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  1. #1
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    Feb 2012
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    Towing with a 4Runner

    Almost ready to purchase a light travel trailer and wanted to ask if anyone has advice and experiences regarding towing with 4Runners

    I have a 1yr old daughter, 40lb dog, and a wife.

    I have a 2011 SR5 (43,000 miles) with 5k towing capacity.

    Looking at trailers in the 3-4K dry weight range. Fully loaded would be in the 3500-4500 range max.

    Any advice?

    Adding tranny coolers, air shocks, sway bars??

    I know the dealer offers to install the brake, is this the best option?

    Downshifting in manual over mountain passes?

    Tire ratings?

    Should I get my vehicle inspected for any specific issues first?

    Visibility issues?

    Are the stock brakes adequate if still in good order?

    Towing in 4wd issues?


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    No experience with 4R specifically. TONS of experience towing many different sized trailers with many different trucks.

    -I don't like to push the tow rating on any vehicle, they just don't perform well, especially in the mountains, when close to the published limit. So I'd err towards your 3500lb loaded weight than 4500lb if you can.

    Adding tranny coolers, air shocks, sway bars?? - unsure what the 4R will want for cooling, but airbags on the rear suspension would probably be a good idea. You may want anti-sway bars on the trailer/hitch as well, depending on the length and profile of the trailer, but you can add those later.

    I know the dealer offers to install the brake, is this the best option? - you will absolutely want a trailer with brakes and a brake controller

    Downshifting in manual over mountain passes? - yes, do this

    Tire ratings? -load E rated

    Should I get my vehicle inspected for any specific issues first? -not really, just that generally it is in good shape mechanically

    Visibility issues? - yes, you'll learn to use your side mirrors exclusively pretty quickly. Whether or not you need extended mirrors is going to depend on the width of the trailer.

    Are the stock brakes adequate if still in good order? - probably (with a trailer brake) but it wouldn't be the worst idea to upgrade the fronts with better rotors, pads, or both. My 04 Tundra is way happier with drilled and slotted front rotors, I would warp solid rotors pretty easily with a light weight sled trailer (~1500lbs).

    Towing in 4wd issues? -nope, just don't go fast. Remember it takes a lot longer to stop with a trailer and you have much less ability to make evasive maneuvers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    No experience with 4R specifically. TONS of experience towing many different sized trailers with many different trucks.

    -I don't like to push the tow rating on any vehicle, they just don't perform well, especially in the mountains, when close to the published limit. So I'd err towards your 3500lb loaded weight than 4500lb if you can.
    Ditto. I attempted to tow a 5000lb boat (~6500lb wet) for several years using a 4.7l 2000 Toyota Tundra which is rated at 7200lb. Not a good idea. Loved that truck, but it's completely gutless under that load. Definitely err on the low end.

    I have also towed a 3000lb boat with my parents 2008 4R V6 and it did great, including a few steep climbs

  4. #4
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    Feb 2012
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    Thanks guys.

    Yea I want to stick to well under 4K wet. Safety is a big concern of mine.

    The air bags are something I will look into, wasn't aware of that but makes sense.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2006
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    AK, your 4R should have come with the trailer brake wiring harness. Mine did. I have a 2013 SR5. I may be towing with it a lot sooner than planned because we may be moving in the next several months. My parents have a 12'x5' utility trailer I was planning on using. The brakes are on the trailer itself, so you only need to wire the harness under the dash and plug it into the whatever brake controller you buy. I'm planning on doing it myself and I work at a desk.

    In terms of your other trailer Qs, I'm kind of in the same boat. Things I'm looking at are like 17' Casitas, Scamps, Escapes, etc. Maybe even something like the Cricket trailer. The Safari Condo Alto also looks sweet. I'd definitely look to keep it as light as possible, but then $$$. I may consider adding airbags to the back, but depends on how I feel after towing with it (which I haven't done yet, but have towed with other trucks). T4R brakes are reasonably overbuilt already for the A-TRAC system, so I'm not too concerned about them, but same deal, I suppose. An equalizing/weight distribution hitch probably isn't a bad idea either.

    I also went with e-rated on my tire replacement last fall with this being one small reason. (Mostly because c-rated wasn't an option in the tire I wanted [Cooper ATW] and I didn't want p-rated.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  6. #6
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    I sold my 2008 4runner V6 to a friend who tows a 17' Casita with it. He says it works fine towing it around the eastern Sierra and Nevada passes.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  7. #7
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    ^^^ That's what I figured. Dry weight of ~2,000 pounds is a solid start.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2012
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    LightRanger

    Check this out
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XaaDO7spgeY

    Out of my price range but this thing is awesome. Around $26k MSRP, may offer 30% below and see what happens. We are looking to sleep 4 and have a full bathroom.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2008
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    tree OH TREE!!!!!
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    I just traded in our 11 4runner for 16 tacoma, we were looking at campers and got a small 17' hybrid about 2200lbs that the 4runner could tow but I know I will be getting a bigger camper in future. Also added a topper to the truck for the wet dogs and fishing/camping gear in back.

    As for the 4runner. Get air bags, will help with the 4runner squat that comes std. Simple ones are less than $100.

    Get extended mirrors. http://www.amazon.com/CIPA-11950-Uni...towing+mirrors

    Get elec brake controller, if your worried about install can get installed at any camper dealer.

    Get an equailizer. Cant tell my camper is back there. http://www.equalizerhitch.com/

    Dont know your budget for camper but we went used for about $7000. Hybrid with filp out front queen and love it so far. Will use a couple years and figure out what we do and dont like and upgrade.

    PS: Rockwood makes killer campers.

    edit: this layout would be sweet http://www.forestriverinc.com/produc...delID=958#Main

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkgt View Post
    Get an equailizer. Cant tell my camper is back there. http://www.equalizerhitch.com/
    Don't use a weight-distributing hitch (like that Equalizer hitch) on a 4Runner that has the simple bumper-crossmember-mounted receiver. That receiver isn't strong enough. You'll need a proper class III full frame mounted receiver to use an equalizer -- ones that look like these for the 4th gen 4Runner, and run down the frame rails a ways:
    https://www.etrailer.com/hitch-2009_Toyota_4Runner.htm

    In a quick google search, I couldn't find any such hitch receivers for the 5th gen 4Runner.... odd.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  11. #11
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    ^^^^ odd on the hitch, seen lots of Gen 5's with equalizer hitches, makes sense though


    http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-ge...eneration.html

    Edit: had to go look at the Tacoma, it's a class iii frame mount, can't remember on the 11 4runner
    Last edited by hawkgt; 05-19-2016 at 07:46 PM.

  12. #12
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    I towed a fairly heavy uhaul trailer through the mountain west with my T100 3.4L auto. I had problems with the tranny overheating....and that was in cold weather. It handled reasonably, but the t100 runs leaf springs and I think 4runners are coil rear. 4runners are definitely heavier than T100s, if I were setting one up to tow I would absolutely look at a trans cooler.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    I towed a fairly heavy uhaul trailer through the mountain west with my T100 3.4L auto. I had problems with the tranny overheating....and that was in cold weather. It handled reasonably, but the t100 runs leaf springs and I think 4runners are coil rear. 4runners are definitely heavier than T100s, if I were setting one up to tow I would absolutely look at a trans cooler.
    Do you have a guesstimate on the trailer weight? We talking 3-4K pounds or more?

    5th Gen 4Runner have a 4.0L, not sure how or if that .6 extra would help.

  14. #14
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    I've towed a ton with 2005 V8 4R and Gx470.
    The 4.0L is the #1 reason I'm now in a 2015 V8 Jeep GC.
    I'd add a brake kit, if I was towing a big trailer in the mountains.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK47bp View Post
    Do you have a guesstimate on the trailer weight? We talking 3-4K pounds or more?

    5th Gen 4Runner have a 4.0L, not sure how or if that .6 extra would help.
    I would have a hard time guessing. Probably more than 3 or 4K.

  16. #16
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    I tow my ski boat with my 2003 4.0 4R all the time. Probably 3500 lbs wet. I just have the 4 speed though and don't live in the mountains but we have some 500 vertical foot hills. The important thing is to keep the torque converter locked up at all times. Keep it out of overdrive unless you are paying total attention and understand how to tell when the torque converter is locked up. Shift down manually on hills if it unlocks in 3-4 gear. Plenty of power but like with any slushbox you have to pay attention so you don't fry the oil.

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