View Full Version : 170" WB I4 and a Travel Trailer

06-01-2016, 04:16 PM
I have a 2016 170" WB Passenger Sprinter (2500) with the I4/7 speed transmission and factory installed tow package. I would like to tow a 24' travel trailer with a dry weight of 2900# (close to 4000# wet and packed). The van would be loaded fairly heavy as well (about 2000# passenger/cargo). This will give me a max CVW of about 12k# (which leaves me about 1500# under GCVW). We would be towing this for about a year all across the US and Canada.

A couple questions regarding this setup:
1. Is it this a sane/safe combination? I have experience towing and am not concerned about the length (about 50'), but more the ability of the engine/transmission and load handling.
2. Looking for suggestions for a brake controller and ODT (currently looking at Prodigy and ScanGauge II) - is there anything special I need to install to make it work with stability assist?
3. I've seen in the forums that weight distributing hitches are not recommended for unibody frames (e.g. sprinter). Should I not order one?
4. Is there anything I should do or consider to increase safety, stability, mpg?


- Will

06-02-2016, 12:05 PM
Just a comparison. I have a 2007 170 WB, but with 6 cylinder. Been towing travel trailers for 9 years (we're now on our third one) and I use a weight distribution system with anti-sway control. Never heard of it being not recommended for Sprinter. My current one weighs 6800#. The long wheel base of the Sprinter helps with the stability, plus mine is a 3500 dually, which also helps. It is strange to me that the newer 4 cylinder has the same tow rating as the 6, but it does have the 7 speed trans. I don't think you would have any problem towing a 2900# trailer.

06-02-2016, 12:49 PM
The OM-651 2.143 liter Inline 4 Cylinder will pull your 4000# travel trailer pretty well.
I (like hrbrlite) tow my trailers with a 516 series (3500 with dual rear wheels and the 4.182:1 rear end ratio) and the 4 cylinder actually seems
better at towing the trailers (mostly due to the 7 speed transmission).
You will be near the max. towing weight (5,000 lbs./500 lbs. tongue weight) of the 316 series (2500 USA) Sprinter.
Since you already have the 316/2500 series single rear wheel per side Sprinter it's a bit late to suggest getting the heavier duty 516/3500 series.
At 4000 lbs. gross trailer weight, you should not need a weight distributing hitch.
I use as Valley Towing Products Odyssey II Inertial Trailer Controller and it works very well, unfortunately the Odyssey II is no longer available.
The Prodigy is good, I had one of those many years ago.
Since you have the factory installed towing cross member (5,000 lbs./500 lbs. TW) and the factory trailer towing wiring package it will be quite
easy to pick up the mating green connector and make up a pigtail to link the Prodigy Brake Controller to your 316 Sprinter.
Your fuel mileage is going to take a big hit (as much a 50% at times due to headwinds and uphill grades) and you will have to slow down to probably
~45-50 mph up => 5% grades, but the might OM-651/7 speed will get you there.
You have both the crosswind assist and the TSA (Trailer Stability Assist) so stability should not be an issue.
Which rear end ratio do you have in your 2016 316 series.....that could be an issue but most of the 4 cylinders I've seen have the 4.182:1.
Your rear tires are going to be loaded pretty heavily so an upgrade from the OEM rear tires would be something to consider, and soon.
Hope this helps,

06-02-2016, 03:10 PM
@hrbrlite, @sailquik -

Thanks for your replies.

Without a wdh, the tw will be about 300# (included in the van payload).

I wanted a 3500, but we couldn't find a 170" wb passenger. We were told 170" 3500's are only available as cargo vans - and we couldn't afford the retrofit. Is the rear axle my limiting factor? I wonder if it could be upgraded down the road?

I just looked at the sheet, the axle ratio is 3.92 - is that likely to cause issues outside of take-off? I don't mind being slow, I just don't want safety issues.

I hadn't thought about upgrading the tires, what would you suggest? Currently we just have the standard wheels/tires (6.5jx16) Does a wdh affect this decision?

- Will