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Old 07-01-2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Toyota Sequoia Towing an Airstream SE 23'?

Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forums and hopefully a new Airstream owner (very soon). I went to my local Airstream dealer and was planning on purchasing a 19' bambi, however the bambi felt a little too small for my family of four. I knew going into the dealership that my 2002 Toyota Sequoia 4x4 could tow 6200 lbs which is more than enough for the 19' Bambi. When we started looking at our various other options we fell in love with the 2007 23' Special Edition Safari. The salesman at the dealership said "no problem, you can tow the 23' SE Safari. The dry weight is 4460#..." He went on to explain that our gear would only be a few hundred pound and just travel with the water tanks empty. I am a little dubious of sales people's motives so I thought I would pose my question to this forum for a more objective opinion. Thank you for reading my post and hopefully someone in my similiar setup has some good news for me.

Relevant Information:

Tow Vehicle: 2002 Toyota Sequoia 4x4
Tow Rating: 6200 lbs.
Airstream: 23' Special Edition Safari
UBW/Dry weight: 4460 lbs
Hitch weight: 600 lbs
GVWR: 6000 lbs
water: 30 gal.

PS. It almost seems possible
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:31 PM   #2
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You are most correct to question the sales personson's opinion on towing capacities. Most do not have a clue, and would tell you, "sure, you can tow that 34' Classic with your Toyota Corolla."

As to your specific question, I believe that you are within the comfort range with your proposed TT/TV combination.
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:11 PM   #3
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TV rated for a 6200 lb trailer
Trailer max of 6000 lb
As long as the tongue weight of the TV is 600 or better, it should be fine. I asume the TV has a V8. I don't subscribe to the "only pull 80% of vehicle capacity" rule. I think it really depends on the vehicle. If you think your Sequoia has a enough power for hills you'll be fine. but that's just me.
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:27 PM   #4
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Thank you both for such a quick reply.
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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You don't mention if you've towed before, so forgive me if you already know these things.

Towing is very much a matter of what the driver is comfortable with. To be sure you must know and respect the ratings, but you also have to consider how much will be freeway, traffic, hills, or high elevations like mountains. I am very conservative and have always had a lot more truck than trailer - but that is because I don't enjoy it so much if I'm always worried about keeping up speed on a hill, stopping distance, working the truck drive train too hard, and so on.

At the other end of the spectrum - I have a friend who tows with a Ford Bronco (short wheel base). He pulls a travel trailer, with a boat trailer on the back of that. I think he is crazy, but he's been doing it for over 20 years. He is not bothered by all the things I mentioned above.

The hard part about knowing what you are comfortable with is you have to spend $$, and then it is too late if you aren't comfortable with your setup. Before I bought my first trailer, I was fortunate enough to know a guy that had towed a lot and had a truck/trailer that were comparable to what I was considering. He let me drive his setup one evening - two lane, freeway, hills, etc., so I had a feeling about it before buying the trailer.

The other thing that is often overlooked are the mirrors - make sure you are OK with the vision to the rear, and that if you need add-on mirrors, make sure they are available for you Sequoia before you buy - not all add on mirrors are created equal.

Good Luck
Bob
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Old 07-01-2007, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leetimes
I am a little dubious of sales people's motives so I thought I would pose my question to this forum for a more objective opinion.

hi leetimes and welcome to the forums...

try the search function with just the term sequoia...

60 threads will appear and about 20 contain useful information.

note the ones started by 'orangekid' as he/she went down a similar path...

with a newer model tv.

it's good that you are looking for objective parameters...

i'm not sure 'opinions' fit with objectivity much.

the quoted 6200 is with the toyota EMPTY...

you have 4 in the family? any dogs, any gear, any toyota options?

roof rack? bikes? and so on...

ALL of this reduces the useful towing rating...

which by the way MOST of us consider a virtually useless number.

what is the curb weight for the sequoia? the payload? the gvwr? AND the gcwr?

as you create a realistic payload for the toyota the tow rating will DROP...

significantly and pound4pound.

so the payload and gcwr become useful limits, find them.

then decide 80% or maxed out?

now sort out the tire payload rating for the suv, and what how the w/d hitch will distribute the extra load....

yes tranny, cooling, engine are important....

i care more about BRAKES.... all 8 of them.

on the less objective/gray side...

-how often will you travel?
-how far?
-hills? traffic?
-do you mind going really really slow in the breakdown lane?
-with a family of 4 do you really expect to travel with the trailer virtually EMPTY?

a/s only extimates the dry weight. doesn't include ANY options or basic things like

lpgas, a spare tire/wheel, the television and so on...

so a realistic tongue weight may be 700lb or MORE...

yes there are folks happily towing about that much with about that sequoia...

so you can learn alot from their real world experience, posted in those threads.

would I use that combo?

no.
-because i LIKE long trips in any weather or terrain or wind...
-because i LIKE carrying stuff in the tv AND trailer
-because i LIKE going fast up hill and stopping precisely
-because i LIKE using the trailer during the trip, not just at the destination..
-because i LIKE the 80% principle and being able to throw in a case o'beer too!

for many, one of the great pleasures of pulling a houseonwheels is using it!

wanna stop for lunch?
use the toilet?
glass of water?
use the toilet?
take a nap?
use the toilet?
wash some grimmy fingers?
use the toilet?
make tea or coffee?

did i mention using the toilet?

your family of 4 may be fine carrying NO water or lp gas or video games or toys...

these issues aren't all objective. many relate to knowing your camping style and driving expectations.

some people opt for a pop up camper to reduce weight, save fuel and so on...
others opt for a tv that can just barely move the house...

neither of these options seems like much fun 2me DURING the travel time....

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-01-2007, 09:46 PM   #7
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Thank you very much for your insight. Now I have more to contemplate.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leetimes
Thank you very much for your insight. Now I have more to contemplate.
Hi Leetimes. I went through the same consternation deciding on the proper tow vehicle. My wife decided on a used 34' Classic that has a GVWR of 9800 lbs.

Having only owned Japanese vehicles the last few years we were contemplating buying the new Tundra. It has a towing capacity over 10,000 lbs. However, when you look closely at its capabilities it really fell short. One of the factors we had not looked at was the truck's GVWR. When you attached the trailer to the truck, we would be adding close to a 1,000 lbs of weight due to the hitch. I had planned on adding a 170 lbs cap and all of a sudden we were close to the limit of the truck with just adding me and the fuel.

We scoured the web and found this site to be the best of course for analyzing our situation dealing with an Airstream trailer. We settled on a 3/4 ton diesel crew cab pickup that will meet all of our needs and not have to worry one bit about where and how long we tow our trailer. Plus it came stock with the proper mirrors for towing and an integrated brake controller system for controlling the trailer brake system. I have the capability to actually put some stuff in the truck and pull a fully loaded trailer to boot.

Granted a new diesel from any of the Big 3 is not an inexpensive proposition but when it comes to safety and peace of mind it was the most practical decision I think we could have made.

We have two boys 11 & 8 and found a new 08 F250 with the DVD entertainment system for them and GPS Nav for me. We had actually looked at buying a used 2000 F250 as part of the package with the trailer. Wife was not too excited about how it road. On our way home from looking at the truck and trailer we stopped into a Ford dealer and she took a ride (didn't drive one just a ride) in the new 08. It rode night and day different than the older model that she gave me the green light right then to buy a new one. It was not in the budget so to speak but she's happy and feels very safe and comfortable with the ride.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:35 PM   #9
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Would a salesman stretch the truth?? I'm Shocked!

2 Air's answer is pretty thorough and complex, but his conclusion is the same I'd reach... There's a simpler way to present the figures...

Towing Capacity of Toyota (empty) 6,200#
Less family of four 600#
(your weight may vary..)
Less fuel and luggage in Toyota bed 500#
Less weight of Class 3 WD Hitch 350#
Less weight of food, clothing and gear 400#
and linens in trailer...
Less weight of Air Conditioner and 500#
propane in tanks
Less some water and stuff in tanks 200#
at 7#/gallon
Capacity remaining for the trailer itself = 3,550#
Actual empty weight of trailer 4,460#
Net overload 910#

So, more or less you'd be overloading the truck by half of a ton, and hoping the brakes, suspension, cooling system and transmission were all overdesigned enough to protect your family going downhill on a poorly maintained wet road in heavy traffic... There are threads here where others have tried and lost similar gambles.. Good luck with yours... I'd upgrade the truck to late model used larger one at no net investment, and enjoy the room of the 23'...
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpandorf
Hi Leetimes. I went through the same consternation deciding on the proper tow vehicle. My wife decided on a used 34' Classic that has a GVWR of 9800 lbs.

Having only owned Japanese vehicles the last few years we were contemplating buying the new Tundra. It has a towing capacity over 10,000 lbs. However, when you look closely at its capabilities it really fell short. One of the factors we had not looked at was the truck's GVWR. When you attached the trailer to the truck, we would be adding close to a 1,000 lbs of weight due to the hitch. I had planned on adding a 170 lbs cap and all of a sudden we were close to the limit of the truck with just adding me and the fuel.

We scoured the web and found this site to be the best of course for analyzing our situation dealing with an Airstream trailer. We settled on a 3/4 ton diesel crew cab pickup that will meet all of our needs and not have to worry one bit about where and how long we tow our trailer. Plus it came stock with the proper mirrors for towing and an integrated brake controller system for controlling the trailer brake system. I have the capability to actually put some stuff in the truck and pull a fully loaded trailer to boot.

Granted a new diesel from any of the Big 3 is not an inexpensive proposition but when it comes to safety and peace of mind it was the most practical decision I think we could have made.

We have two boys 11 & 8 and found a new 08 F250 with the DVD entertainment system for them and GPS Nav for me. We had actually looked at buying a used 2000 F250 as part of the package with the trailer. Wife was not too excited about how it road. On our way home from looking at the truck and trailer we stopped into a Ford dealer and she took a ride (didn't drive one just a ride) in the new 08. It rode night and day different than the older model that she gave me the green light right then to buy a new one. It was not in the budget so to speak but she's happy and feels very safe and comfortable with the ride.
Hi leetimes, welcome! Good decision on the 23', don't be surprised if you go even larger in the future!
Duane has pretty much summed it up, he made a wise decision going with the 3/4 ton.
As noted, if you travel minimalist and not far from home, or very often, you mght squeek by. If 2air's and condolumiums numbers add up (you did not post actual weights/ratings) and you are overweight, then the decision is easy.
As moosetags like to say "an inadequate TV is the leading cause of very expensive yard art". I don't know about you, but a lot of us like to pack up and go any time, any where. You have the proper camper, you also need the proper TV for this. I suspect, with a family of 4, you won't be travelling lite (you should see my Wife pack!). Don't forget firewood, bikes, kayaks...

For a little more perspective, read my old post; http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...tml#post313803

Again, welcome, you are smart to do the research now, we want you and your family to be safe, and good luck!
Bill
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:05 AM   #11
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I think that the Sequoia will be at the upper limits of what it can safely do, particularly if you have family that goes with you. Towing a 23 in the hills and mountains will be problematic too. The fact is that with a family, you will most likely come close to the max GVWR of the trailer. Most of us without familes do load up, even when we try to watch the weight.

The other thing I'm looking at is wheelbase. The Sequoia is at 118" per the Toyota website. I think is some circumstances you'll be fair at best and others outright dangerously close to the limits or even over depending on how many family members, cargo and fuel you pack along as they all get deducted from the tow rating.

If it were me, I'd be looking for a diffferent truck, unless you went with a 19' or maybe even a 22'. At 23', yer starting to push the envelope too far IMHO.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:15 AM   #12
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I don't have anything else to add about the tv itself but I thought I'd share my experience.
I have a family of 5 and a 24' trailer, which we use every square inch of. I can tell you that the amount of gear you'll likely bring is significant. Coming from tent camping, I thought I'd just put the camping gear in the airstream and be done. But I soon realized there are cabinets, drawers, closets... all to be filled with homey conveniences- you know, camping enhancers: like decorations... silver, chrome, stainless objects, lights, flamingos, chairs, hammocks, margi-balls... it's a sickness, plan for it.

I love knowing my truck can handle it and that we aren't at the end of it's capacity. That is peace of mind- along with disc brakes on the airstream!! (but that's a whole nother can of worms)

Good luck!! You'll love the extra space- especially in foul weather!!
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:36 PM   #13
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I believe another important parameter for your Toyota is the payload capacity. It's not just how much it can pull but how much it can carry. With 600 pound tongue weight, four people and cargo, you probably don't have much capacity left. Do you know the payload?
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:00 PM   #14
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Your reservations are right on. I believe that once you add passengers, cargo and fuel, you will be at or beyond the safe operating range of that vehicle. Throw hills, mountains, and the short wheelbase into the mix and I think my suggestion would be to look for either a more robust 1/2 ton or start thinking about 3/4 ton if you have any remote chance of doing what so many do and upgrade later to a larger trailer.

For now though, I'd be hard pressed to suggest more than a 20' with that vehicle based on my exp towing both a 19' Bambi and a 25' Safari.
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