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Discussion Starter #1
We just bought a 2019 heartland pioneer pull behind trailer empty wt is 3100lbs. Im wondering if I should do any modifications to my van to ensure its capable of going across country. Ihave 60k miles on her now. I plan to get some new transmission fluid put in and oil change with mobil 1 syn plus New tires all around. I added a K&n air filter and put in some new ngk laser iridum plugs. I will be using a weight distribution hitch to ease the pressure on the rear suspension. Does the fifth gen T&c need suspension add ons or transmission cooler? I bought a p2 brake controller and a tekonesha wiring harness does the van have a pre wired brake controller input or do I need to wire it up? Thanks for any help! Let me know if you have any experince towing with your van!
 

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I would not tow that trailer with a minivan. I tow a popup, but loaded up it is lighter than that trailer. These vans are spec'd to tow 3600lbs, and that's only if the van is lightly loaded. That travel trailer loaded for a trip, along with supplies in the van would almost certainly be over the van's tow rating.

With the above said, if you do tow with the van, here's what I know from my towing experience. The vans do have a decent transmission cooler from the factory, but given how heavy that trailer is, you may want to add another one. I have added the Timbren SES system to my van, since I don't have a weight distribution hitch and otherwise the factory rear suspension is soft. However, with a weight distribution hitch, I don't think you would want or need to add to the suspension as long as you configured the hitch properly. Finally, you will need to complete the wiring for the brake controller. It involves pulling power and the blue wire from the engine bay into the van and tapping into the brake wire in the driver footwell area. I actually bought the wiring from Chrysler for the everything. Their kit was reasonably priced, and well done. It included some of the wiring needed for the brake controller as well.
 

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I pulled our 3100lb hybrid travel trailer for 6 years, 4 years with a 2009 T&C and 2 years with my 2014 T&C. Even though with 7 occupants and the trailer packed I know we were really pushing the limits of the van (over the limits actually), both vans did incredibly well. This is NOT advocating for going above the rating of the van, just saying that from experience I know it can do it.

The 2009 did not come equipped from the factory for towing. I added the hitch, wiring for trailer and brake controller and a heavy duty transmission cooler. I also changed the factory shocks for a load levelling coil over shock, and added air bags inside the factory coils to help support the rear end. I always used a WDH to ensure adequate weight on the front axle for steering, and to reduce the weight on the rear axle. I even went as far as weighing the van with the trailer at a scale to optimize the WDH setup and weigh each axle. It imperative to set it up properly or you will risk overloading the rear axle.

The 2014 came with the factory tow package. Meaning it had the factory hitch, cooler, 7 way wiring (although brake controller had to be wired into the cab) as well as load levelling Nivomat shocks.

I would STRONGLY recommend you install a transmission temperature gauge. In our 2009 I installed a dedicated gauge from auto meter. In the 2014 I used a ScanGauge II unit plugged into the OBDII port. Having a live readout of transmission temp is critical if you’re at full weight. It allows you to adjust your driving style (gear and speed) in response to the temperature. You will definitely use the manual gear select to keep it from jumping into the higher gears or your transmission will burn up. If I hadn’t had temperature read out, I’m sure I’d have destroyed the transmission on both vans. I would never recommend running blind.

And yes, new tires are important. With that much rear weight, you’ll wear out the rear tires quickly. I experienced that on both vans.


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Good point on the trans temp gauge. Even if you are within the limits on the van, the transmission can heat up if you travel through the mountains. I experienced that on our trip to Yellowstone last year. I used an obd2 reader and torque app on my phone to monitor The temps. Lower gears helped keep the temps down.
 

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We just bought a 2019 heartland pioneer pull behind trailer empty wt is 3100lbs. Im wondering if I should do any modifications to my van to ensure its capable of going across country. Ihave 60k miles on her now. I plan to get some new transmission fluid put in and oil change with mobil 1 syn plus New tires all around. I added a K&n air filter and put in some new ngk laser iridum plugs. I will be using a weight distribution hitch to ease the pressure on the rear suspension. Does the fifth gen T&c need suspension add ons or transmission cooler? I bought a p2 brake controller and a tekonesha wiring harness does the van have a pre wired brake controller input or do I need to wire it up? Thanks for any help! Let me know if you have any experince towing with your van!


I would advise against ATF change, at least for now.

Few, if any, do more heavy duty trailering than me. You are pushing the limits, but don't worry, your vehicle is capable and then more.

Don't mess with your transmission cooling system, OE system is more than capable of doing it's job.

Adding another cooler will:

1.- Add another breaking point.
2.- Restrict air flow, less air will flow through radiator and AC condenser (even before hot ATF start flowing through it).
3.- Little heat removed by the new cooler, will go through the radiator and AC condenser, deafeating the purpose.

Regarding your new spark plugs and air filter, just a waste of money in my opinion.

If your vehicle is not equipped with Nivomats, then you should add some.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ok thanks for the good advice. Where would I find the nivomats. the dealer? I have a odbII reader than can live trasmit the trans temp. Should I manually shift the gear lower when driving at highway speeds or should I just let the car decide what gear to be in?
 

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Don’t go with the Nivomats. You would need weaker springs, and they are also really expensive. The air ride is the best. Inexpensive and easy to install.

Just remember that the air bags don’t transfer weight off the rear axle though. They just raise the rear end. It’s the WDH that re-distributes the weight.


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Ok thanks for the good advice. Where would I find the nivomats. the dealer? I have a odbII reader than can live trasmit the trans temp. Should I manually shift the gear lower when driving at highway speeds or should I just let the car decide what gear to be in?
I just lock mine out of 6th gear...(auto-stick to the left, til you see '5' on the display)

This allows the engine (and therefore the water pump) to spin faster, with less combustion chamber pressures. Both will keep the engine cooler and the rings happy.

It also moves transmission fluid faster, as well as provides lighter loading on the planetary gear sets. Both add longevity and keep temps cool.

60mph, gives me about 2600rpm noise is fine, and you still get torque converter lock up...

Nivomats are really cool...

If you don't have the factory trailer package, look them up on Rock Auto.. (Sachs part# 444240, about $225)

You may want to reinforce the hitch if you will be using weight distribution (you should).
Have someone fabricate a square tube that runs from your receiver forward to the rear suspension sub frame.

The reason for the low trailer weight rating isn't brakes or power, it's the strength of the floor. The hitch can flex the floor if you crank w WD hitch on it...

Can-Am RV in London Ontario use a pair of DGCs as mules to go get trailers at the factories...

https://youtu.be/JjwX6sHwrfE

Their website has interesting stuff on it...


I tow a trailer just like this one on the video...

Stable, comfortable, no sway... And the brakes work...

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Un petit d'un petit S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit Ah! degrés te fallent
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Old French Proverb
 

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Oh I was thinking of adding some load leveling air shocks since they are only 100 bucks. think this is worth it? https://www.autozone.com/suspension-steering-tire-and-wheel/air-suspension-load-leveling-kit/airlift-air-suspension-load-leveling-kit/993886_696491_0
No, buy true self-leveling Nivomats (or Sachs) if in your budget.

Others may recommend other stuff, stay away if you can.

This is the one you need:



And you can use the springs you currently have. If you go from Nivomat to regular, then yes, you need stronger springs.

I often do heavy duty trailering with heavy loads in the van and on the trailer, I know what I'm talking about:




 

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I have one Nivomat that is busted. (Pothole in the winter most likely). Dealer wants $750 for one. Canadian.


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I have one Nivomat that is busted. (Pothole in the winter most likely). Dealer wants $750 for one. Canadian.


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Rock Auto....

295CAD...

They'll ship to you...

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Un petit d'un petit S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit Ah! degrés te fallent
-------------
Old French Proverb
 

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Hi Jdeezy, welcome to the Forum.
A) Your van is capable of towing this trailer, when properly equipped. But, is this your first time towing a full size RV Trailer? If so, you might have a steep learning curve.
B) Yes on WD hitch. You want to get the weight transfer back on the front tires of the van. Timbrens and air bags will not do that for your combination. Comments on WD springbar size https://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/155361-Ways-to-keep-level-under-load/page2
C) Invest in a sway control device. That trailer may be big enough to "steer" your van from wind.
D) Spend time setting up your brake controller. Practice somewhere safe, before your family is in the car. Practice hard stops when no one is around, so you will know how your rig reacts.
E) Your 3.6 is more than capable of hauling this weight and air drag, without engine mods. Get used to spinning the motor between 3000 and 3500 rpm. It will be fine. see comments here. https://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/160313-Learniing-to-tow-a-travel-trailer-with-2013-T-amp-C/page2
F) Watch your trans temp. Either through the EVIC or aftermarket gage (scangage). My 15 never seem to get over 200 with the factory cooler. My 19 saw 220's recently in the mountains of West Virginia and North Carolina on 97 degree days. So I am on the fence on whether to add an aftermarket trans cooler to my 19.

Here are some additional comments for you to read.
https://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/163345-New-to-Towing/page2
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the good reads Ken! So looks like my obd scanner only displays coolant temp. How hard is the dedicated guage setup for tans temp? Does anyone have a write up on it?
 

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Thanks for the good reads Ken! So looks like my obd scanner only displays coolant temp. How hard is the dedicated guage setup for tans temp? Does anyone have a write up on it?
Look into a Scangage

or the Torque app for your phone. This is the reader I use for android phone.
 

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I use Torque with a bluetooth OBDII ELM device. Cheap and effective.
 

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I use ScanGauge II. I have also found that they are extremely good at supporting their product and providing help with the PIDs if you need them. Plus, it provides a continuous display. No need to connect it to the Bluetooth or keep your phone open.


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