2012 6 cylinder Toyota Siena - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-19-2016, 02:34 AM   #1
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Name: Heidi
Trailer: Shopping
Arizona
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2012 6 cylinder Toyota Siena

Hi -
I have a 2012 6 cyl Toyota Sienna. I'm (hopefully!) buying a 13' Scamp layout 1 (no bathroom) built early 90s. Hitch weight 100 lbs. Total weight 1000 Lbs. No trailer brakes. 1 propane tank on tongue.

I'm having UHAUL install a tow receiver and wiring on my Sienna.

I've never towed anything before and even though the camper is light, we will have 5 people (2 adults, 3 kids, 1 golden retreiver) in car and a good amount of gear (to suit 5 people) in car and camper when we go on longer trips.

So couple questions:
- will the uhaul hitch be as good as a factory installed? I'd prefer not to get a new vehicle.
- do I need to get a transmission cooler installed in my Sienna?
- when I spoke w Scamp factory sales they said "new trailers can have trailer brakes installed which is much safer." Do I need trailer brakes for my set-up? Should I be worried the unit I'm getting doesnt have them? Can I get them installed on trailer after-market? I want to be safe.
- I've seen lots of used scamps online w hitches on the back for carrying bikes. Will I be able to add this to mine given my tow vehicle/set-up?
- I've read that minivans sometimes need the adapter thing that raises ball height. Is this something I should buy and just bring with me to pick up scamp? For anyone else towing w a minivan is it as complicated as it seems to this newbie??

Anything else I should be worried about??

Thanks so much for your help!!! Can't wait to camp!
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:33 AM   #2
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi044 View Post
Hi -
I have a 2012 6 cyl Toyota Sienna. I'm (hopefully!) buying a 13' Scamp layout 1 (no bathroom) built early 90s. Hitch weight 100 lbs. Total weight 1000 Lbs. No trailer brakes. 1 propane tank on tongue.
I've never towed anything before and even though the camper is light, we will have 5 people (2 adults, 3 kids, 1 golden retreiver) in car and a good amount of gear (to suit 5 people) in car and camper when we go on longer trips.
So couple questions:
- will the uhaul hitch be as good as a factory installed? I'd prefer not to get a new vehicle.
- do I need to get a transmission cooler installed in my Sienna?
- when I spoke w Scamp factory sales they said "new trailers can have trailer brakes installed which is much safer." Do I need trailer brakes for my set-up? Should I be worried the unit I'm getting doesnt have them? Can I get them installed on trailer after-market? I want to be safe.
- I've seen lots of used scamps online w hitches on the back for carrying bikes. Will I be able to add this to mine given my tow vehicle/set-up?
- I've read that minivans sometimes need the adapter thing that raises ball height. Is this something I should buy and just bring with me to pick up scamp? For anyone else towing w a minivan is it as complicated as it seems to this newbie??
Anything else I should be worried about??
Thanks so much for your help!!! Can't wait to camp!
Welcome to FGRV Heidi. You'll get a number of answers for your questions.
First question from me is what does your owners manual say for the towing ratings for your Sienna? A tranny cooler sure can't hurt...you may already have one. A Uhaul hitch is fine. The ball height you'll need for a correct tow angle really depends on you tow vehicle and the trailer. Over all you want the trailer to be level or just a tad low at the ball for a good tow. Carrying bikes on the rear is kind of a hot topic here. Many folks here do and don't have a problem but folks on the other side of the coin have had problems with sway from the added rear weight. Do understand that trailers, travel, cargo ect bounce around...a lot, even though you don't really see it from the drivers seat. Brakes are always a good idea and some states require them after a certain trailer weight. Personally I wouldn't have a TT with out them, even a 13"er although some do. Always told my kids to keep good tires and brakes on their cars cuz it doesn't make any difference if it takes 60 seconds to do 60 mph....you better be able to stop a whole lot faster than that.
Towing isn't complicated and a mini van can be a good choice for a tug. You'll be fine.
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:37 AM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 1,886
I have a 2015 Sienna LE with Scamp 16 and can answer these questions based on my vehicle and camper, which might be the correct answers for your Sienna also (or might not be). You would need to see if the ratings are the same. For the 2015 LE, answers in RED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi044 View Post
...
So couple questions:
- will the uhaul hitch be as good as a factory installed? I'd prefer not to get a new vehicle. YES but it might be lower, with less ground clearance
- do I need to get a transmission cooler installed in my Sienna? NO, its built to tow 3500 lbs without an added cooler. Mine tranny stays at good temp as long as I tow in 4th (not overdrive).
- when I spoke w Scamp factory sales they said "new trailers can have trailer brakes installed which is much safer." Do I need trailer brakes for my set-up? If you cant stop in time and hit something then brakes might have prevented the accident. YMMV but keep in mind that the Sienna's brakes are likely just enough for the van since better brakes translates to more weight and car makers like to keep things light. Should I be worried the unit I'm getting doesnt have them? Again, if you drive carefully you might be OK, but you might not. This is a can of worms question as you will see. I would get them. Can I get them installed on trailer after-market? Almost 100% that you can. I want to be safe.
- I've seen lots of used scamps online w hitches on the back for carrying bikes. Will I be able to add this to mine given my tow vehicle/set-up? Another can of worms question.. might cause too much sway, but might not. I got the hitch for mounting a mast when parked. I would not use it to carry anything on the road. Just my opinion.
- I've read that minivans sometimes need the adapter thing that raises ball height. Is this something I should buy and just bring with me to pick up scamp? I have a Curt aftermarket hitch and the ball mount is 7 inch rise (to the Scamp 16). The 13 is lower but yes, you will need some rise to reach the right height. More on this later. For anyone else towing w a minivan is it as complicated as it seems to this newbie??

Anything else I should be worried about?? Well, North Korea is one thing.. but seriously, there are a few considerations which have been discussed before. I'm looking for the links... for example, if you get brakes on the trailer you need a brake controller in the van.
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:13 AM   #4
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Pull a wheel on the trailer, either side. Look for a square plate with 4 holes just behind the hub. If it's there, you can add brakes easily. If not, the axle will need to be replaced to add brakes. Be aware, since you are buying a 20+ year old trailer, the axle may be due for replacement anyway.

One other thought, with 5 people, large dog, tongue weight, gas, and stuff, are you exceeding the weight limit of your vehicle? Raz
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:16 AM   #5
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Raz View Post
... Be aware, since you are buying a 20+ year old trailer, the axle may be due for replacement anyway. Raz
Oppsie! Good catch, I forgot the age of the trailer when I made my reply, and suggest you go by what Raz just said.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:21 AM   #6
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My truck has a towing capacity of 10,500 lbs , but my owners manual suggest / requires trailer brakes when towing anything over 1000 lbs . My daughter's Nissan Quest 3500 lb towing capacity requires trailer brakes and sway control when towing .
I would check your owners manual , your state may not mandate trailer brakes at 1000+ lbs but your vehicle may . As Raz said , you may need a new axle , so you might as well get one with brakes.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:23 AM   #7
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Name: Heidi
Trailer: Shopping
Arizona
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Hi - thank you so much.

My owners manual says:
- GCWR = 8900 lbs
- TWR = 3500 lbs
- Unbraked TWR = 1000 lbs
- If gross trailer weight is over 2000 lbs a sway control device with sufficient capacity is required.

The sticker on the inside of my driver door says:
- GVWR = 5995 lb
- GAWR/FTR = 3100 lbs
- GAWR/RR = 3100 lbs

Then there is a little yellow sticker that say "load carrying capacity decreased in this vehicle by 24 lbs!" Says nothing about North Korea.

So, at this point, based on your comments and my manual, I think maybe :
- I need trailer brakes b'c the 13' plus even minimal gear will be over 1000lbs
- I probably don't need a sway control device.
- ugh, I am hoping to pick up the unit out of state and drive it home. This plan may need to change if I need to get trailer brakes put on b'f going far.

Sound right?
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:43 AM   #8
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Iowa
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Get some first hand coaching from an experienced driver, and you should not need brakes on the Scamp.
Find out the hitch ball height above ground with the trailer level (to top of ball)
Then get the hitch drawbar with the correct lift to give you that height.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:49 AM   #9
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi044 View Post
...
So, at this point, based on your comments and my manual, I think maybe :
- I need trailer brakes b'c the 13' plus even minimal gear will be over 1000lbs
- I probably don't need a sway control device.
- ugh, I am hoping to pick up the unit out of state and drive it home. This plan may need to change if I need to get trailer brakes put on b'f going far.

Sound right?
Sounds reasonable to me. My Sienna is similar and I tow a 16 (but solo).

If push comes to shove, and if it were me.. I would not hesitate to tow it home without brakes if I had to.. just take it slow, leave lots of room, and leave the family and all their gear at home, etc. But there could be liability if you rear end someone and you don't have the equipment the manual says you need to have. So, on the record, I am not suggesting that.

Since my 16 is over 2000 lbs, I did get a sway bar. I find I don't seem to need it unless going over 65 and/or in very high winds. In fact I am OK leaving it off on secondary highways going 55 or less. But the manual says I have to have it, so I do. I doubt you will feel any need for one but if you do, you can add it on later.

You also look pretty good in the Gross Combined Vehicle Rating (8900). If my math is right, 8900 - the vehicle curb weight (estimated at 4500) leaves 4400 for trailer, passengers and all cargo. The problem with the GCVR is if you max out on the trailer (3500). In that case 4500+3500 leaves only 900 lbs for passengers and all cargo before you go over the GCVR limit, and your curb weight could be more than 4500 to start with. Of course with a car load of people and gear, and a trailer, the van will be working pretty hard at times but I think it will do well.

Getting the trailer's lights and brake controller wired up however is a PIA.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:52 AM   #10
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
Get some first hand coaching from an experienced driver, and you should not need brakes on the Scamp.
Except that Toyota says you do.. and lawyers love that type of case.

You also have a downshift option I think, so you can use engine braking.. there you could use some hands on instruction, but it does not change the published requirement.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:57 AM   #11
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Name: Tim
Trailer: boler
Ontario
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4 cylinder 1AR-FE engine 1000 lb. (454 kg)
6 cylinder 2GR-FE engine Without towing package 1500 lb. (680 kg)
With towing package 3500 lb. (1588 kg)

This is the towing spec from a 2011 sienna. Make sure you are reading the specs right. If you are are unsure whether your van has the towing package, go to Toyota dealer and they would be able to tell you. Thats what I did and found out that all sienna vans are installed with the tow package right from the dealer.(This would be in Canada) US may be different.
I own a 2011 Sienna and tow a 13ft Boler, no trailer brakes and really don't realize that I'm towing it. Smart safe diving allowing for extra braking time etc is key. As far as towing these little trailers is how you load it and keeping it in good working order. If you can tow a utility trailer, you can tow a boler or scamp.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
Get some first hand coaching from an experienced driver, and you should not need brakes on the Scamp.
Find out the hitch ball height above ground with the trailer level (to top of ball)
Then get the hitch drawbar with the correct lift to give you that height.
Right up to the moment you need to make a panic stop or drive in the mountains
The brakes in most of the smaller (mini ) vans are barely adequate to stop the vehicle. As Donna has said many times ,replacing trailer brakes is far cheaper than replacing vehicle brakes .
I haul firewood each fall in a trailer without brakes. I only drive on back County roads at about 25 MPH and make quite a few rolling stops. If that's the way you wish to travel with your Scamp have at it. If I was King all trailers would require working brakes
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Old 04-19-2016, 03:29 PM   #13
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Name: Alan
Trailer: 2000 17' Casita Freedom Deluxe...Tow vehicle 2015 Toyota Tacoma Dble Cab V6 Prerunner
California
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I would also ck your trailer weight at
1000 lb and 100 lb tongue weight once loaded are probably on low side


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Old 04-19-2016, 06:58 PM   #14
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Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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That Scamp is likely to be more like 1200-1300 lbs. Safe hitch weight is at least 10% of the trailer's weight; insufficient hitch weight is the main cause of trailer swaying. Take a bathroom scale with you and weigh the hitch before starting out. If it were me, I'd have some stuff with me that I could load up front in the trailer, in case it's lighter than 130 lbs.

I've towed thousands of miles without trailer brakes. Now I always want to have trailer brakes. That should tell you something. Without brakes is ok 99% of the time, but that 1% can rear its ugly head when you least expect it. I'd be fine with towing a brakeless trailer just to get it home from someplace, but after that I'd get brakes on it (or an axle with brakes, if necessary, which shouldn't cost more than about $700 the last I heard).

Ask a Toyota dealer to check your vin to see how the van is equipped. If it doesn't have tow package, consider a transmission cooler; it's cheap insurance against a wrecked tranny. Always tow with overdrive locked out, so it stays in 4th and not 5th, to protect the tranny.
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