Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Towing with GM 1 ton extended passenger van (Savana/Express)
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 > Towing with GM 1 ton extended passenger van (Savana/Express)

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CJM1973

Trenton, MI

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Posted: 07/29/19 06:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I currently own a 2011 GMC Sierra CC HD 6.0L gasser and pull a 35 foot FR travel trailer. It does the job great with the help of a Propride hitch. Unfortunately, the miles are racking up on it at nearly 145k.

My 2 year plan is to buy a new (newer) truck to accommodate our camping needs. But we're going to Alaska next year and I need a TV in the interim that has less miles, more reliability, and more room. I've got my eye on a relatively new GM passenger extended van (Savana 3500) that is a steal for its low miles (10K). It has the same 6.0L gas engine with 6 speed auto trans. It also has the factory towing pkg and rear G80 locking diff.

I would keep this van for 2 years then sell it for just a marginal loss, when I purchase my future truck. My children would benefit from a couple of rows of seating (vs 1 in the truck) on such a long adventure.

I wanted to get opinions on the capability of the van vs a HD pickup. The wheelbase is 155 inches so it matches up with the Sierra at 153.7.

I wont be able to test the trailer out with the van as I'm buying it in another state.

Recommendations, opinions, and concerns are appreciated.

* This post was edited 07/29/19 06:50am by CJM1973 *

carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 07/29/19 07:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Vans are great. You do have a low GCWR with the Express 6.0L (16,000 combined) vs a newer pickup, but payload is great.


Bryan

2000 Ford E450 V10 VAN! 450,000+ miles
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Dadoffourgirls

China, MI USA

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Posted: 07/29/19 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My GM passenger van does well towing my trailer. I have not towed outside of Michigan. They only come with the 3.42 rear axle. Therefore, there will be a slight difference between them and pickup.


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LanceRKeys

Amarillo, TX

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Posted: 07/29/19 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dadoffour, how does your 6.0 do compared to your previous 8.1?

Boomerweps

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Posted: 07/29/19 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is the 1 ton van. They use the same model numbering system from the truck line.
You may find out the van does near as well as your current truck towing your TT. You don't mention the van's model year.


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CJM1973

Trenton, MI

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Posted: 07/29/19 01:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Boomerweps wrote:

That is the 1 ton van. They use the same model numbering system from the truck line.
You may find out the van does near as well as your current truck towing your TT. You don't mention the van's model year.


It's a 2018 Savana 3500 LT1. My trailer has a 7600 lb GVWR.

CJM1973

Trenton, MI

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Posted: 07/29/19 01:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For anyone has driven to Alaska recently from the lower 48, will the van be as comfortable as a traditional HD truck on the not-so great Alcan Hwy? Also, my biggest fear is traction issues with the 2WD nature of the truck. It is optioned with the G80 locker but is 4WD a necessity off the main highways or around campgrounds?

Grit dog

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Posted: 07/29/19 01:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Provided you're going in the summer (ish) months and don't plan on going off road, roads and campgrounds aren't really different up there, except there's less of them.
You'll be fine with a 2 wheeler in most any place you'd take a monster 35' TT.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

Bionic Man

Colorado

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Posted: 07/29/19 06:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not trying to talk you out of your plan, but 145k miles really shouldn’t be a huge concern, especially if you have maintained the truck.


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CJM1973

Trenton, MI

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Posted: 07/29/19 08:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bionic Man wrote:

Not trying to talk you out of your plan, but 145k miles really shouldn’t be a huge concern, especially if you have maintained the truck.


If my plan didn't involve upgrading trucks in 1.5 years and if my children didn't grow like weeds, I think I wouldn't even consider it. But the lack of space behind the front seats is a concern for a 14,000 mile trip over 2 months. I think the storage capacity with the rear 2 rows removed (it's a 2-3-3-3-4 config) is the biggest plus. Will be able to bring a few more things with us and keep it all out of the elements.

* This post was edited 07/29/19 08:46pm by CJM1973 *

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