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Old 06-16-2008, 03:33 PM   #1
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Thoughts on Toyota Tacoma and Safari SE 20'

I am about to purchase both TT & TV. I would like them to be suitable for each other. I'm looking at the 20' Safari SE, with GVWR of 5000#. Allowing for the 20% suggested margin, that makes for a minimum towing capacity of 6000#. The Tacoma is listed at 7500#, so would appear to have a good margin of safe capacity above the 20% much discussed here as wise.
BUT. I am learning as I research here and elsewhere that there is much more to towing than just the numbers. So appealing to the pool of experience and knowledge of my soon-to-be fellow Airstreamers, what are the thoughts about the above combination? Should I consider a full-size truck like the Tundra or F150? I would like to save gas (you think your gas is expensive in America, try ours at $1.50/litre; US gal more or less = 4 litres!) but I will not compromise on safety or risk damaging the TV by overworking it.
It is likely relevant that I live in BC Canada, gets into some serious hills pretty quick when going anywhere.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:41 PM   #2
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neal, my tv is a toyota tacoma, 4.0 litre 6, my tt is a 73-25'....I live in the mountains and have towed with no problems....make sure to get the right hitch, and the correct set up and you will do fine...I get 15 towing, 21 empty.....6spd manual transmission....waltero
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 55neal View Post
It is likely relevant that I live in BC Canada, gets into some serious hills pretty quick when going anywhere.
Thanks in advance!
Besides the issue of weight & towing (it does look like you have an adequate margin), I would also look at the weight of the tow vehicle and road ability towing with slick roads (either ice or rain). I'm not real familiar with the Toyota Tacoma, so I can't offer anything as to the ride in those conditions.

Would also look at horsepower/torque on climbing and pulling in high winds going through mountain passes. Perhaps the Tundra, F150 might be a bit more hefty to provide you with some extra confidence-comfort.

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Old 06-16-2008, 05:25 PM   #4
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Neal...We tow a 19 Safari Bambi SE (dry weight 3500 lbs; loaded weight of 4500 lbs) with a 2007 Tacoma Double Cab 2x4 V6's towing rate (with factory tow package) is #6500.

Are you talking a 2009 Tacoma...if so, does it have a higher tow rate than the 07s and 08s? I just looked and the 2008 Tacoma is still showing a 6500 tow capability Toyota Tacoma Truck - 2008 Performance & Specifications , so I am a little confused...not sure where you are getting the 7500 lbs tow capacity.

That having been said...We have had good experience with our tow combination using an Equal-i-zer hitch set up... However, our feeling is that if we went to a larger unit...(perhaps not a 20' but a definitely 23') we'd want a larger truck. We are not going to win any races, but then that's not the point... We have towed up and down major inclines without much fuss.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:34 PM   #5
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Hi Neal,

You mentioned maybe upscaling to an F150 ... I bought a new '08 F150 last November to tow our 19' Bambi and I couldn't be more pleased. It's a 4X4 Supercab FX4. It is the most comfortable pickup I have ever driven and, so far w/ 8600 miles on it, no problems at all. Right now most Ford dealerships are participating in the employee pricing promotion for the F150 so you might find a really great deal on one right now. If so, you would be getting a much more versatile truck in the F150 and a much better match for your trailer, in my opinion (not that I have anything against the Tacoma - great trucks - just not as good a match for the 20' trailer).

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Old 06-16-2008, 07:10 PM   #6
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The Tacoma will do great! We towed our 25' Safari with a '05 double cab and could not be more pleased with the power and mileage. ( about 13-14 ) My only concern was loading the bed of the truck with a lot of cargo. Sometimes when the bed was heavy with stuff and we had the trailer it was a bit spongy. also you need to get a good set of mirrors. other than that the power and stability was more than adequet at high elevations. I bought a '08 tundra right before the gas prices surged and am having some regrets because without the TT I was getting 20 mpg on my around the town driving, but with the Tundra am only getting about 14. I say go Tacoma!

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Old 06-17-2008, 01:54 AM   #7
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Thank-you all so much for your replies.
Waltero, I think maybe your í73 is somewhat lighter than a 2008/9 20í. Not sure about that, but that seems to be the prevailing reputation throughout these forums. Glad to hear the Tacoma works anyway, but Iím having trepidations about it for my use.
Jaxon, thank-you for bringing up this issue of the weight of the TV. I was so focused on pulling that I forgot about the pushing the trailer might do in inclement conditions, especially on descents. Your suggestion of a heftier truck being more confidence inspiring is well taken.
TBRich, I owe you a coffee at Starbucks sometime if/when we meet along the way. You are absolutely right, the Tacoma is indeed rated for 6500#, not 7500# as I thought. I have no idea why I thought that, but Iím glad to be corrected. Even more reason to, uhh, give more weight to the idea of a larger truck. The Ďlossí of that 1000# cuts it somewhat close for my comfort level, especially considering the enlightenment (sorry) that others have lent to this discussion.
Colorado Camper, actually, whatever pricing scheme Ford has on now, it puts the F150 about $5 - 6000 cheaper than the Tacoma, part of the reason I did not consider the choice a no-brainer in favor of the Toyota. The Tacoma would save on gas to be sure, but it takes a lot of gas to make up six grand at only four or five mpg difference. Besides that, I plan on using a small motorcycle or scooter for short local trips here and exploring wherever I happen to be; the F150 only gets lousy mileage if I actually drive it!
Mike; Iím already leaning towards the F150, and although you do well pulling your 25í Safari, when you mentioned the Ďsponginessí when the truckís bed was loaded, you reminded me that there will be the above mentioned scooter in the bed whenever I am pulling the trailer anywhere.
For all these reasons, Iím now thinking that Iíll just have to bite the proverbial bullet on the gas mileage, and go with the truck that feels best. I may go for the Toyota Tundra, but the only one in my price range is the regular cab, and my son reminded me that if I hope to have my kids/grand-kids travel with me, Iíd best provide a comfortable and safe way to do that, so it looks like itís going to be an F150 Crew Cab.
Once again, thanks for your invaluable help; you have all broadened my horizons.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:28 PM   #8
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HI Neal,

If you do decide to get a bigger TV and the tundra and F-150 fall through, look at the Nissan Titan. I was getting my 05 Titan serviced today and I was looking at the 08's and they are practically giving them away! They have $5000 cash back and 0% financing. I love my Titan and I would highly recommend them. I have 2 buddies that have Tacomas and they love them too, but when they tow their boats or small pop up trailers, they only get 10mpgs.

Good luck getting finding the right TV and TT.

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Old 06-18-2008, 06:51 PM   #9
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Nissan Titan

Hi Matt;
I have looked at the Nissan Titan and I agree it is a great truck. Unfortunately, where I live in BC Canada, where we get about 3Ē of snow a year, basically all the trucks on the Nissan lots are 4X4, and thus quite pricey. Close to $50K. Even with $5000 off, still a lot more than Tundra and LOTS more than F150. The explanation is that 4X4ís have better resale value; I cannot for the life of me understand why people buy anything for itís resale value. Buy it to use it! Enjoy it for what it is and how it serves itís purpose, then when you need something different, get that.
However, it is worth following up on. Maybe some dealer somewhere has a 2WD on his lot.
I will also need to check the towing specís on Titans; not all of them have the towing packages available for some reason.
The Titans are well regarded in Airstreamland, RichC (Gadgetís Airstream Chronicles) has one, and RichL (Airstream Life) has the SUV brother to it, the Armada. Both love their trucks, and the dealers they have dealt with too, for the most part anyway.
Thanks for the heads-up, Matt, I will look further into the Titan.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:26 AM   #10
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If you don't mind buying used, they are dirt cheap here in Idaho(and thats probably the same case everywhere). I saw an 06 2wd crew cab Titan sell for $13,500 on Craigslist here in Boise last month. Good luck

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