Tow Vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-04-2007, 10:51 PM   #1
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Anybody here have a Dodge Caravan used to pull their Scamp? We are looking into purchasing a new car and need something that will work with the family and the camper. Not that we consider ourselves the "mini-van" type, but if the shoe fits.. Or maybe if the "car" fits. Can't get rid of the kids but we can get a bigger sized tow vehicle.
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:28 PM   #2
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A few people have reported being able to tow with a caravan. Many, many more have reported transmission failure after towing. Dodge front wheel drive automatics have a history of failing. I strongly suggest that you consider a rear wheel drive vehicle for towing. In a front wheel drive the weight is transferred off the drive wheels.
Check out these sites about the Dodge transmission problems people have had. Sorry about the popups some of them have. Consumer Affairs Edmunds Townhall talk Another Edmunds discussion

There are some small SUVs with rear wheel drive to choose from.
Curt
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:51 AM   #3
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We tow our UHaul CT13 with a 2004 Mazda MPV, which is smaller than the Caravan. The Mazda towing package gives the MPV a 3,000lb. towing capacity, and includes a transmission cooler. The Mazda (Ford) 200 hp V6 easily handles backroads and freeways, mountains and desert, coast-to-coast with no problems. Best part - the van gives easy access to all our camping gear and provides plenty of comfortable space for our dog Kerry's bedroom (kennel box).

I would assume that the Caravan with a towing package would do quite nicely.
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:53 AM   #4
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Trailer: 2007 Casita Liberty (Sold 2011)/ Honda Odyssey
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Many people successfully tow light trailers with a front-wheel drive vehicle. With a 150# tongue weight the amount of weight on the rear tires vs. the front is not significant, IMHO. I would suggest you look at an Odessey or Toyota Sienna, one of which might be my next upgrade to reach the magic 3,500# towing capacity.
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Old 01-05-2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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I'd second the caution about transmission failure on Caravans. They have a hard enough time holding up with just the weight of the vehicle, never mind hauling a trailer.

I know several people who have had multiple transmission failures on Caravans used only for personal transportation. The older ones with the 3-speed auto seemed to be OK, but I wouldn't trust any of the newer ones with the 4-speed.

I don't think adding a trans cooler would make much difference - the failures were caused by internal parts actually breaking.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:09 AM   #6
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I tow with a FWD Honda Element, but I also have a RWD Jeep Liberty that I have yet to hook the trailer up to.

The Jeep is a small SUV and if set up correctly, has an astonishing 5000 lb limit. (Which was one of, if not THE main selling point for me) When shopping, I was looking for a balance of daily driver economy and tow capability and had pretty much thought I was going to have to get a land barge to get the tow rating. I was happy to discover that I didn't.

The Jeep is not a van, however, and I have kept the Element for "van" type things, so I understand the need for one.

That said, I have no issue with FWD towing, tho it limits me in some areas where traction could be an issue, such as in sand or some of the fine clay forest service roads in my area.

On the street, no problem.

I have a co-worker who just scrapped his Caravan after his 3rd transimission. He never towed with it. I have heard of inherant problems with that tranny from a couple folks, my mechanic included.
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:43 AM   #7
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We used to tow our Coleman Taos tent trailer with a Caravan. It is roughly the same weight as our 13' Scamp, but with a little bit higher tongue weight. The Caravan did pull it, and behaved reasonably well on the road, but the transmission was doing some very "funny" stuff (no one was laughing!) by the time we traded it in. In retrospect, I'm just glad we weren't left sitting by the side of the road...

We now tow our Scamp 13' with a Honda Odyssey, and it's awesome. Does a good job with the Taos as well...

I'd be cautious about the Caravan. It'll work in a pinch, but I'd do it assuming that you are hastening the demise of some already questionable parts. This of course is just my opinion; your mileage may vary. Hopefully not literally!
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:47 AM   #8
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Thanks so much for all of your replies. It's the reason why I love this sight so much. It looks like the Caravan is out so we're looking at Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest. Any thoughts on those options?
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:22 AM   #9
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Dyed in the wool Honda fan here, you probably won't go wrong with the Oddessy. Many folks here tow with one and report nothing but happy results.

I also like the Quest. I have used them as rentals and they are VERY nice.

Our company car is a Nissan Murrano, nice rig, and it withstands the rigors of many different employees driving it. You think "nothing handles like a rental"? That abuse seems to double with company owned cars. I have seen our company cars get trashed in a couple months. Nothing seems to kill or demoralize the Murrano.

(Cept for the one guy that smokes in it, and when we catch who it is, he will get a lynchin!)
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:15 PM   #10
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I think all of the relevant points have been made, so I'll just add my vote for the viability of a front-wheel-drive minivan - in my case the Toyota Sienna - as a tow vehicle for a light travel trailer. Or in my case, not so light: my Boler B1700RGH is about twice the weight and bulk of a typical 13' egg.

The Caravan is, in most respects, a typical front-drive modern minivan. The transmission issue seems to be a matter specific to this product (and it's far from the only vehicle to have transmission issues), not the vehicle type or configuration.

Candi: why Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest but not Toyota Sienna? They are all similar (as are various Ford, GM, and eve Kia options), and all could work well... I'm just curious.
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:08 PM   #11
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How about the tow vehicle in the latest picture on the site. It appears to be some kind of bucket. Talk about going green and clean. Where can I get one of those and how many miles per bucket full du u get?
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:52 PM   #12
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You can get the Sienna with AWD which could come in handy*. The Odessey is only FWD.

* Like to this special place http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&a...mp;t=h&om=1
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
I think all of the relevant points have been made, so I'll just add my vote for the viability of a front-wheel-drive minivan - in my case the Toyota Sienna - as a tow vehicle for a light travel trailer. Or in my case, not so light: my Boler B1700RGH is about twice the weight and bulk of a typical 13' egg.

The Caravan is, in most respects, a typical front-drive modern minivan. The transmission issue seems to be a matter specific to this product (and it's far from the only vehicle to have transmission issues), not the vehicle type or configuration.

Candi: why Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest but not Toyota Sienna? They are all similar (as are various Ford, GM, and eve Kia options), and all could work well... I'm just curious.
I'm not actually ruling anything out right now, just looking into a few at a time. My husband and I just got serious about looking yesterday and we've spent lots of time on the internet researching. I'll certainly look into the Toyota Sienna.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
You can get the Sienna with AWD which could come in handy*. The Odessey is only FWD.

* Like to this special place http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&a...mp;t=h&om=1

Love it! Wouldn't want to get caught there with only two wheel drive. But that means you wouldn't have to leave, right? It might be a good thing, afterall.
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