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Old 11-24-2014, 07:33 PM   #1
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Need lightweight trailer for family van

I posted this in an existing thread, but thought it might deserve its own thread. We're in the market for a trailer. It needs to be pulled by our 2014 Toyota Sienna, 3,500 lbs towing capacity and 350 lbs tongue weight. We have three small kids, 1, 3, and 5 years old. I was previously thinking between the 184BH and 16XRB, and now became aware of the X17's. I'm wondering if people think it would be realistic to tow either of these with my van?

Also, what are the pros&cons people typically weigh about hybrid trailers like these (comparing the 16XRB and X17s to the 184BH, which is not a hybrid)? I'm not super worried about temperature, since we'll be using it mostly in above freezing temperatures, and we like sleeping in cool rooms, but it would be nice to be comfortable in the evenings and mornings. Do the curtains that block off the beds provide useful insulation, so that everything but the beds stay warm?
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Old 11-24-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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I went from a pop up to a X17Z to a X23F. The biggest advantage of a hybrid over a pop up in my opinion is setting up. It's a wonderful thing not to have to raise the roof anymore. Plus with a hybrid you get full walls and with the beds down you get almost the same amount of airiness. I loved my pop up for the openess of it however I think the hybrids are just as open.

I've seen quite a few small hybrids towed by minivans at the campgrounds I've gone to this year. Just keep in mind, with the young ones there's usually a lot of stuff to haul around and you could be close to your maximum weight limits. Serach toyota's website - I know they state the towing capacity at 3500lbs but you need to determine how that's measured, for example with one driver weighing 150lbs or with 1 driver and 1 passenger, etc...
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Old 11-24-2014, 08:20 PM   #3
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Remember Dry Weight does not include the battery or propane. This could add around 75 lbs. to your tungue weight.
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Old 11-24-2014, 08:21 PM   #4
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Thanks. I should clarify that we are not interested in pop ups anymore. I updated the original post to reflect that. The main question is really about hybrid vs lightweight fully closed trailers.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:13 PM   #5
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If you can only pull 3500, I wouldn't even consider a 184BH. I pull mine with an Xterra that has a 5000 max tow and I wouldn't think of going any smaller with the vehicle.

The advise I got was to take max tow and subtract 2000 and that is what you should look at for the top end weight. So this would put you in the area of 1500 for a trailer.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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Thanks. I appreciate the advice but note that Jayco specifically advertises the 184BH as pullable by minivans, of which the Sienna has a high towing limit. I first saw it on a campground being pulled by an Odyssey, and the owner said he had no problem with it. I think the power of the engine in the xterra must be similar to the 3.5l 266hp 6-cylinder in the sienna, so it must at least to some extent depend on how much you fill the car.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:48 PM   #7
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Don't trust the sales pitch!! I have a 2013 dodge caravan with similar towing specs(3600lbs) and I felt that I maxed out with a fully loaded 12 foot 2012 jayco pop up(me, the wife, 3 and 1 year old and all the food/clothes/toys/bikes to go along. Don't just go by the tow capacity. Consider axle weights and gross combined vehicle weight restrictions. As far as I am concerned, towing safely with my kids in the TV wins over comfort/luxury of a bigger trailer any day of the week.
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Old 11-24-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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If you check what they tow trailers ( caravans) with in Europe you'll see you don't need a huge truck to tow a light weight trailer.

Here's some examples....

http://www.practicalcaravan.com/reviews/tow-car
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:11 PM   #9
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2014 Toyota Sienna

I have a 2014 Toyota Sienna. I have a X19H Hybrid that has a dry weight of #3600. At first glance, many will say that I am overloaded because the stated capacity is #3500. I have done a lot of research on this vehicle and its towing capacity. I have reached out to a few custom towing experts and read numerous peoples' account on towing with this vehicle. I encourage you to do the homework on this and come to your own conclusions. Do not read this post as an endorsement for towing above the 3500# mfr limit. I am simply telling you about my set-up and my experience towing with this vehicle. I spoke to the people at Can-Am RV in Canada (http://www.canamrv.ca/towing/ you MUST watch the Caravan towing a 34' Airstream!) as they do many custom towing set-ups. As stated by them, they have installed the following on many Siennas: Class III Receiver with a Weight Distribution Hitch, P3 Brake Controller and an AirLift 1000 air suspension. The thing you do need to watch is the tongue weight. The X19H is right at the limit, but the WDH helps keep everything level.

A couple quick points that I found on the Sienna. Toyota (and all mini-van manufacturers) state the 3500# limit for a number of reasons, none of which have to do with its capabilities (again, some research you'll see why). The Sienna has the same motor and the same transmission as the Toyota Highlander. The Highlander is rated at 5000#. None of which includes the passengers, the max weight in the tow vehicle includes passengers (according to the manual).

Now, I know that some will say that the vehicles are different in structure. They are, but they are both uni-body construction. The Highlander does not has a truck frame. As Can-Am pointed out, the Sienna actually makes a better tow vehicle due to its wider wheelbase and lower center of gravity. The frame can handle it.

I have been towing our camper all summer on many kinds of roads. It tows very well. On the highway (flat) at 65 mph the rpm is around 2700. I have yet to see the temperature go over the half-way mark. All 2014 Sienna's come with the towing package from Toyota. So it has the transmission and oil cooler right from the factory. But, the brake controller will have to be wired by a professional. The Class III receiver is a bolt on.

I have attached the pictures of the AirLift 1000 Air suspension. This helps keep everything level when loaded up.

Again, understand that you have to make the decision yourself. I am just telling you about my experience with the Sienna. I feel very comfortable towing this camper. I have attached a couple of pictures. One of the AirLift and one of the camper hooked up. Note: This picture was prior to adjustments to the WDH and supension. Once adjusted, I only lost about 1" of height in the rear.
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IMG_20140901_162646943_HDR.jpg   IMG_20140905_181146196_HDR.jpg  
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:33 PM   #10
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Oops. The "dry" weight is 3,320 from JayCo for my X19H. My yellow sticker reads 3,623 for actual.
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