I found a donor van a few days ago, and yesterday I went to pick it up.
Unfortunately the trailer I was borrowing was just purchased the day before, so a trip to les schwab was needed to replace a suspicious looking tire. Nothing like a 4 hour shake down on a new trailer. Note. make sure you check the lug nuts on any vehicle/trailer you buy. You never know how smart the previous owner was/wasn't.
And to continue on the mode of better to be safe than sorry, I stopped and got a trailer brake controller installed. BTW if you have factory towing, its just a plug and play thing, no wiring. The hardest part is deciding where you want to mount the bracket for the controller. After some running around town I found an awesome RV shop that had one(or 100) on the shelf and time to put it in. It is definitely something that is an easy DIY, but I didn't have the time, space, tools or patience to work on the van. I was thinking of the 4+ hour drive home, and how I spent 2 hours at les schwab for a trailer tire
The trailer controller was 20 minutes and out the door.
Overall the van felt good towing the trailer with the errr van... on it, and I was surprised by how well the 5.4 did. Im not sure what the total weight was, but I know the VW weighed 3600lbs. The van really settled down with the weight, and I am looking forward to adding my camper interior etc to get some weight in it for a smoother ride.
For reference, towing the trailer empty I got 12.5mpg. On the return trip home with the van on it I got 9.5mpg. Normally I would get around 15mpg on I-5. I can live with these numbers.
Finally arrived to the vans(vw) resting grounds for the next few weeks while I transfer over some parts and make my ford into a westy.
Operation can opener is about to begin.