TV for 17.5CB Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-02-2005, 02:52 AM   #1
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We have bought a 17.5CB Bigfoot. Now we need a tow vehicle. We are looking at a Toyota 4Runner. Does anyone have a opinion on the 4Runner as a tow vehicle in general? If the 4Runner is a good choice, what's best: 2WD V6, 4WD V6, 2WD V8, 4WD V8???? We plan on traveling EVERYWHERE in North America over several years. From Alaska to the Florida Keys to the Maritime Provinces to Baja. As far into the wilderness as possible.

Thanks in advance for your experienced advice.

Senior newbies.

Edit note: This topic was begun by Linda Brewer.
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:04 AM   #2
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Ewabeach,

The 4 Runner is a good tow vehicle. The V-8 is recommended over the V-6 for towing, 7000# rating vs 5000#. The 4 Runner is known for it's serious off-road capabilities (comparable to Jeep). Choosing a tow vehicle is really a personal thing that you have to work your way through. Unfortunately, the dealers won't let you hook up your trailer for a trial run! Most people will recommend what they are currently driving.
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:17 AM   #3
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:53 AM   #4
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We have had several similar discussions on the Forum but unfortunately they were lost in the in the hacking.
You may find that the rear suspension on the 4Runner is too soft. I started out towing a 16' Casita with a Land Cruiser that had rear coil springs but soon changed to a Tacoma 4WD. The leaf springs felt more substantial, especially in crosswinds. It may have been my imagination but I felt more confident about what was going on beck there. My 2001 Tacoma V6 did and admirable job towing the 16' Casita but was still underpowered in the mountains and would not be satisfactory for a towing a larger trailer. I still have the Tacoma and am pleased that it has not had any mechanical problems in 70,000 miles. I now have a Tundra V8 for towing and as you can imagine, I miss the gas mileage of the V6 but love the power and stability of the larger truck. Another consideration is the tongue weight of your Big Foot. I am just guessing that it is considerably more than the 250 pounds of a 16' Casita. That was about the limit for my Tacoma without a weight-distributing hitch. I would almost guarantee that you would need one when towing with a 4Runner. You may have some valid reason, like passenger seating, for wanting a 4Runner but a double cab Tundra is fairly comfortable for four passengers and costs several thousand less. As for 4WD, you only need it one time to pay for the extra up front cost.
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:10 AM   #5
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the Goodman's pull a 17.5 Bigfoot with a Toyota and are quite happy.

There are some comments about his Tow Vehicle and Hitch setup in the last post of page 1 in this thread

jaru Jimmy's TV and Hitch setup

Your hitching mechanism also needs to be considered as part of the equation. Are you going to tow your trailer as a dead weight on your hitch or are you going to use a weight distrubting hitch. A good WDH can turn an ugly towing experience into a nice drive in the country.
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:39 AM   #6
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How much TV is necessary
Depends. Doesn't some health institute say over 2 hours of TV a day is unhealthy?

ok.. hey, my room needs cleaning....
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:20 AM   #7
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Depends. Doesn't some health institute say over 2 hours of TV a day is unhealthy?

ok.. hey, my room needs cleaning....
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Old 12-02-2005, 02:13 PM   #8
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I see the weight-distributing hitch (WDH) issue rearing it's ugly head again. I don't have the time at the moment to make much of a useful contribution, let alone provide an alternative to some of the "stuff" in the Casita club discussion; however, I can make a suggestion...

If the 4Runner is found to be too "soft" in the rear suspension for ideal towing, and would otherwise be suitable without a WDH (axle loads within suitable ranges, etc) then the obvious way to improve the situation is stiffer suspension. The 4Runner has rear coils and apparently the shocks are not mounted inside the coils, which means air bags - such as Firestone's Coil-Rite - can be added inside them.

By the way, Toyota's specs page says that a WDH is not required for trailers under 5,000 lb.

As for the suitability of the 4Runner, aside from specific equipment options: it's a Toyota, and it's rated by Toyota for significant towing capacity. That's a good start in my book. After that, I would do the sort of specific axle weight analysis that Brad (jakebrake in the Casita Club forum) did in his second post in that discussion.
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Old 12-02-2005, 02:51 PM   #9
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Hi Brian, the WDH does a lot more than compensate for a soft suspension in a tow vehicle. I have towed utility, travel and farm trailers since the early 60's.

I have spent lots of time in spring shops having spring rates/ranges changed and adjusted on everything from a Triumph Spitfire sportscar to a 5 ton dump to a badly designed utility trailer.

I was aware of the advantages of the WDH for many years but never tried one out until just over 2 years ago, and let me tell you I am a convert.

The proper handling of any vehicle combination is a good balance of proper suspension stiffness and load balance. Look what happens when you load your trailer to less than 5% of the weight on the tongue, it throws the balance totally out of whack and induces sway. Your suspension system can give you a good ride height but it does very little for load balance, and has only about 50 to 60% of the required impact on vehicle handling.
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:41 PM   #10
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I may be wrong'but I think when it was refered to TV,it was meant as Tow Vehical
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:42 PM   #11
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LOL - Trust me to get it wrong.


TV = Tow Vehicle, not the black box in the corner. Thanks Ches.
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:18 PM   #12
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LOL - Trust me to get it wrong.
TV = Tow Vehicle, not the black box in the corner. Thanks Ches.
I almost did the same as you
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:29 PM   #13
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We were the newbies that asked that question in the link to the Casita Club (didn't know about this great forum then). Got some great advice - ended up buying a V6 Toyota 4Runner - since we're not quite retired yet we really wanted the good gas mileage around town. We are towing a 17' Casita and we did get a WDH (with built in sway control). Love the vehicle and the hitch! A little slow going over the highest mountain passes (about 45-50) but we were passing the 18 wheelers. If we had the Bigfoot - a heavier trailer - would definately go for the V8 unless you want a pickup - then would get the Tacoma PreRunner (with the tow package) or the V8 Tundra. Hope this helps - good luck and Happy Trails!

Dave&Kathie
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:26 PM   #14
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Ewabeach,

The 17.5 foot Bigfoot likely will be over 4000lbs total when loaded and ready to go, so I think you would be happier with the V8. I personally like 4WD for towing, as it can (and has) come in very handy when you are pulling up loose gravel hills or in wet slippery campsites. I feel it is worth it despite the slightly poorer gas economy and sometimes minimally lower tow rating.

A WD hitch for your BF is, in my opinion, mandatory unless you are using a 3/4 or 1 ton truck. The hitch weight will be around 400lbs and will simply flatten the rear end on lighter duty vehicles. SUV's generally have soft springs to enhance ride quality and can benefit from some beefing up, and air bags are a useful addition. I would never recommend them in place of a WD hitch for this application, get the proper hitch first and then see if you want to add the bags later. My guess is that you will end up adding air bags, unless you get the Limited V8 4runner with load leveling suspension.
My only slightly lighter 17 foot drops the rear end of my tow package equipped 1/2 ton chevy truck excessively without WD. I wouldn't even consider towing my 17CB without a WD hitch with either of my current tow vehicles. My Envoy with the load leveling rear suspension will support the hitch load without sag, but the more even distribution of tongue weight on the trailer and tow vehicle axles provided by the WD hitch makes for a much more stable and relaxing tow. As a matter of fact, I would strongly consider a WD hitch with sway control built in like the Equal-i-zer or Reese dual cam if I had to start from scratch. A bit of overkill perhaps, but when it comes to towing you can never be too safe.

Have fun with your Bigfoot!
Steve.
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