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Old 11-07-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
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Question about transmission coolers

Hi folks. So I own a 2016 Chrysler Town & Country S model. The owner's manual says it is rated to tow 3600lbs. The dry weight of my new travel trailer is 2900lbs.

The vehicle has a built in transmission cooler. I wanted to add an additional third party cooler. My mechanic said there is one he can put in but he is concerned that I will be voiding my warranty if something were to happen and Chrysler saw the vehicle modified. I am still under the original 3 year warranty plus I purchased a lifetime Mopar warranty on the vehicle.

My question is: Do you think the standard equipment on the vehicle is adequate and I should forego putting additional equipment in. How many of you tow trailers this way? Have any of you added third party coolers and then needed to make a claim under the vehicle warranty?

Advice would be appreciated.

Rob
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:38 PM   #2
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That's a tough one. If something happens to the transmission then they could deny your warranty due to the aftermarket modification, but the rest of the warranty would still be intact.

As for the service contract (Mopar Warranty), read the fine print and see if there are any exclusions about modifications done to the vehicle. A lot of times there are.

Having said that, once the RV is loaded and ready to camp, it's going to be past the tow rating of the vehicle. Adding a cooler to the vehicle won't increase the tow rating.
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:50 PM   #3
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I don't believe I will be over the limit. If I have 700lbs leeway to stay within the 3600lb limit, I don't think I will have that much gear. Why do you way I will be over the limit?
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:58 PM   #4
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To begin, the dry weight number refers to the TT as it came off the assembly line stripped down with nothing on it. Add options, batteries, propane and you've already lost a chunk of the 700lbs that you are counting on. Add cargo, passengers, supplies, ect. into your van and you lose additional payload capacity.

Dry weights are ficticious numbers. Use the TT GVWR for more accurate numbers that your van will have to "carry".
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:12 PM   #5
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If you aren't hauling water, you should be able to manage the weight. What you will want to watch is the tongue weight. That 3200# tow limit probably comes with a 320# tongue limit. We bought our first TT last Oct, and the loaded tongue weight on ours surprised me. I would suggest, you load up the trailer, throw everybody in the van that you normally take camping and find a nearby CAT scale. One pass with the trailer hooked up and one pass w/o the trailer will tell you if you are under specs for the Town and Country. Then you can decide what adjustments you need to make.
Until then you are going to get a lot of speculation from the forum gang
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:17 PM   #6
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As HangDiver said, dry weight doesn't include a lot of the necessities such as battery, propane, water, etc., and it's easy to underestimate how much stuff you'll put in the RV to go camping. Also the published dry weight isn't what the unit will actually weigh as it leaves the factory. There will be a yellow sticker on the unit that shows the weight as it left the factory and I bet it's a lot higher than the published dry weight.

If you think a transmission cooler will help you, you could see if the vehicle dealer has one that they can install. That way it shouldn't affect your warranty.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:05 PM   #7
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robbecky, as others have said, you are apparently using fictional dry weights, which are never real world numbers.
Seeing that you bought a E Pro 16bh, I see where you've made the biggest mistake that a aux trans cooler isn't going to help.
That trailer's fictional "dry" tongue weight of 420lbs, already exceeds the max 360lbs tongue of your minivan, with nothing in the trailer.
http://www.forestriverinc.com/produc...elID=3889#Main
And since it's a single axle, it will put more weight on the tongue, once you add the weights of options, a battery, water and cargo.
You've bought a trailer that already exceeds the specs of your minivan.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by robbecky View Post
Hi folks. So I own a 2016 Chrysler Town & Country S model. The owner's manual says it is rated to tow 3600lbs. The dry weight of my new travel trailer is 2900lbs.

The vehicle has a built in transmission cooler. I wanted to add an additional third party cooler. My mechanic said there is one he can put in but he is concerned that I will be voiding my warranty if something were to happen and Chrysler saw the vehicle modified. I am still under the original 3 year warranty plus I purchased a lifetime Mopar warranty on the vehicle.

My question is: Do you think the standard equipment on the vehicle is adequate and I should forego putting additional equipment in. How many of you tow trailers this way? Have any of you added third party coolers and then needed to make a claim under the vehicle warranty?

Advice would be appreciated.

Rob

I have the same year but the Limited model. As others have said the dry weight is fictitious. The TT weighs more than that before you put clothes, food, toys, etc in it. Just a guess I would say it weighs 3100 - 3300 pounds before personal items. You will run out of cargo carrying capacity of the T&C before meeting the combined vehicle weight.

You want to look at the yellow and white Tire and Loading Information sticker located on the drivers door pillar. If yours is like mine the load is 1150#. You need to deduct the weight of the hitch, cargo and passengers from the "Should Never Exceed" limit on that sticker. Then, you need to subtract 10 - 15% for TT tongue weight. Then, on top of that you need to subtract the weight of the personal belongings you put in the front of the TT. Pay attention to bikendan's post (#7).

You are NOT going to like how it handles the weight.

Below is a picture of my Tire and Loading Information sticker. FYI, some T&C's don't have a spare tire. Though mine has a donut spare under the front seats at the centerline.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:52 PM   #9
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Back to the ORIGINAL QUESTION: Wait till you tow it to see how the temps are. Also, go see the dealer, maybe they have a larger cooler as an option already. They might have to install it, but they likely wouldn't void your warranty because of it.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:00 PM   #10
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If you have a lifetime warranty why worry? You will probably be replacing the transmission 2 or 3 times anyway.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:04 PM   #11
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Back to the ORIGINAL QUESTION: Wait till you tow it to see how the temps are. Also, go see the dealer, maybe they have a larger cooler as an option already. They might have to install it, but they likely wouldn't void your warranty because of it.

That's a moot point as the OP's T/V will be way overweight with that TT. Nothing he does will make it work safely. Another problem is the 2016 T&C doesn't allow the driver to monitor transmission temperatures.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:11 PM   #12
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The GVWR of the E-Pro E16BH is 3,920LB; 320LB over your MAX tow rating, which is calculated based on a full tank of fuel and a 150LB driver.

Add more passengers and gear to the van and those numbers count against both your max tow rating and your payload capacity. It looks like your payload capacity is just shy of 1,400LB so you should be fine, the problem is the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is the maximum combined weight allowed and is the weight of the van + trailer combined.

So, you've got some problems, a couple already mentioned.

- The trailer GVWR exceeds your max tow rating, which means you will likely exceed your max tow rating once loaded and ready to go.
- The trailer hitch weight exceeds the van's max hitch weight rating. You're likely to be at 12%-15% of trailer weight on the hitch, which could be 470LB-588LB, up to 288LB or 163% of the rating.
- The trailer's frontal area (drag) of ~55sq ft (only including the box) exceeds the 40sq ft max of the van. Meaning it's really only designed to tow a pop-up trailer.

FWD vehicles have low tow ratings for multiple reasons (you'll find that when a vehicle is offered in both FWD and AWD models the AWD will have a higher tow rating), unfortunately you were led to believe your van was capable of towing that trailer (perhaps because the trailer salesperson doesn't care and sold you on believing the fictional dry numbers being less than your max tow meant you were in the clear) when it was really too much trailer.

Wanting to add an aux trans cooler won't address the other limitations imposed on the van.

I know you came here asking about adding a trans cooler and these aren't the responses you're wanting, but we're just trying to help save you time, money, repairs, and frustration.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:31 PM   #13
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Common mistake in planning.

I bought a 10' popup about 20 years ago that exceeded what my car could tow. The dealer owner called me the next day and cancelled the sale and wasn't happy with her salesman. No way she would let me tow that trailer off that lot with my Honda. The Ford Explorer I bought a couple months later had a towing capacity of 3500 pounds which would handle the 2500 pound trailer and with a $300 optional HD tow package that boosted that to over 5000 pounds. The disappointment of not getting the little trailer was off set by getting a much bigger trailer that season.

Buy your second camper and second tow vehicle first.

Adding a transmission cooler won't increase your towing capacity unless it's part of a HD tow package. Which may be what you have as 2000 pounds is fairly typical minivan towing capacity.

Despite popular belief trailers are weighed when the leave the factory. The empty weight is accurate and is listed on the data plate and perhaps on your title. So much for the "fiction" fiction.

But your trailer won't roll off the dealer's sales lot at that weight as there are no dealer added propane tanks, nor battery, nor water, nor the myriad of stuff that somehow gets in the trailer. In many cases it's difficult to keep the trailer under the GVWR (maximum allowable weight).

Use the GVWR as your planning number for what tow vehicle you need. And remember the maximum towing capacity of that vehicle has only a 150 pound driver accounted for in that weight.

Two simple rules only require 4th Grade Math: 1000 Pound Rule states the trailer should have a GVWR of 1000 pounds less than the max towing capacity of the tow vehicle for minimal acceptable towing. This accounts for passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle without putting everyone and everything in the bathroom scale. Minimal acceptable; you won't be happy. One Ton Rule is similar only you need 2000 pounds difference and you'll be much happier.

As a SWAG the trailer you're considering (hopefully you didn't buy it) weigh 4000 pounds in typical loading. The 1000 Pound Rule states you need a minimum of 5000 pounds max towing capacity if you intend to bring the family and dogs. I'd want 6000.

More than I wanted to type tonight. And all this information is available on the forum for those who care to read.

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Old 11-07-2018, 06:41 PM   #14
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DieselDrax, I have to question where you got the OP's payload capacity is just shy of 1400#. You don't take into account that the max hitch weight for the 2016 T&C is 360#. The tongue weight of his E-Pro E16BH is over 420# before he adds personal belongings to the trailer.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:00 PM   #15
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DieselDrax, I have to question where you got the OP's payload capacity is just shy of 1400#. You don't take into account that the max hitch weight for the 2016 T&C is 360#. The tongue weight of his E-Pro E16BH is over 420# before he adds personal belongings to the trailer.


From the internet, of course. Minivans have decent payload because of their people and cargo requirements but have poor tow ratings. Often times max tow ends up being exceeded before payload when it comes to FWD vans because they’re FWD.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:02 PM   #16
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Chuck S, Chrysler doesn't have a HD tow package for the Town & Country. They have a plain tow package. Even with the tow package you don't get the hitch or trailer connections unless you buy them from the dealer. The vehicles manual is deceptive in that it includes all hitch classes which could lead someone new to towing to think the vehicle is more capable than it is. As it stands the T&C is only good for Class II - Medium Duty (3500# or less) towing with the tow package.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:10 PM   #17
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From the internet, of course. Minivans have decent payload because of their people and cargo requirements but have poor tow ratings. Often times max tow ends up being exceeded before payload when it comes to FWD vans because they’re FWD.
If you read my post (#8) you will see that depends on the OP's options. The "Do Not Exceed" is more likely around 1150#. I'm not sure if his seats are removable, mine are not as they fold into the floor. The middle seats fold down manually. The rear fold at the push of a button. Spent almost a whole day playing with it like a kid when we got it.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:45 PM   #18
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I owned a 2008 Town and Country with the 4.0i believe and my tranny got hot running around Hoover damn loaded with wife one kid and vacation stuff in back
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:39 PM   #19
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Well if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. Today I traded in the van and bought a 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 5.7l V8 hemi. Tow capacity 8500lbs. Didn't want to risk trouble on the road. Thanks for all the great advice.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:25 PM   #20
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Well if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. Today I traded in the van and bought a 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 5.7l V8 hemi. Tow capacity 8500lbs. Didn't want to risk trouble on the road. Thanks for all the great advice.
Awesome! Having the right truck for the job makes such a big difference when towing. Now you'll have to post a photo and make us jealous.

Congratulations!
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