Towing with grand caravan

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Ermgwg, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    You crazy @Orchid ! Agree though, my DH assures me the van can handle it fine and I figure he's the one that will deal with the van if we screw it up. Also we don't go very often or very far.
     
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  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    that's ok. Its your money to spend on replacing TV. Some of us listen to honest mechanics, service department workers and those who made past mistakes of ignoring manufacturer towing guidance.

    BUT it's not ok when the wishful (hopeful) Tow Vehicles become a dangerous obstacle in middle of road just because transmission or engine blew due to overweight towing although there were DIY parts added for attempt to (hopefully) tow safety.

    Ford Manufacturer says that without factory installed tow packages in Explorer, the max tow weight stays at 2,000 lbs. With factory installed tow packages, Explorers can tow up to 5,000 lbs. To make roads safe, I would not ignore this guidance.

    I know you want to make it work but there are actual limitations that are designed to make towing safe for everyone in your vehicles and other vehicles around you. To make towing safe, take your vehicle to dealership and have them replace/add parts to raise the tow limit: thicker radiators, transmissions for towing, wiring, tow button, suspension, hitch and a few more things.
     
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  3. matwiyj

    matwiyj Active Member

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    Yep, you will be ok. I have a 2011 Grand Caravan and a Flagstaff 228D (~2400lbs dry) and have gone through the Rockies and Yellowstone with that setup and 5 people in the van. We are not overloaded and the van handles it just fine.

    I did add timbren helper springs in the back end. They are cheap, easy to install and very effective.
     
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  4. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    We did do quite a few upgrades to our van, and it's been towing for about 15 years with no problems. Most people don't even keep daily drivers that long these days.

    I also weigh our whole rig every so often when I stop at weigh stations to chat with DOT friends. Never over our total weight allowance.
     
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  5. Ermgwg

    Ermgwg New Member

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    Thanks for all your input. Dealership thought we’d be fine. My husband says he can barely feel it and keeps it under 2rpms. I’m so appreciative of the help and support we get from this group. ❤️ Thank you for taking the time to give advice.
     
    Orchid likes this.
  6. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    I’m in the heavy tow vehicle group. I know most family need at least a 1000 pounds of gear per trip. Where do you put that? Pup has limited ccc and carries camper specific needs. The other 800 pounds of stuff goes in truck. What’s stuff? Clothes, food, firewood, toys, tools, water, wastewater, cooler, chuck box and 450 pounds of tongue weight.
     
  7. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Dont recall ever saying you need a semi to tow a bike rack... nor have I ever said to ignore the tow ratings.. I say "dry weight is a B.S number" get it right...

    Also the vehicle manufacturers engineers set the vehicle tow ratings Not the DOT...
     
  8. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    2 weeks ago had a great maiden-tow with our 2011 Town and Country, Flagstaff 228d, bikes and fam to a nearby (20 miles away) Jellystone Park. Next weekend is a 60 mile voyage to Huntsville State Park (TX).
    Van towed the ~3000lb loaded trailer/325lb tongue weight with ease. Put the trans in 5th and cruise control on 65 and she tracked straight and true.
    For peace of mind installed a Curt anti-sway system ($44 Amazon) last weekend, but no need for a WDH, airbags, helper spring etc.
    Wouldn't necessarily want to go any heavier with a trailer and this TV, but she does quite well with this setup.
    Will get her axles weighed at a nearby CAT station next trip for reference.
    75369217_10215148951172814_5005150394775502848_o.jpg 76693387_10215160880191032_721140462290731008_o.jpg Image2834953870924939122.jpg
     
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  9. Jwwiff

    Jwwiff New Member

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    I have a 2012 T&C and tow a 2007 Bayside (dry weight of 2630; A/C unit and 2nd propane tank). I probably carry about 200 lbs of gear in the camper and more in the van with 2 - 4 passengers with their “stuff”. My trips range from 100 mi into Wisconsin (I live in the SW Minneapolis area) and down to northern Arkansas. The van has the towing package and I have a anti-sway hitch and has a 3600 lb. towing capacity. Electric brakes and a controller are required. On the flat and level I pull at 65mph with no issues. In the hills, just take it easy and expect to get passed. I probably would hesitate to do lots of mountain driving but I’m OK on the road in the Midwest area.

    With the combo, I am at or just below the towing capacity and have no reservations.
     
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  10. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Was out and about today and near a Love's truck stop with CAT scales so downloaded the app and weighed the T&C. Cost $12 and took about 10 minutes including online registration.
    Was just me and my son, 2 bikes, 3/4 tank of gas and the hitch and bike rack so ~400lbs of cargo, with more on rear axle than front.
    Will repeat next weekend with the 228d Flagstaff hooked up but with nearly 1000lbs total before hitting the GVWR (~700lbs more on rear axle) feeling pretty good about the total weight, distribution between axles and how she'll balance out with a couple hundred more lbs of van cargo and ~350# sitting on the rear hitch.
    Image5519282654411974203.jpg Image2867754533675434347.jpg Image2507178020374864790.jpg
     
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  11. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    I learned early on to stay away from tow weight discussions, but they do have entertainment value.
     
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  12. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Yeah some people feel the need to share their opinions as though they were fact.
    That's why it was past due for some cold, hard numbers :)
     
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  13. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    If you check out my link to my photos, I have a folder with pictures about my story of studying how much my Sun Valley weighs fully loaded and how much my minivan is rated for.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I have had multiple forth generation Chrysler/Dodge minivans and can find only two differences between tow package and non tow package. First and most expensive is the rear shocks and second is a hitch, both can be added in a couple hours with basic tools.
    Brakes- same on both.
    Springs- same on both.
    Trans cooler- incorporated in AC condenser on both
    Tires and wheels- same options on both.
    Radiator- same on both.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  15. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Couldn't leave well enough alone so yesterday installed SumoSprings and new shocks on the T&C.
    Was hoping to get get more than ~1/2" reduction in sag (loaded up van with ~900lbs of water and other dead weigh to simulate a full load of passengers and stuff, plus the 350# 228d hitch wt with 2 bikes on rear rack), we'll see if that's enough to prevent scraping the hitch on the driveway on the way out this Friday.
    Installing the SumoSprings wasn't exactly easy. Took a good amount of grunting and cursing, plus had to do a little trimming since they overlapped by about 1-1/2 inch.
    If it still scrapes and/or I notice any real empty-ride degradation will probably return the Sumosprings and get Timbren helpers.
    The new Gabriel shocks are quite a bit thinner than the OEM SACHS, whose bushings were mildly deformed after 96k miles.
    Image1738412157287720868.jpg Image466476647158771809.jpg Image1845658018295733339.jpg Image8851477386637684998.jpg Image7197033295971085722.jpg Image7021358026775210644.jpg
     
  16. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    Hi Caravaner
    The new shocks and springs look good!
    Are you saying you got a 1/2" reduction in sag?
    Have you hooked it up to the camper to test the actual sag difference?
    Looks like the Timbren helpers would be the next step if you need more height.

    I have a Chevrolet Uplander so Air Shocks was the way to go for me.

    I'm sure many have strong preferences about not using Air Shocks but I've liked the fact I can pump them up with my air compressor and raise the rear end to the height needed. They have worked well for me.
     
  17. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    Here is a link to the estimated weight of our fully loaded Sun Valley Camper
    Our dual propane tanks and dual batteries on the tongue of the camper add the most weight.

    Estimated Weight of our Trailer
    We weighed the rear axle once at a weigh station, fully loaded with bikes, 2 propane tanks, 2 batteries, and stuffed full of gear and luggage inside. It had the following weight.
    Unloaded Vehicle Weight 2,175 lbs
    Estimated Gear, Luggage, 3 Bikes, Dual Propane Tanks, Dual 12V Batteries, etc 1,000 lbs
    Actual Weight:
    Rear Axle 2860 lbs (measured at a CAT weigh station)
    Estimated tongue weight 320 lbs (measured with a Sherline tongue weight scale)
    Estimated total weight 3180 lbs
    Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 3,500 lbs

    There is much more info on the weight of my camper at a photo album at this link
     
  18. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    thx - yes, after SS (van w/ 900lbs cargo + 350lb hitch weight from camper) the rear sag is ~1/2" less than before.
    I measured from ground to wheel well lip on all 4 corners (also the ground clearance to lowest part of hitch) 6 times: 1) van empty 2) van loaded w/ 900# 3) loaded van with camper hitched. x2 for before/after SS.

    Driving to work today the ride quality wasn't bad. Feels a little stiffer with a bit less body roll, nothing drastic though.
     
  19. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    Tongue weight is part of total weight. Tongue weight is the downward pressure on the hitch. There is no need to add the two together.
     
  20. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    So the total weight of the camper falls on the axel and the tongue.
     

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