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Subject Topic: a Van as a tow car - any good?
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Message posted by Nosaj07/10/2013 at 5:14pm
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We are thinking of investing in a caravan. It probably won't happen until next year now as we are just in the process of swapping our car over to a van. This may sound like a daft thing to do but I windsurf and the kids have discovered watersports so we have to add a Kayak and a SUP to the kit I will have to lug around so even a Disco won't cut it. There is only so much you can get on a roofrack. I will also have to take the wife, the kids and a dog occassionally as well! 

I am not quite sure what van yet as it will have to tick a lot of boxes and also tick the box of my longer range goal that it will be able to tow an average family sized caravan say up to 1500kg mptml. I was thinking of something like a VW transporter/Toyota Hiace maybe up to a SWB Vito, Transit or traffic.I appreciate that it will need some power and I am assuming at least a 2 litre + diesel.

Does anyone tow with a van? and are they safe and stable and up to the job. Please bear in mind I have never towed a caravan any real distance before.

If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated as I am not sure where to start.

Thanks

EDIT the SUP is an inflatable (so is not in excess of 10 feet-actually packs down small) and my longest windsurf board is 249cm


Message posted by HEJC7207/10/2013 at 5:26pm
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Vans can make good tow vehicles depending on engine size and power.

One thing to be aware of is that a growing number of sites appear to have a "no vans on site" policy which you may find limits the sites you will have access to.
This attitude I assume is intended to prevent travellers from coming on to their sites.

I would suggest ringing a few sites and gauge their reaction to having a van as a tow vehicle.


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Helen xx
Mini Mad Mum

Message posted by josey6007/10/2013 at 5:28pm
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Only problem i can see is some sites wont allow vans and caravans on as they assume they are Gypsies, a friend of mine had this problem.

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Exercise every day and Die Healthy....

JOSEY60

Message posted by Nosaj07/10/2013 at 5:36pm
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Thanks, I have heard this also, so will ring ahead prior to booking anywhere. If I do purchase a Van it will need a seat in the back and some windows installed in the panels so that we can all travel. so I am hoping that it will look more like a minibus/mpv thing (think the Transporter with windows) rather than a work type panel van.

A separate tow car and a van for the hobbies is not going to work


Message posted by ChrisPolly+Oscar07/10/2013 at 7:31pm
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Towing with vans is ideal; lots of weight in the base vehicle, breaks the airflow over the caravan, heavy duty running gear designed for a degree of day in, day out abuse.

We have towed F2 race car on trailer with an 85bhp T4, a 104bhp T4, a 130bhp T5 and a 175bhp T5 Caravelle.

My advice, obvious but there you go, is to go for 130bhp at least, else you will spend a lot of time changing gears on the slightest of inclines.

Can recommend the VW though; very car like to drive very long distances, easy to service & maintain, and the Caravelle has all manner of toys & gadgets.
Vitos rust horrendously, Traffics suffer delicate engine problems and Transits are quite big & unruly for supermarkets & everyone will think you are a pie key...

-------------
Regards
Chris
Caravanning for 22 years
1997 Toyota Land Cruiser 3.0TD & 2004 Avondale Mayfair 510-5L
Previous towcars:
2002 Nissan Primera - sold
2002 Ford Galaxy - Died & scrapped. Good riddance.
1998 BMW 525TDS SE - PEx
1998 VW Passat SE - Crashed into & scrapped
1997 Peugeot 406 GLX - PEx

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Message posted by Johnnie Boy07/10/2013 at 8:20pm
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Used a peugeot boxer 2ltr HDI to tow my small caravan, does the job and until I get to a hill you hardly know the caravans there.
The higher driving position is a plus point and the caravan I have is hardly any wider than the tug.

Only vehicle I had for about five years, the size is not a problem even parking it in the local supermarket, only real pain in the rear are hight barriers.

But as advised I would go for more horses under the bonnet, and with it having side windows and a few graphics I have never been turned away from any campsite yet.

just got me a Mondeo estate and it tows the caravan effortlessly.


Message posted by GCMS201207/10/2013 at 9:14pm
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Quote: Originally posted by ChrisPolly+Oscar on 07/10/2013
Towing with vans is ideal; lots of weight in the base vehicle, breaks the airflow over the caravan, heavy duty running gear designed for a degree of day in, day out abuse.



This ^^^

Boss at work has a Vauxhall Vivaro, he split the rear in to two...

He put tinted windows in the sliding doors, he installed 3 seats (with three point beats - not lap belts) also with a flip down DVD player in the roof with Bluetooth headphones (kids - long journeys). Behind them seats is where the 'van' starts.

The whole lot was boarded out and lined with some kind of 'fluffy' sound proofing, which now makes it way more quieter than MY car!!

He's said that when he comes to change it, he wants a VW Transporter, was told to stay away from Vitos.



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Damned if I do...

Damned if I don't!!!!

Message posted by listerdiesel07/10/2013 at 9:54pm
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We have two Renault Trafic LWB vans that we tow with, DCi140 and DCi150 engines.

Great for towing in the LWB version, but they need to be loaded a bit as they are quite light on the back wheels otherwise if empty. Not a problem, you just need to think about it. Stability is very good.

Ours have covered huge mileages and both through their MOT's in the past three weeks.

Sold as the Vauxhall Vivaro, Renault Trafic, Opel and Nissan models.

No experience of the smaller engines, tow weight limit is 2tonnes with a gross train weight of 4.9 tonnes.

Peter

Message posted by Jack+Jon08/10/2013 at 8:10am
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Its sounds as if you want a crew van with rear passenger seating & windows in side sliding doors. Ford, VW etc produce these so you can buy new or should find something secondhand. or you could even get a full window van like a VW Caravelle & remove rear seats for more luggage space, thes are really people carriers so you should have no probs on campsites.

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Regards, Jack+Jon.

Message posted by alpiner08/10/2013 at 8:17am
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The most popular van around at the moment especially with surfers is the diesel VW T4 T5,
When in Devon and Cornwall you see them everywhere you go.
Dont be tempted to lower the suspension like most surfers do,yes they look good when you do but you wont be able to carry all your stuff and tow a caravan without the tyers rubbing on the wheel arches. Plus i have never been on a site that has refused a van


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Message posted by lizzy2308/10/2013 at 8:57am
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we tow on a transit, and as its been said its very stable, better the more weight there is in the van, we only feel it on hills and will be getting the van remapped to 115BHP its currently only 85,  just a  note the CC & C have no problem with Commercial vehicles this is us on site at Glencoe a couple of weeks ago, we have also not had a problem with the commercial sites we have booked and are back at Kippford holiday park at Christmas, i think a lot of sites are now waking up to the fact that there are increasing numbers of vans being used as the only transport by a lot of people, not only tradesman 

 

 

 



Post last edited on 08/10/2013 10:39:59

Message posted by Skoda Bob08/10/2013 at 12:37pm
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You could buy the 8 or 9 seat version of the van and remove some of the seats to make room.
Or buy a trailer something like a tow a van one so you can get all your gear in
something like this
http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/tow-a-van

Message posted by bessie50008/10/2013 at 1:47pm
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Hi a mate of mine is selling his dads Merc Vito van if you interested., details are

08 black 115 cdi 40k 3 seats front and rear with windows (blacked out) crome side steps and alloy wheels, blue tooth,  never used as a van used as a car from new, very clean and tidy.

 

Bessie    


Message posted by bessie50008/10/2013 at 2:06pm
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Looks like this one


Message posted by BERTIE08/10/2013 at 3:02pm
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we tow our caravan with a T5 174bhp Kombi - some sites have asked for a photo of the van - they can sod off there's plenty of other sites if they don't want my money!!!

Message posted by Nosaj09/10/2013 at 9:31am
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Thanks for all the replies much appreciated

Had a look at a few yesterday and have ruled out the Traffic/Transit sizeand have narrowed down to the versions of Transporter/Hiace.

Will look for one with a bit of oomph 

Thanks all



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