Friday, March 19, 2010

Question about towing with a van and having two vehicles while traveling full time

I am a member of a yahoo group called Families on the Road.  I am going to answer questions for them and also post them on our blog.  I just found a question about towing a camper with a 15 passenger van.  I am not an expert, but I listen to my husband.  He researches everything.  I consider him an expert when it comes to vehicles.

He drives a Dodge pick up and it pulls our 42' fifth wheel.  I drive a 15 passenger van that tows a flat bed with 4 ATVs, 3 kayaks, gear, and 7 bikes.  We make quite a caravan.  It really does work great, but can also be difficult.

I want to cover a few issues with this topic.

1. We went with a Chevy for a few reasons.  We were told that the problem with big vans like that is they roll over easier.  Now, the information I found attributed the roll overs to people that drove the van with many large adults, with all of their luggage, towing a trailer, driving it like it is a car.  Now, I know that not all of those factors are present at every roll over, but the gist of it is, don't pack it too full and drive it like a bus!  You can't go fast around corners, and definitely need lots of room to stop.  We found that Chevy has an extended wheel base so that roll overs aren't as common.   Also, our insurance would only cover Chevys, not Fords or Dodges!  Our friend who has had numerous large vans said he will only buy Chevy.
Our van has done great for us.  It did need some repairs when we first bought it, we got it used. 

2. I like having two vehicles.  My husband is an engineer, so works all week in the camper.  The kids and I go  a lot of places without him.  There were two times last year that we almost had major emergencies.  We did not have two vehicles at the time so my husband would not have been able to get to us quickly.  It was quite scary.

3. Traveling around cities and up mountains can be quite difficult with two vehicles.  We have gotten separated and caught up with each other hours later.  We have walkie talkies and cell phones, but sometimes they don't work!

4. I am going to take out the front row seat and put it in the camper every now and then.  The kids and I want to try to take a few short trips when my husband either doesn't want to or has to work.  I like to sight see a lot and he doesn't.  So, we already took out the back on and left it in our storage trailer.  I think if I can take out the front row temporarily, I could sleep on the floor with a couple kids and some could sleep on the seats and my oldest could sleep in his tent outside the door.  It would just be for short trips/overnighters.  I haven't tried it yet, I will let you know how it goes.  I really want a camper van or a Sprinter type camper van.  But, just can't afford it right now.  I think it would be perfect for us.

5. Towing and going up mountains can get hairy.  I learned the hard way to absolutely not have the air on while going up a mountain. And, if the van begins to overheat, slow down, down shift, and turn the heat on if necessary.  We have had to do this many times and even in extreme heat.  We just pretended we were in the desert.

Read another blog post that discusses my adventure with overheating in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming!

This is all for now on this subject.  I would be happy to answer any questions on this matter.  If I don't know, I will ask my hubby!

1 comment:

  1. I think A 15 passenger van from is the best option. They have the perfect 15 passenger van for you and your family.


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