Why the reduced tow rating with aftermarket hitch? - Page 5 - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #41 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 08:37 AM
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Agree with TomB985's assessment. No problem pulling a 1750 lb. trailer behind my Pacifica w/ an aftermarket hitch.


Only thing that I ever noticed was the transmission shift points were different when running with Cruise Control on. It sometimes wouldn't shift up as quickly as usual (when it should have upshifted).


Gas mileage dropped to about 17.5 mpg, usually got 25+.


Cheers
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post #42 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 08:20 PM
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I have only towed 5th wheel campers with a Ram 2500. So my Pacifica towing knowledge is not great. Non-existent even. Other than my lack of knowledge for towing, they are hard to sell during the winter. That wheel well clearance is tight when you need to kick out ice that used to be slush that froze up overnight. The ice around the inside of the rim will send you wobbling until it melts while in the dealership garage. It seems impossible that the mechanic finds no issue. The issue was there! Then smooth riding during a test. Anyways.

The amount to tow is also the amount to stop for all weather situations. I don't have the hot wheel rubber experience to see if the tire pressure monitor will freak out on a non-factory setup. The tow version might be prepared for that sort of thing and allows more variance. Able to store more codes because of the expectations of working harder? Maybe. Could the factory version have a shorter distance / shorter time for the %Time To Service?

I'm just playing Devil's Advocate. These are not claims of fact.

Heh. I laughed pretty good at a typo above. I'm sure many have a opinion where the P is a T on Dealership. I fixed it of course.
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post #43 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 09:12 PM
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The amount to tow is also the amount to stop for all weather situations.
+1. Towing isn't about pulling, it's about not letting the trailer throw you into a ditch. Which it wants to do, even if it's one of those mild-mannered little Home Depot ones. Even little trailers have dreams, and when you're braking on a corner, it's ready to pounce.

The tow package has a beefier radiator, but heavy duty suspension (VIN code SDB) is also a thing, and probably a part of the trailer tow prep package. Don't be a conspiracy theory guy and wonder why they downgrade the tow rating for aftermarket hitches (they don't, their own hitch is rated 1500# unless you have trailer tow prep), just say "hey, stronger suspension, bigger radiator and ESC will give me more than twice the tow rating!"
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post #44 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Van Go View Post
The tow package has a beefier radiator, but heavy duty suspension (VIN code SDB) is also a thing, and probably a part of the trailer tow prep package. Don't be a conspiracy theory guy and wonder why they downgrade the tow rating for aftermarket hitches (they don't, their own hitch is rated 1500# unless you have trailer tow prep), just say "hey, stronger suspension, bigger radiator and ESC will give me more than twice the tow rating!"
The tow package on the Pacifica does not include a heavy duty suspension. The only enhancement for towing heavier trailer weights is the larger cooling capacity which is only slightly larger based on the less than 10 oz increase in coolant volume. ESC can be turned off. There is no warning that doing so will decrease towing capacity so I doubt the electronic sway control plays any role in the increased tow capacity of the van with the tow package.

2017 Pacifica Limited (built May 2016)
Vacuum delete, KeySense and Tow
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post #45 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 10:03 AM
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Several months ago I bought a used '17 Pacifica. I saw a local dealer had it listed, and it had the factory trailer tow. I was not looking for a new van, but a quick call to my brother confirmed his standing interest in my trusty '10 Town & Country. Next call was to the dealer who confirmed that it did, in fact, have the factory tow setup. The van was driven by the dealership owner's wife since new, and was a special order. I haggled for a couple of days and ended up buying the van BECAUSE it had the factory tow package. I have only towed once with it so far, and just a utility trailer on a 5+ hour jaunt to pick up a new toy. The computer in the van DOES know when a trailer is connected, as my oil life was decreasing at a faster rate when towing even though the utility trailer provided little additional load on the van. Having the 4 and 7 pin OEM plugs which are shielded against the elements is very nice, and the ability to just plug in my Tekonsha P3 is HUGE.

My previous 2010 Chrysler van did not have the towing package. It did tow fine, though I think the 4.0 in that van has more beans (real world, not on paper) than the 3.6 in the Pacifica anyway. I put off installing the trailer wiring for several years, as I didn't like the idea of running a power wire to the rear of the car to power the trailer light module. I had grand plans to rip out the interior and install the power wire "correctly", but the day came that I needed trailer lights for something, and I ended up running the wire under the car the "quick & dirty" way like everyone else. Even though it's "plug & play" you still have to run a tap to the battery. I can best describe it as a work-around. I am an aircraft mechanic, and didn't like any part of the wiring install as the directions called for it. In order to do it properly, you would need to add a circuit to the fuse box, and remove plenty of interior panels from your newly purchased van (good luck explaining that one to the Mrs.....) to properly run the wire inside adjacent to other wire bundling. You still need to find a home for the converter box (I believe mine suggested double sided sticky tape(!!!)), and a way to secure and/or retain the trailer pigtail. All of that said, a brake controller is not even considered with this arrangement. If you want that, more hot wires running around under your dash or maybe even connected directly to your battery. No thanks for me.

I watched and waited for a nice car with factory tow, and I am glad that I did. You can find one too if you are patient. You will have to be ready to pounce when one comes available. Many dealer sales departments do not understand that this is a big deal, and forget to list the option or it's buried in the 300 point list of cupholders, vanity lighting, and other stupid garbage they all list these days. Mine was not listed as trailer tow in the ad online. Do what you want. I feel that the OEM setup is worth the effort and cost. Going forward, I will not be buying a vehicle without the towing setup unless none is available - even if I don't intend to actually tow with it.

'17 Limited
'16 Touareg TDI
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post #46 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 04:31 PM
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The computer in the van DOES know when a trailer is connected, as my oil life was decreasing at a faster rate when towing even though the utility trailer provided little additional load on the van. Having the 4 and 7 pin OEM plugs which are shielded against the elements is very nice, and the ability to just plug in my Tekonsha P3 is HUGE.
You may think the trailer provided little additional load but the engine sensors know differently and that is why the oil life decreased at a faster rate. Your experience is not evidence that the computer knows a trailer is connected.

2017 Pacifica Limited (built May 2016)
Vacuum delete, KeySense and Tow
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post #47 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 09:19 PM
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The only enhancement for towing heavier trailer weights is the larger cooling capacity which is only slightly larger based on the less than 10 oz increase in coolant volume.
There's a bit more to it than that. The way the hitch writeup describes properly equipped makes marketing sense, but isn't strictly accurate: it says 3600# with VIN code NMR (Heavy Duty Radiator) and 1500# with NHA (Standard Engine Cooling). Looking deeper into it, there's actually only the one part number for the radiator and NHA actually refers to the engine oil cooler (which they all have, it's part of the oil filter housing, and again there's only one). The heavy duty cooling part is actually a beefier radiator fan module- which is for AHT, Trailer Tow Group.

Other AHT specific parts include a "pre fuse box" and different dash wiring. Vin code BNT, Trailer Sway Damping, is doubtless one of the codes that comes as part of the package, and includes a different liftgate hands free assembly, of all things. What other VIN codes would be in the Trailer Tow Group? There are 3 major suspension types (I'm skipping "export tuned"). Which suspension code would a trailer tow van come with? SDA- Normal Duty Suspension, SDB- Heavy Duty Suspension, or SDC- Touring Suspension? Similarly, while there isn't an AHT alternator, there are 3 kinds, a 160 amp, 180 amp and 220 amp.

AHT is sort of an umbrella code (a group) with only a few parts specifically tied to it but bundling other codes together. I doubt you'll find an AHT vehicle with SDA suspension or a 160 amp alternator. I'm with SawDoc on the oil life, it's all to do with being plugged in.
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post #48 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 03:54 PM
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Where do I find the list of VIN codes. I’ve got the build sheet, but it doesn’t list any codes. Doesn’t say anything one way or the other about standard engine cooling or heavy duty cooling. It does state we have the auxiliary transmission cooler. That’’s usually part of all towing packages. Also have the 220 amp alternator. It has the touring suspension. I’m trying to figure out if I have all the hardware, minus the hitch and wiring harness, on the van. The sway control should just be software and I don’t care about that. Everything else on the van is the bigger stuff, huge brakes, 20” wheels etc.

I bet the different lift gate hands free assembly is most likely because the hitch frame & assembly are in the way of the standard sensor, which is center of the underside.

I’ve had a 2500 and 3500 DRW and the list of build codes with both. I like how GM use to keep all that on a sticker in the glove box. Now GM just lists a few and a QR code that only gives you a few more. Use to be able to know everything from that sticker.

Last edited by LilliesVan; 08-07-2019 at 03:59 PM.
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