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My tow rig, the weight, and the wind of not great conditions - Read

Discussion in 'Towing' started by fajitas21, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Apr 25, 2011 at 8:49 AM
    #1
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    This is a quick write up to help people on here who have asked a bunch of the same questions about "Can I tow this" on here that I have.

    Here's what I did this weekend.

    I had an opportunity to tow my Father-in-laws TT this weekend, for various reasons. I wanted to test Brake Control, Airbags, and how 5700 lbs loaded felt in 30 - 40MPH winds (HOLY CRAP). To be prepared for all of this is the key, it's not always perfect weather outside.


    --- Brake Control --- Tekonsha P3 Controller with Toyota specific harness (paid extra 5 bux for it, but no splicing of wires needed). Connected to Factory tow pkg.
    **Mount location - I moved it once. I had it right on the left side above emergency brake, but kept hitting it when I went to depress the e-brake. I considered moving to far right but gas would be there, and there's a bit of a curve in the panel. I settled on slightly off center to the right of the steering wheel, near where the brake would be aligned. You can't see it as well (although if your wheel is straight you can see it through the right smaller handle grip on the wheel). Feet don't hit it getting in or out, using brake or gas, and doesn't interfere with e-brake.
    **Performance - SUPER SMOOTH. This is a pricey unit, but I impressed my father-in-law with it. He wasn't sure that the trailer brakes were activating hard enough, but I stopped as well as if there was nothing behind me. I set the boost to 2nd level (total of 3 levels), and power to around 9.0. I also tested the manual brake, very smooth as well. This thing make your trailer an extension of the truck's brakes and is absolutely worth the premium.


    --- Engine Power --- In 4 obviously.
    5700 lbs is no joke. His trailer is UVW of 5100 and we easily have 600 lbs more in propane tanks, batteries, junk, etc.

    Scangauge results. *Note* due to wind I did not feel safe going past 55, so that's what these numbers are based on.

    4th gear @ 2100 RPM engine load at 85%, HP putting about 90-100 HPs, MPG around 10 - 11.5 in flat to slight hills. I downshifted to 3rd, ran around 3000 rpms, engine load @ 60% with 110HPs, MPG around 9 - 11MPG.

    Impressions, the engine pulled this thing with idle alone when I let off brake in driveway, in 3rd I could really pull the crap out of it. 4th was lugging but it's 30 freaking MPH wind gusts going up a hill @ 55MPH. Perhaps a supercharger would do better but I'm impressed at this little truck's power with that much weight back there.

    --- Air Bags (Air lift 1000) ---
    I had a WD Hitch setup, no sway bar with my air bags @ ~30PSI. No bucking with braking due to the bags and it did help with the sway control a bit in such a windy day.

    The WD Hitch for a 5700 lb load is a no brainer, and made a huge leveling difference on the truck. My ground > fender was 36.5 inches unloaded. It was 33 inches without WD Hitch, and 34.5 inches with. I added some air to get back to 36 Inches with 20 - 30 PSI and my WD Hitch for a safe 36" level ride. Ride really wans't that rough either.


    ----5700 lbs trailer (even with WD Hitch) ----
    The truck, she'll pull it. The wind SUCKED. I didn't see or feel anything to make believe this truck was really that worked up over it. But I'll say that I, the driver, would not want to pull it too far. 8' trailers on a 6.5 foot wide truck is a bit rough to do and can be nerve racking on small roads like the ones I was riding on.

    Truck and trailed pulled true, but when a big gust hit you, you just had to go with it. The problem is, 8' wide doesn't give you alot of going with it till you run out of pavement.

    Also, the engine brake kicks in right as soon as you let off the gas, so you'll want to be careful when doing that with a heavy load. Keep that brake controller manual override handy to gently apply some brake pressure instead of letting off the gas if you get a bit uncomfortable. That should right the trailer pretty gently and quickly.


    ----FINAL THOUGHTS----
    After pulling this beast, which was a 29' Bumper pull Jayco JayFlight TT @ 5700lbs, I certainly won't be doing this regularly. I've only been pulling for 5 years and that was my very first time to pull a TT. Not to mention that wind. But it was a good experience, it's not always going to be perfect weather outside.

    Based on what I've discovered, I'm pretty settled a 22' Skyline Joey trailer with a curved roof, coming in around 3800 lbs dry.

    I'm also gonna buy a badass WD hitch with the dual cam swaybar, something like the Reese ones like this:

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&biw=1920&bih=924&q=reese+wd+hitch+sway+bar+strait-line&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=1662649319067388591&sa=X&ei=ZZe1Tc2fIoeitgfqoqjqDg&ved=0CEwQ8wIwBA#

    Hope this helps guys.

    -------------
    Lee Mims - Orange Texas

    Towing experience - ~5 years.

    Types of tow - Travel trailer, utility trailer, bass boats, deck boats, 16' lowboys, trailers with surge brakes, electric brakes and no brakes.

    Current Rig:
    2011 Tacoma 4x2 Sport
    Air Lift 1000
    Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller
    7-pin factory tow pkg with tranny and oil cooler
    Automatic v6 4.0L with aFe Cold air intake
     
  2. Apr 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM
    #2
    GrayTacoma

    GrayTacoma Well-Known Member

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    PIAA ion yellow fogs stay on all time,aux reverse lights, aux lights, camper with rack, cb, air bags, on board air, aux fuse box, aux batt, CAI, etc.............
    Thanks for the post. it will help me a lot. What type of mirrors did you used?
     
  3. Apr 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM
    #3
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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  4. Apr 25, 2011 at 1:57 PM
    #4
    S.B.

    S.B. Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2011 at 2:03 PM
    #5
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    After much testing and searching and wheeling and dealing I finally bought my own Travel Trailer.

    Pulled it home Tuesday, about 150 miles in this terrible 30 mph wind. I couldn't pick it up till 5:30 and I lived 2 hours away so I had to drive it home without a swaybar, WD hitch and mirrors. I had a brake controller and airbags, and a learned a few things from my experiences that night.

    After speaking to about 3 well trusted hitching and towing guys (2 shopowners I trust and a guy who's been hauling more 30 + years), I determined I might not need a WD hitch on this Travel trailer. It's 3500 lbs dry, and it was indeed that weight pulling it home Tuesday.

    I did add a swaybar, and obviously have a brake control, but it's pulling about 410 lbs tongue weight (propane and battery included) on my truck, and the truck only squatted 2 inches without the WD setup. I put 40 PSI in my air-lift bags and I went back up to stock height.

    Due to wind I was limited to 55mph coming home, and averaged 12MPG over the 150 miles I drove. Engine was running pretty good in 4, and really didn't downshift even on steeper bridge inclines. I've very pleased with my tranny / engine performance.

    Now that I've added a swaybar and the wind is much calmer, I'm going for another drive today to see how 65 feels. That's honestly about as fast as I plan on going, even if I feel I could go faster. It's just a level of comfort thing, and I don't have enough experience with travel trailers to go faster. The lake will still be there even if it takes 15 minutes longer to get there.

    Anyways, for those who are interested, 3500 - 4000 lbs Travel Trailers pull quite well, despite the windy days, if you keep the speeds around 50 - 55 and take your time.
     
  6. May 13, 2011 at 7:23 AM
    #6
    Paul's TRD

    Paul's TRD I'm Not Your F***ing Brother

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    Got a picture?
     
  7. May 13, 2011 at 8:32 AM
    #7
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    [​IMG]

    Here ya go!
     
  8. May 13, 2011 at 11:39 AM
    #8
    Paul's TRD

    Paul's TRD I'm Not Your F***ing Brother

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    Nice. I always like to see any Travel Trailer attached to a truck towing.
     
  9. May 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM
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    Gregman

    Gregman Well-Known Member

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    Nice! I think you'll find that tires can also play a roll in reducing sway. I have some Michelin LTX M/S 245/75 R16 (black wall) in load range E that are quiet, give great milage, last a long time, and handle great (if you can say that a Tacoma actually handles without laughing). The stiff sidewall keeps the truck feeling stuck to the road no matter what I hook up to the hitch.
    Good call on the air bags, I've got some Ride-rite bags myself and they make a big difference.
    Another good call on the load leveling (or weight distribution) hitch, that's something I am still shopping for and it looks like Amazon has the deals.
     
  10. May 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM
    #10
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Most of the things in the TRD sport package are cosmetic and just for road stuff, but I did find one aspect I really liked about it and was a major seller to me.

    The sport models come with a 265/65/R17 wheel, and I really enjoy having the 265 over the 245/75/R16 default rims, as they are a bit wider and lower profile. I feel they give me a good bit more traction and less side to side play. Might be in the mind, but my original Taco was 245 tires.
     
  11. May 17, 2011 at 10:35 AM
    #11
    gfiber

    gfiber Well-Known Member

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    TRD sport pkg, Towing Pkg, Ham radio installation, bed lights, front 32 inch LED Bar behind the grill.
    What did you install the sway bar on? If on the truck do you have the part number. I have a 2009 Double Cab TRD Sport with towing. Nice write up too. Very detailed thanks for taking the time.
     
  12. May 17, 2011 at 2:59 PM
    #12
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    The WD Hitch I have has a mount (flange) on each side, which will allow you to install a swaybar 1 1/4" ball on it. On the trailer frame, 24" from the center of the tongue where the ball hits it, on the right side, I mounted the plate-backed ball with the 4 bolts it came with.

    Then you just attach the swaybar from the frame of the trailer to the ball on the draw-hitch and tighten up the bar of the swaybar, which is pretty much a metal bar with a brake pad installed on it to apply friction.
     
  13. May 17, 2011 at 5:44 PM
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    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Speed kills while towing. You've seen what wind does. Add rain or snow, and it gets really hairy.
    Faster=longer stopping distances/times.
    Good call on the equipment! I ran without a sway bar on a 12' uhaul trailer, and wished I had one. I had to be on top of it all the time. Over 55mph was suicide. If I ever own a box trailer, I'll get one.
    The 4cyl manual worked fine, but takes longer to accel and you have to downshift to climb med hills. Max hill climbing speed in West Va was around 40mph.
     
  14. May 17, 2011 at 7:34 PM
    #14
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 [OP] XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Indeed, doing 55 is very comfortable, and 65 is the absolute max I pull my trailers. Since most trailer tires are rated at 65 as a max speed, I really try to stay a few MPH lower just to be safe.
     
  15. May 17, 2011 at 8:19 PM
    #15
    Paul's TRD

    Paul's TRD I'm Not Your F***ing Brother

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    Never heard that before, but over 65 is probably not a good idea either. Good rule to follow.
     
  16. May 21, 2011 at 5:50 AM
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    psmcn

    psmcn Well-Known Member

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    One thing that is often overlooked is the ST rating on most TT tires. ST rating has a max speed of 65mph at max load. A heavier trailer may have stronger tires. Check your to make sure.
     
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