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Old 09-11-2015, 02:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Van and trailer mods

I was planning to refrain from modding my van and trailer too heavily in order to keep it looking clean and professional but gas is starting to kill me. What mods would you guys start with?


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Old 09-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Can you describe how you typically use the rig?
Depending on speeds and distance,etc.,it might be better to get a completely different setup.
Consider though,that a VW Jetta TDI can tow a 21-ft Airstream trailer and get 32-mpg HWY.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a van and trailer combo too. Start with smooth wheel covers and and airdam (those US van undersides are terrible).

I put all my 'daily use' gear in my van and put my 'occasional use' gear in the trailer. I leave the trailer at home as much as possible and that's a good 20% gain. If I;m doing really small jobs or quotes I'll take the Prius. On days when I might need one or two things out of the trailer I try to squeeze them into the van. If you can re-organize your gear that would be mod #1, along with asking if you really need ALL that stuff.

I'm also always on the lookout for 2-3in1 tools. My Werner folding ladder takes the place of 3 ladders and a platform (my old ladders are nice for extended use but only come along if I know it's likely to be worth it). A track saw is a lot smaller and lighter than a table saw. Carry enough hardware for a month at a time, not a year or a decade like I often see! If something isn't used at least once a year, I don't carry it.

It does take a bit more planning and I have to think my day through before I leave, but it's let me half the size of the van I needed, which has roughly halved my running costs too.

I get 31MPG city with my trailer.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you ever considered a boat-tail? Could eventually built it around a hitch-mounted rack, so you would actually have some useful cargo space along the aerodynamic enhancement.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A boat tail isn't very practical on a van when you consider the way the rear doors open, and it would have to be removed every time you want to hitch the trailer. Boat tailing the trailer is an option, but you have to consider that a van plus trailer is already pretty long.

Filling the gap between vehicle and trailer again isn't practical because the doors again need to be accessible.

I plan on doing a small Kamm roof spoiler and shallow box cavity at the rear of both van and trailer. The rear of my van is all plastic trim pieces so if I can find some spares at a wrecker it's just a case of plastic welding some ABS to them.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice looking rig! Good suggestions there. I do the opposite to what oldtamyaphile does, but i prob have different situation... most of my carpentry work is one week and up, so all my gear is in the trailer which is left on site. Truck is empty and 'light' for 30km highway commute. My gear is on a diet, and im thinking more about the weight of stuff and do i really need it. The trailer kills my milage too.
Aero suggestions... upper grill block, air dam, smaller mirrors, white upper rear wheel skirts, side skirts, under body panels etc. I have similar 6x12 single axle and have thought about teardropping the wheels.
Do you have barn doors or ramp on the back? Lookup trailer tail for inspiration. Giver!
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
A boat tail isn't very practical on a van when you consider the way the rear doors open, and it would have to be removed every time you want to hitch the trailer.
There might be some way to overcome that issue, such as converting the rear barn-doors to roll-up doors.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumdog View Post
I do the opposite to what oldtamyaphile does, but i prob have different situation... most of my carpentry work is one week and up, so all my gear is in the trailer which is left on site.
I'll sometimes do likewise, other times I'll unload the van and leave it all on site, then I can take the Prius for the rest of the week. If I need something I don't have (because it's in the van and it's at home or back at the workshop) it can wait for the next day.
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I do pull the trailer around every couple days. I leave it on site when possible. It is my shop and all my sales gear is in the van. All my samples and all that stay in the van. I could fill in a bit between the van and trailer. Boar tail wouldnt be an option though. The trailer has a ramp rear door so I could do a camback. Hmm lots of options. Is it worth doing a belly pan with an air dam?
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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A belly pan is a good start. BTW have you ever considered to get an electrical radiator fan instead of the engine-driven one? It's a relatively cheap mod and does improve the overall efficiency.

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