Too heavy for a Sienna?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by applequeen, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. applequeen

    applequeen New Member

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    We are considering purchasing a used pop up. The dry weight is 2,329 lbs, the payload Capacity is 995 lbs, and the hitch weight is 321 lbs.

    Since these total 3,745 should I assume this is too heavy to tow given the Sienna's 3500lbs towing capacity? I don't know how likely it is that the payload capacity would be reached.
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, i will say most of the add on items must be added in for weight, so add propane, awning, ac, heater, water heater spare tire, etc. You will get close to that max weight capacity pretty quickly. Then , you need to see whats being carried in the TV. So people, luggage etc. Add it all up , and see of you max out any of your numbers. They dont make this easy for you. If you pack light, i can easily see the max weight of the camper about 3000 lbs. It should be doable, but how many people , etc, how far will you go to camp? Are there big mountains to go up? People will ask for the sticker on the inside of the TV drivers side door , there are weight numbers listed there.
     
  3. applequeen

    applequeen New Member

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    Thanks!!! That is exactly what I thought.

    And yes.... we live in the mountains so we definitely need something that can easily (and safely) go up and down sometimes very steep mountains.

    We are a family of 4. I think we'll be doing mainly weekend/ short trips close to home. We are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of camping options. I don't think we'll be packing a lot but taking the kids' bikes and things will add up fast.

    I sometimes feel like we are looking for a needle in a haystack because we want something used but good condition, big enough for all of us and maybe a friend or two for the kids (so sleep 6 or 7) but light enough to tow with a van.
     
  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    I tend to err on the side of caution, and go with the suggestion to stay at or under 80% of tow capacity. That would be 2800# for your Sienna.
    It can be all to easy to just keep tossing things in, because you have space and they might come in handy.
    [Full disclosure: we have found that we are happier well under that 80%. We tow long distances, in mountains, deserts, and encounter windy conditions, not to mention crazy drivers, and the occasional deer, elk, etc. on the road.]
     
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  5. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    I towed a similar-weight Jayco for years with my old town and country van including through mountains. Pack light and watch the tongue weight and it should actually be OK. The tongue weight doesn't add to the trailer weight... the trailer weight INCLUDES the tongue weight. So GVWR around 3200lbs if you pack it full. That said, your van probably has a 350lb max tongue weight and that is what you are most likely to exceed with that trailer. Too high of tongue weight without WDH will unload the steer axle which is not good.
     
  6. applequeen

    applequeen New Member

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    Thanks! Dumb question.... how do I know if it's a WDH? Is that something I would buy to add to it or should it come that way? We have a hitch on our van that we use for a bike rack and planned to buy the ball attachment. Is the WDH something we would buy in place of the ball?
     
  7. Annunzi

    Annunzi Member Gold Supporting Member

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    A WDH is a weight distribution hitch, it's something you buy extra to distribute the weight more evenly between the trailer and your tow vehicle, rather than all the weight directly on the ball. I believe you have to be careful with WDH on pop ups, depending on the type of frame your pop up has (box frame verse c-channel). There are various styles, but in general they look like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    Also some unibody vehicles do not allow for WDH either so you need to look in the owner's manual for your van.
     
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  9. applequeen

    applequeen New Member

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  10. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I have a Starcraft Venture 2408. It is a 12' box and weighs 1600 lbs. I have a family of 5 and it has plenty of room.
     
  11. applequeen

    applequeen New Member

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    I think we just have to keep looking. There just isn't a lot out there. We would like to find something to use this spring and summer but it's better to wait until we find the right fit. We can take a few more tent trips. :)
     
  12. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Most pups dont need or recomend a wdh. If used you need to add in the wdh weight to the hitch weight. You will probably need bump stops or air bags to decrease sag. And maybe a sway bar, the small friction bar type.
     
  13. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    @applequeen

    Most weight designations for a "trailer/camper/ whatever" has nothing to do with the TV's ability to pull it on flat land. Its about the ability for it to control the camper while towing. It is about the TV's brakes ability to stop the camper. For the TV's suspension to not be overpowered by the camper pushing it around.

    It is common sense that the more horsepower you have the quicker you go up a hill. I am roughly at 50% of my TV's capacity and get busted down to 2 nd gear on the way to a favorite campground located at the top of a mountain.

    You do not mention what your tongue weight capacity in your original posting. Have you read the tongue weight rules in your TV's owners manual? Let me give you an example. Tongue weight capacity on my TV is 450 pounds. I have a towing package that increased it from 350. The owners manual says that is with the driver only. If DW is riding shotgun I have to subtract something off the tongue weight for her. Then subtract something for 2 and third row passengers. If the seats are folded down I have to subtract for cargo.

    The alleged tongue weight of my Aliner is 290 pounds. That is listed on the brochure. Also is a big photo on the front page showing my model with 2 propane bottles and a battery. If you call the factory they will tell you that the declared tongue weight does not include the weight of the propane, the tare weight of the second propane bottle, nor the weight of the battery. Not including the weight of the propane is understood but the 2nd bottles tare weight and the weight of the battery??? They claim the reason is they dont know if you are going to put a second bottle or battery on, and if so what size.

    The bottom line is if I had a nontowing version of my TV and put a 2nd propane bottle and the smallest battery with no DW or passengers or cargo in the TV, I'm over my tongue weight.

    Do you have a transmission cooler.? Heat is a major killer of transmissions.

    Rant over <GG>
     
  14. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about the sienna, but there are lots of folks on this forum pulling campers with the Honda Odyssey. In general, if you are able to stay fully loaded under 3K lbs, the Ody is a very good tow vehicle. We are at about 2900 loaded and we have towed all over out in the mountains with quite a bit of people and dogs in the Odyssey. We have never had a problem. Downshifting is a great technique to use when going down hill with the camper behind you.
     
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  15. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    The tongue weight would be the biggest hurdle. Most hitches for the Sienna have a 350 lb tongue weight limit for weight carrying hitches. There are a few that go up to 525. The Curt I installed on our Sienna is 350 weight carrying or 525 with a WDH. Toyota does not give a hard limit on what the van can handle, but in my experience you’re not going to want to go over 350 without a WDH anyway.

    The best thing to do would be to load the family up and find a scale. That way you’ll know how much room you have left on both payload and GCWR and can shop accordingly.
     
  16. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    We had a Sienna and it was a great vehicle. It was not a great tow vehicle. Besides all the capacity issues listed above, there is the issue of how low the rear bumper actually sits. When you mount the hitch, which has to sit below the bumper, you end up with very little ground clearance. As an example, years ago we took the family to Cape Cod and loaded the Sienna with kids and clothes, then loaded bicycles onto a rear hitch mounted rack. This caused the Sienna's rear end to sag a little, but not even that much. But pulling into and out of a moderately steep driveway would cause the bottom of the hitch to rub the pavement. If you have a steep driveway at home you may find the hitch rubs each time you pull in or out even without anything weighing it down. I like vans, I would drive one today. But my wife and kids hate them and they cannot tow or carry what we need. YMMV.
     
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  17. p

    p Active Member

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    FYI - Sienna has airbags that with a little swearing can be placed inside struts for approx. $350 and no special tools
    eg. https://www.airliftcompany.com/shop/60785/


    FYI - I have pulled a 2200 lb trailer with Dodge Caravan over the rockies multiple times. I am careful what I place at the back of the van and front of the trailer due to tongue weight. I also ensure tranny fluid is changed every two years.
     
  18. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Airbags are needed in the rear suspension for many / most minivans. They are a must for Odysseys for sure, but once installed and with a ~5" height increase from the hitch drawbar, it tows amazingly well.
     
  19. Coulter Wood

    Coulter Wood Member

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    We drove a Sienna with a Coleman Utah for one season. We loved the Sienna for many reasons, but I do NOT like white knuckling with my kids in the car. Especially when it's an otherwise nice day. Folks have already mentioned the airbags for your shocks - we had these, and they helped lift the back end, but we still sagged slightly. And as others have said, the hitch location on the Sienna is very close to the ground, so this made things much worse. Also, ours did not have a 7-pin, so we weren't taking advantage of the pup's brakes, which is very unsafe. After a trip up to the north shore of lake superior, I'd had enough, and decided to get a tv with more capacity. Our new tv can tow more than twice what the Sienna could - 7200 pounds - and has the tow package and 7-pin hitch. I can barely feel the Utah behind us now and I'm sooooo much more comfortable on our trips.

    No way would I tow a pup and my family around the mountains in a Sienna unless I could find a really light weight pup. Be darned sure you've got a 7-pin hitch connection if you do.
     
  20. dirtnsmores

    dirtnsmores New Member

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    Look into buying a living lite quicksilver pop up camper. My 10.0 is big and only 1500 pounds
     
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