Towing with a minivan


New Member
Hi there,

I'm brand new to both this forum and RVing. My wife and I are considering buying a used Viking tent trailer. We have 3 small children and were avid tent campers before they came along, so we figure a tent trailer will allow us to start enjoying camping again.

my question - does anyone out there tow a tent trailer with a base model minivan? we have a 2000 Caravan Sport with a 6.6L V6. The owners manual indicates a 1800lb maximum towing capacity and the Viking we're looking at is listed at 2200lb axle weight. I've never towed anything before, so I was wondering if anyone knows if these owner's manual figures are hard and fast rules or simply guidelines. Also, are they based on safety considerations or to prevent damaging the vehicle.

Any feedback would be appreciated.


New Member
Towing with a minivan

Have you found anyone to help you. Im in the same boat I think you can get a tow package installed by your car dealer


Senior Member
Towing with a minivan

It used to be that the factory towing weight was misleading. They took the GCWR (maximum of vehicle and trailer and all contents) and subtracted out the stripped vehicle weight (weight of tow vehicle with no accessories, no cargo, no passengers, a 150 pound driver and a small amount of gas.

There are 3 ratings which you don't want to exceed. There is the GVWR of the tow vehicle, with all accessories, passengers and cargo, plus any weight added to the vehicle by the trailer (pin weight). Exceeding this can lead to poor performance, safety problems and possibly accellerated wear. The next is the maximum rear axel weight with all cargo, passengers and any weight added by the trailer. Exceeding this can lead to poor ride, possible breakage of the rear suspension or tire problems. The last is the GCWR, which is the most the vehicle and trailer can weigh. Overloading this can lead to problems stopping, control in emergencies, getting up hills and gives lawyers a leg up in suing you in an accident.

So the viking (at 2200 GVWR) is way over your practical towing capacity of about 1200 pounds.

Have you checked out the Chalets? They are a solid wall, folding trailer, looks like a tent trailer in travel mode, like an A frame chalet in use mode, seem to be pretty light, and NO CANVAS to deal with. You can set one up or take it down in 60 seconds or less with practice.

Before towing anything, check into getting a tow package. You've got a fairly decent sized engine, but you want the best transmission cooler you can get, and if possible, a transmission temperature guage. Plus a good hitch, heavy duty trailer wiring, a good brake controller. Check out your rear gears; the higher ratios are better for towing.


New Member
Towing with a minivan

:kiss: We just sold our 2003 Coleman Westlake after a year because I didn't feel that our Pontiac Transsport van was big enought to haul it. Although I did contact a guy in Canada with the exact same van who towed a little bit lighter popup. I spent WEEKS and WEEKS going over the weights and calculations, weighing everything we put in it.. Perhaps Overkill as all my friends were ready to kill me with my worrying so much.. Go to and -Join their forums and read all the archives. Put in "towing weights" in your searchbar and read the articles on how to weigh your trailer. I don't know about your engine, but our towing weight Max was 3500 lbs for the van.. the popup weighed 3500# and that didn't include US , the Dogs and the cooler in the van itself.. so.. Check carefully ...