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Old 07-16-2016, 02:58 PM   #1
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Default Trailering with a B Van - Observations

Just a few notes for anyone interested in trailering with a Class B van.

The weight of this van is near full GVW spec and at full GCWR with this trailer including gear etc. It's maxed out.

30% decease in MPG. The vans previous average was around 16 mpg not towing. Average mpg was 11.2 on a 320 mile round trip while towing; 9.8 mpg going and 12.7 mpg returning. Wind, elevation etc. affected MPG as speed was similar on both trips.

MPG sweet spot is around 1800 RPM or just a bit over for this van. The 6.5L diesel develops 385 lb. ft. torque at 1800 rpm. That equates to around 57 MPH on the highway. It may seem slow but given the weight and that the ST tires on the trailer are rated 65 MPH it's not much slower than if I ran the tires to their speed rating.

One bonus of cruising at 57 mph (around 1800 RPM) while towing is that downshifting is minimized. It can handle those long upward grades without downshifting.

Another bonus of cruising at that speed is that it is almost like you have the road all to yourself. Other vehicles pass quickly enough so you're never caught in traffic. I was similarly speed limited when I flat towed my Ford Escape behind a 30' Class C. I think that setup was limited to 60 MPH IIRC in the owner manual.

Highway handling is superb. The van has had improvements that no doubt helped. I have not used the sway control device that came with the WDH (weight distribution hitch) as it is has not been needed. No sway at all. There is no push or pull from big rigs etc. either. Effortless driving.

Transmission temps: the highest I've seen so far is 195F and that was only briefly nearing the end of longish hill on cruise control. RPO codes show both KC4 & KD1 engine oil & trans oil coolers and V14 & V16 auxiliary engine oil & trans oil coolers. Typical temperature is around 165F once everything is hot.

Hitching the trailer to the van is a lot easier than I expected. That is because of the rear view camera. It is very easy to see to get the hitch ball to the coupler.
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:59 PM   #2
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Got any pics of what your MH and trailer look like when hitched?
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Old 07-16-2016, 04:35 PM   #3
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I have one from the first time I hitched it up in May:

van with trailer.JPG

I've adjusted the hitch a bit since then - the WDH spring bars now have a slight downward tilt rearward.
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Old 07-16-2016, 04:38 PM   #4
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Woah. That's bigger than I thought.
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Old 07-16-2016, 04:55 PM   #5
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It does look large in that pic, you could put the RT inside the trailer almost! Looks nice.

I am kind of surprised how good your transmission temps are, compared to what we see and hear about how the Chevy gassers get hot very easily, even with the factory external cooler. Maybe they take more care with the diesels because the know they are going to pull hard.

How did the backing up go once out in the real world?
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:28 PM   #6
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Reversing is not that easy for me yet. I'm getting some practice and it is getting better though. I don't think the van has a great turning radius - that's my current excuse! It's not intuitive yet as I have to think which way to turn the wheel & even then I get it wrong half the time. I've taken to watching the rear of the trailer & if it starts moving in the wrong direction do the opposite of what I was just doing.

I opted for a pull-thru site at the campground. I did reverse back out to the road to be able re-position on the site and I reversed into the water fillup area. I did observe that I could have taken a number of back-in sites based on how they were situated.

On the road, going forward, it's as if another van (wider) was following very closely. When the GPS was yammerin' on about make a U-turn I just pulled into a business lot & made the turn around.
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
.........................
I am kind of surprised how good your transmission temps are, compared to what we see and hear about how the Chevy gassers get hot very easily, even with the factory external cooler. Maybe they take more care with the diesels because the know they are going to pull hard..................
I was happy to see those temps. They cool down quickly too as soon as the climb is over. Both travel days were on the hot side for this part of the world - around 87F.

For the first time ever in this van I could hear a fan kick in up front when the temperature got high.

I haven't gotten into any mountainous territory though. My plan for that is to slow down as needed.
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Old 07-16-2016, 06:10 PM   #8
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If it cools down quickly after the climb, that would certainly say the radiator was not maxed out for water cooling. We have found that a short steep climb will raise the trans temp, but much less on the water. In that case the trans temp drops right away after the climb. On long climbs, the water temp gets hotter, and then the trans temp takes a long time to drop, as it is tracking the water temp in the radiator. It makes sense, I think, because you have van that optioned a 454, so lots of room for a big radiator, and diesels put considerably less heat into the water. Sounds like you have very nice combination.
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