Best 6 cylinder minivan for towing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-20-2015, 12:58 PM   #1
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Name: Shawn
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Best 6 cylinder minivan for towing

I'm planning to get a scamp later this year, and hoping to pull it with a 6 cylinder minivan.

I've read mixed reviews on Chrysler's Town and Country vans.

Anybody have any experience they'd like to relay?


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Old 02-20-2015, 01:19 PM   #2
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I've had 3 Dodge/Chrysler minivans that I didn't use for towing (other than a rare tow of a utility trailer). Had to have the transmission replaced or repaired on all of them. I wouldn't use one to tow a travel trailer.

You might take a look at the Honda Odyssey thread started by Norm & Ginny. They seem pleased with their purchase.
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:22 PM   #3
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Pretty much any 6-cylinder minivan will make a more-than-adequate tow vehicle for a 13' fiberglass trailer. The choice will come down to your own judgment of quality, reliability, price, and features. I'm not sure an internet forum is the best place for objective data, but no doubt you'll get plenty of opinions and anecdotes.

The most important thing is to make sure whatever you choose has all the manufacturer's recommended equipment for towing at least 2500 pounds, including brakes on the trailer. The loaded weight of a 13'er can vary quite a bit, typically 1400-1900 pounds, and you probably don't want to be right at the upper limit.

For what it's worth, my personal choice would be a late-second generation Toyota Sienna ('09-'10) with the 3.5L engine. Hard to find with low miles, though, and my wife doesn't care for minivans, so we ended up with a Pilot.
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Old 02-20-2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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Honda Odyssey

Personally I believe most well constructed vehicles can tow a Scamp 13. We towed 3 different 16 foot trailers with a 4 cylinder 2004 Honda CRV, the heaviest weighing around 2600 pounds. We traded it in on the point of your poast, a mini van. (Since we travel all over North America, reliability is a prime consideration. In 250,000 miles we never had a drive line failure.)

Our Honda CRV was so reliable we decided to get a 2014 Honda Odyssey. So far we have only towed it on one trip. It's V-6 is very powerful and easily tows our 1991 Scamp 16. The most interesting aspect is it's cylinder management. On long trips it has given us a calculated 36 mpg, towing so far we've averaged 19 mpg.

A much as I like the cylinder management ability I wonder about it's long term reliability because we plan to keep it for 10 years. Other than that it's a large, very spacious and comfortable vehicle. It requires the addition of Honda's transmission cooler for towing.

The following is a link to a thread on the Odyssey on this site.

Honda Odyssey
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Old 02-20-2015, 02:19 PM   #5
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The Chrysler garage told me that our Dodge mini van was good to tow or our 13 ft Boler. Had to have th transmission replaced a few months later. We were then told by the same dealer that it wasn't meant to tow. Our Safari van was a great tow and carried more stuff than we could use. Loved our Toyota Highlander and our recent Ford Edge has proven to be a respectable and comfortable tug. The most liked was a Dodge Dakota extended cab pickup with their small V8.


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Old 02-20-2015, 02:52 PM   #6
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The vintage of the minivans is important. Early overdrive transmission tended to be under engineered. Newer versions don't seem to be as problematic. Honda had their own problems back around 05. When considering feedback try to find out what year. It seems transmissions have improved in capability and durability.

I still have a hard time putting those Chrysler minivan transmissions behind me, but that was an 89.
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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I have a caravan Trillium 4500 Jubilee 1980 bought in 2006, towed by Dodge Caravan 2003, 3.3 L., 6 cylinders, automatic 3 speeds more overdrive.
At Dodge to I was told that I could tow 3500 pounds, that from 2002 or 3 the installation of a radiator for the transmission was made for the factory.
I travelled of the Prince Edward Island up to Cape Cod and I have never had a problem.
I replaced by Dodge Journey 2012 with one 3.6 L, 6 cylinders, automatic 6 speeds, can use as semiautomatic, with radiator installed to the factory for the transmission and we told me no problems for 3500 pounds.
For 2 years when I have Journey and everything is still very well.
For Journey, we had informed me that it is brakes its weak point, they use faster than others model of the same category.
I know another camper who drives Gran Caravan Chrysler with the same engine and the transmission which I have, he possesses Trillium 5500 and goes in Florida, by leaving from Quebec. He told me that everything was well, with no problem at all.
If my comment can have reassured you, welcome.
Have a good day.
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:26 PM   #8
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That's a good report. I'm not currently in the market, but I wouldn't rule out any of the recent full size minivans. I'm just getting started myself and will be using a 94 f250 work truck that is already in the driveway till I have time to expand my range.
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:33 AM   #9
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Good day Steve. All Mini Vans are not created equally and the newer ones tend to be better than the older ones especially when talking about Chrysler's.

IMHO Honda and Toyota's are most capable and have a proven track record even when towing good sized TT's. The new Chrysler vans are very robust too but we still see that reliability can be an issue.

The modest tow ratings do not reflect the capabilities of most modern mini vans and I think you would be amazed at how well they tow overall, even compared to the aging 250.

There was a long term towing test done by RV Lifestyle magazine a few years ago. They used a dual axle TT and a Dodge Caravan for the testing. They said it worked very well. You may still find the article on the net somewhere.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Coletrain View Post
I'm planning to get a scamp later this year, and hoping to pull it with a 6 cylinder minivan.

I've read mixed reviews on Chrysler's Town and Country vans.

Anybody have any experience they'd like to relay?


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We pulled a 16 ft Scamp Delux with three different Honda Odesseys,(sp?) 1999, 2004, and 2008. they were all factory, w/o and added kits. the only reason we traded them in was to upgrade. not for any problems.
What you need to learn though, is to downshift on uphill grades. At least take it out of overdrive when pulling hard, not cruising. Keep an eye on the engine temperature gauge to avoid overheating.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:34 PM   #11
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We pulled a vintage 2600 pound trailer with a 2004 Chrysler minivan from California to Oregon and back several times without an problem. We had transmission problems with earlier minivans but the 2004 was fine. It was rated with the towing package to tow 3800 pounds.
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Old 02-21-2015, 04:41 PM   #12
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Hmm, getting a little nervous here... Have a 2009 Gr Caravan 3.3L, and just bought a 2011 Scamp 13' (w/bath) and ele. brakes. I am used to slow accelerations, (better on gas), and easy on stopping (better on brakes). Don't plan on mountain trips. Hope I'll be okay ??
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:27 PM   #13
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Chrysler/Dodge mini-vans have had far too many transmission failures to ever be considered as a tow vehicle. No attempt to correct this defect in the transmissions have ever been made. A dealer's service manager told me if you load anything more than a few people in any Chrysler mini-van it will fail over time. He said it would be foolish to tow anything with one.
I suggest Honda or Toyota products and do not exceed their manufacturers published limits and you will be fine.
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:59 PM   #14
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Well, guess I'll have to see what happens, as we just bought the van last spring. It is an '09 and only has 23k on it (yes, odometer is accurate, an elderly couple owned it).
We have an '02 with 100K+ that we'd removed the seats and used like a truck for almost 10 yrs. bags of gravel, lumber, furniture, etc. Is it seal issues ? Maybe I should get a tranny cooler ? (Although neither our mechanic nor custom shop-installed hitch felt we'd need one).
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