Dodge Grand Caravan + 13' Scamp? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2008, 07:00 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1979 13 ft Scamp
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Hello everyone!

This is a great forum and I am learning so much!

My husband and I are soon to be owners of a new 13' Scamp

We currently have a Dodge Caravan and we are planning on putting a tow package on it so we can pull our Scamp.....are there any issues that we should be aware of? Is a caravan going to be good enough to pull a scamp (no toilet/shower)?

I know others that have no issues with their dodge, but I figure you all have a better experience base.

If there are any other words of wisdom, please share.

Thanks in advance!

Loretta M
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2011 19' Escape
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Loretta, so glad you asked this question--sorry I do not have an answer--I am also trying to figure out what our Sienna will pull. ( I have been hanging out here for the past week and my eyes are crossed from reading so many posts.)
We have been told that we should be more concerned about the tongue weight than the total weight.
Our preferred future camper's brochure (16' Casita Freedom Deluxe)says the hitch weight dry is 255 lbs and our Sienna's manual says 200 lbs for a weight carrying hitch. I don't know if this automatically rules the 16' out. But we do like to camp in the mountains and want to stay safe.

From the research the we have done, I would think a 13' would be fine unless you are carrying concrete---but I don't really know. I am here to learn. And I agree--this is a great place!
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:32 PM   #3
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Hi there...make sure you get a good cooler for the transmission.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:53 PM   #4
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Hi Loretta M! I pull our '73 Eco 13' behind our '03 Grand Caravan with no trouble whatsoever. But I can tell you that I have the larger 3.8 liter V-6. I purposely searched for this motor when van shopping - the smaller motors run to hard on the interstate for my tastes. I can also tell you that the previous owner of our unit pulled it behind an older Caravan alone with her kids and said she never had a problem. By the way, I also installed a Class III hitch on our van from etrailer.com. Got a great price and installed it with my father's help. Also, you can check the tow ratings of your vehicle by doing a google search on just that. Trailer life's listing shows mine at 3,800lbs - way more than the thousand or so pounds mine weighs. Hope this helps!!
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:35 PM   #5
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Arrow

i towed a 13 foot boler trailer from vancouver bc to yellowstone park with my chevy s10 2.8 engine and i found it under power and it was a manualy tramission eveyone said i should have no problem they were all wrong i found the truck was not tall enough for the trailer as the trailer was a wind block


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Old 07-15-2008, 01:13 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the responses.

We are getting a class III hitch put on today and the van we have is a 2005 Grand Caravan with a 3.8 Liter V6.

So it sounds like we should be ok with that......I never thought about a cooler for the transmission.....would I need that with the bigger motor?

Thanks,

Loretta

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Old 07-15-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Thanks everyone for the responses.

We are getting a class III hitch put on today and the van we have is a 2005 Grand Caravan with a 3.8 Liter V6.

So it sounds like we should be ok with that......I never thought about a cooler for the transmission.....would I need that with the bigger motor?

Thanks,

Loretta
Probably not a bad idea. We've not taken ours out too far yet, I haven't even checked to see how ours is equipped. FYI - minivans (esp the older ones) are notorious for transmission failures so anything to protect it should help.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:16 PM   #8
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Gotcha,

Well we will take it up to Backus on Thursday (1.5 hours away) and I will see how it does for that...

Then probably put in a cooler...I guess better safe than sorry!

Good to know about the transmissions in the vans...we will be looking for another tow vehicle in a year or so....so I will make sure I keep that in mind.

Thanks,

Loretta

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Old 07-16-2008, 07:46 AM   #9
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Hi Loretta,
I have a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8 liter) without the tow package and after many calls to the dealers and Chrysler Corp, I finally found out that the tow rating is 2000 lbs. With the factory tow package installed at the factory it is 3800 lbs. I asked them if I could add all the components that they do at the factory in order to get the 3800 lbs and they said no...it doesn't work like that. (I love my van...very cushy and has all the options except towing...adding all that would also be expensive!)

I finally took my van to a good transmission shop and was ready to spend the $200 -$300 for a transmission cooler and after they put it up on the lift they found that the factory had already installed a transmission cooler and they also ran separate lines for it (they used to run the lines through the radiator). While I was there (and still had $$ in my pocket!) I had the transmission fluid changed and had them look at everything to see if it was in good shape and basically get a "snapshot" of it now- before towing. They said it looked great and they were pleasantly surprised that Chrysler finally did it right with the transmission and lines. (They haven't had a 2005 in the shop yet...good news!) He just said to take it easy when towing (55 mph or so) and check the fluid more often and drive it in 3 (not the D you normally drive it in on your gearshift).

I just bought two Scamps; my first was a 1977 13 ft primitive (no fridge, stove, bath) and a 1996 16 ft standard. The van tows either with no problem, but, I haven't been up any major hills yet to really test the horsepower. I'm taking the 16 ft down to Florida in the fall, so I hope that it will be fine! I know that I am pushing my luck with the 16 foot (didn't realize the underestimated weight given at the factory), but I am in no shape financially to trade in my van now.

So, my suggestion would be to get your car in the dealers or a reputable transmission shop and have them check it out (also get transmission fluid changed/checked). Better to be safe than sorry. I'm no expert, but based on what Chrysler told me, you shouldn't have any problems towing under 2000 lbs. Please keep us posted as to what they find on your van. It would be interesting to know if yours is equipped the same as mine. Hope this helps.
take care,
Laurie

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:39 AM   #10
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Hi Loretta
We have pulled a 13' Trillium with a 3.0 liter 1987 Grand Caravan during the period of 1990 until 1995. We then raplaced the 87 with a 96 Caravan, then later with a 99 Grand caravan and now a 2005 Grand Caravan. In 1995 we replaced the Trillium with a 1980 Dolphin 14' and have enjoyed all or them.
All of the Caravans were equipped with a transmission cooler, and a class III hitch. We have never done anything special to any of them except to make sure the brake pads and linings were in good shape before each trip and to make sure the cooling systems were flushed annually and the radiator was protected with a bug screen.
We have never had a transmission fail on any Caravan we towed with either. If you have high mileage on your tow vehicle, ask your mechanic to check your front end and steering components, as any play in your steering system will start a sway, which can be dangerous and take all the fun out of your trip. Adding a brake controller gives you a measure of additional control even if your are light enough that your jurisdiction does not require it. Happy towing
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:30 PM   #11
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that is good advise. my neighbor has gone through a couple of transmissions
while towing a heavier tent trailer. a cooler is good insurance.

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Hi there...make sure you get a good cooler for the transmission.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:50 PM   #12
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that is good advise. my neighbor has gone through a couple of transmissions
while towing a heavier tent trailer. a cooler is good insurance.
Hi: We tow a 13' Boler with a 2001 Dodge caravan, 3.3L engine with auto tranmission. Plenty of power and easy handling, even in the mountains around Denver. Our only problem, and it was a major one, was that the hitch receiver mounting on the van was improperly installed (Class 3) and it failed--"oil-canned' the "frame" members, necessitating heavy duty welding repairs en-route. Make sure your hitch is installed by a reputable, qualified organization. As for transmission oil coolers, they're already installed on the Caravans. We've had to replace the transmission on our beast, but it had nothing to do with trailering--failed before the trailer came along. Theoretically, Chrysler solved the transmission problems from the Mitsubishi units common up to 2003.

Cheers.
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