towing a travel trailer



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Thread: towing a travel trailer

  1. #1
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    towing a travel trailer

    Can someone help me figure out if my 2000 Chrysler T & C Limited AWD (no tow package) will be able to tow a 19' travel trailer? I plan to add a hitch, eletric braker.

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    well first thing is how heavy is the trailer your planning on towing, maxium trailer weight you'd want is probably around 3,000lbs. if the trailer is light enough you'd probably also want to get a transmission cooler to prolong the life of your transmission. the 3.8l v6 should be good enough power for towing (the 3.8l comes standard with awd). Other than that there isn't much else you can do, if your van can tow that much.
    Im 25 and my parents own a 2014 Grand Caravan R/T (3.6l, 56 miles) 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT (1.8l 76k miles 5spd), a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT(3.8l 41TE 113k miles), a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser ((which is mine) 2.4l 116k miles 41TE), and a 2000 Ford Mustang base (3.8l, 4 spd auto 27k miles)

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    3000 Lbs would DEFINITELY be an ABSOLUTE MAX. I'd start getting uncomfortable with anything more than about 2000 lbs, especially if it didn't have its own trailer brakes.

    I've towed a 5x8 trailer from Oregon to Arizona last summer with my '97, and estimated the total weight of cargo (in the trailer) and trailer at about 1200-1500 lbs, and you could really feel it back there. Not something I'd want to do on a regular basis for sure. And DEFINITELY make sure your cooling system is in tip-top shape, unless you like running the heater on high while driving through Las Vegas with 115 degree ambient temperatures.
    2003 Honda Odyssey EXL (3.5L)
    1997 Town & Country LXi (3.8L)
    1992 Honda Accord LX (2.2L)
    1990 Chevy K2500 (5.7L TBI)

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    There is also a maximum square foot frontal area of the towed trailer you must watch. It is just a guess, but I figure it is to keep wind resistance of the trailer from placing too much of a load on the transmission thus causing damage.
    Pete
    1996 Green Chrysler Town & Country w/ 70,000 miles
    1999 Red Chrysler Town & Country w/ 150,000 miles

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    Get a proper vehicle or forget it. If you don't have the tow group you endanger yourself and others on the road.

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    Even if the 19' travel trailer is light enough (probably not), it will definitely be over the 32 sq-ft frontal area limit. Do not tow a full height camper with your van. 32 sq-ft frontal area will cover a popup camper (wide but short) or a utility trailer (tall but narrow). My popup with A/C unit takes up about 30 sq-ft.

    If you decide to get a popup camper, you will need to get an auxiliary trans cooler installed for sure. If the camper's loaded weight (or it's GVWR) is greater than 2000 lbs, the manual also requires functional trailer brakes, and the use of a weight distributing hitch (WDH). This isn't just to lift up the rear-end sag. Tongue weight removes weight from the front wheels, making the rig unstable. Excessive tongue weight (more than about 200 lbs for a minivan) could make it unsafe if you needed to steer in an emergency lane change. That's why they recommend WDH for trailers over 1000 lbs, and REQUIRE it for trailers over 2000 lbs. And that's the LOADED weight, NOT the empty/dry weight.

    If you insist on a full-height camper, then you'll need another tow vehicle. That doesn't mean you have to get a gas-guzzling truck or SUV. There are several crossovers on the market recently with more than 3500 lb tow ratings. The GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook/Buick Enclave have 4500 lbs tow ratings and 9700 lb GCVWR. The new '09 Chevy Traverse will be rated at 5200 lbs. And these crossovers get better gas mileage (by 1mpg city & highway) than the latest Chrysler minivans (3.8L or 4.0L).

    I also have a '00 G.Voyager. I'd love to get me a hybrid camper. But it's just not worth it, when the manual says it's too tall, and the transmissions just aren't known for longevity.

    All of this info is in your owners manual. You should check it out!!
    Last edited by thebrakeman; 08-12-2008 at 03:25 PM.

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    Another option could be to rent a truck or something capable of towing the load if you don't plan on towing it that often - that would save you having to shop for a new vehicle and selling your van.

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    I think ladies and gentleman I may have to part with this vehicle. It will not likely tow the camper I want and it just broke down once again. I will try to fix it one mor etime, because I loved this van. My children and I camped for many years in this wonderful vehicle. One more try.

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