New PUP as of 10:00 CST 2/17/07 - HELP

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mnpackfan

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Posts
4
Well, I did PUP camping when I was a kid but other than that I'm pretty clueless.  I've enjoyed reading the postings but still need some help:

My PUP is a 2001 Coleman Bayside Elite.  Looks great and person said it has about 20,000 miles on it. We bought it site unseen as a friend checked it out for us.  Could not pass on the deal.

The GVWR is 3300.  I'm currently driving a 2002 Town and Country without tow package.  What will the van need need? I read the listing farther below where the person talks about new shocks and all, do I really need that or is it over kill?
  ~ from what I read I need the wiring harness, antisway and equalizing hitch - is this correct? is this all?
  ~ do I go through Chysler or do I get something else (cheaper and/or better)?
  ~ is this (or are these) things I can install?  I'm not much of a mechanic but I can do nuts and bolts :)

Do PUPS have antisway?  We have not picked up the camper yet, but owner says it has flag (or flay) control.  What's that?

Anyone have experience with the bayside elite?  We are going into this BLIND - should be a fun adventure :)





 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,535
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
You are probably at or maybe slightly beyond your Town & Country's tow capacity. Check your owner's manual under Towing to see what Chrysler says is the maximum trailer weight, but be prepared for a number of 3000 lbs (maybe as much as 3800 with the trailer towing package).  That max weight assumes only a driver and fuel in the van - if there are passengers and gear onboard, you have to subtract their weight from the max trailer weight. Expect performance to be weak, especially on hills, and be very cautious in winds or rain.

You need a hitch receiver and a ball hitch to insert into it. The ball size will vary with the trailer, so find out what size ball is needed before you go. Odds are it is 2 1/8 or 2 1/4 inch diameter ball, but find out.  You also need a brake controller for the trailers electric brakes and wiring for the trailer's tail, brake and turn signal lights. Find out what type of connector the trailer uses so you can have a matching one installed on the van. It is probably either a 7 pin or 6 pin round plug.

Since you don't already have a trailer towing package and will be towing at the van's outer limits, you should be probably have a transmission oil cooler installed (it would be part of the factory tow package). That will help cool the automatic transmission when towing and help avoid a burned out transmission.

You can get all this done competently at a local trailer hitch shop - look in the Yellow Pages. Chances are a Chrysler dealer would send the car there anyway and merely charge you a 20-30% premium for the service.  None of this work is especially difficult, but if you've never done a hitch and trailer lighting before, you may find your first experience challenging. But if you could find a friend with some experience to guide you, it is certainly a reasonable driveway mechanic's job.

I have to say what you don't want to hear: this is really more trailer than you should be towing with a minivan. Start looking for another van or SUV with more towing capacity. You should have a tow rating of at least 4000 lbs for this trailer, to allow for some passengers and gear in the van and a bit of safety margin on the performance and handling. It's your family's safety and enjoyment that is at stake here.
 

mnpackfan

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Posts
4
Not good - I looked in the Town & Country manual and read that it was 6,600 lbs.  Now I see that is combined weight.

I have yet to send payment for the camper and I'm not sure what to do, tomorrow we will see what kind of deal we can get trading in the van for an SUV - I hate buying cars.

Other option is to forget the camper and either keep tenting it or get a smaller camper.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,535
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
If the dry weight of the Coleman is down around 2500 lbs or so, you can get it home OK and work on the new vehicle later. But then you spend a lot of money on a hitch etc. for the minivan and lose most of it when you trade vehicles. Not all of it, but a good chunk.  Is there perhaps a friend who would pick it up for you?  You could also get a local RV delivery service to make the run - most any local dealer would probably have the name of somebody who will move a trailer around for a moderate fee (depending on distance, of course).

From what I can see online, the dry weight of this very nice PUP is around 2600#, depending on options.
 

dingodog

New member
Joined
Jul 4, 2006
Posts
4
I had a Grand Caravan with tow package and the max tow rating was 3800lbs and that included 2 passengers and their luggage. Trailer brakes (and brake controller) are a must and you'll likely need WDH. Just make sure to keep the PUP under 3300lbs and don't expect to race up any hills. Would you do better with a more powerful tow vehicle, of course. But I think you can work with the one you've got.
 
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