Hey everyone, I'm looking for suggestions on upgrading our van for towing a tent trailer. We have a small (9') pop up that weighs about 1600lbs loaded. We just got back from a trip where we towed it for almost 1000kms without any incident, but it did feel like it needed some help in the handling department.
We encountered some moderate hills and tight turns which had me sweating a bit. The van had 2 adults and 3 teens aboard with a couple coolers of food. We tried to keep the weight central as much as possible, but the load and tounge weight made the van squat a bit. (actually right on level). This van has a large external trans cooler but I'm not sure if it has adequate springs or shocks. The rear tires are being replaced after this winter's snow tires are due to come off...I'll be looking for a heavier wall tire to prevent sagging and hopfully eliminating some sponginess. Any idea if there is a rear sway bar kit or load levelling air bags available for this van? Should I upgrade the front suspension? The trailer has no brakes...wondering if there is a brake upgrade for these vans also...
thanks in advance,
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yes there are air bags available (google search or contact a trailer shop or someplace that installs hitches)
yes there is a rear sway bar, sport ES and LE vans usually come with them
the only brake improvement would be some aftermarket stuff like Wilwood.
you really should have brakes on any trailer over 1000#.
I had a StarCraft pop up that came with surge brakes. sold the camper part and converted the frame/chassis to a really nice 6.5'x11' utility trailer. sure is nice having the extra braking capacity especially when them darn rodents with hoofs jump out (deer). you should also load your stuff in the trailer instead of the van that will help ride and handling.
I'm addng brakes to the trailer for sure. As for the sway bar, the van is an SXT and the rear axle beam has a bar that pivots between the axle and subframe - assuming this is sway control? I also looked up transmission coolers - wondering if "too much" cooling could be an issue? Should I go extra HD in case I want to go with a larger trailer later?
Southern ontario here, can get pretty cold (same parallel as michigan, wisconsin etc...)
I'm hoping a heavier wall tire can reduce the tippy feel this van has - perhaps its typical for FWD vans...its "soggy" feeling all the time (empty or loaded)
look into a an "LT" rated tire. Light truck. they would have a stiffer sidewall and better load capacity.
IMHO, you really should invest into a vehicle better suited to tow then you won't have ANY issues what so ever. a Jeep or durango would be my choice. and fuel milage on a jeep is about the same as the minivan in towing application.
I know its not ideal, but it has to be a well rounded family ride and daily driver. We like the roomy 6 seating capacity, versatility and price. It might be a tow vehicle 3-4 times a year...so not worth trading in IMO. Besides, if I bought a more capable tow vehicle, I'd have to buy a bigger trailer too!!
also, If I went with a 4 x 4, they would have to create a Ram'burban....the Durango is too small for my liking.
I say bring back the Ramcharger in two wheelbase choices to keep up with the other 2 companies
Mopar or no car
Last edited by Canoe2fish; 08-24-2010 at 04:15 PM..