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Old 08-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
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Towing with an older 4Runner, lots of mods...

Been thinking of pulling the trigger on an older Airstream lately, but I'm uncertain as to whether my beloved 1996 V6 4Runner can do the job. I was looking at 70's era 23-35' trailers, which seem to be around 3700-4200lbs.

One thing I haven't seen addressed in the dozens of Toyota threads I've been through on here was modifications to the vehicle. I've swapped to larger Tundra brakes w/Hawk LTS pads, 33" D-range Yok Geolandar A/Ts, a slight (~3") suspension lift, an engine oil cooler and a massive trans cooler on the Lexus LS400 trans I modded for 4WD, among many other things.

In the near future, in light of towing a ~4500lb trailer, I was thinking of swapping in a 5-speed manual, a milder lift and 32s, converting to rear discs and throwing some Firestone airbags in the rear coils. I may even do a supercharger down the road.

I did plan on shedding weight from the trailer by gutting it and doing a very contemporary, aluminum/lexan/stainles-heavy remodel with the interior. I'm 26 and I'll be building this as my "house"; being stationary indefinitely has never really appealed to me...

I would consider a different tow vehicle, but I don't see anything else on the market as capable off road, which is a huge deal for me. I plan on occasionally using the trailer as a home base on the road while I venture out to wheel on rougher terrain. A Tundra seems too big, and I don't really care for them seeing as the interiors are terrible and they're American made. Thought about an FJ100 Landcruiser, but they're out of my price range still. T100s are impossible to find, and not really a big improvement wheelbase or power-wise.

I have towed one of those rubbish 6x12 enclosed Uhauls loaded to the gills through CO. I thought the truck did ok (only a few asshole clenching moments), and I figure it was definitely in the 4000lb range with the kind of stuff I was hauling (tools, furniture, tools).

Can these sway reducing hitches compensate for a shorter wheelbase? Is there any other ways to make a mid size SUV stable and competent with a 23` Airstream? Does anyone else have experience towing a similar trailer with a 3rd gen 4Runner or 1st gen Tacoma? Any insight is appreciated.

Tons of great info on this site. I've found my next addictive forum...
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:57 PM   #2
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Those are extremely "optimistic" numbers for weights for the trailers stated.
That would be bone-dry empty, and with the tires filled with helium.

The empty weight (on the tag) on my 73 23-footer is 3800lbs. (The gross weight is 5800.). The empty weight doesn't include so much as a hub-cap. no propane tanks, no spare tire, no air conditioner.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
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I have 2001 4 runner. I towed a pop up with it. I live in colorado..

I wouldn't tow much more than a pop up with it. You would push the limits and go pretty slow up the mountains. Plus the wheel base is short and you could end up on your side.

It's not good when you trailer weighs more than a small suv.
If you could keep the trailer under 20' you would be ok.

Plus putting bigger tires on will shoot your power.
And a lift (depending on the brand) can change the handling (for the worse)

things to consider! my combined vehicle tow rating is 5000 lbs for trailer and suv.. yours might be less.. I know the engine isn't as powerful as mine.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:13 PM   #4
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I wouldn't pull any trailer with a 6cy vehicle. Just my personal opinion.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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I'm using an 05 Tacoma to tow my 73 Tradewind, 25'. However its is much bigger than the first generation Toyota small trucks. I previously towed the same Airstream with the previous gen Tacoma, which was a 3.4 litre V6, vs the current 4.0 litre v6. Given the correct conditions, towing with a 6 is quite manageable. Refer to the manufacturers suggested towing capacity and go with about 80% of that number. Also I'm using the Reese Dual Cam Anti Sway hitch and it does very well, I would not be safely traveling with the Airstream without this hitch set up. Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:46 PM   #6
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A good small tow vehicle would have independent suspension, excellent handling characteristics, relatively long wheelbase, low center of gravity for starters. Has to stay on the road under adverse conditions.

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Old 08-25-2011, 07:14 PM   #7
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I think Road Ruler towed with a 3l v6 for many years without issues. You sound like you're mechanically apt enough to make it work. With the proper hitch (and your cool mods with the transmission, cooler, etc), you should be able to tow a smallish AS (25 ft or less)
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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Baiting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6PackCharlie View Post
I wouldn't pull any trailer with a 6cy vehicle. Just my personal opinion.
Are you trying to get the Cummins folks all riled up?
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I wouldn't pull any trailer with a 6cy vehicle. Just my personal opinion.
your lucky to get that in Europe, Thank goodness we live in America where we can have big V8s that suck gas so fast you can't past a gas station.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:56 PM   #10
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JDM,

Just do it.....If it doesn't work for you, lesson learned, many here have done it. Our first TV, not so good, but all's well now.

What to tow with is a very subject around here>>>>

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