Towable with my minivan? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-31-2014, 12:30 PM   #29
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Name: RogerDat
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Originally Posted by lk123 View Post
My dealer informed me today that they only thing I need to do in order to be considered having a towing package on my 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is a hitch and the wiring. This will get me up to the 3600 gtw. When I told him I was thinking about adding a brake controller he discouraged me to so, because I will have to hardwire it in. I do not want to void the warranty since the powertrain has 100,000 or 5 years. He also strongly advised me not to tow a 2000 pound trailer. He said "I wouldn't do it!". Thoughts?
I think...
If someone at a dealership told me they wouldn't tow what is only 56% of the rated towing capacity it should be followed with reasons. The transmissions on these are prone to fail, the suspension is too mushy, the brakes are pretty marginal. Some reason based on field experience that trumps the manufacturers guidance. Otherwise I would be looking for a different dealer.

A brake controller installation is mostly a wire from the controller running back to the hitch plug and a sensor wire attached to the brake light wire so the controller knows the brakes are on. There are IIRC two other wires a power and ground.

My Ford dealer was upfront about it. Said they send people to trailer places for a brake controller because those shops have the experience to do it easily, and carry the parts. The dealership does not. They do however do the basic trailer light hookup often so they will do that.

Unless the vehicle has a plug pre-wired for brake controller they are all "hardwired" and when you think about it the factory 4 connector plug itself is hardwired in. Neither one should make a bit of difference to your warranty. Especially if done by a shop that installs brake controllers.

I would be looking for a different dealer or mechanic otherwise you won't get good advice upfront and will probably have unwarranted resistance to any warranty work. Sounds like the sort of place that would try to blame a failed windshield wiper motor on towing a trailer. "well the trailer lights might have left the wiper motor starved for power" Or some such garbage.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:45 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by lk123 View Post
honda03842. Please let us know what your mpg is on the highway once you set off on your maiden voyage. I get 26-27 with my caravan and I was hoping to get at least 15 with the scamp. Does anyone think that will be possible?
Luke I intend to post about towing with our Odyssey in Towing/Honda Odyssey.

With our CRV when not towing we would get 28 mpg on the highway without trying, paying attention we would get 30.

When towing with the CRV over the last 7 years, towing 3 different trailers we always got 20+ miles per gallon and as usually higher with the Scamp. We had a manual transmission, and never drove over 65 mph.

I'm hoping for better than 15 mpg though I've it's been decades since I drove an automatic and have never driven a vehicle with cylinder management.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:01 PM   #31
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I do the same as Tom and Mike. I go from 32lbs on the fronts to 35lb, and on the rears 32 to 38lbs. With the WDH it adds 100lbs per tire on the front of the car, and about 1350lbs per tire on the rear. The extra pressure accounts for the extra weight and reduces side to side play in the tires.

Luke.... Our 93 Nissan Van got about 23MPH on the city/highway solo.
Towing our 23' brought it down to "average 16MPG city/highway. Note IMP gals.

Agree with Norm. Your dealer is not up to speed on the fine art of towing. Also note, having an added tranny cooler will cause no harm, but may do some good. It is a low cost investment that has the potential to save you $1,000's of repair expenses. It can come into play if you do some hill climbing.
MC1. I'm guessing I will get about 16 or 17 but time will tell. Yeah, my dealer is not making sense. Unfortunately they are the only dealer in town. oh well.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I think...
If someone at a dealership told me they wouldn't tow what is only 56% of the rated towing capacity it should be followed with reasons. The transmissions on these are prone to fail, the suspension is too mushy, the brakes are pretty marginal. Some reason based on field experience that trumps the manufacturers guidance. Otherwise I would be looking for a different dealer.

A brake controller installation is mostly a wire from the controller running back to the hitch plug and a sensor wire attached to the brake light wire so the controller knows the brakes are on. There are IIRC two other wires a power and ground.

My Ford dealer was upfront about it. Said they send people to trailer places for a brake controller because those shops have the experience to do it easily, and carry the parts. The dealership does not. They do however do the basic trailer light hookup often so they will do that.

Unless the vehicle has a plug pre-wired for brake controller they are all "hardwired" and when you think about it the factory 4 connector plug itself is hardwired in. Neither one should make a bit of difference to your warranty. Especially if done by a shop that installs brake controllers.

I would be looking for a different dealer or mechanic otherwise you won't get good advice upfront and will probably have unwarranted resistance to any warranty work. Sounds like the sort of place that would try to blame a failed windshield wiper motor on towing a trailer. "well the trailer lights might have left the wiper motor starved for power" Or some such garbage.
I am in the process of getting quotes from local rv dealers. One quoted me over $400 for the installation of a p2. Yikes! Another quoted me $200. Much better! Do you think I should do a WDH, sway control, brake controller, and a tranny cooler?
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:07 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Luke I intend to post about towing with our Odyssey in Towing/Honda Odyssey.

With our CRV when not towing we would get 28 mpg on the highway without trying, paying attention we would get 30.

When towing with the CRV over the last 7 years, towing 3 different trailers we always got 20+ miles per gallon and as usually higher with the Scamp. We had a manual transmission, and never drove over 65 mph.

I'm hoping for better than 15 mpg though I've it's been decades since I drove an automatic and have never driven a vehicle with cylinder management.
I am really hoping for 20+. That would be awesome!
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:34 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by lk123 View Post
I am in the process of getting quotes from local rv dealers. One quoted me over $400 for the installation of a p2. Yikes! Another quoted me $200. Much better! Do you think I should do a WDH, sway control, brake controller, and a tranny cooler?
Tranny cooler is good insurance, brake controller same plus there may be states where your tow & trailer combination would be required to have brakes. I would put both in the yes category.

WDH is really to solve a specific problem. Too much sag at the back and/or too much weight on the rear axle (over axle weight limit) both are addressed by the WDH shifting some weight toward the front via the frame. If you have the problem I would seek professional opinions, and get a few different ones to determine the correct equipment to address it. There are suspension options in addition to WDH that might be worth investigation.

Sway control is one that is insurance I guess but I have never needed it, others like having it. Bet they weigh in soon.
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Old 07-31-2014, 04:45 PM   #35
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I have towed my 2500 GVWR EggCamper with a Chrysler minivan, with a Buick Enclave, and now with a Chevy Silverado. Being 6 clyinder vehicles both the minivan and the Enclave did a fine towing job. Since the Chevy is a V8, it also does a fine job of towing. All three tow vehicles got virtually the same towing mpg. You wonder about the V8 matching the V6s in mpg? The V8 has the capability of dropping to 4 cylinders when conditions are right and the Chevy V8 obviously will work less hard pulling the trailer. All three were and are very suitable tow vehicles for a trailer in that weight range. I did not get the truck because the others were unsuitable for towing. I got the 4x4 truck so I can tow the trailer out of my driveway when slippery or snowy which I could not do last December without a 4x4 assist from my neighbor. I actually got the truck this summer.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:46 PM   #36
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I have a 2006 Chrysler T & C. I got it outfitted at my dealer with a receiver hitch early on. At the time I had a 16' Casita w/o brakes so I only got a 4 wire hookup. I never had any problem towing that trailer. Hardly knew it was back there. My mileage was 15-16 towing. I did get a WDH. It made things more stable and level. I do recommend it. By the time you add all your gear, food, water and other items it could add a lot of weight to your total. This year I bought a new Scamp 16' with brakes. I added the 7 wire electrical and the brake controler. They are only about $60. The price can vary a lot depending on where you get it and the model. You don't need a high end one for our little units. I haven't added a cooler yet but am considering it. Chrysler has a towing package available for their mini vans. It comes with a leveler too. When it is time for a new one that's what I'm going with. I also have a Ford F-150 to tow with. I agree with the others. Your van should handle it just fine.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:52 PM   #37
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IK, sent you a PM. Check your messages. Great to see a fellow Scamper in ND too!
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:33 PM   #38
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Thanks for all the info everyone!
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:49 PM   #39
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Interesting reading.

I've got a Dodge 2014 Journey which has got every cooler you can think of, trans, oil and power steering. For some reason that no one understands in 2013 the tow rating was lowered from 3,500 to 2,500lbs. The general consensus, even from the mechanics, is there has not been any change but the rating was more on paper than anything else.

So here are the numbers for the Journey
GCVW=7,300
GVWR=5,450
CurbSt=3,820 (includes fuel but no passengers or luggage)
GTWR=2,500

So 7,300 GCVW less 2,500 GTWR that leaves 4,800 as the max the Journey can be. That less 3,820 leaves 980 lbs for the two of us plus two large dogs and still stay under the GCVW. That's totally doable as long as the trailer does not come in more than about 2,100ish before we add clothes and food.

I have no problem, based on all the information I have, to go the tow limit but not past it since the manufacture has added allowances to protect themselves. Especially since I have a lifetime warrantee from Mopar on the Journey so as long as I don't exceeded the limits I'm covered. We'll have to use the shorter maintenance schedule for heavier duty service but that's fine by me.

just for fun, and to cover my a$$, I'm going to get the Journey weighted just to make sure that the curb weight matches.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:39 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
A perfect example why Dealer Service Reps aren't always the best source for towing advice.

1. In most states trailer brakes are mandatory for trailers over about 1500 lbs and absolutely a most with anything near the vehicles 3500 lb limit. Wiring in a brake controller is no more complicated or threatening to the warranty than adding an extra utility light.

2. Service Managers #1 job sometimes seems to be to reduce warranty claims and they can do this by, basically, encouraging you to limit use of the vehicle. My somewhat earlier Dodge Caravan went through two transmissions and a anti-lock controller in it's warranty period and the dealer came up with all sorts of ways to try to blame me. Fortunately it was a company car and I didn't have to fuss with him.

3. Contact the Chrysler regional office and talk to a technical rep about what you need to add for the full towing capacity, and don't take "see your dealer" for an answer. Your dealer Service person is a flake and you can tell then I told you so!!! LOLOLOL
Thanks Bob. I will contact my regional office.

Sent from my XT1045 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:45 PM   #41
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Here's a picture I saw recently...not that I would do this, but it's interesting.

Click image for larger version

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Old 08-02-2014, 12:57 PM   #42
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Here's a picture I saw recently...not that I would do this, but it's interesting.
And, not to start a bun fight, that vehicle is built and sold in Europe too - where it has a 100lb lower towing capacity than in North America.
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