Towing Experience with a 3,500-lb boat - Page 3 - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 09:26 PM
GDM
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There forums are usually highly educational for people to access and learn about their vehicle's systems, capabilities, characteristics, etc. Towing is one of the topics that people ask about. What I am saying in my previous post, textbook or not, is folks who want to tow should realize there are limits for towing capacity that engineers place on vehicles. Pacifica is no exception. If you have the FACTORY installed tow package (not a do it yourself or dealer installed receiver), the Pacifica can tow 3500#. If you have a do it yourself or dealer installed receiver, the Pacifica is downgraded to tow 1500#. This may be perfectly fine for many people; bike rack, cargo carrier, small utility trailer of small boat.

If you tow more than your vehicle is rated to tow, you can get into trouble. For example, your trailer begins to sway at higher speeds (tail wagging the dog) or your engine overheats or your braking is inadequate. My point is that the factory tow package provides features that will help make your towing experience safe, more enjoyable, and help prevent premature mechanical failures on your tow vehicle. This is not only textbook, but prudent towing advise and practice. All boaters out there know that there are limits on what size engine you can place on a boat. For example, mine has a maximum HP rating of 175 HP so I would not want to put a 200 or 250 HP on it due to safety issues and damage to the transom (not to mention it is illegal). Same goes for towing, Stay within the limits of your ACTUAL tow capacity and you will have a safer and more enjoyable experience.
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDM View Post
There forums are usually highly educational for people to access and learn about their vehicle's systems, capabilities, characteristics, etc. Towing is one of the topics that people ask about. What I am saying in my previous post, textbook or not, is folks who want to tow should realize there are limits for towing capacity that engineers place on vehicles. Pacifica is no exception. If you have the FACTORY installed tow package (not a do it yourself or dealer installed receiver), the Pacifica can tow 3500#. If you have a do it yourself or dealer installed receiver, the Pacifica is downgraded to tow 1500#. This may be perfectly fine for many people; bike rack, cargo carrier, small utility trailer of small boat.

If you tow more than your vehicle is rated to tow, you can get into trouble. For example, your trailer begins to sway at higher speeds (tail wagging the dog) or your engine overheats or your braking is inadequate. My point is that the factory tow package provides features that will help make your towing experience safe, more enjoyable, and help prevent premature mechanical failures on your tow vehicle. This is not only textbook, but prudent towing advise and practice. All boaters out there know that there are limits on what size engine you can place on a boat. For example, mine has a maximum HP rating of 175 HP so I would not want to put a 200 or 250 HP on it due to safety issues and damage to the transom (not to mention it is illegal). Same goes for towing, Stay within the limits of your ACTUAL tow capacity and you will have a safer and more enjoyable experience.
GDM makes good points for most vehicles and towing situations. However, the Pacifica raises some questions. The things included in the factory tow package do not account for the 2100 pound increase in tow capacity.
>There are no suspension or braking upgrades which one would expect to find for such an increase in tow capacity.
>The heavy duty radiator has .3 qts (9.6 ounces) more coolant than the standard radiator. Hardly a significant difference.
>The electronic trailer sway control can be turned off. The manual does not include any warnings about a reduction in towing capacity if electronic stability control is turned off so it does not improve towing capacity.

I'm a stickler for proper towing including not overloading specified capacities and setting up the vehicle and trailer correctly to tow safely. I have the factory tow package on my Pacifica but I can't see how it can offer a 3600 pound towing capacity and the van without it can't. It does not make sense.

Forum members without the factory tow package have shared experiences that their Pacifica has towed much more than 1500 pounds without any affect on handling or operational temperatures.

Warranty is a concern but likely low risk. One can easily monitor operating temperatures and take action if needed during towing. Unless the van is brought into the dealer with the trailer attached the dealer won't know what you have been towing. Same way they won't know if you operated frequently with the interior of the van overloaded or towed a 4000 pound trailer with the factory tow package.
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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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I think Shawnee and I are on the same wavelength.

I never argue book specs, because that would be the equivalent of smashing my face against a brick wall. The book is the book, and it's not gonna change because I disagree with it. I'm very comfortable with how my van tows, and I'd even extend an invitation to anyone who would like to see for themselves to try it out. I'm in MN, just north of Minneapolis, so come on out and take a test drive if ya wanna see how a Pacifica handles at the limit.

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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 07:56 AM
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I bought a sway bar for my popup and I have not experienced any sway at all. That is also why you have a brake controller, to hit the brakes when it sways.

I also drove a pacifica in Utah recently, no trailer but 7 passnegars and luggage. In the desart at 100 degree outside temps the car Temps were well about anything I have ever seen towing before back home in the east coast.

So I agree, while I would like the extra towing features offered by the tow package, I do not think they offer a lot. Now, if the tow package offered stiffer read springs or suspension airbags, that would be a something you might need.

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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 10:47 AM
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I bought a sway bar for my popup and I have not experienced any sway at all. That is also why you have a brake controller, to hit the brakes when it sways.

I also drove a pacifica in Utah recently, no trailer but 7 passnegars and luggage. In the desart at 100 degree outside temps the car Temps were well about anything I have ever seen towing before back home in the east coast.

So I agree, while I would like the extra towing features offered by the tow package, I do not think they offer a lot. Now, if the tow package offered stiffer read springs or suspension airbags, that would be a something you might need.
The factory tow package includes Nivomat shocks. (Load leveling)

As well as a wiring loom for trailer electrics.

If you plan on using all the seats in your van regularly, the trailer tow package is worth the extra money for load leveling alone. Regardless if you decide to tow with it.

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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sirtate View Post
The factory tow package includes Nivomat shocks. (Load leveling)

As well as a wiring loom for trailer electrics.

If you plan on using all the seats in your van regularly, the trailer tow package is worth the extra money for load leveling alone. Regardless if you decide to tow with it.

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Interesting. This is the first Iíve seen anyone mention the tow package coming with different shocks. It isnít listed anywhere Iíve seen. Do you have a reference?

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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sirtate View Post
The factory tow package includes Nivomat shocks. (Load leveling)

As well as a wiring loom for trailer electrics.

If you plan on using all the seats in your van regularly, the trailer tow package is worth the extra money for load leveling alone. Regardless if you decide to tow with it.

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Interesting. This is the first Iíve seen anyone mention the tow package coming with different shocks. It isnít listed anywhere Iíve seen. Do you have a reference?
I was going to ask the same question. Nothing in any piece of literature I've ever found suggests that the suspension is any different.

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Originally Posted by 2017 Pacifica brochure
The tow package includes:
7 and 4-pin trailer wiring harness
Class II hitch with 2" receiver
Heavy duty radiator
Trailer sway damping (electronic)
220 amp alternator
Just went onto a dealer parts site, and there is no reference in any of the shocks to the trailer tow group. I think sirtate is confusing this with the Town and Country, which did offer a load-leveling suspension. Those buggers are nearly $300/each, vs. around $88 for any of shocks on the Pacifica. I'm fairly confident the Pacifica never got any load-leveling hardware. I don't think they need it, either...mine doesn't really squat down with a full load of people and the boat in tow.

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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 11:24 AM
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I do get some squat with the trailer. It does not effect my driving, but it does make getting the trailer out of my sloped driveway tricky.

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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 07:19 PM
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Just to add a bit more text book to the discussion, the rule of thumb is to tow not more than 80% of the given tow limit of your given vehicle. A limit of 3,500 lbs means one should not tow more than 2,800 lbs. The 20% margin is used for climbing hills, passing and stopping.

We have a 18' aluminum fish/ski boat by Lund that weighs 2,800 lbs (boat, trailer, fuel, gear). It is towed by our 4WD 4Runner rated to tow 5,000 lbs. Would never ever consider towing it with our Pacifica. Not concerned about voiding any darn warranty. Am concerned about causing a serious accident, and then having to explain it all later in court.

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