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Old 08-15-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
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Basic Towing Questions and answers for tow vehicles

Hi All,
I'm getting ready to buy my very first Airstream, and I need to figure out exactly what towing equipment I'll need. I have a 2006 Toyota Tundra which came with the "towing package", though I have never towed with this vehicle. I have done a little reading now in these forums, but, honestly, I don't really know what all the parts and pieces are that are required for towing. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Greetings reshecca!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reshecca View Post
Hi All,
I'm getting ready to buy my very first Airstream, and I need to figure out exactly what towing equipment I'll need. I have a 2006 Toyota Tundra which came with the "towing package", though I have never towed with this vehicle. I have done a little reading now in these forums, but, honestly, I don't really know what all the parts and pieces are that are required for towing. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks!

The following questions typically need to be answered about your tow vehicle prior to towing:
  • Good luck with your investigation!
  • Kevin
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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After reading overlander64's detailed answer, I can only add one thing:

The trailer goes in back.


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Old 08-15-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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Wow, thank you for all the information.... and the humor
It appears that the tow package that I have includes the transmission cooler as well as a class 4 hitch, a heavy duty 130A alternator, and a 7 pin connector with converter. Though, I don't really know what the last part means - what would the converter be?
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:35 PM   #5
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Basic Towing Questions....

Greetings reshecca!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reshecca View Post
Wow, thank you for all the information.... and the humor
It appears that the tow package that I have includes the transmission cooler as well as a class 4 hitch, a heavy duty 130A alternator, and a 7 pin connector with converter. Though, I don't really know what the last part means - what would the converter be?
The converter in your tow package refers to the tail light circuits. In modern tow vehicles with separate lights for brake and turn signals often identified by amber signal light lenses in the rear of the vehicle), the converter is necessary to mate the tow vehicle to many, particularly older, travel trailers as well as utility trailers. The converter also acts as a fused link between the trailer and the tow vehicle in some cases.

The converter may also refer to a device used to adapt the seven-pole connector to be used with a four-or-six-pole connector, but I suspect its application is more likely in the tail light circuit.

Kevin
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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We also have an 2006 Tundra with tow package. It came from the factory with hitch receiver, 7-pin connector, transmission cooler, and wired with plug-in for a brake controller. To tow our new 2007 20' Safari SE we added a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller (the one that comes with the pre-wired plug-in cable for Toyota Tundra), an Equal-i-zer 1000" weight distribution and 4-point sway control hitch, and Tow-N-See side mirror extensions (flat on left and concave on right). Tows our trailer perfectly and economically, but I could not recommend a larger trailer because I haven't tried anything larger. Our travel preference is off the freeways at moderate speeds as a safety measure as well a more pleasant and scenic trip.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:26 PM   #7
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We also have an 2006 Tundra with tow package. It came from the factory with hitch receiver, 7-pin connector, transmission cooler, and wired with plug-in for a brake controller. To tow our new 2007 20' Safari SE we added a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller (the one that comes with the pre-wired plug-in cable for Toyota Tundra), an Equal-i-zer 1000" weight distribution and 4-point sway control hitch, and Tow-N-See side mirror extensions (flat on left and concave on right). Tows our trailer perfectly and economically, but I could not recommend a larger trailer because I haven't tried anything larger. Our travel preference is off the freeways at moderate speeds as a safety measure as well a more pleasant and scenic trip.
I'm still trying to figure out if my Tundra is pre-wired for a brake controller. Was this a standard part of the tow package for your '06 Tundra?
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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reshecca, yes it is pre-wired for a brake controller if it has the tow package. There will be a 7-pin connector next to the hitch in the back for connecting the trailer. If you open the driver's door, the under-dashboard courtesy light will be shining right on the brake controller plug. It is a white plug with a white protective cap on it, and has several wires coming out the back side. It is located just above the plastic foot kick-board on the side, and should be taped to a larger wire bundle there. You can order a Tekonsha brake controller with a specific wiring harness included that will plug right into this connector, after removing the white protective cap.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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If you open the driver's door, the under-dashboard courtesy light will be shining right on the brake controller plug. It is a white plug with a white protective cap on it, and has several wires coming out the back side. It is located just above the plastic foot kick-board on the side, and should be taped to a larger wire bundle there.
Does this look like the correct plug? I apologize for the blurry photo, the angle was a little awkward...
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:16 PM   #10
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Reshecca, you have been busy today.

We had a 2002 Tundra with the 4.7 L. V8 and bought a 2008 Safari 25' FB. We believed the '02 wasn't enough truck for that heavy a trailer. Some people do tow pretty heavy trailers with the early first generation Tundras and seem to be happy. The '06 has a higher horsepower version of the 4.7 L. engine. I don't know how that would tow. I think a substantially lighter Airstream than a 25' may match well with your Tundra. We replaced a perfectly good '02 with an '07 with the 5.7 L. engine and it tows very well. The 2nd generation Tundras are very overbuilt for a 1/2 ton truck.

The real issue is payload for any 1/2 ton truck and depending on what trailer you want, the '06 may or may not be ok.

You will be advised over and over on this Forum to buy the trailer you want and then decide what tow vehicle is right for the trailer. That, in my opinion, is good advice. Airstreams cost a lot more than most tow vehicles and are easier to replace. The trailer is with you for a long time. If you select the wrong trailer, the loss on depreciation is very large. In fact, it's a good idea to look for a well cared for one several years old.

So, start looking at Airstreams—go to dealers and just hang out in them and check them out. Go to a rally and check the trailers out and ask questions. Airstream owners are passionate and will talk about their trailers until you can't stand it (you'll be the same way—it's a symptom of aluminitus, an incurable disease). Check the classifieds and see what people are selling. Keep reading on the Forum because there's a lot to learn.

When you focus on the trailer you want, then you'll know what it weighs, what the tongue weight is, and can see if your Tundra or another truck is the one to pull it with. If you go longer than 25', then you may have to buy a 3/4 ton truck. I think the 27' Flying Cloud (formerly Safari) FB could be pulled with a 1/2 ton Tundra, but some will advise not to do it. In fact, some will advise 3/4 ton diesel for any trailer but a Bambi—but that seems like overkill.

Seems like you already have aluminitus and take a deep breath and take your time. There'll still be truck and Airstream deals out there in September and October. Sales are still slow.

Gene
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:04 PM   #11
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Reshecca, you have been busy today.
Yes, I have been busy....

Thank you for the advice. My Tundra is the 2006 4.7L V8 with towing package, and I have settled on a 20' Flying Cloud. At a GVWR of 5000lbs, the AS comes in below the towing capacity of my Tundra (6900lbs). I don't recall the hitch weight right now, but I did look at those numbers and, again, it's well within the capacity of my truck. If I ever do decide to get a larger AS I agree that I will definitely need to reconsider my tow vehicle.....
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #12
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Yes reshecca, that is the brake controller connector. Tekonsha (and maybe others) make a Toyota-specific brake controller with a complete harness (no splicing) that will plug right into this connector. (I worked with aircraft wiring many years and do not like wire splices, unless soldered.)
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:25 PM   #13
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Just a note that may save you lots of money on the Airstream. The 2008 Safari 20 SE and the newer Flying Cloud 20 are virtually identical. The big difference is cost. You may be able to make a great deal on any 2008 still in inventory this fall.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:12 PM   #14
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Hi All, this is my first post with a question and request for advise, we are taking delivery of a 30 foot Flying Cloud. My sense is that our 2009 LR3 landrover will not be the right fit but would appreciate any feedback, thank you.
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