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My tow experience with a NoBo 19.6

Discussion in 'Towing' started by KissmyTaco, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Oct 18, 2020 at 9:20 PM
    #1
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    In May I purchased a 2020 NoBo 19.6 in hopes of doing some long weekend camping to escape the Phoenix heat. This summer has been unbearable. Hopefully this post will be informative and at the same time, it certainly raises some questions as to the abilities of the Taco to handle towing this trailer. This review and towing discussion will likely get long, so please bear with me if you decide to make it to the end. Any thoughts, comments and corrections would be greatly appreciated.


    About me:

    I have spent many years, while I was married, hauling horses around the country. I started out with a F250 crew cab w/V10 engine and a 3 horse slant trailer and progressed to an F350 dually crew cab with the older 7.3 liter diesel and a 3 horse slant with custom built living quarters and additional tack room. Our horses were large, mostly weighing 1000-1200# each. The trailers were all goosenecks so hauling a tongue hitch is a new experience for me (other than moving around the country with a U-Haul and car dolly in tow a few times).


    About my truck:005.jpg


    I have a 2017 Sport 4X2 with a tow rating of 6700# and maximum tongue weight of 670#.

    GVWR-5600# a curb weight of 4205# leaving a payload of 1395#

    My truck is essentially stock with the exception of Lund Nerf bars, upgraded to Forerunner pro rims w/Cooper Discoverer A/T3 17” and a bed mat. The Nerf bars and bed mat will need to be considered towards my payload capacity, while the additional weight of the tire/rim combination will need to be added to the GVWR and GCVWR of 11360#


    About the NoBo 19.6:

    https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/travel-trailers/no-boundaries/NB19.6/4763


    029.jpg
    The empty weight of the trailer as delivered was just over 4300#. I have added 2 marine batteries and it came standard with a single LP tank. I will discuss tongue weight later.

    While gathering my list of must have items for the trailer, I tried to keep weight down, especially in the kitchen, by going with as much light weight plastic items as I could.

    I weighed each group of Items as I added them to the trailer being cognizant of weight distribution within the trailer to try to decrease percentage on the tongue.

    My storage compartment under the front of the trailer contains roughly 160# of essentials. The total added to the trailer is in the neighborhood of 350-360#, not including the weight of the batteries and propane… ~125#

    This does not include food/clothing and any other essentials that may be needed depending upon camping conditions (dry vs hookups). I do not travel with water with the exception of ~50# in the 6 gal water heater (which can be drained if needed).

    I purchased a Renology 100 amp suitcase solar panel, which has a weight of ~27#, if needed for dry camping (I have also purchased a generator which renders the solar panel non-essential)

    So that generates a trailer weight of approximately 4850#

    Presuming a lot of food and clothing, I will add about 250# (to be on the safe side) to the total which brings the total trailer weight loaded in the neighborhood of ~5100# or 75-80% of towing capacity…A maximum number I was shooting for.


    GVWR/GCVWR:

    As I stated above, my curb weight is 4205#, add on approximately #10 pound per wheel/tire combo and 28# for the bed mat, nerf bars 40#, and assorted items in the truck 20# (guesstimate) and now my curb weight goes to ~4333#, leaving a cargo capacity of 1267#.

    Taking my weight and GFs weight into consideration (yes we both need to loose weight) we are at ~415#.

    I have an EAZ-Lift weight distribution hitch and single anti-sway bar that comes in at a total of 76#, leaving me with a total of roughly 775# for both additional cargo and tongue weight.

    If I need to dry camp, I will need to bring my Furman dual fuel generator which comes in at ~100# empty. I will bring a second full propane tank 37# and containers for gas and extra water which will be filled close to the campgrounds.

    https://www.costco.com/firman-2900w...r-generator-gas-and-lp.product.100481637.html


    In a worse case scenario, for dry camping, I would have ~638# for tongue weight, which obviously brings me very close to maximum GVWR.

    Given these numbers, I would still be within my GCVWR at approximately 10,700# out of 11,360#.


    Actual tongue weight:

    Distribution of weight within your trailer is key. You do not want to overload the rear of the trailer as this will cause instability and increased risk of sway (having a dual axle trailer makes this also less likely). Evenly distributing your cargo with some bias towards the front will help reduce the risk of sudden loss of control of the trailer. Keeping tongue weight at no less than 10% to 15% is ideal.

    I found this scale to measure tongue weight on Ebay, for under $40, it was worth the investment.

    108.jpg

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Trailer-To...r-Boat/192874481388?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT


    Hopefully it is within 5% of stated weight. The weight is measured in kg, so for those not adept at metric, you multiply the kg X 2.2 to get the weight in pounds.

    On my trip, which was dry camping, my fully loaded trailer had a measured tongue weight of 250 kg or 550#...hopefully this is close to correct and is approximately 11% of guesstimated trailer weight.

    This would leave me at 88# under my maximum GVWR with room for any small items in the cargo area; definitely cutting it close.


    Towing experience:

    I drove from Phoenix to Lone Rock campgrounds right over the border in UT. It required me to drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff going via I-17 from a ~1000 ft elevation to ~7000 ft. The drive up encompassed multiple hills ranging in 5-7% grades anywhere from 4-5 mile+ climbs. On the way back to Phoenix there is a single hill that is at 6% grade and goes on for 13 miles.

    You can see details of grades and clearances along any route here:

    http://www.srfox.net/support.html


    The combination of truck and trailer was as I suspected it to be. You know you have weight behind you. If you are not used to it, it can be quite daunting. To me, it was no worse than pulling a fully loaded horse trailer. I was totally comfortable with it, taking proper precautions in maintaining appropriate distance between myself and others in front of me, planning lane changes well in advance and keeping pace at a speed that was deemed both comfortable and meeting the conditions on the road. I was able to relax and drive with little concern. As expected, gas mileage was abysmal especially heading north. I averaged 8.5 mpg on the trip north and 11 mpg heading back south. Pulling a large horse trailer with an F350 diesel seemed to get about the same mpg, so I believe the standard answer to mpg towing large loads with any vehicle is 10.

    On the flat areas the Tacoma pulled easily with rpm’s in the 2500-3000 range using S4 w/ECT on.

    Going up the big hills was a bit more work for the truck. It was able to keep up a 45-50 mph pace easily in the 3000-4000 rpm range with the transmission kicking down into 3rd when needed and occasionally seeing rpm’s in the 4500-5000 range for short periods. If I wanted to go faster up these hills I feel the Tacoma was capable but there would be a price to pay. I know that the truck was designed to operate in the higher rpm range to generate torque, but it also could be the Tacoma’s undoing.

    Which brings me to my final observation….


    Where my Tacoma came up short:

    Despite its ease of pulling my trailer at roughly 75-80% of its tow rating, I believe the limiting factor of this truck is its transmissions ability to handle the load. I am hoping someone such as @gearcruncher, who has way more knowledge than I, can give his opinion on the numbers that I am getting
    The engine certainly seems like the little engine that could and if I pushed it, it was up to the task, even at high rpm’s where it seems to be designed to get up and go.

    I used an Ultra gauge to monitor temperatures, and this is what got me concerned.

    As many have stated, the built in transmission cooler is inefficient at maintaining this transmission. On the flats and small hills my transmission maintained a temperature in the high 190’s/low 200s (pan and torque converter) with an engine temperature in the mid 180s. The outside temperature at the time was in the low 80’s, quite cool for an Arizona day in the fall.

    However, when the engine was put through it’s paces going up a 7 mile stretch at 6% grade, the torque converter temperature climbed to a concerning 240 degrees while the pan temp never seemed to get above 215.The engine temperature never got above 195 degrees. The remedy was to stay in a lower rpm range in a lower gear until you reached a peak at which point the transmission would shift back into fourth and the torque converter temperature would rapidly drop to within a few degrees or match that of the pan. The entire haul, the engine temperature never went above 195 degrees.
    20201009_155433.jpg
    My thoughts about a remedy (other than getting a bigger truck) are to get a secondary large cooler, in series with the factory cooler, and consider a re-gear to at least a 4.88. If it wasn’t for the Ultra gauge, I would say that this truck has some big balls for a truck of its size and I would have likely pushed it to the edge resulting in premature transmission failure down the road. Doing modifications to improve the towing performance is not without its risks. Do them while the truck is under warranty (I have a 8yr/80,000 mi extended warranty with 45,000 on the truck) and risk being declined for warranty service should something go wrong, or change your transmission fluids at more frequent intervals and keep your fingers crossed there is no major damage that will come back to bite you in the ass down the road.

    I typically like to keep my vehicles for many years, luckily I do not plan to tow more than 4-5 times a year, so I will likely go with the later and keep my fingers crossed.


    If you made it this far, I appreciate you reading my diatribe. Below is some of the wonderful views we had of Lone Rock Beach in Utah.

    Panoramic view at sunset
    Project1.jpg

    Camping on the beach...lucky for me my friends had a 4X4 full size pickup to get me parked
    015.jpg
    My morning view from the front of the trailer. We rented wave runners and my friends brought their Rzr to do some off roading. We set up a canopy on the water edge
    096a.jpg

    Nighttime campfires. This firepit weights 8# and comes with a carry case..worth every penny
    019.jpg

    Lone Rock from the wave runner
    076a.jpg

    Navajo Canyon from the wave runner
    042a.jpg

    some great rock formations from the wave runner
    091a.jpg
     
  2. Oct 18, 2020 at 9:31 PM
    #2
    DogStar84

    DogStar84 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this. Read with interest as sometime this winter I,m hauling out a boat that will come close to maxing the tow rating.
    Very short trip but I’m a little concerned. Only hill will be the very steep ramp.

    I will update this post when I pull it outta water. The pic should be epic.
     
    KissmyTaco [OP] likes this.
  3. Oct 18, 2020 at 9:47 PM
    #3
    redrock95

    redrock95 Well-Known Member

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    What fire pan is that?
     
  4. Oct 18, 2020 at 9:50 PM
    #4
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    LED interior&LP lighting/Hondo Garage Aluminum radio knobs/5"Lund oval Nerf Bars /Factory bed mat/Factory Mud Flaps
  5. Oct 19, 2020 at 1:22 AM
    #5
    gearcruncher

    gearcruncher Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a fantastic trip with some awesome pictures :thumbsup:.

    If you are planning to keep the truck , I would suggest the addition of a larger aftercooler rather than a re-gear .
    The larger aftercooler will help when your torque converter is working hard .
    Thankfully you are watching your transmission temps
    During towing , the clutch inside your torque converter is unlocked which creates a lot of heat . The heat multiplies rapidly on long inclines because the converter clutch remains in the unlocked position .
    When the incline ends and the clutch inside the torque converter does lock up , the heat drops very quickly
    Members at Tacoma World see about 30 degrees cooler with the addition of an aftercooler .
    Adding a larger cooler wont kill your warranty as long as you have the cooler installed at the dealership.
    I beleive Toyota sells an in house brand of the True-cool . True cool is about the best you can get .
    Trans temp # 1 is the fluid returning to the transmission pan after being cooled
    Trans temp # 2 is the fluid leaving the torque converter to be cooled . Very hot at this point .

    Have you looked at my transmission cooler write up ?
    There are a couple 3rd gen members who thankfully posted some sweet pictures of their aftercooler installs .
    In my opinion ,I think you can get away with simply adding a larger aftercooler .No need to re-gear .
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads...l-toyotas-write-up-with-many-pictures.526283/
     
    enduringsnark, monkeyface and MaxMoon like this.
  6. Oct 19, 2020 at 12:05 PM
    #6
    Guyonsomecouch

    Guyonsomecouch Member

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    The transmission and engine are great for pulling, it’s the rear end (pumpin gears) that f*** everything up. Swap out those gears with something better and you’ll have a lot better of a towing experience. It’s on my to do list. Everyone blames the engine for being underpowered and crappy shift points and it’s actually just the gearing that screws up the truck. If you are handy and can do it yourself a good kit is around 1000-1400 ish.
     
    KissmyTaco [OP] likes this.
  7. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:36 AM
    #7
    tacoRenner

    tacoRenner Well-Known Member

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    KissmyTaco [OP] likes this.
  8. Oct 20, 2020 at 11:06 PM
    #8
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your insight. I believe I skimmed your write up in the past, but I will reread it with new purpose again. Luckily my service writer is a friend , so I will discuss the secondary cooler with him at my next service. I'll wait on re-gearing for now. SDHQ is not far from me and I've already discussed the re-gear with them. If I ever decide to go that route, they will be the ones to do it.
     
    gearcruncher likes this.
  9. Oct 21, 2020 at 9:54 AM
    #9
    monkeyface

    monkeyface Douchebag, or just douche if we're friends

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    What triggers TC lock/unlock? Speed, RPM's, temperature, gear position?

    Does the autotrans torque converter stay locked in any of the gears? I tow 4klbs frequently with the A750F and I dimly remember experimenting with the trailer hooked up:
    - D the TC would go back and forth lock/unlock.
    - Manually in 4th the TC would go back and forth lock/unlock.
    - Manually in 3rd the TC seemed to stay locked.
     
  10. Oct 24, 2020 at 11:52 AM
    #10
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Here is a good video. From my limited understanding watching this, it seems that load is what drives the locking/unlocking. So, when climbing a hill, the tranny will be under a much heavier load than going on a flat surface. This would explain why the temps stayed low on flat surfaces at the same rpm vs going up a large hill. Gearcruncher can probably add to or correct my supposition.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTfipsejqS0
     
    monkeyface likes this.
  11. Dec 14, 2020 at 4:04 PM
    #11
    campingalan

    campingalan Well-Known Member

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    Good evening @KissmyTaco ! Thank you very much for the comprehensive write up! We also are considering a small couples trailer to do 1-2 week boondock trips here in CO and the surrounding states (yes....will have to resupply and empty tanks midway, for sure).

    Your write up was awesome to give a comparison of how the Taco works for these 5000lbs of trailer and and stuff! We live by Ouray CO. So, we are faced with a gradual downhill towards Montrose.....or, the 4000+ft climb south towards Silverton. I'm on the edge of just gettting a larger truck, but glad to see yours perform. I will keep my Taco so as to keep enjoying all of the jeep roads in our area. I will definitely look into one of those additional transmission coolers to augment our towing package!
     
  12. Dec 14, 2020 at 4:40 PM
    #12
    lonedrake

    lonedrake Well-Known Member

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    Trailer is took big if you want to go up hills at a normal speed. Now maybe you are ok going 45-50...but that would not be acceptable to me. I would switch over to a Tundra or similar sized rig. One thing you can't get back in life is time.
     
  13. Dec 14, 2020 at 4:53 PM
    #13
    campingalan

    campingalan Well-Known Member

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    I will actually, most likely, upgrade to a 3/4 or 1ton gasser. I don't want the trailer to ever dominate our ride here in CO. Plus, my payload is only 950lbs. I'm a middle linebacker build, so me, wife, and dog are almost 600lbs, as it is. That is without tongue weight, bikes, firewood, generator, gas for generator, etc.

    But, I'm still glad it has worked out for the OP.
     
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  14. Dec 15, 2020 at 1:14 PM
    #14
    KissmyTaco

    KissmyTaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Evidently you have never pulled a large load. As I stated in my opening to this thread, I hauled with an F350 Dually crew cab diesel engine truck.
    With a load full of horses and other necessities, going up the mountains to California from AZ, I had the truck floored in lower gears and at times I was lucky to do 45 MPH. In fact, most vehicles hauling were rarely seen going over 50-55 mph. That is what will happen when you have 6-7% grades no matter what you are hauling with.
     
  15. Dec 15, 2020 at 2:42 PM
    #15
    lonedrake

    lonedrake Well-Known Member

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    I have pulled plenty of large loads and plenty of mid sized loads on too small of a truck. I remember pulling my 16 ft bass boat down to Iowa with my 2.2 Mazda. Coming back I had a strong headwind and I could barely keep it to 60....thats with it floored. I also appreciate the ability to pass people. Some people have no problem going slow or holding up traffic...but I am not one of them. If it works for you thats fine. You clearly have taken your time and analyzed every aspect of your set up. Great looking truck by the way.:thumbsup:
     
    KissmyTaco [OP] likes this.

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