Ok, to clarify:
We have the extended van, but it has the 9 passenger seating configuration. It's a low-top conversion van with 6 leather captains chairs and an electric sofa in the back, 20" drop down screen, 2 dvd players, etc etc etc. If it were up to me, I'd keep the van. You have no idea how annoying "Moooommmmy!!! He's touching meeeee!" can be when screamed in a high pitch whine over and over.
The van totally solved that problem- they couldn't reach each other!
BUT, and this really is a big but, my husband prefers the excursion.
The people we got the van from beat the snot out of it. It was used as a ranch truck of all things, towing cattle trailers and such. Maintenance was not done as needed. We've already sunk so much money into it, but there is still so much wrong. And there is the not so little matter of how it has performed towing the trailer from GA to TX and around S. TX, overheating. It needs guages, too. I need a reliable vehicle; being broken down with 5 small kiddos is not fun. And, the excursion has 4 wheel drive, which is more in tune with what we like to do- get off the beaten path.
I guess if time and money were not luxury items and I had them in abundance, I would have the van fixed up to my specifications....or just buy a new one, made to order. But this is the real world and in it, I have a budget. I also have my husband home for only 6 more weeks. During that time, there are things that he must do. Then, when he leaves, it's going to be up to me to deal with getting everything packed, cleaning and painting the house, meeting with the realtor....Time is not on our side, and neither is money.
I think part of our problem with sway was our hitch. We have an Equalizer 12Klb...I'm not impressed.
Driving 55mph from TX to GA for the holiday...we pulled over at a rest area and my husband did his routine check of everything. The *(&(*& bolt had sheared off. He dropped the trailer and drove around, looking for a new bolt. Got a hitch pin. That got us to GA (replacing it about 1/2 way with another hitch pin b/c that one had bent). Bought a new bolt with a higher tensile strength (?) in GA. Turned around and came home. Checked it out again. The piece of crap! One of the welds are now failing and the slot where the sway bar goes is cracked.
So, I really think a better hitch would help. Even if it doesn't, this hitch is being recycled and we're going to get a Pro Pride or HA before moving the tt again.
To further add to the sway, I suspect we need to increase our tongue weight. I'm
on how to do so with our floor plan, though. It's set up so that most of the weight is in the back! There is very limited storage in the front (our bedroom)- even combined with the pass through storage. The back, however, has a slide with 3 bunkbeds, a big exterior storage area, and another bunk with an armoir type thing under it! It just isn't balanced. I have been working on some ideas for book storage in our room as well as incorporating a baby bed/side car bed....I'm going to load it up with everything I'm taking on our trip and take it to the scales. I'll keep weighing the darn thing until I have it right....even if that means adding sand bags!!
Van tires are E rated, fully inflated.
"OK, the Excursion... did you know it's nearly identical to the van's drivetrain (motors & trans) but with a softer suspension?" Hmm...my husband said that the suspension is softer on the van and there are more springs on the Excursion. I don't remember the number, but he was surprised because the van is an E350 and the Excursion is basically a 250. (Sorry, I was only listening with 1/2 an ear.)
And no matter which tow vehicle you or anyone uses, proper guages for trans temp, motor temp at the minimum are honestly needed (EGT guage for turbo powered). With out those you're in the dark on how your vehicle is doing. Relying on the factory dash is asking for a very unpleasant surprise. <---Yep, we figured this out since the van's guages are USELESS! The Excursion has some oil temp and other guages going up the front of it, along the part between the windshield and the driver's door. Sorry, I don't know what they are- again, I wasn't interested. He does most of the driving; I only drive around town and refuse to tow the trailer. I tried. I cried. Never again. But, maybe it was the hitch....either way, I'll stick with playing with the kids and being navigator. Oh, and it is the 6.0L....The van is the 7.3L.
I hope I wasn't too rude, Just trying to understand and help.[/QUOTE] <----Not rude at all. As I said, if I could afford to (money and time) give the van the facelift it needs with guages and such, I would. It would make our upcoming trip SO much better! I guess the kids are either going to learn to get along on this trip or someone is going to ride on the roof rack.