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the little engine that could.... tow?

Discussion in '4 Cylinder' started by pidro_el_pirata, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. Dec 4, 2010 at 6:09 PM
    #1
    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone,
    Alright so i've been going out the the desert with my uncle and their riding buddies for a while and my tacoma has happily handled a fully loaded bed with camping gear and dirt bikes. While i wont be in the financial situation to be able to get a trailer for a while, I'm starting to entertain the idea and see if I will need another truck, or if my little guy will handle it. I've surfed the forums looking at all the different towing information, read the towing bible, etc etc. Basically I understand that i can't tow too much, since i have the wimpiest of all combinations of the tacoma. That being said, it sounds like i could still manage to pull something like the below pics, which have come from other members on this forum. Any input?

    I've got a 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder, 2WD, ext cab, non-prerunner, year 2000 tacoma. Also my wheels are significantly smaller than stock, I'm running 205/70-R15s right now. Yes those numbers are correct. Any tips on my limits for towing? How big can I dream? Haha.

    Here's some trailers that i believe my truck could handle based on reading around. Basically i'm trying to get out to the desert with my dirtbike, which would be in the truck bed, and i'd like to tow something like these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Thoughts? Also my truck did not come with a tow package. The previous owner installed 4-flat trailer wiring and a bumper ball, which I have used to successfully tow small 6x8 trailers with single motorcycles on them. Downside to just using that is a lower tongue weight and decreased turning radius because the trailer will hit the bumper if you turn too hard. I've lightly dented my beautiful chrome bumper on both sides because of that :(. If/when I get a pop-up trailer, i would definitely get a bolt-on hitch to use as well as the brake commander.

    Ok, chime in! Help me out!

    Thanks :D
     
  2. Dec 4, 2010 at 8:28 PM
    #2
    AndrewFalk

    AndrewFalk Science!

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    :)
    I'm not a towing expert, but judging from the pics you posted, you should have no trouble towing a small pop-up camper like those as long as everything is properly set-up.
     
  3. Dec 4, 2010 at 8:30 PM
    #3
    Jason'sLawnCare

    Jason'sLawnCare Prepared for Bambi

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    Those trailers don't look too heavy. I'd image your truck is rated for more than that. You are ahead of the ball game with smaller than stock tires.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2010 at 9:20 PM
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    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Cool. How abouuuuuut if I wanted to push the limits? Can I get up closer to the 3,500 lb limit with the 4 cyl? My main concern is power and traction, ie towing my neighbors boat up a landing ramp...
     
  5. Dec 4, 2010 at 9:26 PM
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    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    142 HP should be able to pull it up a ramp. It's the engine that is small not the traction. Like do you have a tranny cooler and a engine oil cooler? That might end up being the bigger problem. It will end up being a lot harder on the engine and tranny. Like do you want to push it? The weakest link will be what screws up.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2010 at 9:51 PM
    #6
    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Don't have any of that. How hard would it be to install/get? Are we talking sweat or $$ or both? I'd call myself good with my hands but not too experienced.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM
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    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    I don't think they are expensive. Steal them off of a wreck. Thing is can the tranny cooler hook up to that tranny? The oil cooler is sort of like a heat exchanger and uses rad coolent to work.

    You might want to look at the rad carefully and see if it already has a tranny cooler built in. Sort of unusual to not have one.

    According to the book it has a tranny cooler. Check your Rad for the two small pipes..
     
  8. Dec 5, 2010 at 12:15 AM
    #8
    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yea, i was just makin sh!t up, I'll check it out tomorrow but im sure you're right. Whats the point in an oil cooler? The transmission is the part that overheats right?

    Phantom, i'm interested in those timbrens, ive definitely felt the bump stops before. Last spring it rained a bunch here and i got some sandbags for the backyard from the city, definitely bottomed her out then. I'll search the forum more on the timbrens before asking more questions about them.. any good threads in particular?
     
  9. Dec 5, 2010 at 12:22 AM
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    Trap

    Trap Well-Known Member

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    You don't need the engine oil cooler if you watch the temperature gauge. Just be aware it's a small engine but it's possible. Don't go nuts and it should be fine. That engine might have to just work a little harder that's all.
     
  10. Dec 5, 2010 at 8:55 AM
    #10
    Jason'sLawnCare

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    Are you auto or manual?
     
  11. Dec 5, 2010 at 9:34 AM
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    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    OP, be weary of that second pop-up you posted, sometimes they can be be very heavy. Some models with the area to haul dirt bikes or ATV's are built on flat bed trailer platforms then a pop-up shell is put on the back which means they're very stout and fairly heavy. Just a heads up to check the weight of the trailer, but you should be fine with most pop-ups.
     
  12. Dec 5, 2010 at 9:38 AM
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    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day when I had my '79 Chevy Malibu, I towed a 16' Chriscraft boat (wooden hull) and one time I towed a VW beetle on a tow dolly from SF to Marin with it. If I did that with a car, I imagine your truck could tow quite a bit more than you give it credit for. Yeah your 4-banger won't win races but it is overbuilt tough, the tranny is tough, you have that full boxladder frame which adds stability. Plus the first-gens are so well built they generally can handle more than expected. Go with confidence:)
     
  13. Dec 5, 2010 at 10:37 AM
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    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have an automatic transmission, sorry I forgot that jason. That's good right? Less chance of blowing the clutch?

    Pugga, I understand, thanks for the tip!

    Cool guys you've been very helpful. Another question, how much do your mpgs drop when towing? With a bed cover I've gotten up to 27 mpg on the highway, what could I expect with one of these campers?
     
  14. Dec 5, 2010 at 10:43 AM
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    Jason'sLawnCare

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    That's good that you have an auto. It will be much easier to pull the boat up the ramp and get going in general. There is a trick that I do every time I'm at the ramp. Use the brake almost like a clutch and press the gas and slowly let off the brake and this makes a super smooth transition so you won't spin and/or roll back. Just obviously don't hold it for long as you may overheat the transmission but I've never had any problems or even hints of that.

    As for the mpg there are way too many variables. Trailer weight, shape, driving conditions, speeds etc. It would be impossible to give you a number but just expect it to drop some. My towing is local and never a full tank of gas so I can't really give you a good idea of my drop.
     
  15. Dec 5, 2010 at 10:47 AM
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    Mod

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    Alot of this stuff depends on the weight of the trailer, do some homework and find the lightest.
     
  16. Dec 5, 2010 at 3:46 PM
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    AndrewFalk

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    Manual tranny would be better for towing. Depending on which trailer you get, you may have to make sure to keep the auto out of overdrive.
     
  17. Dec 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM
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    Mod

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    I don't know toyota automatics, but I would imagine they would have a computer lockup coverter,,which will immediately kill your uphill power once you click it into overdrive. Definitey out of overdrive with a load on, unless flat and fast road.

    Never had a automatic, and dont plan on anytime soon.

    Could always get a Hurst line lock, if your worried about rollback.;)
     
  18. Dec 5, 2010 at 9:29 PM
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    MowTaco

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    I have your truck, but with a 5-speed. I tow my mowing trailer about every day with it. I don't know what it weighs, but I have to think I've been close to about 3,000 lbs on it with 3 yds of dirt on it. I haven't ever towed it out on the road, just around town, but it handles it like a champ. The small tires, FYI, will help you with towing (smaller tires basically lower your drive ratio). Definitely make sure you have the tranny cooler if you have an auto. Other than that, just take it slow and keep an eye on the vitals of your truck (perhaps invest in an ultragauge or something similar to monitor stuff, I just use an app on my phone) and I wouldn't hesitate to take it right up to the limit. Good luck in your search!
     
  19. Dec 5, 2010 at 10:42 PM
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    pidro_el_pirata

    pidro_el_pirata [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Mow, thanks for the perspective, that is very encouraging! Wait, how do you monitor stuff with your phone? I just got a smart phone...
     
  20. Dec 6, 2010 at 7:45 PM
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    MowTaco

    MowTaco Well-Known Member

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    I use Torque (for android) paired with a bluetooth "dongle". It plugs into your OBD-II port and wirelessly transmits all the info the computer broadcasts to your phone. You can set up different screens with different gauges and layouts and such. It's pretty cool.
     
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