARK somewhere!

Is that really what you want to do?

These are some facts you should seriously consider!

You might want to "reconsider" your purchase of that Scamp!
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:04 AM   #4
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Kevine, we paid $5,000.00 for a 1993 5.7 Liter V-8 GMC pick-up with a fiberglass cap that I use to haul our motorcycle in while towing our Lil Snoozy. This cap would be fine to use as an extra bedroom. I would probable carpet the truck bed and cover the raw inside of the cap with a marine headliner if I wanted to make it fancy. Our Lil Snoozy also could sleep 3 adults and still have room for a large dog (especially if the dog would sleep under the queen bed as a "dog house". Best of luck with your decision.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:07 AM   #5
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Name: Darrell
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I can't think of any better tow vehicle than a full size passenger van for our fiberglass trailer. Ours is a 5-passenger arrangement and that leaves about 7-feet of cargo area behind the back seat for extra sleeping area and gear hauling, often a motorcycle in our case.
Additional benefits:
*A full-size van has at least 6500lbs towing capacity so they're very understressed by our lightweight trailers.
*The slipstream effect -- the van windblocks most of the frontal area of the trailer. Frontal area wind resistance does not get as much attention as trailer weight, but it is a significant factor.
* Lots of roof capacity for canoes, kayaks, stc.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:46 AM   #6
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I would opt for a truck with a long enough bed, 6ft 1 in to 6ft 5 in. depending on truck F150, Tacoma LB, etc, to put a nice shell on for extra sleeping area just add a bed mat and carpet over the mat. Check out the Leer 180 type shells, they have more head room with graduated top for mpg. I think you would make much more use of a truck when not towing than a van, just my thoughts.
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Old 11-10-2016, 01:13 PM   #7
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Everyone must determine their personal needs, and you didn't mention your son's age..my son started sleeping separate from us when he was about ten...yeah!
I suggest an extra cab pickup with a cap. We put a cot in it for our extra person. Our Ford F-150 has a long bed and a cab high cap. A small Wally World plastic three drawer chest goes right at the head of the bed and a battery led lamp provides light. The windows are tinted and slide open with screens. We have a Casita LD. So nice size bed for us, plenty of room on the floor for our two small dogs. The pick up bed hauls extra chairs, folding table etc when in transit.
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Old 11-10-2016, 06:17 PM   #8
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Name: Jann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpinvt View Post
My family needs a camper with beds for 3 adults and room for a 50 lb. dog. After seeing and reluctantly rejecting a very nice Scamp 19 fifth wheel camper I've been trying to figure out what I should be looking for. My wife and I don't really don't want a large conventional TT. We also looked at a Casita Liberty deluxe that would be great for the two us but too small to accommodate our son. My latest idea is to look for a camper van that could be used as a tow vehicle for a fiberglass trailer. This way our son could have his privacy in his own space and my wife and I could have privacy in our own. My question is whether anyone here has ever heard of anyone doing this and whether or not it was successful.
We pulled our 17ft Casita with a 2002 Chevrolet Conversion van with a 5.7ltr engine and automatic transmission. It had the front and center captains seats and a back seat that laid down into a bed. So it would seat 7 people. It had windows that slid open with screens on them so we could get air but not bugs into the van. We used it for 8 years before getting a different vehicle this year. We kept a potta potti in it in case we slept in it for some reason or had someone with us. We got about 16MPG consistently. This vehicle could be used as a daily driver for shopping, church, etc and to pull. We have a cat and needed a lot of room for her stuff as well as extra things that didn't fit in the Casita. So this would be a good option for you as well.
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Old 11-10-2016, 06:38 PM   #9
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Name: Michael
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One of our members, "Accrete," was happily towing a Parkliner with a Sprinter van. The couple actually slept in the back of the van and used the trailer during the daytime. I don't see a thing wrong with having a van, pickup, or whatever other sleepable-space tow vehicle you want; after all, you have to tow with something!
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Old 11-11-2016, 06:47 AM   #10
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As I think more, even some minivans can be configured for sleeping. Properly equipped, many are rated to pull 3500 pounds, which would allow you to tow most 16' and smaller molded fiberglass trailers.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:28 AM   #11
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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We just bought a 2016 Town and country van and with the stow N go seats the thing has 4' X 8' clear, flat space behind the front seats.
This could be used for air mattress etc.
I tow a heavy 16' Scamp and the tow rating for this van is 3500 lbs with WDH and 1800 without.
A T&C with the towing package has self leveling suspension and heavy duty cooling for the engine and transmission.
It's hard to find one with the complete towing package, but for the past several years they have had the suspension and heavy duty stuff, but nit the hitch and wiring.
If you were to buy an new Pacifica the towing package is less than $1000.
I bought a T&C used from a dealer that was a Hertz rental on the GDP (Guaranteed Depreciation Plan) where they had a buy back price set for X number of months so that they can add vehicles doe heavy use seasons.
My van had 7800 miles on it when I bought it.
It had the suspension and heavy duty package and I added the OEM hitch and OEM wiring harness.
Just one thought to add to the others above.
The T&C has a 6 speed auto transmission and the Pacifica an 8 speed ZF auto.
The engine is a strong 3.6 V6 used in every V6 application in the line.
Previously we had a 1998 Voyager van for 230,000 miles and got good use from it.
I hope the T&C does as well.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:32 AM   #12
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How about this for a "Unique" dual purpose tow vehicle for sleeping and towing!

1980 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes 300E 2.5D | eBay
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Old 11-12-2016, 02:04 PM   #13
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Name: Kevin
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Thank You

Thanks, everyone for chiming in with some great ideas. This has given me a lot to think about.
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