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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Tow Vehicle for a Large Family and Hybrid

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blt2ski

Kirkland, Wa

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Posted: 06/08/12 12:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ANother van you may want to look at besides the GM and Ford one, not sure "HOW" may passenger versions are on the market frankly, but look at the Dodge/Freightliner/Mercedes Sprinter vans. I've been getting over 20 mpg with one at work. It is a bit under powered as compared to the other brands, but would get the job done! still, with a 200/400 motor, 5sp trans.......it does good!

marty


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BCSnob

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Posted: 06/08/12 04:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I thought the towing capacity on the Sprinter vans maxed out at 5000lbs. If this is correct, wouldn't this be a bit low for towing a trailer with the van loaded with passengers?
Mark


Mark & Renee
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NewsW

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Posted: 06/08/12 05:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BCSnob wrote:

I thought the towing capacity on the Sprinter vans maxed out at 5000lbs. If this is correct, wouldn't this be a bit low for towing a trailer with the van loaded with passengers?
Mark


http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2012/mercedes_benz/sprinter/specifications.html


5000 lbs towing maximum.

Hardly enough with this application.

Plus it cost so much more that it will be hard to recover the cost from fuel.

A hard vehicle to maintain, service because there are hardly any dealers left except Freightliner dealers.

Used, very risk with a lot of beat up units out there and high parts costs and scarce parts.

blt2ski

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Posted: 06/08/12 07:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like a lot of things, tow ratings are performance figures ONLY! quite frankly, with the motor size etc, running down the road at 13-15K lbs GCW as the OP is going to do will be on the upper range of the drivetrain, but doable. I did this for 200K miles with my previous truck with similar drivetrain specs that was rated to a whopping 12500gcwr! Even went north of 20K-22K gcw a few times with now issue, white knuckles etc.

I do agree that servicing etc would not be easy as you do have to go to a few select MB or Fl dealerships. There are a few Dodge passenger vans around, they may make a very fine option frankly. Would it be my personal first choice? Probably not, but if I came across a clean 2500 version with the typical 8 passenger seating etc. I would certainly look at!

Along with, a lot of folks forget, that it was not tooooooo long ago, a 200/400 motor in a LD rig was a MONSTER motor, rated to tow upwards of 12K lbs, 20-22K gcw...........the 2012 I am driving has per the door sticker a 13500? 13250 or somewhere around there GCWR, 8500 gvwr. granted it is a cargo van, weighs all of 5100 lbs, so plenty of ability to add people, and trailer wt. Along with, the 5000 lbs of max trailer may be related to the "hitch" that MB supplies with the van, change it out, and you have additional trailer capacity! No different than some of the domestic truck options, where the rating is based on the OEM supplied hitch in the case of ball mounted rigs. 5W is higher, as the OEM has not supplied the hitch, mean while the receiver is only rated to 8K, so you get an 8K ball mount ratings, and a 10K 5W rating. Reality is, the rig is fully capable of towing a 10K ball mount, with a stronger hitch.

Marty

MadMav

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Posted: 06/08/12 07:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

carringb wrote:

MadMav wrote:


I think the E350 is a poor choice. It is not a good daily driver. They don't have that big of a family.

Mav


Why is that? Footprint is the same as a Suburban. And it turns sharper than an Excursion or 4-door pickup, and has better visibility (except directly behind, but new ones usually have a camera).


Most women wont drive a "comercial" style van as this will be her daily. Also, there is absolutly no need for a 15 passenger van for a family of 6. Just not smart, or comfortable. Maybe a custom E350 with some plush goodies would work.

Mav


"A fifth wheel trailer is a bi-level towable mobile home."

NewsW

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Posted: 06/08/12 07:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2011

16,577 Sprinter units combined network of Mercedes and Freightliner Sprinter dealers.

8559 units sold in 2010.

Read more: http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/2012/163_news120123_mercedes_benz_sprinter_vans_rise_in_2011/index.html#ixzz1xD2aMKO9


That is about 1/10th of the volume of E series vans.


edit: Peak sales of the Sprinter was in 2006 with 21,961 units sold.


When the new ford Transit comes out, it is going to be real interesting what the Sprinter will do with a direct competitor.

* This post was edited 06/09/12 06:30am by NewsW *

NewsW

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Posted: 06/08/12 08:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MadMav wrote:


Most women wont drive a "comercial" style van as this will be her daily. Also, there is absolutly no need for a 15 passenger van for a family of 6. Just not smart, or comfortable. Maybe a custom E350 with some plush goodies would work.

Mav



First, the discussion focused on the 12 passenger model.


Second, both the 12 and 15 passenger models are routinely driven by
"women" because it is the standard Church van.


Third: Custom E350s are nearly impossible to find because most van conversion shops do E150s or 1500s.

High tops, often fitted to custom vans, add to instability in towing.


Finally, the 12 passenger, without the rear seat, becomes 8 passenger (4 seats in rear most row), and 7 seat if 4 captains chairs are installed (very hard to find).

That puts the seating capacity smack into the mini van category --- a hot category that many women buy.


Oh... most women do not plan on 4 kids either!

* This post was edited 06/08/12 09:01am by NewsW *

NewsW

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Posted: 06/08/12 08:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

blt2ski wrote:

Like a lot of things, tow ratings are performance figures ONLY! quite frankly, with the motor size etc, running down the road at 13-15K lbs GCW as the OP is going to do will be on the upper range of the drivetrain, but doable. I did this for 200K miles with my previous truck with similar drivetrain specs that was rated to a whopping 12500gcwr! Even went north of 20K-22K gcw a few times with now issue, white knuckles etc.

I do agree that servicing etc would not be easy as you do have to go to a few select MB or Fl dealerships. There are a few Dodge passenger vans around, they may make a very fine option frankly. Would it be my personal first choice? Probably not, but if I came across a clean 2500 version with the typical 8 passenger seating etc. I would certainly look at!

Along with, a lot of folks forget, that it was not tooooooo long ago, a 200/400 motor in a LD rig was a MONSTER motor, rated to tow upwards of 12K lbs, 20-22K gcw...........the 2012 I am driving has per the door sticker a 13500? 13250 or somewhere around there GCWR, 8500 gvwr. granted it is a cargo van, weighs all of 5100 lbs, so plenty of ability to add people, and trailer wt. Along with, the 5000 lbs of max trailer may be related to the "hitch" that MB supplies with the van, change it out, and you have additional trailer capacity! No different than some of the domestic truck options, where the rating is based on the OEM supplied hitch in the case of ball mounted rigs. 5W is higher, as the OEM has not supplied the hitch, mean while the receiver is only rated to 8K, so you get an 8K ball mount ratings, and a 10K 5W rating. Reality is, the rig is fully capable of towing a 10K ball mount, with a stronger hitch.

Marty



Marty,

I don't have any problem with a highly experienced pro like you playing around with tow ratings.

But this is a young mother with 4 children in back and little or no experience towing heavy trailers.

Do you really want her to risk any more than she is risking minding 4 kids in back and a heavy trailer?

These children are likely to be age 10 and below, possibly with one newborn or less than 2 years old that need a lot of care and attention from parents on a drive.

This is a case to go by the manufacturer's ratings less 20% or more --- operating strictly by the book a nearly new (say 2 year old) vehicle that is low mileage, tires younger than 4 years, etc. case.


Think starting around 2008 or later, Ford put Electronic Stability Control in all their 12 and 15 pass vans factory standard.

That is a essential safety feature for inexperienced drivers.

Another reason to focus on the newer vehicles rather than older ones.


I firmly am of the opinion that an older / higher mileage vehicle is false economy because it introduce additional risk of failed / bad components that are critical like tires, brakes, steering, etc. that can fail catastrophically.

A new vehicle 2011 or 2010 with mileage well below the 3/36 warranty end is a great way to ensure it is not terribly in need of maintenance or repair.

Suppose she bought a 2005 vehicle --- even if the tires are in top shape by tread, they would be 8 years old unless they are replaced ---- and should not be used in this very safety critical application.

If they are replaced, additional questions --- were the proper ones fitted or did the owner get sub-standard P rated tires?

A maintenance pro who have the money to spend can operate an older / higher mileage vehicle fine ---- but is this the case here?


Pushing the envelope with a family of 6 (and perhaps other people's children added) is not what makes me feel comfortable.

But that is me...


I have seen too many van and SUV rollovers.

A heavy tow rig is dangerous enough without 4 screaming children in the back causing distractions.

* This post was edited 06/08/12 09:00am by NewsW *

the_happiestcamper

Mount Pleasant, SC

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Posted: 06/08/12 11:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MadMav wrote:



Most women wont drive a "comercial" style van as this will be her daily. Also, there is absolutly no need for a 15 passenger van for a family of 6. Just not smart, or comfortable. Maybe a custom E350 with some plush goodies would work.

Mav


My mother got her first Dodge Ram van when she was about 60 - and she drove one until she died (at 81). She never towed anything with them - but she filled them with people when she went on trips.

MadMav

Colorado Springs, CO

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Posted: 06/08/12 12:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NewsW wrote:

First, the discussion focused on the 12 passenger model.


Second, both the 12 and 15 passenger models are routinely driven by
"women" because it is the standard Church van.


Third: Custom E350s are nearly impossible to find because most van conversion shops do E150s or 1500s.

High tops, often fitted to custom vans, add to instability in towing.


Finally, the 12 passenger, without the rear seat, becomes 8 passenger (4 seats in rear most row), and 7 seat if 4 captains chairs are installed (very hard to find).

That puts the seating capacity smack into the mini van category --- a hot category that many women buy.


Oh... most women do not plan on 4 kids either!


12 passenger van still equals too much for their needs. And is still a basic, plain and uncomfortable option for a family. And a "lady or woman" driving the church van is way different than driving it as a personal daily driver.

Mav

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