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Old 06-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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25' Safari towing advice needed!

Hi folks:

We've just been given an opportunity to get a larger Airstream. We'd be moving from a single axle 2006 20' safari (UBW: 3965 GVWR: 5000) to a 25' two axle Safari (UBW: 5210 GVWR: 7300)

We tow with a 2010 Toyota Tacoma: 4.0 / V-6 ext cab long bed.

Quick math indicates that we should be ok with the tanks low to empty but we'd be foolish to load the truck (generators, coolers etc) and fill the tanks and then go cross country (which we do)

Although we don't get to the Rockies much we would eventually like to get back to our beloved SW Colorado. But for now we'll be between NY and Texas most of the time. Pretty flat towing.

What I'm looking for here is anecdotal evidence from anyone who's tried it....tried and succeeded or tried, failed and bought a larger TV.

And if you bought a larger TV....what did you buy?

Thaks in advance....you folks rule!
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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If you want to stay in the Toyota family

We just got back from a 1300 mile trip from Dallas through Arkansas including a foray into the Ozark Mountains. While it's not the Rockies.... there were plenty of 7 percent grades and long inclines to deal with.

Our 2011 Tundra with 5.8L V-8 did great towing the 23 ft double axle Safari. We had two bicycles, tool box, four lawn chairs, an ice chest and a couple of 5 gallon buckets of cords, tiedowns, tent stakes etc in the Tundra bed and food, clothing and supplies for a week's trip in the AS.

At no time did I drop below 40 going uphill and that was in Tow Haul Mode with gas pedal pressed less than half way down. Had one occasion when i needed to go around an 18 wheeler that was laboring to keep 20 mph and at three quarter pedal, we went by him at the 70 percent mark of the climb, going from 40 to 55 as we passed him.

On the downfill grades, I used the sport shifting option and usually 3rd kept us at a steady 40 mph downhill and only once did I need to drop into second on the steepest of the downhill grades. And I touched the brakes very sparingly.

Gas mileage was in the 12 mpg range overall towing and we were very comfortable even on the 5 and a half hour drive days.

What really impressed me was that on the third day, when it was time to pull out of campsite that was flat at the bottom but had an incline that i had to pull the AS up from a dead stop, i put the Tundra in 1st, locked the differential and just rolled out of there like there was nothing behind me. And that was after about 3 inches of rain during the night, on a combination of gravel and dirt.

I think i would feel really comfortable pulling the 25 foot Safari with this Tundra.

Dana
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #3
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Me thinks that the hitch weight along with people and gear will overload your Tacoma. I have been pulling my 25' Safari all over the Rockies with a F-150 Ecoboost with max tow package and it does great. The turbo V6 experiences no lag at 12,000 feet and 8% grades.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer Snob View Post
What I'm looking for here is anecdotal evidence from anyone who's tried it....tried and succeeded or tried, failed and bought a larger TV. And if you bought a larger TV....what did you buy?
I suggest you start towing with it and see what you think. I assume you have a good WD and anti sway already.

I tow, with an F150, a 25' Safari with similar UBW, light load and usually empty tanks. It is a high mileage 4.2L v6 and stick shift. It was stock when I started towing and I just made a few improvements. It is a great TV on flat and minor elevation stuff. I have pulled on East coast mountains...it takes 3rd gear (out of 5) and I am not the first up the hill, but I usually am not last

The single biggest change was going to a 4.30 rear axle ratio. 4.10 would have been OK too. My non-towing gas mileage was not affected much, towing mileage went up, but most importantly the overall gearing in all gears made towing a pleasure. Big difference!

Next I went to very stiff , larger load range E tires on the truck and added an extra leaf to the rear spring. That change greatly improved on-road stability and ride, and the un-loaded ride only suffered a little. I then upgraded the front shocks to a Monroe SensaTrac.

If you have an automatic, you probably should keep an eye on your tranny temp and get a bigger cooler if needed and consider Redline fluids.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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I am pulling a 25 FB with my '08 Tundra with the 5.7 and tow package. If you are thinking of moving up to a larger TV this would be a good choice. I used to drive a 4Runner with the V8 and it pulled my 21 ft. Hybrid with no problem. I have never pulled anything larger than my older tent trailer with a V6 so I can't speak to your current plan.

If you try it as some have suggested, you will notice your ability to load much into the truck after you are hooked up will be in question. Even the Tundra has a capacity issue when you drop the trailer on the ball. We travel light so are not over loaded. We also don't take any kids along and keep our "stuff" to a manageable amount.

As far as towing, the Tundra works great and we have driven all through the west. No problems. Good luck, you are going to like the larger trailer.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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We have several customers that tow with Tachoma's, most are towing 25's though I can think of one with a 81 31'.

They performe quite well as long as you are little bit paitient. I would agree with Wayward that you won't be the first up the hill but you will easily make up for the time lost driving past gas stations. You can tow in Colorado with it. When climbing downshift to the appropraite gear and keep the RPM around 3,800. I beleive it has a transmission cooler from the factory but if not add one.

You can dramatically improve the handling with a better tire size. The fuel economy and performance will improve somewhat at the same time. In fact the 25 will tow better on the revised tires than the 19 does on the current ones. If you would like some help with that let me know which tires you have now.

It is important to set it up properly which hitch system are you using now? All in all you will be surprized how little difference there is towing the 25.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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I agree with Mojo, I think you are pushing it with your Tacoma.
You didn't mention tow ratings. My guess is that it is 5000 pounds for your Tacoma. You are overloading by 2000+ pounds.
Check on the gcvw rating, you are going to overload that also, possibly by a margin heavier than you are exceeding the tow rating assuming you are going to load your vehicle for a vacation.
I tow a 6300 gvw (yours must be heavier at 7300) 25 Safari with a diesel Excursion. The Ex is overkill. It rarely shifts out of overdrive but I agree with the other posters that you need a full size, 8000 + tow rated half ton truck or suv to tow your trailer comfortably.
The shortcoming of a marginal tow vehicle is usually is not engine power but rather braking and chassis control particularly on curvy downgrades.
You may find that if you tow a lot, you will accelerate the wear on parts of your vehicle such as transmission and brakes. Particularly brakes..there are other threads in this forum about Tundras warping rotors even when towing within their tow ratings.
There is an aftermarket TRD rotor for the Tundra. Perhaps there is for the Tacoma as well. If so this would be a worthy upgrade.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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We have a 2006 Tundra 4.7 with about 6700# max towing recommended. That may be similar to your Tacoma, if equipped with tow package. Last year we traded a 2007 Safari SE 20' for the current FC 25'.

On most terrain the 25' towed as easily as the 20' (little difference in wind resistance) and was more stable with the tandem axles. Only in higher altitudes (6k to 8k feet) the Tundra seemed to be starved for air and struggled for power. Reducing speed and shifting down gets through fine though and we're never in a hurry. We tow at 55-60 mph and have traveled light for 50 years of camping.

We changed from stock passenger-rated tires to XL (Extra Load) tires and this made the rig much more stable, eliminated much of the side-to-side wobble of the soft passenger tires.

doug k
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. This is great.....exactly what I was looking for. If we do move up to the 25. (which seems inevitable given out lifestyle and needs) we'll most likely start with the same TV and move to a more substantial one in the normal course of replacing the truck.

I've followed tire talk fairly extensively and will not doubt grab some of those larger Michelins you all seem to favor. The w/d system on the 25 I'm looking at is a Reese. I just gave the trailer a quick once over today. I have to go back with some time on my hands and really dig in now.

Although I'm not married to Toyota I have been please with my Taco. It's just crossing 50k and has given me no grief at all. Only complaint was that the advance cover I bought for it took forever and a day to install.. Apparently they make rails that snap right onto Almost every other truck on earth. Toyota owners get a package with a gazillion nuts and bolts and so-so instructions.
Oh well.....
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Here is some more "conservative" advice from an old-timer who is always surprised at how many Forum members are comfortable towing at the rated limits of their TV's. Historically those limit numbers have been made up by the marketing guys -- next year there will be SAE recommended standards. The old rule-of-thumb was to be conservative, tow at no more than 70% of what the marketing guys say.

As others have pointed out, there is more to it than just the ability to drag the trailer. Just for that issue you have to figure in steep grades and loss of power at elevation. Other critical variables include chassis strength, suspension strength, and most of all brakes. All of these are sized to go together, so if you are pushing one limit you are pushing them all.

My advice: get the larger tow vehicle, and enjoy the performance and the peace of mind.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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We went to a diesel 2500 Ram, but the F150 triton would have been more than enough ... just wanted to finally get a diesel. The tow/haul, beefier suspension, load range upgrade on tires, integrated brake controller, and brakes on the 3/4 T were a major improvement, however.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Beersnob, don't "just grab some of those Michelins". Size here is very critical and "larger" probably is incorrect. Michelin may not make the size you best suited for your truck. $ave the experiment and call Andrew Thomson at Can-Am Airstream, he is the dealer and recognized towing expert who responded earlier. He advised me on my tires and has worked very well.

doug k
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn
I agree with Mojo, I think you are pushing it with your Tacoma.
You didn't mention tow ratings. My guess is that it is 5000 pounds for your Tacoma. You are overloading by 2000+ pounds..

Actually it's 6500 with the tow package so the overload, if any, won't be anywhere near what you are guessing. But we do tend to load the tv down pretty well.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum
Beersnob, don't "just grab some of those Michelins". Size here is very critical and "larger" probably is incorrect. Michelin may not make the size you best suited for your truck. $ave the experiment and call Andrew Thomson at Can-Am Airstream, he is the dealer and recognized towing expert who responded earlier. He advised me on my tires and has worked very well.

doug k
Will do but actually I was referring to the trailer tires.
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