Why the reduced tow rating with aftermarket hitch?
Hi all, first post here. 2 kids and a (very nice) surprise on the way means I'm now in the market for a minivan. Considering the Pacifica and Odyssey. Unfortunately I can't afford new, but the used market has lots of options in my price range. I need this vehicle to tow a popup camper, and this is apparently looking to cause problems.
I have found several used Pacificas with the factory tow package, but they are very few and far between, would require excessive travel to pick up, and seem to carry a premium price tag as there is lots of demand. I have an aftermarket hitch on my current vehicle and I've been very happy with it. I see others here have done the same with their Pacifica, but I am very taken aback by Chrysler's documented reduction in towing capacity unless you're using *their* towing package. I find this very frustrating and suspicious.
As an engineer, I understand the need for engine and transmission cooling, so I get that, and would pursue aftermarket options with an aftermarket hitch. I can see possibly arguing for a larger alternator and battery, but doesn't seem as necessary. I cannot see why the factory hitch would have double the capacity of an aftermarket hitch. On several other vehicles, the factory hitch just bolts on to the undercarriage the exact same way as an aftermarket hitch would. And factory equipment is usually smaller and less robust. Is this not the case with the Pacifica? Do they have something integral to the body that changes with the tow package? I cannot see Chrysler making significant body changes for this. There are no suspension changes with the towing package. So what gives?
Also, I know the factory tow package has an added electronic stability system. Why is it the majority of other vehicles get by without another added system? Does the Pacifica have known stability issues with some extra weight behind it? Makes me wonder. Also, what happens if you do it right, get the factory tow package with stability system, and the stability system has a fault and goes out in the middle of a drive? It is arguably another point of failure - if the car decides to kill that system and there are stability concerns without it, now you're in the same boat again. As a previous Chrysler owner, I'm unfortunately too aware of Chrysler's reliability history, as well as the Pacifica's electronic issues specifically as well (though I want to think they got it better this time). So... are there safety concerns with this?
I'm just really confused on this. Is it FCA CYA, a sales trick to scare buyers into padding their commissions more, or a safety concern? I like the Pacifica but this would keep me from buying one if it really is an issue. Any thoughts or discussion are appreciated. Thanks.