How do you know you can't do something if you haven't tried


Mini Van Toad

I have a 2010 Dodge Caravans as our family vehicle, I want to tow this behind our RV when we go on trips.

I was able to pick up a BlueOx tow bar, mounts and Brake Buddy all used over the last few months but the one piece i cant seem to find used is the lube pump system that circulates lubricant though the transmission while the van is being towed.

I took a look at the Remco system and it seems overly priced for what it is. I can handle just about anything mechanical and have gone so far as to build a car from scratch in the past so these things don't really scare me.

So here's my idea. 

  1. Tap the oil pan with a standard fitting like this.
  2. Attach a standard lube pump like this
  3. Potentially add two solenoids and a Y fitting for the return line.

now the Remco pump has an alarm in the cab, this will easily be accomplished by adding a simple oil pressure sensor like this. It is possible to buy static pressure sensors that short the terminals together when a specific pressure is met. Simply wire this into the 7 way plug and up to a light and buzzer on the dash.

I bought:

I also had to buy a tap and die to put the pressure sensor into the 3 way fitting and I had to use a chunk of steel i had lying around to make a bracket.

Creation of the cable that goes between the RV and the car. At first i made it the full length of the wire i bought knowing i would have to make it smaller when i knew the proper length. All of these parts came from princess auto.

This is the 7 way plug that mounts on the van. Its from princess auto, the light portion of the plug goes to a 4 way plug after about 6" of wire.

This is the 4 way plug that i connect to the back of the 7 way plug to run the lights. The spool of wire snakes under the car to the tail lights

This is the fitting that comes on the pump. I assumed it was threaded and would come off so i put a wrench on it.. DONT DO THIS, it was a big mistake. The fitting is pressure fit in, once it comes off there is nothing threaded that you can use.... So i had to take the pump apart, drill a larger hole, tap and thread it with an NPT thread then put in a new fitting. It would have been easier to get an adapter that adapted the larger hose from the fitting to a smaller 3/8 hose... lesson learned 🙂

This is a 3/8 NPT fitting that i got for free that fits the pump perfectly. I sealed it with Teflon tape on the threads.

I bought two of these one way valves from amazon. In hindsight i would have bought the cheaper versions that i linked to in yesterdays thread.

Bolting on the towbar, all of these holes had to be drilled.... This is very hard to do, the steal you are drilling into is the vans structural support, its quite hard and thick. All of these bolts are put on with lock tite red.... they will never come off.

These fit into the tow bar, but mine wouldn't fit on the driver side, i had to file off a very small amount of the top of the T to get it to fit and turn smoothly. I bet a piece of the interior weld is left in the tow bar side.

Tow bar installed and bumper trimmed.

I made a simple mount for the pump.

I needed a way to monitor the function of the pump from the RV cab. I drilled a hole and tapped with a 1/8" NPT. This is where the pressure sensor will later mount.

Taps and tools i used

The assembled one way valves. Fittings and valves came from amazon

This is the 3 way setup with the installed pressure sensor, this sensor was later replaced with one that has a ground lead.

A dry run test of the pump to see how much it would pump at idle

if you look down at the transmission through this hole you can see two lines, the one on the driver side is the line you need to tap as its the output line. I cut about 3" from the transmission side. followed by the first one way valve, followed by another 2" of 3/8 hose, then the 3 way, then into the factory oil cooler. The other side of the 3 way heads to the new cooler then to the pump, from the pump it then heads to the oil pan pickup (in reality the fluid starts at the pan and works its way to the 3 way valve)

This is what the pump looks like with two fittings.

Removed the oil pan from the transmission, I bought a new filter and seal because now is a good time to change them. I will try and get a picture of where i put the fitting. Its on the passenger side, toward the rear of the pan as low down as i could get. I tapped the pan with a 3/8 npt tap and then put JBweld on the fitting threads before screwing it in. i then covered the inside and outside in JBWeld so the fitting will NEVER move again.

Final pump installed and living in its new home.

Bought a battery charger box from amazon that will slowly charge the battery, wired that into the trailer plug on the van, included another diode so the pump can pull power off the RV but not off the van. (30 minutes)

There is a factory cooler on my van, disconnected it and ran the engine for 5 seconds to see which side pumps out fluid, put the first one way valve on that followed by the 3 way with the pressure sensor. The new side of the 3 way goes to the 2nd one way valve then off to the cooler and then the pump. The other side of the pump goes to the transmission pan, you will need to take off the pan and tap it low so it picks up oil.

Now we need an alarm to know if things fail. I wired the spare pin on the 7 way plug on the van to the pressure sensor I installed into the 3 way. I then picked that wire up on the RV side and ran it back to the drivers area and wired it into the buzzer and light. So if the pressure sensor stops detecting pressure the buzzer goes off and the light goes on. I also wired that into a switch so i can turn the alarm off when i am not towing the van. Thats where I sit today. Next weekend i will tow it out for its first camping trip, I leave for a 10,000K trip that will last a little over a month in about 20 days..... so that will be the true test

So all in it was around $1500 CAD... or about $1130 USD... My amazon prime account covered almost all of the shipping charges.

I was a little worried that the pressure might be a little bit to high so i added a pressure gauge. The pressure that the Van creates on its own is within 2 PSI of the MR3 Power steering pump that i used (at idle)

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