dodge grand caravan

Discussion in 'Etrailer.com Trailers and Towing Forum' started by penny, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. penny

    penny Active Member

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    we have a 15 grand caravan. we towed the small pop up with it, and didn't feel it. now we have bought a trailer. it is small, just about 14' and we weighed it yesterday and it weighed 2100, with 1/3 tank water (the most we would travel with) full propane and battery. our van and trailer together weighed in at 7040# and the GCWR for the van is 8750#. the front area of the trailer is a little over, but the trailer has a very sloped front end and supposedly falls with in the frontal area rating of the van. I called dodge and got info on our van. it has a heavy duty engine cooler & transmission oil cooler

    Over and over I read on the different forums that a grand caravan isn't a good tow vehicle. Yet several people who's opinion I value have assured me it can easily handle this trailer.
    I realize there are so many scenarios that could happen in towing a trailer, it is impossible to consider them all, but simply to be as informed and prepared as you can. So without brakes, or a weight distribution hitch, we took it on a short highway test drive yesterday. It handled a pretty steep and long grade with ease, not frequently shifting, rpms and speed showing no real problem for the van. It was not stressful when trucks passes, and I was comfortable driving at highway speeds. (not 75) I've read a lot about weigh equalizer hitches, and can see how that would be a good addition, although they look like a pain to use, but I think we should use one.

    I guess I'm really wondering why many on line advise against the GC as a tow vehicle?
     
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    If you decide to go with a WDH I got an extra one laying that I would let go cheap.
     
  3. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Did you add the weight of your family and luggage? Also does Dodge say a WDH is ok to use with the caravan? What was the tongue weight and the front and rear axle weights before and after the trailer is attached. Cargo capacity of the van?
    So far it looks like you will be fine with your set up though.
     
  4. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I think a lot has to do with the type of vehicle generally. FWD is not the best option. Rear suspension can be a little soft for heavy loads. Tongue weight is very important as well. That being said you have a lightweight trailer. Watch how you load it and keep the weight distribution in line. Consider airbags or something to supplement the rear suspension and a WDH wouldn't be a bad idea. Add a tranny cooler of you don't have one. I know on my Magnum a WDH was required for loads over 2000 or so.

    That is my .02. Whether I am trustworthy is still up to debate though!
     
  5. p

    p Active Member

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    I have a 2102 Caravan pulling a trailer with a 2200 lb weight. Pulled it twice over the Rocky Mts with two kids, wife, and kitchen sink.

    No issues.

    What I do:
    -I change to the van tranny fluid every two years.
    -Lube everything on trailer once/ season
    -I keep reading this forum for ideas so that if I do have an issue...I can fix it. Trailer do and will break...they are light and cheap. But they are simple fixes.
    -keep as much weight away as you can from back of van and in front of trailer to decrease tongue weight
    -No water in trailer tank while traveling
    -Trailer breaks

    WDH probably will not work especially if trailer tongue is of "C" channel type. Instead of airbags (you can't do it yourself without swearing), have Timberline supports installed.

    It has worked well for us.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  6. penny

    penny Active Member

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    cool! can you tell me what kind and ratings?
     
  7. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    The GC is a fine towing vehicle, really no issues at all. If you don't have trailer brakes, then you will want to manually downshift when going down steeper hills, it will be much easier to keep speeds down and be in control. I run a heavier camper than what you have with a 2003 honday Odyssey and it works fine. I just need to remember that I am towing and drive accordingly.
     
  8. penny

    penny Active Member

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    Nov 9, 2017
    both DH and I were in the van, that's the total of passengers that will be riding when towing. No luggage or stuff for camping were weighed. but we do try to keep it down to a minimum, and always plan to fill with water as close to destination as possible. I didn't weigh tongue, don't have the axle weights before and after. just the individual vehicle and trailer weight. our van is rated for occupants and cargo=1150# GVWR=6050# GCWR 8750# max tongue wt 360#. the little trailer has tongue wt of 215# the specs say axle wt is 1745# dry wt 1960#. I will check with dodge and see if they recommend a WDH. thanks!!
     
  9. penny

    penny Active Member

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    good advice, that we will follow!! thanks!
     
  10. penny

    penny Active Member

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    Nov 9, 2017
    we don't have a brake controller yet, but will get one installed before we take the camper anywhere. Thanks!
     
  11. penny

    penny Active Member

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    I think you are! I think they are saying it has a heavy duty tranny cooler, although Dodge is very ambiguous on all things towing related. beefing up rear suspension would be a good thing. Thanks!
     
  12. penny

    penny Active Member

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    I'm looking for the lightest one I can find, but price may trump weight! my brother in law is loaning us one, but it is way over rated for our application here!
     
  13. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    Here are two pictures 20180323_115150.jpg 20180323_115139_001.jpg .
     
  14. penny

    penny Active Member

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    this would be perfect!
     
  15. p

    p Active Member

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    Still don't think you need it.
     
  16. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    DFW, TX
    Owners manual doesn't require a WDH for any towing weight, but indicates it is recommended with heavier loads, and may be required to make sure your axle loads are in compliance. However, that little blurb is just in the standard definition of what that type of hitch is.
     
  17. penny

    penny Active Member

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    maybe, but I don't really like the sensation of a slight "lurching" motion and I think putting the front end down a little may take care of that. but really, I don't know much about these things, just what I read. first hand experience is better. thanks!
     
  18. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    A wdh will not help with the lurching motion. That is caused by the weight of the trailer pushing the Tow Vehicle & why you want trailer brakes. The wdh will add weight to the front axial and improve steering while helping the rear end ride height.
     
  19. penny

    penny Active Member

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    Thanks! We carefully measured the amount the front raised when the trailer is lowered onto the hitch. A whopping 1/8". I guess we don't need the WDH, according to the instructions I was reading. We will get brake controller for sure.
     
    jnc likes this.
  20. penny

    penny Active Member

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    Nov 9, 2017
    I wanted to ask if the trailer you tow is a pop up or a travel trailer?
     

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