2002 Dodge Caravan Pulling a boat without damaging the tran


Transmission problem
2002 Dodge Caravan 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 45,000 miles

I would like to pull my 16' fishing boat with my van, but was told by a friend that I would need a transmission cooler, in order to prevent overheating and damage to the transmission. Will the transmission fluid break down under high temperatures and cause problems?

Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, March 30th, 2009 AT 8:49 PM

1 Reply


I would ask a salesman at the dealership or look in the owner's manual. Knowing that is part of their job. I pull a 14' enclosed trailer to a car show with my Grand Caravan, but mine is a 1988 with the bullet-proof 3 speed hydraulically-controlled transmission. 210,600 miles with only one filter and fluid change in its lifetime! That's not neglect; that's abuse!

You, on the other hand, have a computer-controlled 4 speed transmission. While mine has held up to my abuse, my mother's '95 Caravan is on its third transmission in 100,000 miles. By 2002, there were a lot of updates and improvements in transmissions but there's another thing to consider. Your transmission computer learns the characteristics of your driving style and controls shift harshness accordingly. Pulling the boat will make a sudden change in the load. If it's not a heavy boat, it might not be any different than hauling 400 pound aunt Greta around. That should not be a problem. The boat won't present much wind resistance either. That's the biggest problem with my enclosed trailer. I have a hard time hitting 70 mph going DOWN a steep hill.

If your boat is very heavy, I would not risk damaging your transmission. If you do pull a heavy load, leave the transmission selector in 3rd; don't use overdrive.


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Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 AT 12:53 AM

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