What will fix this?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by barrientosbunch, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. barrientosbunch

    barrientosbunch Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Husband is towing our "new to us" StarCraft Spacemaker home today. He stopped and sent this photo to me, then bottomed out leaving the gas station. We have new shocks, and the pop up weighs around 2600 lbs loaded (the previous owners left their camping stuff in it for us). We have to tow this to FL to help family with Hurricane Michael recovery. HELP!

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    2,421
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Classic minivan problem when towing. You may want to look into airbags for the minivan that could help with the squat. I'm sure others will be around to offer advice as well.
     
  3. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    544
    Likes Received:
    333
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2017
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    Air bags that go inside the rear springs, or air shocks to level the load...
     
    nineoaks2004 likes this.
  4. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    2,323
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Location:
    Maplewood, MN
    Yup, air bags. You can get them HERE.
     
  5. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,820
    Likes Received:
    1,651
    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    So, how much is the tongue weight with all the camping gear in the camper? May need to redistribute the load in the camper and put some in the tow vehicle.
     
  6. tzmartin

    tzmartin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,125
    Likes Received:
    521
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2015
    It could be a lot of things. Was the gas station driveway a bad angle? What was in the back of the minivan? From the picture it looks like you need to use on a weight distribution hitch (if the starcraft frame allows it) and/or install some timbren bump stops. Is your hitch oem or a aftermarket installed 1inch below the bumper? Hard to tell but research the towing contributions on the portal and you'll learn a ton about it!
     
  7. barrientosbunch

    barrientosbunch Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    There is nothing in the back of the minivan, as he just went to pick up the pop up. The hitch was installed by uhaul below the bumper. The gas station was the average station, with wear and tear to the asphalt. I need to see what gear we can leave at home and not take. We ordered the airbags to install this coming week.
     
  8. gec66

    gec66 Active Member

    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    46
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    For that pup the air bags will help significantly, but in my experience nothing eliminates it entirely. Once you get the hang of approaching those situations with the right angle you'll greatly reduce or eliminate your scraping incidents.

    More importantly, please tell me you have a transmission cooler installed and switched the transmission fluid to synthetic. The '06 is the last of the original 5 speed trans that was known for being weak and protecting it is of utmost importance. The preferred cooler is the Tru-Cool 4454 and the fluid is Valvoline MaxLife available at most Walmart stores. The fluid change is as simple as an oil change once you identify the drain and fill plugs and you should do the drain/fill 3X driving the van a few miles between each fluid change making sure it shifts through all the gears. Any questions about that just ask.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  9. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,773
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Yeah the air bags will definitely help. Bottoming out is a little weird at first, but it's going to happen every so often when you transition up and down ramps.

    You may want to play around with different lift ball mounts. That one looks a little long and it looks a little like one of those dual ones they sell at Harbor Freight.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  10. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    379
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2014
    Location:
    MN
    Install air bags, the model is 60815 and is something like $78 at amazon. You should have a 5" rise on the hitch bar to get the right height. The '06 Ody can't use load assist shocks, so air bags are your only option. Regardless, the Ody will ride low in the back so you need to be aware of dips and things like that in the road. It would help to check you tongue weight and load the camper so that it isn't too high.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  11. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    202
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Slate Belt, Pa
    like everyone else said...airbags
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  12. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Considering that pup is loaded, has AC, 2 propane tanks and at least one battery that we can see, are you sure your "about 2600lbs is accurate"? I might be wrong, but it looks like a 12foot box and if it has a slide-out, its probably closer to like 2200lbs (DRY). Add to that propane tanks, gas, battery, AC and everything inside.
    I'd suggest getting the thing weighed, or at the very least weigh the tongue. You might find that you're over limit on the tongue, and might have to lose a propane tank. Minivans can't take much more that 325-350 tongue weight, and that's usually with a driver and possibly a passenger if you're lucky.
    If your under the tongue weight limit of your van and still sagging, I'd look into a weight distribution hitch if your van, hitch and camper can handle it. If not, airbags.
    If its sagging now, once you start loading the trunk (which counts as tongue weight) it will be even worse...
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  13. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    161
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2019
    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    No, just get a gooseneck hitch to raise the tongue higher. Forget all the other expensive ideas.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  14. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Yes, just forget all the ideas that are actually good, and just raise your hitch so your camper is no longer level. Heck while you're at it, put everything behind the rear axle in the camper and get that tongue weight down to 5% trailer weight.
     
    barrientosbunch, Raycfe and 1380ken like this.
  15. barrientosbunch

    barrientosbunch Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Installed airbags, which helped a little. Towed without water and propane (headed to the parents) to remove some of the additional weight. We used the original hitch, but will most likely buy a new one for the return trip.
     
  16. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Why were you towing with water? Alot of popups shouldn't be towed with the tanks full. You're best to just fill it at the CG, especially towing with a minivan.

    That camper really looks tongue heavy, and that is the absolute first thing you should be looking at, even before you installed your airbags. If the tongue weight of that camper is over the limits for your vehicle (which it probably is with 2x propane tanks and a battery), then you should work on lowering it.
    Weigh the tongue and compare it to the limits of your van. If it's over, start by losing a propane tank and weigh again. 2 propane tank and a battery are probably close to 130-140 pounds alone, and most of that weight is sitting on the tongue.

    You should only start looking at vehicle/hitch modifications once you are sure you can safely tow this camper. Nothing you add will increase your tow capacity or max tongue weight.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  17. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    161
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2019
    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    No, the first thing to check is the most obvious thing--the ground clearance under the receiver, especially if it is an after market receiver which will be lower than a stock receiver. Some may have only 12 inches or so, barely enough to allow clearance of the jack. They said they have new shocks (struts?) and the tongue weight of a 2600 pound trailer would be pretty minimal. Too bad they wasted cash on the pillow.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  18. barrientosbunch

    barrientosbunch Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Two empty propane tanks and a battery, new shocks and airbags, trailer weight was 2900lbs, and towing ability 3500lbs. Air bag installation was a "bonding experience" between father and teen son~ so in the "warm fuzzy" of things, that was worth it. ;)
     
  19. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    You initially said it was 2600lbs loaded, now 2900lbs with empty tanks. What is your tongue weight?
    Im betting it exceeds 350 once you have those tanks full.
    Im sorry to say, but a 2900lbs trailer is probably beyond your minivan's capabilites to tow. You don't even have any passengers, their gear, propane any other items you'll want to haul along, and you're already very borderline.
    That 3500lbs tow limit is usually with a driver btw, and sometimes they include a 150lbs passenger (Dodge does this), but that is not always. Once you start getting at 3 passengers, your tow limits go down by a few hundred lbs.
    Also keep in mind, that anything that goes into your minivans trunk will count as tongue weight.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.
  20. erich82

    erich82 Active Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Assuming they had it professionally installed, i seriously doubt ground clearence of the receiver itself would be an issue.
    If your back ends drags so low that it's scraping pavement, its not a receiver problem, but a weight problem. Since airbags did not fix the problem, the only solution is a weight distribution hitch, assuming the camper, hitch and tow vehicle are all rated for it.
    You can't expect to tow at the upper limits of your vehicle and not use WD.
     
    barrientosbunch likes this.

Share This Page