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Old 07-18-2016, 03:06 PM   #1
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2014 Toyota Sienna with 2014 Flagstaff MAC 228BH

I have to be honest I am totally newbie on trailers. I have no experience at all on towing a trailer or anything.

We just bought a 2014 Flagstaff MAC 228BH two days ago and would like to tow with my current minivan 2014 Toyota Sienna. The 228BH has dry weight of 2240 lbs and Sienna is rated for 3500 lbs towing capacity. I have not tried towing the trailer yet as I need to get the Sienna added with receiver, wiring and brake control done first.

The dealer seems confident my Sienna should be about to towing this trailer well. but after checking some resource online, it seems like the number is just one thing, there are still lots stuffs to consider like road conditions, wind condition, passage weight, gear weight... the more I read the more worry I am having.

Let me lay some facts on where I am and how we are planning for camping. I am living in Calgary AB of Canada where lots of mountain around. There will be mostly 5 persons out for camping (2 adults and 3 young kids 1-6 years old), we will mostly bring one adult bike and two kids bikes and food, drink and other normal camping stuff. mostly likely continuously driving 2-4 hours before having a break.

I am wondering if anyone could advise or have any experience on owing a TT with a minivan. if there is anything I can do to make the towing a little less worry and easier.

thanks in advance, appreciate for your advise.

Andy

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2014 Toyota Sienna
2014 Flagstaff MAC 228BH
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:21 PM   #2
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The tongue weight on a 228BH is high from the factory, and if you add an extra tank or batteries it can climb fast. My 228BH has a tongue weight of over 500 lbs due to two deep cycle series 27 batteries, two filled propane tank.

So, first you need to find the spec (usually on the trailer hitch) for the MAXIMUM tongue weight the hitch can hold safely.

Then need to know the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) (usually on the driver's side door pillar). Then figure out what the actual weight of the vehicle was from the factory (usually can be found on a spec sheet or advertising brochure). Subtract the max vehicle weight from the GVWR and you have the maximum weight you can add to the vehicle such as passengers, food, clothes, dogs and trailer tongue weight.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:43 PM   #3
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your van is loaded to the max as far as payload BEFORE you even hook to the camper. Would be a horrible towing experience and not good on your van. You would want to replace the van with an SUV or crew cab truck to be able to haul the people, bikes and other gear plus be able to tow.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by f5moab View Post
The tongue weight on a 228BH is high from the factory, and if you add an extra tank or batteries it can climb fast. My 228BH has a tongue weight of over 500 lbs due to two deep cycle series 27 batteries, two filled propane tank.

So, first you need to find the spec (usually on the trailer hitch) for the MAXIMUM tongue weight the hitch can hold safely.

Then need to know the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) (usually on the driver's side door pillar). Then figure out what the actual weight of the vehicle was from the factory (usually can be found on a spec sheet or advertising brochure). Subtract the max vehicle weight from the GVWR and you have the maximum weight you can add to the vehicle such as passengers, food, clothes, dogs and trailer tongue weight.
thanks f5moab.
I do not have tongue weight with me as the trailer is in the dealer's shop. but I took some pictures on the spec. the trailer's GVWR is 3132 lbs, dry weight is 2240 lbs, so it seems I can add up to 892 lbs on the trailer which should be more than what I need. one gas tank and other stuff (likes food or drink) in the frige, plus 3 bikes & maybe other stuff in the front deck, I will say up to 150lbs max. so from trailer itself, I do not see any problem.

my only worry is my minivan to towing this trailer, is it powerful enough? considering there will be 5 passengers and other stuff in the car, as well as there are lots of up/down hills when we travel through mountains area. or is there anything i can add to make this minivan towing easier?
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by davel1971 View Post
your van is loaded to the max as far as payload BEFORE you even hook to the camper. Would be a horrible towing experience and not good on your van. You would want to replace the van with an SUV or crew cab truck to be able to haul the people, bikes and other gear plus be able to tow.
thanks for your post.

I have used my van a lot to haul our whole family plus another two adults, I do not see any problem, and from the 7-passenger minivan spec, the cargo weight can go up to 1115lbs which I am sure I am under quite bit.

I understand the additional passenger/stuff weight in the car will probably decrease the tow capacity, which is something I am not really know how much. this is where I am worry about.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:53 PM   #6
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The 3500 lb towing capacity has a note that states "** When adequately equipped, which may require engine and/or other drivetrain upgrades". Which is the factory towing package. Not just being a hitch, but likely a trans cooler and some other upgrades also. Your capacity is likely quite a bit lower since you have no hitch. Payload capacity is 1600 at most. With 5 adults and other stuff in van, you only have a few hundred pounds left over. No where near enough. With the light suspension of a mini van, you will be squatting badly.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ayangch View Post
thanks f5moab.
I do not have tongue weight with me as the trailer is in the dealer's shop. but I took some pictures on the spec. the trailer's GVWR is 3132 lbs, dry weight is 2240 lbs, so it seems I can add up to 892 lbs on the trailer which should be more than what I need. one gas tank and other stuff (likes food or drink) in the frige, plus 3 bikes & maybe other stuff in the front deck, I will say up to 150lbs max. so from trailer itself, I do not see any problem.

my only worry is my minivan to towing this trailer, is it powerful enough? considering there will be 5 passengers and other stuff in the car, as well as there are lots of up/down hills when we travel through mountains area. or is there anything i can add to make this minivan towing easier?
No problem if you see no problem, justremember, as you add weight to that front deck you add weight to the tongue. But it's your trailer, your vehicle.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:51 PM   #8
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Be aware of your setup...

I had a 2003 Sienna with a Flagstaff 227 for 7 years. Drove 4x to Myrtle Beach (3600km round trip) and 2x to Wildwood, NJ (1700km round trip). Usually drove at 120km/h on cruise, stopping only for gas... In retrospect, I might have been a ticking bomb but then again, never had any issues, not even a blow tire.

In the van was me, my wife, two young daughters, the cooler and some luggage. No anti-sway and no WD but I did have an aftermarket trans cooler installed and replaced the tires on the pup after year 5 as they were slick on the outside. Also had the P2 brake controller which worked great in occasional emergency braking situations.

Needless to say that climbing was a challenge but no more than for the 18-wheelers in front of me.

So yes, it's possible but you won't get many approvals here as you'll be over the van's payload no matter how you set this up. To try to compensate, pack the heavier stuff near or behind the pup's axel. It's up to you to decide if you want to do it. But many have already done it, and many continue to do it...
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:11 PM   #9
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Would you be so kind as to let us know which model of the 2014 Sienna you have? Also, did it come with what Toyota calls their towing prep package? We tow a Rockwood 2318G (similar weight to yours) with a 2011 Sienna LE (towing prep package) but have added a brake controller, hitch receiver and Andersen No-sway weight distribution hitch. My wife and I, plus our four kids, 14, 9, 8, and 8, took a 4,700 trip from Ohio to Arizona, Utah, and Colorado this summer. The van was level and averaged 18.9 mpg even with a number of mountain passes. It has plenty of horse power per pound, the most important number and the aerodynamics are quite good as is the low center of gravity. Just make sure that you check the sticker for payload capacity, which is located just inside the driver's side door. Stay below that and each gross axle weight rating, drive smart and you'll be just fine. Be sure to use the shiftable automatic feature and stay out of cruise control. Check out CanAm RV for their discussion of the best tow vehicles, you might be surprised. Best of luck.

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Old 07-18-2016, 08:30 PM   #10
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There is a relatively short thread entitled "towing an A128 with a minivan" in the tent campers section here that describes all the steps you will need to get the Sienna ready to tow. Just search the term; hope you find it useful.


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