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Towing questions with E150 Conversion Van.

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Old 07-26-2010, 09:36 PM
418 418 is offline
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Towing questions with E150 Conversion Van.

Hey guys, I've got a few questions about my '99 E150 conversion van 4.6 engine.

What is the biggest size enclosed trailer I should think about pulling safely with this thing? I realize this isn't a power house and it will never be a diesel but I have seen a bunch of 24+ foot enclosed trailers for great money but I am afraid that it's just too much for a van this size. It does have a towing package, and rear air ride and I would run a WD hitch and swap control, but I don't know how big I could go before i would be flat out unsafe andor just hurting the van. I'd be doing at most 500 mile trips here with a lightly loaded trailer {less than 1000lbs?}, I need the room mostly for sleeping quarters and future expansion.

Also, I am having trouble finding towing slip on mirrors for is, any ideas?

Thanks guys.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:58 PM
jimbbski jimbbski is offline
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When you say 1000 lbs you mean just the load. What does a 24ft enclosed trailer weight? I don't know myself but it's not just the weight but the frontal size of the trailer as well. Most enclosed trailers have flat fronts which are not very aerodynamic and that adds to the load the tow vehicle has to pull besides the actually weight of the trailer and the load in it.

A 4.6L depending on the rear gear ratio would just be barely enough as long as you are towing on flat ground. If you have to go over mountains or even tall hills then you will most likely be driving with your foot to the floor to get up them. Plus this will put a strain on the cooling system, the transmission, and your nerves and could result in failure of any or all of them.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:32 PM
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redtanrt10 redtanrt10 is offline
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418, here's a guide from Ford on towing. It only goes back to 2002 models but I think you find good infromation to help you
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:20 AM
rclarke rclarke is offline
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You need to consider that a 150 conversion van may be nearly overloaded already. Adding a trailer may put you over the capacity for the van. Have the van weighed at a truck stop and compare that weight with the GVWR and GCVW for an idea of how much trailer is ok.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:57 PM
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I appreciate the replies, the link is very useful.

I don't have anywhere to weight the van, I was hoping somebody would speak from experience. The numbers seem to gel, but I wanted to get some real life accounts of how well this van tows.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:53 AM
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FWIW, after some digging I found this general info.

Max tow weight for my van which is a E150 Conversion is 6300lbs, and max length recommended for the wheelbase is 27 feet. Obviously, this is on the upper end of the spectrum but it gives you a reference point.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:38 AM
stkshooter stkshooter is offline
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when loaded down to go camping my E-150 weighed 8079 lb. Gross on truck stop scale. Yes, that is over loaded and you can tell because vehicle wonders a little when driving at highway speeds. ( tires inflated to max. ) I had cargo racks on front / rear too. Avg. 19 mpg on 400 miles round trip. on secondary roads no interstate driving with top speed of 65. topped off tank to lip and did the same on next fill up and averaged miles.

My next trip to the same place I pulled a 6x10 enclosed trailer instead of loading down van and I avg. 10.4 mpg and thought I was going to blow the motor because of a 15-20 mph head wind ( motor only had 40k so it was like new ) all the way there on flat florida roads. I have not pulled that trailer on a trip since and it is only 6 ft. wide same as van and only 1 ft. higher than van roof with a rounded front ( not flat )

Enclosed trailers are like pulling a parachute behind you. If you can find any other way, don't do it. I have driven semi trucks millions of miles so I am experienced at pulling trl. and was in no hurry to get there but still felt like it was a mistake the whole trip and wish I would never have pulled it.

My brother on the other hand was pulling a 40 ft. 5th wheel RV with his 600+ HP diesel at 70 mph and said he never noticed a head wind. He just set the cruise and relaxed. I on the other hand couldn't decide if I wanted to run the motor at 2500 RPM with OD off at 55-60 mph or 2000 RPM with it on at 65 mph. Motor wouldn't pull out OD without dropping down every time the wind picked up.

Buy the right tool for the job.

I love my 4.6 van MPG over old van with 5.4 or worse 351 but there are some things it was not meant to do and I knew it going in. I would love to have a E-250 with big V-8 but I don't want to pay for drop in MPG all year long ( again ) just so it will pull a trailer 1-2 times per year. I could rent a motorhome for what I save in fuel.

Good Luck!
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