Towing boat with Dodge Caravan

Messages
583
Location
Omaha, NE USA
I am purchasing a boat from a good friend of mine and I am undecided as to what to tow it with. It is a 14 foot welded aluminum boat and trailer. I do not know the weight for sure. Luckily he has a truck and will deliver it here for me. I am trying to decide whether to put a hitch on our Caravan or if I should buy a truck to pull it with. Our Caravan is a 2005 short wheelbase with the 3.3 liter V-6. I would not be taking the boat very far. At most- 50 miles of relatively flat ground. I have had regular transmission fluid changes and my van is in great mechanical shape right now at 117k miles. The van is our daily driver and I don't want to ruin it. Normally I would not jump into buying a boat without having this figured out, but this boat has some sentimental value and I don't want to miss out on it. Would it be a bad idea to tow this boat with the van?
 
Messages
14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
You should be fine. A 14' jon boat with aluminum trailer probably won't weigh more than 1,000 or 1,500 pounds. If I recall correctly, the Caravan is rated to tow 1,800 pounds without the trailer tow prep group (which wasn't available on the shorty vans) or 3,800 pounds with the trailer tow prep group.
 
Messages
36,465
Location
ME
Go for it! You must be able to find a scale somewhere. Also look at the tongue of the trailer for weight info, axle capacity etc. When you register boat and or trailer you might find out more about it.
 
Messages
6,638
Location
South Florida
That is not much of a load. Your van "should" do fine. With that being said, you can usually find a beater V8 truck or V8 Ford Econoline van to tow your boat for $700-1000, if you are worried about wear and tear on your van. The good thing with buying a beater is that you wont really loose any value when it is time to sell it. Buy it for $1000, sell it 3 years later for $1000 when you no longer need it.
 
Messages
9,741
Location
Ontario, Canada
My buddy used to tow a 16' Al boat with a Yaris. No issues, but it was a manual so running up a long hill in 4th or 3rd wasn't hard on the trans or really even the motor. You might have to manually lock OD out for a particular grade that has you cycling in and out of OD. 4 or 5 minutes in 3rd won't hurt the van a bit. That's 90% of the utility of the tow button in my Dads F150.
 
Messages
2,772
Location
NYC
Originally Posted By: Bud_One
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
I would put a transmission cooler on that van before towing the boat.
+1
+2
 
Messages
5,722
Location
Charlotte, NC
I've towed with my 89 turbo Caravan and my 94 Plymouth GV. Cars on a dolly and small trailers. Not a problem. If you don't have an external transmission cooler, then add one. Absolute necessity.. Wayne
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
When you tow the first couple of times use an IR temp gun. You can by one for about $50-75. Try Harbor Freight. I have one and have checked the temps of all kind of things. Just point and shoot. For a BITOG devotee it could actually be called a toy gun.
 
Messages
9,741
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
Oh it will tow it just fine. Wait to you go to pull it out of the water. Post pictures.
Eh, its a little boat, you can pull it onto the tailer with out getting tail lights wet if you want too... No need to back way down there. We also thought about dragging the trailer to the car using the winch, but we never had too.
 
Messages
2,298
Location
Michigan
That is entirely dependent on the ramp and the level of the water. Some of them can get real slippery too. The best time you can have on the lake is by the boat ramp.
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Eh, its a little boat, you can pull it onto the tailer with out getting tail lights wet if you want too... No need to back way down there.
 
Messages
159
Location
North TEXAS
Two guys could carry that boat. WITH trailer less than 500lbs total (far less weight than filling every seat in your van). Could pull it with a tricycle. You don't need ANYTHING unless you are going to fully load your van, and then pile tons of heavy stuff into the boat.
 
Messages
2,298
Location
Michigan
And what do you think is going to happen? One of those big blue coolers, filled. PFDs for all, tackle... Plus you have the drag of the trailer through the water, the exhaust pipe will be under water and an algae covered ramp. Good times.
Originally Posted By: oldoak2000
You don't need ANYTHING unless you are going to fully load your van, and then pile tons of heavy stuff into the boat.
 
Messages
938
Location
MO
Originally Posted By: oldoak2000
Two guys could carry that boat. WITH trailer less than 500lbs total (far less weight than filling every seat in your van). Could pull it with a tricycle. You don't need ANYTHING unless you are going to fully load your van, and then pile tons of heavy stuff into the boat.
This. I see guys at copart buy wrecked economy cars towing vans and cars behind them from St. Louis to Texas/Mexico all the time. An aluminum boat doesn't weigh anything. When I was little my dad towed our 16' fiberglass bass boat with an 88 Olds with the Quad 4 engine and absolutely zero mods. I'm sure the braking was a little weak but we never had an issue.
 
Messages
9,741
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
And what do you think is going to happen? One of those big blue coolers, filled. PFDs for all, tackle... Plus you have the drag of the trailer through the water, the exhaust pipe will be under water and an algae covered ramp. Good times.
Originally Posted By: oldoak2000
You don't need ANYTHING unless you are going to fully load your van, and then pile tons of heavy stuff into the boat.
Two of us could pick up the 16' Al boat with the 9.9 on the back if we had too. Its like 350-400lbs... We just used some common sense and never had an issue.
 
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