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Clutch problems while towing

Discussion in 'Towing' started by RJTacoma2012, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Nov 29, 2011 at 1:50 PM
    #1
    RJTacoma2012

    RJTacoma2012 [OP] New Member

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    Brake controller
    This post is intended to alert Tacoma drivers about a potential problem with the clutch on the Gen 2 six speed manual while backing a trailer.


    I traded in a 2004 Tacoma for a new 2011 Tacoma (V6, SR5, 6 Spd Manual, Access Cab w/Tow Pkg) in order to tow a new (to me) travel trailer. The trailer is a 2007 Coachmen 19' w/double axles. It has a dry weight of 4200 lb. and was properly set up with a weight distribution hitch and brake controller by the trailer dealer.


    The new truck pulled the trailer very well but the clutch overheated frequently when backing the trailer. I tried 2W, 4W Hi and 4W Lo, but experienced odor and sometimes smoke when backing into campsites. The problem usually occurred when terrain made backing challenging or if there was an up slope. On one occasion I had a fairly steep up grade into a site and used 4W Lo but couldn't get into the site. The clutch started to smoke, so I fully engaged it and it slipped (I then aborted the attempt and went to a different site).


    I tried to research my problem, including searching TacomaWorld, but could find little info. TSB-0033-11 was a possibility, but it does not apply. The relay discussed in the TSB was in place and functioning properly.


    After a long and mostly frustrating dialog with Toyota, their Technical Services rep advised my dealer that the manual transmission clutch was really not suitable for my use and that the dealer should try to get me into an automatic. So, after some involved negotiating, I now have a new 2012 Tacoma (V6, SR5, Access Cab w/Tow Pkg) with a 5 speed automatic transmission.


    I am curious as to why there are no other posts on this issue. It seems unlikely that I am the first to have this problem.


    Again, my objective is to warn others of the clutch issue and I hope that this post is helpful.
     
  2. Nov 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM
    #2
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    Any clutch will smoke if you slip it too much. What you need to do is put in 4low, and do not slip the clutch. This can be very challenging especially with the retardedly high reverse gear ratio they put in these things but still not bad in 4low. Just gotta get good at backing up quickly!

    Of course the auto solves all of this (and from what I've seen is way nicer to use than the manual in the new trucks).
     
  3. Nov 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM
    #3
    Jester243

    Jester243 mod status????

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    just out of curiosity what is the loaded weight of the trailer?

    and welcome to TW
     
  4. Nov 29, 2011 at 2:17 PM
    #4
    Johns Taco

    Johns Taco I'm not 4x4, and have an open diff. So i'm 4x1

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    Full custom stereo, onboard air compressor, train horns, spacer lift, 30" tires, optima yellow top, rear slider window & tailgate anti-theft mod, pop & lock, class 3 tow hitch, lights in bed, Ultra Gauge, Weather Tech mats, yellow fog lights, camper top, air lift rear airbags, rear diff breather mod, soon to be more...
    This was a really good write up on a problem, solving the problem, and getting a whole new vehicle entirely for a first post. Hope you have better luck with your auto and welcome to the forums! :)
     
  5. Nov 29, 2011 at 2:56 PM
    #5
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    LCE makes better clutches for our trucks. I will be getting one when mine is toast.
     
  6. Nov 29, 2011 at 3:26 PM
    #6
    bjmoose

    bjmoose Bullwinkle J. Moose

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    Nice writeup.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM
    #7
    sechsgang

    sechsgang Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it takes a lot of practice backing up a trailer that heavy with the Tacoma's clutch, especially with the high reverse gear ratio of the manual. Not sure what they were thinking. That's why I wanted 2LO, but there is no easy mod for that.
    Really, for that size trailer, a full size truck would be the better choice, especially since you traded anyway. The payload of the Tacoma is kind of low for TT towing and camping gear in most cases. Wondering why you didn't upgrade?
     
  8. Nov 30, 2011 at 7:09 AM
    #8
    OutbackHack

    OutbackHack Well-Known Member

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    This reason, along with generally making backing a trailer an easier task, has got me thinking about installing a front receiver. But I don't know enough about transmissions to know whether this would be any easier on the clutch / gear engagement. Anyone more knowledgeable have any thoughts?
     
  9. Nov 30, 2011 at 7:39 AM
    #9
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Never a big fan of front hitches because it can be tricky to unhook on an incline, and then re-hitch on the same incline (gotta block up the tires really well).

    Also, and not a huge thing while backing but you won't have your wiring harness unless you rig up one in the front.

    However, if you're worried about the clutch I can understand your concerns, definitely don't want to fry the thing.

    Here's another question, do the 5 speed manuals have this problem? (Are there 5 speed manuals on the Taco?)

    I have only had automatic Tacomas, and no issues backing TT in with it, so at least you don't have to sweat it now :)
     
  10. Nov 30, 2011 at 7:44 AM
    #10
    bjmoose

    bjmoose Bullwinkle J. Moose

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    Well, the 5sp only comes coupled to the four- banger, so max towing weight is only 3500 instead of 6500.

    Unlikely to see the prob with a trailer only half the weight.
     
  11. Nov 30, 2011 at 8:22 AM
    #11
    RJTacoma2012

    RJTacoma2012 [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for your comments.

    Based on the trailer dealer's rule of thumb (add about 600 lb. for two people), the loaded weight of the trailer is probably around 4800 lb. I have not had it weighed, however.

    I did not upgrade to a larger tow vehicle because I don't need a larger truck when I'm not towing and I just plain like the Tacoma's smaller size and better gas mileage. Also, I have limited driveway space and a full size truck would be very awkward.
     
  12. Nov 30, 2011 at 10:41 AM
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    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Tacoma fit in garage. Silverado doesn't. That in fact does make me sad.
     
  13. Nov 30, 2011 at 10:06 PM
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    sechsgang

    sechsgang Well-Known Member

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    Some good reasons, but in terms of gas mileage the Tacoma isn't all that great. There are full size trucks out there that get similar mpg's.

    I would weigh the rig if I were you (I'd actually had done that before trading, LOL). For me, it made me re-think the whole thing and order a full size truck. Our TT is only 3,650 lbs empty and around 4,200 lbs loaded, but I was 300-400 lbs over GVWR (went to the scales and measured it on several trips) when loaded for camping.
    If you are only two people in the truck and nothing / not much in the bed you may be ok though, only a scale will tell.
     
  14. Nov 30, 2011 at 10:15 PM
    #14
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    There are a few threads on here about the weak clutches. It's not specific to towing. I can barely back my truck out of a sloped driveway without smelling the clutch. And that's without a load in it. Toyota screwed up bad with the reverse gearing on the manual transmissions. 4lo isn't even an option on the pavement when you have to turn sharp. My 86 Toyota 4x4 had no issues with the same driveway. Either slipping the clutch long enough to back out, or using 4lo with the hubs unlocked.
     
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