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Author Topic: Pulling with an '02 Chevy Venture  (Read 6200 times)
baysideguy
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« on: October 27, 2010, 04:57:31 AM »

My F.I.L. just bought a Wolf Pup made by Forest River. Apparently they boast the fact that they can be pulled by small SUV's or Minivans. He has an '02 Chevy Venture without the Tow package factory installed.
The dry weight of the Trailer is 2400 Lbs. and the Dry Tongue weight is 306 Lbs.
There are also 3 water tanks: 50 Freshwater, 41 Grey water and 31 Black Water.
I don't know the capacities of his van but I think he is probably over the limits.
Does anyone know the specs on the Chevy Venture?
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 05:13:06 AM »

My reply is here.

Very scary! Shocked
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 05:35:00 AM »

http://www.ownersmanualsource.com/chevrolet/chevrolet-venture-owners-manuals/

Section 4 (4-34) 'Towing a Trailer'

page 4-36 "Weight of the Trailer
How heavy can a trailer safely be?
It should never weigh more than 1,400 lbs. (630 kg)
with up to six occupants in the vehicle or more than
2,000 lbs. (900 kg) with up to two occupants. If you
have the optional trailer towing package, your vehicle
can tow up to 2,900 lbs. (1 300 kg) with up to
six occupants or up to 3,500 lbs. (1 575 kg) with up to
two occupants. But even that can be too heavy.

The 'Loading Your Vehicle' section is informative!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 05:39:06 AM by rabird » Logged

techntrek
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 07:48:17 AM »

Same reply I made on that other thread:

I had a Chevy Venture.  They are rated 3500 lbs, 350 hitch weight.  Pulled my pup (loaded close to those specs) just fine.  In fact, I had fewer issues with sway with that van because the distance from the rear axle to the hitch ball was shorter than my Sienna that replaced it.  Don't get me started on the Venture... they all (and other Chevys that used the same engine) had a problem with the lower intake gasket.  You are lucky to get more than 50k miles before it blows, and don't expect more than 100k before it dies.  I caught the problem on ours quickly, at around 60k but it had done enough damage that around 94k it threw a rod.  I've talked to others that didn't catch the problem and the engine was no good once it was discovered.  Google it for more info.

As for towing a full-height trailer, you may have an issue.  We have the FR R-pod, about the same weight as the Wolf Pup.  Our Sienna has more power than the Venture and does great up to 50 mph.  Above that you run into a brick wall due to wind resistance - many many others with 'pods with all different types of vehicles experience the same thing.  I expect that with less power the Venture will be no good on the highways.  Ours is barely good enough on long uphills.
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phil-l
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 08:10:42 AM »

Interestingly, a similar topic came up recently for an '02 Pontiac Montana - which is a mechanical twin to the Venture. Take a look at this discussion for more info:

http://www.popupexplorer.com/forum/index.php?topic=81340.0
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 08:12:38 AM by phil-l » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 08:22:52 AM »

Interestingly, a similar topic came up recently for an '02 Pontiac Montana - which is a mechanical twin to the Venture. Take a look at this discussion for more info:

http://www.popupexplorer.com/forum/index.php?topic=81340.0

'Though in that discussion the OP was intending to tow a low profile Bayside popup with his Montana ... in this case the OP's FIL has just purchased a Wolf Pup by Forest River which isn't a popup but rather a full height hard side trailer - which model we don't know because the OP never told us.  Nonetheless, there's a BIG difference in wind resistance between towing a low profile popup and any full height trailer, no matter it's length or gross weight.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 08:24:49 AM by Oz and Us » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 08:40:00 AM »

We towed a pop-up of around that weight, loaded, with the same generation of minivan.  I wouldn't characterize that van as a stellar performer but it did ok for towing, although it liked to throw a CEL when we towed and the temps used to climb quite a bit.  That's with a pop-up, not a full height travel trailer.  Having said that, I've seen these vans pulling small TTs so it appears it can be done.  The van will have a 2,500 lb. maximum tow rating without the tow package, 3,500 lbs. with.

The weights you describe would appear to put them over the capacities of the van, by how much depends on how they load it up.  If it's just two people and they are reasonable with their loading and use a good hitch they might be ok, but I'd scale-verify all weights first to understand the situation.

IIRC the owner's manual for those vans doesn't provide any square-footage limitations for towed vehicles but we owned ours almost seven years ago, so my memory could be faulty.  I have a great memory, but it's short.  Smile
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 08:42:16 AM by Geodude » Logged

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baysideguy
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 08:44:26 AM »

Sorry for Double posting.

I am assuming that it is the 16P for the sake of this thread. It's the smallest one. The dealer has 2 models( 16P and 17P)
I have not spoken to him yet. I wanted to get your opinions before I give him the bad news
I may have a word or two with the dealer if I find that he was instrumental in convincing my F.I.L.

He does have a hitch but it was installed after purchase.

Ian
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 09:32:30 AM »

I am assuming that it is the 16P for the sake of this thread. It's the smallest one. The dealer has 2 models( 16P and 17P)

Here are the Wolf Pup floor plans for anyone interested.  Actually it looks to me like the T16B is the smallest model ... amazing what the manufacturers are now doing with these smaller trailers, especially the use of a true Murphy bed which is showing up in a number of other Forest River trailers. Tongue
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 09:36:22 AM by Oz and Us » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 01:38:08 PM »

Sorry for Double posting.

I am assuming that it is the 16P for the sake of this thread. It's the smallest one. The dealer has 2 models( 16P and 17P)
I have not spoken to him yet. I wanted to get your opinions before I give him the bad news
I may have a word or two with the dealer if I find that he was instrumental in convincing my F.I.L.

He does have a hitch but it was installed after purchase. Ian

the 16P will weigh about 3000lbs. with options and battery. that's before cargo, propane and water. the dry tongue weight of 306lbs. will be much more loaded and adding options.
sounds like the Venture doesn't have the factory tow package, which will give it the 3500lbs. rating. but that's with only a 150lb. driver. anything above that, in the Venture, has to be subtracted from the 3500 number.
having just an aftermarket hitch, doesn't mean it's equipped for towing a full height trailer.
could be an 1 1/4" hitch, instead of a 2" hitch. no pre-wiring for a brake controller, no trans cooler and no 7-pin connector.

if they only do local camping, he might be marginal. but with passengers and moutains, that Venture will be dead, quickly.
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baysideguy
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 05:11:45 AM »

I spoke to my F.I.L last night. The dealer convinced him that it could be done and he went so far as to say that he doesn't need a transmision cooler. I asked him if the dealer mentioned anything about a WDH but that topic never came up either. Very scary.

My Brother in law spoke to him yesterday too. Basically told him the same thing I did. He's starting to come around. He has the means to purchase a new TV if need be. He doesn't pick up the wolf until the spring so we have lots of time to convince him.

I convinced my F.I.L. to take the van and the specs to Van & Truck world and have them look at it. 

It's amazing what these dealers are willing to do to sell a trailer....

 
 
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 05:40:45 AM »

I convinced my F.I.L. to take the van and the specs to Van & Truck world and have them look at it. 

It's amazing what these dealers are willing to do to sell a trailer....

"Many times I've seen an xxxx van like mine pulling a yyyy trailer about the size of mine and it seemed to do fine ... I even talked to the driver and he said it towed fine".

"Well, the dealer said I'd be fine".

Yeah, right. Dead  There's not been a camping trip yet that we've taken where I've not seen examples this exact mentality on display - inadequate / inappropriate towing setups - out on the highways and in the campgrounds.  As far as the driver is concerned "it tows fine" but the reality is the numbers don't support the claim, with the truth of the matter being that very few of these people have actually weighed both their trailers and TV's, crunched the numbers, or have even the faintest idea what they're running.  All they think they know is "it tows fine" ... clearly the phrase "ignorance is bliss" still reigns supreme when it comes to the subject of towing. Shocked
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 09:53:15 AM »

To play the devil's advocate  Evil ...  I'm confident that all of the specs for any make or model vehicle are comfortably padded.  For instance, I bet a 3500 pound tow rated vehicle was really designed by the engineers for 4000 pounds, plus a small amount above that to account for the quality range of all the parts (one batch of steel is good for 4200 overall, the next is good for 4150, etc).

All so when Bubba sues, and says "my camper weighed 3500 pounds when I lost control, its due to your bad design", carmaker X's lawyers put their engineer on the stand.  Engineer X lets the jury know that Bubba's TV was designed to 4000 pounds, a comfortable margin above 3500.  Case dismissed.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 11:33:17 AM »

To play the devil's advocate  Evil ... 

You certainly are........but I've never understood this train of though except if you allow that the manufacture will not allow this vehicle to have a catastrophic failure if it is a "little" over it's advertised design limits.  Most manufactures are generous IMVHO about their tow capacities as it is, hence why shortly most of the major manufactures of trucks will start to rate their vehicles on a equal playing field based upon a set list of criteria.

A week ago I was up at Pinery for the Halloween weekend and NEVER have I seen as many unsafe, overloaded, mismatched setups in one place at one time in my life!  You know what?  I've given up preaching to them as well and just make sure they are either way in front of me or more than likely way behind me as I head home.  When you have no other frame of reference besides the opinion of others the fact you made it out and back home again tells these people everything is fine  Disapprove  Ignorance truly is bliss.
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 12:46:46 PM »

Not even a tranny cooler?  That's amazing.  I'm sure the transmission on that would be suffering after one decent trip.
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