Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross country

Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross country

Postby bender [OP] » August 3rd 2013, 12:54am

Hello,

I am moving from Texas to New Hampshire soon and am considering using my '97 Safari as a tow/moving vehicle. The van has over 256,000 miles on it, but the trans was rebuilt about 2000 miles ago. All rear seats are gone but it now is loaded with two small (200lb) motorcycles and probably 400-500lbs of other crap in it as well. The catch is I also have a '66 VW Bug that I was planning to tow behind on a U-haul car trailer, maybe 3500 lbs total. It has a class III Hidden Hitch that I put on a few years ago but I don't believe the van has heavy duty rear springs and has P-rated tires. I am thinking that even with a transmission cooler, this is asking a bit much of my old Safari, and I really do not want to kill it. I am starting to lean toward making two trips, one with the stuff in the van now and another for the VW. Any thoughts?

Tim
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby markmitch » August 3rd 2013, 1:02am

wow thats a lot to ask of the van , may I ask why your moving to NH? I am in NH and soon to be moving to California I hate winter. This area of the country will eat the VW in two years easily. everything rusts here no matter what you do to try to stop it. I say get here get settled then get the VW after you know you have a place to store it out of the weather.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby DRZ » August 3rd 2013, 1:12am

I think your Astro can do the going part with no problems. The short comings in a deal like this is the stopping. In '03, Astros finally got world class brakes but in '97 they still are just really undersized for heavy duty stopping. If before leaving, you make sure your brakes are as good as they can be and leave extra room between you and whatever on the road especially on large downhills, you probably will be fine. Just don't use Overdrive with that much weight.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby bender [OP] » August 3rd 2013, 3:39am

markmitch wrote:wow thats a lot to ask of the van , may I ask why your moving to NH? I am in NH and soon to be moving to California I hate winter. This area of the country will eat the VW in two years easily. everything rusts here no matter what you do to try to stop it. I say get here get settled then get the VW after you know you have a place to store it out of the weather.


I am moving there to work on my friends farm and partially for a change of scenery/fresh start sort of thing. After living the majority of my life in Texas, the winters will take a little getting used to. I will not be driving the VW in the winter months. I had to do lots of metal repair to get it to its current state and I would like to preserve it as long as I can. But I repaired it once and could do it again if necessary, though hopefully not for a while.

I drove the van around a bit with all my crap in it and I think that answered the question for me. I am going to do it in two trips. I can definitely feel the extra weight even on flat ground especially in the brakes, and the rear axle bump stops are only about an inch from the frame. I think adding another 3500 lbs to the mix seems unwise.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby bender [OP] » August 3rd 2013, 3:45am

DRZ wrote:I think your Astro can do the going part with no problems. The short comings in a deal like this is the stopping. In '03, Astros finally got world class brakes but in '97 they still are just really undersized for heavy duty stopping. If before leaving, you make sure your brakes are as good as they can be and leave extra room between you and whatever on the road especially on large downhills, you probably will be fine. Just don't use Overdrive with that much weight.


Yeah after driving around with the stuff in the van, the brakes are the obvious weak point. The extra weight of the car and trailer could cause some serious problems. I was hoping to save a little time/money by doing it all in one trip, but I think I'll play it cautious and split into two trips. I wish I had an '03-'05 or better yet a full-sized van, but I can't complain too much, I got the van free 5 years and 56,000 miles ago and it is still in good shape.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby BarnesJohn » August 3rd 2013, 8:21am

Hey,I think you should make two trips.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby DRZ » August 4th 2013, 3:14pm

I have Monroe air shocks on the back of my Astros and they can level out a lot of weight and still ride smoothly when you let them back to only 20#.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby Jasen » August 4th 2013, 4:20pm

i carry 1500 lbs in mine, thats more then your planning. i would never think of trailering a car. as it's been said, i don't think the brakes would be up to it, across town is one thing, cross countries another.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby thegreenmachine » August 4th 2013, 5:44pm

I've had my van loaded to the max, while towing 4000lbs.

It was okay, but not something I would do cross country. Okay, we'll, maybe if its flat travel. Not mountainous like bc is.

But still kinda scary and no fun.


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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby tinworm » August 7th 2013, 6:52pm

the van could probably handle the car as well as the other stuff if you dollied the VW instead of trailering it. This is apart from the brake concerns, but even if you go for a second trip, id consider a dolly then too, as a lot easier on the tow vehicle as far as tongue weight. Downside is they are impossible to back up, but ive towed some interesting stuff on dollys, and as long as you never forget its in tow, they are pretty easy to manage.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby SilverBullet1997 » August 7th 2013, 9:28pm

I would do a single trip and just ship the vw with a car shipper or other shipping service, I think for the money you will spend in gas/miles/wear&tear on the van, it would be far more economical to ship the small VW bug. I would check out services like http://www.uship.com/ (as seen on the A&E Channel's Shipping Wars) and other vehicle shipping services.

If you were to do it yourself, say 2000 miles(oneway) roughly(central texas to central NH), at say an average of 16mpg(possibly even lower with towing) and say 3.80$/gal you would be looking at just under 500$ each way in gas, so 1000$ +/- there and back, plus you would have to pay for your food, lodging(1 or 2 nights) and rental of a car-dolly(250$ish?)(even more for a car-trailer). So you would probably be looking at close to 1400$ for the second trip of going back and getting your VW.... I would have to believe that you could do it for a lot cheaper thru a shipping company, plus you save all those miles and wear and tear on your van... And Markmitch the one moving from NH to CA, he is shipping his Astro from there to CA and it is going to be 1,250$, and that is more miles and more weight and size. So I would put some serious thought in to just shipping it.

Just in my opinion.
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Re: Trailering a small car and a van full of stuff cross cou

Postby tinworm » August 7th 2013, 9:53pm

^^^^^
x2 on this idea. would definitely be a hell of a lot cheaper. Also there are shipping companies the specialize in classics, I had a 1974 MB with a pull start moved in an enclosed trailer by a guy who did classics primarily.

another options is why not drive the VW? does it run? hire someone to drive the astro, and follow along behind in the VW, or get a friend to assist you. Might even be cheaper to do that and fly the friend back home than ship, tow, or make a second trip.
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