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Old 07-19-2016, 02:11 PM   #21
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Hi,

Just want to share our own experience with a Toyota Sienna. We had a Starcraft Travelstar 19CK (19 feet) 2007, and towing with a toyota Sienna. The trailer was weighing close to 3000 lbs. Our set up was:
1) Proper stab bar to keep the van straight.
2) We added air lift bags.
3) We had battery in front + 2 propane tanks 20 lbs.
4) Proper brake control.
5) We were 3 passengers.
6) Bikes were in front of the trailer, never in the back.

I see a lot of concerns from other Rvers, but frankly we never had any issue. It was pulling very well and safely, and always had plenty of torque to go uphill. At the time Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey were the best vans for towing a trailer. We never had to add a special cooler for transmission as It was said at the time, that the standard transmission is already equipped to tow trailer. No concern on the payload, stab bars will shift some of the weight back to the trailer and 10% of the trailer total weight goes on your pin.

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Old 07-19-2016, 02:42 PM   #22
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I would take to heart what the experts here say. Most started out small and got bigger. Trailer/5ver and tow vehicle. Please don't pay to much mind to someone that has a trailer and van setup like you have.(they will never say it just doesn't work) No one is saying ya gotta have a 1 ton dually just a bigger tow vehicle than a soccer van.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:52 PM   #23
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Please don't pay to much mind to someone that has a trailer and van setup like you have.(they will never say it just doesn't work) No one is saying ya gotta have a 1 ton dually just a bigger tow vehicle than a soccer van.
I would beg to differ. Minivans make great tow vehicles if you stay within their limits. They have plenty of power, a long wheel base, and are well-designed to pull 3500lbs. Frontal area is a concern - I would not pull a full height RV with a minivan even the weights were OK. But that's true of any non-turbo V6.

And most people will admit when their situation is not doing well. My previous PUP (2000 Coleman Westlake) being towed by a 1993 Ford Explorer was a miserable towing experience, in part due to my ignorance. Without the WDH, the Explorer had a very light front end, and the PUP would start swaying consistently at 62MPH. Knowing what I do now, installing a WDH/anti-sway would have been mandatory.

Nothing scared the family more than the tail wagging the dog - PUP swaying and pulling the Explorer tail end with it. That is until I failed to adjust the brake gain correctly, and ran out of brakes on the Explorer in the California Coastal Mountains.

A WDH makes all the difference when towing a flat fronted RV with a relatively soft suspension rear end. I will never tow a camper again with my minivan without WDH. I learned the hard way how much of a difference it makes.

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Old 07-19-2016, 05:10 PM   #24
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Thanks for your input Fred hope it helps the OP.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:07 PM   #25
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towing with a mini van

Sorry for mistakenly posting this as a "Quote".

I pulled a Camplite Pop-up tent trailer with 2 different Seinna's (a 2000 and a 2006) for 8 years. The empty weight of the camper was 2196 lbs. One trip alone was 10,500 miles!!!
The Sienna's had no problem with power, no problem with sway even without sway bars, but Sienna's are built very close to the ground and I often bottomed out with the hitch in bumpy camp grounds and the occasional gas station or driveway. (note that I also did not have a weight distribution hitch). In hindsight, I was probably very lucky not to have had more issues. I would highly recommend a WD hitch with sway bars.
We now have a 2006 FR Surveyor SV210 travel trailer pulled with a 2016 Kia Sorento with a 5000 lbs. tow pkg. We also now have a WD hitch with sway bars that makes towing incredibly easy. If you decide to go with the Sienna...invest in a good hitch. Listen to all the knowledge on this forum, they have a ton of experience that has helped me tremendously.
Have fun camping!!!
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:28 AM   #26
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I'm sure I'm on the edge ... Pulling my 2015 Rockwood 1950 with my Subaru Outback ... About 10 camping trips behind us including several trips up the Cumberland plateau to Fall Creek Falls ... Headed to Camp Gulf soon ... Always careful with what we pack but I'm quite sure I'm pushing the limit ...
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:57 PM   #27
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Appreciated for the advises from all the posters.

I have read through lots of posting in the forums in last two days which taught me a lot. With my current setup without any modification before I am going to have couple times trying, it seems like the biggest concern is I will be over payload limit as per Sienna spec, but I still have lots of room on the trailer's cargo weight, so I need to pack more heavy stuff in the back of trailer axle to reduce the tongue weight which will help the payload situation.

WDH / equalizer & sway control seem very helpful to improve the towing experience and make the towing safer which are in my top list of concerns. I think I will definitely be going to have one installed even though it will add probably additional 75-100 lbs tongue weight which will make the payload situation worse.

I have just confirmed from a local Toyota dealer, my 2014 Sienna has already had tow package preparation which includes transmission cooler.

same as mentioned by one of poster before, after I did a payload comparison between Sienna and common half ton truck, Sienna is not that much behind, which means based on payload capacity itself, lots of actual towing truck on the road will not be safe as well to tow a tent trailer like the one I am having, which makes me feel a little better because I was so worried payload in last two days.

As time goes, the kids get bigger as well as their gears getting heavier, I will have to upgrade the minivan to a true towing truck.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:37 PM   #28
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I had a Coleman Sequoia for 20 years. First year towed with a 1987 Dodge Grand Caravan. No such thing as towing package then. DW and 2 kids. Only problem I ever had was trying to go up the hill on I-70 west of Denver. Had to stop half way up to cool off. Traded the 1987 for a 1992 Grand Caravan. This one had HD cooling and had no problem on I-70 west of Denver. Traded the 1992 for a 2000 Grand Caravan with HD cooling and self-leveling shocks. This one worked very well.

The last 4-5 years, I carried 4 bikes on a towing rack like this one:



You need to pack as much in the TT, rather than the van, as possible, keeping it so it's balanced and keeps your tongue weight from increasing too much. (But be aware: If your tongue weight is too light, it will sway. I learned this when I had the bikes on the rear bumper of the TT; that's why I got the bike rack hitch.)

I know the weight police are cringing!

So if your Sienna has a HD cooling, I'd go for it. You might need something to raise the rear, though. Keep it under 65mph.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:48 PM   #29
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I have a 2003 1940ltd with air and power winch and all the stuff you could add for weight. Dry weight I was around 1700lbs. Not exactly sure what it was weight wise when loaded, never put it on the scales. I would guess we added with full propane and bikes we were at about 2200 or so. We towed that with a 2008 sienna and it does not have a tow pack on it just aftermarket u haul hitch. We bought it with 58000 miles on it. We have put several thousand miles on the camper towing with our sienna and still going strong with 183,000 miles. I still tow my trailer to this day with it. Yes it squats which I have air bags in to help but have never had any sway issues at all. I know I am a under the weight you are at for being loaded but o know the Sienna can handle it. My main concern for you and others around you would be your GVW of the trailer and GVCW together. I feel that would be the limit you would be pushing as a safety stand point. You are under 3218 lbs fully loaded as far as the GVWR for the trailer goes so just pay attention to your numbers as best you can. But as far as the sienna it will be fine.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:26 PM   #30
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ayangch, I think you'll find very quickly that the rear end of your Sienna will sag A LOT which is why I highly recommend the Air Lift 1000 air bags for your rear suspension. In fact, if you try this suspension enhancement you might not need the WDH. Most folks around here that pull a regular popup with a minivan don't use a WDH.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:41 PM   #31
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Just want to add on my previous post, I also had sway bar...very useful and a must. Sienna was a very good tow vehicle when I had It, with company installed cooler transmission...nothing to add on the van other than the towing equipment.





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Old 07-20-2016, 09:19 PM   #32
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ayangch, I think you'll find very quickly that the rear end of your Sienna will sag A LOT which is why I highly recommend the Air Lift 1000 air bags for your rear suspension. In fact, if you try this suspension enhancement you might not need the WDH. Most folks around here that pull a regular popup with a minivan don't use a WDH.

X2 with the air bags! And the rear sagging. Not sure about the WDH I do not use one with my set up.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:14 AM   #33
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ayangch, I think you'll find very quickly that the rear end of your Sienna will sag A LOT which is why I highly recommend the Air Lift 1000 air bags for your rear suspension. In fact, if you try this suspension enhancement you might not need the WDH. Most folks around here that pull a regular popup with a minivan don't use a WDH.
thanks itat, I am considering Air Lift as well, just not sure if Air Lift will be good enough as my understanding air lift will not help that much on the sway. so I would just wait till I have first short trip out and see how it goes and decide which one I should be adding. if there is no big sway concern, I will go Air Lift, but sway does raise big concern to me, I probably go with WDH with sway control. Either one will resolve sag issue, right?
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:31 AM   #34
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Yeah, a WDH should help with both sway and leveling of the van. I didn't have one with my Coleman/Caravans.

Remember, though, that the WDH will add 50-75 lbs to your tongue weight. (Actually, probably 50 lbs less than my bike rack hitch!)
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:40 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by ayangch View Post
thanks itat, I am considering Air Lift as well, just not sure if Air Lift will be good enough as my understanding air lift will not help that much on the sway. so I would just wait till I have first short trip out and see how it goes and decide which one I should be adding. if there is no big sway concern, I will go Air Lift, but sway does raise big concern to me, I probably go with WDH with sway control. Either one will resolve sag issue, right?
I agree that air bags will only marginally help control sway despite what Air Lift says here. They would just help keep the van level keeping more traction on the front axle. However, I still contend that for your small popup sway shouldn't be a problem at all. It'll tuck in nicely behind the Sienna and, being short, it wouldn't be affected by crosswinds or passing semis too much.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:45 PM   #36
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Having used both, I strongly recommend the WDH in lieu of the air bags. The air bags will lift the rear end sag. But there is minimal weight transferred to the front wheels. A minivan gets its handling from having a reasonably balanced load on all 4 wheels. If you have ever put too much cargo in the back end of a minivan, you know what I mean.

I could not believe the difference a WDH makes when I first towed with one. It puts the minivan back to near level, lifts the rear end, and makes the rig drive normally. And when I unhitch my A-frame, my minivan is back to a stock suspension.

Contrary to a lot of beliefs, pop-ups tend to sway easily. They only have one axle (there are exceptions), so there is not nearly the resistance to swaying of a tandem axle trailer. Watch a PUP being towed on the interstate, and watch how many of them are swaying. Not swaying a lot, but they aren't tracking straight, either. In addition to the above, a short single axle trailer lends itself to easily getting the tongue weight out of the range where it should be.

just my experiences
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:53 PM   #37
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Ok, I have brought the trailer back home from dealer. there are couple issues I need to address later I guess.

- As the receiver is very low on the back, I have to use 6" raise hitch to get the trailer leveled. with trailer hitched, the safety chains are already touching the ground due to low position of the receiver as well as sag. I have to use zip tire to shorten the chains.

- The receiver installed on my minivan is Curt class III rated for 3500lbs towing with 350lbs tongue weight or 3500lbs towing with 350lbs tongue weight if WDH is equipped. as per spec, the net trailer tongue weight is 376lbs which is already over the rating without WDH.

a Voyager breaker control has been installed as well. at the way home (approx 20km), there are some up & down hills, I did not notice any sway, the driving was quite smooth and did not notice any lack of power. we are going to have a short camping trip this weekend, I will report any other findings.

Obviously, as mentioned by others earlier, sag is first thing I have to deal with, I was thinking to add air lift as it will level the minivan and it is less expensive, plus I did not have any sway issue yet, but I realize quickly the air lift will not help any receiver rating concern (even though I don't think this will be a huge problem but better to address it if I could, right?). so right now, I am more lean to have a WDH instead of air lift, while again, WDH will add more tongue weight and one of my colleagues mentioned with WDH, it will really hard to back up the trailer or make a sharp turn.

any thoughts? thanks.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:51 PM   #38
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I don't think the tongue weight issue is a show stopper - but that's my personal opinion.


You have mentioned another benefit to either the bags or WDH - stopping the hitch from scraping on speed bumps and the like in the road. Except for really severe dips, I never bottom out with the WDH installed.


I have the Equalizer E2 600/6000 WDH/anti-sway. The Equalizer WDH uses WDH bars that slide on L-brackets mounted on the trailer for anti-sway. It can easily turn or back just about as well as without the bars installed. It will groan - sometimes loudly - as the bars slide in the brackets in low speed turns. There are covers available to reduce the noise that I have never bothered with. The groan as I turn out of my driveway or campsite tells me all is working as designed. No noise above about 30MPH - and no sway, either.


I think the Equalizer sliding bars are much simpler than the chain system WDHs with separate rods for anti-sway. Again, that's personal opinion.


Fred W
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2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:41 PM   #39
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As far as your sag that is your biggest issue for ride quality. No matter what you add to you vehicle to level it out it will never change the Tongue weight rating of your vehicle. Keep in mind it is overloaded from what you have stated. If you exceeding the hitch ratings you may be asking for trouble. Those weights are usually the safe range for the hitch assembly. It's a tuff situation to be in cause I have all the confidence In The world the Sienna will haul it power wise. I know you will figure out the right thing to do. Most will say to get a smaller trailer or a bigger tow vehicle.

As far as a WDH there are many good ones out there. I am buying the blue ox sway pro. Easy hook up compared to others and you buy the complete set up one time and if you ever upgrade your trailer all you have to buy is the trunion bars that's it. The ease of hook up is nice too.

Good luck hope it works out for you. Happy camping and be safe!
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:55 PM   #40
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At first, I only used a round bar WDH that I was given from a friend. It met all my spec. He bought it from etrailer and didn't need it anymore. That set up without airbag, and my back end was dragging, too. And that was only with 300lbs TW. I switched to the blue Ox sway pro and added the air bags. No more low back end.

Like others have already stated, the blue ox had trunnion bars, and you never have to change the head just the bars as we upgrade. And another plus is you do not need to unhook to back up like some other models.

Depending on which hitch you put on, some of the curts mention they are 350lbs w/o WDH and 550-600lbs, (depending on model) with a WDH.

Again get it loaded and then weigh it. You can make necessary adjustment then. You may have to lighten what you pack behind your rear axle.

Let us know how it goes. Have fun and enjoy your new PUP
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