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Old 07-06-2015, 09:44 AM   #1
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1999 25' Safari
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Question FJ Cruiser as tow for 25ft Safari??

I am looking at a 1999 25ft. Safari 5000lbs dry weight. The FJ with a very short wheel base is rated at 5000 lbs.
I have pulled other trailers at 4000 lbs without much trouble using an EZ stabilized controller hitch. But I'm not sure about the Airstream.

I would like to keep the FJ it gives me lots of options on two tracks and turning in campgrounds and off grid camping.

Help, Jeff::
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:01 AM   #2
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If it were me I'd be looking for a different tow vehicle. We had the same dilemma when we purchased our 2008 Classic 25fb. Its a heavier trailer than the one you are looking at but we bit the bullet and upgraded from a 2005 4Runner 4.7L V8 to a 2010 Toyota Tundra 5.7L.

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Old 07-06-2015, 10:04 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

The answer to your question is maybe. The first thing to keep in mind that the Safari that you are describing, will probably go well over 6.000# ready to go camping. I had a 2005 Safari 25FB that tipped the scales at 7,400# loaded for travel.

The FJ Cruiser is a fairly short wheelbase vehicle which is great for some off road uses, but not the greatest for towing heavy trailers.

Properly set up, you can probably use the FJ. I don't think that I would care to make a cross country trip with that rig.

Another thing to keep in mind that an FJ Cruiser towing a trailer with a 900# tongue weight would not be capable of handling much cargo.

Brian
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:06 PM   #4
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I wouldn't do it, the FJ is too small for that large of an AS. Before you put anything into the trailer or the TV you are at the maximum. For safety, you should never go over 80% of your maximum capacity. You aren't going to be towing on flat ground. you're going up and down hills. That's a lot of trailer to control with an FJ, I think you should get a smaller trailer or bigger TV.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:56 PM   #5
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I would advise against it. You'll be way over the rating once the trailer is ready to hit the road.
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Old 07-06-2015, 02:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for your note

Here is the last trailer I pulled. 23 ft. skyline 4000 lbs. Tandem axle
I had a good professional RV shop in UT set it up and it fit great.
I was going 60 mph most of the time, but that's just fine.

I pulled it to Jackson Hole, Aspen, Telluride, Durango up and down the Colorado River from St. George, UT and other than 40 mph winds, it was good and tight. Never had the tail wagging the dog.
I had a good friend with an FJ pulling a 29 ft. tandem and he swore he never had any problems.

But somehow, this seems different. I'm just more cautious this time.
thanks again for your interest.
jeff
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Old 07-06-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
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We have wanted to do this for some time, it's just the type vehicle we would like to have available in our travel six months a year.

We asked Can-Am Airstream about it and they have set up several. There are weaknesses. Short wheelbase (mitigated somewhat by the short rear overhang), high center of gravity, solid axle rear suspension, and a weak hitch receiver attachment which would have to be reinforced by someone who knows what they are doing. Otherwise the receiver attachment is not strong enough for a weight distribution hitch to distribute enough weight, resulting in a light steering axle with poor handling (dangerous). The stock tires are not ideal.

The load capacity is light, even for our lightweight mode of travel (beside the Airstream itself). And the fuel economy is pretty bad for a small vehicle. We decided on a half-ton pickup instead, even though it has many of the same weaknesses. It cost much less, is easier on gas (regular), and it has more load capacity and much more torque for the frequent mountain travel we do. We travel far from home.

If we were towing locally, we would probably have had the FJ hitch receiver reinforced, got a capable weight distribution hitch and sway control installed and properly set up by an expert, leave the spare tire at home and move the batteries further aft to lighten hitch load (but still maintaining 10% trailer weight), put better towing tires on the FJ, loaded almost nothing in the FJ, not much in the Airstream, and took the more scenic side roads at moderate speeds to nearby destinations.

Overall it is not a great tow vehicle for a 1999 25' Safari, but manageable (only) with hitch work and cautious loading and driving. Call Can-Am Airstream in Toronto, they do this sort of thing all the time and have been for forty years, and they are very generous with advice.
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:10 PM   #8
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Definitely give Andy Thompson of CanAm a call (519-652-3284.) He is very knowledgeable about towing and is pretty willing to share his advice. I know from having attended several of his seminars, that he is not a fan of the Toyota FJ for towing Airstreams. His shop in London, Ontario is not really all that far from Kentucky and I would encourage you to have him make whatever modifications you need to your tow vehicle. It's worth the trip!
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:26 PM   #9
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FJ has a 4700# tow rating. Just be aware that tow ratings are decided by SAE's J2807 tests (Toyota was the first company to adopt the standard), and do not increase by hitch reinforcement, using a top of the line hitch, or professional setup.
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:38 PM   #10
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Your 1999 Safari may weigh 5,000 pounds dry but its gvw is 6300 and ready to camp, you will be closer to the higher weight.
I have the same trailer (2004) and pull it out of storage to the camp site about 200 yards on the flat with a Nissan Xterra whch is similar to your FJ Cruiser. I wouldn't get on the nearby interstate with that rig as it is seriously overloaded.
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:55 PM   #11
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I wouldn't worry about it much, the Chrysler 300 doesn't have any hitch or towing capacities to speak of and yet we are told that it is a better tow rig than any 3/4 or 1 ton truck. Like was said above, you can "fix" all of the obvious FJ problems with modifications. That way only the company that does the modifying is the liable party if something goes south.
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:59 PM   #12
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Yes, in the same way we all fix unbalanced loads and sway tendencies of bumper pull trailers with a weight distribution hitch. Few buy a truck and trailer and hit the road.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:19 PM   #13
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I personally would not go the after market route, unless the after market shop is willing to provide you with an invoice documenting all the modifications to your vehicle, and stating its new and increased tow rating. Anything less than this, and I'll pass.
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rostam View Post
I personally would not go the after market route, unless the after market shop is willing to provide you with an invoice documenting all the modifications to your vehicle, and stating its new and increased tow rating. Anything less than this, and I'll pass.
I'll go one step further. I don't care if my local hitch shop provides me with documented increased tow rating, I won't do it. Any weakness, and an insurance company will eat you alive.

My $0.02
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