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Old 01-30-2016, 11:16 PM   #1
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Towing a Full Size Van?

We're considering buying a full size van as our tow vehicle. Due to our business, we can travel 100 miles or more in the van, leaving the RV behind to do business. It's a conversion van, so we plan on sleeping in it for a few nights at a time. Would a 454 Chevy Gasser be able to tow the van? Should we go mini van? Thanks in advance for any answers.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:04 AM   #2
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Hello,
There is another discussion going on in this thread:

Towing behind 3911 Canyon Star

You can find some answers there as the question you have is similar.

There are some important variables to consider you'll find addressed also, but every situation is unique.......
What is your coach's GVWR and your hitch weight limit?

I assume you're planning on towing all 4 wheels down, (there's some transmission issues there) typically you have to tow with drive-train disconnected, or driveshaft disconnected.

You need a braking system/lights for your Van........

Before I go any further, check out the other thread, then jump back in and provide some more info on your rig etc. Then we'll all get into a more detailed conversation about what is safe and feasible for you.

BTW, I personally don't believe your 454 power wise would have any trouble getting it done, that is with all wheels down best case. Only variable with that is MPG I guess.
I have a 2004 Ford conversion van I wanted to do the same as you. But I can't get under it to disconnect the big driveshaft. Also to my dismay I found out the folks who make an aftermarket driveshaft disconnect (button on the dash) won't go near my van. They gave up on 'em I'm told because after the modification they couldn't get the driveshaft to balance.

Best, and safe travels....
W.D.
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:13 AM   #3
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We don't have our coach yet, we're still looking for one. I mentioned the 454 Chevy because that's what we've been looking at. The van in question is a Ford Conversion Van with the V8 Triton motor. I happened to come across it last week. She's an older model, 1998 and the interior is absolutely pristine and beautiful! I have to have her!
We're vendors, and are going on the road full time, so I wanted the conversion van to travel to events, and leave the RV parked, as that will be our "home base".
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Old 01-31-2016, 05:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertLass View Post
We don't have our coach yet, we're still looking for one. I mentioned the 454 Chevy because that's what we've been looking at. The van in question is a Ford Conversion Van with the V8 Triton motor. I happened to come across it last week. She's an older model, 1998 and the interior is absolutely pristine and beautiful! I have to have her!
We're vendors, and are going on the road full time, so I wanted the conversion van to travel to events, and leave the RV parked, as that will be our "home base".
The wife and I always thought about doing this, what are you vending?
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:52 AM   #5
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A full up RV conversion van will weigh around 8-9,000 lbs. I would expect any 454-based MH to have a 5K or lower tow rating. You may want to rethink your MH-toad relationship.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:46 AM   #6
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You need to determine the weight you can tow...

Tow rating is the lower of:

1. Coach's hitch rating.

2. Coach tow rating.

3. Chassis tow rating (sometimes different than the coach's).

4. The difference in weight between the coach's GCWR and the coach's actual weight when ready to tow.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:39 AM   #7
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Odds are any 454 powered coach is not rated to tow as much weight as a typical full size van. They were typically rated to tow only 4000 lbs, or maybe 5000 tops. The loaded van almost surely exceeds that.

The van itself may not be towable. Generally an older Ford automatic is not towable (with all four wheels on the road) unless it is also a four-wheel-drive model with a transfer case that has a neutral position. You can add a diveline disconnect to it, but that's an major additional expense (probably $2000+).

A minivan is no better. They are mostly front wheel drive and would require the addition of a transmission lube pump, or the use of a tow dolly to get the front (drive) wheels off the road. And may still exceed the tow weight limitation.

Follow Cat320's advice to learn what weight you can tow, then figure what vehicles fits that capability. Either that, or start looking for a diesel-powered coach with a higher tow rating.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:57 AM   #8
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, a 454 type Motor Home would really not do the JOB. To hall a full size conversion Van with a MH you will need a heavy duty frame type DP preferable with at less 400 hp. Towing package should be 10,000 pd. rated. People have hall that much weight with lot less in the pass, however if you want something that going to do a safe job and want to be legal on the road you want the MH weight to be at less 3 time the weight your towing with the HP to do the job.
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:57 PM   #9
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The wife and I always thought about doing this, what are you vending?
We vend several different items, I don't want to say exactly, because I got slapped for mentioning our business on another post.
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:59 PM   #10
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I just looked it up, and the van itself, unloaded states the weight is 4,650 curb weight, and the gross vehicle weight states 6,050. What is the difference between "curb weight" and "gross vehicle weight"?

I guess then, the only alternative would be for me to drive the van to our destinations, while my DH drives the RV, then park the RV and go. I was also thinking mini van, how much is the apparatus to tow one of them? The tow dolly? Sorry I'm such a newbie, just trying to figure some things out before we're ready to roll.
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:47 PM   #11
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A dolly can weigh 400 to 500 lbs. That weight needs to be added to the towed weight equation.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:40 PM   #12
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Wow, that's a lot of added weight. So, now I see why a mini van may not work, either.
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:00 PM   #13
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We tow a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan 4-wheel down with a 2013 Newmar Canyon Star 39 footer. Just add a Remco Transmission lube pump to the Caravan, and a good hitch & braking system. As others have said, don't exceed any weight (include your "vending stuff") or hitch limits. You'll get there, but expect crummy miles per gallon.


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Old 02-18-2016, 06:16 PM   #14
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Well, we figured this thing out. I got the van last week, and it's awesome! We'll dock the RV in the Quartzsite area for a few months, move it on up to the Parker Strip, then when we want to move on after May, we'll either store the van, or I'll drive it and my dear David will drive the RV, depending on how far we plan to travel.

If we go cross country (which we certainly plan on) we'll just take the RV with no toad. For short vending trips, say to Yuma, Big Bear or Palm Springs area, we'll just load up the van and go. We can comfortably sleep in it for a few days. Problem solved. Where there's a will, there's a way. Now, I need a foam topper for the bed in the van.
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