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Old 03-21-2018, 12:04 AM   #1
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I'm glad to find a forum for this little camper! We come somewhat reluctantly to the travel trailer world. for a lot of years we have camped in pop ups, then went to VW campers of varying degrees. family member sold us a dodge grand caravan, and we begin to appreciate the vehicle, reluctantly. someone ran head-on into us and totaled the van and we found ourselves with an insurance check for a newish vehicle. we looked around a fair bit, and bought another grand caravan. it is a useful vehicle.
we now have an aging VW rialta. and decided before the odometer turned over 200,000, we needed another camper. we looked around and didn't find anything that seemed well made, light and, well, nice. so we bought a pop up camper. that is nice for the woods, but won't work for road trips.

we decided to research light weight travel trailers. the industry's idea and our idea of light weight seemed to differ. but still I looked. today (on craigslist!) I saw a fun finder T139. It looked perfect. I went to see it, it WAS perfect. bought it right on the spot on the phone, but fending off other potential purchasers until seller arrived to take my money and give me the title.

Well!! I love this little trailer. my husband said as we were walking up to it, "this is tiny" and as he walked in "this is big"

how do they do it!! We've looked at other campers, twice the weight and about 4' longer that are much more cramped and claustrophobic.

such quality! I love my new fun finder trailer!!
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:59 AM   #2
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Welcome and hello!
We like our T139 too!
We're long time van campers so the little dude feels huge to us also. I mean gee, you can actually stand up to get dressed!
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:46 AM   #3
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Welcome, and congratulations! We had an 03 T-139 and liked it so much that we eventually bought a new 2012 X139. Here are our blog links -- I hope they are helpful. This is about the trailer itself and our modifications:

The LMIC (Look Mom I'm Camping)

And this is about the trips we have taken in our two 139s:

Look, Mom, We're Camping!

What are you using as a tow vehicle??
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:47 AM   #4
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Also, Hilda, where are you located?
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:54 PM   #5
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We have a 2015 dodge grand caravan. It seems to have no problem, but we do need to get a brake controller installed.
we are in New Mexico, in Las Cruces.
thanks for the welcome!
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:00 PM   #6
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Gosh, Hilda. You will discover on the various RV forums that there are folks who think of themselves as the "weight police." And no matter what tow vehicle you have, they scoff and tell you that you need a bigger vehicle.

But for perhaps the first time in my Internet RV career, I am going to say, sadly, that that is not the right vehicle, for a couple of reasons. First, I think it has a 3600 pound capacity, and you are pushing up against that limit (plus a cushion of safety) with the trailer and the gear and the passengers.

Second, the most important parts of the tow vehicle are the transmission and the brakes. You could overheat either of them, or both of them, especially on long steep ups and downs.

If you do decide to stay with the Caravan, you are going to get a sway bar, right? Folks will say you need a weight distribution hitch. For such a small trailer, I don't think you do. I tow with a Tacoma and a sway bar and have had no problems at all.

But don't get discouraged. This is actually an opportunity. We started out towing with a minivan and soon realized it was not safe. So we got a four wheel drive Pathfinder, and we discovered that we were getting access to places we never could have gone in the van, such as remote trailheads.

And with the Tacoma, our horizons have opened even wider, due to its great ground clearance.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me. I hope I am, but I don't think so. (Sigh.)
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:56 PM   #7
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Well, that really is bad news. the van is quite new to us and we won't be able to just get another vehicle. If it came to that, we would have to sell the trailer to the next person on the list who wanted it, or return it. I did drive it, and it seemed absolutely easy to pull.

The trailer dry weight is listed at 1960. (I know, dry weight is pretty meaningless) there are two passengers, and we have gotten into the habit of traveling quite light because our other, older rig is a VW Rialta, and it is very easy to overload. We don't travel with full fresh water tanks, and we don't take a ton of stuff. That said, we sure don't want to ruin our van. it is a much larger investment than the trailer, more expensive and we do have other options....2 other campers next to the fun finder.

I realize that it is very easy to overload a trailer and vehicle. I suppose the only way to know for sure is to take it down to scales tomorrow.

If we are around 500-1000# under our allowable towing capacity of 3600#, we will go ahead and tow it with the GC. If not, we are back to pop up and Rialta and will return this gem of a camper to the guy we bought it from.

Thanks for your concern and advice! I know all about the weight police, I've read a lot on line about RVing too. also, the Dodge grand caravan is is not a "typical" mini van. it has a large following of people who use it for heavy use. My husband is willing to abide by the weight and frontal load limits, but will have to be convinced that it isn't up to the task.

I'd love opinions, we need to make a decision fairly quickly about keeping the trailer.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:12 PM   #8
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Does the van have the "towing package?" If not, it is almost for sure not up to the task.

Having said that, if you keep to relatively flat roads at lower altitudes, you might still be ok?

Wow, do I hate to be a wet blanket. We have had such fun with our 139 models that I really wish you could keep it and enjoy it. Plus they no longer make the 139, so if you pass this one up, you will have a hard time getting another one.

But a blown transmission is expensive! And so is (heaven forbid) an accident on a long downhill because the brakes have failed. Even if they do not fail outright, it is so easy to warp the rotors if they are not beefy enough for the task.

Do you have a mechanic that you trust? Not the dealer -- the dealer will say "no problem, it's a Dodge." But an honest mechanic (and there are such people!) will give you a straight answer.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:34 PM   #9
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it has a lot of "heavy duty" on the list. tranny cooler, engine cooler, oil cooler. etc. but towing packing on 2015 includes wiring for 7 pin connector and ours does not. our GCWR is 8750. I'll get the two weighed tomorrow on a commercial scale, and then will know where we stand. Also, it will be telling if I can't find a brake controller. The 2015 Grand caravan is supposed to have the capability of a half ton truck. I don't know what to do, really.
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Old 03-22-2018, 03:46 AM   #10
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A tranny cooler is a very good sign! Maybe talk to the service manager at the dealership. The sales folks are sometimes unreliable, but the service folks will have more info.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:28 AM   #11
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Hilda you might look around here:
Cargo, Hauling & Towing - Dodge Caravan Forum

There's some discussion on there about towing TT's with GC's.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:27 AM   #12
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I'm getting such a wide range of answers, it really is impossible to get to the bottom of this. I have a few calls to people I'm waiting for, but it is looking more and more like we are well able to tow this little guy with our van. I don't want to be unsafe, however, so will continue to look for answers and possible upgrades to the van.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:41 PM   #13
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we are feeling ok about towing with the dodge GC. we went to scales today, and weighed the van and trailer. The trailer had full tank of propane, new battery, 1/3 tank of water and weighed 2100# our van weighed 4940, total weight of 7040#
We talked to a number of people, and feel reassured about using the van to tow. Our frontage area is good, and we are 1710 under the GCWR.
The recommended equipment was only a weight distribution system to keep more of the front end on the road, and of course, brake controller.
We took it on the interstate on a stretch of road with a long, fairly demanding grade. It accelerated and handled well. RPMs, speed and shifting seemed to indicate it wasn't having a hard time at all. I was very comfortable driving it at 60, it was quite nice! Passing semis didn't affect us at all. I'm really relieved!
thanks for your interest and for helping us become more informed about trailer towing safety!
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Old 03-23-2018, 04:36 PM   #14
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If any questions remain about towing with your Van, Chrysler Corporation/Dodge will have specifications on towing capacity. Your Chrysler local dealership can help.

I have a Equal-i-Zer weight distribution hitch that does a wonderful job for WD and sway control...here: https://www.equalizerhitch.com/ A price search on the internet will get your selected hitch at lowest price.

On a Dodge Ram 1500 (now replaced) I used a Teksnokia P3 brake controller which was an excellent system w/simple connection to the vehicle. Here: https://www.easternmarine.com/Brake-...ehicle-Wiring/ or check prices elsewhere.

Best with your venture and happy camping.
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Old 03-23-2018, 06:50 PM   #15
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I wouldn't recommend an equalizer hitch on a single axle T139. Careful loading of the trailer (forward and aft of the axle) will keep the tongue weight within proper limits and is much less stressful on the trailer suspension, the hitch and the wallet.
If you're gonna use an equalizer type hitch on any single axle trailer it can be easy to over load the axle without realizing it.
The little Dexter axle under the 139 is close to the limit already with water, gas and added gear.
My 2%.
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Old 03-23-2018, 07:52 PM   #16
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I sure appreciate the help. We carefully measured the amount the front of the van raised as the trailer was lowered onto the van hitch. 1/8"!! I don't think we need the WDH. I think brakes might be all we need.
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:19 AM   #17
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Only had double axel so wasn't aware of not being necessary on single axel.
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:41 PM   #18
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a bit more knowledge. our mechanic took a look and said we do have the towing package on the engine part of our van, like the engine cooling and the heavy duty transmission oil cooler, and a heavy duty radiator. tranny has oversized capacity for oil and 2 filters. still don't think it has the towing suspension, but several places don't think it's necessary.
doubt is a funny thing. you think about it before you drift off to sleep, you worry, visualize bad things happening. It didn't take me long to feel comfortable hitching up and towing it for a short way on the highway. I wonder how long it will take for the worry to go away once we start traveling. We are careful and defensive drivers, aware of the dangers of towing a trailer. we don't overload and don't expect our vehicle to behave the same with a trailer as without a trailer. the Dodge service department looked over our numbers and said we are fine. But I still worry. I guess we will get the answers when we start traveling.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:35 PM   #19
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The worry will never go away, and that is a good thing! Pulling a trailer is a big responsibility. I enjoy it -- we travel 60 to 90 days a year -- but I am always on high alert while driving. (Maybe worry is too strong of a word -- concern, perhaps??)
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:08 PM   #20
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yeah, worry is the "less positive" word. careful, cautious, aware of conditions and limitations?
It's been very windy for several days. wind always sort of puts me on edge, maybe I'm imagining driving in this wind...
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