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6000 mile Road Trips - Towing

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Old 08-02-2010, 01:41 PM   #1
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Smile 6000 mile Road Trips - Towing

So the wife and I drove from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to the Grand Canyon, AZ. On to Santa Clarita, CA (six Flags M.M.), to Ponderosa Campground in the high country of Big Sur, CA.(drove on Pismo Beach, almost got stuck when the VSC cut power in 4H again, aired down, 4L, and out I went. From there to Yellowstone, WY. (yes I was camping when the bear killed that dude), and from there back to Winnipeg. Lots of miles, approximately 5400 towing.
The Highlights, good and bad.

THE GOOD

-The US is an awesome place to be, beautiful roads, nice people.

-Taco had no problem maintaining 80 mph, with all our gear, and 2700# camper in tow. Even up mountain passed, @ 75 - 80 mph. Very stable, only one sway incident the whole trip.

-Inverter worked well and provided every watt of power consumed for 2 weeks of camping. This included water pump, light, fan, and hair dryer use by DW. A cool feature that gave us total independence.

-The Taco is a powerful, stable, excellent handling truck, with capable suspension. A decent rig for going through many mountain passes.

-Air conditioning never lacked

-Excellent headlights, especially with the boosted up fog lights.

-Transmission / Engine calibration when not towing.

-Never ran hot, even in 108 degrees in AZ.

THE BAD

-Tacoma owners manual says do not tow faster than 45 mph, WOW!

-Rock Hard "Armrest", on the driver's door. Nuff said.

-Toyota needs to have separate buttons for VSC, and TRAC. There is no option for TRAC in 4H without VSC.

-Squeaking leafs. again. Embarrassingly loud.

-My Tacoma cruise controls is the worst ever, I would set at 80mph, sometimes I was going 72ish, only then full throttle, redline, overshoot to 84 mph. Unbelievably bad. My 2009 seemed better, but it was standard..

-Cruise does not work when 3rd is manually selected. Very annoying in the mountains, as it hunts incessantly on fast steep climbs between 3rd and 4th.

-10 mpg at 80 mpg in 4th (3400rpm) was typical. Sometimes got 12 mpg in D (2500rpm) if the wind was nill, altitude was low, and road was flat. 5- 6 mpg climbing in 3rd at 78mph @ 4800 rpm. A little noisy, but not too bad. Average around 12 mpg, mostly because in Cali, 55 mph is the towing limit.

-VSC in 4wd high cut power, and almost got me stuck on the Navajo Indian Res. 4wd Low solved that, not ideal but it worked.

-Drivers in Wyoming; slow rude, and will not pull out or yield. And when passed speed up and salute with one finger. Absolutely the worst of the whole trip, nowhere else even close.

-Trans cooler line leaking


Things I noticed:
-Hill Descent Control, which I thought to be a gimmick, came in handy when off roading. Cool.
-ATRAC got me up a slip, muddy, rocky climb; with all 4 BFG's spinning.
-If not for the terrible cruise calibration, this truck would have endeared itself to me. But when driving for almost 100 hours, it needs to be better.
-A Tow / Haul mode would be good.
-Time for a 6 speed Auto. (Toyota, are you listening)
-Truck was in open loop much of the time when towing, which surprised me.
-I checked the owners manual before I left, and the 2010 manual says nothing about towing, other than stay below 45 mph. Nothing at all. So I left the truck in D a lot of the time, and let it shuffle between 5th locked, 5th unlocked, 4th, and 3rd. When it was hunting, I would lock it in 4th. Everyone has a different opinion on shifting, and if Toyota wants me to use 4th, the manual should at least mention it.

Overall, the truck did what I asked of it, and didn't break, which is good.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #2
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80 mph towing?
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:48 PM   #3
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79 actually.
My trailer is stable, and has has properly set up brakes.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
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Great post. How was it driving up the grapevine on I5 south just before Magic Mountain/Valencia with all the weight?

I have a 4x2 access cab tacoma which has done me well for staying in the valley, but like other vehicles with bigger motors going up the grapevine. Im ready for a new truck and am contemplating a double cab long bed 4x4 or a F150 crew cab 4x4.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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Sounds like an awesome trip. I hate it when it starts to hunt for gears or even lock up in fifth. The tranny seems to be awesome when city driving. Always dropping into lower gear staying right on the power band? But when cruising in 5th going uphill, the tranny is very reluctant to downshift. I pulled a uhaul trailer going 80 but always on a straight road.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
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4500 rpm, 3rd gear, 6.5 mpg, 64 mph. It pulled it no problem. But a much harder climb was into colorado, steeper and miles long. That was done at 5000 rpm, 3rg gear, 5ish mpg. Flat out for 5 minutes at a time. I can't recall it ever not maintaining speed........ It pulls really well.
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