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Old 12-01-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Default Tow vehicle

Looking into getting a vehicle to tow the miata to the track. My budget is $5000 or less, and I am hoping to get an SUV that way I can just put an air mattress in the back and sleep. Suggestions?
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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Van. I plan to get one eventually.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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model? engine size? make? something? you are short on details master of the hustle.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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For my enemies: 6.0L diesel Ford.

For my friends: Anything else.

My dad's 1988 Chevy 1500 was bought for $500, and has been fairly reliable. We've replaced the radiator/oil cooler, rebuilt diff, water temp sensor, ac compressor, and a few other bits I can't remember. It needs a clutch, 4x4 actuator, tire rod, and once that's fixed, tires. We use it for extreme abuse, mostly on their property, and lugging gravel/bark dust/yard debris/rocks to/from said property. The interior is ****, both in quality and how we've maintained it, it's a farm truck. I might consider one of those or a similar Ford for a dirt cheap tow vehicle, although I'd spend a little extra to begin with. Doesn't help with your air mattress hopes though.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:18 PM   #5
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model? engine size? make? something? you are short on details master of the hustle.


Anything with a V8 should be fine to tow with. It is was I am planning for the spring.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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God that thing is fugly...

Ok, so stay away from the 6.0 diesel ford.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:26 PM   #7
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God that thing is fugly...

Ok, so stay away from the 6.0 diesel ford.
I mean I am planning on hosting bondagevan.com out of mine on the weekends I am not camping in it.

I could really care less what the tow vehicle looks like. I just like that I can tow and sleep in it. Works better then a pickup. I also think I got like 14mpg towing my car from VA to SC when I did that.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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What about a Sprinter? They can do a 10 minute lap around the 'Ring too.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
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I mean I am planning on hosting bondagevan.com out of mine on the weekends I am not camping in it.

I could really care less what the tow vehicle looks like. I just like that I can tow and sleep in it. Works better then a pickup. I also think I got like 14mpg towing my car from VA to SC when I did that.
I don't care man, I might end up driving that **** to work when my car is down. I can't drive to work in a pedo van. can I atleast get one with windows?


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What about a Sprinter? They can do a 10 minute lap around the 'Ring too.
cheapest one I can find is 10 grand.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
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model? engine size? make? something? you are short on details master of the hustle.
Ford 5.4 with a tow package. Plan to get a massive ATF cooler, I'm using an RX7 cooler on mine.
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Anything with a V8 should be fine to tow with. It is was I am planning for the spring.
The 4.6 sucks to pull with, but they can be had on the cheap. Some say the Chevy rear end sucks for towing in regards to reliability, my father owned a Ford salvage yard for a couple decades and says the 5.4 E250 is god. I should note that he's a Chevy fan to the extreme where he sports a bowtie encrusted diamond ring, lol.
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God that thing is fugly...

Ok, so stay away from the 6.0 diesel ford.
You can't afford a diesel on that budget. If I could find a Cummins van, I'd pay for it.
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Originally Posted by shuiend View Post
I mean I am planning on hosting bondagevan.com out of mine on the weekends I am not camping in it.

I could really care less what the tow vehicle looks like. I just like that I can tow and sleep in it. Works better then a pickup. I also think I got like 14mpg towing my car from VA to SC when I did that.
ugly is best and insurance is cheap on the van. I also plan to add a desk complete with a bucket-chair, rope swing, refridgerator, and I'm looking at 12v AC options. I will save about $200 in hotel fees by partying in the van.
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What about a Sprinter? They can do a 10 minute lap around the 'Ring too.
They suffer from questionable reliability to the extent that FedEx cut them off and they're back to Ford vans. Think about all the E250 vans and for trucks you'll find in salvage yards for parts, you can't do that with the Sprinter. I've also heard that parts are hard to come by from the dealers and most parts are ordered from socialist Germany, not to be confused with the socialist UAW.
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I don't care man, I might end up driving that **** to work when my car is down. I can't drive to work in a pedo van. can I atleast get one with windows?
cheapest one I can find is 10 grand.
A van with windows does not offer the security of hiding car parts when parked. You may also encounter difficulties insuring a "multi-passenger van". The panel van is the way.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:17 PM   #11
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Oh, there are a ton of yellow, retired 5.4l E250 retired DHL vans that can be had. This is a good buy in most cases. If this forum is worth a **** they will pay to wrap my van in MiataTurbo garb. 949, NASA, and Hawk should do the same. If not I will start doing business with Miata.net, Miata Roadster, SCCA, and EBC, lol.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Ford 5.4 with a tow package. Plan to get a massive ATF cooler, I'm using an RX7 cooler on mine.

The 4.6 sucks to pull with, but they can be had on the cheap. Some say the Chevy rear end sucks for towing in regards to reliability, my father owned a Ford salvage yard for a couple decades and says the 5.4 E250 is god. I should note that he's a Chevy fan to the extreme where he sports a bowtie encrusted diamond ring, lol.
I don't mean that it has to be a Chevy van. Just some sort of work van. I have not done enough actual research to be able to say which models and years to go with. I just know it has to be a v8. I will check out the E250 though and see how cheap they are.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:23 PM   #13
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Chevy Astrovan with the tow package. Also its GMC twin, the Safari.

True body-on-frame truck with a van body.

Reasonably comfortable, holds plenty of gear, generous tow capacity. They have been around for many years and there are plenty of good ones on the market.

East to work on, or so I'm told.

Guys that have 'em, swear by 'em.

Remember to budget for towing upgrades you'd want/need, such as a anti-sway weight-distribution hitch, electric brake controller, and tranny cooler.

If it were me, I'd be looking for one with the dutch doors in the back.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:38 PM   #14
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I has pickup with topper that can be locked or slept in. It doesn't scare the parents of small children but it costs over $5k.

I hate to say it but an ugly van will be much cheaper than a fancy looking one and they are very practical. I travelled cross country pulling a boat in a 1500 Chevy van years ago, in a v6 Astro van another time, a F-150 another time, a T-100 v6 Toyota pickup, and lately I've been using my Tundra. They all pulled a trailer and they all got me where I was going. Vans have more usable space than trucks. Cool + tow vehicle = $$$$$$ Don't worry about cool. You drive a Miata.
Also remember tow vehicle doesn't always equal v8. Lots of v6 vehicles are rated for towing 5000lbs + and have room to sleep in.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Van. I plan to get one eventually.
Here's your van:

http://austin.craigslist.org/cto/2722963070.html


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1969 Hippie Van - $2500 (South Austin)

Date: 2011-11-29, 12:36PM CST
Reply to: [email protected]

1969 Ford CLub Wagon, excellent condition. $2,500 or best offer. Motor runs strong with 70,000 original miles. 302 motor with automatic transmission. Interior is NICE, has 3 burner stove with oven, cold refrigerator, sleeps 4 comfortably. Turtle Top is in good shape, '6-"6 of clearance for tall people. Everything works great, heat, a/c, lights etc. Body is nice, no dents or dings. Call for more information. Will not respond to emails.
Josh - 512.436.1016





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Old 12-01-2011, 03:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
Chevy Astrovan with the tow package. Also its GMC twin, the Safari.

True body-on-frame truck with a van body.

Reasonably comfortable, holds plenty of gear, generous tow capacity. They have been around for many years and there are plenty of good ones on the market.

East to work on, or so I'm told.

Guys that have 'em, swear by 'em.

Remember to budget for towing upgrades you'd want/need, such as a anti-sway weight-distribution hitch, electric brake controller, and tranny cooler.

If it were me, I'd be looking for one with the dutch doors in the back.
Electric brake controller? Are all these parts required even with a "tow package" car. I was looking at some 4runners and they had it.

this tow business is to f'in complicated damn it. I assume the brake controller is for a trailer with its own brakes?
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:47 PM   #17
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:51 PM   #18
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I've towed plenty of vehicles and loads that weighed 3 times what your miata weighs without trailer brakes. You would only need them with a huge trailer and I don't think that is what you are hunting.

Part of the vehicle manufacturer's computation for towing capacity includes the vehicle's braking ability.
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #19
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I will second or third a van. Family owned an early 90's E150 clubwagon w/351 and it towed 4k lbs routinely and slept us all in it one nite.. Id stay away from 4.6 for dedicated tow vehicle.
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:21 PM   #20
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Electric brake controller? Are all these parts required even with a "tow package" car. I was looking at some 4runners and they had it.

this tow business is to f'in complicated damn it. I assume the brake controller is for a trailer with its own brakes?
NC you need brakes on at least one wheel if you're towing a car. I think the trailer weight limit is something like 3500lbs or so. SC you need brakes on ALL axles, so if you run CMP make sure you are set up right.

You need a controller if you run anything with decent brakes, surge brakes don't need a controller but you don't want surge brakes. If towing a single Miata makes you need a sway control/weight control/whatever more than a simple ball hitch you did something wrong or have a really poor tow vehicle.

I tow with a short bed extended cab `98 F150 with a camper top. I could sleep in it if I really wanted to since the camper top gives a good 4-5' of standing room. I can sorta lock stuff up but it's really just a "keep people honest" lock since you can get the top open without too much difficulty when it's locked. Nowhere near as good as a van but if you plan on sleeping in it it's a pretty moot point anyhow.

It pulls like a dream, while driving I can hardly notice the 4k in tow along with whatever extras are in the back. Acceleration is pretty rough though, going to VIR from Durham I can't use overdrive much with the hills on 86 and 119. Going to CMP it's pretty much overdrive the whole way, makes for a nice bump in fuel economy. My whole tow setup cost me <8k with a new trailer. I get 11mpg going to VIR and 14 to CMP.

A 4runner will likely suck, that's a pretty short wheelbase. Wheelbase is very important when trying to avoid the "wag the dog" feeling while towing.
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