I have a Grand Caravan with around 115k miles on it and I recently bought a camper and a hitch. Two camping trips with the kids later I have a failure of the hydraulic pump in the transmission. I know Chrysler minivans aren’t known for the longevity of their transmissions, but I also assume the additional duty of towing a popup trailer probably contributed. My mechanic says its best to install a rebuilt transmission at this point and I’m wondering if it would be helpful to have him install an aftermarket transmission cooler while he’s at it. Advice? Suggestions?
Absolutely install an aftermarket transmission cooler, just make sure it is installed correctly. The hot transmission fluid should flow into the new cooler, from there to the Radiator transmission inlet, then the radiator transmission outlet goes back to the transmission inlet.
The towing capacity of your Dodge is 2500 lb. unless equipped with the towing package then it is 3500 lb. That includes all the junk you put in the trailer too. It might be a good idea to visit a truck scale to see what it weighs with all your stuff. Unhook it from your van so you are including all the weight.
I will add only one thing. If you are going to tow make sure you keep fresh fluid in that transmission. Change it and clean the filter often.
It definitely would, whether you are towing or not cooling your transmission is first and foremost. Right alongside with regular servicing (Every 25-30k miles). One thing though, do not hook it up as previously suggested. It needs to be connected so the fluid runs through the radiator cooler FIRST, then the external cooler. Make sure that the re-builder checks the cooler flow in the radiator cooler. The converters in these transmissions are known for coming apart and plugging up the cooler reducing the flow and overheating the new/rebuilt transmission.
I would install an aftermarket transmission cooler and maybe consider a weight distribution trailer hitch since your minivan has front wheel drive. Some popup camper trailers are pretty small and light, and some are quite large and heavy, so you really haven’t given us much to go on. If yours is large enough, you might also consider a sway control device on the weight distribution hitch.