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Author Topic: Minivan as TV  (Read 429 times)

gb802

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Minivan as TV
« on: April 03, 2021, 11:08:44 PM »
Hello.  I'm looking to hear some feedback on minivans as TV for the smaller CL trailers.  Next week, we will be taking ownership of a 2012 CL 13BHB.

Our 2011 Sienna AWD is spec'd at hauling 3500#, and the '12 CL is 3000# with 180# tongue (spec, unofficial).

FWIW -- Up until recently I was feeling pretty confident about it.  Now, as the gears are turning (pun intended), and I start thinking about some future winter ski trips, I'm on the fence and would love to hear about y'all's experience.  I am entertaining a Sequoia to replace it, if necessary.

Did I mention we will also be carrying 3 kids and a dog?

Thanks!

DavidM

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Re: Minivan as TV
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 07:52:38 AM »
I think you will be marginal at best. The weight will be close to 3,500 # with gear, food and water. Your total weight- TV + T/T, GCWR is the rating term, will be tight as well. Also what engine does the Sienna have. If it is less than 3 liters then that will be an issue as well.

With a Sequoia you probably won't even know it is behind you.

David

gb802

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Re: Minivan as TV
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 10:45:38 AM »
Also what engine does the Sienna have. If it is less than 3 liters then that will be an issue as well.

Hi David.  Thank you for this feedback.  It is helpful.

The Sienna has a 3.5L V6

Merlin

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Re: Minivan as TV
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2021, 04:43:42 PM »
IMHO, get a Sequoia. I believe the limitation will be the rear suspension of the Sienna. You need to get some tongue weight on the hitch to avoid serious trailer sway issues (180 lbs is not enough) and that, plus luggage, 5 people and a dog and the Sienna will struggle to control the weight. I think all that will lead to unpleasant towing. As David mentioned, with the Sequoia it will be a no-drama breeze to tow that camper and haul the people, dogs and stuff.

If you get the hitch set up perfectly and only plan on short trips to local campgrounds, you could try the Sienna first and see how it goes. The AWD Sienna is a nice family hauler for everything but towing, so you’ll just have to decide how much towing you’ll be doing.
Michigan

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Re: Minivan as TV
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2021, 11:37:11 PM »
Tow ratings generally (and especially with anything other than a full sized truck) assume a 150# driver and 35# of luggage. No other passengers or cargo, which if you add it, comes directly out of the cargo capacity with you will then blow by not having enough capacity for the tongue weight, even if the GCWR hasn't been blown yet (which is a big "if").

TANSTATMTV

tilliejacques

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Re: Minivan as TV
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 12:52:26 PM »
I used to have an '05 Sienna XLE AWD and while I loved the vehicle, I don't think I'd want to really try to tow anything with it.  It's wonderful for moving people around but adding tongue weight to your cargo load as well as skis and clothing for five people (assuming the dog doesn't ski  ;D) and I bet you'll be overloaded.

Since the Sienna engineers put in a dial to lower/ raise the headlight height, I figured they weren't counting on the rear suspension to keep level when fully loaded.   :)

While we sold the Sienna a few years ago (amazingly got above blue book after 11 years because of all the features it had!), we recently bought a Sequoia for towing our CL 14DBS.  We had a '17 Jeep Cherokee that was -just- capable of towing the 14DBS but between problems the Jeep started having and not enough towing comfort margin, we decided to change.  I found the Sequoia to be happily quite a bit like the Sienna inside!  Window shades in the rear, dash config, how the seats work, the plethora of cup holders... 8)   ;D

If you do look for a Sequoia, I heartily recommend the Platinum trim level as it has rear air suspension that can help level out tongue weight.  Many of the towing reviews I read about the Sequoia complained about the rear sag but they were all testing the SR5 or TRD  trim level which do not have the rear air suspension.  The reviews also complained about how "old tech" and "out of date" the Sequoia is, but the used 2018 we bought has all the safety things like our Jeep did (blind spot, lane departure, etc) and having a tried-and-true engine and transmission were a huge selling point to me. 

For you with 3 kids, it may be a drawback that the Platinum only has captains chairs with console in the second row, so your third will always have to sit in the third row.  But, since I grew up sitting in the middle of a bench seat in a station wagon, I would've far preferred a third row so maybe that would work out for you. 

Before I tout the Sequoia too highly, I guess I should add that you should closely look at its cargo capacity and wheelbase to compare against your kids' future growth and possible trailer upsize.  Other possibilities for you might be a Ford Expedition Max, I think it's called, with a longer wheelbase or something specifically designed for towing.  Or the old standby Chevy Suburban 3/4 ton.  Both of these were too long to fit in our garage, along with every pickup I could find, so I didn't look at these too closely. 

whew, maybe TMI but hope this helps

cheers
Me and AZcamper1 and a dog named Zelda