I am in the process of shopping for a "new to me" minivan. For many reasons that I will not go into here, I cannot afford very much. So I have been searching for awhile, but to no avail. But now, suddenly two choices have appeared in my price range at the same time. Both have about the same mileage, condition, features, and cost. I am hoping for some input from others who have actually towed with these vehicles. I have a 1997 Jayco 1207DD (larger PUP).
1.) 1999 Toyota Sienna XLE. The original owner thinks that it *may* have a factory tow package, but I don't know how to tell for sure.
2.) 2003 Chrysler Town and Country LXi. I don't think it's got a tow package, as I didn't see tranny cooler installed in front of the AC condensor.
I am less interested in aesthetics, and more concerned about mechanical integrity (i.e., how will the transmission hold-up). Thank you!
You are probably just looking at Minivans for their inside room for more passengers and storage for trips.
Hopefully you are not ruling out the 1/2-ton trucks with the extended cabs. Since 2004 I think it is, the interior of the extended cabs was increased by 8-12 inches which is all the difference in the world for leg room in the rear seat area. People can sit forward now not like in the past few years where most extended cabs you had to almost sit sideways in the rear seat.
The truck bed provides all of the room you need for suppies and other baggage.
My OFF-ROAD POPUP shown below weighs in at 4200LBS loaded and between the rear seat area and the truck bed which we use a hard plastic folding panels bed cover (FOLD-A-COVER brand name) we have all the room we need to support more passengers and camping supplies. The bed area is water tight. The big thing for us is the truck bed area is all locked up, weather tight, and a pretty safe place to keep the 2KW generator out of site and secured with a steel locking cables to the the bed walls. With the bed cover panels lockable, the tailgate locked, and the steel lockable cable through the handle of the 2KW generator we feel pretty safe having it there. It definately is completely out-of-sight when not being used.
The OFF-ROAD 14RT POPUP with its front deck also helps out big time for more camping supplies (Multiple Action Packer containers, 5-gal water cans, 7-gal waste water cans, chairs, tarps, metal portable firepit, etc). The truck bed carries the 5-day ice chest, 2KW Generator, RV TOOL Box, Coleman Road Trip grille, zipped up bags for clothes and personal things, etc. The rear seat area is for passengers when they come along but is used for more personal things and food-groceries-etc when it is just the two of us... We always stop for these things just before we get to the camp site.
Being old school I just dont think you will like the performance of the minivan towing even a POPUP. The F150 truck tows my POPUP just great. Cant tell it is back there and dont have to worry about the transmission, suspension, load carrying capacity, etc.. The 1/2-ton truck is designed to tow trailers. I get the same gas mileage when I am pulling my POPUP or not. Usually between 20-21MPG if I am using Shell gasoline products...
We have all the room we need using the 1/2-ton truck for towing our OFF-ROAD POPUP.. I can also spot our off-road trailer just about anywhere the truck can go back off the beaten paths... Even going up this road...
My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - PM me Roy and Carolyn
RETIRED DOAF/DON/DOD/CONTR RADIO TECH (42yrs)
K9PHT (Since 1957) 146.52M
2010 F150, 5.4,3:73 Gears,SCab
2008 Starcraft 14RT EU2000i GEN
2005 Flagstaff 8528RESS
Keep looking. There are better choices. Our Dodge Caravans (2 of them) (same as the Chrysler T/C) went thru a number of transmissions (all under warranty!) and it HAD the towing package!
The Sienna, if you Google the 1999 model...has almost 90,000 references to overheating issues. Per Edmunds.com that engine has had (from 1998 to 2002) "significant problems".
I take it that if you're looking for a van you have a lot of kids or cargo?
As said, a used crew cab truck, or used full sized used SUV from Ford/GMC/Chevy or even a Durango V-8 or Explorer V-8 would be a better choice.
My posts shouldn't be taken for factual data. They are purely fictional, for entertainment purposes and should not be constituted as actually related to scientific, technical, engineering, legal, spiritual or practical advice. Amen.