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Old 08-10-2009, 06:14 PM   #1
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Prepping for X-country trip...Towing minivan questions

Hello all,

I am making preparations for a cross-country trip in late October from Portland, OR to Charlotte, NC. We have a 34-foot '99 Hurricane Class A and I am considering towing our '05 Chrysler T&C minivan. I have access to a tow dolly but I wanted to get some feedback about towing a minivan with a tow dolly.

Any experiences that you can share? Anything I need to be concerned about? Hopefully the speedo gear uses the tranny so I don't rack up a bunch of miles on my van odometer.

I assume since my minivan is front wheel drive that I don't need to be concerned about installing tranny pumps etc.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Greg
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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To flat tow or tow 4-down, you will need an axle disconnect or a Remco transmission pump. You will also need a brake system and a break away system. Some states require brakes on as low as 1500#.

With a Dolly, you just tow the van as is with the front wheels on the dolly. Of course the dolly needs brakes as well to comply with most of the state laws.

Most of the gas powered motorhomes have a limit of 1000 or 1500# for unbraked loads. There is lots of reading about towing a dinghy ....
HERE

HERE

Hope this helps.

Ken
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Ken...I had read those.

I also wanted any other first hand experiences that I need to watch out for while towing my wife's pride and joy minivan.

How about lights? Can I rely on the Tow dolly lights or do I need to tap into the van lighting...or should I pick up a magnetic light set and route them to the coach?

Greg
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Greg,

Towed a number of minivans on a tow dolly for 10 years so here are some things to consider:

- width of minivan fenders compared to the tow dolly fenders. Under tight turning circumstances, your dolly fenders may come into contact and dent the van. I had $1700 in damage to my Sienna after a tight turn in a gas station. My wife was not happy. My inlaws Dodge Caravan had plenty of room on the dolly. My Pontiac Montana and Toyota Sienna did not have room even with a wider 80' dolly.
- road debris will constantly screw up the lights on the dolly. We would rewire the dolly after every trip. Finally I gave up on the tow dolly lights and just used magnetic lights on the minivan.
- I bought a 2008 Town and Country and it was too wide for my tow dolly. I sold the tow dolly and put a Remco pump in van. Pump has its limitations but is WAY easier than a tow dolly.
- make sure the dolly has brakes! There is a lot of extra poundage to stop back there.
- van is off when you're towing so no added mileage

Best test is to put the van on the dolly in a big parking lot. Tape some styrofoam to the van fenders and make some turns. If the stryofoam gets crushed in test turns then you know the minivan may get dented in tight turns.

PS - I now tow a Jeep Grand Cherokee which, in my opinion, is the best toad solution for me. No dolly, no pump. Transfer case in Neutral and away you tow!

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVThere View Post
Greg,

Towed a number of minivans on a tow dolly for 10 years so here are some things to consider:


Good luck!

Wow Tom...thanks for the info and the heads up about the width. I would probably consider towing 4-down with a pump if this was more than a one-time trip with the van in tow. The cost to set up a four down configuration is pretty expensive by comparison. The dolly is free to me but I need to check it thoroughly before the trip to confirm brakes, lights, etc.

By my reading...if I was towing full-time, there are other rigs that would be easier to set up like your Cherokee. Maybe when I retire and we are full-timers I will step up and look for a more permanent setup.

Thanks again and best regards,

Greg
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