Towing weight advice... With a Mini Van

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by anothersmith, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    @anothersmith

    Your 2nd set of calculations seems very realistic. 500 lbs is plenty to spare, but you may have issues at higher elevations.

    So far the highest I have taken my setup is 2200 ft and I just took it slow and had no issues
     
  2. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Doesnt seem that bad.. 500lbs of wiggle room
     
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    vehicle + passengers/cargo + tongue weight =?
    4600 + 500 +350 = 5500. Is this less than door pillar info? Any room to grow?

    8750-5500 = 3200 max trailer. 3200lb trailer likely exceed 350 lb tongue weight!!!

    Here's how I start, 350 lb tongue weight limit divided by .125 (12.5%) = 2800 lb loaded trailer.

    2800 lb trailer - 500 lbs (a/c, propane, battery, food, coolers, utensils, clothes, towels, water ...)= 2300 lb or less dry/unloaded weight trailer max due to tongue weight limit. From here you go to check combined weight and estimate vehicle rear axle load limit.
     
  4. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    What do you mean by "Any room to grow"?
     
  5. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    is 500 lb good data for today? will the family grow by weight or number, kids grow! add a dog, mother in law :shocked:, kids friends, ...
     
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Our Odyssey tows our big pup and lots of passengers and stuff easily. We do live in Florida now, and have never tried in the mountains. When we lived in WV, we towed with an older Jeep Cherokee that was like a tank.

    As well as we do on flat ground, I'd probably use one of our trucks if we head into the mountains, just out of paranoia. However, I do know of quite a few others, members on this site, that have towed large pups all over the country, with their Odyssey full of passengers, with no problems at all.
     
  7. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    Had a Ford Windstar mini van, probably the only guy who actually liked the Windstar :)

    You may already have this information, but take it easy on speed when towing, and DO NOT tow in overdrive.
    Anything you can do to help braking is a plus.

    Loved my mini van for travel with gear and kids. Have fun :)
     
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  8. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Thanks, I think that I would pretty much drive in manual to help with braking and avoid all of the up and down auto gear changes.

    I think we are pretty good with this size of PUP, maybe a bit close but so long as we're not at altitude and we take it easy we should be ok.
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    If your numbers are accurate (after re reading, your passenger/cargo number might be a bit low) should be fine but as the kids grow or friends go along you may have issues.
     
  10. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    You know, one never buys a car without taking a test drive. If you’ve already got a hitch and the wiring, why not invite the seller on a “test tow”? Matter of fact, were it me, I’d plan on a trip to the closest truck stop with scales as my turn around point. Then you could weigh the pup so you have a true weight and get to know how the van feels pulling it. Worst case scenario; you don’t do so well, but at least you don’t get stuck having no choice but to trade the TV.
     
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  11. erond

    erond Member

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    I applaud you for automatically de-rating your towing capacity. I frequently see vehicle GVWR/GCWR and tongue rates used as a "high score target", rather than it being a liability and safety rating.

    There's a lot of generally good advice, along with your going-in attitude, but I keep seeing questions/comments and estimates on weight. If you are worried about going over limit, especially with your number of passengers, the best thing to do is to actually weigh TV + PUP + passengers + stuff at a scale. Work from real numbers, not guesses. If you dont' have a CAT scale available, able to weigh individual axles, weigh TV alone as well as TV + PUP and get your tongue weight to make an informed decision. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to get a cheap/free overall weigh at your local landfill.

    The door pillar weight ratings on TV should be considered the authoritative source for what your limits are. Something to keep in mind; the cargo capacity (GVWR - curb weight) of your TV is reduced by how much weight you put on the tongue. Passengers and "stuff" reduce it as well. If you can keep within GCVWR and other limits, you may be able to shift load around (more stuff in the PUP vs the TV or vice versa) to make the numbers work out.

    I'll keep the "towing police" comment short because you already have the right mindset, but insurance companies and lawyers will do everything the can to blame you if something bad happens on the road. Going over-limit can come back and bite you hard.

    Also keep in mind that elevation and, especially, grade will impact how the towing combination performs. There's a big difference between flat sea level and going over the Rockies. :)
     
  12. ben schmaus

    ben schmaus New Member

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    I think a couple of folks have mentioned checking the sticker in the driver side door jamb. This will show you the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) of the vehicle which is the max amount you can carry in the vehicle including people, cargo, and tongue weight from a trailer.

    The sticker should look something like below and say something like "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed..." In this case the CCC is 1300 lbs.

    [​IMG]

    However, there may also be another sticker in the door jamb noting any changes to CCC as is the case with my Highlander (I guess the XLE trim adds some things that reduce overall CCC):

    [​IMG]

    You can add up the weight of your family, cargo (that's not in the camper), and tongue weight and see how close it gets to your CCC. There's a convenient calculator at http://www.towingplanner.com/Calculators/TowingPayloadEstimate/?ccc that you can use to try out different numbers.
     
  13. scubacamper

    scubacamper Well-Known Member

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    Okay some inside baseball from someone who has been in the Car Business (VW) and own a Chrysler T&C 2010.

    The VW is actually a T&C with VW logo's put on it. Chrysler builds it for VW and the max towing weight is 3500 as was discussed earlier. Now my PUP is the top of the line 2012 Clipper 1285 SST with lots of bells and whistles including a slide out (3150k lbs)...this site hasn't yet changed my pic though it's on my profile. As I had the towing system installed by U-Haul my tech at the Chrysler Dealer told me I was fine but on guarentees taking it into the mountains. Front Wheel Drive TV are not the best for towing anyway and yes we do load it down so we ARE over the recommended allowances but until we change out our T&C for something like a Four Runner or a Pick-Up this is what we're stuck with and so far no issues after several trips and over 2 years later. That being said, we've only taken it camping here in FL and I have no plans on taking it north of the border until we GET a different TV.
     
  14. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    We towed for years with a 2001 sienna. It did great. Mountains was a little slow with the 3.0 L. But one thing I have noticed with all vans is the rear springs are weak to give you a great ride. You might want to have the dwt, kids, you all sit in the rear seat and bumper and see how much it go's down. Do it with a full tank of gas. You need about 700 lbs to add about 700 lbs to see how much it will squat.

    The tongue weight of that 3200 lb camper s going to 400 lbs add the family to the van with your stuff spread across the 4 wheels/2 axles you are going to see at least a 700 lb load on the rear springs.

    We op-ed for air bags on our rear of the van. 8 psi when not towing 19 psi when towing. TC you might be able to get air shocks.
     
  15. anothersmith

    anothersmith Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I feel comfortable enough with this weight, the next step is WDH. Should I add one?

    It seems as though it would be worth it since a minivan is not the ideal TV.

    Any thoughts on what to get based on the info already shown?

    Cheers.
     
  16. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    I thought about WD but it did not seem worth the weight of the hitch
     
  17. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Just some info, in the Colman manual you can see how much weight the add ons in the pup are. It lists them for you.
     
  18. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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  19. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    First thing would be to check if both the pup and TV can handle a WDH. Not all can. If they both can, then I think it would be worth more consideration. As long as your tongue weight is under the limit, then it wouldn’t be needed, but may help a lot with comfort and ease of towing. I know if we were to ever approach 300+ lbs of tongue weight on our van, I’d start looking into one to get more weight back onto the front axle.
     
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  20. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    If you get a WDH make sure you get it sized properly, I know of one family who snapped the tongue off their pup due to having to large (strong) of spring bars. Also find someone (a fellow camper accustomed to WDH) who can help you set it up, mine was originally set by the RV dealer, and it is widely known that that technician sets them up for minimal tongue weight, had a friend fine tune it, he changed the head tilt slightly and now I have 13% gvwr as the tongue weight, so I don't have to load as nose heavy as I was.
     

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