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Old 07-31-2021, 04:20 PM   #1
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Question Need Advice, please, about Cargo-Van towing capacity

I am retiring and hope to live fulltime in a travel trailer. After having researched what trailers might work, I concluded that a toy hauler is best for my needs and wants. Some offer large holding tanks and cargo capacity for boondocking and installing extra stuff like a large solar panel system. I will remodel the cargo space into a main living area with an office for reading and writing. I have been a home remodeling contractor and have extensive skills for doing most of the work myself. I have narrowed down the TT manufacturer and model to around 16 different ones. They range in total weight from 8,000 to 13,000 lbs. The trailer that seems best for conversion to fulltime living is an Outdoors RV 24trx trail series toy hauler.

The problem? It weighs a lot, and I hope to tow it with a one-ton, high-top, diesel cargo van that I shall purchase, probably a Ford Transit cargo van, GVWR up to 11,000 pounds. Is that too small for towing a 13,000 lb. trailer? I would carry very little cargo in the van. The 2020 Transit can accommodate a payload of up to 4,530 pounds but is higher for 2021 model, if I understand correctly. Would that help increase its towing capacity to make it reasonable for hauling 13,000 lbs.?

I prefer not to get a truck for towing, such as for a fifth wheel. A cargo van will have far more potential functionality for full-time rving.

If the setup I'm dreaming about isn't realistic, I could get a toy hauler with less total weight, less than 11,000 lbs. But of all the trailers I've researched (hours and hours over the last three months), the 24trx seems to fit my needs the best for full-time traveling the country. I like Lance toy haulers too, but they're so expensive.

I thankfully appreciate anyone's kindness, with the required experience and expertise, to take the time to give me advice about the rig setup I'm dreaming about. Or perhaps there's already a thread about this particular subject. If so, please inform me of it.

Thank you for helping my dream become reality, Kurt.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:32 PM   #2
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Would you consider just living in a cargo van? Lots of people do it as they customize it for their needs. If not, I think cargo vans are as capable as most trucks. I know they can have dual rear wheels. I think I could live in an Amazon Prime delivery van if I had to.

My friend just bought a Sprinter Class 'B'. He likes it.

You could buy a Sprinter Van and do your conversion. It comes will duel rear wheels. That implies it can tow a lot.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:35 PM   #3
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The only answer is to look at the information Ford provides on the Transit. I seriously doubt it can tow anywhere near 13K lb.

I am having difficulty wrapping my head around a 13K lb bumper pull travel trailer, thats well into 5th wheel weights. Ok, just looked, you are looking at 1500 to 1900+ tongue weight on that when loaded. 30 ft ball to bumper (or ladder as they say, possibly it does not have a bumper) and that is a lot of trailer to be swinging behind a van, or even a 250/2500 truck.

Trailer weight and towing capacity are two different things. Towing capacity as determined by the manufacturer does not take into account something like a travel trailer. Lots of wind resistance, no matter how streamlined and that huge billboard of a side to catch wind. You are going to want a Hensley or Pro Pride hitch with that!

Remodeling requires a lot of skills, project planning, knowledge of both 120v AC and 12v DC wiring, LIGHT WEIGHT cabinet making cabinet making capabilities and many more. A lot of this is best done with unusual (but expensive) materials such as 80/20 aluminum framework (which is extremely strong but light weight and while kinda like a giant erector set, has lots of small specialized parts to make it work best.

Transit 3500 is/can be had with dual rear wheels also. Sprinters with duallies cuts into the floor space between the wheel wells. I assume Transit is the same. You can get Sprinters with a super single option. Neighbor has a 2016 model Sprinter with super singles on the rear he uses for running specialized cargo for the government. He went with the SS to have room for pallets to fit between the wheel wells in the back.

Diesel is no longer listed as an option for the Transit.

Transit max towing capability, that I can see the highest is 6,900 lb on a short wheelbase RWD cargo van (lightest possible configuration) with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and a 3.73 rear axle. It goes to a low of 3,800 lbs on a long wheelbase AWD passenger van with a 3.5L PFDI V6 and a 3.73 rear axle.

Scroll down to near the bottom for towing capacity for different configurations.

Sprinters have a towing capacity of 5,000 to 7,500 lbs, but I cannot find any specifics on that. There is now a 4500 series with a higher gvwr.

If you are set on the trailer, then the only real option is a truck fully capable of towing the trailer. Scratch the van. Not sure why you want a van with living space AND a trailer. Basically the van is not a viable option for anything but a smallish trailer.

'03 Ram 2500 CTD, 5.9HO six speed std cab long bed Leer top and 2008 Bigfoot 25B21RB.. Previous, Being repaired and will be sold, is a 2008 Thor/Dutchman Freedom Spirit 180. SOLD - 2007 Winnebago View 23H Motorhome.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:33 PM   #4
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Thanks, Charles, that's what I needed to know. I'm okay with getting a truck to tow it. I see you have a cab on yours. Since I don't want a fifth wheel, a cab would be nice. I know fifth wheels tow better, but the bed then becomes pretty much useless for anything else.

Also, ya, travel trailer remodeling isn't anything like home remodeling. I have the skills but not the knowledge. I will need to extensively consult with an RV maintenance professional and am willing to pay whatever the rate is.

Appreciate your help.

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Old 08-02-2021, 10:09 AM   #5
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Yes, a bed topper or shell or camper shell (common name but bad description) is dang handy to have. They are expensive also. I bought the truck used and 15 years old. Its a long bed and long bed shells are hard to find. I first saw this one advertised for a stupid high price but later on stumbled onto it again at a much more reasonable price, so I jumped on it. Drove 600 miles round trip to get it.

That being said, I am not so sure that I would want a bumper pull for a full time home. With a long bed you don't need a slider 5th wheel and you have room for a good sized locker in the front of the bed.

While I have zero desire to go full time, I did look at possibilities for a long term trailer and something real durable and well built is a long horse trailer with living quarters in the front. They can be configured many different ways. Their usual downsides is smallish fresh and waste tanks and lack of basement storage areas. I would put a couple of inch lift on the axles to gain some badly needed clearance however.

Thinking about it, I could stay at the horse camps such as Round Bottom in Great Smoky Mtns NP (rarely anyone there)..... ranger... "hey, where is your horse? you gotta have a horse to stay here".......... me "Dang, I knew there was something I was forgetting when I was packing" ;>)

Vans and trucks are nearly impossible to get right now. The van outfitters are saying that they are having difficulities getting vans due to the big companies sucking them up and the chip shortage slowing production. Pickups are the same way, with the chip shortages, and now Ford is wanting to change their business model to a just in time production on trucks and vans and keep minimal stocks at dealers. Probably due to the proliferation of option packages causing people to special order and pick and choose.

'03 Ram 2500 CTD, 5.9HO six speed std cab long bed Leer top and 2008 Bigfoot 25B21RB.. Previous, Being repaired and will be sold, is a 2008 Thor/Dutchman Freedom Spirit 180. SOLD - 2007 Winnebago View 23H Motorhome.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:16 AM   #6
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One concern I would have that is not mentioned, is that the Toy Hauler is somewhat balanced with the trailer axles to support the weight of the toy, but not much more. If you build out the rear garage section, you really need to be very careful not to add more weight than what an equivalent toy would weigh, otherwise you will get a lighter tongue weight and heavier weight behind the axles which will result in poor handling and possibly excessive swaying (not too mention possible issues with the frame). Again, that is only if you build the rear cargo area out heavier than it was designed for, shouldn't be a problem otherwise. ~CA
2010 Jayco GreyHawk 31SS
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