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We are looking at travel trailers that we can tow with our van. The options are limited since the trailer needs to hold 4 people including my two daughters, who won't share a bed. We are looking at a Coachman Clipper 17CBH since it has bunk beads and weighs around 2700 lbs dry. Do you think that my Sienna will struggle to tow a trailer this size?

I know that I need to install a hitch, wiring, trailer brake controller, and rear airbags. Is there anything that I am missing to get it ready for towing?
 

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First thing to check: the external engine oil cooler! Your FWD (it's not AWD, right?) 2015 XLE should have this, but it's always best to verify it.

I don't have a good photo to post on this PC to show it in place, and it can be a bit hard to see. If you look down just behind the radiator at the front bank of cylinder, just below the silver tin shield for the exhaust manifold you will see this assembly. If you have it, your van is technically certified to tow 3500 lbs. Without it, 2000 lbs IIRC.
 

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I confirmed that our van has the oil cooler. I think putting it under the exhaust manifold is an odd location. It is FWD. The guy at the RV dealer seems to think that our van will be fine with that trailer.
 

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The guy at the RV dealer seems to think that our van will be fine with that trailer.
That sentence certainly gave me a chuckle. Thanks! Of course the RV dealer will tell you that. He wants to move that hunk of metal or whatever it's made from.

The specs I found for the trailer seem to show a higher weight that what the RV dealer told you: Clipper Ultra-Lite 17CBH Travel Trailers by Coachmen RV

The specs also show a higher tongue weight than the maximum recommended for a Sienna.

I suggest you get your Sienna all equipped for towing before you consider buying a trailer and then do some "test towing" of the trailer models you consider. A decent RV dealer will be OK with that although he might want to ride along with you during your test towing. You'll probably need exterior mirror extensions.

Have you done any trailer towing? It's a learned skill as I found out 50 years ago when I got a CDL and towed really big stuff. We even carried chain saws to fell trees and remove whatever prevented us from making turns on rural roads. I was too young and dumb to appreciate the damage we were doing..
 

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Their website lists the dry weight just under 2700 lbs. 2020 Coachmen Clipper 17CBH

We are trying to figure out if a travel trailer that sleeps 4 with bunkbeds can be towed by our Sienna. If we find a trailer that we like that the Sienna won't tow, we may trade my wife's NX200t for a more capable tow vehicle.

I haven't much towing beyond a small utility trailer. I know that I have a lot to learn.

I really appreciate all the information and advice.
 

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Their website lists the dry weight just under 2700 lbs. 2020 Coachmen Clipper 17CBH
You'll have to reconcile the information on the trailer manufacturer's website with that of the RV dealer but I would tend to have more confidence in what the manufacturer says about their product. The tongue weight shown on the RV dealer's website is even higher than the one shown on the manufacturer's website.

We are trying to figure out if a travel trailer that sleeps 4 with bunkbeds can be towed by our Sienna. If we find a trailer that we like that the Sienna won't tow, we may trade my wife's NX200t for a more capable tow vehicle.
Sure it can tow a trailer that can sleep four but you might have more selection if you can get your daughters to behave. :)

Since you've never towed a travel trailer, perhaps rent them for a while to see which one you want to buy ... if any. My neighbor Doug decided to rent an motor home instead of buying one for a cross country trip with his grandchildren and came back swearing her would never have anything to do with one again!

I don't know where you live but there are RV dealers here in the Kansas City metro that rent travel trailers and motor homes.

My opinion is that towing is more pleasant if what you are towing is well below the vehicle's towing capacity but there are lot of people who like pushing the limits. If I was going to buy a small travel trailer to tow with our Sienna, I'd look for a substantially lighter one such as the Scamp 16 which usually tops out at around 2,500 pounds loaded: Scamp 16 Fiberglass Lightweight Travel Trailer Camper - Standard Layout 3 - Scamp Trailers
 

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Jim,

Thanks for the additional information. We haven't checked into renting a trailer here in St. Louis. We are going to a dealer on Friday to check them out and I will ask about renting.

I would be more comfortable towing something well below the capacity too. I like the look of the Scamp but, it doesn't look like it sleeps 4. My daughters (9 & 14) behave most of the time but, they don't like sharing a bed.

I would hate to spend $1000 getting my Sienna ready for towing only to figure out that I need something more capable for towing. My Sienna already has 130,000 miles on it, which concerns me about towing with it too.
 

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Several of the available Scamp 16 configurations have front bunk beds in addition to the large rear bed. Here's a video that shows the bunk beds:

I originally bought and equipped our 2014 Sienna with the intention of getting an Airstream 16 but my wife just wasn't into it. Her idea of roughing it has become staying in a Holiday Inn Express but she did just turn 72. And my wife figured that we could spend 500 nights in pretty nice hotels for what a new Airstream 16 cost. Storing a travel trailer was also going to be an issue.

I tried to find a used Scamp 13 or Scamp 16 a while back for some road trip adventures my wife probably wouldn't accompany me on but used ones seem to sell quickly and not for that much less than new ones. I was looking for a particular configuration of the Scamp 16 that might be more popular with singles and couples - "layout 6" with the front bath and side dinette that is more compatible with leaving the master bed in place all the time.

You could probably get most everything you need to equip your Sienna for towing for well under $1,000 if you do the work yourself. Installing a brake controller might be the most complicated part. It's easy to install the hitch and the basic part of the electrical harness - a number of threads here about it. The current favorite hitch seems to be this hidden Draw-Tite that etrailer (just west of St. Louis) and other suppliers sell: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Toyota/Sienna/2015/76112.html?VehicleID=201550718

I've bought a LOT of stuff from etrailer - excellent service.
 

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We are headed to the RV dealer this afternoon. We'll see what they have. I have been researching Scamps based on your recommendation. My wife is unsure about the toilet in the shower in some models.

I am planning on prepping for towing myself. I have been looking at the etrailer site and will call them if we pull the trigger on one.

Thanks for all the information
 

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My wife is unsure about the toilet in the shower in some models.
That's very common in small travel trailers. It's all about space utilization and reducing weight.

The Scamp isn't the end-all of travel trailers.

Google something like "travel trailer forums" to find discussions of the pros and cons of various models.
 

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Thanks for all the information. After going to the RV dealer, we decided that we need a 19ft or longer trailer to fit our family comfortable. They were all 4000+ pounds. We are going to put our RV plans on hold for now.
 

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Have you considered a pop-up camper? The big ones have plenty of beds and a wet bath and, though they can get heavy, are a lot easier to tow than a full height travel trailer.

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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There are quite few trailers that the Sienna can tow well just need to look at many different brands.

As floridanative stated there are pop-up campers that are very room and easy to tow due to low profile. If you really want solid walls and to get away from tent ends look at the Trailmanor trailers, low profile while towing but the roof raises to full height when at campground. Don't give up too easy if this is truly something you want to do. Also look at the Escape trailers by KZ, or the Apex Nano by Coachmen they are all relatively light and have a bit more aerodynamic front to them and are only 90" wide, all this helps with towing a full profile trailer.

There is more to towing than strictly weight of a trailer, wind resistance is a much bigger factor as you have that present at all times while in motion while the weight affects are mainly noticeable when starting and climbing an incline. If you do tow at the limit or a bit above make sure that your set up is done properly, do not cheap out on accessories or brake controller, buy a progressive one not a time delayed one for example.
 
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