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Towing with a conversion van-UPDATE P2: Back to Square One : (

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  • Towing with a conversion van-UPDATE P2: Back to Square One : (

    1996 model with F350 engine.
    Coming to dealer from FL on consignment.
    Looks very well-kept & has all the amenities except bath (fine w/me).
    I'll be borrowing a friend's DH to check out the mechanics and test-drive w/me.
    What should I look for when it gets here?


    I posted this a while back and recall responses were favorable.
    But since I am now truck/trailer shopping I wanted to get more current input.

    How do you guys view a conversion van: 8cyl, 4WD(is this possible?) to be used to haul a 2H BP. Trailer will have WD & sway bars.

    My thoughts are:
    1-a pickup truck is of no use to me aside from being a tow vehicle. Driving a pickup with an empty bed is not the safest way to get around IMHO & who wants to haul groceries in the back of a truck?
    2-GN means I'd be jumping in & out of a truck to align the hitch. Not so good for an OldLady with a possibly wonky knee. I can hitch a BP with my eyes shut.
    3-Van could be fitted up as a camper. Plugins for microwave & fridge would let me use it for short camping trips. Short trips are all I'm interested in. Plus it could save the cost of a motel at multi-day clinics.

    What am I forgetting to consider?
    Last edited by 2DogsFarm; Feb. 24, 2010, 04:29 PM.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

  • #2
    I haul with a (12 passenger) Ford Econoline E350 (not "converted"), and love it.

    I don't believe they are available with 4WD, and I do occaisionally get stuck when a 4WD pickup would not. But that is the ONLY downside.

    I can keep all my "stuff" inside the van, where it is out of the weather and can be locked.

    I would NOT tow with an E150, and an E-250 may be marginal, depending on how big the trailer is.

    Long Wheelbase is good.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks!
      Gonna check Carmax to see if they show any E350s or like in my area

      Another selling point - cheaper than a late model pickup
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

      Comment


      • #4
        I learned to haul with the family's 1996 GMC conversion van; had a 2500 engine, plenty of wheelbase. It was a bit top-heavy to drive, but I almost feel the trailer made it more stable! We did have the WD hitch and sway bars. It was great for horse shows-- you could camp in the van, or at least have a nice place to hang out during the day. Hay storage was limited though-- some things just belong in the bed of a pickup.

        I *much* prefer hauling with my pickup, but the van was great for me to learn. It FORCED me to use my mirrors-- you simply cannot see out the back (curtained) windows. I used to have to back the trailer around a curve into a tiny 12' wide parking space every week for dressage lessons, in the dark. After two years of that, I'm a back-up pro!
        “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
        ? Albert Einstein

        ~AJ~

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post
          It was great for horse shows-- you could camp in the van, or at least have a nice place to hang out during the day. Hay storage was limited though-- some things just belong in the bed of a pickup.

          I *much* prefer hauling with my pickup, but the van was great for me to learn. It FORCED me to use my mirrors-- you simply cannot see out the back (curtained) windows. I used to have to back the trailer around a curve into a tiny 12' wide parking space every week for dressage lessons, in the dark. After two years of that, I'm a back-up pro!
          My thoughts exactly - great for a long weekend or 3-day clinic.
          Now: why do you prefer the truck?

          LOL!
          After 15yrs I STILL need a couple tries to back up w/o jack-knifing!
          Wanna give lessons?
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

          Comment


          • #6
            I haul a 2 horse bumper pull with my Pleasure Way van. It is on the Chevy express 3500 chassis, and has plenty of power to get me where I need to go. I love the fact that I can change, sleep, eat, or even watch tv when I get to where I am going. Oh, or use the bathroom Here it is with a 3 horse trailer, it towed that one fine but I prefer the 2 horse.

            http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/t...4/P1040878.jpg

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by mypaintwattie View Post
              I haul a 2 horse bumper pull with my Pleasure Way van. It is on the Chevy express 3500 chassis, and has plenty of power to get me where I need to go. I love the fact that I can change, sleep, eat, or even watch tv when I get to where I am going. Oh, or use the bathroom Here it is with a 3 horse trailer, it towed that one fine but I prefer the 2 horse.

              http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/t...4/P1040878.jpg
              Exactly what I need to hear!
              Looks like the bigger van will do the job nicely.
              Back to Carmax.....
              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Found One!

                Carmax has an '07 Chevy Express 1500
                34K miles
                5.3L V8
                rated to tow 6300#

                Too little van?
                Good enough for 1 1300# horse?
                what other specs should I look for?
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                Comment


                • #9
                  Too little. I have an '08 1500 Silverado with the small V8 -- it SUUUCKS. Fortunately it is my work truck, not my personal truck (which is an F250 diesel for towing). But I tow johnboats with the Silverado for work. Even NOT towing, it gets horrible mileage because the engine is so undersized. Towing, it's working even with a johnboat on the back. I would never haul a horse trailer with that engine, blech. And the new chevy transmissions are geared too high for my liking for regular driving. If you put it in cruise control, it shifts down two gears about about redlines the engine going up even a slight hill to maintain speed, its ridiculous. Did I mention how glad I was that I don't actually own this truck?

                  If you can find one with the 5.7 that does a much better job -- I had that engine in a 96 Tahoe and it pulled most excellently. The tranny wore out but that's gonna happen unless you go up to 3/4 ton. Do they make 3/4 ton vans? I used to have a 3/4 ton suburban in high school so they do exist.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks wildlifer, I figured that might be the case
                    2 Good 2 B True, eh?

                    But it is good to hear details from someone who actually towed with this van.

                    The hunt goes on.....
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                      My thoughts exactly - great for a long weekend or 3-day clinic.
                      Now: why do you prefer the truck?

                      LOL!
                      After 15yrs I STILL need a couple tries to back up w/o jack-knifing!
                      Wanna give lessons?

                      I prefer the truck for its visibility-- it feels like cheating to be able to look out the back window! It's also more stable to drive in general; the van could be so top-heavy and got pushed around in high winds. Though this was more noticeable *without* the trailer, actually. And it did suck gas, a little more than my truck-- though that could have been the engine and its age.

                      Working on a farm, it's just more convenient to have a truck with a bed for "farm stuff." But for more multi-usage, family & people activities, with hauling horses occasionally, the van is great.
                      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                      ? Albert Einstein

                      ~AJ~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think in 'van speak' the 3/4 ton would be the ford econoline 250 or the chevy express 2500. Like I said, mine is on a chevy express 3500 chassis, so the 1-ton, and power is adequate for a 2 horse. I've also towed a 3 horse, but with only one horse in it. The only thing I would add might be a brake box, give you a little extra stopping power. Oh yeah, and gas milage is not great, but fair enough, and the benefits of having a toilet and tv outweigh that of having a big diesel truck. It's great for a mini- RV for roadtrips- very comfortable!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks All

                          I'm still waffling...haven't even looked at either - truck or van - seriously yet.

                          I do not do a ton of hauling - maybe 6X a year?
                          And until I can retire camping will be limited to weekends.

                          So the van would probably be a better choice for me.
                          Now I need to find a nice, big one with an affordable pricetag.

                          Or a truck....

                          see?
                          waffling...
                          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you have any RV dealers around look there- mine is a pleasure way but they also make a lesser priced model called the road trek. Perhaps you could find a used one? They manufacture them on either a ford or chevy chassis.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Good idea!
                              There's an RV dealer right down the road from me.
                              May have to stop in there this weekend.
                              I'm thinking sales might be a tad slow - mid-Winter in the Midwest - and a deal could be done.
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What about a truck that you stick a camper in the bed? Just wanted to add to the waffling....

                                I have a camper shell on my F250 and I throw an air mattress back there, it's perfect! Now, I don't have TV, but I am not really a TV watcher, I like watching stars and sunsets and books and such things so I guess it doesn't have that.
                                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                We Are Flying Solo

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                  What about a truck that you stick a camper in the bed? Just wanted to add to the waffling....

                                  Gee thanks, I guess...
                                  But the van offers the plugin option for a small fridge & microwave.
                                  I used to sleep in the back of my Explorer when I went horsecamping, but then I'd be begging coffee & shelter from my friends with the LQ trailers

                                  BTW: does the plugin in a van run off the van battery or is there a separate battery/power source?
                                  It would suck to go camping for a weekend & wind up with a dead battery in the tow vehicle
                                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Since mine is an RV, it has two batteries, a starter battery and a house battery. It also has a 'whisper quiet' generator. So yes, you can camp for the weekend and not worry about plugging it in anywhere. And the microwave and everything is already installed. Anything else can run off of 12v or AC power, 12v just runs straight off the house battery, for anything AC (like the oven) you need to turn on the generator or hook it up. My van, a Pleasure Way, and its counterpart, the Roadtrek, are both made in Canada. They are well insulated so not to worry about camping any time of year. I'm sure there would be a dealer near you, try looking through their websites. They are considered Class B motorhomes. Another added bonus: tax deduction for a second home

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We have an 87 GMC conversion van (aka The Pimp Mobile, lol) that I fully intend to use for hauling to over night shows etc. We already use it for camping. It is a 3/4 ton, and has enough power to pull it and enough weight to stop anything I would care to pull. We parked it facing down hill on my driveway, and its weight pushed it down a little YIKES. I would not have the least bit of trepidation pulling with it.


                                      Oh, I so get the deal about the batteries dying. Every trainer I know carries a little generator with them to the shows-one of the little ones that 1 person can handle runs about 200. Then you don't have to worry about it, and you can even plug in a fan if you want to.
                                      http://community.webshots.com/album/548368465RfewoU[/url]

                                      She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        More good info! Thanks Gnalli & MPW


                                        Right now my plan is to hit the RV dealer tomorrow.
                                        Crappy weather is forecast but I imagine I can still see inside some vehicles and then to their office for specs and the "salestalk".
                                        Now I need to surf the net a bit for used horsetrailers, so I'll have a mental price range for the RV.
                                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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