How to Install a Trailer Hitch in a Dodge Grand Caravanby Thomas West
The Dodge Grand Caravan is a minivan that has front- or all-wheel drive. The Caravan's rear seats can be folded down or removed to increase cargo-carrying capacity, but that may not be enough for some owners. For vehicles that did not come with the factory trailer-towing package, an aftermarket trailer hitch can be installed. The van's cargo room then be supplemented by towing a utility or cargo trailer.
Slide under the rear of the van and locate the rearmost muffler hanger bracket mounted to the right side frame rail. Loosen and remove the bracket bolt with a socket and ratchet wrench. Remove the bolt and place it aside. Allow the muffler to hang down to make installation of the hitch simpler.
Remove the existing bolts from the welded-in nuts on the underside of the ends of each frame rail with a socket and ratchet wrench. Place the bolts aside.
Locate the plastic rivet that attaches the bottom of the left side rear inner fender liner to the left side frame rail. Pry the rivet out with a flat blade screwdriver and discard it.
Raise the hitch into position under the van and line up the holes in the mounting flanges on each side of the hitch with the bolt holes where you removed the existing bolts in the frame rails.
Thread the bolts you removed earlier through the hitch mounting holes and into the welded-in nuts on the frame rails, and tighten them finger-tight. Slide the hitch towards the left side of the van so that the side of the hitch is up against the sheet metal trunk pan. Tighten the bolts to the specifications in the hitch instructions using a socket installed on a torque wrench, usually to between 50 and 100 foot pounds.
Trim the plastic fender liner with a utility knife if the hitch interferes with its positioning. Do not install the original retaining rivet.
Raise the muffler into back into position with one hand. Rotate the muffler hanger bracket so that it will clear both the frame and the exhaust pipe. Thread the original retaining bolt through the bracket and into the frame and tighten it with a socket and ratchet wrench.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set
- Ratchet wrench
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Torque wrench
- Utility knife (optional)
- Do not exceed your Grand Caravan's maximum towing weight, regardless of the capacity of the hitch you installed. Check the tightness of the hitch retaining bolts before each use with a torque wrench.