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  1. #1
    Join Date
    6th January 2009
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    Northeast Ohio
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    3,105

    What do you know about trailers and towing?

    Sorry this is long...

    Our family has owned a trailer for years. When I was a kid it used to be camper but by the time I was married it became too expensive to replace the canvas and other repairs and so I "inherited" it as a cargo trailer. We've used it for hauling just about everything and take it camping to haul our gear as well as our bikes. The downside has always been that it's an open trailer. Lately we've been thinking of buying an enclosed trailer and have been watching local shops as well as ebay.

    http://www.haulmark.com/bumper-pull_...er/modeltsds2/

    Yesterday we saw a used Haulmark12' x 5.5' trailer with both a ramp door and a side man-door. This is really what I've wanted and it should allow us to haul everything we need as well as anything I can imagine hauling to a rocket launch, ever. It's used and the price is right.

    Our van (Chevy Venture) is rated to pull a 2,000 lb trailer without a tow package. This trailer weighs 1,390 lb empty (smaller ones do not weigh much less, the smallest in the series weighs only 300 lbs less). The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for the trailer is 2,980 (as are the smaller versions inthe product line). If we need to haul heavier stuff we can borrow another tow vehicle and this also leaves us the option of buying a car/truck that can tow more down the road.

    The question:

    As long as we don't load more than 610 pounds of stuff (more or less) and as long as we watch the tongue weight, wouldn't the van be able to handle it?

    FWIW, we are acquainted with the service manager at our local GM dealer and we hope to ask him the same question tomorrow.
    Blessings,

    John
    NAR#87984

    It can't be my second childhood, I haven't finished my first one yet.

    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci

    "If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio." - Wilbur Wright, January 10, 1910

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    west Ft Worth
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    2,290
    I think it makes a big difference on where you plan to drive/pull. On flat land you will probably be OK with the manufacturer's GVWR.

    It has been my experience that the manufacturer's claimed weight rating turns into so much baloney at 12,000 ft in the Colorado passes. The engine will not pull with the same power (thin air, no oxygen) going uphill, and we end up crawling up the hills at 25 mph. The vehicle brakes are not really rated to hang on to a camper going down the other side (thin air, no cooling mass) and we end up stopping every other hill to let the brakes cool. My estimate of the "real" tow capacity is about half or a third of what the book says.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    6th January 2009
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    Northeast Ohio
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    As far as I know, there are no major mountains in our future. We live in the Ohio Valley and Ohio's biggest hills don't rise to the level of mountain foothills. We go to upstate MI every year or two but that's pretty flat going and we hope to go to make it to NARAM in PA this summer but again, the PA turnpike does a fair job of leveling those out. Around here the worst direction would be across the mountains in WV and I don't know that I'd be willing to cross them towing any kind of trailer with the van we have now.
    Blessings,

    John
    NAR#87984

    It can't be my second childhood, I haven't finished my first one yet.

    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci

    "If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio." - Wilbur Wright, January 10, 1910

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    When you say w/out a tow package, I assume that's just a ball on the bumper. Does that rating go up w/a class II or II receiver? If it does then you should be fine. You'd be looking at an additional $200-$300 for hitch. What are the odds you're going to load that trailer with 1600+lbs of stuff behind your van, not likely.

    The problem with your van is that is designed to haul people and ride like a car. The one concern I would have would be tongue weight. That could be remedied by purchasing a load bar kit or weight distribution hitch if needed which will be another $300-$400. This will also help a bit with sway control.

    In my opinion, when it comes to towing, bigger is always better as far as your tow vehicle. No.1, it's safer. No.2, it'll get you where you want to go without the frustration of bogging down or overreving your engine as well as wear and tear on brakes, transmission, suspension, etc.

    Is the desire for an eclosed trailer to be able to just keep things in the trailer all the time or to just keep your things out of the weather while driving?

    Here's a pic. of my last rig that I recently sold. It was 68' of rolling thunder....lol We're on hiatus as far as racing for a bit so no need to keep it around. The next one will be bigger
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Needville, TX and Shiner, TX
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    John, you should be able to put up to 1,590 pounds in that trailer while still being within the ratings. Now that's a LOT of stuff, unless you're hauling something particularly compact and dense, like sacks of concrete or something! The recommended maximum tongue weight is usually about 1/10 of the gross weight, IIRC, as a rule of thumb.

    I'm not real familiar with the Chevy product line-- is the Venture a front wheel drive?? Towing is a little harder on front wheel drive vehicles than rear wheel drives, because of the way their built. I WOULD recommend adding a transmission cooler in front of the radiator when pulling a trailer, simply to keep the transmission temps down, which will help the life of your transmission at any rate. You'll also need a good solid tow hitch installed on your van. The most reasonable prices will be found at Tractor Supply Company, Big R, Rural King, and other 'farm supply' type stores... the trailer places tend to 'clean your plow' since they figure if you've got money for a trailer they can sock it to you on hitches. You can also get wiring adapters from Hopkins (or "Hoppy" brand) that connect to the existing wiring of your vehicle for trailer lights. These adapters plug right into the wiring harness using the existing connectors in the vehicle. You simply unplug the male and female connectors from each other near the taillights in the vehicle wiring harness, plug in the adapter "Y" between the male and female, and then connect the supplied trailer wire extender and pigtail into that and run it to near your hitch ball. Make sure you have a good ground connection to clean metal (like the bumper, frame, etc) so the lights will work, and make sure the trailer has a good ground on it's side as well, like a screw to the hitch or trailer frame to it's trailer light connector plug.

    Does the trailer have brakes?? I'd guess probably not in this size range, as the vehicle brakes should be adequate for it, but if it DOES have brakes (and assuming you want to use them) you'll need a brake controller installed on the tow vehicle. They have some really good ones now, using microcontrollers, and they're much easier to install and use than they used to be. We tow everything with half ton pickups, and don't need or use trailer brakes, so we don't have the controllers. Main thing is, when driving, realize that you're pulling a trailer and need more time to stop and manuever, so watch farther ahead and SLOW DOWN some and give yourself more time to stop. Also watch on hills and stuff...

    Anyway, hope this helps. There should be towing information on the door jamb sticker of your van, with the wheel info, axle options, GVWR, GCWR, trailer towing capacity, etc. on there. Realize too that these are "official" numbers and not necessarily absolutely correct-- I've pulled 26,000 pounds of pickup, trailer, and grain sorghum behind my 92 F-150 half ton pickup 26 miles to the grain dryer when I was farming grain (flat land, no hills). Now I didn't exceed 20 mph like that because with no trailer brakes, the pickup simply didn't have the brakes to stop that much weight, but pulling it was no problem. I could safely drive 45 mph coming back, as the trailer was a little over 2,000 lbs. empty. We typically pull a 1,500 pound 16 foot flatbed trailer with (3) 1,500 pound round hay bales between our farms here and at Shiner every week feeding cows, and I typically drive 60 mph with that rig, loaded and unloaded, even on hills. I've also pulled a 2,000 lb. fertilizer nurse tank with 16,000 lbs of liquid ammonia and a 3,000 lb. field applicator hitched behind it... but hauling that much LIQUID and having it slosh when you hit the brakes, THAT gets hairy!!!

    Good luck! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Good tip on the trans cooler for long hauls as well as stop and go traffic. If you're handy, you can do it yourself. It's a pretty painless install. Just don't mount it right up against or in front of the radiator if you don't have to. No need to pre-load your radiator with already hot air passing through the trans cooler. Actually, I run an oil and trans cooler on my '03 Yukon XL as well as the motorhome.

    The brake controller is a snap to install as long as your van is pre-wired for a controller. The lights just plug in as described. My guess is that trailer does not have brakes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    6th January 2009
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    Northeast Ohio
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    To answer (some of) your questions...

    We've been towing our open top trailer so we already have a good hitch and light plug (both from NAPA and bolted to the frame with grade 8 bolts). The hitch is the 1-5/8" receiver and not the 2" but still fairly stout. I need to check the actual ratings tomorrow.

    Our main desire is to haul the same kind of stuff we already pull but out of the weather. A hardtop trailer also give us the option of storing stuff in it instead of in the car when we're camping and for some winter storage at home.

    The plug on both the car and the trailer is a simple four wire connection so... no brakes. I think trailer brakes are required if the empty weight goes over 2000 pounds.

    No tow package means that the van did not come from the factory with the transmission, beefed up springs, extendable side mirrors, trans cooler or whatever else GM would try to sell that would bump their tow rating from 2000 lbs to 3500 lbs.

    I don't anticipate any problems (living in farm country I have seen lots of grain wagons and farm equipment towed by trucks far too small) but I didn't want to miss something and burn up my transmission half-way to the UP or in the middle of PA either.
    Blessings,

    John
    NAR#87984

    It can't be my second childhood, I haven't finished my first one yet.

    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci

    "If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio." - Wilbur Wright, January 10, 1910

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
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    If that's GM's specs for the vehicle, you're fine as long as your hitch is rated for it. I would definitely throw a tranny cooler on it. You can buy one for about $70. If the trailer or load regularly sags the back end of your van, you can ad air bags or a load leveler like I mentioned.

    I'd say go for it and enjoy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    NE Illinois
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    647
    John- check out some of the camping forums where someone probably owns the same tow vehicle that you have. Personal experience is always good in this area. http://www.popupexplorer.com/forum/index.php http://www.arveeclub.com/

    Just some random thoughts- I'd upgrade the receiver to 2". I'd definitely go with eletric brakes. This is a subject that is hotly debated among people who tow campers. Think of it this way- you know for certain that it will take much longer to stop your vehicle with a 2,000 lb trailer without brakes. Also, electric brakes will actually help your tow vehicle stop quicker too. Without them, your trailer will jackknife if you need to jam on the brakes. Most axle/hub assemblies can be upgraded relatively inexpensively to have the required backing plate, etc.

    With respect to weight- check ALL of the weight limits for your van. In my case, I had to stay shy of the max limit for my van because I was getting too close to the front axle weight limit. I bought a nice tongue scale from Sherline that has come in really handy. http://www.sherline.com/lm.htm

    My van (Honda Ody) really requires the towing package in order for me to keep my warranty. I'd recommend, at a minimum, at least going with the tranny cooler. You can get discount ones for about $125.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Des Moines, IA
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    28
    Another thing you could look into is trailer with all aluminum construction to save on weight. Of course this is going to run you more money, but you'll definitely be able to haul more in the trailer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    23rd January 2009
    Location
    Longmont, CO
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    Lots of good advice so far. I'd also go along with the recommendations on a tranny cooler, Class III 2" hitch, and trailer brakes.

    Our 1998 Toyota Sienna FWD van pulls our 3000lb popup just fine through the Colorado mountain passes, though at the worst, we're down to 25mph, but no overheating, no braking troubles, no handling issues. Yes, it has the towing package, and can handle 3500lb, and 300lb tongue weight.

    Ken

  12. #12
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Adding trailer brakes would be a great thing to do but it makes a "good deal" on a used trailer an expensive used trailer. I'm assuming you are not going to be hauling much more than in the open trailer that never had brakes to begin with. Their tow vehicle probably has disc brakes on all four corners, it's plenty to stop what that trailer can haul.

    Upgrading to a Class III hitch would be great but as long as your Class II is rated for 3500lbs, you're fine and spending unnecessary dollars. Drive safe, signal early, brake early, be aware, ballance the load in trailer appropriately and have fun.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
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    Out of my mind, please leave a message!
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    724
    You could also add some air lift helper springs. i found these 1997-2005 Chevy Venture - "Air Lift 1000" Air Helper Spring Kit (Rear) at SuspensionConnection.com. These will help balance the load and put more weight on the front wheels.
    If you have been towing the other trailer for awhile you probably know about load balancing. I have hauled a lot of heavy car parts to swap meets and it is amazing how you change the ride by moving a transmission or rear axle a few feet back or ahead.

    Bill Richardson ENC USNR Ret.
    TRA 8703 L3

    It is my opinion that stupidity should be painful, very painful. If it was I think there would be less of it in the world today.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    6th January 2009
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    Northeast Ohio
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    Thanks for your suggestions. We appreciate all of them (I got my wife to read them here too - that might be a first). I did go and talk to the GM service guy and he thought everything would be fine but reminded us that we should drive in 3rd while towing instead of Drive. He also thought that a transmission cooler would be a good idea. We bought the trailer yesterday and will get title and tags today. I will try to post pic soon. I alos have some snarky electrical issues to track down that might well be in my car. We wired and rewired for over an hour yesterday but I'd still like to see if we can do better. The issue might be as simple as the ball being a poor ground.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Blessings,

    John
    NAR#87984

    It can't be my second childhood, I haven't finished my first one yet.

    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci

    "If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio." - Wilbur Wright, January 10, 1910

    _____________________________________

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    NE Illinois
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    647
    I would double check his advice by looking in your vehicle's manual. With modern computerized transmissions it's usually not necessary to force the vehicle into a particular gear in a manual fashion. Years ago that was true, but not nowadays.

    Are you running a separate ground wire? You mentioned the ball not being a good ground- that shouldn't matter if you are running a separate ground wire.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    Needville, TX and Shiner, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peartree View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions. We appreciate all of them (I got my wife to read them here too - that might be a first). I did go and talk to the GM service guy and he thought everything would be fine but reminded us that we should drive in 3rd while towing instead of Drive. He also thought that a transmission cooler would be a good idea. We bought the trailer yesterday and will get title and tags today. I will try to post pic soon. I alos have some snarky electrical issues to track down that might well be in my car. We wired and rewired for over an hour yesterday but I'd still like to see if we can do better. The issue might be as simple as the ball being a poor ground.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Oh, yeah, I can 99% promise you that the trailer lights will NOT properly ground through the trailer ball... I've seen the same thing happen on 18 wheelers going down the highway-- trailer lights blinking off and on, dimming, and brightening like a neon sign... Poor grounds between the trailer and tractor.

    On your four-pin connector, you'll notice one is 'backwards' from the others, meaning either 3 females and 1 male, and 1 female and 3 male pins on the trailer plug. The 'odd man out' is the ground. The male ground is usually on the car/truck, since if it shorts against the bumper or bodywork or something, it's simply grounding to itself, and the covered female pins are 'hot' on the car and making them females prevents them from accidentally grounding to the body or bumper and causing your car lights to quit or burn fuses. Run a good wire from the ground connector on your trailer plug directly to a screw INTO THE BODY OR FRAME and then crimp or solder on a good ring connector and tighten the screw back on. MAKE SURE the screw is NOT screwing into plastic or some isolated metal that is NOT well grounded to the body-- IE DON'T ATTACH THE GROUND SCREW TO THE LICENSE PLATE SCREWS, as they are USUALLY run into square plastic 'expander' plugs in the bumper and therefore NOT grounded to the bumper or bodywork. If in doubt, take a 9V battery and hook it to your test light grounding clip, and touch the other battery post to a KNOWN good ground, like your vehicle frame, and then touch the screw in question with the test light probe. If the light shines, you KNOW you have a good ground!

    On the trailer side, be sure you run attach the ground wire to the trailer frame in the tongue area so you KNOW you have a good ground. Usually there are an unused hole or two in the trailer jack mounting plate, and you can use a 1/4 inch bolt or something and a good ring connector to make your ground. Just make sure you scrape or sand off the paint a bit first to make sure you have good contact.

    It would SEEM like a trailer ball would make a good ground, but in practice they just DON'T; you'll only get intermittent contact AT BEST!

    One other thing, is make sure the trailer wiring has been done right... I've seen several trailers over the years that the wiring was ALL screwed up and wired backwards or incorrectly and when I hooked it up to my truck, the lights did a lot of stupid stuff-- like one taillight being bright and the other dim, blinking backward (opposite sides) or stuff like that. The small element in the light bulbs are for the taillights, and should be on when the headlights are on, and the longer elements in the bulbs are the 'blinker' turn signal elements. Both 'blinker' coils light up when you hit the brakes, and one blinks 'off' when you have the turn signal on in that direction when you're holding the brake down. If one side has the long element burning with the headlights on, and the other has the short element burning, the trailer is wired wrong (or possibly the vehicle, but that's almost impossible if you're using the plug in "Y" type connectors-- though before those came out when you physically had to cut into the taillight harness of the vehicle and wire in the tow vehicle connector a lot of them WERE connected incorrectly).

    Good luck! OL JR
    Last edited by luke strawwalker; 24th March 2009 at 04:14 PM.
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  17. #17
    Let me add my personal opinion here. You may take or leave it!

    You bought too much trailer for that van as it is currently set up.

    You are over 50% of the tow rating empty. It is almost universely accepted that the max actual rating should be maximum 90% (Many will tell you less)

    As I'm not a mechanic, I'll leave the operation side alone. I have no idea what the vehicle is capable of.

    What I will comment on is safety.

    Try this. When you alone, take your loaded trailer and van on a drive. Find a downgrade. If no one else around, lock up your brakes until you stop. Don't hold back - pretend some kid just ran in front of you.

    How's your confidence?

    If your smiling, load up the family!

    OK, so what can you do about it? Forget about all the mechanical stuff. Get some brakes on the trailer and a brake controller. Learn how to use it.

    No way do I want to count on the front brakes of a van to stop that load from coming forward.

    Again, my opinion only.

    Trust me, you don't want to be in that situation.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    salisbury ma
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    16
    as a tractor trailer driver of almost thirty years experience as long as you stay in the limits of the manufacture recommendations you should be ok when you exceed what is written on the door jamb you void any warranties and can in fact be fined for being overweight and if something should happen like a accident while exceeding the limits of your vehicle you are at fault in the lawyers eyes the tranny cooler is not a option but a necessity to save the trans. have fun

  19. #19
    Join Date
    20th January 2009
    Location
    Lake Jackson, TX
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    I frequently tow a 36 foot fifth wheel travel trailer weighing in at 14000. lbs. I also tow a light weight utility trailer around town from time to time.

    If you are within the weight limits of your TV (tow vehicle) you will be OK.

    The rest comes with experience.

    Trailer brakes? If you need them you will know, one your TV brakes will have a short lifespan. Two stopping will be "uncomfortable". If this happens you need trailer brakes.

    If your TV sways, you will need sway bars. If you get into a sway, reduce speed ASAP. Sway is a product of speed and wind.

    If your TV bottoms out on bumps, or your front tires lift noticeably when you load the trailer, you will need overload springs or bags. Beef up the suspension. Lifting the front end with excess tongue weight will reduce steering response. A equalizer hitch would be in order.

    If your TV down shifts going up overpasses or small hills, your TV is not big enough and you soon will be in a transmission shop. Get a bigger truck.

    Don't listen to car salesmen, most of them don't know what they are talking about. Read and understand what GVWR and tongue weight mean, then check your TV's specs stay, within the suggested limits and you will be OK.

    Last but not least, if you get a bigger truck, buy a diesel. There is a reason they tow most of America's goods across America's highways. They hold up and are better designed for towing.
    What; me worry?

    David Bachelder
    DBA QuickBurst
    TRA L-3
    info@quickburst.net
    www.quickburst.net

  20. #20
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by quickburst View Post
    Last but not least, if you get a bigger truck, buy a diesel. There is a reason they tow most of America's goods across America's highways. They hold up and are better designed for towing.
    Diesels are better TV's because they produce more torque...
    Chute Happens!!
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  21. #21
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    18th January 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by quickburst View Post
    I frequently tow a 36 foot fifth wheel travel trailer weighing in at 14000. lbs. I also tow a light weight utility trailer around town from time to time.

    If you are within the weight limits of your TV (tow vehicle) you will be OK.

    The rest comes with experience.

    Trailer brakes? If you need them you will know, one your TV brakes will have a short lifespan. Two stopping will be "uncomfortable". If this happens you need trailer brakes.

    If your TV sways, you will need sway bars. If you get into a sway, reduce speed ASAP. Sway is a product of speed and wind.

    If your TV bottoms out on bumps, or your front tires lift noticeably when you load the trailer, you will need overload springs or bags. Beef up the suspension. Lifting the front end with excess tongue weight will reduce steering response. A equalizer hitch would be in order.

    If your TV down shifts going up overpasses or small hills, your TV is not big enough and you soon will be in a transmission shop. Get a bigger truck.

    Don't listen to car salesmen, most of them don't know what they are talking about. Read and understand what GVWR and tongue weight mean, then check your TV's specs stay, within the suggested limits and you will be OK.

    Last but not least, if you get a bigger truck, buy a diesel. There is a reason they tow most of America's goods across America's highways. They hold up and are better designed for towing.

    Yeah, but they cost about $10,000 bucks more than an equivalent gasser... and with diesel prices, the better fuel economy is a wash on actual fuel costs, and maintenance, WHEN you need it (not if) OH MAN Katie bar the door!

    We've been farming and pulling LOADS with 1/2 ton gas pickups for the last 30 years... just never could justify the EXPENSE of the diesels... not that they aren't good, just cowboy cadillacs are too expensive for poor farmers... LOL

    I can promise you a properly set up gasoline truck CAN pull and pull well....

    Yall have a good one! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    6th January 2009
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    Thanks for everyone's advice, I do appreciate it. I hope that you do understand that this is not our first trailer. I've been pulling trailers for years (although mostly on vacations) including the horse/cow trailer we pulled with our pickup two or three times a year and all the stuff I dragged around in the Army. This particular trailer is intended to be an upgrade from the re-purposed pop-up camper (now just an open top shell of its former self) that we use to haul our tents, bicycles and other gear. The new one is a little heaver (not sure exactly how much) and a little taller, wider, longer. I was hoping that you all would give me a double/triple check on safety, weight restrictions etc. and you did. Thank you all. I do intend to do some brake tests before too long (probably AFTER Easter since I tend to be pretty busy). This summer should bring a general clean up and some paint.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Blessings,

    John
    NAR#87984

    It can't be my second childhood, I haven't finished my first one yet.

    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci

    "If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio." - Wilbur Wright, January 10, 1910

    _____________________________________

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  23. #23
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    18th January 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peartree View Post
    Thanks for everyone's advice, I do appreciate it. I hope that you do understand that this is not our first trailer. I've been pulling trailers for years (although mostly on vacations) including the horse/cow trailer we pulled with our pickup two or three times a year and all the stuff I dragged around in the Army. This particular trailer is intended to be an upgrade from the re-purposed pop-up camper (now just an open top shell of its former self) that we use to haul our tents, bicycles and other gear. The new one is a little heaver (not sure exactly how much) and a little taller, wider, longer. I was hoping that you all would give me a double/triple check on safety, weight restrictions etc. and you did. Thank you all. I do intend to do some brake tests before too long (probably AFTER Easter since I tend to be pretty busy). This summer should bring a general clean up and some paint.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Probably the main thing you'll notice is added wind drag... those covered ones seem to be a bit draggy...

    Course you could always do like that guy on www.farmshow.com who built a trailer out of an old Dodge caravan... LOL OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  24. #24
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    20th January 2009
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    Salem, MA
    Posts
    4,620

    Tranny coolers

    Tranny fluid temperature is really important in modern automatics and having tranny fluid too cool is just as bad as having it too hot.

    The tranny fluid temperature wants to be at ~200 F (the antifreeze temperature) to be at the right viscosity. If you add a tranny cooler, put it between the tranny outlet line and the inlet to the cooler in the radiator. That way under load you dump the extra heat out of the fluid before it gets to the radiator which wilol prevent your radiator from over heating, and when you're driving without the trailer, the radiator will heat the fluid back up to the proper temperature.

    If you have a V6 you should have no problem pulling the trailer and load provided it is under the 3500 pound weight limit. You need to use common sense pulling any trailer. If the terrain is hilly, lock out the overdrive. Your engine has plenty of HP and torque to pull the weight, but the power is directly proportional to the RPM. Don't be afraid to downshift when needed (going up or down hills) but on the flat I'd would just keep it in drive and let the overdrive kick in unless you start to overheat and then lockout the OD cause your lugging the engine.

    Air shocks might be a good addition if you need to level the van and stiffen the ride, but I'd only put them on if you find out you need them.

    Bob

  25. #25
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Needville, TX and Shiner, TX
    Posts
    8,478
    Quote Originally Posted by bobkrech View Post
    Tranny fluid temperature is really important in modern automatics and having tranny fluid too cool is just as bad as having it too hot.

    The tranny fluid temperature wants to be at ~200 F (the antifreeze temperature) to be at the right viscosity. If you add a tranny cooler, put it between the tranny outlet line and the inlet to the cooler in the radiator. That way under load you dump the extra heat out of the fluid before it gets to the radiator which wilol prevent your radiator from over heating, and when you're driving without the trailer, the radiator will heat the fluid back up to the proper temperature.

    If you have a V6 you should have no problem pulling the trailer and load provided it is under the 3500 pound weight limit. You need to use common sense pulling any trailer. If the terrain is hilly, lock out the overdrive. Your engine has plenty of HP and torque to pull the weight, but the power is directly proportional to the RPM. Don't be afraid to downshift when needed (going up or down hills) but on the flat I'd would just keep it in drive and let the overdrive kick in unless you start to overheat and then lockout the OD cause your lugging the engine.

    Air shocks might be a good addition if you need to level the van and stiffen the ride, but I'd only put them on if you find out you need them.

    Bob


    Hmmm... I've NEVER heard of that... Not saying it's not possible, I'll have to check with a transmission guy the next time I bump into one of em, but AFAIK, and from everything I've ever read or learned about when I was in mechanic's school, the cooler you can keep an automatic the better! I wouldn't recommend hooking up a cooler to send oil to the radiator before sending it back to the transmission, because it will just get most of heat back it just dumped in the cooler, making the cooler virtually worthless. Doesn't make sense. Not saying it's impossible, just saying it don't make sense.

    Anyway, I'd recommend just leaving the transmission OUT OF OVERDRIVE! If it has the "D" selector below "(D)" then drop it in there and leave it there when towing-- if it has an "overdrive OFF" switch or button, be sure and push it. Most vehicles now have a transmission control computer and locking out overdrive sets that computer to perform more 'transmission friendly' shift points and locks out the converter lockup clutch, and other things that can save your transmission and actually help you tow better and more safely, for you and the vehicle. Nothing is worse than a slipping overdrive or converter lockup clutch burning up your transmission because it was left in overdrive. I've towed my 16 foot lowboy back empty in overdrive and found that the truck actually burns MORE gas in overdrive than with the overdrive locked out! Yes the engine is revving probably 500-600 RPM higher with the overdrive locked out, but the engine LOAD is way less, which is why it burns less gas. Of course that also lowers the loads and therefore heat on the transmission, both of which are good things. This is with an 02 F-150 SuperCrew, 4.6 V8 automatic, so no lack of power for this size job.

    So, for the sake of your transmission, engine, and everything else, leave the overdrive off when towing, even when empty. You'll be glad you did.

    Later! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  26. #26
    There's a lot of tips and advice here! Anyway, here's my knowledge about trailer:

    Trailers are used by many for their great potential to haul items both big and small and to last for a very long time. You are guaranteed to find the best possible fit for your transporting needs when you go through the many different selections and pick the best dimensions and features for your specific needs.

    In towing, there's one thing you have to appreciate is how much mass you are moving around. With the trailer hooked up your movements must be slow, steady and deliberate. If you perform any jerky movements you’re not going to be able to correct the motion the same way as in a car. I see this issue all the time on the freeway when folks pulling trailers do a jerky quick lane change and then spend 10 seconds trying to get the trailer to stop fish tailing. When braking , remember that even though you may have electric trailer brakes they won`t stop on a dime. Always give plenty of space in front in case a panic stop takes place ahead. I have had more than one occasion where I rounded a corner only to find a line of dead stopped cars waiting in a construction zone.
    Last edited by dominickdunford; 12th February 2013 at 06:02 AM.
    Read information available about and Heavy Hauling Jobs

  27. #27
    Did you join this forum to make this post? LOL

  28. #28
    You're going to have a lot of wind drag pulling that large a trailer around. I have a 5x10 enclosed trailer. I have towed it behind a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan (rated for 3,500 lbs towing) a few times on longer trips and it sucks. It really slows the vehicle down and makes braking harder.

    I now have a 2012 Dodge Caravan and I won't tow my enclosed trailer very far with it. If I have to go on a longer trip with the trailer I will use my motorhome. The only issue with the motorhome is it gets 8 MPG, but you don't even know the trailer is back there.

  29. #29
    I don't recommend Towing anything with a Front Drive Van. The transaxles are just barely beefy enough for the van, let alone 2000 lbs of extra weight. Remember that minivans are really just tall station wagons. We towed a very small pop up with a Pontiac Trans Sport (Basically the same van) only a few times with the 3800 V6 and the transaxle didn't last very long.

    Like others posted:

    At the very least, get yourself an external transmission cooler and put a temp gauge on it. Find out the normal operating temp, and keep it at that or below. If it gets too hot, you will cook the tranny.

    Air shocks in the rear help to level the load.

    Never, ever tow in OD. I don't even tow my boat with my truck in OD. Too much heat.
    -Chr$
    NAR 79536 TRA 15040 L1
    2014 Secretary - Superstition Spacemodeling Society Section 506 www.sssrocketry.com
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    SAM 0488
    "Prefers Plastic Nose Cones"

  30. #30
    Join Date
    17th June 2009
    Location
    San Tan Valley, AZ
    Posts
    202
    I'll just toss in my $.02...
    I bought a Dwarf car and spare parts (3 engines, plus a bunch of other stuff (so about 1500lbs)
    for my daughter a few months back. I'm in San Tan Valley (SE of Phoenix). Car was in Bakersfield, CA.
    Only vehicle we have capable of towing is a '99 Chrysler Town and Country Limited, 3.8L with towing package.
    We borrowed a 6'x16' open trailer from my buddy, took 3 of our 4 kids (Teens) with us and drove straight through to Bakersfield. Met
    up with the car owner, checked it out, bought it, loaded it up, and turned around and drove back home. About 8 hours each way.
    There are some pretty serious 'hills' going from I-10 up to Bakersfield and back. Van towed like a champ. I was very apprehensive,
    but was very impressed by the time the trip was over! I've since returned the trailer to my buddy and bought a 5'x10', which fits
    the car perfectly, it's a much lighter trailer and pulls wonderfully.

    NOT towing in OD is good advice! Van has the 'special' load leveling shocks on it, and they were bad, so I had to replace them before we left.
    They were $180 each. After doing a bunch of research, there are no other options for this van, aside from replacing the rear leaf springs as well.
    Although I cringed at spending almost $400 on the two rear shocks, it's amazing how nicely the van rides now!!

    R
    Ron Zeppin
    TRA 6024 L3
    AHPRA

    Stupidity should be painful!

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