Casita 17' Deluxe and towing with Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-21-2011, 01:57 PM   #1
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Casita 17' Deluxe and towing with Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger?

Hello. We were originally going to try towing with our Highlander Hybrid, but our mechanic warned us against that because of the wheel base and that it wasn't really built for towing. So we started looking for something to tow with and are considering a Toyota Tacoma V6, but again the mechanic says that even though it's rated at 5000lbs he wouldn't tow with it because it's not built for it (it would cause clutch, brake, and wheel bearing damage) and recommended a Ford Ranger or a Tundra. I trust this guy, but is he overly cautious? We don't want to spend a lot of money on a tow vehicle and are looking at a 2000 Mazda B3000 (aka Ford Ranger v6) and still considering a 2000 Toyota Tacoma V6. All advice, ideas, suggestions welcome! Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:10 PM   #2
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It sounds to me like he thinks you have a two-ton stickie travel trailer or something. Doesn't the Highlander have like 3500# tow capacity? If so, and you're practical with the loading, I don't think you'd have any problem.

Do you have functioning electric brakes on the trailer and a working controller in the cab?

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Old 02-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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Thanks, Matt! We don't yet have a trailer but are actively looking and know what we want and were concerned that the Hybrids 3500lb capacity would be on the edge for the 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe (I saw some threads on that in this forum - but not consensus). We have an older truck (Toyota V6 1992 with 290K miles on it - don't think I want to trust that!) and have been wanting a newer used truck so wanted to make sure that we got something that could tow easily, but we also want to maximize our gas mileage of course. I tend to agree with you that even though we've told him we're talking about a 2500lb trailer tops, he might not be hearing us and be thinking that we want to tow a monster size trailer. I'd love others to weigh in on this - so that I can feel more confident in talking with him again or in buying a vehicle.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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Personal experience and your own 290 thousand mile yota says stick with the Toyota brand, the late model Tacoma is as big as the old T100 and early Tundra.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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Do I need a special version of the Tacoma? I'm being told that it must be set up for towing with a gear ratio etc., not just a hitch and controller.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:39 PM   #6
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I have a 17' Escape plan B trailer, and tow it with a 2002 Toyota 4Runner. The weight is well below what the 4Runner is allowed to do. I just got a brake controller and transmission cooler installed before I got the trailer. I also use a WDH. Did some longer trips last year, and all trips were safe! No tail wagging or anything, not even when tractor trailers were near or when it was windy!

Many people tow their larger 19' Escape with the 4Runner, and others use the RAV4 for the 17' Escape! You don't need a certain ratio or such, just pick whatever Tacoma suits your needs best. You are with the Casita still well below what the truck is allowed to tow. Another nice option is the Nissan Frontier; some folks over on the Escape forum have one and love it!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JaneM. View Post
Do I need a special version of the Tacoma? I'm being told that it must be set up for towing with a gear ratio etc., not just a hitch and controller.
I Would imagine that they all have the same gear ratio, unless there is a difference from 4x2 4x4.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:12 PM   #8
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I think the mechanic is overly cautious.

I have over 75,000 miles on my non-hybrid Highlander, and 90% of those miles were towing a trailer. Either my 6x12 boxy cargo trailer or my former Burro 17'. But I do have the 3.5L engine, not your 3.3L, and it's rated for 5000 lbs. Still I find it a great tow vehicle. It hasn't needed anything but regular fluid changes. Plenty of pep for towing. I use 4th gear (keep it out of overdrive) for towing and I shift down on the really big hills.

Now, let me say that I do think the Casita 17 is likely too heavy on the tongue weight. That might be the big limiting factor... it would sag the back end too much. I decided not to consider a Casita 17 for that very reason. (I don't want to get back into needing a weight distribution hitch, I like the simplicity of dropping it on the ball and driving.) But I think you'd be just fine with a 16' from Scamp or Casita.

The Tacoma should do great with even the 17. If the truck you like does not have a tow package on it, you should be fine with a class 3 receiver and an auxiliary transmission cooler. That stuff about clutch and wheel bearing damage seems pretty unlikely to me.

About gear ratio... some trucks have different rear differentials available, and they contain different gearing. For towing a person might get a rear end that makes the engine RPMs rise for the same number of tire revolutions (assuming your MPH speed is the same), as this will apply more torque (but give poorer fuel economy). But here's the thing, you can do much the same thing by simply shifting the transmission to the next lower gear... so who needs a different rear end? But if you really wanted one, they are available in the aftermarket.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
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Thank you all! I'm feeling much better about the V6 Toyota Tacoma.

I like the 16' Casita, but I'm 5'9" without shoes and with shoes touch the ceiling. The extra head room, larger fridge, larger bed etc., really makes a difference to me so we're pretty set on the 17' one - but do want to make the right decision on a tow vehicle.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:13 PM   #10
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Tacoma sounds great, we do not need a V8 to pull our ultra light eggs.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:23 AM   #11
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I have had 2 1st Gen Tundras that I have towed with and it seems an ideal truck for us too.
I have had both the V6 and V8 and while either did better than fine,I like the extra power of the V8 for sure.

The earlier Tundra are also a good deal on the used market as most seem to want the newer HUGE Tundra?
Having the longer wheelbase of the Tundra also makes for surprise free towing compared to other vehicles I have tried.

I am always surprised how many of us have a Tundra and the recent Scamp Camp I was at was no exception.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:20 AM   #12
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Hi: JaneM... We got a new(2010) year end Nissan Frontier 4X4 Crew Cab long bed pickup to tow our Escape 5.0. It was less $$$'s than a used Toyota Tacoma. Tow cap. is 6100#'s and our trailer cap. is 3500#'s. I needed a wire harness to plug in for the trailer and a Trans. cooler and we're good to TOW!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:45 AM   #13
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Thanks Alf S.! I hadn't considered the Nissan, but will look into it as another really good option. Off to research....
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:37 AM   #14
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JaneM the other thing to consider when looking at a new TV is what the rated tongue weight is for the trucks/SUV you are looking at - especially on the lighter ones. Funny enough every time I go onto a car lot and ask the salesmen that question - few know the real answer and they need to go on line to get it. Have had a few throw out a number thats been very wrong. My advise is have them show you the tongue rating in print. :-)

If you take a look at the real world trailer weights on this form your assumption that a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe willl come in at "2500lbs tops" may be as much as 800lbs on the light side. 2500lbs is what my older 16' standard side bath Scamp comes in at loaded for a trip without any water and mine seems to be on the lighter side of weigh ins. The Casita's as far as I'm aware tend to be a bit heavier - the deluxe version I suspect would be greater.

The Casita's listed in the real world weight appear to be coming in between 380 and 460 lbs on the tongue and total weight falls between 3100- 3300lbs. Those weights were done at a camp ground with services so its likely they did not have a lot if any water in them at the time. I tend to be very careful about the weight of items I buy and how much stuff I carry in my trailer but I know that once stocked up for a two week trip with food, clothing and bedding and everthing else the weight tends to creep up more than we would think possible.

A number of the lighter SUV's and trucks although rated to tow 3500lbs are not rated for that great of a tongue weight. Not sure what it does in regards to wear and tear on the TV when exceeding the tongue weight but its probable worth looking into. It may void your warrenty on a new TV.
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