Advice on Tow Vehicle Type

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by SeaKrist, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. SeaKrist

    SeaKrist New Member

    Sep 14, 2018
    Can we safely tow a 2004 Rockwood Premier 2405 with a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan? We just bought a used pop up and are looking to buy a used minivan or Traverse. We've read forums and articles and have talked to dealers and camper friends. Some say a minivan should be safe and others say no. My gut feeling is we should get a stronger vehicle, like a Traverse, because we have a big family (combined weight 735-870 lbs, depending if college-aged daughter joins us). My husband likes the gas mileage and storage in a minivan. We'd also like to (sometimes) take bikes and 2 kayaks. We are in northern Ohio and like to camp in OH, PA, MI, NY and surrounding states. We will most likely camp 3 to 5 times per year. Our current vehicle's tow capacity (Dodge Grand Caravan) is 3,600 lbs. and its GVWR is 5,400. Our camper: 2004 Rockwood Premier 2405 specs: GVWR 3,077 lbs, Base/Dry Weight 2,258 lbs, Base/Dry Hitch Wt. 357 lbs, Base/Dry Axle Wt. 1,901 lbs, Cargo Capacity 819.
    Chevrolet Traverse tow capacity is 5,000 lbs. and GVWR is 6,160 lbs. We really appreciate any opinions we might receive from PopUpPortal members.
  2. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

    Jun 14, 2014
    If the minivan is properly equipped, you should be able to tow that camper with it. Try to keep the loaded weight under 2900 lbs if you can. Kayaks and bikes could go on the top of the camper if needed. My camper loads at about 2800-2900 and my family + dogs weighs much more than yours and we tow all over the place with a '03 Odyssey. Certainly you could go to the larger vehicle, but minivans are very versatile and tow quite well, with the weakness usually being rear end sag which can be remedied with air bags or load assist shocks.
    SeaKrist likes this.
  3. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    Mini-Vans are O-K. Rather to have a SUV to be safe. Make sure that Traverse has factory installed tow package. Always best to be safe than sorry. Safety outweighs the need of comfort, great gas mileage and storage.

    I had a mini-van with rear air bags, tranny cooler but would rather have SUV with factory installed tow. The storage room is pretty much same for both mini-van and SUV. I am speaking about Explorer but not sure about Traverse. Traverse may be comparable with Edge which is smaller than Explorer. I think Blazer is coming out soon which is comparable with Explorer.

    Safety is more important than anything else. If you feel discomfort while towing, just say that safety is worth it.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
    SeaKrist likes this.
  4. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    The tongue weight on your pup is the largest concern. That dry weight is over the weight carrying capacity of most minivan hitches and might require a WDH. Some SUV hitch may have the same issue.

    After that, payload is going to precious. Most minivans are around 1100-1300lb mark. Midsize SUV’s tend to be a bit higher in the 1300-1600 lb range.

    [LOL][LOL] Not even close, especially if you need the third row. Unless you step up to a Suburban or Expedition EL/Max. Of the midsize suvs, the Traverse is actually the largest interior and closest to a minivan, but still not even in the same ballpark.

    SeaKrist likes this.
  5. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    Here you go. 2003 Ford Excursion. Plenty of room for the whole family including the college-age daughter and all their stuff with no worries about tow capacity.

    I'm considering one to tow our TT. [:)C]

    SeaKrist likes this.
  6. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    I tow with a 2009 Chrysler Aspen. Hemi engine, AWD, and decent interior room. Not as good as our caravan though. However it has power to spare but gas mileage sucks.

    Love our van though. Nothing can beat it for interior space and road trips. Having that low load floor compared to an SUV is great and stow and go seating is so amazing I couldn't imagine owning a van without it. They just don't make the best tow vehicles for a larger pup like mine.
    SeaKrist likes this.
  7. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

    Sep 6, 2017
    I tow a heavier popup with my Chrysler Pacifica and I have not had any issues. All that said 350 tong weight seems high for the trailer and the max your mini van is rated for is 300. My tong weight is closer to 250 on a 2400 lb dry weight popup, and again I have not had any issues.

    You might be able to make it work with rear suspension air bags, but you will need to be carefull about how much weight you also add to the trunk when towing.
    SeaKrist likes this.
  8. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    you caught me assuming...
  9. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    It’s all good. I was really surprised myself by the difference. When we were shopping for our Sienna we peaked in a Highlander on the lot and knew immediately it wasn’t for us.
  10. CamperMike

    CamperMike Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    The overall weight of the trailer would be OK for a Grand Caravan, but the tongue weight is an issue. That is already over the van's specs dry. Add a battery, propane, etc and it'll be even worse. I would go for an SUV like Traverse or Durango. You will sacrifice interior space but you'd be able to safely tow it. When I bought my trailer, I purposely avoided a few models with particularly high tongue weights so I could use my Chrysler van.

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