Grand Caravan tow vehicle sitting low after hookup - What to do?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by rushmore, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. rushmore

    rushmore New Member

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    Our Grand Caravan sits a little lower at the back end when out PUP is hooked on.

    DW is worried it's too low, but the PUP, a 2007 Fleetwood Graphite is just about as light as you could want it (UVR 1445lbs, GVWR 2300lbs). This versus the max tow capacity of the 2016 Grand Caravan of 3600.

    Is there anything a guy can do to reassure DW the TV will be fine and the mountain passes will be a breeze?
     
  2. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    I also tow with a Grand Caravan and we had the same issue even with our first small PUP. We were not comfortable with it and so my husband installed airbags in the rear springs. We got the kind you pump up with a bike tire pump. Easy to use. But we did have an incident where the shraeder valve (sp?) went bad and our leave time was delayed a few hours while we ran around to stores to find a replacement. When I got a new Grand Caravan, we went with heavy duty shocks. Honestly there's not a whole lot of clearance under the hitch on a mini-van to start with, so some sag makes it pretty low. This DW was not comfortable with it either ; )

    But you'll probably be fine with engine power in the mountains. My van is a beast!
     
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  3. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    Do you know if you have the self-leveling shocks? I know some of the Chrysler minivans included them with the tow package. I’m thinking the 2016 T&C we looked at when buying our van had them, but I could be completely wrong there. If you do have them, I believe you have to drive a bit for them to basically pump up pressure as they bounce a bit and then will raise the back end a little.

    Otherwise, airbags are great. I installed them almost immediately on our Sienna. I did have one of them bust after 4-5 years but a quick call to Airlift and they sent out a free replacement under the lifetime warranty.

    Just go slow over big dips like pulling into gas stations until you get it sorted out and you’ll be fine.
     
  4. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

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    We put Hellwig helper springs on our GC. Definitely helped with leveling. Love the van, great for small camper. But mostly use truck now.
    Hellwigproducts.com EZ550
     
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  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Some use the bump stops on the rear springs also. So that or air bags.
     
  6. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    In the old days Monroe sold "air shocks" for the rear axle - you could pump them up via an external Schrader valve, usually mounted on the rear bumper. Our 69 Impala had a remote pump control on the dash :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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  7. McSkippy

    McSkippy Active Member

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  8. Musictom

    Musictom Member Gold Supporting Member

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    We tow our Rockwood 2318G with our Grand Caravan. We went with a weight distribution hitch, and the combination travels like a dream.
    Having said that, as light as your pup is, a WDH is probably overkill. As others have said, airbags are probably going to serve you well.
     
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  9. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Air bags are pretty much the way to go with all minivans. You can adjust the pressure depending upon how loaded you are. We are on our third Honda Odyssey with air bags.
     
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  10. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    There is very little clearance under the receiver, especially with an aftermarket install, about 11 inches. I solved the problem with a gooseneck hitch. Never had any problems.
     
  11. Rob Roy

    Rob Roy New Member

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    I towed a 1990 Jayco 1206 (~2000 lbs) with a Grand Caravan (4.0 liter). I added coil-over shocks to the back (Either Monroe or Bilstein, I think), that stiffened the rear suspension nicely to handle the substantial tongue weight. Almost no deflection when loaded. They also gave the Caravan a much more stable ride when not loaded. I tried airbags first, but was plagued with leaks. The coil-over shocks were installed once, and never touched. Not too expensive, either (I installed them myself- not too tough).

    Good Luck!
     
  12. Coulter Wood

    Coulter Wood Member

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    We used the airbags on our minivan, but also u can get a few inches by using a ball mount with some lift to it.
     
  13. mickaqua

    mickaqua Member

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    Monroe sensatrac shocks work.
     
  14. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

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    Get bilstein shocks and air bags and you’re golden. You want to tow level. Most towing accident root cause are traced back to sagging rear ends as a contributing factor.
     
  15. Mark CASTELLANI

    Mark CASTELLANI Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    We had a Weight Distributing Hitch.

    When we started, we were pushing upwards of 1,000 lbs just in passenger weight [Me, DW, 2 Teen Boys, Young Daughter and, sometimes, a Kid's BFF] so, the back end was riding low... the WDH "solved" that problem. [PUP Dry Weight: 1,590 lbs., Hitch Weight: 225 lbs.]

    There's a lot of opinions on whether to use a WDH on a "C" channel tongue but, ours worked and towed great for years... until it didn't... the jury's still out on whether it was the cause of the frame being bent... Service Shop said no...said the frame, under the box was bent, too

    [​IMG]
    20200918_093650.jpg

    I guess if & when we do it again, I might go with the Air Bags

    Happy Trails!
     
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  16. afidmt

    afidmt Member

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    A lot of talk on the Air Bags, Self leveling shocks, Weight Dist Hitch -- My first look would be the Tongue weight -- weigh your camper loaded - and then the tongue -- you should be 10-15% of the total weight - if you have too much - you are taxing the rear suspension -- there are a LOT of You Tube Vids out there to do a home made scale -- That rear sag may be fixed by as little as a bit of repacking the weight in the camper -- Be safe, and happy travels !!!
     
  17. LorenHaas

    LorenHaas New Member

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    Tongue weight can also be an issue. While you want most of the weight forward of the axle, it is possible to over do it and make the tongue weight excessive. Check yourowners manual to get this right.
     
  18. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I would imagine even without the trailer attached with your family of 5 in the van along with a buff or two, plus the stuff in the van you would take camping. The rear of the van was low.

    If that was the case when you connected the trailer and leveled the van with the wdh you added that load in the van onto tounge weight to be mainly carried by rear wheels. With dips in the road you then need to carry some more of the van rear axle weight. I going with the wdh as the cause.
     
  19. Mark CASTELLANI

    Mark CASTELLANI Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    yeah... I've gone over and over and over this... received many opinions... I really didn't want to rip that bandaid off again but....the OP's setup is very close to what we had and I felt the need to chime in. [DW says that's when I get myself into trouble LOL [:D]]

    We put thousands of miles on the rig with the WDH over the years... narry a problem

    I suppose that, eventually, the torgue put on the A-Frame could have weakend the channel... I suppose

    The previous 2 trips, we had only 500 lbs [passengers plus gear] in the TV. The final trip was just a quick weekend getaway [DW, young daugher and me]..."cargo" was just food and clothes...the roads were smooth as silk

    I'm still of the mind that it was caused by my teenage boys hooking up the camper.... though they never fessed up to having any problems... I've had to stop them from proving their "manly prowess" and muscling things around in the past [eg: instead of backing the TV to the camper, lets pull the camper to the TV kind of stuff]...maybe they dropped the tongue on the driveway... maybe they over-linked the WDH [cranked it up too tight]. All looked fine in my walk-around but, it was a late Friday night and already dusk.

    IDK... it's water under the bridge now

    Point being... the Camper Industry led us to believe that a WDH is/was a viable solution for our rig.... I just might do something different next time now that our boys don't come with us anymore.... looking for, maybe, a 8 foot or 10 foot box... bare minimum "accessories".

    Happy Trails!
     
  20. p

    p Active Member

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    I have a similar issue that I have never discovered how it happened. When the kids are older...I want them to fess up. Maybe I will bring it up at their weddings in 10 to 20 years?
     

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