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Old 04-17-2008, 06:53 PM   #1
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I have a swb Dodge Caravan 3.3 with a listed towing capacity of 3600 lbs. I'm considering a 17 ft ultra lite with a wet wet of about 3000 lbs. Any advice or experience with "Minivan" towing?
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:53 PM   #2
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I have a swb Dodge Caravan 3.3 with a listed towing capacity of 3600 lbs. I'm considering a 17 ft ultra lite with a wet wet of about 3000 lbs. Any advice or experience with "Minivan" towing?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:28 PM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2.

I'm not a fan of towing with front wheel drive vehicles. The 3600# tow rating you have also does not take into count any passengers and cargo in the van beyond a nominal 150# driver. So from the 3600# you have to subtract the extra passengers and cargo in the van.

I would use a weight distributing hitch with sway control (on this trailer a friction type should work fine), a good brake controller (minimum of a Prodigy) and a larger external transmission cooler. Change your engine and transmission service to the extreme or severe duty cycle and keep your tires aired up to the proper amount. You won't win any races and tow with the transmission in 3rd gear (OD locked out)

Take it easy and be safe. Expect a drastic drop in fuel economy.

I will also link this to the new member check in for more exposure.

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Old 04-18-2008, 03:56 AM   #4
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Walley, welcome to our website and forum. We are glad to have you join us. You hve gotten some good advice and I might add that vans cause some turbulances that will effect the handing more than a truck would. Take it slow and stay safe. Good luck an keep us posted.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:37 AM   #5
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Question: Does that 3,000# "wet weight" include only a full fresh water tank and full propane tanks? Or does it include all the supplies you'll be loading into it?

If it's the former, I'd be looking at the trailer's GVWR, not dry or wet weight. Since what your van can actually safely tow is going to be less than 3,600# and what your trailer is going to weigh once you put all your supplies into it is going to be more than 3,000#, sounds to me like you'll be at, or exceeding, your van's capablities.
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:04 AM   #6
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First, welcome to iRV2.com. We're glad to have you join us.

You didn't mention the vintage of your Caravan, but it might be worth a Google search (for instance - "2002 Caravan transmission failure"). Some of the Chrysler minivan transmissions were pretty fragile, especially in towing applications.

By the way, I'm not anti-Chrysler products - see my signature.

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Old 04-21-2008, 01:49 AM   #7
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Good advice - the Chyrsler transmissions in minivans (and my Sebring) have a high failure rate just riding around solo.
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