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Old 12-02-2012, 07:52 AM   #15
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The Caravan has plenty of Power but most will only get about 30k on the brakes.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:59 AM   #16
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I have not got a WD hitch yet. I'm still on the fence.

Ace in PA

A weight distribution system and some sway control will only benefit your towing experience, Ace. I know your tongue weight is quite low but even that spread over all the axles will give you a better ride. Oh, and sway control adds that extra safety factor.

Come down off that fence!
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflys View Post
Thanks for the in info. The Airstream and Caravan have been put to bed for the winter. We are heading to FLA later this month but the AS is is not going. The Caravel will be heading to Frank's Trailer Works in Baltimore for re-buffing and seam sealing. I had a new axle installed this year and it towing like a dream. I have not got a WD hitch yet. I'm still on the fence.

Ace in PA

After many miles towing an SOB with similar specs to your Caravel utilizing a Toyota Sienna minivan, I consider the WD hitch and sway control required safety equipment.

As the minivans are front wheel drive, it's important to keep the weight balanced on the axles. I've encountered wheel slip in rainy conditions - it would have been much worse without the WD hitch. Lack of traction is not pleasant when you are trying to get through an intersection in a metropolitan area!

There have been times as well where we needed to pull the trailer up gravel inclines at campgrounds. Again, without the WD hitch, I don't think some of the inclines would have been possible.

One also need to be aware of the loading on the axles. The '04 Sienna has limited payload capacity. With the family aboard, and the trailer hooked up, and a very small amount of gear in the back, without WD we would have overloaded the rear axle. The newer vans have much higher payload capacity and axle ratings - this might be as much of a concern on the '09 Caravan.

As for sway control - it's impossible to predict the weather conditions in which you are going to want to / have to tow. Success without sway control so far does not mean a particular wind pattern will not cause an issue tomorrow. I've towed in some strong cross winds - you can feel the sway control working. I was certainly not keen to experience towing without this added control in those conditions.

As for air bags - being new to whole towing experience, I added air bags to the van when we started a few years ago. They were recommended on a Toyota Sienna forum. All WD adjustments were done without the airbags inflated - and then the airbags were inflated until the back end just started to rise.

I experimented with and without the airbags. In the end, I felt them to be useful as the back end of the Sienna was a little soft, and we'd get some bounce going down the road. The airbags helped the rig feel a little more solid. But they were not required.

I've towed the same trailer with my new F150. Not need for airbags on this tow vehicle!
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #18
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Thumbs up towing with caravan

We tow our 25' Classic with our '08 T&C / 3.8 / 6 spd with very few issues other than comments from individuals that are convinced we can't do it. Proper weight distribution hook up and good tires are the key. You won't be the fastest on the roads but staying in the truck lane is ok. You should look at the hp rating and torque of 3rd gear in your 3.3 but with some confidence you should be ok
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:57 PM   #19
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The six speed gearbox is a key addition to an ability to get up to speed in good time, IMHO.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflys View Post
Thanks for the in info. The Airstream and Caravan have been put to bed for the winter. We are heading to FLA later this month but the AS is is not going. The Caravel will be heading to Frank's Trailer Works in Baltimore for re-buffing and seam sealing. I had a new axle installed this year and it towing like a dream. I have not got a WD hitch yet. I'm still on the fence.

Ace in PA

Nice picture, incidentally. Stay within your safety & operating limits ... and VFR.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:21 AM   #21
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Aage -
Great looking rig you have there. Did you mention what gas mileage you get?
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #22
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Aage -
Great looking rig you have there. Did you mention what gas mileage you get?
Thanks! We like Henri a lot.

Nope, I didn't, for two reasons:
  1. We decided that whatever it is, we were going to go anyways
  2. I didn't calculate it.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:22 PM   #23
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Some suggestions for happy towing:

Low profile tires will reduce sway, improve stability, and in effect, lower your gearing. Get the same size tires but if your standard tires are 70 series get 60, if you have 60 get 50

A trans cooler will make your trans last longer, and be more reliable. A change to synthetic fluid won't hurt.

A really good hitch, sway control, and brake control for safety and peace of mind. You never know when an emergency may pop up.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aprilrivet View Post
We tow our 25' Classic with our '08 T&C / 3.8 / 6 spd with very few issues other than comments from individuals that are convinced we can't do it. Proper weight distribution hook up and good tires are the key. You won't be the fastest on the roads but staying in the truck lane is ok. You should look at the hp rating and torque of 3rd gear in your 3.3 but with some confidence you should be ok
Does your '08 T&C 3.8 6 speed have the factory installed tow prep package including increased trans cooling, engine cooling, and suspension components? We are looking at similar vans to tow our '64 Bambi II and have been told/researched that the tow prep package gives the vans a tow rating of 3600 lbs. but it seems like many of you are doing well towing possibly without it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
Here's a photo of our 1974 31' Sovereign and our tow vehicle, a 2007 Ford Freestar. The Freestar has a tough transmission and a 4.2L V6 engine, and can tow Henri the Sov about anywhere.



We went to Florida and back, stopping at the AS factory in Jackson Center, OH on the way down AND back, got to my brother's place in Atlanta, saw my wife's sister where she lives not far from Orlando, and spent a week in an RV park, with Henri parked over looking the Santa Rosa Sound in the Florida Panhandle.

A trip of over 4,000 miles, and the worst thing that happened was that Henri's WH sprang a leak and needed replacing.

Of course, we DO have a WD hitch, set up by Andrew_T of Can-Am RV...

what was your vehicle rated for? and whats the gvwr of that airstream you have? im thinking about using a 2008 dodge grand caravan with the 3.3.. i looked up general specvs and it says for yours right around 3,200..
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:12 PM   #26
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The '74 and '75 AS TTs are about identical, IIRC. Ours was set up by Can-Am in London, ON, and the Grand Caravan with the 6-speed transmission was another vehicle Andy mentioned they have done a lot hitch work on for trailers like yours and mine.

You should talk to him though, not me. I just drive it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:20 PM   #27
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Great Thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflys View Post
Thanks for the in info. The Airstream and Caravan have been put to bed for the winter. We are heading to FLA later this month but the AS is is not going. The Caravel will be heading to Frank's Trailer Works in Baltimore for re-buffing and seam sealing. I had a new axle installed this year and it towing like a dream. I have not got a WD hitch yet. I'm still on the fence.

Ace in PA

Can't tell you how much I enjoy this thread for its thoughtful presentation of information and great pictures.
I pulled a Volkswagon Jetta across the U.S. and back between duty stations using a Grand Voyager. I was delighted with the "Little Engine That Could" performance.
Now, please get off the fence get a weight distribution hitch for even better performance and safety.
You won't need a Hensley or a ProPride.
An Equalizer or a Reese will be fine.
MaxTow has so eloquently explained why you must do this, I won't try to offer any more compelling information. Just do it, please, in the name of risk management.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:43 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
Here's a photo of our 1974 31' Sovereign and our tow vehicle, a 2007 Ford Freestar. The Freestar has a tough transmission and a 4.2L V6 engine, and can tow Henri the Sov about anywhere.



We went to Florida and back, stopping at the AS factory in Jackson Center, OH on the way down AND back, got to my brother's place in Atlanta, saw my wife's sister where she lives not far from Orlando, and spent a week in an RV park, with Henri parked over looking the Santa Rosa Sound in the Florida Panhandle.

A trip of over 4,000 miles, and the worst thing that happened was that Henri's WH sprang a leak and needed replacing.

Of course, we DO have a WD hitch, set up by Andrew_T of Can-Am RV...
Goodness me, I missed that lovely photo. We did a similar trip to you with the Sienna and the 28' International. Down to Orlando on the I75 (stopping at some great places), then back via New Orleans and my uncle's place in Knoxville. We also called in at Jackson Center on the way home, which was an experience.
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