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My experience of towing 4,700lb travel trailer, which now weighs closer to 5,000lbs… maybe.

Discussion in 'Towing' started by mosccat, Mar 30, 2022.

  1. Mar 30, 2022 at 10:22 AM
    #1
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Currently in Bend, OR
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    UPDATE to the UPDATE: now towed some 15k miles, North to South and coast to coast through 21 states with my stock Tacoma!

    UPDATE: The total miles towed was 8,226 miles, total elevation climbed 65,148 ft, highest elevation 10,856, lowest elevation -223ft and only 8 states visited!

    Having driven 5,000+miles in the past 5 months I wanted to share my towing experience…

    So far we’ve towed the TT 5,133 miles, ascended 56,775ft, descended 51,788 ft, maximum elevation 10,856ft, lowest elevation -223ft (according to 'inRoute" app) and the taco has done awesome! Sure more power would be great but everyone wants more power.

    My TT is a 2022 Apex Nano 213rds, double axle, 25ft long (hitch-bumper), 7.5ft wide, 4140lb empty, 4,700lb loaded, GVWR 6,000lb, 615lb +/- tongue weight.

    My truck is 2020 DCLB OR, tonneaux cover, 500lb sumo springs, Redarc brake controller and Anderson WDH. I think the longer wheel base of the DCLB helps with towing and stability. I run 48psi in the rear tires and 45psi in the front, upping the psi makes a huge improvement with how the truck feels when towing. With a bit of finagling I raised the stock transmission radiator 1.5” for better airflow and run with the thermostat pinned. Oh yeah one other thing…. I added the front spoiler from the sport :anonymous:

    I highly recommend the Anderson hitch. It’s lightweight which is useful for the taco’s limited payload. When set up correctly it provides excellent stability, nearly zero push/pull from semis going past at 80mph and keeps my truck level front to back. With the TT attached the rear of my truck drops 0.5” (still space between sumo and frame) and the front is the same height as when unloaded.

    I drive in S5 (no ECT), utilise OBD fusion via the Carista dongle on my iPad mini to watch everything. The most useful thing with OBD fusion is knowing when the Torque converter is locked and watching the TC temps.

    The first 2,000 miles of this journey I was not able to watch whether the TC was locked or not, I was only going by sound and feel. Since adding this functionality I can run in 5th gear easily and safely knowing exactly what goes on. On my screen I have a green or red circle behind the active gear to tell me if it’s locked or not.

    With this current set up I can consistently get 12 to 13mpg. My most recent leg of the journey was from Santa Fe to Colorado Springs, approximately 330 miles and I averaged 13.5 mpg even with a red flag warning coming from the west for 100 miles. I typically run at 60mph so I can use 5th gear and I’m nearly always in flip flops so I drivebarefooted which allows for a bit more sensitivity. Speeding up to 65mph or 70mph really kills the mpg and requires 4th. The faster you go the more the wind resistance and the more the Taco struggles.

    On a recent leg from Alomogorda to Roswell NM, I ascended 3,500ft over a 7,600 ft mountain and my TC temps peaked at 207’.

    The taco is a capable vehicle with limited payload. My tongue weight is 615lb+/- which leaves enough for a full tank of fuel and myself with some left over. My wife and 80lb dog are travelling in convoy with tool box, generator and other heavy stuff in her car. I use a tongue scale to weigh the tongue.

    I wish the taco had a bigger fuel tank although this handily limits drives to 4hrs so automatically provides a break from driving. We typically try to plan our legs to around 200 miles for simplicity and driving pleasure.

    I highly recommend taking the truck and truck/TT over scales multipletimes to know where you’re at and to make sure the WDH is doing what it’s supposed to.

    All of the towing miles I’ve driven have been solo so here are A few other things to make driving less stressful…

    I use a tpms on the TT, link below.

    I’ve used cheap mirror extenders and they have worked great and have faired all sorts of weather from hot desert, sub freezing and high winds.

    I added a camera to the TT license plate and wired it directly to the 501 license plate bulb, basically attach the positive and negative to the bulb and push it back into the socket, no soldering needed. As long as your side lights are on, the camera is on. The camera makes driving so much easier especially when making decisions to overtake or make manoeuvres and especially reversing.

    I’ve used an app called inroute which allows to search least windy/curvy/elevation route which can be handy. Especially the windy part, it’s amazing how one route can vary over another.

    Any questions feel free to ask…

    Anderson WDH - https://andersenhitches.com/collections/wd-hitch/products/4-drop-rise-weight-distribution-hitch
    Sumo springs - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07679QKCG?ie=UTF8
    OBD fusion - https://www.obdsoftware.net/software/obdfusion
    TPMS - https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B085C2HMQP?ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title
    Mirrors- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00029WRKA?ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title
    Camera - https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07FLZ1HSQ?ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title
    Carista dongle -
    https://caristaapp.com/
    Tongue scale - https://www.ebay.com/itm/192874481388?chn=ps
    98ED8DF1-22EF-469C-9ED2-774174358795.jpg
    512C43A8-89ED-418B-AA62-E0AFCA80FC92.jpg

    Edit: 18 months later The TT is now closer to 5,000lbs loaded and the wife and dog are in the truck with me. The GCW of truck and TT is 10,000lb and the truck handles it all great.

    I attribute the positive towing experience to several factors… a correctly set WDH with sway control, properly inflated truck tires, a well balanced TT and managed expectations.

    I have never seen the oil pan temps get above 200’ but do see the torque converter temps spike up to 230’ on the most extreme climbs (8-9,000ft passes) but temps normailse very quickly.

    I regularly get over 12mpg and averaged over 11mpg for the 8k miles.

    345BD342-55CC-4478-9ACF-D5CC26BF4A7C.jpg

    I have gone through several dashboard designs but have settled on this design for the last few thousand miles or so…

    B5B603E8-D402-41D6-8331-918BA274AD28.jpg
    Bend, OR. Endured temps below zero!
    98B4840F-714B-4CDC-A36D-98EFA653C6DB.jpg
    Bump stops unhitched
    950890CA-7242-45C7-B70E-581AB19726DB.jpg
    Spanish Sisters, CO
    E83D5F1F-6F57-4265-95EB-9A2006B1ABB1.jpg

    Valley of the Gods, S.Utah
    CCBB5275-1342-4859-8DCB-542986651952.jpg
    Topaz Lake, NV
    D2C5AA80-C43C-4567-85D3-BA50D2101762.jpg
    Gooseneck State park.
    0A18CD07-D7F5-4D0A-ABED-5D297BAE77B6.jpg
    Valley of the gods
    2FBBC098-85BD-41C5-9A95-67A30D68490B.jpg
    Gooseneck state park
    3E5E60DE-CFA7-4061-90D0-9BF7AAF9E590.jpg
    Wolf Creek pass - 10,856ft elevation
    948B23B7-D29E-46B5-A794-2A9E2C2B7493.jpg

    A0373363-BF81-4A46-82A3-1FF46C2ACB0B.jpg
    Cheyenne Mountain, CO
    F8146C01-F61A-4FAD-9FA2-57A5FB54DA8D.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2024
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    #1
    SinghTaco, jackn7, POOLGUY and 37 others like this.
  2. Mar 30, 2022 at 7:17 PM
    #2
    mic_sierra

    mic_sierra Toshiba HDDVD is the future

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    You running stock gears?

    Very nice write up by the way. I enjoy data driven stories.
     
    wayupnort likes this.
  3. Mar 30, 2022 at 7:55 PM
    #3
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes, stock gears, stock everything except for the bump stops…
     
  4. Apr 7, 2022 at 2:28 PM
    #4
    bornxbackwards

    bornxbackwards Well-Known Member

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    Sherbrooke, QC
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    Debadged, black sumos, brake controller.
    Very interesting. Nice setup.

    Does the spoiler help for towing at all or your just trying to gain some MPG back? Also, 50psi in tire seems to be their limit if you're stock, did you experiment at lower or you set it at at max due to towing and it worked fine for you need?

    I have a trailer tent (2k pound dry, no WDH), I did get sumo this year, can't wait to try them out, now I'm wondering if increasing my PSI higher would help with the little wobble when I forget the anti sway bar.
     
    rwj5000 likes this.
  5. Apr 7, 2022 at 5:21 PM
    #5
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the max psi is 51 so I’m up there, but tbh the ride is not jarring, it feels good. Helps to minimize side wall flexing side to side. Higher psi will help when semis come past.

    Now when driving without the TT I actually prefer 40 psi, 32 feels so wallowy. 40 feels like how a truck should feel.

    With the sumo’s. Can’t say whether or not they are helping. With no TT I have a good gap between stop and the frame. With the TT attached I still have a tiny gap still so the sumos are only working when we go over bumps…
     
  6. Apr 8, 2022 at 4:03 AM
    #6
    Nordichawk

    Nordichawk Nordichawk

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    What tires do you have on your Tacoma for towing?
     
  7. Apr 8, 2022 at 6:47 AM
    #7
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Stock OR Goodyear Wranglers.

    I really should have replaced them cause they look like this… but they have done fine.

    889FCECE-A06E-4DA3-91D0-D6DF4B12C1D5.jpg
     
  8. Apr 8, 2022 at 11:42 AM
    #8
    BarcelonaTom67

    BarcelonaTom67 Lost in Translation....

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    This post timing is perfect for me. My wife and I bought our first RV last weekend - a 2022 Coleman Rubicon 16' travel trailer. My truck is bone stock, although I am about to upgrade the shocks, front coils, and add a helper spring in the rear. I have towed, but nothing this size, and I was curious to know of other's experience with similar sized trailers. Our Coleman is a single axle, dry weight of 3900 #'s, so a bit lighter than your trailer. We live an hour west of Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra's, so anywhere we tow it will involve a good bit of up / down hill towing.

    Thank you for sharing.
     
    WoodsGhost likes this.
  9. Apr 8, 2022 at 1:59 PM
    #9
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Can’t really say one way or another as I’m sure it’s benefits are marginal…However for aerodynamics and stability you typically want less air going under the vehicle vs more, so in theory it could be doing something. I seem to be getting better mpg than most so maybe.

    Look at semi’s, they have aero spoilers that get as low to the ground as possible and they do xxxxxx miles.

    This road trip has exceeded 3,800 miles so if it’s gained 1mpg then it’s paid for itself considering it was free. I will remove it once we get to the final destination.
     
  10. Apr 8, 2022 at 2:16 PM
    #10
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the camper!

    TBH this was the first thing I had towed. Picked it up from the dealer in November in WA and it’s been on the back of the taco every day since.

    Towing has been a breeze. Get some mirror extensions and a back up camera. Make sure you know where you’re going and try not to be in a hurry!

    I connected the backup camera wires to the license plate bulb and bolted to the license bolt. Job done. Drive with side lights on and the camera is on.

    Have done some serious climbs and not had any issues.

    Are you doing the suspension for towing?
     
  11. Apr 8, 2022 at 2:46 PM
    #11
    Windmill Road

    Windmill Road Well-Known Member

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    I’m impressed, your camper specs are very similar to ours and I never thought of our Taco as being able to pull it. We opted for a Tundra for the tow rig and are building our Taco for off road camping, making it just barely able to handle its own weight with armor, camper, and gear. Looks like you have done your homework and have it dialed in!

    our camper weighs in at 4820 dry and the tongue weight is a challenge for the Tundra even with the Icon RSX heavy springs (we may have to look at the Anderson hitch you described). We get somewhere between 10 - 14 mags running 65 to 75 mph. A head wind really pulls the mileage down even with the 5.7.

    Needed it for other chores as well so it wasn’t just to tow the camper, it all worked out for us, but am always amazed at what the Tacos are able to pull off.

    EE40D428-B068-4D70-8523-767ADE7218E9.jpg
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    012DEC37-68ED-44EE-BC17-CCD9FF606140.jpg
     
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  12. Apr 8, 2022 at 3:52 PM
    #12
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I can’t say enough good things about the Anderson hitch. When set up right it’s awesome.

    Definitely this camper is as big as I wanted to go, I would have preferred 7ft wide but a walk around bed was a must. Having done the math I knew I needed to be under 5k lbs loaded, I'm happy with being under by a couple hundred lbs and 25% under the max tow.

    Had the new Tundra been available when we left Hawaii I wouldn’t have shipped the taco. Pulling this rig with a Tundra would be easy peasy and not at the limits.
    I would love to have a dedicated tow rig, especially the new Tundra and have the taco as a toy :)

    My taco is a LB and the extra 13” wheelbase makes a difference compared to SB. Also the LB has 4 leafs in the rear as opposed to 3 on the SB.

    Everyone i speak to seems to be in the 10-14mpg whilst towing, it doesn’t matter if it’s a diesel, v6 or v8.

    Looks like you put the Tundra to work :cheers:
     
    rybern and Windmill Road[QUOTED] like this.
  13. Apr 8, 2022 at 4:28 PM
    #13
    Windmill Road

    Windmill Road Well-Known Member

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    Great detailed overview and your truck is sitting proud and level in the photo. Appreciate the advice on the Anderson, see it in our immediate future!
     
  14. Apr 8, 2022 at 6:28 PM
    #14
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Keep an eye out on Walmart.com I got my Anderson kit for $470 plus tax
     
    Windmill Road[QUOTED] likes this.
  15. Apr 11, 2022 at 6:10 AM
    #15
    BarcelonaTom67

    BarcelonaTom67 Lost in Translation....

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    I am getting a weight distribution hitch for the trailer. I am also upgrading the shocks front coils, and adding a set of "helper springs" in the rear to help with the towing, but that's all I will be doing for some time.

    Thx for the tip on the backup camera.
     
  16. Apr 20, 2022 at 3:00 PM
    #16
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Got high in Colorado…. again.

    Towed 4,700 lb TT west 150 miles into a 15mph SW head wind with two passes, one 9,500 and the second 10,800ft. Maxed out at 213’ on the torque converter, total trip mpg 10.7mpg.

    Taco done good as always!

    89C8C652-CF91-41BD-82AC-149EB0E9C569.jpg
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  17. Apr 20, 2022 at 8:42 PM
    #17
    Windmill Road

    Windmill Road Well-Known Member

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    Definitely validates your rig…I’m impressed! Not to mention the color coordination
     
  18. Apr 20, 2022 at 9:48 PM
    #18
    mosccat

    mosccat [OP] Well-Known Member

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    The fact that the camper came in a cement colour and had heritage stripes had no bearing on me buying it :anonymous:
     
  19. May 1, 2022 at 7:38 AM
    #19
    cs0004

    cs0004 New Member

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    This is also perfectly timed for me! I came to the forums looking for towing advice, and this looks pretty perfect.

    The wife and I are about to buy our first travel trailer (Micro Minnie 1800BH w/ dry weight of ~3800 lbs) for us and the kids, and I was concerned about being able to tow the trailer without destroying the truck (2022 SR5 V6 crew cab). Been seeing a ton about staying around 80% or tow capacity, but was concerned with the gas mileage while towing. Good bit about the brake controller; I had also found that model while searching and it looks to be the best out there.

    Thanks! Will post some pics when we finally pull the trigger.
     
  20. May 1, 2022 at 4:27 PM
    #20
    aleriance

    aleriance Well-Known Member

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    Does the Redarc brake controller have the "hand pinch" brake inside the cab? I hear that is a nice touch when you begin to feel sway.
     
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