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Old 08-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #21
Bud
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I agree the Chevy Express 6.0L pulls very strong with no want for more power (I really like that).

I have to assume the Transit with the 3.5L Ecoboost would do just as well with the HP/Torque numbers it generates.

I always worried that a gas naturally aspirated V-6 like the Promaster could be a problem in that area. However, I've spoken to several fellow rv'rs with the Promaster and they said power was not a problem. Same for the forums like this I follow where it just doesn't come up as a complaint.

Ps: - Bud, I'll remember to only race Sprinters in cool weather or in short dashes.
rowiebowie, Funny and thanks.

Recall that I have more hp (work an engine can do) than a Sprinter at 3000 rpm. Want more, shift down and use the throttle. Ecoboost, same hp at less than 3000 rpm, nice. If someone only wants the highest torque number, Ecoboost.

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Old 08-11-2019, 04:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Galavanting Girl View Post
Hi Everyone, I have been researching the Class B Travato 59K. I really like the layout of it. I'm concerned about the front wheel drive and the size of the motor being able to get up those big mountains out west. I would love to hear from you all about your experience on the power to the motor. Thank you and Happy Travels!
Having moved from a WGO ERA Sprinter w/diesel into a 2019 Travato, I was a little concerned about the gas v6 and front wheel drive. Iíve read (on promaster forum) that dodge slightly lowered the gearing in the promaster to help with the extra weight it is anticipated to haul. I suspect that maybe the lower gears were changed but my final drive seems normal at about 2200rpm around 70mph.
One thing I did notice different was the 6 speed trans on my Travato will downshift quickly when climbing an overpass or in rolling hills. My sprinter 5 speed didnít shift near as often. But Iíve since gotten used to that.
I pulled a trailer a couple of times (not big maybe 1000lbs) and the sprinter was happier doing that but the dodge managed ok in ďtow haulĒ.
I now have about 25k miles on Travato and Iím noticing the fuel economy is actually better now. I was averaging around 15 with a mix of 50/60% highways.
Iím now averaging 16+. Funny thing is I noticed that speed didnít matter as much. I tried a tank on a trip at 60-65mph max. Then next tank at 70-75mph and it was the same. I suspect that the load (tourque) on the motor was a little more efficient running around 2500rpm. It also downshifted less at the higher speeds when approaching hills. Like I said my motor seems to be happier running around 2k-3k rpm.
In any case Iím happy with the highway economy once I got used to the downshifting on hills.
My sprinter got the same 16mph but using higher priced diesel.
My sprinter also had a propane generator that seemed to consume almost all my propane with 1 night of using a/c. Iíd get maybe 25 hours then I had to go find a propane station to fill tank. And since it was permanent onboard tank I couldnít just run down to convince store to swap tanks like I could previously on my old travel trailer. Royal PIA!
Gas gen on my Travato pulls from chassis gas tank so itís so nice to just fill up at any gas station and Iím good to go.
Sorry for the long winded post - didnít start intending to write a War & Piece novel.
So just a few comments more:
I love the K layout and large rear bathroom
Very happy with the overall size of van (shorter than my extended sprinter was)
Good luck with your new purchase - I hope you have many many memorable trips - I sure have.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:24 PM   #23
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Congrats on the Travato! We have a 2019 G. Love it! It suits our family fine. My wife and I are lean and not too tall (Iím 5;9, 160#) sheís much smaller so the rear Murphy bed works well for us. My 15-year-old daughter sleeps in the salon area. We travel with two dogs as well. A lab and a Chihuahua. Over the past year weíve driven 18,000 miles. Several short weekend trips and two Big Rd. tripís from Tennessee to Colorado last August and then this year from Tennessee to glacier national Park, Yellowstone etc. This last trip was 5400 miles. I drove the entire way. Very comfortable and would do it again tomorrow. Early on I did add the sumo front and rear. Added a muffler for the generator plus a few other mild mods. Trying to decide what type of tire to go with once the factories wear out. Damn thing is an absolute pleasure!
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:32 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by EnduroRdr View Post
Having moved from a WGO ERA Sprinter w/diesel into a 2019 Travato, I was a little concerned about the gas v6 and front wheel drive. Iíve read (on promaster forum) that dodge slightly lowered the gearing in the promaster to help with the extra weight it is anticipated to haul. I suspect that maybe the lower gears were changed but my final drive seems normal at about 2200rpm around 70mph.
One thing I did notice different was the 6 speed trans on my Travato will downshift quickly when climbing an overpass or in rolling hills. My sprinter 5 speed didnít shift near as often. But Iíve since gotten used to that.
I pulled a trailer a couple of times (not big maybe 1000lbs) and the sprinter was happier doing that but the dodge managed ok in ďtow haulĒ.
I now have about 25k miles on Travato and Iím noticing the fuel economy is actually better now. I was averaging around 15 with a mix of 50/60% highways.
Iím now averaging 16+. Funny thing is I noticed that speed didnít matter as much. I tried a tank on a trip at 60-65mph max. Then next tank at 70-75mph and it was the same. I suspect that the load (tourque) on the motor was a little more efficient running around 2500rpm. It also downshifted less at the higher speeds when approaching hills. Like I said my motor seems to be happier running around 2k-3k rpm.
In any case Iím happy with the highway economy once I got used to the downshifting on hills.
My sprinter got the same 16mph but using higher priced diesel.
My sprinter also had a propane generator that seemed to consume almost all my propane with 1 night of using a/c. Iíd get maybe 25 hours then I had to go find a propane station to fill tank. And since it was permanent onboard tank I couldnít just run down to convince store to swap tanks like I could previously on my old travel trailer. Royal PIA!
Gas gen on my Travato pulls from chassis gas tank so itís so nice to just fill up at any gas station and Iím good to go.
Sorry for the long winded post - didnít start intending to write a War & Piece novel.
So just a few comments more:
I love the K layout and large rear bathroom
Very happy with the overall size of van (shorter than my extended sprinter was)
Good luck with your new purchase - I hope you have many many memorable trips - I sure have.
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Originally Posted by Roadie1 View Post
Congrats on the Travato! We have a 2019 G. Love it! It suits our family fine. My wife and I are lean and not too tall (Iím 5;9, 160#) sheís much smaller so the rear Murphy bed works well for us. My 15-year-old daughter sleeps in the salon area. We travel with two dogs as well. A lab and a Chihuahua. Over the past year weíve driven 18,000 miles. Several short weekend trips and two Big Rd. tripís from Tennessee to Colorado last August and then this year from Tennessee to glacier national Park, Yellowstone etc. This last trip was 5400 miles. I drove the entire way. Very comfortable and would do it again tomorrow. Early on I did add the sumo front and rear. Added a muffler for the generator plus a few other mild mods. Trying to decide what type of tire to go with once the factories wear out. Damn thing is an absolute pleasure!
Not too much information at all! One thing you don't get reports on many class b's is how they drive and handle. Every bit as important as the coach features in my opinion, but often not mentioned in most reviews.

Nice to hear good things about the Promaster and Travato.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:14 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Galavanting Girl View Post
Hi Everyone, I have been researching the Class B Travato 59K. I really like the layout of it. I'm concerned about the front wheel drive and the size of the motor being able to get up those big mountains out west. I would love to hear from you all about your experience on the power to the motor. Thank you and Happy Travels!
Like everything else in a B Class van, front wheel drive is about trade-offs. Probably the biggest advantage is that the loading deck (floor) of the Promaster/Travato is lower than the Sprinter or Transit. This means even with lots of head room inside (like 6í3Ē) the total height of the van is less and the center of gravity is lower. Itís also noticeably easier to step up into. The Travato feels less tippy underway and while going around corners. The turning radius of the front wheel drive Promaster is surprisingly tight. For normal in town and highway driving the Travato feels extremely stable and is easy to drive. Especially with aftermarket Sumos, wind and passing semi trucks are handled very well.

Downsides of front wheel drive are: One the lower floor means there is less ground clearance underneath than the Sprinter although Promaster clearance is about the same as the rear wheel drive Transit. Even though I am very careful I have scraped stuff underneath in our Travato. While the steering in the Promaster is positive and accurate there is almost no steering feel - common with front wheel drive. Some could care less about this, Iím a sports car guy so itís not my preference - I like a little feedback in the steering wheel about what the front tires are doing. Two, Traction on anything even slightly slippery is poor. Wet grass, loose dirt, snow. This is especially the case if going uphill. There are two forces at work. When the driver accelerates it transfers weight to the rear wheels and going uphill exaggerates this even more. I literally almost could not go up a PAVED smooth section of mountain road due to horrible wheel spin. Granted, this was a very unusual and really steep road coming out of a super tight hairpin corner - I will go the other way next time. During normal driving traction is fine. But rear wheel drive vans definately have more traction and steer nicer.

Motor. The Penatastar engine is strong and reasonably efficient. We average about 15mpg combined on trips - which includes lots of dirt roads and mountains. In typical driving I have never had an issue with lack of power and keep in mind the Travato weighs almost 10,000 pounds loaded up. On flat interstates it will cruise all day long at 70 - even 80 if youíre OK with about 13mpg. I have owned our Travato only one year but have driven over many mountain passes. Generally it does pretty well and can maintain the speed limit.

But, and this is a big but, you have to let the engine rev up high to get the power. Itís a twin overhead cam engine and unlike a diesel or the ford turbo charge engine, it gets its power at high rpm - like 4, 5 or even 6,000 rpm. It makes some racket when it revs up high but itís designed for those high revs and it will move along revved up. The only two places I have noticed trouble staying at the speed limit are the Eisenhower Tunnel approach on I70 in Colorado and climbing up to Donner Pass in California. The Eisenhower approach is at very high altitude and the normally aspirated Pentatstar engine struggles, above about 7,000 ft, to keep up. The road to Donner Pass is just too step for the heavy van to keep up. If I drove those roads all the time I would opt for a diesel or turbo engine with more torque. Otherwise, the Promaster/Travato engine is nearly bullet proof, well tested and refined over the years in has been in production, runs on regular gas, and in a pitch almost any mechanic can work on it - unlike the MB diesel. At idle, mine is so smooth I am always trying to start it even though itís already running.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:43 PM   #26
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Teck13,

One of the best comparisons of FWD vs RWD I've read. I can only add that with the lower floor, at least with the Travatos, the under floor tanks of fresh, black, grey, LP, are considerably smaller than RWD vans.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:02 PM   #27
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Teck13,

One of the best comparisons of FWD vs RWD I've read. I can only add that with the lower floor, at least with the Travatos, the under floor tanks of fresh, black, grey, LP, are considerably smaller than RWD vans.

Totally agree on the FWD vs RWD statements as it is very much how I see things, too.


The comment on the steering feel and feedback hit at a very interesting time for me as I have noticed some of the same in the newer vehicles, including our Chevy Roadtrek. I am comparing by memory to older rear drive manual and power steering cars and too my 1996 Buick Roadmaster rear drive wagon that I recently put a modified power steering gear in (similar feel to the firmer Camaro older units). All the newer cars, and our van, seem to have a "springy" feel at initial turn of the steering wheel and return very quickly compared to the Buick or the older cars. It almost feels as if the power steering is actually powering the steering back to center quickly and then stopping it quickly at center. In the Buick it comes back slower at rate that seems to set more be the actual tires going back to center. On the van I just don't feel the road feedback the same, even though the steering is very responsive, mostly I feel the springyness.


Yep, if you are going to be in the mountains a lot, a turbo setup, be it gas or diesel, is the way to go as minimal altitude loss. The Chevy has quite a bit more engine than the Promaster and we have done the Eisenhower several times at or very near speed limit, but it certainly is a long and relatively noisy part of the drive. We do pretty well to about 10K feet before the power loss gets quite noticeable.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:50 PM   #28
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I do not know what year your Astro van/Roadtrek is or whether it has hydraulic or electric power steering. Chevy started shifting over to electric power steering in their trucks about 4 years ago – cars way before that.

From power steering’s first mass commercial use in 1951 until the late 1990’s the system was hydraulic. The engine turned a pump and the pump, with carefully calibrated valving, sends fluid to a hydraulic piston to assist in turning the wheels directly. There is nothing damping the road forces coming up through the tires/wheels/and steering mechanism/rack.

Electronic steering was quickly phased in the late 1990’s and earlier 2000’s primarily because it saved fuel because a hydraulic pump did not have to be turned all the time. In electric power steering systems, an electric motor is added into the equation, either at the steering column, or at the steering rack. Now road forces are being feedback (or not) through the motor (which has to spin) so the steering ends up feeling artificial and numb. EPW are getting better and better and some hydraulic systems were dreadful so good or awful steering feel is possible with either.

Just wait until drive by wire steering which is only a blink away.

On your Roadtrek two things you can try to help the steering feel. Tires. Some tires self-center much more than others and alignment. Find a shop who really knows what they are doing and tell them how you want the steering to feel. The right tires and a good alignment can make a very noticeable difference.

Totally agree, if majority of driving will be at altitude a turbo engine is the way to go. Turbo charged engines compensate for the approximately 3% power loss per 1,000 feet by increasing boost – to a certain extent. My normally aspirated Promaster Pentastar engine is probably down from 280 horsepower at sea level to around 200 hp at the Eisenhower Tunnel. Not enough power to motivate a 10,000 van.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:11 PM   #29
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I do not know what year your Astro van/Roadtrek is or whether it has hydraulic or electric power steering. Chevy started shifting over to electric power steering in their trucks about 4 years ago Ė cars way before that.

From power steeringís first mass commercial use in 1951 until the late 1990ís the system was hydraulic. The engine turned a pump and the pump, with carefully calibrated valving, sends fluid to a hydraulic piston to assist in turning the wheels directly. There is nothing damping the road forces coming up through the tires/wheels/and steering mechanism/rack.

Electronic steering was quickly phased in the late 1990ís and earlier 2000ís primarily because it saved fuel because a hydraulic pump did not have to be turned all the time. In electric power steering systems, an electric motor is added into the equation, either at the steering column, or at the steering rack. Now road forces are being feedback (or not) through the motor (which has to spin) so the steering ends up feeling artificial and numb. EPW are getting better and better and some hydraulic systems were dreadful so good or awful steering feel is possible with either.

Just wait until drive by wire steering which is only a blink away.

On your Roadtrek two things you can try to help the steering feel. Tires. Some tires self-center much more than others and alignment. Find a shop who really knows what they are doing and tell them how you want the steering to feel. The right tires and a good alignment can make a very noticeable difference.

Totally agree, if majority of driving will be at altitude a turbo engine is the way to go. Turbo charged engines compensate for the approximately 3% power loss per 1,000 feet by increasing boost Ė to a certain extent. My normally aspirated Promaster Pentastar engine is probably down from 280 horsepower at sea level to around 200 hp at the Eisenhower Tunnel. Not enough power to motivate a 10,000 van.

Our Chevy is a full size extended 3500 body on frame old school van from 2007. 300hp, 360ft-lb toque. 9600# gross weight. This is the earlier non variable valve timing engine with a nice low torque curve. The power steering is hydroboost in it so the pump runs the power steering and the brake booster/abs module in it. I have looked at the steering gear a bit in the factory service manual, and it looks like the plain old GM hydraulic gear used forever with torsion bar power activation, It feels like it has about a 30 inch-pound torsion bar in it from the force needed to turn it, but it springs back much more than the older versions. I have a feeling that they are feeding small amount of hydraulic backwards to power the gear back to center or something like that.


Our van handles extremely well compared to stock or most others. It is spring/bag lifted back to OEM height to counter the extra weight, aligned to best handling settings, big 1.5" rear swaybar installed, oversize Michelin Defenders at 265-75-16. It is truly an easy drive, it just feels kind of odd to me as it is springy to center. DW's CRV Honda hydraulic rack and pinion feels the same. The old Buick you can just feel the motion of the torsion bar as it engages the assist, but it isn't so springy back to center, just very smooth and you steer it the minor changes both ways a bit on center. I have driven the van over 850 miles straight in one day with the only time out of the seat to pump gas, so really a good ride at even 75+mph.


I think the major difference I see is that, as example, you were holding the van against a big side wind and the wind went away, you would just relax the pressure on the wheel and it would spring the other way. On the Buick you would lightly turn it back to what you need, which to me feels more controlled. These are tiny movements of the steering wheel on both of the vehicles at maybe 1/2-3/4 inch movement so very easy either way to control the correction.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:09 PM   #30
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I have driven my PM up the wet grass slope of a Louisiana levy. It did not slip.

Turning radii for reference:

2009 Corolla: 36'
136" PM: 40'
Single cab 2006 Tundra (before the behemoth era): 44'
159" PM: 44'
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:14 PM   #31
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I have driven my PM up the wet grass slope of a Louisiana levy. It did not slip.

Turning radii for reference:

2009 Corolla: 36'
136" PM: 40'
Single cab 2006 Tundra (before the behemoth era): 44'
159" PM: 44'
I am jealous of the reported nimbleness of the Promaster. It seems the turning radius of my Chevy Express is measured in football fields. Not true of course, but still frustrating in tight areas.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:41 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by MsNomer View Post
I have driven my PM up the wet grass slope of a Louisiana levy. It did not slip.

Turning radii for reference:

2009 Corolla: 36'
136" PM: 40'
Single cab 2006 Tundra (before the behemoth era): 44'
159" PM: 44'


Iím jealous of MsNomer,
Last time I rode up the levy - damn levy board wrote me a ticket!
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