Hey out there..hoping someone can give some advice. I would like to get my family involved in camping, enjoying the great outdoors, as many of you do. We have a 3 and 5 year old so we're really looking forward to getting into this. We have a 2007 Nissan Quest, and are being told be the 'dealer' that our van is rated to tow 3500 lbs, and that the 17" Palomino "lite" fold out trailer will not be a problem. It weighs 2700 lbs dry so being first timers to this, I don't see mini-vans pulling anything much more than a tent trailer. We're really not in a financial position to go out and buy a truck just for the sake of pulling a trailer, so consider us 'beginners'. We've seen the difference between the tent trailers and lite travel travel trailers and really like the fold out travel trailer as opposed to a tent trailer. Are we making a mistake if we get into a fold out travel trailer with a mini-van, or are we just being overly cautious.
Thanks to anyone that can help us out...just don't know who to believe !
There's some really great SMALL TT out there than can be towed with smaller vehicles, Shasta comes to mind. How about the A-Frame pop-ups (A-liner). Ever think about a T@B? (TAB, by Dutchmen)? How about those small tent trailers that are small enough they can be towed by a motorcycle. They fold out into a pretty good size tent. You've got lots of options. Keep searching. You'll find something. There's lots of stuff out there a mini-van can tow!
If I am on life support, unplug me, then plug me back in and see if that works!
We had a 2000 Windstar (rated to tow 3500lbs) and a 2002 TravelStar 19foot tandem axle Hybrid. With the proper hitch setup, weigh distributing hitch and anti sway system, the rig handled great and stopped better than the van alone, probably the four wheel brakes on the trailer plus the air drag.
The problem for us was the lack of power in he V-6, transmission alwas down shifting on even the slightest grade and down to 2nd gear on moderate grades. I was a great rig for short trips, up to 3 to 4 hours, but on long trip ....
Beverley and Ken
2006 Winnebago Outlook 29B E-450.
2012 Honda CR-V AWD
Blue Ox Aventa LX tow bar and Brake Buddy Vantage.
I think you'll be right up against your limits. "Dry" weight is a fictional figure; more useful to you will be the UVW (unloaded vehicle weight), which is the weight of that unit as it leaves the factory, and the CCC (cargo carrying capacity) - that last figure is a maximum, as is the GVWR, which I prefer to use to determine the weight of the trailer when in use. Seems a lot of Canadians manage to tow hybrids with minivans, but personally, I wouldn't do it. Our V6 Explorer had enough trouble with our hybrid, back when (granted, our trailer was bigger than the Palomino you're considering).
Yep you will be right up against the limits, and if you were driving a truck or SUV right up against the limits that would be a serious problem.
But you are driving a minivan with an ultra-conservative tow rating of 3500 pounds, and looking at a trailer that will max out within that number. I do not see any reason why you should be concerned.
There are several people on this forum that have specific experience towing at or over the limit with the Nissan minivans, and all have been happy with the outcome. I would contact Road Ruler and see what he has to say.
'11 Ford Expedition XL 5.4L (Primary tow vehicle)
'04 Mercury Grand Marquis 4.6L (Backup tow vehicle
'04 Ford Freestar SES 3.9L (another Backup tow vehicle)
'97 Lincoln Mark VIII 32v 4.6L (another Backup tow vehicle)
The only van I would pull a 2,700 lbs dry (which is often 3,500-3,700 lbs loaded) trailer with is an Astro/Safari model. Or, upgrade to the Envoy with I6 4.2L engine.
For your current FWD vehicle: Take 3,500 lbs (rated max tow power of the Tow Vehicle), subtract internal vehicle cargo (200-300 lbs), subtract additional passenger body weight, subtract Wind Risistance (which is often "feels like" 500 lbs on a fast hiway, one will have estimated 2,000 lbs of remaining "pulling power". Not enough remaining pulling power to pull a 3,500 lbs "loaded" trailer. Especially a trailer that has wind resistance design like a cement flat block.
If wondering, I have a FWD cross-over vehicle with 3.4L engine. Its rated to pull 3,500 lbs. I talked to my local mechanic and he told me "no way". NO way can FWD van's handle pulling needs of any Travel trailer above 2,000 lbs. Especially when one's vehicle is often loaded down with people and usual camping supplies as well. And, one's Trailer trailer is loaded with basic supplies as well. Thus, why I don't even have a trailer hitch installed on my FWD vehicle. I use my Astro/Safari van to pull my trailers.
Note: I hear the Envoy XL with I6 engine can pull 2,000+ lbs travel trailers without wind drag or trailer over weight as well. They can pull 2K-5K trailers. Their I6 engine design have much more pulling power then 4.3L engines. And much more pulling power then a 3.4L engine.
No deductions necessary for passengers and cargo on most minivans. On most, you can load up to GVWR and pull thew published 3500, without exceeeding GCWR.
The Quest has a good powertrain. But the tail sit low already, so something to lift the rear end (in addition to a Weight Distribution hitch) may be needed if yo don't have factory laod levelling. Also, make sure you don't pull trailer lights from the van's light system. You will need a fully isolated trailer light logic unit that pulls power from the van's battery (U-haul and others sell it).
I have an Aerostar, it is a LWB and rear wheel drive, with a 3.0L V6. I pull a vintage 12ft Mobile Scout.
I have not been to the scales yet, I am waiting until I finish the remodeling. On the trips we have been on, city traveling is a non-issue, plenty of power to get moving from a dead stop and maintain 35-45 speeds. Entering the highway, I find the limitations. Air Conditioning in the tow vehicle is a horsepower drain. Uphill climbing, on the highway, with the air running caused downshifting.
We may have carried too much for our maiden voyage, and have since reduced what we tote, hoping the lesser weight reduces the need for downshifting on uphills.
I did add Air Springs to the Aerostar. The weight on the rear was about the limit of the van's coil spring system. Adding the air springs has been a wonderful corrective solution.
I am looking into anti-sway and maybe some weight distribution to stop the "push" I get on downhill rolling. It is not a major thing, but, I believe the TT freerolls better than the van, making it feel like the TT is pushing.
Actually, it is just the opposite, on most mini-vans you DO have to subtract the weight of cargo and passengers from the towing capacity. Read your owner's manual. It will give you the best information about towing with your van and whether or not you have to subtract cargo/passenger weight from your total towing capacity.
Also, you say your dealer told you you can tow 3,500. That is with a towing package. Does your van have the towing package?