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Old 04-01-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
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Towing with an '09 Grand Caravan

I just got a 2009 Grand Caravan with a 3.3 engine and a 4 speed auto trans. I and wondering if any one has towed with this type of van. I own a 1966 17 ft Caravel with a empty weight of 2300 lbs. I do not carry a lot in my trailer. The Caravan book says it is rated at 4000# lbs towing with a tongue weight 400# lbs. I am planning on getting a class III hitch and rear airbags for the springs. Does this sound possible?

Ace in PA
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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At first I would say no,, but I am no expert on the newer vans by a long shot.. By the specs you point out by the over all scale of things you should be ok... I would pump the info hande off the web as much as possible ,, and from a few Mopar wrenches who know the weak links of your drive train and brakes..

Many on this fourm pull trailers 2 times as heavy with a 1/2 ton PU with at best a 1000 lbs more tow rating than what your are working with,.

Its better to ask a lot of questions to the right people,, and if moved to go ahead to start out careful and slow and work your way up to speeds after one "feels" how stable it all feels from the seat.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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Do a search on CAN AM RV and any/all posts by AndrewT as he/they have been setting up vehicles like this for 40 years to pull A/S trailers. Thousands. The subject has been covered in some depth, and there are plenty of threads with plenty of reading.

Short answer: Yes, with proper hitch rigging and possibly some changes to tires, trans cooler, etc. You are unlikely to need/want airbags. Take your time on homework and get it right the first time. The info is all available.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #4
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Agree with Rednax 100%. We tow a much heavier trailer with a minivan, albeit not a Grand Caravan, that was set up by Can-Am RV - Andrew T is your man.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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No Problem

I tow my 1968 Globe Trotter with a 2007 3.3, short wheelbase Dodge Caravan.


The weakest link in the system is the 41TE, transmission. All else is well. Love the van. Works great, not scary.



I installed an auxiliary trans oil cooler and a temperature gauge for the transmission.


Chrysler recommends towing in “3” instead of “D”.


Over the Cumberland pass, just to ease the load on the trans, I dropped down to 40mph and used “L”.


With caution, on the flats across Ohio I could hit 80mph in “D”.


Most of the time, I'm in “3” like Chrysler says, and going 65mph, but the gas mileage drops to 11.


The 3.3 engine doesn't care, and runs fine.


When able, I loaf down the hills in “D” and pick up some speed.


OEM shocks are marginal, so I installed coil-over Monroes on the back. I have a class three hitch, rear axle anti-sway bar, and first oversize Michelin LTX M+S on all corners. Tekonsha P2 brake controller.


Not a fan of airbags. You may not need them with a Weight Distribution Hitch.


I use the somewhat unique Reese 350 Mini-Lite WD hitch, which performs well. The Rig is very steady. Your van is longer and has more rear overhang, so you might want to use a “Grown-up” WD Hitch.


Minivans in general have comparatively weak transmissions. I've studied the 41TE transmission quite a bit. The latest/last generation is the best version. It works well unless it has to frequently shift from fluid drive to “lock-up”. This mostly only occurs at highway speeds in “D”, but can occur in “3”. I can't hear or feel or see on tachometer the moment that this occurs, as it is only a 200rpm engine change.


Ideally, I will someday discover an electronic method to over-ride the transmission computer which is overly complicated ( it studies your driving style and adjusts itself … No Thanks). There are Dealer and aftermarket trans computer “flashes” available, but they don't solve the problem. If you search a lot, there's a guy who does something with a couple of Radio Shack switches spliced in, but I'm skeptical.


Anyway, there's lots to figure out about setting up this marginal trans for towing.



Meanwhile, Heavy Service fluid and filter change schedule, Baby it along, and never overheat it. Use Chrysler ATF+4 and Mopar filter. No "fancy" ATF needed.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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Towed The Caravel With The Grand Caravan

I towed my Caravel for the 1st time today with my Grand Caravan. It towed very good plenty of power. I did not use trailer brakes or weight bars. The braking was fine. The van has 4 wheel disc brakes. The ride was smooth. I will be towing it to The Bash III next week with the van.

See Ya The Rock!

Ace in PA

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:39 PM   #7
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Looks good. I believe you should get the WDH and trailer brakes set up soon. It will be much better overall, and safer.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:22 PM   #8
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Get the brakes minimum - weight distro would also be smart - BUT get those trailer brakes hooked up ASAP!!!
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflys View Post
I will be towing it to The Bash III next week with the van.

See Ya The Rock!

Ace in PA

Ace- how did the van tow to the Bash, how was the rally, and any pics? (I am surprised at how no one has really discussed it!)

We are looking at a VW Routan to do our towing and that seems comparable to your minivan. See you down the road-

Ben
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Old 07-27-2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA BAMBI II View Post
Ace- how did the van tow to the Bash, how was the rally, and any pics? (I am surprised at how no one has really discussed it!)

We are looking at a VW Routan to do our towing and that seems comparable to your minivan. See you down the road-

Ben
Hay Ben

I ended not using the Caravan to tow to the Bash. Being a host I had to much stuff to get up there. So I towed with my Chevy Express. My wife drove the Caravan to Coppers Lake. The Bash III was a great time. Everyone enjoyed them self and eat way too much bacon. You can check out the Bash III thread for photos. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f290...2-a-79553.html
As you my know a VW Routan is a Dodge Caravan with VW emblems. My Dodge towed the Caravel fine on a test run. I have towed my Scotty on a few trips with the Caravan. I was very happy with it. Great MPG and plenty of power.

Ace in PA
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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09 Grand Caravan towing update

09 Grand Caravan Towing Update

This weekend I towed my 66 Caravel with my 09 Grand Caravan. We made a 200 mile round trip. It was all highway in the hills of WV and PA. I towed in 3rd keeping it out of overdrive. I did not use any WD system. My van did great. I had no sway and only had to to kick it down to 2nd a few times. When I was going up a big hill to keep it going over 60 mph. I got 13.8 mpg running the AC the whole way. I'm still planning on getting a WD system soon. But I must say it was a much nicer ride towing with the Caravan instead of my one ton Chevy van.

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Old 12-01-2012, 11:01 AM   #12
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Nice pic Ace....

If you like the way it tows now you will luv it when you get the WDH connected.

For many years we towed our 23' with a Nissan Van. It had an overbuilt tranny (same as the tranny used in the V8 Infinity Q45's. The Quest had over 450,000klm's on it and the tranny had been problem free. I believe your 3.3 has more power than our 150HP/3.0 Nissan engine.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:12 PM   #13
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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...
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:52 AM   #14
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I'm still on the fence

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

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