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Old 03-11-2005, 12:26 PM   #1
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We have four young kids and would like to get a light weight trailer which would sleep everyone. We have an Olds Minivan with towing package on it - says it can tow up to 3500 lbs. Does anyone have a suggestion as to which kind of a trailer we should look at which we could tow without having to purchase a new car? It's just for weekends. Thanks
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:26 PM   #2
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We have four young kids and would like to get a light weight trailer which would sleep everyone. We have an Olds Minivan with towing package on it - says it can tow up to 3500 lbs. Does anyone have a suggestion as to which kind of a trailer we should look at which we could tow without having to purchase a new car? It's just for weekends. Thanks
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Old 03-11-2005, 06:35 PM   #3
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First off, the 3500# towing capacity is based on a base model with only a 150# driver and no other passengers and cargo. You need to add up the weight of the rest of the family, any cargo you would carry in the van and add 100# for the hitch. Now subtract this from 3500# and this is closer to a real number that you can tow. Or use 75% of the tow rating as a limit on the loaded trailer weight. If I were you, I'd look at small pop ups.

In general, the only minivan that does a decent job of towing is the Astro/Safari from GMC. The front wheel vans are not really meant to tow.

Ken
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Old 03-14-2005, 07:47 AM   #4
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About 10 years ago, I was where you are now. That's when I began down the slippery slope.

Had a 4 cylinder Tracer.....
Bought a very small 1000 lb popup.....
6 months later, changed to a minivan......
1 year later, changed to a very light weight trailer.....
3 years later, changed to a 1/2 ton Suburban.....
1 year later, changed to a 28' Sunnybrook trailer.....
5 years later, changed to a 1 ton full size van.....
The was last year, what next!... stay tuned!

See a pattern here? It all started when I wanted to see, just out of curiosity, how much can I tow with this little tracer.

Also, it seems like a painful path to follow, but it's not terribly far off from what a lot of people do. Although we are now very happy with our present setup, I would NEVER have run out and bought a full size V-10 van and a 28' trailer without moving up to them.

I would suggest getting a popup around 3000 lb. May a nice used one. It will get your feet wet without a lot of investment. Don't take it on lots of hills, etc. Then, if you decide this might be the recreation for you, you can consider a camping rig you ultimately want.

If you decide, like we did, that you love the lifestyle so much that all of your vacations/trips would be centered around the camping rig, you can justify the additional costs. If you decide that you'll only use it for one or two weekends a year, than you might not have to upgrade at all.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:39 AM   #5
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With a mini van you are limited to a pop up. We started out in a pop up with a Dodge Ram 1500 and four kids. We now camp in a 28' fifth wheel towed behind a Ford F-350. I followed camper1b down the same slippery slope, and am not finished yet. I would look at used pop ups and pay very close attention to weights. Do a search here and you will find tons of good information on weight ratings to help in your quest. If you stay within your tow vehicles ratings you will find it much more enjoyable to go camping and it will be a lot of fun for the whole family. Listen to the folks here and not the salesman at the dealership. You will get honest answers here, where as a dealer will tell you can tow a 30' trailer with a minivan. Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:58 AM   #6
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Let me add my voice to the chorus insofar as our history with RV's and tow vehicles goes:

1990 Aerostar 4.0L AWD - 1978 Jayco Cardinal pop-up

1996 Dodge 3500 V-10 - 1996 Jayco Designer 3030RKSS 5th wheel

1996 Dodge 3500 V-10 - 2000 Jayco Designer XL 3610RLTS 5th wheel

2002 Dodge 3500 Cummins HO - 2000 Jayco Designer XL 3610RLTS 5th wheel

2002 Dodge 3500 Cummins HO - 2004 Doubletree Mobile Suites 36RE3 5th wheel

The morale of my illustration - when buying a tow vehicle, don't limit yourself to your current RV. Plan ahead and purchase enough tow vehicle for the NEXT RV as well.

Rusty
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Old 03-16-2005, 09:57 AM   #7
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That slope is everywhere.... Add Wisconsin to the list.

Popup - Ford Windstar
Popup - Ford Ranger
Jayco Kiwi - Ford Ranger
Jayco Kiwi - Dodge Ram 3/4 diesel

All in a 6 year span

Hind sight is always 20/20 but man I wish
I had gone to the biggest tow vehicle right off
the bat would have saved a lot of head aches.
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Old 03-24-2005, 09:42 AM   #8
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Welcome Spowter !

It just doesn't stop with those guys, ...

I had a F150 but already carried a lot of weight with a couple motorcycles and I also shopped used pop-ups. I ended up staying with my flatbed trailer and a pitch tent and then a few years later moved my tow vehicle up in size and got a 20' trailer.


In retrospect, wifey pretty much deminished camping with me for those couple years, because of that darn flatbed. Easing sooner from the flatbed to a popup (before the 20'er) would have kept her out in the boonies with me more often. Years later she is the Queen of our RV Camper once again.
(there is a common adage about Keeping Mama Happy )

let us know how your search goes,
Mike
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