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Old 06-23-2013, 08:02 AM   #15
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What does abs braking scenario in a minivan trailoring scenario look like?
It doesn't make much of a difference. If you've got an unbraked trailer behind you, you'd better be careful. I grew up on a farm, some of our older horse trailers were unbraked. Those things were a bitch and a half to tow, especially when empty - and thus bouncy.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:40 AM   #16
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What does abs braking scenario in a minivan trailoring scenario look like?
Under normal driving conditions, with working trailer brakes, I've never had the ABS kick in, so I don't know. ABS detects skids and you'd need to be in a position where your TV wheels have stopped turning under braking to find out. I'd guess that the presence of a trailer would make no difference, especially with its brakes functional. If you have no brakes on the trailer then I think you'd not be too concerned about any ill effects of ABS, just so long as you can come to a safe stop.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:58 AM   #17
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If I extrapolate that experience to the minivan loaded down - is it safe to say that it would struggle perhaps worse?

"mavericks" are most of the time wrong in history - but sometimes they are not - I'd be curious to know more about such a topic.
I tow with a 2011 Toyota Sienna. That's not most people's choice for a tow vehicle but as others have said, it makes a surprisingly good tow vehicle. To make it work, though, it has to have a beefed up hitch, one with increased rigidity and the ability to transfer weight with a WD system effectively to all the available axles. Once set up and towing, the Sienna certainly knows that there's a 7,000 lb trailer behind it and acceleration is not stellar, but at cruising speed it runs smoothly and will return an average of 12 mpg at 62 mph (100 Km/h). Downshifting the six speed transmission while in cruise control mode is annoying at 62 mph and I can get better results with the CC off, allowing the speed to vary between the high fifties and the low sixties depending on gradient, wind, etc. Perhaps most importantly, she stops cleanly and safely with no drama at all.

I read a piece in a recent Airstream Life where Andy Thompson explained that power, in terms of Horse Power available, is not a major issue when towing. My Sienna develops a maximum of 263 HP, which is not too shabby by any standards, but my Scangauge reports that I'm only ever using between 60 and 90 HP when towing (20 and 50 when not towing). The most I've seen posted on the Scangauge is 125 HP when under tow and under heavy acceleration.

So, in answer to your question, no the minivan doesn't struggle.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #18
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I towed a 3,000 lb popup with a 1989 Chrysler minivan for years. It had the factory tow package but still went through three transmission's. It always struggled on hills, had to stay under 45 in second gear. Dropping into into Death Valley, coming down the Panimints, ended up warping the rotors on that very long steep downgrade even with trailer brakes. Always knew there was a big load behind the van. Once, driving over the Rockies on a freeway nearish to Leadville it could only maintain 15 mph in first gear to make the pass. I couldn't imagine trying to pull 7,000 lbs with a such a rig, even if newer models have somewhat more horsepower. After the third transmission sold it and got a Expedition. Like night and day. Loaded with the family and trailer it was always the boss.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #19
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Even if I were to believe that the minivan could be safe from a braking standpoint, and handle the weight....Im quite skeptical that it would have what I will call "acceptable torque" for the job....how would a trip with a 9-10k lb load to my family in SW VA in the mountains look like with such a rig? I suppose it could get there, but boy, I gotta believe it would really really struggle to go where I want it to go at times.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:05 AM   #20
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The late 80's Chrysler Caravan was notoriously underpowered - like most comparable vehicles at the time. Especially the 4 cylinder option that was finally phased out in 1990 was not up to the task. That engine developed just 96hp, unless it was the optional Mitsubishi engine that came in at a trailblazing 104 hp.

It has very little in common with today's mini-vans. I don't think you could even begin to compare a 1989 Chrysler with a 2010-13 Honda (or Toyota or even a new T&C) and expect similar outcomes, especially with a properly setup hitch and a transmission cooler.

If your brakes suffered then the trailer's brakes were to blame. If properly set up, load on the TV's brakes should always be marginally less with a trailer in tow than without.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:09 AM   #21
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Even if I were to believe that the minivan could be safe from a braking standpoint, and handle the weight....Im quite skeptical that it would have what I will call "acceptable torque" for the job....how would a trip with a 9-10k lb load to my family in SW VA in the mountains look like with such a rig? I suppose it could get there, but boy, I gotta believe it would really really struggle to go where I want it to go at times.
If I would do a lot of serious mountain driving, with real inclines, I'd get myself a diesel - ideally a Jeep or, budget permitting, a MB 350 BlueTEC.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #22
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Never researched jeep diesel - need to do that
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:54 PM   #23
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My 1997 Toyota t100 pulls my 1500lb boat/trailer "ok" - but pulling near its cap at around 4k it "struggles" - I mean it does it but more downshifting to be sure and very little ability to accelerate much. If I extrapolate that experience to the minivan loaded down - is it safe to say that it would struggle perhaps worse?
You have fallen into the trap that most folks do regarding this subject. Many pickup like your Toy do not make good tow vehicles and were probably over rated as you found out.

The modern M-Van is problably in many cases very under rated so trying to compare the two just dosen't work.


Those of us who have experienced how good they are at towing know the facts.

Our 150HP Nissan van "had no drivetrain issues" for the 14 years we had it. Consider what it was towing and the 465,000 klm's it had on it.



All M-vans are not created equally. Do the research and pick a good one.

Note: As kscherzi reported, he picked the wrong van for a TV. His story is a common one.
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Old 06-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #24
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Even if I were to believe that the minivan could be safe from a braking standpoint, and handle the weight....Im quite skeptical that it would have what I will call "acceptable torque" for the job....how would a trip with a 9-10k lb load to my family in SW VA in the mountains look like with such a rig? I suppose it could get there, but boy, I gotta believe it would really really struggle to go where I want it to go at times.
I wouldn't want to push you towards rigging your Odyssey for towing, you sound like you want to haul stuff and any Minivan is relatively light on payload. What I and others are saying, in response to other comments, is that the Minivan makes a much better TV than you might suppose. Issues regarding overall weight, brakes, power, etc. are all assumptions, albeit understandable assumptions, made by people who've not tried a Minivan for towing. Real-world experience shows that, if a Minivan suits your daily driving then it can be pressed into towing if you set it up properly.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:16 PM   #25
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If the Odyssey would/could make a good tow vehicle, you are 30k ahead by not buying a tow vehicle.
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:41 PM   #26
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my honda odyssey is rated at max toxing capacity at 3500 lbs? Is it ok to exceed this? If so, what is this rating based upon? If not 3500, is there some other max rating that sould be used? If so, what is that recommendation based upon?

As a medical geek (and this comparison may not be great), anecdotes are in many respects worthless.....blood letting is of course the prime example...people would swear by it.

Ideally, any recommendations should be based on solid research...systematic controlled research...peer reviewed and published. Of course I know next to nothing of mechanical engineering....but that thought crossed my mind...perhaps out of place in this arena...just that "it works for me" while useful information, is highly limiting in many areas of science...or really most...

Also, the payload of my minivan is 1350 lbs...add in kids car seats, kids, us, stuff, and the trailer and we have exceeded that....and even a 25 foot AS new is 800+ lbs tongue weight before the hitch....

I am new to this, so I do apologize if I have massacred this all....but how do these numbers work out? Is it acceptable to go above these max payload or max towing cap ratings? or perhaps there are minivans that have more payload capacity than mine...and more towing ability?
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:24 PM   #27
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my honda odyssey is rated at max toxing capacity at 3500 lbs? Is it ok to exceed this? If so, what is this rating based upon? If not 3500, is there some other max rating that sould be used? If so, what is that recommendation based upon?

As a medical geek (and this comparison may not be great), anecdotes are in many respects worthless.....blood letting is of course the prime example...people would swear by it.

Ideally, any recommendations should be based on solid research...systematic controlled research...peer reviewed and published. Of course I know next to nothing of mechanical engineering....but that thought crossed my mind...perhaps out of place in this arena...just that "it works for me" while useful information, is highly limiting in many areas of science...or really most...

Also, the payload of my minivan is 1350 lbs...add in kids car seats, kids, us, stuff, and the trailer and we have exceeded that....and even a 25 foot AS new is 800+ lbs tongue weight before the hitch....

I am new to this, so I do apologize if I have massacred this all....but how do these numbers work out? Is it acceptable to go above these max payload or max towing cap ratings? or perhaps there are minivans that have more payload capacity than mine...and more towing ability?

Some of the things that you say are the very reasons that caused me to buy a 3/4 ton diesel for our towing.

I wouldn't think to criticize people that tow with vehicles rated to tow much less than they haul, as I am certainly no expert in the field. But because of my concern over possible legal and liability reasons , it just is not in my nature to do it!

This subject comes up time and time again, and I suppose it comes down to your comfort level.

I feel both physically ..... and mentally ...... very comfortable with our rig and that's the way I like it!

Each to their own, and good luck to all!


Brian. (Canadian, but with a truck! Also a retired Mech. Eng!)
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #28
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It really all depends on the individual needs and, as Brian says above, what you feel comfortable with.

The tongue weight of our trailer is about 650lbs, before weight distribution. Without weight distribution, almost all of that weight would sit on the rear axle, making the TV all but impossible to drive.

But add a good weight distribution system and it will remove roughly two thirds of that weight from the tow vehicle's rear axle and distribute it to both the tow vehicle's front axle and the trailer's axles - this is where a triple axle trailer comes in handy, they each carry a percentage.

What I've done now is taken the weight away from my rear axles, where it would cause huge problems, and distributed it fairly evenly across all available fixe axles - one third to the front, one third to the back, one third to the trailer.

This leaves me approximately 1000lbs in payload for the TV. I weigh in at just under 180lbs (I'm a tall guy), my wife about 120lbs. The kids combined bring about 80lbs to the table, making for a total of 380lbs for passengers.

After gassing up, I've got roughly 500lbs left. That's a very acceptable margin.

Even with a fully loaded trailer, tongue weight should not exceed 800lbs. If we follow the rule of thirds, 260lbs of that will be transferred to the trailer's axles, leaving 520lbs for the vehicle to carry. This after gas, gives me approx 320lbs in margin.

Modern vans are eight passenger vehicles. They are designed to carry a lot of weight. Distributing it properly across all axles is key to a good towing experience.

If you need to carry a lot of stuff up steep inclines, then a different vehicle might be a better choice for you.
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