Departure angle is by far the nemesis with my van. I take it across some fairly deep draws/washes and the receiver hitch has plowed a lot of dirt and dug up some good-sized rocks. I need to move the electrical connecter to a safer location as I'm tired having to bend it back into position. The only thing that's kept it from being ripped off is my really stout rear bumper that acts as a skid.It does require picking a good line. Since many required backing, I was taking lines that I knew would allow that.
Yea, but the wheelbases are the same, so I dont think the switchbacks really wouldve been any different with the extended. Everytime I was running out of room, it was because my tires reached the end of the road, not because of something like a rock or tree. Now departure angle? that probably wouldve been a different story. While I hadnt had a single case of bottoming out the hitch, Im pressure sure an EB wouldve.
Back in January I mentioned taking a trip with my versahaul motorcycle hitch rack (like 70lbs?) and KTM 690 (330lbs) on the rear. The ride quality was definitely better with more weight back there. So just another reason to build out the interior more.
And yes, weight does help the ride. These are 1-ton rated vans and the ride empty shows it. I generally have my dirt bike or quad inside, that plus the camping gear and big spare tire on the back help a bit.