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Old 05-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #21
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1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
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The PRG shackles are on. Greg at PRG recommends the Airlift small bags rather than the Firestone (too stiff). That's probably a "next year" project. I have used McKesh temporary mirrors, but the plan is OEM towing mirrors. They are a little "salty," particularly since the place to get them is Nissan. I'm adding an gauge pod as well. I'll pick up a differential temp gauge, transmission temp gauge and oil temp gauge soon.

The plan for brakes is PowerSlot rotors and EBC pads... until I swap out the front calipers for the 08 Titan brakes with 13.9" rotors. This will make the front brakes comparable to the Tundra (and most 3/4-ton trucks). The rear differential gets a Detroit TrueTac and the BT gears (with a reflash of the ECU).

My family has run pickup tracks of various makes and models for half a century in a family logging business and I can't recall a single frame failure... and we have destroyed equipment pretty much any way imaginable. I'm not saying the frame isn't important, but the OP was talking about pulling a 5,200 trailer. While I think that's heavy for the Tacoma, it is under 80 percent of the capacity for pretty much every Tundra (and Titan)... to the best of my knowledge. And if the OP wants to go American, there are apparently of Fords, GMs, Chevys and Dodges being made... even if theren't many being sold.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:43 PM   #22
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1971 23' Safari
Portland , Oregon
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I appreciate all the feedback to my original post. As noted earlier, one of several reasons behind considering a switch from our current '99 F250 4X4 SuperDuty to a Tacoma is to drop from a 3 vehicle household to 2 vehicles with the Tacoma as a daily driver as well as a tow rig. Among other things, the Tacoma has very good MPG ratings as a daily driver. However, I recognized that there could be some issues with it as a tow rig so I decided to solicit opinion on the forums. Most of your responses confirmed the nagging doubts I already harbored. It would be one thing if I was dragging it up and down I-5 but hauling the Safari over and down the mountain passes are the key issue. Since I've now ruled that out as an option, I will stick with my Ford. It's a great truck, has only 63,000 miles on it and it's paid for. If the Tacoma had been a viable option, I would have been selling the Ford and my daily commuter, which would have just about paid for a new Tacoma. But, with all your input, I've decided the Tacoma is not the right tool for the job.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:52 PM   #23
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1995 25' Excella
waynesboro , Virginia
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I tow a 73-25' with an 05 Tacoma, 4.0 litre , 6cyl...manual 6 spd...Reese dual cam,anti sway...Often traveling through the mountains...Sandstone , near Beckley WV is a long 7 degree mpg without the Airstream is 20, dropping to 15 while towing...the Airstream weighs 4000 dry, loaded I am still at less than 80% of the trucks capacity...have owned several Fords & Chevys....I'm on my 5th Toyota...
and I'm convinced that $/$ they are hard to top....
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:39 PM   #24
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1982 31' Airstream310
Lilburn , Georgia
Join Date: May 2009
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Size matters

Originally Posted by Henny View Post

I am a brand new Airstreamer. My husband and I picked up our used 2007 20' Safari in Florida last week. We live at 7000' in western Colorado and there is no way to avoid a mountain either coming or going.

My daily driver is a 2007 Tacoma TRD double cab 4x4, which is what we comfortable drove to Florida. Our return trip with the Airstream was also comfortable as it towed beautifully - until we hit Raton Pass in southern Colorado. The little truck wanted to hit redline working it's way up the pass, the descent was fine. Our gas mileage was terrible along the entire route, and once in the mountains I swear we could watch the gas needle steadily head to empty.

We will be towing our Airstream with our 1996 single cab Dodge diesel 2500 (3/4 ton)farm truck, dents & peeling paint and all!

Stick with a larger truck.

AHAH!!! Another convert to the SIZE MATTERS mantra. You can PC it up anyway you want to but the facts are "ass moves mass". (an old engineering term). To ask a lesser vehicle to attempt to strain its way up a mountain is ludricrous. It puts exceptional wear, tear, and strain on the vehicle AND driver to do so, not to mention the wasted fuel. Better to go with strengh than beauty. Rigth Diane??
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:42 AM   #25
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2007 20' Safari SE
Montrose , Colorado
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Size and strength matter, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:25 PM   #26
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
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I waited quite a while to get what I wanted: the Dodge CTD with the best performance/mileage blend. Bought it used, has needed nothing (with a little to do as I get to it) and it achieves 19 mpg in town. True, it isn't "fun" as a commuter what with size, weight and manual transmission. But I'd much rather drive it than my previous 11-mpg pickemup (gas) that, with fewer miles and about zero work (beyond hauling itself around) was starting to wear.

The late 2003-early 2004 Dodge CTD (305 HP/555 TQ) with the NV-5600 is a match made in heaven. And cheaper than you'd think, especially in 2WD.

The only changes I was considering for towing my 34' was to soften up the rear suspension by removing the thick overload leaf, and to drop the rear a bit more by removing one of two spacers. I was then going to go with TIMBREN overloads when running solo, and leave it soft for the trailer by swapping out the TIMBRENS for the stock limiter. And, this would be true for any 3/4T pickup, just more so for Dodge. It isn't easy getting decent, accurate weight distribution with the rear suspension stiffness.

A used Dodge is a good buy. And more reliable over more miles than the competition.

I was looking forward to this rig proposed by the OP. How do any of you think we towed BIG aluminum trailers with cars in the 1960's and 1970's? Sure the gas gauge moved! Ironically, my best memory was watching it herky-jerk it's way down up Raton Pass . . 500 inches of Cadillac redlined at 4800-rpm in second gear. Didn't hurt a thing. That motor burned no more oil at 187,000 miles than at 18,000 miles; just a question of maintenance.

As to speed? So what? You just fall in behind the big trucks trudging along.

Buy the one that suits 90% of driving. Don't worry over three miles of panties-twisting. I've driven trucks so heavy and so slow I used to joke with other drivers that I had to downshift for potholes; and that I had identified every species of flower on the upgrade.

Look to Andy Thomsons writings here, elsewhere online, and send him an email. On this site (and elsewhere) look also to Road Ruler.

If I hadn't had a business need for the truck I'd have looked into a Hemi-powered Dodge or Chrysler sedan to pull a travel trailer. And, if they ever sell the car they make here and export to Europe (a 300 with a Mercedes diesel: 476 Ft/Lbs TQ), I'll sell the truck and buy a few trailers to do what the truck used to do. Two trips instead of one works fine for what I need, in main.

And, did I say that the Dodge CTD was fairly cheap?
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