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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Realistic Tow Rating +/- 2900 lbs

A word of caution to all those who tow or are thinking of towing with the Pacifica and want to do so legally & "by the book."

By the time you add the weight of your family members, trailer tongue weight & all your cargo/stuff, you will likely have only +/-2900 lbs left for the weight of the trailer before you run up against the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) limit of 8600 lbs.

Do some math before hooking up that trailer or shopping for one if using your Pacifica as the tow vehicle. While your exact trailer weight limit will differ somewhat from my calculations, the fact remains that it will be significantly less than 3500 lbs advertised max Rating unless driver is only passenger & van is completely empty.

Here are my calculations:

My Pacifica Tire Placard Load Limit: 1240 lbs
My Pacifica Curb Weight: 4680 lbs
(Touring L+ w/ 18" wheels, spare tire kit, 8th seat & full tank of gas on certified scale)

1240 Pacifica Load Limit
-290 Trailer Tongue Weight
-725 Passenger Weight (Family of 5)
-225 Cargo (Coolers, luggage, camp gear)
At max load

8600 GCWR
-950 Pacifica Load Weight less Tounge Load
-4680 Pacifica Curb Weight
-2970 Loaded Trailer Weight
At max GCWR

Be safe out there!
 

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Not familiar with pop-ups, but can you put your coolers & some of the luggage in the camper? I'd suppose if you could put some of that weight on or behind the axles on the camper that would free-up some weight from your GCWR...
 

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And don't forget that trailer brakes are required to tow anything over 2000 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Not familiar with pop-ups, but can you put your coolers & some of the luggage in the camper? I'd suppose if you could put some of that weight on or behind the axles on the camper that would free-up some weight from your GCWR...
In my original post, I was describing how easy it is to bump up against the combined weight limit of the Pacifica & trailer. Unfortunately, shifting weight of cargo from the Pacifica to the trailer doesn't change the combined weight of both being at the limit.

If one were bumping up against the load limit of only the Pac, shifting weight to the trailer may help out so long as you don't exceed the maximum load carrying capacity of the trailer.
 

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A word of caution to all those who tow or are thinking of towing with the Pacifica and want to do so legally & "by the book."

By the time you add the weight of your family members, trailer tongue weight & all your cargo/stuff, you will likely have only +/-2600 lbs left for the weight of the trailer before you run up against the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) limit of 8600 lbs.

Do some math before hooking up that trailer or shopping for one if using your Pacifica as the tow vehicle. While your exact trailer weight limit will differ somewhat from my calculations, the fact remains that it will be significantly less than 3500 lbs advertised max Rating unless driver is only passenger & van is completely empty.

Here are my calculations:

My Pacifica Tire Placard Load Limit: 1240 lbs
My Pacifica Curb Weight: 4680 lbs
(Touring L+ w/ 18" wheels, spare tire kit, 8th seat & full tank of gas on certified scale)

1240 Pacifica Load Limit
290- Trailer Tongue Weight
725- Passenger Weight (Family of 5)
225- Cargo (Coolers, luggage, camp gear)
At max load

8600 GCWR
1240- Pacifica Max Carried Load
4680- Pacifica Curb Weight
2680- Loaded Trailer Weight (pop-up lightly loaded)
At max GCWR

Be safe out there!
Nails1,
You wrote a good message regarding the intricacies of trailer tow capacity, gross vehicle weight and GCWR. But I think you "double dipped" on the tongue weight. In your example the trailer weight can be 2970. This is the total value of what you describe as the loaded trailer weight and the tongue weight. The tongue weight comes from the trailer so it needs to be included as part of the loaded trailer weight not as a separate load on the van when calculating GCWR. The tongue weight does come into play when distributing the load to ensure the van rear axle is not overloaded and there is adequate tongue weight to ensure stability.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Shawnee: You are absolutely right. Thanks for pointing out my error. Tongue weight should NOT be included in calculating GCWR. I am so glad I posted my calculations. For future readers of this thread, I've edited my original post to reflect the correction. Unfortunately, I can't seem to change the title of the thread to now read 2900 lbs. Although with more passengers or adults instead of kids, the 2600 lbs may be correct. Point remains, with every passenger carried and with every piece of cargo added to the van, the less trailer weight one can tow. Don't assume you can tow any trailer up to 3500 lbs because that's the advertised max tow rating.
 

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If it is just the driver (of average weight) with no cargo or minimal cargo maybe 50lbs in a suitcase then can the max towing be as advertised? And isn't it advertised as 3600 lbs? Or am I missing something? They didn't false advertise they just didn't give an appropriate explanation as to how they came to their numbers. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Cue003: Yes indeed you are missing something. In what reasonably can be assumed to be a cynical & dishonest attempt to one up Honda & Toyota, Chrysler lists the Pacifica tow Rating as 3600 lbs, 100 lbs greater than Siena & Oddy. In the Pacifica owner's manual, in the Towing limits table, the 3600 lb tow rating has an asterisk with it. The asterisk below the table states that the tow rating must be reduced by 100 lbs if equipped with fold in floor seats. All Pacificas come with fold in floor seats, thus 3500 lb limit.

Why not list the tow rating as 10000 lbs with a footnote that says if equipped with an engine the tow rating must be reduced by 6500 lbs. 🙄
 

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Also don't forget that 3500lbs. is only with the factory installed tow package. Any aftermarket or factory hitch added afterward, the vehicle is only rated for 1500lbs. towing capacity. This is due to the factory tow package also includes a heavy duty radiator, higher amperage battery, and computer software upgrade that helps stabilize the vehicle when towing.

TomR00
 

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Not familiar with pop-ups, but can you put your coolers & some of the luggage in the camper? I'd suppose if you could put some of that weight on or behind the axles on the camper that would free-up some weight from your GCWR...
A 3000lb pop-up camper would be a very beefy pop-up. They tend to be more like 1500-2000lb.


A 3000lb camper would be more like this, which I probably wouldn't tow with a minivan in the first place. That's a death trap. You're towing half the minivan's mass behind it.

 

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This would be more like within the 3000 lb. limit. It a Forest-River-Flagstaff-E-Pro-E14FK.
Both are probably within the limit, one might be predominantly steel and the other aluminum.

The one I posted is 3000lbs. Aluminum is more expensive though.
 

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A 3000lb pop-up camper would be a very beefy pop-up. They tend to be more like 1500-2000lb.


A 3000lb camper would be more like this, which I probably wouldn't tow with a minivan in the first place. That's a death trap. You're towing half the minivan's mass behind it.
Towing half the minivan's mass behind it does not make it a death trap. Numerous vehicles safely tow more than their weight. Towing safely is more about not exceeding the weight limits specified by the manufacturer, a properly balanced load and the proper brakes on both the tow vehicle and trailer. Of course, proper driving technique is important too.
 

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I tow an 8000-lb fifth wheel with a 5000-lb F-150. Properly set up, a 3000-lb trailer would be well within the capabilities of a Pacifica.
 

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Realistic Aftermarket Rating?

I own a Touring L without the factory tow package. I added an aftermarket CURT Class 3 hitch.

As has been mentioned, this means I don't have the anti-sway software, the 220a alternator, nor larger radiator.

That being said, I strongly suspect the realistic tow capacity of my aftermarket hitch is much closer to OEM than Chrysler is saying. Let's look at the differences individually:

1) The software, while undoubtedly helpful, doesn't increase or decrease any towing capability, other than ensuring the vehicle is more stable during unstable movements.
2) Likewise, the alternator doesn't affect anything about the load. It would help keep the battery topped off during times of constant engine cooling fan use and 7pin electric braking (in addition to the standard vehicle energy use). But again, nothing affecting towing capability. As an FYI, the standard one is 180a, the heavy duty is 220a. So if you're not driving with your high-beams, maxing out the interior 110v inverter, and bouncing with the 20 speaker system on max, I don't see any risk here.
3) The larger radiator. This certainly can make a difference. But here's my argument: It's only .3 quarts larger (13.4 vs 13.1q) as far as coolant capacity goes. Further, it's not a transmission cooler. It's just to keep the engine temperature down. Therefore, if you're not towing 85mph on steep grades in 110 degree weather, I'm not seeing this as a risk either.

I'm going to be towing a load approaching 3000lb in a few weeks, but it'll be in temperatures of 30-60 Fahrenheit. Besides being without anti-sway, I'm not anticipating any issues that I wouldn't already be expecting if I had the actual tow package.

Thoughts?
 

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Cooling shouldn't be a problem at those ambient temperatures. What are you towing?

I've towed a 3000-lb utility trailer on many occasions with my 2008 DGC without factory tow package. Load the trailer properly and keep the speed down.
 

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I think breezy hit it correctly. Load the trailer correctly and take your time driving and the towing will be a non issue.
 

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I own a Touring L without the factory tow package. I added an aftermarket CURT Class 3 hitch.

Let's look at the differences individually:

1) The software, while undoubtedly helpful, doesn't increase or decrease any towing capability, other than ensuring the vehicle is more stable during unstable movements.
2) Likewise, the alternator doesn't affect anything about the load. It would help keep the battery topped off during times of constant engine cooling fan use and 7pin electric braking (in addition to the standard vehicle energy use). But again, nothing affecting towing capability. As an FYI, the standard one is 180a, the heavy duty is 220a. So if you're not driving with your high-beams, maxing out the interior 110v inverter, and bouncing with the 20 speaker system on max, I don't see any risk here.
3) The larger radiator. This certainly can make a difference. But here's my argument: It's only .3 quarts larger (13.4 vs 13.1q) as far as coolant capacity goes. Further, it's not a transmission cooler. It's just to keep the engine temperature down. Therefore, if you're not towing 85mph on steep grades in 110 degree weather, I'm not seeing this as a risk either.

I'm going to be towing a load approaching 3000lb in a few weeks, but it'll be in temperatures of 30-60 Fahrenheit. Besides being without anti-sway, I'm not anticipating any issues that I wouldn't already be expecting if I had the actual tow package.

Thoughts?
I agree that the 1500 pound tow rating without factory hitch is likely under rated for a variety of common driving conditions. But it is the manufacturer's stated limit so exceeding this limit can affect future transmission/engine related warranty claims.
These are just thoughts:
1) Consider that without the stability software update the "base" software may not react properly to the added load, both tow weight and tongue weight. This could result in unexpected things happening.
2) The increased alternator output is more likely to support charging of a battery on the trailer, if equipped, and external running lights. Agree, nothing for towing capacity.
3) Some vehicles have the transmission cooler integrated into the radiator. The small increase in coolant capacity could still mean a more significant increase in the integrated oil cooler size.

I suggest installing a transmission oil temp gauge. Then you will know if temps are getting too high. I'd be interested to hear what you get for fuel mileage towing the trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The Pacifica already shows you transmission temp. It is one of the options in list of menu 2 of the center gauge cluster info screen. Since the transmission (gearing) & engine (HP & TQ) are the same in all Pacificas, Shawnee should be fine from that standpoint. However, be aware one assumes warranty, insurance & liability risks when towing over your vehicle's rating.

I've done a fair amount of towing in my Pacifica with a factory tow package, near weight limits, in mountains & flats. Because you can't manually hold a gear in the Pacifica, there is a lot more shifting under load than I want to see in my tow vehicles. This is the main reason why the Pacifica is not a great vehicle to tow with in my opinion. I try to minimize shifting by feathering the throttle to speed up going down hills & slowing down going up to prevent "excessive" shifts. Annoys drivers behind me but in my mind limits wear & tear. As a vehicle with inherent utility capabilities, the lack of software for driver selected gears is an oversight by Chrysler. I read somewhere that the Pacifica tow package take rate is <10%, so maybe I'm an outlier as far as wanting to tow camping & utility trailers with my minivan and expecting a gear selection/holding capability to help me protect my transmission & brakes.
 
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