Towing with grand caravan

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

  1. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    Think of it like this...the weight of the camper on the axle is the same whether it is hitched or unhitched.
     
  2. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    What is the correct way to get all the numbers at a scale? Front axle, rear axle then combined TV and trailer?
     
  3. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    A typical scale ticket will list each axle weight and total combined vehicle weight.
     
  4. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Just a reminder that almost everything on a Coleman pop up needs to be added to the weight, so fridge, awning, battery, propane, water heater, reguler heater , ac etc , Has to be added to the weight of the camper. There is usually a list and approximate weight ranges for these items in the manual. Carry on!
     
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  5. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Just couldn't stay away from a tow weight discussion eh? ;)
     
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  6. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    You have to weigh twice, once with the trailer and once without. The difference between the two totals of all axles is the total trailer weight. The difference in the sums of the front and rear TV axles is the tongue weight.
     
  7. Econ

    Econ Active Member

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    One of the "oil threads" of the camping world. But tongue weight is easier to figure out than oil chemistry <GG>.

    For those who don't know what an oil thread is go on a motorcycle forum in January when half the country can't ride and say "XXX" engine oil is crap.

    Dan Wilson
    Caravaner
    How often do you plan on changing engine and transmission oil? My TV computer wants me to change at roughly every 8,000 and 40,000 put they now are done every 5,000 and 20,000.
     
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  8. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    5000-8000 on the oil sounds about right.
    I've owned our 2011 T&C since 15k miles, now with 95k. Had the trans fluid changed at 60k, will probably get it done again around 100k. Shifts about like it did when nearly new. Usually smooth, sometimes clunky. One thing I do much prefer about T&C over my dad's 2018 Pacifica is the good old fashioned shift lever vs. the new age dial. Don't even know how you'd "lock" the Pacifica in max non-overdrive gear (guess that would be 5th or maybe 6th, since 7-9 are seriously overdrive?) like you can easily do with the T&C.
    Occasionally I think about replacing it, but with what?
    If the Pacifica plug-in hybrid was rated to tow anything there'd already be one in my garage, but it ain't.
    Not going to deal with a pickup truck as an everyday vehicle. Ford Flex is cool looking and tow rated for a bit more but it's an old platform and I'd miss sliding doors. Same for Durangos. New Kia Telluride is supposed to be nice but the increase in tow capacity and more modern bells/whistles aren't worth paying $500+ month for me to replace the trusty old T&C.

    BTW after driving around with them (no trailer or van cargo) for the past 4 days I'm liking the firmed-up rear suspension due to the SumoSprings more. Today we're loading up for a 2-night camp about an hour away so will put them to their first real test.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  9. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    I agree. Chrysler has had 30-years plus to keep perfecting the design, just as Ford with the F-150. Perhaps overlooking Chrysler's transmission issues back in the 80's. We are on our fifth or sixth Grand Caravan. Just an all round good utility vehicle.
     
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  10. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Weighed the whole rig on the way to Huntsville State Park today. Fully loaded, except for wife whos meeting us tomorrow. So about 250lbs lighter than with her and her stuff also - maybe 300lbs, she brings a lot of booze...
    Scales just barely small enough for the three axles. Van front and trailer wheels caught the edges of their pads by no more than 2'.
    1.5hr drive went great. Van purred along at 65-70, nice and straight even on some pretty gnarly construction zones with uneven pavement when I slowed to 60ish. 20191206_192829.jpg 20191206_193017.jpg 20191206_193111.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  11. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    This wants to make me pull mine out and head to the scales..lol. if it wasnt a pain to put the trailer back in the garage, I would be on the road.
     
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  12. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Just completed camping adventure #3 with the most heavily loaded van yet. Brought along our twin nephews who weigh 95lbs each and whose mother really overpacked so ~275lbs more over the rear axle than would normally be there. Wife also overpacked, esp food :/
    Van did great, again. No issues accelerating, holding speed, braking, or tracking on the 250mile round trip over fairly flat TX roads. Was squatting even more than trips 1&2 of course so did scrape hitch a little on driveway even with the SumoSprings and 2x10"s laid at entrance.
    If we had 2 or 3 children instead of 1 would probably be shopping now for stronger springs or maybe a WDH.
    Averaged 18.5mpg over the whole journey (usually ~24mpg mostly hwy when not towing).

    Right at the total vehicle's max towing weight of 8600lbs:
    Image1437860178288646576.jpg
    280lbs over the max rear axle weight thanks to two husky nephews:
    Image2867754533675434347.jpg
    Image8340820092396208442.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  13. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    The back end is really the limiting factor with a minivan, the suspension is just not strong enough to support a lot of tongue weight and cargo weight. Did you notice any loss of traction in the front wheels? When the roads were wet I noticed less traction in the front on my Pacifica, even though I was within spec.
     
  14. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    There was only ~100lbs less weight on front axle with this "max load out" weight than when the van was virtually empty (2660 vs 2770lbs) so not much difference. But once, when I had to pull off for a U-Turn and rejoined the road with some enthusiasm since there were cars coming I did light up the front tires :)
    Tires are almost new Sumitomos. Did rain a little on way back so just adjust speed/acceleration accordingly.
     
  15. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    Have you tried moving heavy items out of the trunk of the minivan to the center of the minivan?
    We store the heavy cooler and any juice/water/pop to the center aisle of the minivan.
    The trunk of the minivan has leverage on the rear axle because it extends beyond the rear axle. Any weight placed in the trunk of a minivan adds maybe about 1.1x as much weight vs right over the rear axle.
     
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  16. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    We also put only the lightest kids in the back row of seats over the rear axle. Older, heavier kids sit in the middle row.
     
  17. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Absolutely - cooler and other heavy food is right behind me with the doggies on a platform above it. Heavy tool bag in front of son's seat.
    On a typical tow with me, wife, son and dogs we'll be comfortably below max axle and total train weight.
    Could also remove the 3rd row seats if we were packing for a long trip.
    20191214_115824.jpg
     
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  18. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    What a great crew of eager campers!!
     
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  19. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Caravaner: Thank you for the very helpful thread. Towing with a unibody is a complex calculation (with polarized opinions on both sides of the discussion). You showed here that you are well-informed of your system, its ratings and how to operate it. Plus your family looks great in it! Hopefully inquiring minds will learn from this thread and make an educated decision for themselves (that they don't need a semi truck to tow a row boat).

    My Odyssey numbers, appearance and results when towing our PUP were almost exactly the same as what you shared here. Moving to a TT last spring was a big change in towing with the Odyssey, but the weight isn't a big deal, the wind resistance is.
     
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  20. Caravaner

    Caravaner Member

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    Thank you for the kind words RJ!
    I'm definitely a numbers guy but also try to pay attention to anything that feels amiss when driving. So far so good, not one sketchy moment or unexpected cause for concern while towing >500 miles over some less than smooth roads.
    Did your Odyssey come with the tow package?
    Besides the hitch and wiring does Honda beef up any other components like alternator, trans cooler, brakes etc (which are the same on OEM tow-pack or non T&Cs)?
    Assume you take a mpg hit with the TT - what are you averaging with the TT vs PU vs nothing behind?
    With gas so cheap I don't think of fuel efficiency in $ terms, just interesting to see the effects when towing.

    Cheers
    Kurt
     

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