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Old 04-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
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1999 Chevy Express TOWING question?

1999 Chevy express passenger van
5.7L V-8 - 142,xxx miles on it. (Well maintained for a 1999)
Oil cooler on trans according to VIN
Axel ratio is 3.42 (Owners manual states 5,500lbs max trailer weight at this ratio.)
Trailer brakes equipped
Newer tires/brakes

First off let me start by saying that I know enough about cars to get by without visiting a mechanic much, but not much beyond that. I know little to nothing about towing and using a trailer for heavy loads and long distances.

My story is....We will be moving from the Midwest to the Oregon coast soon. We have 2 vehicles to worry about taking with us. Our 99 express van and a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. I would like to trailer the Santa Fe so that we can all drive in the same vehicle during the trip. Maybe saving a little gas, but mostly for safety reasons of only having to worry about 1 driver on the road and not 2 during the trip.

Can my 1999 Chevy express van pull a 16-18 foot trailer with our SUV and random other boxes of moving stuff (no furniture) safely across country without issue? I see that most trailers this size are around 2,000 pounds +/- some. My SUV that will be trailered has a base curb weight of about 3750lbs. That's roughly 5750lbs total with trailer. My owners manual says my axel ratio maxes at 5,500lbs. How big of an issue is this? Will I be in for a broken down transmission as I pull through the Rockies? Any thoughts? Anyone ever tow with this vehicle for long distances? IS this over weight issue a real deal breaker or is this something that isn't paid much attention to and only labeled for industry wide liability reasons?

I ask because I have 3 choices...

1. Trailer the SUV and have some extra trailer space for random clothes boxes. etc..
2. Drive both vehicles across country stuffed full of moving boxes. (Which would cost gas, insurance, and mostly the worry of my wife getting into a wreck during the cross country trip in the SUV.)
3. Sell the SUV and just buy a small 5x10 trailer and pull that. (This option being difficult because the wife is attached to the SUV and thinks its worth wayyyy more than it really is likely to sell for. Also, we only have 2 months left before the move to sell it.)


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Old 04-03-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Re: 1999 Chevy Express TOWING question?

I assume the Hyundai is 4w/all wheel drive? If so that eliminates a dolly tow. That said, you migh be able to get away with this if all the roads were level, and you had an over size cooler. Also the tongue weight with that set up to tow properly should be at least 600 lbs, you will need a load leveling class 111 frame hitch. Another consideration is the safe braking and handling limits of this rig and the drivers expertise to handle the driving chores.
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