Is it too big for a Mini Van to tow?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by MacMermaid, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. MacMermaid

    MacMermaid New Member

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    Hi All,

    We have a Chrysler Minivan, with a max capacity for towing (including trailer and van) of 8700 lbs, we are advised to only use 90% which is approx 7900 lbs. The minivan is equipped with tow package.

    The van weighs 4600 lbs. We weigh about 500 pounds. Fuel will add 150 lbs.

    We are looking at the 2019 Rockwood 2318G pop up trailer. Its dry weight is 2400 lbs, and max capacity is 3100 lbs.

    If I have the numbers correct,
    7900 - 4600 - 500 - 150 - 2400 = 250.

    So that only leaves 250 lbs of stuff.

    The sales guy told us this sized pop up would work. Now we are wondering.

    Did I do the math right?
    How much does "stuff" weigh?

    Does anybody with a Minivan tow a Pup this size?

    Thank You!
     
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    First of all the sales guy is full of it. All he wants to do is make the sell. I would say it depends on where you are at.
    Back East where the elevation is lower and the hills aren't so steep maybe yes. Someone who tows with a minivan will come on here and tell you to go for it. When I got on the site it never occurred to me to tow with a minivan. After seeing that it is done a lot in other areas I have been making a observation survey of my own to see how many minivans here have a hitch on them.
    Rarely here at the foot of the Rockies do I see a minivan equipped to tow. My .02$
     
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  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    First you got to determine what is included in the dry weight numbers. I know on my 04 nothing, I mean absolutely nothing is included which means I have to add every single option included in the popup plus the weight of propane and battery etc. I was told in the newer campers some options may already be included. Second, don't always listen to the sales guys, not all of them are very honest and may try and sell a camper more than your van can chew. Sure you can haul it, but can it be done safely and legally, without causing damage to the vehical. Lastly you will be surprised how much "stuff" could weigh. A cooler with ice, drinks, and food weighs a lot depending on the size of the cooler. Don't forget your camper will need a few supplies as well, such as water hose and a bucket or gray water tank. Sure each individual item doesn't weigh much but start adding that weight up and you will be well over the 250.
     
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  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Get the tow capacity and payload of your minivan.

    The trailer GVWR (or loaded weight if you know it) should be no greater than the tow capacity.

    The payload is the CCC (or GVW minus dry weight) of your minivan. The passenger weight, weight of gear in the vehicle, 10% of the trailer GVWR, and a minimum 20lbs for the hitch, needs to be no greater than the payload.

    If either or both are over, you cannot tow.
     
  5. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    “Stuff” usually weighs more than 250. Full propane tanks aren’t even included in that base number.
     
  6. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    "Stuff" also includes water. Use the 3100, lbs not the dry weight in your figures
    This puts you overweight
     
  7. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Your van can tow that trailer if the trailer is properly loaded. I would try to keep the max trailer weight in the 3K lbs range if you can. In general, that would mean not loading with water until you reach the campground if possible. That trailer comes with elec brakes, so you would need that set up in your van. Not sure of the year of your van, but the tow capacity is probably 3600 if it is newer. Your camper comes with almost everything standard, so there is a very good chance that the dry weight (24xx lbs) is the actual weight of the unloaded trailer. That gives you about 550 or so lbs to load the camper which you should be able to do.

    I tow with a 2003 Honda Odyssey - loaded at about 2900 lbs. I tow all over the West and have no issues at all in very steep conditions and my van content is 6 people and dogs - way more weight than you have. The fact is, that modern minivans have plenty of engine power to tow all but the heaviest pop ups. The main issue with them is stopping and rear end sag in the van when hitched and loaded. Proper brakes and appropriate use of downshifting do the job in the stopping area and rear end sag can be addressed with air bags, load assist shocks, or weight distributing hitch if allowed. If you are towing primarily in flat areas, then it is even easier.

    Properly equipped minivans and camper setups are capable and safe towing rigs and many folks on this site camp that way.
     
    alabasterjar, Rusty2192 and Raycfe like this.
  8. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    I am assuming you have the Pacifica, I also tow with a Pacifica so I can give you some real numbers. I tow a 2017 Coachman Clipper 125ST also with a dry weight of 2400 lbs, plus a 100 lb AC unit = 2500 lbs. My family is 2 adults and 3 children under 6. Total people plus car seat mass is between 550 and 600 lbs.

    I have weighed my total setup multiple times and it comes to 8100 lbs with a full tank of gas. I have had this setup for one season, 4 trips, and I have not yet had any issues. Max altitude I have towed is 2500 ft which I was able to do at 55 mph without any issues at grade.

    So in summary you should be fine with your setup, but I live on the east coast and would likely never need to tow above 3500 ft, which I am comfortable with. I do not think I would take my setup out west and tow in the Rockies, at least not yet anyway.
     
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  9. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Just to add .... you are not going to go 75mph and shouldn't .
     
  10. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    Of course. I will not go above 70, tires are rated for 75. I would go slower but on many interstates 70 is already way slower then everyone else.
     
  11. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I don't care if I go slower than everyone else when going the speed limit , that is why they have passing lanes
     
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  12. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure the numbers you are throwing are right, but they might be...

    There is a massive difference in GVWR and GCVWR.

    GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. That is the maximum weight allowable on the vehicles 4 wheels, including vehicle, fuel, people, and stuff.

    GCVWR = Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating. That is the maximum weight allowable of the vehilcle, its fluids, peole, stuff and any attached trailer.

    Typically when manufacturers of a given vehicle state a tow rating, they are giving the GCVWR - the GVWR.

    Generally speaking, even with the "tow package" anything with front wheel drive, such as most modern passenger cars, crossovers, and minivans, are built so light duty that the tow rating is actually quite low. My 2006 Chevy Malibu for example has a tow capacity of 1K lbs...
     
  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Unless the OP returns with her GCVWR, payload and tow capacity of the minivan, everything is just talk. No one can honestly say "yes, you can tow it fine" without knowing those numbers.
     
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  14. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Agreed... gut instinct says a FWD minivan is a poor TV. However lots of folks do it....
     
  15. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    @MacMermaid , where do you live and camp?

    Even though I tow with a minivan, without issues, I agree that they make poor tow vehicles. I would not tow with ours anywhere that was not flat land.
     
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  16. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    First, the published curb weight of the van includes a full tank of fuel, so you don’t have to include that separately. That buys you an extra 150 lbs.

    Check the sticker on the drivers door of the van that says “passengers and cargo should not exceed X”. That’s your payload. It probably somewhere around 1,200 lbs I’m guessing based on most minivans. So 500 lbs of people minus 350 lbs tongue weight max is only 850 lbs, so still well under the payload of almost all minivans, leaving room for cargo to be split between the pup and van.

    With brakes, which you are definitely going to need for almost all pups, you shouldn’t have any issues. Most Chrysler minivans have self-leveling rear shocks as part of the tow package, so you may not even need to worry about air bags.

    If your van is one with the 3.6L Pentastar V6, all but maybe the largest mountains in the west should be a piece of cake, and even those may just slow you down a bit.
     
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  17. scubacamper

    scubacamper Well-Known Member

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    We also tow with our 2010 Town and Country, towing our 2012 Coachman Clipper 1225 SST and though we wouldn't take it to the mountains (we don't have the towing pkg) we have had Zero issues in FL or southern GA in the last 2 years.

    A lot of good info here for you to look at before deciding for yourself.
     
  18. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    I used to have a mini-Van as a TV so I say "Good Luck" [Guitar]
     
  19. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Other than big SUVs or trucks mini vans are great tow vehicles. I don't see why a mini van would have any issue with mountains. Most have close to 300 hp.
     
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  20. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    Plus a wide, long wheelbase, low center of gravity, and payload on par with a lot of 1/2 ton trucks.
     

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