Towing Experience with Popup Camper - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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  • 2 Post By mattlreese
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Towing Experience with Popup Camper

Just finished a 400 mile round trip towing a Popup camper with my 2018 Pacifica. Dry weight of the trailer is 2400 lbs (2500 lbs with roof top AC), it has trailer brakes, & I do not have the factory tow package. On the way home I weighed my Pacifica and trailer at a certified scale. 8060 lbs. This was with 3/4 tank of gas, family of 5 (3 young children), & gear.

First 200 miles was all in the rain, half highway (Flat), half back roads (some hills but nothing to big). Last 200 miles was all highway, dry, and mostly flat. Outside temps were in the 70's and low 80's.

Some notable points about the trip
-Oil, transmission, and other Temps were at most 10 % above normal for the speeds I was traveling. But still below the half way mark on the gauges.
-Trailer had brakes, and I gave myself space to stop, but I never felt like I could not stop in time for something. Including a time I had to slam on my brakes to avoid someone who cut me off.
- I also have a mechanical anti sway bar because the pop dealer recommended it.
- On flat highway I was able to drive 75 without any issues. This was in a 70 mph area and I did not feel comfortable any higher then 75 even then I mostly kept it below 72.

There were a few Cons
-With all the gear in the van plus the 250 tong weight there was 1-3 inches of sag in the suspension. Ride handling was fine, but I may consider air bags in the future.
-The pacifica transmission is without a doubt the week point in the whole towing system. It tends to stay in high gears for fuel efficiency, which was fine on the highway, but can make towing on hills difficult. This can be fixed by giving more gas, but requires a bit of a learning curve I still need to master.
- I did have to start the van from a dead stop on a small hill in the rain. This produced some front wheel slippage, but the van was still able to get going.

Brakes

I have the Tekonsha 90250 Prodigy RF Electronic Brake Controller which I am not completely sold on. Highway braking was fine, but it tended to be jerky at low speeds. I found I had to use the hand held controller a few times to smooth out braking at low speeds. Also when braking down long hills there were issues with consistent braking. At no time did I feel like I was going to lose control of the van, and I have never towed a trailer with brakes before, so it may be technique. I tried to keep braking to short bursts.

Anyway, if you are considering a popup or other trailer below 2500 lbs dry weight the Pacifica can handle it well. I would avoid anything heavier as you will quickly reach the 8600 lb combined vehicle max.
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Last edited by mattlreese; 06-26-2018 at 07:12 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 08:51 PM
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I traveled nearly 2,000 miles with a full load in my van and a pop-up trailer weighing about 2500 lb during the April 13th snow storm from Seattle Washington to Austin Minnesota. I have the tow package with sway control and that definitely came in handy well I didn't experience a lot of ice and snow on the road there was lots of wind and the van stayed firmly on the road which was very nice. We averaged about 23 miles per gallon as I never went over 65 miles an hour given the rating on my trailer wheels. All in all I was thoroughly impressed with the towing capability and handling of the Pacifica.

As the o p stated I to have any electronic brake system that I installed you will need to get your own harness but the wiring is in place and easy to get to once you know where it's at use the Primus IQ from tekonsha and that helped tremendously. My advice is to make sure that you go ahead and follow the manufacturer's instructions on calibrating your brake controller as when I first started and I do not do that I've hardly felt an impact. Setting the right brake pressure made a world of difference.
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Last edited by Gohawks1224; 06-26-2018 at 08:53 PM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 06:56 PM
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@mattlreese What is the part number of the anti sway bar you added? Did you put it on your self? Thanks for the info!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbit3600 View Post
@mattlreese What is the part number of the anti sway bar you added? Did you put it on your self? Thanks for the info!
if you are not familiar with a trailer swap bat, its a second bar that goes from the trailer to a small ball on the hitch It provides friction to reduce hw much the trailer moves side to side. Not to be confused with a cars anti sway bar
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 08:26 AM
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Good info! We don't have the towing package either. Our pop up weights about 1200 lbs and gave us no issues. We do not have trailer brakes, but i will upgrade next year i am thinking as i want to go to new mexico or Colorado. Currently we are in oklahoma so no large hills to deal with. I have boiled brake fluid before coming out of the mountains into denver before with a trailer with no brakes. Had to pull over and let the brakes cool as they were glowing bright red
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Orbit3600 View Post
@mattlreese What is the part number of the anti sway bar you added? Did you put it on your self? Thanks for the info!

Here it is
https://www.amazon.com/Pro-83660-Val.../dp/B0016KJ5MC

You will need a special hitch it will look something like the link below, but with the correct rise for the van. I did not install mine, but it is raised at least 4 inches.

https://www.amazon.com/Curt-Manufact...70_&dpSrc=srch
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