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Old 05-09-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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1971 23' Safari
Portland , Oregon
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Towing with a 2009 v6 toyota tacoma

I have a 1971 23' Safari. I currently tow it with a 1999 Ford 250 Super Duty 4X4 Super Cab Long Bed. Weight with canopy and no passengers is close to 6,400 lbs. It has a weight distribution hitch and tows the Safari like a dream. Only time I notice it is climbing over the cascades. Engine is a 5.4L V8 5spd man trans, 4:10 rear end. Rated at 9,000lb towing capacity with 235HP and 335 @ 3,000 Torque. Also has brake controller. The truck also has a "camper package" with heavy duty springs and I suspect it give the Safari a pretty stiff ride, particularly when on Forest Service roads.

Dry weight of the trailer is in the neighborhood of 3,800lbs with a gross trailer weight of 5,200 lbs with tandem axles.

For a variety of reasons, I am considering replacing the Ford with a 2009 Toyota Doublecab PreRunner 2WD. It has a 4.0L V6 with 5SPD Auto Trans and 3.73 axle ratio. It has 236 HP and 266lbs of torque at 4,000 rpm. Tow Package includes engine oil cooler, heavy duty battery, 130 amp alternator and 7 pin connector. The vehicle is rated at max towing capacity of 6,500 lbs with tow package. I would add a brake controller and distribution hitch. The dry weight of the truck is about 4,000 lbs.

I'm looking for feedback from those in the know or who have had experience with the newer Tacoma on whether this would be a smart move. My trailer's gross weight falls at the 80% max target of the published towing capacity of the truck. The curb weight of the truck is slightly heavier then the dry weight of the trailer. The horsepower of the 2 vehicles is closely matched but the Ford obviously has more torque. Not ever having towed with the Tacoma and considering that the Ford weighs 1.6 times as much, I suspect that the Tacoma would pull it nicely down a relatively level freeway.
However I wonder how it would handle the climb up the Cascades and the drop down the other side. The Ford is sufficiently heavier than the trailer so I never feel like I'm being pushed by the trailer on steep downhill runs. The trailer with a full tank of water and some gear would be close to the weight of the truck loaded with passengers, dog and gear.

My only towing experience in the past has been with the Ford and my Safari for the past 5 years and, prior to that, a 2,200 lb boat / trailer combo. Sharing of any collective wisdom out there is appreciated.

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Old 05-09-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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I've towed my 5,300 lb Bigfoot 25' with an '02 4WD auto Tundra extended cab with the 3.4L. (essentially the same size truck as the new Tacomas) It was a little over the 4800 lb rating of the Tundra... but it was adequate... barely.

From 1987 to 1994, I had a '70 Safari Special 23' single axle I towed with a '77 F250 with the 400 and C6. I don't think I'd have wanted anything less for it.

The Tacoma with the tow package (6500 lb tow rating) will undoubtedly pull your trailer under most circumstances. I'm not sure I'd tackle any mountains with it though. Maneuvering and stopping the trailer under less-than-ideal circumstances (a panic swerve and stop with failed trailer brakes, for example) requires the weight of the F250 to pull it off successfully. I had a 2,000 lb 15' fiberglass camper trailer jump the ball off my Y2K Excursion several years ago, and the 7,500 lb Ex was able to bring it to a stop on the one safety chain that didn't grind through without rolling either the trailer or the vehicle. The brake/lighting pigtail disconnected during the fray. The Tundra would not have fared so well, I suspect.


AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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1977 27' Overlander
1973 27' Overlander
1963 19' Globetrotter
Naples , Florida
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I tow with a 6. Chevy 2500 05,it tows the Overlander just fine,if it were to be replaced,it would be a 3/4 ton Chevy or Ford,just to try and keep some of the money in the states.
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:55 PM   #4
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We tow a 19' Bambi SE with an '07 Tacoma Double Cab with the factory tow package like yours (the first year of the new generation Tacomas). We are very happy with it's towing capability for this trailer (#3500 dry/#4500 filled), and we like the Tacoma very much as an every-day vehicle as well. We might be able to get away with a 20' trailer, but I'd want a bigger truck if we were going above that. You should be OK on flat roads and small hills, etc., with your 23' but guess is that you'll most likely be wanting more power on grades, both going up and coming down)... Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Myself I'd keep the FORD . You didn't indicate what hitch you are using. We have an F350 Crew Longbed 7.3 /3:73 Rears. We use a Reese dual cam hitch with 550 lbs bars. We get a very soft ride on both ends.
If I was going to replace your truck Id have to go with F250 just like you have with the same engine or even a diesel. The new engines will be more efficient. I'm with whom ever said "KEEP THE MONEY HERE IN THE USA.
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May your roads be straight and smooth and may you always have a tailwind!
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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1971 23' Safari
Portland , Oregon
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One of several motivations to replace the Ford is for my wife and I to drop from 3 vehicles to 2 and also use the tow vehicle as a daily driver. I imagine I would see my MPG while towing with a Tacoma stay the same or barely exceed the 10 - 11 MPG I currently get with the Ford pulling the Safari. However, by using the Tacoma as a daily driver, I could save on insurance, registration, DEQ and maintenance on a 3rd vehicle in our household. In researching options for trucks on the smaller side of a Super Duty that would yield an improvement in MPG when not towing, the Tacoma seems to come out on top. That coupled with the new standard safety upgrades on the 2009 including traction control, limited slip rear diff on the 2wd's and several other features puts the Tacoma out ahead of the competition. I'd would prefer to buy domestic but Ford has not redesigned the platform for the Ranger in 12 years. In fact Ford is introducing a a crew cab Ranger in Europe but not the US. Go figure. Of course, the bottom line issue is whether it will do the job I need it to do when occasionally towing. I had some qualms about it, primarily from a weight standpoint and for towing in the mountains. That is why I raised the question on the forums. The replies, so far, are confirming my doubts. I'll most likely end up hanging on to what I have as it is a great truck.

I appreciate all of your replies. If there are any more out there, keep them coming as it is a good learning experience.

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Old 05-09-2009, 08:00 PM   #7
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2006 22' International CCD
Saskatoon , Saskatchewan
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We towed our 22ft International CCD with a 2007 Tacoma with a 5spd transmission and tow pkg for about 3000 miles last year and I believe that the truck was underpowered for the job.We were also at the maximum for the payload.The biggest problem was that the transmission was always hunting for the proper gear and I usually had to run in fourth but even then it would want to downshift.I was also unable to use my cruise control,and had trouble keeping speed up on hilly terrain.
As a result of this experiance I purchased a 2008 Tundra on my return home and can't wait to get out there this year.
I truly believe from my experiance that you would not be happy with the Tacoma as a TV.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:18 AM   #8
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I tow a 19' '06 Bambi with my '06 Tacoma 2x w/ tow pkg. and have logged right at 20K miles so far with the A/S attached. It does a nice job.

23'? "Mountains frequently"? Don't think so.

If I were you, I'd stay with a 3/4T or at least a 1/2T with about a 4:10 axle. If you just haffta have a Tacoma, get the 4:10 axle for sure.

I do travel in the AZ/CA mountains and on especially steep hills like just north of Branson, MO, but I don't travel in those conditions for the bulk of my fact a relatively small percentage of the time. And, I hack'em OK. I have no problems with my 'manly pride' when it comes to dropping to 3rd gear (I always tow in 4th (1:1), BTW. No matter the terrain or wind condx). I can routinely average 13 to 14 mpg, at 57mph on cruise, and as high as 17.5 with a tailwind on flat land.

As a former farmer, I realize that there's no need buying a "too big" tractor for just a few tough spots**........just shift down with the one that's adequate. But you DO need an adequate tractor.

But with what you've stated, I'd have to say that you'll be disappointed with the Tacoma. Which, BTW, is a few hundred pounds GVW short of being a full fledged 1/2T PU......kinda somewhere between a Ranger and an F-150.

**Side note: I recently saw a really neat bumper sticker. It said "Nice truck.......sorry about your little penis".
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:46 AM   #9
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Wouldn't do it


I had a '07 Tacoma with the same engine and tow package. It was fine towing a '63 Globetrotter that weighed in at a little over 3000 pounds loaded. No problems at all in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

I did tow a 5000 lb. boat to a few regattas and it's a good thing there weren't any big hills around. It was a struggle to get quickly up to speed on the highway -- even on level ground. This was a racing sailboat, so it was aerodynamic, not boxy. I wouldn't go any higher on weight at all with a Tacoma. Your rig is, in my opinion, too big.

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Old 05-11-2009, 01:10 AM   #10
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Boulder Creek , California
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I have a '64 Safari I tow with a '05 Tacoma 2wd 4dr with the factory tow package. I have only a little experience with it so far. On a trip down the coast to Big Sur it handled very well. The acceleration was great, even uphill. It really felt like we were not towing anything at all. I don't know how much more your Airstream weighs than mine. I'm at #3100 dry weight, which might be significantly less than yours. The power available is probably very much like your Ford when you take the weight into account. If you have the same horsepower and a little more torque than my Toyota, but your weight is 1.6 times mine, you might actually feel more power with the Toyota. I would compare the non-towing mileage for an idea of the possible benefits of switching trucks. We use ours as a daily driver also and it gets good mileage and has room for five adults.
As some others have said, it depends on what you are towing, how often you tow it, and where you want to go with it. I'm very happy with the Tacoma, and it's built in Fremont, CA, not Japan.

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Old 05-11-2009, 06:02 AM   #11
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My nephew tows a 26' with a Nissan Titan Crew Cab V8 w/ tow package for a couple of years now and he purchased it over the Toyota. I have had both Toyota and Nissan trucks and still have a 4wd Toyota truck and V6 Camry, but truly the Nissan wins out when it comes to towing or durability. Toyota is introducing a diesel this year or next I think this may match or just fall behind the Nissan gas V8.

Nissan Titan 2009
Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine
317 hp @ 5,200 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm

Toyota Tacoma 2009
4.0-liter DOHC EFI V6 with VVT-i
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rp
"Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that." ~Clark Griswold
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:52 AM   #12
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ARTHUR , Illinois
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Griswalds, you're comparing apples to oranges.

Compare the Nisson Frontier to the Tacoma rather than to the Titan. Compare the new Tundra to the Titan.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:13 AM   #13
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If I were spending your money, I'd buy a new Tundra.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:06 PM   #14
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Bakersfield , California
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Originally Posted by Griswolds View Post
My nephew tows a 26' with a Nissan Titan Crew Cab V8 w/ tow package for a couple of years now and he purchased it over the Toyota. I have had both Toyota and Nissan trucks and still have a 4wd Toyota truck and V6 Camry, but truly the Nissan wins out when it comes to towing or durability. Toyota is introducing a diesel this year or next I think this may match or just fall behind the Nissan gas V8.

Nissan Titan 2009
Endurance 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine
317 hp @ 5,200 rpm
385 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm

Toyota Tacoma 2009
4.0-liter DOHC EFI V6 with VVT-i
236 hp @ 5200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rp
Toyota, Ford's F150 and Nissan's diesel plans are all on indefinite hold right now. Nissan seemed to have an agreement with Chrysler to have them build Titan's as rebadged RAM 1500's. That kinda fell through with the bankruptcy, but a Nissan executive recently said they want that deal anyway. If this doesn't bother you, just buy the RAM.

My 2007 Titan was made in Canton, Mississippi by American workers. Nissan is retooling that plant right now and have stated if they can't get Chrysler to build Titan's they will have them built in Mexico at a plant that has spare capacity. They sold 1,309 Titans in April 2009, they won't have to run that line too long each year to meet demand. I don't think I want a truck that is built part-time in Mexico. I'm not sure where this leaves the Armada since it comes down the same line.

To compare other numbers for April 2009, Ford sold 28,757 f-series, GM sold 26,437 Silveraldo's + 8,273 GMC Sierra's, Chrysler sold 17,903 Dodge RAM's, Toyota sold 6,156 Tundra's.

Ford has a whole new lineup of engines coming out. A 6.2L V8 gaser with 400 HP/400 lbp Torque [The BOSS], 6.7L diesel with 390 HP/ 720 lbp Torque [The Scorpion] . They've also have a 4.5L V8 diesel that was planned for the F150 platform, but with the 6.2L gaser, they're doubting the need for a small diesel. GM also has new or redesigned engines in the same league. All these engines from Ford/GM are vastly different designs than they have now. More HP, Torque, better gas millage, cheaper maintenance costs. Cummings has new designs also, but they've been a little ahead in meeting emission standards and aren't on the same design/release cycle as Ford/GM.

Personnaly I don't trust any new engine (especially a diesel) for the first 2 years it's out. My plan right now is to use the Titan to take about 30 Airstream trips in the next 3 years, take a beating trading it in on a Ford F250 with that 6.2L gaser. It will have been out for at least 2 years by then and if it's reliability is in doubt, I'll go Silverado 2500 HD big V8 gaser.

If you guys want a Titan, I've got a beautiful, well maintained 2007 Crew Cab with less than 15,000 miles, awesome tow mirrors, class 4 hitch and I'll leave the top of the line Tekonsha P3 brake controller installed. [*] Pickup Truck News, Reviews, Community and Help Finding a New or Used Pickup

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