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towing


easywind's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 516

01-16-03, 06:34 PM   #1  
towing

I have a 85 Dodge camper van B150 with a 318 in reasonably good shape and a 293 rear end. I would like to flat tow a vehicle, 2000=2500 pounds from New York to Mexico. Can anyone advise me as to whether this van would be capable of towing a small car: Thanks

 
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davo's Avatar
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01-16-03, 06:50 PM   #2  
How many miles on the 18 year old tow vehicle?Personally I would not try to drive any 18 year old vehicle that distance.Let alone tow with it.But your van if in the proper condition should make the journey,You will have high fuel costs,so know that going in,You will likely lose at least half of your mileage.

 
Pendragon's Avatar
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01-16-03, 07:11 PM   #3  
Look on the door jamb, you will see a weight data plate/sticker.
This will list several important values, one of which is the GCVW or gross combined vehicle weight. This is the MAX weight of everything, the vehicle, you, cargo AND anything being towed.
The next number down (in value) is the gross vehicle weight, this is the approximate weight of the vehicle as equipped, not including anything that's been added (such as a camper top).
The two smaller values are for the front axle and rear axle.

Find your local truck stop with a CAT scale (usually by an interstate), and get your truck weighed with a full tank of gas, it's about $7. Then add your cargo and passengers weight to that number. Subtract that weight from the GCVW and that's how much you can tow, less 20%

If you don't have a transmission and oil cooler, I wouldn't even consider towing something (anything) for that distance.

So, lets say..
You have a GCVW of 4500 lbs.
Your scale reading says you weigh 3500 lbs
You aren't adding any cargo or passengers, so 3500-4500=1000 lbs, or 800 lbs that you can tow (leaving 20% margin of safety).

My full size van (a 90 b250 with 318 and a 3.something rear) (as well as most SUV's) look like they can tow a whole lot, but people don't factor in what the vehicle itself weighs.
My van had a GCVW of about 10,000 lbs, but the van itself weighed nearly 5400 lbs. Leave a margin for safety, and that left me with less 4000 lbs of tow capactiy, and the camper places were trying to sell me units that weighed 8-13,000 lbs!!

If you will check your owners manual, it should tell you what your max capacity is based on the transmission, but remember that you still can't exceed the gcvw rating.

Most people who are towing have grossly overloaded their vehicle, on the pretext that "well, it's towing it, so it must be ok".
I use to know a guy who towed a 3000 lb car with the same model car that had a gcvw of about 3400 lbs. Needless to say, he was WAY over the limit, and god help him if he ever got into an accident with it so overloaded, but it worked, so he did it.

 
Joe_F's Avatar
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01-16-03, 08:56 PM   #4  
Joe_F
These guys gave you some good advice.

A B150 is the lightest in payload (and typically equipment) in the Dodge line, it is a 1/2 ton van. In turn, most of the parts (cooling system, brakes, rear, etc) are all of the light duty variety. Unless the vehicle is equipped with a tow package from the factory and as stated here by others, properly equipped, no it is not safe to tow it.

I wouldn't trust one of these around the block, no less half way across the country .

 
easywind's Avatar
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01-20-03, 10:29 AM   #5  
Everything is new and or rebuilt, the van is in perfect shape, I also have a brake controller in the van. I will look up the values today. Everything in the van works as it should. 167,000 miles on the body, new trans with cooler and dont know how many milers on the engine caue its a boneyard engine and after about a v year everything is straightened out. All bolt on parts are new, carb water pump, starter, moter and trans mount etc. Thanks for tha advise.

 
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