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Old 01-14-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
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Towing 28' w. a Tundra HELP!!!

We just bought a new Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8. We are looking at a 28' Safari. What do we need to do to our Toyota to tow our 7300lbs AS? People are trying to sell me anything and everything. Your opinions and suggestions are of most value to me since my experience is zilch, zero, nill. Lia & Bob
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:35 AM   #2
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Libo, there are a number of threads on Tundras as tow vehicles. Click on "Portal" and there's a current thread on it and there are other ones too—use the Search function, sometimes it actually finds something. Also check the subtopic on tow vehicles.

We tow a 25' with a Tundra. It works fine, but 25' is our personal limit. There are people who tow 27' and 28' and even more with a Tundra, but we thought it was pushing it because of the payload question. A lot of energy is spent in these threads about gross capacities and such, but little on payload. Payload is very tight with most 1/2 ton trucks.

Read on—it's all been rehashed many times.

Gene
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:08 PM   #3
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Libo, I have little experience towing so far but thought I'd chip in with my 2 cents. From reading other Tundra towing threads you'll see there are two approaches to deciding on tow combos. Fundamental and sentimental. The first involves comparing tow vehicle available payload ratings with up to 15% of hitch weight of the loaded trailer. In your example I would imagine that it will be very close, maybe exceeded. Some like to be in the 80% of capacity comfort zone some don't, that's your choice. I'd suggest doing all the calculations just so you know where you are at. However the sentiment analysis will consist of reading others opinions and here you will find loads of owners you do just what you are considering. Then there are the special hitches to look at but I don't think one can wave the payload rules. As a newbie I'd personally make sure I'm in the 80% zone. As a side note I towed a rental enclosed 16 x 7' unit last week, it was probably around 7000 lbs with electric brakes but no weight distribution or sway control. I took it several 600Km on icy, windy -20 C highways and it did fine. The traction control lights came on every so often and it was heavier on gas but only the ice made it a less than great experience.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:14 PM   #4
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We have two people in our unit towing with a Tundra, one a 31', and the other a 34'. Really, but then........
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:11 PM   #5
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

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

A Tundra pulling a 28' Airstream can work, I guess. Others pull more with less. It depends on your personal travel plans, How much cargo you intend to put in the truck, the hitch system that you will use, and your personal comfort zone.

If you stay right around Punta Gorda where there are no grades to speak of, just about any tow vehicle will work.

Loading up the truck bed with a bunch of tools, generators, and other heavy stuff will have a profound impact on your towing capacity.

You will definitely need a high quality weight distribution/sway control hitch system. Without this, a 28' Airstream will push any 1/2 ton truck anywhere the trailer wants it to go.

The last factor is how much white knuckle driving you are willing to endure. My personal pain threshold in this area is low. The Tundra looks very beefy, but it is a half ton truck. There are people out there who pull 28' Airstreams with 1/2 ton trucks. I'm not saying that it can't be done. It's just not within my personal comfort zone

Just remember that an uncomfortable towing experience is the chief cause of a perfectly good Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art.

Brian
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:31 PM   #6
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Lia & Bob;

I have to agree with Brian (Moosetags) . If you intend on staying in an area that is fairly flat and close to sea level then you may get by with the Tudra. I towed my 1971, 27' International Globe Trotter with a 1/2 ton Suburban. It was a good vehicle for that unit because it was only 6,250 GVW. My 28' Exella is a little heavier (8,250 GVW) and when I asked about a TV I was told it needed to be a 3/4 ton to handle the extra weight. Length wise it doesn't make that much difference 27' vs 28'. I also use a Reese Dual Cam hitch system. Hensley Hitches may be a little different. Friends of mine tow a 28' and they us a 3/4 F250 w/Hensley. I towed my father in law's 31' with a 1978 Mercury Station Wagon with a 400 cid engine. However if you are going to do any mountain driving forget the Tundra. I know people will tell you "Oh the Tundra is great in the mountains. Good gas mileage, etc." Be careful because a 28' unit is significantly heavier than one would think when it is being pulled at 60 MPH and in the mountains. You will definitely have some"White Knuckle Moments"

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Old 01-14-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, I just returned to western Montana from Phoenix last Monday. I've got a 5.7 Tundra double cab and was pulling a 26' Overlander. Typical conditions for this time of year--a little snow and ice, lots of wind and lots of hills. The Tundra was great. Round bar hitch. No sway control installed, and I didn't need it. No white knuckles the entire trip. Plenty of power--generally cruised between 60 and 65. Brakes are so good that I could turn the trailer brakes down whenever I felt it was necessary and still have plenty of stopping power.

However...

Your trailer is a lot heavier than mine and presents a much larger profile to the wind. My trailer was winterized and lightly loaded (the hitch ball only came down 1" when the trailer was connected without the spring bars) and yours weighs a lot more than that. After this trip, I'm very satisfied with my combination but my impression is that I would want a heavier truck to step up to a heavier trailer with a larger body style.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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I agree with Moosetags, entirely. IF I was in that position, had that TT and a Tundra, I would stick to flat areas, as much as possible, and purchase a Hensley hitch. It's expensive but I would not feel compfortable without it. I would bite the bullit and use only a Hensley. Our TT of choice was a 25' and had absolutely no interest in going larger. Good luck with your decision and future towing experiences. You found the Forums, don't be a stranger - there's always an answer to any questions you come up with. Great place to learn.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:41 PM   #9
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From what I have read and heard from customers the Tundra is a very capable tow vehicle. Of course, from my customers, they were upgrading to a premium hitch so that may be telling for the control issues of a 1/2 ton suspension. I think at the very minimum you'd want to replace the P rated tires.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #10
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I moved from a 8.1 3/4 Suburban to the 5.7 Tundra, no regrets, look at what I tow.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:51 PM   #11
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A few have mentioned the Hensley Arrow..........I can personally attest that they can take a scary pulling combo and turn it into a Sunday cruise. Yes they are expensive, but I think they are worth their weight in gold as far as towing safely goes. I would seriously research it if you are going to pull with the Toyota.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:14 PM   #12
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Lia & Bob,

As I look at the first post again, I still don't understand whether you have, almost have, or are thinking of having a 28' Safari. If you bought one, that part is over. Then you have to buy a hitch and a lot of people swear by the very expensive Hensley. I use an Equalizer with a 25' and I have had no problems. Hensley's are often recommended for longer trailers, especially those 30' and longer. From what I read some people have difficulty hitching truck to trailer with Hensley's but otherwise it almost seems like there's a Hensley Cult. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Maybe it's just Big Love.

You say you are getting lots of conflicting suggestions for purchases. It sounds like you have been to a couple of dealers and they are lying to you, or you sense they may be. Many here at the Forum will tell you salesmen will tell you anything to sell the most expensive trailer they can (or a 28' Safari that has been sitting on the lot for a year). We had that experience and we left a dealer where the BS was too much to tolerate. Unfortunately, that only left us with one other dealership in the state.

So, Floridians, what dealer can Lia and Bob trust?

Gene
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94Tri View Post
A few have mentioned the Hensley Arrow..........I can personally attest that they can take a scary pulling combo and turn it into a Sunday cruise. Yes they are expensive, but I think they are worth their weight in gold as far as towing safely goes. I would seriously research it if you are going to pull with the Toyota.

I will have to agree. I have never had a single anxious towing moment with the Hensley. Yes. it costs a bunch, but so did my Airstream and two Suburbans. The Hensley Hitch System costs about the same as a disc brake conversion on an Airstream. From a safety standpoint, if I had to choose between the two, I would take the Hensley without hesitation.

Brian
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:22 PM   #14
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The Florida Airstream Dealer that I would Highly recommend is Sanders Airstream in Alachua. It's not very close to Punta Gorda, but probably worth the trip. They have been in business in the Gainesville area for 40 years. The owners of the dealership actually work there; three generations of the Sanders family.

Brian
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