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Old 03-29-2014, 01:17 PM   #1
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Name: Trina
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towing 13' with Eurovan?

Hello,

We have been towing our 13' burro with our Honda Odyssey. The Lease is up on our Odyssey and we're really interested in a Eurovan weekender for my kid carpooling vehicle as well as a family car. Does anyone have any info on real life towing with a eurovan? On line, some people seem to be fine with it while others say NO WAY. We only take the burro out a handful of times a year but one of those is usually a two week trip. Last year from Seattle to San Fran. The Eurovan would be so nice for single overnights when we don't want to hitch up but we really need a car that will safely pull the Burro and our camping gear when it is needed. The other car we're looking at is a Toyota Highlander but it obviously doesn't offer the same flexibility with use.

Thanks for any insight-Trina
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:01 PM   #2
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Good day Trina.

Your Honda Ody is a highly praised tow vehicle both in capabilities and reliability, especially the newer ones. Note older Ody's had some tranny issues.

In all my years of researching TV's I have read "very few" towing reports on the Eurovan. They are not that popular.

Based on my research the Eurovan or the Highlander would be a step down from the Ody as far as a tow vehicle is concerned.

Also consider the Toyota Sienna mini van. It too has a reputation of having a modest tow rating and is very reliable. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:53 PM   #3
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Bottom Line: What is the towing capacity of the Eurovan as stated in the owners manual for that vehicle?



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Old 03-29-2014, 04:35 PM   #4
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You can go online and get the towing specs for the van you are considering. With a 13foot Burro, you shouldn't have a problem if it has a reasonable towing package on it. But verify the specs yourself.
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Old 03-29-2014, 04:49 PM   #5
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We have been towing with a 2003 Eurovan MV for 9 years: 1 year with a 13' Burro and 8 years with a 16' UHaul VT. The VT is about 1850 pounds dryweight and we tow with an AC and other weight added. It probably is closer to 2600 lbs. when we camp. The V6 is plenty powerful and the versatility of the Eurovan is outstanding. It tows like nothing is behind it. The only places we feel the trailer is in the mountains, but any van would feel those. If you can find a Eurovan, I would say "Go for it." The biggest problem is finding one, especially one with relatively low mileage after 11 years since they were last sold in the U.S.
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Old 03-29-2014, 04:59 PM   #6
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Kevin, My heart just skipped a little beat. My husband is wondering if you added any after market features to improve towing-like to the transmission? Also do you have a manual or automatic. Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:23 PM   #7
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We added nothing to the van other than very sturdy tires with a load rating of 104. Our first 2003 Eurovan was purchased with 26,000 miles used and made it to 186,000 miles before the tranny went. It was quoted at $6000 to rebuild, so we looked for one with fewer miles. It had about 60,000 towing miles up to this time. Our 2nd 2003 was just purchased in December and has almost 3,000 towing miles already. We were able to find one with just under 75,000 miles on it. Both have been automatics with 17 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. We get about 15 mpg towing.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:42 PM   #8
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Looks like you would not want any Eurovan prior to 2001 model year, because I read that the engines were really anemic before then.

The Highlander had a 3500 lb tow rating until 2007, then from 2008 on they were good for 5000 lb. My '08 has towed for over 125,000 of its 160,000 miles.
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Old 03-30-2014, 12:39 AM   #9
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Thanks, it's so helpful to talk this out here. We looked at at 2002 and we were totally surprised by it's giddy-up. The manual indicates it would tow the Burro! Still thinking about it but at least now it seems feasible and as the kids get older we can kick them out of the Burro and into the euro (or a tent.)
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:21 AM   #10
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This is Kevin's wife. We like the Eurovan so much, we replaced it with one like it that is 11 years old. The new one is pictured in my avatar on our camping trip to FL. Note it is not towing a 13' camper, but a 16' camper.

On our recent trip to Germany, you see these all over as the work vehicles, towing all kinds of things. Note that they are not built with American comfort-level details like automatically-closing doors or folding seats. They ride like a pickup too. Yet, recently helping our son to move with him using his Honda Odyssey and us using our Eurovan, our vehicle could carry 3 times as many boxes as his Honda.

During camping trips, it carries all our camping items: luggage, bikes, electric scooter, food, electronics, etc. It is amazing what this camper can hold. We once carried a full-sized china cabinet home from Iowa in the other Eurovan, with me telling Kevin the whole time he was loading that it would not fit. I was wrong.

They are difficult to find though. Even the VW employees were astonished that we could find not one, but two of them. They are coveted to the extent that there exists a Facebook page asking VW to bring them back to this country.

We own a tall, tacky-looking trophy for first place, won in our category at a VW show with our previous Eurovan displayed as pulling our previously-owned 13' Burro.


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Old 03-30-2014, 07:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CindyL View Post
Yet, recently helping our son to move with him using his Honda Odyssey and us using our Eurovan, our vehicle could carry 3 times as many boxes as his Honda. CindyL
That kind of cargo space is impressive as well as it's 3/4 ton payload capacity.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:16 AM   #12
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So I'm feeling really good about the towing, thanks for your insight. Now I'm just having to come to terms with some of the safety aspects of our Honda vs the euro. Test drove a 2002 of a family who has outgrown theirs with a third kid. I carpool and the seatbelt situation bothers me a bit, and I'll lose about thirty airbags as compared to our odyssey. This one has after market shoulder belts installed on the rear facing seets but they look a little worn from not feeding back in smoothly so I think we'll have them replaced if we buy it. They bit the bullet though and replaced the tranny two years ago so that makes us feel better about the miles. We're having it checked out by a mechanic this week. If you have any specific questions you think I should ask I'd be happy to hear.
Thanks so much!
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Old 03-30-2014, 01:23 PM   #13
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They bit the bullet though and replaced the tranny two years ago so that makes us feel better about the miles. We're having it checked out by a mechanic this week. If you have any specific questions you think I should ask I'd be happy to hear.
Thanks so much!
Since 1986 I have been driving and towing heavier trailers with numerous far east imports, cars and mini vans. I have averaged 200,000 to over 300,000 miles on most of them. Never had a tranny problem at all.

I confess to owning a big Mercedes sedan years ago and appreciate much of the German engineering, rock solid build quality, and nice drive.
I just had a quick review of the consumers reports "annual auto issues" from the last 10 years. Generally speaking the VW product line is showing below average when it comes to reliability. Comparing that to the Asian imports which come out at above average to much better than average.

Best of luck with whatever you end up with.
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:03 PM   #14
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I'm not sure what you are going to pay for the Eurovan (or willing to pay for a van). But if $30k is a possibility for you, I would say to test drive a Ram Promaster cargo van. I drove a half-ton one around the dealer lot and it rode surprisingly well. The Pentastar V6 felt really peppy also. Of course it doesn't have that unique VW appeal, but new means no repair bills for quite a while whereas used... well, one never can predict.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:21 AM   #15
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As noted above, the Eurovan does lose out on the airbag front. That is one big reason they are not sold any longer in North America. Our MV only has two airbags for the driver and passenger. Also, the jump seats can be less than ideal for car-pooling since the seats are rear-facing and may cause some problems for kids with car-sickness issues. We remove our jump seats to have more cargo space in the middle of the van. We also lower the bed when we need to haul large objects like a cabinet or wardrobe. The back shelf behind the rear seat can also be removed to allow for large items.

The final drawback for some folks can be the availability of service shops that will work on them. When we broke our radiator fans on a trip in West Virginia two years ago, the local shop would order the parts and let us use their tools, but didn't want to touch the actual repair because they hadn't seen one before. I did the work myself thanks to directions on the internet, so we came out OK. In the Chicago area, we have lots of VW dealers and import shops, so it's no problem here other than the cost of repairing imports! (I also always travel with my tools. I don't have any training, but I can follow directions!)
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:04 AM   #16
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The final drawback for some folks can be the availability of service shops that will work on them. When we broke our radiator fans on a trip in West Virginia two years ago, the local shop would order the parts and let us use their tools, but didn't want to touch the actual repair because they hadn't seen one before. I did the work myself thanks to directions on the internet, so we came out OK. In the Chicago area, we have lots of VW dealers and import shops, so it's no problem here other than the cost of repairing imports! (I also always travel with my tools. I don't have any training, but I can follow directions!)
I'v never ran across a shop that would allow a customer to do their own repairs.

That is impressive that you replaced the rad yourself and got the vehicle back on the road. Not many folks have the will, training, or talent to accomplish that repair.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:30 AM   #17
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What about a GMC Safari or Chevy Astrovan. They have a tow capacity of 5000lbs, are rearwheel drive and have loads of room. Much easier to find too and would be less money out of pocket.
I towed with a Toyota Sienna for over 3yrs and it did fantastic with my T@b Teardrop and Scamp 13. I just took my first trip in my Rav4 and really miss the room of the Sienna. When it's time to replace my Rav4 I will probably move to the Highlander to gain back extra passenger/cargo space I lost from my Sienna.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:54 AM   #18
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The Astro's and Safari's will work but regardless of the tow rating would never be as good (overall ) as the newer Sienna's or Honda Oddy's. The Highlander is desirable as it has a great reliability record but again will not be as stable towing, or roomy as the Sienna.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:31 PM   #19
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I think you are probably referring to the fact that shops won't allow a customer to work inside the shop. I did the repairs in the parking area next to our cabin, about 100 yards away from the shop. Other than really tight quarters on the engine compartment, the repair just required loosening and tipping the radiator out of the way, loosening and moving the coolant tank out of the way, removing the fan assembly from the back of the radiator, and replacing the fans on the assembly frame. No coolant lines needed to be disconnected. It took about 2 hours for the whole thing since I was being very careful! I put in just one fan at that time (all we could order) and then did it again upon our return home when we got the second fan. I did it much faster that day!
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:39 PM   #20
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Oh I understand Kevin. Thought you changed the rad. I see it was the cooling fans. Still more than the average joe would take on.
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