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Old 09-18-2004, 10:37 AM   #1
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Nissan Titan as a tow vehicle

I know this issue has come up previously but I still can't get a feel for whether or not the new Nissan Titan would be an acceptable tow vehicle for my 71 Safari. I have read all the reviews for the Titan as compared to the Ford, Chevy, and Dodge 1/2 ton pickups and it gets a better tow rating than any of them. Nissan claims the tow rating is over 9,000 pounds and my AS loaded should not be much over 5,000 pounds. I will mostly be towing on level or hilly terrain but not mountains. If I go out west I might encounter mountains but that would be the exception rather than the rule. I spoke to a few mechanics who seem to think I should not use anything less than a 3/4 ton pickup no matter what the Titan reviews say. Any thoughts on this issue would be appreciated.
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Old 09-18-2004, 11:21 AM   #2
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Larry,

I owned a 99 Chevy Silverado extended cab and now own a Nissan Titan crew cab. I like them both but the Titan more mainly because Chevy really hasn't advanced the Silverado much in 5 years. As far as towing goes the Titan wins hands down and I suspect those mechanics tell you 3/4 ton because the Ford and Chevy are not quite up to it. Nor is the Dodge unless you upgrade to a bigger Hemi. When I bought my Titan I was wavering between the Avalanche and the Titan. When considering the Avalanche I was leaning toward the 2500 because I felt the way your mechanics felt.

I'm 2 ft bigger with a '71 Tradewind and feel comfortable. I personally think any of the 1/2 ton pickups will do you with your Safari. It should come down to which one you prefer for other reasons than towing.
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Old 09-18-2004, 12:20 PM   #3
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Welcome to ASForums Larry!

If your research included these forums you may have run across this thread. I consider the 9000# tow capacity to be impractical in real-life applications. I feel that the Titan is highly satisfactory as a tow vehicle. The rear differential is smaller than that on 3/4- and 1-tonners, so don't abuse it.

It all comes down to tongue weight and not exceeding the tow vehicle's GVWR. A 23' 1971 Safari should be no problem if you pay attention to the details. Heavier current day 25-footers easily give problems to half-tonners.

I wouldn't have a tow vehicle without a transmission temperature gauge -- installed or as part of Big Tow package in Titan's case. It did show a tendency to overheat while towing on a grueling route in 30 degree weather in northeast W. Va. (US-50). This small no-shoulder two lane highway has a unique combination of steep continuous climbs and descents. I think the low speed was a factor. Temperature would drop after 2-4 minutes of idling at the roadside -- in cold weather. It behaved admirably on hilly interstates and more modern through routes. I have observed the tranny temp show normal variation under other tow and non-tow situations. Only beef is that it's a relative gauge with a definite red zone -- no temperatures on the gauge face.

I will say that going to a 3/4-tonner is certainly a reasonable idea. Others have pointed out that most of those also have a small margin for tongue weight when you pay attention to the tow vehicle's GVWR. You've got to be careful throwing the motorbike or outboard into the box until you go up to 1-ton.

I will be open to reassessing this application when I get out to the Rockies -- well in the future. I have no fear of anything 4-lane interstates can offer.
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Old 09-18-2004, 03:30 PM   #4
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Red face Thanks

Dear Dave & Bob,

Thanks for your input. I am feeling much better about the Titan now. The link to the discussion about the Titan's and Armada's was also very helpful.

Larry
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Old 09-18-2004, 09:40 PM   #5
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Armada Expeience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry71
Dear Dave & Bob,

Thanks for your input. I am feeling much better about the Titan now. The link to the discussion about the Titan's and Armada's was also very helpful.

Larry
I have towed a 27 Safari with Hensley Hitch about 31,000 miles. The first 24000 miles was with an Expedition and 7100 miles this summer with and Armada. Both were quite satisfactory, with the Armada being somewhat better.

This includes towing over Wolf Creek pass in Colorado this summer, as well as all over the Black Hills of the Dakotas.

What constitutes great towing? Good acceleration, good control ( the Hensley probably helps al ot in this), and the ability to stop the trailer quickly. The Armada passed these tests well. The Brakes did overheat a little coming down Wolf creek, until I slowed down going downhill. In other words , I was more sanguine of what I asked of the car brakes. But by any measure the Armada was great--the Expedition was not much poorer either.

Mileage was better with the Ford, usually about 14 miles per gallon, towing at 65 to 70 miles per hour. The Armada got only about 11, but it has 50 more horses. The Armada has about 10% more torque and a 4" longer wheelbase than the Expedition.

My Safari probably weighs about 6700 lbs loaded. I would not hesitate to pull another 1500 to 2000 lbs. I think that the Armada could handle a 30 or 31 foot trailer.

I have carefully read all of these threads about how you need a 3/4 ton or a diesel to tow safely and well. I simply do not believe this and have pulled my Safari all over the USA to base this statement on first hand experience. I do , however, place considerable weight on and confidence in the Hensley. I have also read threads that make the case that you do not need to spend this much on a hitch. However, I think that having this antisway and equalizing system ( and not having to give much thought to how to adjust it--the sway part of the hitch does not require adjustment and the equalizing part is simple) is a key to a good towing experience. I have had 2 blowouts on the trailer at highway speeds and barely knew that they occurred. I have also had one nerve racking swerve to miss a highway obstacle. The trailer stayed right behind the car, just like the Hensley commercial , with no onset of sway.

Maybe I have been lucky, but in any case my opinion is the the Armada is a very good tow vehicle.
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Old 09-19-2004, 09:38 PM   #6
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Titan it is!

After reading all the suggestions and the other threads about this topic I have decided that I'm getting a Titan to tow. I think I finally convinced my brother, the mechanic, that Titan is a new type of vehicle and can't really be compared to the 1/2 ton trucks he is used to. Thanks for your suggestion on the Hensley Hitch. I will definately look into this. They seem a little pricey but I guess it is worth it for the peace of mind.

Larry
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Old 09-20-2004, 02:21 PM   #7
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way to go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry71
After reading all the suggestions and the other threads about this topic I have decided that I'm getting a Titan to tow. I think I finally convinced my brother, the mechanic, that Titan is a new type of vehicle and can't really be compared to the 1/2 ton trucks he is used to. Thanks for your suggestion on the Hensley Hitch. I will definately look into this. They seem a little pricey but I guess it is worth it for the peace of mind.

Larry
Dear Larry,

We to had a lot of questions about the Titan's ability and were very discouraged by a lot of the views on the forums. But if you look at our profile picture you'll see that we went with the Titan Crew Cab to pull our newly purchased 2002 28' Classic. We drove her home through some flat terrain and the Mountains of Pennsylvania on Route 80. We were pleased with the Titan's performance, it handled beautifully. The transmission gauge did start to rise when we were doing some very long up hills but it never crossed into the red. If you plan to do a lot of this type of traveling you might consider a larger vehicle. We also have a Hensley hitch with it and we didn't feel any sway with it. The Titan is a bit rougher ride than a SUV but it does soften when it has some weight in it or you're towing. It is nice to have the temp gauge, especially the transmission gauge.

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Old 09-20-2004, 06:52 PM   #8
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Dear Larry,

We to had a lot of questions about the Titan's ability and were very discouraged by a lot of the views on the forums. But if you look at our profile picture you'll see that we went with the Titan Crew Cab to pull our newly purchased 2002 28' Classic. We drove her home through some flat terrain and the Mountains of Pennsylvania on Route 80. We were pleased with the Titan's performance, it handled beautifully. The transmission gauge did start to rise when we were doing some very long up hills but it never crossed into the red. If you plan to do a lot of this type of traveling you might consider a larger vehicle. We also have a Hensley hitch with it and we didn't feel any sway with it. The Titan is a bit rougher ride than a SUV but it does soften when it has some weight in it or you're towing. It is nice to have the temp gauge, especially the transmission gauge.

I wanted to add a little to this last thread. I never noticed any rise in transmission temperature in my 7100 mile trip with my Armada/Hensley/27 foot Safari. This included towing in the Black Hills and in Colorado.
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:00 PM   #9
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M&M,
Don't forget that they are towing a 1971 23" Safari which is considerably lighter than your Classic. While I am an advocate of the 2500hd with 8.1 or diesel, the
Titan is more than enough truck to tow their Safari.
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Old 12-08-2004, 04:02 PM   #10
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The Titan Swap

Thanks to all on this thread for your input. Several weeks ago we swapped out our Dodge as a tow vehicle and decided to get the Titan.

After less than a year with our Dodge, having the transmission fall out at 2,000 miles (didn't even own the Airstream then), having the exhaust manifold warp due to improper installation at the factory (bolts never tightened according to the dealer), and a slew of other troubles we started shopping. Not being "truck people" we really needed to find something that would handle our 25 foot Safari. Thanks to several threads here on the forum regarding the Titans and Armadas we made our choice.

My wife & I will be heading south in a little over a week. Visiting friends in GA, and then on to my old hometown area in FL (moved from FL to NH, some may call that odd, but true). I'll be recording our mileage and experience with the Titan over the trip. In total it will be a minimum trip of 2,400 miles. Hopefully we'll have some extra information to share with members on this thread.

By the way, the Titan is a very comfortable vehicle. For both of us driving it seems better than the old Dodge. That might also be due to the fact we lost all faith in our former tow vehicle. Here's to a long relationship with our Titan!
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Old 12-08-2004, 04:56 PM   #11
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proper break-in req'd

Make sure you follow the break-in procedure for towing!!!

One of the recent truck publications, it may have been Truck Trend, burned up the rear end gears in the test Titan because they didn't follow Nissan's recommended break-in procedure, which they fully admitted. They were towing a Jeep to Moab and had to have new gears installed somewhere in Utah. Apparently the Titan rear end gears, which are a Dana 44, need to be "tempered" by towing at 50mph or less for the first 500 miles of towing, and allowed to cool properly, whereupon they are good to go. This correlates with anecdotal info off of the RV.net forum, which also had some rear-end incidents described.

Other than that one concern, the Titan has been highly rated. If I can find the copy I will post it.
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Old 12-08-2004, 07:49 PM   #12
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Good Choice, Larry!

Glad that the "bigest truck available" group didn't discourage you from getting the Titan. I am the resident 1/2 tonner proponent. You will be able to pull your trailer anywhere in North America with the Titan and do it comfortably! Nissan did a fisrt rate job on the Titan and I have heard nothing but good stuff about it.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:27 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=71_safari]Make sure you follow the break-in procedure for towing!!!

One of the recent truck publications, it may have been Truck Trend, burned up the rear end gears in the test Titan because they didn't follow Nissan's recommended break-in procedure, which they fully admitted. They were towing a Jeep to Moab and had to have new gears installed somewhere in Utah. Apparently the Titan rear end gears, which are a Dana 44, need to be "tempered" by towing at 50mph or less for the first 500 miles of towing, and allowed to cool properly, whereupon they are good to go. This correlates with anecdotal info off of the RV.net forum, which also had some rear-end incidents described.

This is the same advice per manual with my 2500HD GMC. 500 mile breakin.

I have been on sites where an Eaton engineer said to use 1000 miles as the breakend. The gears apparently polish/wear-in each other during this breakin period. I would not tow during this period!!!!!
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:44 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Larry71]After reading all the suggestions and the other threads about this topic I have decided that I'm getting a Titan to tow. I think I finally convinced my brother, the mechanic, that Titan is a new type of vehicle and can't really be compared to the 1/2 ton trucks he is used to. Thanks for your suggestion on the Hensley Hitch. I will definately look into this. They seem a little pricey but I guess it is worth it for the peace of mind.


A long wheelbase Titan with cap, gear, fuel, and hitch weight should certainly exceed your trailer's weight. I think the Hensley would be nice but, it is expensive insurance. If I were towing with a short wheelbase vehicle and a trailer heavier than the tow vehicle, I would think more seriously about Hensley but, they really love their product. My way of saying their price is too high.
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