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Old 08-11-2015, 10:23 PM   #1
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Is anyone towing with a Chrysler Town/Country?

I would really like to make a trip to Ohio with my A122 and I have a Town and Country extended van with tranny cooler/tow package. I have never tried to make it through the mountain ranges North of Florida. It does do well on long hills of SC though, shifts to lower gear at times. I wonder if anyone else has used a T/C through mountains with an A frame?
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:11 PM   #2
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You haven't said what year or engine package you have. I have a 2011 Grand Caravan with the 3.6 Pentastar and 6 speed transmission, it has no problem towing a T12SC. I can't imagine any T/C built after 2001 having too much difficulty. The 2001 to 2009's would likely have 3.3L engines, you'd have to be generous with the gas to get them up the hills, especially if they are higher mileage engines. But any of the newer models would be 3.6 or 4L engines, much more powerful, and should not have any problem.
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:19 PM   #3
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This is a 2005 extended van with automatic 3.5 liter V6 engine with tow package, tranny cooler with 80 K miles. I worry about driving alone up the long stretches of hills through I-75 in Tennessee mostly. I have driven many times without the A frame, but never with it.
Should I stay in D gear and let the vehicle downshift, or should I drop to first or second gear when I feel it slowing?
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:41 PM   #4
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My 2013 Grand Caravan tows my A frame like a champ,

and your drivetrain should be adequate for the job. The transmission shifts smoothly when required, even in mountains.

My items of concern would be the total weight of the cargo load and the condition of the shocks/suspension. Mountains can be mean if these things are not right.

Have a good trip!
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickrock View Post
and your drivetrain should be adequate for the job. The transmission shifts smoothly when required, even in mountains.

My items of concern would be the total weight of the cargo load and the condition of the shocks/suspension. Mountains can be mean if these things are not right.

Have a good trip!
I added heavy duty suspension in the rear in 2008. Do you shift gears when on steep climbs?
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:10 PM   #6
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Rule of thumb: Leave it in drive most of the time. If it seems to be struggling, go ahead and shift to second until the road levels out, then shift back to drive. The 3.5 engine should be quite capable of towing that trailer up any grade within the spec for interstate highways (6 percent). There are some areas where the grade is allowed to be 7%, but even there I doubt you will have much trouble. Whether you downshift to first or second will depend on your speed, you want to keep the engine RPM in the middle of it's range, neither bogging down nor screaming. Relax, and have a safe and enjoyable trip! PS: what goes up must come down, remember to get your brakes checked!
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:33 PM   #7
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Can I assume it is safe to drop to a lower gear on down hill to help the brakes?
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:21 PM   #8
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Downshifting on the downhill side is good if done correctly. From a safety standpoint, the more you can slow down without using your brakes, the less likely you are to experience "brake fade". There's a lot of variables, wet/dry road, how steep, speed limit, what's at the bottom, other traffic, etc. Basically start the downhill as slow as you can, ease off the throttle, maybe even use the brakes a bit before you start picking up speed. When it begins to pick up speed, downshift. Don't wait too long to downshift, you want to shift into a reasonable RPM range of the engine, you don't want it screaming at maximum RPM and risking a blown engine. You will probably continue to pick up more speed, start using your brakes to control your speed. Don't let the speed build up, even if traffic behind you gets upset. You may want to apply and release the brakes in a rhythm, say 3 or 4 seconds on, 3 or 4 seconds off. This helps keep them a little cooler. Upshift if the engine revs too high and use more brakes. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, and note how the brakes feel. Consider pulling off to the shoulder if it is starting to overheat or the brakes are starting to fade. And plan on filling the trailer water tank when you reach your destination rather than hauling a lot of water up and down the hills.

I can identify with the questions you're asking because it wasn't that long ago I had the same questions. In Ontario, the maximum grade allowed on a highway is 12%, twice as steep as allowed on interstate highways. There is one stretch along Lake Superior that is about 3 miles downhill with a sharp bend at the bottom and Lake Superior sixty feet below on the other side of the guardrail. White knuckles all the way, but starting slow (40-45 mph) and not letting the speed build up it's no problem.

Chrysler has known for 30 years that people buy their minivans and then tow trailers all over North America with them. Your T/C should handle it very well if it is in good mechanical condition (agree with mickrock's post). Very wise to ask questions first, but listen to what the T/C is telling you, watch your speed, think ahead, and you'll be fine. And you said you worry about driving alone... if that is because of the possibility of breakdowns, look up Coachnet...roadside service specifically for folks with trailers or RV's. Have a great trip!
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Old 08-30-2015, 04:25 PM   #9
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if the minivan has a v-6 and the factory tow package, they are a perfect match for an A-frame or popup.

it's the low frontal air resistance that makes them great for a minivan, rather than the frontal air resistance of a full height HTT/TT.
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:27 PM   #10
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As for a brake controller,

I have used the basic Reese Pilot for a few years, and it still works great!

The controller setting of 1.0 works perfect for me.
I think the A122 brakes do not require high power to work good.

As for gas mileage, the computer says I am getting about 21 mpg while highway towing at the speed limits, and with the AC running.

That's fine.
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