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Can someone report the details of towing capacity from the owner's manual? How much can be towed with 4 and 6 people in the van?

2002 Odyssey allows 3500 lb trailer weight with only 2 people in the van. With 4 people in the van, that goes down to 3200 lb, and 2900 with 6 people. The 2002 Gross Combined Weight Rating is 8265 lb, so with gear in the van, the capacity goes down even more.

The current Sienna allows the van to have about 400 lb more than the Odyssey when towing 3500 lb.
 

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From the manual...
The max GVWR is 5,952 lb
Max allowable Van & Trailer 8,410 lb
(listed as 8,210 lb on another page)
for the EX.... with Tranny & PS cooler.
# Occupants / Max Total Trailer weight
1 3,500 lb
2 3,350 lb
3 3,200 lb
4 3,050 lb
5 2,900 lb
6 2,750 lb
7 2,600 lb
7 (Touring) 1,550 lb

(Based on 150 lb per occupant)

To achieve proper tongue load, start by loading 60% of the load toward the front of the trailer & 40% toward the rear, then re-adjust as needed.

Hope this helps
 

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Take the GVWR and subtract the Curb weight. This is your maximum payload, which includes passengers, tongue weight and other stuff (the weight of the fluids is included in the curb weight, so a full tank of gas is already accounted for). Do not exceed the maximum payload for the vehicle.

Subtract the passengers' weight and tongue weight from the payload, and this is the amount of extra stuff you can haul (luggage, etc etc).

Add the weight of the loaded van and the loaded trailer, and make sure this number is less than the GCVWR. Do not exceed the GCVWR.

Also, for a Class III hitch, I believe the appropriate tongue weight is 10-15% of the loaded trailer. I THINK (but am not for certain) that trailer manufacturers design this in, assuming you load the trailer evenly from front to back. I don't think that you have to worry about individual axle ratings when hauling with a minivan. If you are concerned about the weights you are wanting to haul, you should be able to find a large truck scale that would weigh your setup for a few bucks.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is that tow ratings are determined by lawyers and not engineers these days. Unfortunately for us all, liability has become the end-all be-all in American society today. The maximum tow ratings exist solely to protect the auto companies, not necessarily the towing public.

There are many factors to consider when towing. For example, tandem axle trailers have significantly more inherent stability, less tongue load, and are generally better behaved at highway speeds than single axle trailers. Knowing HOW to properly drive with a trailer in all kinds of conditions - leaving plenty of room on all sides, maintaining safe braking distances and traveling at appropriate speeds are other factors. Then there's the type of load and its distribution, the list goes on and on. (One drawback the Odyssey has is its FWD powertrain - this is less than ideal for towing since the tongue weight often reduces loading on the drive wheels making them more prone to slippage which can greatly compromise safety for many reasons.)

Am I saying you should disregard the manufacturers recommendations? No, certainly not. But I will tell you that I have safely towed loads exceeding the "maximum rated" capabilities of a vehicle before, and done so quite safely. For several years my wife and I hauled around our 3500lb (dry weight) 20' Sea Ray on a 1200lb tandem axle trailer with surge brakes using a 1997 Chevy S10 Blazer which had a rated towing capacity of only 3500lbs. Add 40gallons of fuel and all the other related necessities for a day on the water and we were routinely towing just over 5000lbs dead weight. And never once did we even come close to an overheat, brake failure, or issues pulling it out of even the most horrendous launch ramp (mostly thanks to 4-low!) I could safely maintain a solid 65MPH on the highway and still have the ability to take evasive action if necessary. Proper cooling (tranny, etc), preparation, and driving technique all combined to equal a safe towing package which exceeded the recommendation of GM (or at least their legal department!)

So again, I'm not saying its OK or recommending anyone thoughtlessly disregard the rated capacities. The Odyssey is a much different vehicle than a truck/SUV and therefore requires different considerations. Rather, I'm just trying to point out that the maximum ratings stamped in a manual these days don't necessarily indicate the actual safe mechanical limits of a properly outfitted and operated tow package.
 
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