minivan tow weight

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by DonS, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. DonS

    DonS New Member

    I'm in the market for a minivan and one of the items that
    I'd like to cross off is whether the van is capable of towing
    a camper trailer. I don't know how to go out figuring what
    it can tow and whether or not the minivan manufacturers are
    reliable in their data.

    What I'm looking to buy in the future is just some small
    trailer 17' or 19' for small excursions with the wife and
    two kids. I'm definitely not into high end campers, heck
    I'd even sleep in a tent as long as the everyone else is
    inside. It's just that I think our days of tenting are drawing
    to a close and a trailer is starting to make more sense.

    Thanks for any tips or pointers to web pages.

    Don
     
  2. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    minivan tow weight

    Mini-vans don't have much towing capacity, so you will be restricted to the smallest and lightest trailers. In your circumstances, I'd check out the Chalet folding trailers (www.chaletrv.com)
     
  3. Ross Hemsley

    Ross Hemsley New Member

    minivan tow weight

    Can a minivan really only manage a folding trailer, tent trailer or ultra light trailer. I've seen quite a few vans pulling older, heavier small trailers. Maybe they are asking for toubnle thougfh. I really don't know.
     
  4. Ed H.

    Ed H. New Member

    minivan tow weight

    It all depends on how mini of a van you want. The Chevy Astro/ GMC Safari can handle a decent sized load (I think 5,000# or so) with the right options. Also if Ford still makes their rear wheel drive mini, it may also have a good rating. The Chrysler minivans have a good rating for front wheel drive, but it a bit lower.
    The thing to do is ask for the trailer towing guide from each dealer you go to. This will tell you what the manufacturer will allow the vehicle to tow without voiding the warranty and what equipment is required to do that.
    That said, I would allow a generous safety margin for the load in the trailer and the van itself when shopping for a trailer and don't be afraid to ask to weight the tailer on a truck scale if the one you like seems close to the limit.
     
  5. DonS

    DonS New Member

    minivan tow weight

    I appreciate the replies but none of these tell me how to
    calculate the weight of the trailer that I can tow. Perhaps
    I should have been more sepecific.

    I am confining myself to "standard" minivans, Dodge Caravan
    (not Grand Caravan with a 3.8l), Chevy Venture etc. How do
    I calculate what I can pull. I think the minivans have a
    published tow weight. Do I just look for a trailer in that
    weight or do I have to do calculations - weight of van and
    weight of loaded trailer?

    As a side question, are minivan manufacturers too optimistic
    in what they say they can tow?

    Thanks again,
    Don
     
  6. Ed H.

    Ed H. New Member

    minivan tow weight

    O.K. Don,
    Here it is; thr manufacturer will publish 2 numbers that you need to pay attention to. One is the maximum trailer weight rating, the other is the gross combined weight rating. The trailer weight is, as you might guess, the heaviest trailer you can tow. The gross combined weight rating is the maximum total weight of the van, trailer, passengers, and cargo.
    Now, as long as you don't exceed either rating, you should be O.K. The thing to watch out for is if you get close to the limit and go shopping while on a trip.
    As far as the manufacturers being too optimistic in their ratings, if the vehicle is not really capable of doing what they say it can, they are liable for repairs and other damages if anything goes wrong. There will always be some who want more horsepower, but there are few if any vehicles today that aren't more than adequate.
     
  7. Ross Hemsley

    Ross Hemsley New Member

    minivan tow weight

    I spoke to the Dodge dealership in town and was advised that a Caravan has a max tow capacity of 3000lbs. Not sure what you can pull that is under that weight.
     
  8. DonS

    DonS New Member

    minivan tow weight

    Ed/Ross,
    Thanks for the replies. I'm betting that most minivans are
    about the same and the 3000 pd limit will probably also limit
    our options, however I'm not really looking for much more
    than shelter. Tents were fine in the past so even something
    such as the Chalet folding trailer is of interest. Thanks
    again.

    Don
     
  9. barbicj

    barbicj New Member

    minivan tow weight

    Most of the FWD mini-vans can tow about 3500 lbs. Trailmanor makes light weight trailors
     
  10. Just148

    Just148 Junior Member

  11. saltidoc

    saltidoc New Member

    minivan tow weight

    If you are towing a small pop up, the Dodge/Chrysler with the six cyclinder might be ok........but really the Chevy Astro can be beefed up to handle the load much better.

    Maybe you should consider something like a Trailblazer or Explorer with a V-8 and factory equipped to give you good tow results.

    1. determine what you want to tow, find out what the weight is packed, not empty

    2. check around with some car dealers, or go see your local RV dealer.
     
  12. hallbk

    hallbk New Member

    minivan tow weight

    We have a GMC Savana conversion with a V8 that will tow 5800.
    Great vehicle...lots of room and great handling.
     

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