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Old 04-11-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
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Towing Masters Opinions Needed

I'm looking to move me family and limited household items on our relocation across the country. This will be a long drive, from Montana to Maine and I want to make sure I do it right. I've never towed with the Tacoma so I want to ask those with more experience which direction to go.

First off I have a 2012 DCLB with the tow package so I'm in the 6400lb TW capacity.

I looking to have a cargo trailer made for me and I have several options which is where I need some help:

All these trailers will be tandem axle with brakes and of course I will have a braking system installed.

Option 1 is a 7x16. Trailer weight is 1580lbs
Option 2 is a 7x18. Trailer wight is 1720lbs
Option 3 is a 7x20. Trailer weight is 1900lbs

I can also get these in 8x whatever length.
I don't plan to load more than 5500lbs in any of these.

My question comes down to hauling safety and what the Taco can do over such a distance. A 16ft seems more stable and less of a length to deal with but does restrict what I can bring. 20ft seems long to me with a Tacoma. It does have some benefits due to being able to more comfortably fit our belongings but I worry about safety on the road with something that long.

An 8x whatever length is also interesting to me again more room. But again I wonder about the width with something 8x.

Any help would be appreciated. Also, will need something like a Timbren system, beefier leaf springs, or air bags for a load like this. I want to ride level.
I do plan on a sway bar and weight distributing hitch.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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I'd go 8' and maybe the 18'. The thing you should be most concerned about with safety is the weight. Def do trailer brakes! Basic household items shouldn't put you up to 5000lbs... Who knows though unless you get it weighed. Shorter trailers seem to wander more and fishtail easier (personal experience). Just make sure your evenly loaded and check your tire pressure constantly! Take a spare or two on that length just to be safe and just watch your speed... No biggie you'll be fine

And also, this would be the perfect excuse for a new leaf pack!!!
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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Thanks ten eighty. I new I needed a reason for a new leaf pack. Any recommendations there? I was looking at Alcan or Deaver but I don't want anything too soft.

So longer trailers tend to have more control? And an 8x? How come?

Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:23 AM   #4
I'd rather be skiing...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanto View Post
Thanks ten eighty. I new I needed a reason for a new leaf pack. Any recommendations there? I was looking at Alcan or Deaver but I don't want anything too soft.

So longer trailers tend to have more control? And an 8x? How come?

Thanks!
The longer wheel base length will keep it straight causing it not to swing back and forth as much as a short trailer especially at higher speeds. Ever see a pop up trailer being pulled compared to a 22' boat or camper. More room for error too, with jerky wheel movements a larger trailer won't start to sway as easy which will lead to jackknifing... Not that short trailers are crazy unsafe but I'd rather have the longer and bigger for a trip that long. Not mention being able to fit all your stuff. There is a thread "ultimate guide to towing" I think it is, have you checked that out? Or "show us what you tow" I've towed a lot but not far with my new Tacoma. Maybe some of those guys have personal experience that will lead you better.

They will def know more about the leaf packs too! Ive seen some crazy big stuff these guys tow and they seem happy. Good Luck!
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:49 AM   #6
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In November 2011 I made the drive with trailer from Bozeman, MT to VT. My trailer had everything I owned in it and was definitely at the max weight limit for the truck. Without a weight distribution hitch the rear suspension was about 1" off the bump stops. I don't think a leaf spring upgrade is as important as the WDH. I have OME Dakar leaf pack and it didn't do a thing to resist the weight of the trailer. If you upgrade the leaf springs to support 6000+/- lbs of weight it won't ride right when unloaded.

Are the trailers you mentioned in the OP enclosed or open? Those weights seem light for enclosed tandem axle trailers. I have a 7x12 tandem axle enclosed trailer and its dry weight is 1800lbs.

Get ready to get some really bad gas mileage. I think my best for the whole 2400mi trip was 11mpg.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the helpful advice.

6spd its great to hear from someone who has done this drive before. Did you make the drive with the 7x12 or was it another trailer? How did it handle, any incidents?

The trailers I'm looking at are enclosed and they are made near Missoula here in Bonner. They're light weight aluminum. Called Stealth trailers. Expensive indeed but for me they seem worth it, especially given they provide more weight for me to work with in terms of household stuff.

Speaking of anyone know what 3500lbs of stuff looks like? I'm weighing stuff with a scale but having never done this before I'm not sure how much stuff that is.

We are not bringing appliances, I'm selling all my heavy tools, we basically have 5 pieces of furniture we're keeping, a queen bed, kitchen stuff, and the the rest is gear, clothing camping stuff etc. I'm pretty sure we can keep to this weight limit?

Thanks for the advice on the v-nose and the trailer length. That makes complete sense to me that a longer trailer will be more stable. We're definitely going v-nose. Just still trying to figure out the "safest" length.

Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #8
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The 7x12 handled fine. Stable even on those long Eastern MT/Wyoming/Dakota stretches where the wind can be bad. The trailer brake was great. I got a good enough feel where I was slowing down using only that and no truck brakes.

On a side note, I paid about $4500 off the dealer lot for my trailer. Its a Mirage branded one. Feel like sharing the price of the ones you are looking at? If not that's ok too.

Here is the only picture I can find of my setup.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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I would go 7x instead of 8x as it will have less frontal area so less wind resistance when you hit a head wind. I occasionally pull a 7x14 for work and when I hit a head wind on the highway it really struggles and I can watch the gas needle go down.

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Old 04-13-2013, 08:08 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback guys. It does seem to make sense to go 7x, keep things slim and trim and hopefully get 10mpg!

Any way the trailer I'm looking at is in the 6-7K range. Not cheap by any means but I think it will have good resale value (not planning on keeping it after the move) due to its light weight nature and ability to tow for smaller trucks/SUV's.

Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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I did the same trip, just a round about way. Bozeman to Moab to Texas to St. Louis to WV and then the final push home to Maine.

I bought a 7 by 10 enclosed I think (~1900 lbs) and it did fine. Loaded down maybe 3500? Braking was shitty but you get use to it (I have smaller rotors too bc of my 15" rims). Just take your time, after all it's a road trip. I actually averaged 15 mpg by doing 60 mph the whole way, and would have done better if I bought a trailer the same height as my topper. The trailer was about two feet taller and had a lot of drag.

I had stock leafs that were sitting just about 2" off the bump stops too. My leafs were already shitty so it bottomed out a lot, but who cares gonna replace them soon anyway.

Enjoy your trip!!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #12
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Go with the 7' wide to get better gas mileage, and then whatever length you need.
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