Towing advice needed!

Discussion in 'Old RVUSA Forum' started by Old Forum Post, Feb 8, 2001.

  1. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    [MusicMan] I have a 6000lb. Conversion Van (351 V8 w/ 3.55 rear) w/ a GCWR of 12,000lbs.
    I would like to tow a 4500lb. dry wt. 26ft. Terry TT out to Rockies from FL and back. I have a ClassIV hitch w/ Sway ctrl. and Weight Distribution. Is this feasible? Any experiences or advice appreciated!
     
  2. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [Jim M] Looks to me as though you have pretty much the ideal setup for what you want to do. I towed a 6000 lb trailer for years with a jeep cherokee v-6--it was obviously undersized for the job, but did ok except on the larger of hills. Your van should be just the ticket. It would be more ideal if you had a 3.73 or even 4.10 rearend, but I think with your V-8 your rear end ratio will work out just fine. The weight distributing hitch will solve any tongue weight problems you may have. Happy RVing!
     
  3. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [George Miller] Agree with the above. I would also suggest you install an external transmission cooler (I assume your van is automatic). Even though your weight numbers are good, this will be cheap insurance for your tranny. Best of luck.
     
  4. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [jmerritt] I am assuming that you know the 6000# van weight to be accurate, and does that include loaded with passengers or not. The 4500# dry weight on your Terry is probably more like 5500# when it is loaded, so your combined is right at the limits of your van especially if the van weight is based on empty weight. Might even exceed your capcity. I don&#039t subscribe to maxing out your tow vehicle, because I don&#039t think you will be happy with performance especially in the mountains. Also IMHO, the longevity of the vehicle will suffer. It&#039s like anything else mechanical, if you work it at max capacity it will not last as long. My guess is you would have about another 1000# capacity with a 3.73 rear end and your mileage while towing won&#039t suffer, it may even be better since you won&#039t be working the engine as hard as you would with the 3.55. I would find out exact weights of both vehicle and trailer when loaded and factor my decision on what changes need to be made based on that information. Whatever you do, don&#039t accept what a TT salesman may tell you about what your vehicle can tow. He won&#039t be with you out on the road when you start having problems. Also, no matter what you decide to do you need to make sure the vehicle is equipped properly for towing. Make sure you have a large enough radiator and a separate transmission cooler. I would check to see if your van has the trailer tow package and if it doesn&#039t, find out what the components that come with the package include. You should then get the van equipped as the specs in the package call for. If you have the mechanical ability, you might be able to do most of the additional work yourself. The rear end is probably something you would want to leave to a pro. Also, don&#039t forget about the weight distribution hitch, brake controller, and trailer electrical connection wiring.
     
  5. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [Vern M.] We&#039re on our third trailer pulled behind our 1994 GMC VAndura 2500 Tiara conversion van and have been continually pleased by the pairing. A conversion van of suitable size and ruggedness (the Tiara is essentially a 3/4 ton GMC), gives you weight and mass to controll a trailer better than smaller vehicles. And our rigs have been in Colorado&#039s high country and all the way to the Gulf States in the past year.

    The evolution of our experience and adventures are detailed at the web site listed below, if you want another opinion based on really "doin&#039 it."

    Vern M.
    The Little House on the Highway (tm)
    www.runningriver.com/modeland/littlehouse.htm
     
  6. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [Les Adams] Right on Jmerritt!!!

    That&#039s exactly what I said to him (her) over on another BBS...

    Sounds to me like he will be over truck CGWR or GVWR or both and towing performance is going to be miserable (and unsafe)!!!

    He (she)would be wise to get the vehicles weighed to see exactly what he is working with... I would certainly hope this individual heeds our advice as he (she) is setting themself up for a large disappointment if all he (she) is doing is asking the same question until he (she) get the answer they want to hear...


    Best Regards,
    Les Adams
     
  7. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [jmerritt] Les,

    What amazes me is the number of people who will get excited about a TT and have some kind of tow vehicle but no idea what it can effectively tow. Then they buy the TT and, like you say, try to rationalize that the tow vehicle they have can do the job. I am going through this with my son-in-law who bought a 25" TT with a slide 2 years ago. Had a 88 350 Blazer with a 3.42 rear end and of course the salesman said the Blazer would be fine. Tow rating for the Blazer was about 6000# and the trailer weight about 5500#. Of course he buys the TT without talking to me about towing capacity, etc. What do I know, only been towing for 30 years! Well, after one trip to the Smokies and cooking the tranny he realized that it wasn&#039t the vehicle he needed. Used my old 460 van last year until he can get a new vehicle this year. Now he shows me everything he is even considering before he will make a move. Probably has something to do with his wife our daughter! He says she always answers every discussion they have about a tow vehicle with "we aren&#039t doing anything until we talk to dad". My take on the whole thing is that it isn&#039t important who you talk to about towing, just be sure you talk to someone who has experience since most of them have been through the growing pains of towing. I can&#039t tell you how many times I have talked to different folks in campgrounds who aren&#039t happy with their tow vehicles but everyone of them was assured by the saleman that they would have no problem. Why go through the aggravation as well as uneeded expense by not having the right tow vehicle and equipment.

    John
     
  8. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [jmerritt] Les,

    The other thing that you bring up that people seem to want to overlook is the combined weight factor. They think that if the engine and rear end combination gives a certain towing capacity, that is the only thing to think about. I like the idea of the combined rating since that is effectively what the drivetrain has to move. No matter what the trailer weighs, if the combined will exceed the drivetrain capacity there is trouble in store for the driver. Doesn&#039t seem to be something that sales people even mention when talking to prospective buyers. I know it wasn&#039t discussed with my son-in-law.
     
  9. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [BARNEY] A LOT OF THIS TOWING NOT ONLY DEPENDS ON POWER TO WEIGHT ETC. BUT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE DRIVER USING THE UNIT. IF YOU GET IN THE UNIT AND PUT IT INDRIVE AND EXPECT IT TO DO THE JOB FROM THERE IT WONT WORK WITH THE BEST OF UNITS. YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE VANS NEEDS FOR DOWNSHIFTING TO PULL THE MOUNTAINS AS WELL AS USING THE ENGINE AS BRAKING POWER COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAINS.
    I PULL A 20&#039 BOAT WITH A 2500 VANDURA IN THE SIERRA FOOTHILLS AND FIND IT NECESSARY TO MANUALLY HOLD IT IN LOW TO GET THE JOB DONE WITH NO OVER HEATING IN 105 DEGREE WEATHER,YOU NEED TO KEEP THE RPM&#039S UP AT ALL TIMES. THE EXTRA TRANS COOLER IS GOOD ADVICE.
    MY VAN HAS 3.55 DIFF WITH A 350 V8 AND GM&#039S HEAVY DUTY COLLING SYSTEM.
     
  10. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [Les Adams] Hi John,

    Well I think a lot of that is caused by not knowing what to do first and quite honestly, we on the BBS&#039s can do little to resolve that as we are not usually the first point of contact...

    I would think the RV dealer is the first point of contact probably at an RV show somewhere and of course we all know the dealer is not going to blow a sale just because the person has an inadequete tow vehicle...

    You know and I know that there is towing and then there is towing... I follow the old philosophy of that there is no such thing as too much truck and there is NO substitute for cubic inches... Sounds to me like you think along the same lines... You 460 Van sounds like a nice towing platform... I had a 460 in a 1987 Mallard Class C MH and it was a good strong motor, definetly up to the towing tasks...

    But I am somewhat surprised at what people are towing... I saw 2 posts today of guys towing over weight with 1/2 tons and one was actually #2800 over weight and tried to justify it with stories of researching tow ratings on his own... Cheeeeez!!!!!

    My V-10 is pretty good too but I consider it on the low side of acceptable with 415 cubic inches... I would have liked to have seen a motor up around the 500 cubic inch area like the new Chevy 8.1L... Not to belittle the Ford V-10 as it makes 425 lb. feet of torque but it makes it at 3200 RPM... It would have been better if it made it a bit lower down the RPM range... But it is a pretty strong runner...

    Yep, I agree... Talk to someone and make it someone that&#039s sitting behind the wheel of a truck/trailer combination... Specs are one thing but you just can&#039t beat practicle experience... Towing to be sure is a very subjective topic but most new folks don&#039t realize just how fast a vehicle&#039s performance degrades when you hang a #6000 trailer on the rear end of it... And again, most folks think it&#039s the weight when in reality most of the towing task is overcoming wind resistance or drag at highway speeds of 60-65 MPH... And then of course there is stopping the load...

    Most people won&#039t be affected by a panic stop as the law of averages is with them... The 4 time a year camper is not very likely to encounter a panic stop situation... But if he does have to make a panic stop, not just a quick stop, but a "put your foot in the firewall" full blown panic stop, he&#039s gonna find out real fast just who adequete (or inadequete!!) that tow vehicle really is as #6000 of trailer tries to pass him up and kiss the front end of the tow vehicle... You had best have a very substantial truck to handle the loads impressed on the tow vehicle...

    I learned my lesson early on with a 1/2 ton truck and I&#039ll never buy anything small again for towing... If I ever upgrade from this one, I&#039ll probably buy a full 1 ton dually just to have the capacity...

    As far as your son in law is concerned I&#039m surprised you even let him try it with the Blazer... That&#039s a very small (short wheel base ) vehicle for that much trailer... I&#039m actually surprised that&#039s all the damage he did...

    Well, I&#039m glad he listening to Dad now... I had a similar experience with my older daughter regarding her purchase of auto&#039s... She wouldn&#039t listen to me when I suggested what to buy and after years of problems, finally asked me to help her buy a new one... I told her I would if she listened to what I said... She agreed and is very happy with the Explorer Sport she now drives...

    All we can do is keep giving advice I guess... Whether folks follow it or not is up to them...

    Best Regards,
    Les
     
  11. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [jmerritt] Les,

    I tried to tell my son-in-law that he was pressing his luck with the Blazer but he is one of those guys that just doesn&#039t believe it until he finds out for himself. Now $1300 poorer for the tranny rebuild and he is a believer. I pull my TT with a F-350 PSD and I understand where you are coming from about the torque of the gasser coming at higher RPMs. That is one of the definite pluses for the diesel in that it develops its torque at much lower RPMs.

    Regards,

    John
     
  12. Old Forum Post

    Old Forum Post Senior Member

    Towing advice needed!

    [Les Adams] Nice truck John,

    I looked at and drove the PSD before buying my V-10... For the way I use my truck and RV I couldn&#039t justify the cost... I also have a wife that hates diesels so that entered into the equation too... The other definite plus is mileage... The diesels do better mileage wise but that is now offset with the higher fuel costs of diesel fule over gasoline... Ya just can&#039t win...

    No doubt they are pullers but my V-10 does pretty well for what I am towing... I&#039ve been happy with it and it continues to run well... Right now, I am waiting on mf Ford dealer for TSB 00-24-4 ... That&#039s the one that installs a new radiator and runs the transmission lines thru it and then thru the aux cooler... My 2000 SD was one of those that was manufactured in late 99 and they only used the aux cooler, no radiator!!! Duh!! Go figure... Anyway, I&#039m about to call themand see what the story is as I have been waiting for over 3 weeks now for parts...

    Best Regards,
    Les
     

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