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Trailer Experts: Could a Minivan Pull A 2-Horse Trailer....

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  • Trailer Experts: Could a Minivan Pull A 2-Horse Trailer....

    ...before you jump on that...read the REST of the question!! ...IF the trailer is EMPTY?? I would usually be able to borrow my brother's truck (and ALWAYS for moving a horse!!!!!), but the truck needs some fixing (tail lights, new tires, inspection -- nothing major, but my brother said he'd get to it in *a few weeks* -- and I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'm just grateful he's willing to lend the truck! ). I am considering a trailer for sale and was wondering if I buy it, would I be able to get the trailer home with a minivan?

    If not, I'll pass on the trailer ad I saw and try to stay OFF the blasted trailers-for-sale sites until my brother's truck is fixed!! OTOH, that ad *is* tempting to follow up on--!

    And yep, I've looked into renting a truck to tow a trailer home with, but Uhaul, etc., apparently don't rent trucks for towing trailers (unless you rent one of their storage trailers).

    The minivan is a Dodge Grand Caravan 3.8L, V6, wheelbase 119 in., FWD. BUT, it does NOT have a tow package, it would need an after-market hitch installed. Does that change the equation (presuming it's even a possibility in the first place!)?

    Nope, don't have the trailer YET, so I don't have specifics. Other than I'm looking for a two-horse, bumper-pull.

    What if it's a light-weight trailer like a Brenderup, could the van tow that? I did see a couple of Brenderup ads (still 2-horse BPs) that I might be interested in.

    Enable me? Or Not, if it's not a safe option!

    Proofreading is your friend.

  • #2
    Surely there's somebody else you could borrow a truck from! Or you could pay the seller to haul it to your house/barn- presumably they have a proper vehicle. I wouldn't haul any trailer with a minivan.


    • #3
      Instead of wasting $200 to get a hitch installed on the mini van that you'll never ever use again....just find someone who'll take the $200 to haul the trailer home for you.


      • #4
        Well, just for the record--when I was a kid (back in the dark ages), my Dad used to move our trailer around (on our property only!) with ... our garden tractor.

        I had some friends who hauled a plain vanilla two-horse with a Chevy Astro van; probably still more substantial than your mini-van. They are still alive.

        How far would you have to move the trailer? The inspection is an issue, but I don't see a bad tail light on the truck or older tires being a total non-starter for a one-time, empty, short haul. Unless the tires are really bad.
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.


        • #5
          Be aware that the $100-200 hitch you'd get installed somewhere like U-haul does *not* include a brake controller. Those are more expensive. (Of course, with a Brenderup that's a nonissue since they're supposed to have their own closed braking system.) Also be aware that a V-6 anything that doesn't have a heavy suspension (in other words, an oversized car like a minivan) is going to have a lot more wear-and-tear than an appropriate vehicle.

          I agree with the sentiment to spend the money you'd use on a hitch to get the trailer hauled.


          • #6
            Goforagallop has the best idea. Really she does, listen to it.

            If that is not an option, make sure you get a frame attachment for the hitch not a bumper attachment. and then you can pull an empty trailer with a minivan. I would not pull it on a interstate though.


            • #7
              From an OTR trucker who has seen all sorts of 4 wheeler accidents, don't do it, even for a short hop and empty to boot. Take the $200 and pay to have it hauled home. I've seen U-Haul p/u's pulling trailers. Maybe it's a regional thing?
              GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


              • #8
                Don't do it! The risk outweighs the benefits on that one. Spend the money on someone to haul it over for you instead of adding and after market hitch.

                Also, I'd actually try to steer clear of B'ups... I've heard they're very, very flimsy in an accident and the thought of that scared me off good.
                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                • #9
                  The lack of transmission cooler alone is a deal killer. Ask yourself if you're in the financial mood for a $2500 transmission rebuild. Even minivans that are rated to tow are generally rated such with the assumption that you have a tranny cooler. And a traditional 2-horse bumper pull, even empty, is going to put hundreds of pounds of tongue weight on your hitch. Not good for your suspension system.

                  I wouldn't do it. If you are serious about borrowing your bro's truck, pay someone else to haul your new trailer home for you.

                  And if you are serious about making your minivan a tow vehicle, Brenderup or Fautras would be potential options. You'll still need a tranny cooler, and you'll have to be careful to stick with places where FWD will be good enough. You've also probably only got 3500 lbs of tow capacity, and if that's the case, you'd probably be limited to hauling only one horse at a time. In which case you might as well look at the Brenderup one-horse models. The Brenderup trailer weights are listed here:
                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                  • #10
                    I think you *could* do it. But the cost of adding a hitch and a brake controller to a van you'd never use again may not make sense. The last time I had hitch & controller put in a truck, it was a good $300.

                    Ask someone to bring the trailer home. Ask the current seller if maybe he'd deliver it to you for a fee? Ask your horsey friends if they'd do it? Or, if all else fails, rent a tow vehicle.
                    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                    • #11
                      Agree with everyone, but if you really want to haul with your minivan, Brenderup would be the only trailer I would consider.

                      I had a Brenderup that I hauled with my minivan, and on the flat (minimal hills), I was really pushing it. I hauled it full of furniture through the mountains of West Virginia and that was one of the scariest things I've ever done, bar none. I would never have hauled a horse in that trailer with the minivan through the mountains - I could barely get up to 55 miles per hour, and was scared to death driving DOWN the mountain. I know what the literature says, but I wouldn't do it.
                      "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                      So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                      • #12
                        Get someone esle to haul it for sure.

                        I like the theory of Brenderup's for short hauls - would NEVER use one on the interstate or if I lived somewhere hilly.

                        You get 2 stories on Brenderups IMO - people who have them and LOVE them, and people who don't have them and thing they are an abomination. I am sure accidents happen, but accidents also happen with regular horse trailers.


                        • Original Poster

                          Yeah, well, it was a thought. Sigh. But I don't want to ruin my van, nor have an accident.

                          Nope, don't know anyone with a truck besides my brother and the BO, but I wouldn't ask to use my BO's truck, she uses it all the time.

                          The ad I've been looking at is for a vehicle quite a long way away, so if I can't haul it myself, either with the van or by renting a truck, it's probably really not feasible.

                          Darn!!! And I've been absolutely drooling over that ad.... Ah well.....

                          Originally posted by Far_North_Equestrian View Post
                          I like the theory of Brenderup's for short hauls - would NEVER use one on the interstate or if I lived somewhere hilly.
                          Do you mean with ANY type of tow vehicle? You don't think a Brenderup is safe on interstates or hills? Hmmmm.
                          Proofreading is your friend.


                          • #14
                            I would worry more about whether you could STOP the trailer, than if you could pull it! EEEEK!!


                            • #15
                              I took this picture in Oct 2008, along a major highway in France.
                              It's not wonderful, because I took it through the windshield of the car I was driving, but ...

                              Perhaps a car can haul an empty trailer ... when I was young, we hauled all over Chester County with an old Ford something or other, and we live on top of the highest point in the county.
                              Attached Files
                              Mal:This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then .... explode


                              • #16
                                Mini Van's are unibody, not a full frame vehicle like back in the day when the family station wagon was an all purpose vehicle. Unibody's are not designed to haul. Please, please hire someone to drag it home for you.
                                "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"


                                • #17
                                  SoEasy, that car looks like a big ol' diesel Mercedes, which would be pretty acceptable. Did you have a better angle showing that it's an itty-bitty Ford or something similar?
                                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                                  • #18
                                    How about renting a U-haul truck and trailer and just unhooking the trailer?
                                    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Altag View Post

                                      The ad I've been looking at is for a vehicle quite a long way away, so if I can't haul it myself, either with the van or by renting a truck, it's probably really not feasible.
                                      How far is far? I went to look at my trailer that was five hours away. I saw it, liked it, and right then and there said "Hey, if I give you full price cash and pay for gas, will you tow it down for me?" (We didn't have our tow vehicle set up yet, and it was our first trailer, so a six hour ride wasn't on the top of our to-do list!)

                                      The guy was a long-distance trucker, so used to driving, but he was also just a nice guy and wanted to sell his trailer, and we were offering full price plus a little more. It was worth his time to bring it down one evening.

                                      Also, as other's said....it doesn't sound like the issues with your brother's truck are that major. The expired inspection is a $100 ticket, I think, if the cop actually bothers to write it out. Or, just take it to be inspected on the way up...even if it fails, you can legally drive it for 30 days with the failed ticket, at least in my state!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Altag View Post
                                        Yeah, well, it was a thought. Sigh. But I don't want to ruin my van, nor have an accident.

                                        Nope, don't know anyone with a truck besides my brother and the BO, but I wouldn't ask to use my BO's truck, she uses it all the time.

                                        The ad I've been looking at is for a vehicle quite a long way away, so if I can't haul it myself, either with the van or by renting a truck, it's probably really not feasible.

                                        Darn!!! And I've been absolutely drooling over that ad.... Ah well.....

                                        Do you mean with ANY type of tow vehicle? You don't think a Brenderup is safe on interstates or hills? Hmmmm.
                                        Put an ad on Craigslist, or a listing on uship.com. Someone will probably haul it for you for less than the cost of a hitch on your van.