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Old 07-10-2022, 08:08 PM   #1
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'06 e250 Flat Tow Jeep/Suzuki...

Hello, interested in some feedback and reality checks.

I've got a '06 e250 2wd 5.4 SMB Penthouse recently acquired for family adventures and exploring. It's a perfect 4 person seating (captains chairs) sleeping configuration (2up top, 2 on the rear bench). Ideally it would have been a 4wd, but that seems cost prohibitive to achieve w this van. The van is pretty simple set-up w no frills.

We enjoy lots of activities while we're out, biking, hiking, kiting, general exploring... hence would enjoy having some toys to bring along as we explore. One could add roof racks and new bumpers on the van to provide more storage options... OR

Buy a Jeep / Suzuki (considering cause they're small and light) as a Flat Tow

Flat towing a jeep could provide extra 'gear' storage and an exploration vehicle of local areas. Would allow for more difficult offroad driving of the van vrs the offroading a van towing a trailer / camper could manage. My wife pointed out, a place to stash car seats. Don't have to pay for ferry tolls going to islands; could drive the Jeep on itself. We live in the PNW and enjoy the islands often

Can anyone offer some insights or act as a sounding board for how practical this would be?
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Old 07-10-2022, 11:40 PM   #2
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Im personally not a friend of flat towing. Just personal opinion. Wear on tires, beatings, shocks, springs, still the same.

I generally get your idea. But you buy an adventure vehicle to buy a second adventure vehicle? would love to have a wife like this ^^

But seriously: I also have a 5.4 2WD and were doing a lot stuff you wouldnt expect to see us. So not sure how far youre taking it.

Why not a small offroad capable trailer? Cheaper, less maintainace, still storage, less weight (lower fuel consumption) on the van,

Ive some people using their van to pull around some serious crawler/ toys. But those were mainly on trailers.
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Old 07-11-2022, 08:07 AM   #3
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E-350... yes, my wife rocks! Sometimes should should probably put the brakes on more than she does so to say.

I've also been thinking of the trailer, and of racks/bumpers etc... as of now we're just brainstorming. Haven't used the van enough to find it's limitations. So we'll definitely do some trips first.

My social circle is always talking about the tradeoffs of different set-ups. And so far we compose about every version of adventure rigs one could think of.

Thanks for your response though... definitely some good points.
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Old 07-11-2022, 09:00 AM   #4
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Just my 2 cents; Unless you have done a big brake upgrade already, youll certainly want to invest in this if you plan on flat-towing. As E-350 mentioned, Id pursue a small trailer before Id entertain a 3000lb vehicle behind me.
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Old 07-11-2022, 09:34 AM   #5
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You need to be very careful in choosing a vehicle to flat tow. The towability changes with every model year. For example, one of the most popular "dinghies" or "toads" has been the Honda CRV, but it was towable only through the 2014 model year. The most comprehensive guide that I know of is Motorhome's Dinghy guide, which seems to have ceased producing it past 2020.

https://www.roadmasterinc.com/produc...ghy_guides.php

Earlier editions are available, just Google "Motorhome Dinghy Guide XXXX". Note that each year is a stand-alone issue for that model year. That means if you're interested in a 2015 Jeep you need to look in the 2015 edition, etc. In any case, even if the guide says it's towable, you need to double check with the manufacturer.

Another factor to consider is the ease of mounting the baseplate to the toad. The baseplate is the fixture the towbar clips onto. Jeep Wranglers have been very popular in this regard. And then, there's a need for a braking system in the toad, another thing to consider, not to mention the tow bar. I'm a fan of the Ready Brake system:

https://www.readybrake.com/

As you can see, it can get complicated and somewhat expensive. Nonetheless, I can see the advantages of having a toad compared to a trailer.

For more information, you should spend some time on Sportsmobile's sister site, IRV2.com. It has a forum dedicated to the topic of Toads:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/
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Old 07-11-2022, 09:46 AM   #6
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BCam... thanks for all that input. I figured a braking system was going to be part of the deal; but good links for me to research.

Sometimes the KISS principle is relevant: Keep It Simple Stupid.
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:10 AM   #7
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One of the reasons I like the Ready Brake system (which I have) is that it's 100% mechanical and doesn't depend on electricity, electronics or vacuum. There's nothing to put in or remove from your toad like the popular Brake Buddy and it's less expensive than most, if not all, of the alternatives.

One nice thing is they have a towbar system with the braking system built into it.
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:53 AM   #8
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I flat towed a Jeep YJ for a few thousand miles out west with an overloaded E350 EB 5.4l, family of four loaded for a month long trip, CCV top, did I mention heavy? I did nothing except add a tow bar. It towed surprisingly well. You won't win any races but it honestly wasn't that much different than the van by itself. An even bigger surprise was that I lost only 1 mpg, seriously!

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Old 07-11-2022, 11:59 AM   #9
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86Scotty... on my list is to get my van to the scales and see what it actually weighs w our basic gear. I'm not a fast driver to begin with, grew up w a '77 VW bus, so I'm used to driving slow. Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-11-2022, 12:08 PM   #10
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I think flat towing a Jeep or some other vehicle you can use on excursions is a good idea. In todays world, you are going to spend $20k+ adding 4x4 to your van. You can easily purchase a small, capable, fun rig to beat on on for less than half that amount. Plus, you'll have a base camp with your SMB set up and don't have to pack everything up when you want to go do something.

I flat towed a gen 1 Toyota Tacoma for a couple hundred miles and it didn't even feel like I had anything behind me. I imagine towing a Jeep would be similar.
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