Tow Casita 17' with 4Runner V6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2007, 05:33 PM   #1
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Hello All,

I'm new, just joined up. Seems like a happy crowd.

I'd really like to know who's happy towing a 17' Casita with a V6 4Runner...and who's not! And why, of course. I'm about to plunk down my money for a new Casita, and would like to use my 4R as tow vehicle.

Any advice offered is welcome and I will consider it carefully.

Thank you,

Steve Seitel
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Old 07-20-2007, 07:15 PM   #2
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My brother-in-law has a V6 4Runner, but the only trailer he's towed is a tent trailer that he rented or borrowed. It was fine for that. He lives in So. CA. and towed out to the coast.

I notice you hail from Montana. You would be at a lot higher elevation, so the satisfaction of someone towing at sea level might be more than a little greater than someone in your area.

Normally the standard advice is to choose your trailer first, then select a tow vehicle.

On the other hand, 4Runners are quite highly regarded, so they bring a good return on the used or trade-in market. So if it doesn't perform to your desires, you won't have a problem trading up.

So my advice would be to give it a try.

Loren
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Old 07-20-2007, 10:39 PM   #3
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Hi, Steve. I know of at least one person who tows (or towed, she doesn't post often here anymore) a Casita 17 with a 4Runner.

Try our Search function (search All Forums for "4Runner" without a space or hyphen), and set it to show the results "as posts" -- there are a couple of good discussions about choosing tow vehicles. (One discussion is about tows for the 17.5 ft Bigfoot, which is a slightly heavier trailer than the Casita, I think.)

Anyway, you should be able to find some useful comments, while you're waiting for somebody with more current info to come along and share this week's opinion.

Oh yeah, welcome to FiberglassRV.com!

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Old 07-21-2007, 10:09 AM   #4
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can't tell you about a new '17, but we have a used 90's 16' liberty with furnace, frig, shower, etc, and towed it home fine with our 99 runner V6 4x4.

the casita towed closer to the vehicle than my utility trailer (or at least it appeared to in the mirror).

no sway, a little high in the brake pedal on stops, so we're going to look into a brake controller. 4runner brakes stink anyway on the 3rd Gen runners.

Gas mileage wasn't really effected more than a few miles per gal. We didn't clock it, but with the a/c and cruising 65 didn't see much gas loss.

If the tach went above 2.5 I'd hit the OD button for a little climb power on hills. Flipped it off downhill and straightaways. Didn't need ECT. That just caused drag on the transmission. Shutting off OD and ECT would drop the tach down to 2.5

We're very pleased with the tow handling of our runner (w/126k miles) and the casita. We haven't had the trailer weighed yet, but the runner really only knew it was there when starting out. You can 'feel' something is heavy and then remember, oh yeah I have a trailer attached

the footprint behind the runner is almost a perfect match. It's actually not as wide as my 8x5 utility trailer w/fenders, so it was a joy to tow.

hope this helps.
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Old 07-21-2007, 02:29 PM   #5
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Besides getting advice from folks who are doing it (there can be drawbacks to that; the other folks may just have not had a problem yet, or may have different equipment, or as pointed out, may be towing on the flats in mild weather), I'm going to give some generic advice.

Towing is a tripod of pulling, controlling and stopping -- Newbies often see only the first, but a V8 on a motorcycle is not a good trailer-towing choice...

1. Research on this group how much your intended trailer is likely to weigh; if you can't find that, then the next best 'paper' number is the GVWR of the trailer (unless the trailer manf is **known** to have a lot of cargo capacity built in). Nothing is ever quite as good as actual scale numbers from YOUR trailer, as you have loaded it for a trip, but you don't have it yet...

2. Look in the Owner's Manual for YOUR vehicle as equipped for the trailer towing capability and compare it to #1 above. It's best to have the tow capability about 20-25% higher than the trailer's wet and loaded weight.

Many things affect towing besides the engine: Transmission, rear end ratio, engine and transmission cooling, suspension, wheelbase, frame design, electrical system, brakes, etc.

Please bear in mind that tow ratings are usually set at sea level in moderate temperatures and terrain. Ford OMs state that tow capacity should be reduced by 2% for every 1,000' of altitude, plus power will drop and tranmission temps will go up in high ambient temperatures.
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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One of the reasons why I didn't get a 17' Casita is that it has a very high tongue weight for its size; since I was limited in hitch weight capacity, it was out. The 17' typically seems to have much higher tongue weight than the 16'. This may be a concern with the 4Runner, which is a typical mid-size SUV, in that its wheelbase is short compared to minivans and "full size" trucks and SUV - short wheelbase and high hitch weight are an unfortunate combination.

Pete is right about checking the specific vehicle capacities. A V-8 4Runner would have the drivetrain to handle two Casitas, and even the V-6 should be fine... but the manual and a calculator will provide the real story.
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:13 PM   #7
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Hello again...

To all who took time to offer advice, thank you! And thanks for the nice welcome.

I had worked through all the weights and ratings for my 4R, loaded. On paper it does have excess capacity to tow the Casita optioned and loaded without exceeding GCWR, either vehicles GVWR, or the 4R's GAWR's and tow and hitch limits (including hitch weight). So on paper it looks okay.

But I know figures on paper are no substitute for the experience of those who have tried it, and so I am grateful to you for sharing those experiences and advice. With your indulgence, I'll be asking more questions from time to time, I'm sure.

Steve Seitel

P.S. Brian B-P...would you explain a little more about why a heavier hitch load and short WB is a bad combination? Thanks
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:41 PM   #8
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...would you explain a little more about why a heavier hitch load and short WB is a bad combination?
The weight of the trailer on the hitch uses the truck like a lever (such as a child's see-saw or teeter-totter) to lift the front, pivoting on the rear axle. The longer the wheelbase, relative to the rear overhang, the less of this effect there is. There are a few consequences of the load transfer caused by this lever effect, including (but not limited to) high rear axle load and some lift of the front possibly affecting alignment and causing a nose-up attitude (just annoying, or a headlight aim problem). The work-around to this effect is the weight-distributing (WD) hitch, which adds weight and complexity which would be unnecessary if there were less front-to-rear load transfer.

Even with the axle loads "fixed", controlling the mass of the trailer on the end of the truck's rear overhang is made more difficult by a short wheelbase. An interesting discussion of this subject is in Towing with a Jeep CJ, YJ, TJ, LC FJ-40, LR SIII 80?. (The listed vehicles are particularly short.)

My guess is that a 4Runner with the tongue weight of a Casita 17' would be required to use a WD system. On the other hand, much bigger and heavier trailers are towed by the 4Runner and comparable vehicles; it's not at all unreasonable.
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Old 07-21-2007, 08:05 PM   #9
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Thank you, Brian. That does explain it, and yes, I certainly intend to use a WD hitch (and anti-sway, but that's another issue).

Good traveling!

Steve
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:00 PM   #10
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Hello All,

I'm new, just joined up. Seems like a happy crowd.

I'd really like to know who's happy towing a 17' Casita with a V6 4Runner...and who's not! And why, of course. I'm about to plunk down my money for a new Casita, and would like to use my 4R as tow vehicle.

Any advice offered is welcome and I will consider it carefully.

Thank you,

Steve Seitel
We are very happy with our 2007 4Runner..and we tow a Spirit Delux...for sure going up a steep hill I'm doing 40-45 and in 3rd. or 4th. gear and it doesn't have the quick excelleration but it is great in the cooling area...needle always stays slightly below center....mileage towing is 17-19.
I cruise in the flats to rolling hills at around 60 mph.
Larry and Yvonne Robinson..Sacramento
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:09 PM   #11
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Steve
You never mentioned which year and engine your 4runner has?
They have been available in a rane of power outputs for sure.
I am wondering which t is.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:02 PM   #12
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Steve,
I have a 17 Casita Spirit Deluxe and I tow with a 2000 V6 4Runner. I do not have a sway bar and I have had no problems what so ever.It pulls very nicely and the width is not an issue either. I can see clearly with the factory installed mirrors on both sides.

I also installed a brake controller, which in my opinion is a MUST. I don't know what gas mileage I get with the 4Runner without the trailer, because I've never driven it without it.

I second everything that tracy.c said for the most part.

Hope that helps,

SS
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:23 AM   #13
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I don't know what gas mileage I get with the 4Runner without the trailer, because I've never driven it without it...
I think that makes the 4Runner an accessory of the Casita...

4Runner Engine Trivia
According to Wikipedia, a 2000 4Runner is the third generation, and its V6 engine is the 3.4 L 5VZ-FE; a 2003 or newer would use the 4.0 L 1GR-FE.
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:00 PM   #14
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Hi, All...

Well, thank you all...the consensus seems to be that the 4Runner is an acceptable tug, which is what I was hoping to hear.

So now, I've made the plunge...and ordered a new 17SD! Dee and I will pick it up in March 08 (winter over by then, wife retired at last...I hope!). I'm sure I'll be pestering you experts with more questions during the long wait until then.

Interesting that Casita talked me out of an equalizing hitch after all.

Thanks again to all,

Steve

P.S. Ed Harris: Our 4R is a 2000 model, with the 183hp V6 and 4-speed OD automatic transmission.
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