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Old 05-11-2009, 07:24 PM   #1
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4 Cylinder Towing Review (long...)

The truck - 2009 Tacoma Access Cab 4X4 SR5 2.7L 5 spd Standard (w/Hopkins agility brake controller)

The trailer - 2008 Palomino Real Lite 1202 (curb 2100, gross 3200, actual 2400 - 2600 with tank full)

Before buying this truck, I was surprised that many people believe you need a V6, V8 or a turbo diesel to tow. And the standard response to the question of what can a 4 cyl. tow "not much".

We towed approximately 250 miles this week, camper weight varied based on water load. As well the truck was well loaded with around 800# of junk, humans and whatnot.

Acceleration was good, shifting between 4000 - 4500, easily attaining 70 MPH into a 20 MPH headwind. I found 5th gear was doable, CC on, but the engine has an annoying rumble / drone @ 2500rpm. 4th gear and 3000 rpm was quiet and smooth. No sway, ride noticeably firmer, and choppier than normal.

Turning east the wind was pushing the truck around a little, but no more than usual. 5th gear doable only at almost WOT. 4th gear happy at 70, power to spare....

Merging and accelerating no problem, (and I'm very impatient). Accelerating to highway speed with other vehicles, no problem. 3rd gear and lots of RPM helped here. On occasion, pushed 3rd to 70mph.

Into some small hills and curves, required one gear lower than unloaded travel, still no problems...

Passed a couple vehicles, slower vehicles effortlessly in 4th. Had to run to redline in 3rd once on a tight pass. Pulled back in at 80. No sway, enough power.

Mileage was tough to gauge. I got 315 miles to a tank, 19.8 gal fill. I usually get 375ish....This tank included 2 hrs of off roading in 4L. Accelerating was mostly 3/4 throttle, 4000 RPM shifts. Not one stretch of road went more than 30 miles between stopping to turn, so lots of accelerating. Pushing headwind or crosswind both ways. (good luck eh?)
GCWR is 8000#
Truck 4000
Cargo 800
Trailer 2500
Total 7300

So after this short trip, I have no doubt that this truck could safely, and capably tow its 3500# rating. (If loaded correctly)
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:21 AM   #2
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nice write up!
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:13 AM   #3
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Good to know. I don't plan on doing much towing with my 4cyl, but it's good to know I could.

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Old 05-20-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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To all reading this:

Please be advised that the 2008 Palomino Real Lite 1202, is a pop-up camper. I am not insulting the opening poster, his truck, 4-cyl Tacomas in general or pop-up campers. I simply want to put it out there that a pop-up presents SIGNIFICANTLY less drag than a hardside trailer does, and as such pulling the same weight with the added frontal area and air resistance would have lead to a much different write-up. I am not saying that a 4 cyl Tacoma can not pull it's rated 3500lbs, just that mileage, and merging and passing ability will differ from what you just read.

Regards,

Adam
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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You'd be slower and use a more gas. Still worth thinking about considering the mileage the vehicle gets when it is in its normal operating mode versus the slowness and lower mileage the few timies it is towing. You pay for the mileage penalty every time you start it up with the 6.
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:03 PM   #6
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My experience has been that the mileage drop towing with a 4 cylinder is greater. But that the mileage is still better than a larger engine,, just not a lot better. However, I would have to see proof that a V6 would get better mileage in any circumstance. The 4 cylinder has lower Brake Specific Fuel Consumption across it's entire powerband vs the 6. So theoretically, it's not possible....
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isthatahemi View Post
My experience has been that the mileage drop towing with a 4 cylinder is greater. But that the mileage is still better than a larger engine,, just not a lot better. However, I would have to see proof that a V6 would get better mileage in any circumstance. The 4 cylinder has lower Brake Specific Fuel Consumption across it's entire powerband vs the 6. So theoretically, it's not possible....
FWIW, I get about 15 to 17 when towing my boat 40/60 city/hwy. Boat weight is 2989 lbs. not includeing gear. Last trip out, I got 17.44 mpg.
Hope this helps.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:57 AM   #9
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i towed 2800lbs with my manual 2.7l 4x4 2008 accross country. no problems. drove over colorado reaching 11500ft at one point. did well at altitude. going over mountains didn't really affect my gas mileage cuz it made up for it going down hills. i saw 19.8 to 22.3 mpg average. worst mileage being going across kansas from east to west. slight uphill the entire way and 50mph cross winds. truck was real sluggish then. some inclines i was in second gear screaming at 35mph uphill. i had no brakes on my trailer so going downhill from utah was a little scary. i kept it in 3rd gear and was constatnly on the breakes trying not to exceed 55mph.
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:11 AM   #10
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Just read your results and very nice, thanks for the info. I have a 09 acces 4cyl auto and a Palamino Pony. Camper at 1600 lbs, and Taco (Alu tonneau cover and canoe over tonneau) cargo at 6oo-65o lbs. Have only completed two trips so far and at 24 mpg Canadian, I did expect better. I do not use OD but maybe on the flats I will try it, and I do not drive over 60mph towing. However the Taco handles all requirements nicely. 4 cyl Taco is a nice truck and I couldn't want more.
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Old 06-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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24 MPG cdn. is incredible mileage. I would be absolutly amazed if I was getting that, dragging around the load you described, very cool. Are you sure that is correct? That's less than 12L / 100kms!
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:53 AM   #12
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Hi....Scrapedface...
Your stats for towing appear to be very close to what I got for my mpg Canadian, meaning we are getting very close to the same mileage. I had about 2300 Lbs total cargo and trailer and same mph driving. I think that is right?
Thanks for stats.
BryanC
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:45 PM   #13
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Back from the dead....
There was a comment made that the 4 cyl will get worse mileage than the V6 when towing.
NOT SO.
My V6 mileage doesn't even compare to the mileage I got from the 4 cyl, any load, any speed, ever. I will post more exact #'s after I have done more towing with my 2010.... So far, I would say the V6 gets approximatly 2 - 3 mpg less consistantly. If Toyota ever sells a 4cyl 4X4 auto, I will buy one.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isthatahemi View Post
My experience has been that the mileage drop towing with a 4 cylinder is greater. But that the mileage is still better than a larger engine,, just not a lot better. However, I would have to see proof that a V6 would get better mileage in any circumstance. The 4 cylinder has lower Brake Specific Fuel Consumption across it's entire powerband vs the 6. So theoretically, it's not possible....
Just for my FYI: Where did you get the info on the Brake Specific Fuel Consumption for our vehicles?
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:42 PM   #15
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All else being equal, BSFC is lower on a smaller engine, or one with fewer cylinders, until more than 90% load is applied, as a rule of thumb. And the 2TR has advantages with it's valve timing and cam phasing sophistication over the 1GR.I don't have BSFC info for these two engines. I have pratical towing data from my calibrated scanguage, from 18000 kms on my 2009 4cyl 4X4, And now from 9000 kms on my 2010 V6 OR. The basic idea I was conveying, is that I have not encountered a circumstance, loaded or unloaded, where the mileage is even comparable. Same driver, same speeds, same load, same circumstances.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:53 PM   #16
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you'd get alot better mileage if you changed gears around 2500-3000 rpms
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilgoja View Post
you'd get alot better mileage if you changed gears around 2500-3000 rpms
Thats just too damn slow with 2700# of trailer, and 900# of people and gear.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanc View Post
Just read your results and very nice, thanks for the info. I have a 09 acces 4cyl auto and a Palamino Pony. Camper at 1600 lbs, and Taco (Alu tonneau cover and canoe over tonneau) cargo at 6oo-65o lbs. Have only completed two trips so far and at 24 mpg Canadian, I did expect better. I do not use OD but maybe on the flats I will try it, and I do not drive over 60mph towing. However the Taco handles all requirements nicely. 4 cyl Taco is a nice truck and I couldn't want more.

How do you lock out OD on an auto? I have the same truck you do.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:28 AM   #19
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Good morning Austex...
I drive the truck in 3rd. That's it. When towing. When using the truck non tow I drive in 3rd and slide the shifter to D when ever the speed hits 90km per hour. I treat it the same as I would my 5speed std transmission in my Subaru or Corolla. I found with this transmission that if I just drive in D the trans will shift at around 80 83 kmph. I can feel that the engine seems to lug a little. I don't like to be in D less than 1800-2000 rpm. I think 3rd final drive is 1.0 and 0.705 for 4th OD. My Canadian mpg now here in winter at speeds mostly 60mph is 25/26 mpg. I am not getting mpg I thought I would with this truck but I love this truck a whole big bunch all the same.
Bryanc
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:46 AM   #20
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Please remember that a Canadian gallon is approximately 1.21 US gallons. Therefore MPG for Canada will be higher than US MPG. 2nd Gen Taco Fuel Capacity is 21 US gallons (or 17.48615 Canadian gallons).
Perhaps that will help those confused by the higher MPG achieved by Taco drivers in Canada........
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