Towing with a T&C van

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Towing with a T&C van

Postby tandempair » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:24 pm

I am not real knowledgeable about towing, but I have had quite a bit of experience doing it. I have towed an 18 foot ultra light camping trailer From MI to WA state and Vancouver Island, 4 or 5 times. I towed with a Volvo XC70 wagon, AWD, and had electric brakes. I had a sway bar on our camper, but not on our old cargo trailer. Both trailers were good and steady behind, hardly even knew either was there. Same true of our old 6X12X6 cargo trailer.
My towingcapicity was 3500 #. We sold that camper and are doing a CT conversion so we can bring our 10 ft tandem trike with us when we camp. new cargo trailer is 12X6 and 7 ft high. I will be towing it with our town and country van that has a tranny cooler, towing capacity is over 3500#. No electric brakes on car or trailer. the new cargo trailer is all aluminum. Trike weighs about 80pounds. Trailer has a straight tongue.
Last week we loaded our trike into our old 6X12 (6 ft tall) regular nose, cargo trailer and went to the cycling trail nearby. It was my first time towing with the van. That trailer felt very "sloppy". behind me. Not a solid secure feeling I had when towing with my Volvo. I was only going 4 miles, but I stopped twice to make sure everything was hooked up right. It was. I have not been scared to tow our old cargo trailer before, but I am pretty nervous now. I have never towed anything that felt sloppy before. I stopped by the local trailer dealer to make sure my bar was the right size for the receiver and it was.
So I a really nervous about towing our new cargo trailer that is 7 ft tall (V Nose) with the van. (Only vehichle we own) The new cargo trailer has a bed that goes up to the ceiling. If I tow with that in an UP position will it make the trailer top heavy? The new trailer has a straight tongue, the old cargo trailer has a V tongue. I took a picture of the straight tongue and took it to the trailer place and they said they were pretty sure they could put a Reese sway bar on it. From the picture, it would be the same one we had on our cargo trailer.
So after all this long drawn out story telling here, I am looking for any tips or hints that will help either of these trailers feel like a better tow behind me. Sorry to go on so much, but I wantedto be sure you had the whole equation. Thanks for your willingness to share your experience and expertise.
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Re: Towing with a T&C van

Postby Redneck Packrat » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:59 pm

You don't address tongue load at all in your post. Is it possible that you don't have enough weight on the back of the TV? You want it to sit down an inch at least, two even, if it doesn't make you look like you're coon hunting. Then you worry about proportions of weight. The more you stick the TV's butt to the pavement, the solider your ride will be.

Sounds to me like you were back-loaded on the trailer enough to give you the heebie-jeebies. Move some weight forward if you don't have a good push down on the hitch.

Hope this helps.

P.S. A low tire on the back end of the TV can also be unnerving. You might not even see 'cheeks' on the tire. Use a tire gauge and verify that you have not only the max pressure allowed but that both are inflated to the same.....AND that both the back tires on the TV are identical!

P.P.S. Another read-thru of your post, and I finally figured out what a Town and Country is. It's a minivan. If I'm not mistaken it's on a passenger car chassis, soft ride, not really set up for towing like the old Ford Aerostar (built on a Ranger frame) or Chev Astro (on an S-10 frame).. you might just need to "get used to" the softness of having passenger car suspension towing. I have to believe that Chrysler wouldn't give it a tow rating if it couldn't handle it, so I'd probably look at it from the point of, is it "different", or truly "scary"?

Maybe get it somewhere that there's little traffic and just see what it feels like for more than a few miles. It just might be something you can get used to.... something that's not dangerous, just different.

I wish you luck! :thumbsup:
Bill
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Working on this, started 5/2017: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=68614

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Re: Towing with a T&C van

Postby tandempair » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:11 pm

I didn' think to check the tires, maybe that was m tissue. Also I do know that my hitch lower to the ground when I towed with my Volvo. I was using the same cargo trailer, hauling the same exact load I had for many, many miles with my Volvo. I wasn't even using the new cargo conversion yet. We are trying to be mindful of weight distribution as we do our inside build on it. The tongue weight on my Volvo was oly 130. I am not sure what it is on this van, but I know it is more. I am not sure I have a clear understanding about tongue weight, other than not to exceed it. Guess I better do some reading up on it, so I have a better grasp. My Volvo XC70 was a passenger car, not an SUV. It was a wagon. The whole towing experience with the T&C, kind of took me by surprise, since I had towed that same exact load and trailer so many times before. It also freaked me out a bit. Thanks for your input.
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Re: Towing with a T&C van

Postby Redneck Packrat » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:27 pm

All things being equal, and sounds like they are, with the trailer, it very well could be just suspension....or different size or weight rating of tires....or even hitch height. I know when I went from a P235 tire to an LT on my half ton pickup, it made a world of difference in the way it rode with a trailer. Good luck on finding the right balance (no pun intended!)
Bill
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Working on this, started 5/2017: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=68614

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Re: Towing with a T&C van

Postby KCStudly » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:00 am

Wheelbase is another thing that could make a difference (although I expect the van and wagon have/had similar WB's).

I know from first hand experience that towing with a short wheelbase Jeep TJ is a lot different than with a long wheelbase GMC Sonoma (same as extended cab S-10). Although neither were scary.
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Re: Towing with a T&C van

Postby dancam » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:08 am

Did you get this solved? My experience towing with smaller vehicles is that the difference between 30psi in the rear tires of the tow vehicle and max pressure is basically undrivable vs nice. Especially on gravel roads.

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