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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > Towing a Trail Lite with a Mini Van - updated UVW

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atreis

IN

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Posted: 04/09/12 06:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bikendan wrote:


with nearly all vehicles, yes. but some brands, like Honda and Toyota may not do it that way.
you need to check the owner's manual in the towing section.

but, usually anything in the tow vehicle, other than the standard 150lb.
driver, will decrease the tow vehicle's tow capacity by its weight.
so, say Mom weighs 150lbs. and Dad and the kids weigh 400lbs. and there's 100lbs. of cargo in the vehicle.
then the 3500lbs. tow capacity of most minivans, would be reduced to 3000lbs.


My base model Sienna allows for 650 lbs of capacity above the tow rating, for the contents of the minivan itself. (Models with fancier features, which add weight, will have less capacity.)


2009 Trail-Sport TS21RBH
2008 Toyota Sienna


MrUKToad

Chatham, Ontario

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Posted: 04/09/12 08:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not sure how to progress with this thread as it's become very confused when assessing what the Sienna can tow and its published Tow Rating.

I have a 2011 Sienna LE, V6 3.5 liter. I tow a 28' Airstream that maxes out at 7,300lb, more than twice the published Tow Rating. I can do this, safely and legally, because it was set up by a professional and doesn't exceed either the tow vehicle's Gross Weight Rating (GVWR) or the axle ratings (GAWR). Certainly the Sienna is modified, with a strengthened hitch receiver, big oil coolers and a good brake controller. I also use a full weight distribution system and anti-sway bars. My point is, though, that Tow Ratings are meaningless, particularly in the minivan sector; they are arbitrary figures dreamed up by marketing departments in order to sell vehicles and bear no relation to the TV's actual ability to tow.

I'd re-iterate my advice from an earlier post; consult a professional tow expert if you want to use a minivan to tow a travel trailer. Minivans make excellent tow vehicles, especially as they are lower and more aerodynamic than most trucks, but they DO need to be set up properly. What they can tow will depend on the size, height, shape and aerodynamic profile of the trailer and a professional will be able ensure that you end up with a workable combination.


You can't tow that with that!

Road Ruler

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Posted: 04/10/12 10:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gman22 wrote:



With the trailer attached I still have 6000 lbs. of unused tow rating.

We encountered some heavy winds coming home yesterday too......never once this weekend did I regret having too much tow vehicle . I'm just sayin.


And so you should feel comfortable towing on a windy day with a vehicle that is towing at "HALF".. it's tow rating!

With a little more attention to details and the right TV/trailer combination you could tow at 100% of the vehicles tow rating and still have a relaxing drive on a very windy day.

Towing on a windy day

Gman22

Burlington, Ontario

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Posted: 04/10/12 12:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Road Ruler wrote:

With a little more attention to details and the right TV/trailer combination you could tow at 100% of the vehicles tow rating and still have a relaxing drive on a very windy day.


Agreed RR (did I just say that ? ).....Unfortunately MANY people do not give proper "attention to detail" when it comes to towing, even with the bigger trucks (how many overloaded 3/4 tons do you see driving around with too much 5th wheel ). Add this to the legions of salesman/woman in both the auto and RV industry that know little if any more than the average consumer. All that adds up to far too many poor set-ups out there than should be.


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2006 Ford Expedition Ltd. 5.4 L/3.73

Gman22

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Posted: 04/10/12 09:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been in the position of having too much trailer for my TV, it's not fun . Always worried about loading/weights, getting pushed around on high narrow bridges by winds or passing trucks. In many cases, with enough attention and $$$$ a bad or marignal set up can be made better. I can't speak personally about Can-Am but they do seem to have a lot of happy customers. They seem to specialize in taking vehicles that are not designed or intended for regular heavy towing and making it work. With enough time and thought I can use a screw driver to drive in a nail, I would just rather use a hammer....i.e. the right tool for the job, but that's just me .

I currently am on the opposite side of the weight fence. With the trailer attached I still have 6000 lbs. of unused tow rating, over a 1000 lbs. of unused payload and lots of room to grow if I want to.

This Easter weekend we were camping and we were heavy. Given the time of year and the extra stuff needed for Easter I had lots of fire wood, the generator, fuel, full water tanks, extra cooler for a 19 lb. turkey, big jug of fry oil, 4 days of food and drinking water, beer, bikes, etc...etc...etc... We encountered some heavy winds coming home yesterday too......never once this weekend did I regret having too much tow vehicle . I'm just sayin.

tekman741

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Posted: 04/10/12 06:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3LittleDucks wrote:

Need some towing advice. We have a 2001 Toyota Sienna that comfortably tows a tent trailer. We have the opportunity to buy a Trail Lite (21ft hard sided) trailer. The Trail Lites claim to be minivan towable, but is it really advisable to do so?


So I towed a bantam trail lite B19 with my sienna 2010 for 1yr. The 2010 has a 3.5litre enginge. The 2010 sienna has a max tongue weight of 350lbs tow weight 3500lbs. The trail lite dry was like 278lbs tongue but loaded weighed 340lbs tongue not including hitch = 80lbs =420lbs tongue, trailer was 4300lbs loaded. A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH IS A MUST... I normally had my wife and 1yr old with us but have grrr taken the in-laws too, did I say GRRR. So can it be done yes will you be overloaded yes by what toyota says so heres the deal with the sienna it has the same engine frame and gears in the rear end as the highlander which has a 500lbs tongue and 5000lbs tow. But the sieanna is a people mover so the more weight in the back takes away from your tongue weight.
The key is weight distribution and A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH. i drove, father in law in front mother in law and wife middle child in rear. Loaded the trailer with as much stuff to the rear(behind the wheels) as possible. Traveled in the white mountains and upper sate NY. Eng rpm around 3000 avag 60 to 65mph highway back roads was ok, the trainy gets warm so you must have the trainy cooler go to siennachat.com

Can it be done yes would I do it again no too much white knuckle driving. Buy a used truck as a tow vehicle=much happier. The problem most people ran into was the rear wheel cambered out(i hope i said that right)/---\ look like that. That is a $3000+ fix. The 2001 and 2010 have different rear end set-up for suspension.

* This post was last edited 04/10/12 07:28am by tekman741 *   View edit history


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Slowmover

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Posted: 04/10/12 07:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bikendan wrote:

MrUKToad wrote:

The proof of successful set ups is in the thousands of satisfied customers who have used Can Am's services over the years.

Good luck!


lots of cults have thousands of satisfied members!

i have yet to hear that Can-Am will stand behind customers if something happens to a tow vehicle that has exceeded its manufacturer's towing specs and they modified it and that customer gets sued.


Your either of you welcome to back that up with examples. If you can find them then others might take your contention seriously.

As CAN AM does no differently (except improved) over what any of us did through most the 1960's and '70's one would guess Americans then were rather stupid in comparison to today. Spouting ignorance is nothing to be proud of, but at least it has a cure. The alternative interpretation is less desirable.

The OP needs to cover a wider range of what is possible for his TV. Frontal area means a great deal more than weight.

.


1990 35' SILVER STREAK Sterling, 9k GVWR
2004 DODGE 305/555 ISB, QC SRW LB NV-5600, 9k GVWR
Hensley Arrow; 15-cpm solo, 25-cpm towing

atreis

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Posted: 04/11/12 04:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The whole "getting sued after an accident" thing has been going around for years, and I've yet to see anyone back it up with evidence of a successful court case in which someone was sued (and lost) and for which the basis of the suit (and loss) was exceeding the manufacturer recommended tow rating for their vehicle. (Please note, I didn't say "axle rating" - that's a different story.)

The subject of towing with minivans on here is actually comical... I've seen other threads in which people say things to the effect: "You have a hefty pickup truck - it's okay to exceed your limits a little with that TC," and not have anyone contradict it. Then people freak out when the subject of towing with a minivan, within its limits, comes up. It's ludicrous.


FWIW: I stay inside the tow rating of my Sienna, but not by much (~5% typically), recommend that others do the same (or better), and wouldn't even consider towing a 5k or 7k trailer with it. I've also been very pleased with its performance as a tow vehicle, and have been towing this trailer with it for 4 years, and towing in general for ~12 years (the bulk of that using minivans, with never a single mechanical failure attributable to towing, or even greater reliability problems than others with the same minivans that don't tow at all).

The fact of the matter is: They're very capable vehicles, both as people movers and for towing.

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