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hi all,

i looking for a cargo van to tow the rally car (mazda gtx). i don't have a lot of experience with towing (or with domestic vans for that matter) so i was wondering what are the minimum requirements/ trim lines that i should consider (E250, G20, etc with v8, 3/4 ton, etc...). also, of the major brands (ford, chevy, and gmc) which are more reliable?

thanks in advance!

eugene
 

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John Vanlandingham
Get Diesel and manual trans.
If you must do gas, the big 6 Ford make more torque than the 5 liter V8 and drink less fuel, and comes more often with manual trans.

Did I mention get a manual trans. Get one. You have some clue when a manual trans is going to sheeeet the bed, automatics can puke anytime almost without warning, are expensive to repair and drink fuel like mad. Towing Jamie Florence's Sapphire Cosworth back from Boston,my Chev 6.2 diesel with man. trans van which was full of heavy junk and the van itself FULL of motors (3), transmissions (4), diffs rollcages, 15 flywheeels, 20 wheels, tools, shelving,etc and actually on the bump stops, cruising 70+ and going over some 10,800' passes we got 13.8mpg We were approx 3 times heavier than you would be in normal go to rally trim.

Once you have a diesel with a manual trans, then you can turbo it. Climb the hills and get better fuel economy, too!

That's what we are going to do to Eric Eatons Ford van.
 

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You may not want to get to hung up on the van idea. I saw a sweet utility body pickup that someone was using. Think of all the great cubby holes that lock and nothing to slide around. As a bonus you don't have to smell anything in the back (fuel). I will probably go that way myself when I get my car built. Other experienced people may no better than I do so take my advice for what it is worth.

Matt
 

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Depends on how far you plan to tow. If you are only doing the northwest events then I think you might be able to live with gas, but any farther go diesel. Diesels are better in every way that matters but do cost more and are harder to find.

I recently (2 weeks) bought a Ford E350 van with the 7.3L diesel that had been an ambulance so it has some extra headroom and other things like lights for night service. For my needs this is about the right size.

The Ford E/F350's are one ton's as are the C/G30's for GM I think Dodge uses 3500 or something like that. The 20, 250, 2500 are 3/4 ton. I think most rally stuff could be done with 3/4 or 1 ton van/trucks.

Some people are going with the box trucks and get a lot of extra room but this is likely overkill unless you are going to build it out with a shop inside or put the car in the truck. I like using John Lane's monster Ford (F650) with the 20 foot box but the gas millage is very very poor and again he has a nice shop in it where I would only have some tools and tires. Also parking the box van's when not at a rally can be harder. My van sits in front of my condo without sticking out.

If you are going to make some long tows I would think about a bed for sleeping or at least getting a short nap in.

Driving long distances sucks in my opinion so I would also think a lot of the driver comfort, get something that is quite and drives stright even in side winds. I have on old Ford F350 that is a work out to drive and very uncomfortable, even the 100 miles to my Cabin puts a strain on me where when I drive my Audi I hardly notice the trip. The F350 also gets 5-8 MPG and let me tell you I notice that as I put $50 into it all the time. I expect more like 16-20 with my new diesel.

I hope that helps.

Derek
 

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Three words: Am bu lance

I got mine cheap on E-bay. Plus it's fun to run the lights and siren after a good finish. These are usually equipped with the following:

- Flood lights on all 4 sides, and gobs of great lighting inside
- Generator or BIG inverters for 120V for extra lights, tools, etc. (mine came with a 4Kw onan generator)
- Positrac (if from a northern clime). Nice in the snow
-Wheelchair lift (sometimes) which is great for loading/unloading 500lb toolboxes at service. The crew loves this feature.
- Nitrogen bottle compartments and plumbing (for airtools).
- Passthru to rear compartment, which usually has at least two more seats with seatbelts (so crew can actually be comfortable on trips)
- Big radiator, cooling louvers, and auxilliary fans (designed for idling extended periods, but great for towing too)
- Low clearance and low entry at rear (mine is only 8' tall)
- Great rear A/C and heat.
- Barn doors and loads of storage
- Dual wheels and 1-ton suspensions to handle big loads

Regarding Diesel vs Gas... I have a 460 gas motor and it gets about 6.5 mpg while towing. BUT, I can tow at 85 mph on flat ground no problem. We averaged better than 60 mph for 2,000 miles going to Maine and back, but probably spent $750 in gas alone. My other truck (which is for sale BTW)is a diesel, and is much slower. A Turbo diesel ambulance is the best option I'd say. See ebay.
 

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The 6-cylinder gas engine in my 1994 Ford F150 extracab 2WD with manual transmission doesn't use much fuel (in a relative sense). Last year it towed the RX7 to Rim, STPR, Ojibwe, and back, getting around 13 mpg with AC the whole way. It's a little slow on the hills though.
Dave
Car # 207
 

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Dave Clark had the old Ford Van going today, CALL HIM!

John Vanlandingham
Eugene, call Dave. He has his new hired hand out there de-stickering the van and they may even WASH IT! Yes! MAY mind you, and they may heave the old carpets, it has a waaaaaay beaching GT steering wheel and 'Doodge turbo bucket seat' for driver, whatever a 'turbo bucket' is. Maybe I misunderstood something, whatever give him a call.
 
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