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Towing with windstar


No, you can’t. If you want to tow 2,500 lbs., I suggest you upgrade to a tow vehicle with at least 3,000 lbs. of towing capacity for a trailer with a GVWR of 2,500 lbs. You will want that extra capacity for wiggle room.

Even if you get a weight distribution hitch and a sway control bar (which will add even more weight), a strong gust of wind from a passing semi will pull the while combination off the road and into a ditch…if you are lucky.

Even if your set up for towing is perfect and by the book. Your actual load distribution is critical. Pulling at near capacity, bring as much weight as possible out of the trailer and load into the vehicle for stability.
That’s assuming you do as Whitey suggested and get a more capable vehicle.
That’s what the Chevy Astro and other truck based vans were for. In my opinion, FWD vans are for occasional light duty (utility trailer, small boats) and not for extended trips at or near their limit.
Change vehicles or put your eye on something less than 1500 lbs to be safe.

With the Windstar’s notoriety for transmission failures and undersized brakes. I would not trust it to tow anything, not even a Radio Flyer wagon.

Ha Ha…Another minivsn bites the dust…take a large capacity body and drive it with Ford Taurus components and that’s what you get. Even the Oddyssey/Accord isn’t immune. They’re made for kids/diapers, grocery shopping and convenience; that’s it.

“…They’re made for kids/diapers, grocery shopping and convenience; that’s it.”

And that is certainly enough to justify their existence. But they are also excellent for transporting older kids to college and taking long family trips with everything you need and then some.

Don’t get me wrong…we used my daughter’s Honda Od. for lots of things incl. moving furniture and comfy people haulers for trips too. They’re tough to beat. She’s not tempted to put a hitch on it though…just borrow the family 4 Runner.

Towing with a minivan isn’t the issue here. After all, a Honda Odyssey or a Toyota Sienna with a towing package can tow up to 3,800 pounds. Personally I would not go past 3,500 pounds GVWR and I would put as much cargo in the minivan as possible instead of the trailer. But either one can easily handle a 2,500 pound camper trailer with the proper weight distribution hitch and sway control bar.

You can, not me…
I have a pontoon boat in the 3500 to 4000 lb range. I tow it with a truck and launch it in 4 wd. I could imagine the problem I would have with that kind of a load, starting on gravel hill or handling in general on any road surface using an Odyssey…let alone the strain on the Accord based drive train. I still stay with my recommendation of 1500 lbs max, with these beasts, regardless of their ratings. The biggest reason being that you’ll have near it’s rated capacity inside the cabin as well for trips .

I tow continuously from boats to heavy equipment and the worse experiences I’ve had have been with FWD vehicles, even with the lighter less than 3k loads. At least…never buy a used minivan that was used to tow 3000 lbs with any regularity.

The Pilot yes with awd and added frame members…Odyssey, not by me.

I can agree with some of that. If I was going to tow heavy trailers on a regular basis, a RWD truck would be better since it is designed for that kind of use.

I was recently shopping for a used van - can’t tell you how many I saw with ruined transmissions that also had tow hitches on the back - do you know what I mean? I also read that lots of the vans have had the tow weights over-estimated by the manufacturer.

I still haven’t seen any ill effects from towing a 3,500 pound camper trailer with a 2002 Sienna over a period of five years. Of course I shortened the service intervals when it was used this way and I maintain it meticulously. The camper trailer is gone now, but I still occasionally hook a trailer to the Sienna for dropping my motorcycles off for service. If towing was an issue, you would think I would see some ill effects by now.

Perhaps what you have seen is a coincidence. Perhaps those vans with trailer hitches didn’t get proper maintenance or had their towing capacities exceeded.

I also take other precautions when towing with the Sienna. I have removed the second and third rows of seats to reduce weight. They are quite heavy and this model doesn’t have the seats that fold into the floor. I also make sure to disable the overdrive and keep it under 65 MPH. I admit, though, that these precautions might not be typical.

DISCLAIMER EDIT: I used a weight distribution hitch and sway control bar when towing the 3,500 pound camper trailer.

You are obviously a careful driver and fastidious with maintenance and I trust YOUR judgment. I just feel with car mechanics and over stated truck like capacities of these animals, the margin of error is very small; both in performance and reliability. Over 1500 lbs, I always recommend to friends and family, use a RWD/4wd truck like vehicle for any extended towing and not buy a used mini that even has a hitch and used that way. Seen too many “tail wagging the dog” episodes to feel otherwise.
My story and I’m stick’n to it…