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Old 01-30-2010, 08:05 AM   #1
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2010 16' Sport
Madison , Wisconsin
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Tacoma 4 cyl. Towing

Hi All,
First time posting so be kind.

We currently own a 2002 Tacoma 2.7L 4 cyl. with a max towing rate of 3500#. We are ready to take the plunge and want a 2010 16' sport (basic) with a dry weight of 2,897. This is 82% of capacity and not even loaded with the few things we will bring with us.

Is it reasonable to think that I could pull 3,300 or so pounds with the tacoma?

Also, what if any mods should I make? I am thinking about adding Tibren and getting new brakes?

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Old 01-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hi boutdoors! Welcome to AIR Forums! We've been staying in the Eken Park neighborhood this week. Small world...

Let's see if this link works. Our search function prefers to search only one word at a time. I used Search > Advanced Search. Searchword - Tacoma. And at 'Search in Forums' on the right side I confined the search to threads originating in the 'Tow Vehicle' subforum. There's a lot of reading there.

Pay attention to posts by waltero -- he lives in the Pacific NW and has been happy with his Tacoma in challenging terrain. You definitely don't want an 8 1/2 foot wide body Airstream -- but those would only be 24' and longer -- too much trailer for your tow vehicle anyway. You'll need the best weight distribution/antisway equipment available.

Tow capacity? Leave yourself some cushion; try not to go over 85% of your tow capacity. And the next important figure will be payload capacity of your truck. Weights of people aboard the truck + what you intend to place in the truck bed + tongue weight should also not exceed 85%of your truck's payload capacity. 85% (sometimes quoted as "80%") leaves extra margin for "I've got to have this on trip XYZ" as well as contributes to better emergency braking, maneuverability and maybe durability for your truck.

Let us know what you think after your research!


5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 01-30-2010, 08:33 AM   #3
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Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, I feel that you may be slightly pushing the envelope. By the time your AS 16 Sport is ready to go camping with propane, food, gear, etc., you would be at or near the Tacoma's total capacity. This would be with no cargo in the bed of the truck. When you load the truck with some gear and tools, you may well ease above the Tacoma's capacity.

Since you already own the Tacoma, I suggest that you give it a try, and see if the towing experience falls within your towing comfort zone. If you plan is to camp close by home, the Tacoma just may fit the bill for the time being. If you want to do any cross country traveling, you will probably want a more substantial tow vehicle.

On the other hand, I would not suggest going out and buying a 4 cylinder Tacoma to pull a 3000# trailer of any kind.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:05 AM   #4
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2010 16' Sport
Madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Thanks for the quick responses. The only problem we have at this point is that we currently do not even have a hitch on the vehicle to test it out.

I don't know if I want to go the expense of adding a hitch, wiring, brake control, if I am not sure if the Tacoma is going to work.

Its a catch 22 for us, we can afford the trailer but not a trailer and a new tow vehicle.

Would adding any suspension upgrades help or is it a pure power/braking safety problem?
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:07 AM   #5
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1994 21' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
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I towed a 19' Bambi from New York State to Arizona with a Nissan 4 cylinder pickup with a 5 speed manual transmission.

The Bambi, empty at 3,500 lb was right at the pickup's rated towing capacity.

For most of the trip the pickup did okay, I could maintain a reasonable speed with the traffic on the highways.

Things changed when I got to West Texas and started climbing to above 4,000' elevation and encountered strong headwinds. I was constantly shifting gears, and still not keeping up with traffic.

Although I was able to get home safely, I would strongly not recommend a 4 cylinder tow vehicle unless you are just towing short distances on level roads near sea level.

Last winter I pulled the same trailer, loaded, on the same highways and windy conditions from West Texas to Arizona, returning from Big Bend National Park, with my current TV, a Nissan 4L V6 with 6 speed manual transmission, rated at 6,500 towing capacity, and the difference was amazing.

If you can afford the Bambi, you can afford to trade up to a better TV. You'll be safer, more relaxed on the road and have a better overall travel experience.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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Welcome, boutdoors. To answer your question: no.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:16 AM   #7
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A couple of thoughts... try looking used for a 16' Airstream.. I think not only would you save some $$, but then you'd have some leftover money for a bigger engine if you think you need one.

For your current rig... I'd buy some slightly smaller diameter tires (lower profile) to give your engine the ability to rev more. The v6 model has 2" larger front brakes.

I dunno, it might be better to get two slightly used toys.. a 16 ft Bambi + a v6 toy. That said, CanAm RV in Canada uses a PT cruiser to toy the same trailer.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:32 AM   #8
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1967 17' Caravel
Thompsons Station , Tennessee
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boutdoors- welcome to the forums. I have a '02 v6 Tacoma and I pull our Caravel with it. Dry weight is just under your proposed 2010 Sport. The V6 gets the job done. I would NOT recommend attempting with the 4 cyl.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:46 AM   #9

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Another vote for a gently used Airstream.

This one is listed in the forum classified. A good used unit has already taken the depreciation hit and and the QC concerns on the new units won't bug you as much.
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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2010 16' Sport
Madison , Wisconsin
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Living here in Wisconsin high elevation and hills are not really a big factor. Neither is speed, we will most likely be taking back roads. I just want to make sure I can control and stop the trailer.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:17 AM   #11
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1992 21' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Welcome. You will find the folks on this forum very knowledgeable and always ready to help. They've helped me immensely.

I own a 2006 Tacoma V6 w/ towing cap of 6500#. When I found my 21' Sovereign, dry weight ~4000#, thought I'd be OK towing. On our first trip I found the same situation as snake, towing in N New Mexico, up/down hills, climbing from 5000 to 7200 feet, the Tacoma did fine on the flats, but it was a struggle accelerating/merging onto the freeway and to keep up with traffic going up the hills. We'd manage about 45-50 mph on the hills. And I was exhausted when we arrived at our destination.

In the meantime, we became horse owners and were lucky enough to find a very nice, used F250, 5.4L 2x4 truck. Towing a "live load" safely requires the full size truck. The F250 became our TV for the AS. At New Years we towed the AS on a 1000 mile round trip to the 4CU NY rally in S. AZ. It was a comfortable, easy trip. I know the F250 is a very popular AS vehicle. It is overkill for towing my Sovereign, but makes the towing a breeze.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:02 PM   #12
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2010 16' Sport
Madison , Wisconsin
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Just want to thank everyone for the input. I think I am going to get new brakes and upgraded suspension and give it a shot.

Any input on which hitch I should be looking for.

And . . . can anyone explain brake assist for me.

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Old 01-31-2010, 05:13 PM   #13
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I recently owned a 2001 Tacoma like yours. I now pull a 5000# fully loaded Airstream with a 2006 V8 Tundra, adequate. Having had both trucks and a small Airstream, my impression is the 4 cylinder Tacoma is not even close to the task of pulling the Bambi. Not enough brakes, not enough weight, and not enough power.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:15 PM   #14
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During our pre-Airstream days our Toyota 4-banger pickup was taxed pulling our Coleman Pop-up up Montana and Wyoming mountains......but we did it anyway. No damage done!

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3500, sport, tacoma

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