Tow vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-13-2007, 04:51 PM   #1
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I'm a newbie, or actually a wannabe. We sold our tent trailer a few years ago, and didn't camp for a few years. Now, we've bought a tent, and are getting back into camping, and want to travel more, too. we're thinking a travel trailer is the way to do it. But we can't afford BOTH a trailer and a new tow vehicle. From the web sites and company brochures, it looks like we'll want a 16 footer with a bathroom. A 17 footer would be nice, but the Casita 17 has too heavy a hitch weight.

For a tow vehicle, we have a Toyota Tacoma extra cab, with a 4 cylinder 2.4 liter engine, and a four speed automatic transmission. The rear bumper and vehicle are both rated with a towing capacity of 3500 lbs, and tongue weight of 350 lbs, and a GCWR of 6700 pounds. Toyota does NOT recommend using a weight distribution r weight equalizing hitch, but DOES recommend a friction type anti-sway device. The truck currently has about 83,000 miles on it, and we hope to keep it a while.

Have any of you had a experience with a similar tow vehicle and trailer? It looks like that as far as the published weights go, we're OK. But what by the time we add in all the extras? And overall towability and effects on gas mileage? Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:02 PM   #2
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Although my guess is that the Tacoma will have the wheelbase and suspension to control a trailer the size of mine (a 17' Boler), the GCWR is a concern. With the relatively low GCWR for the smaller-engined earlier Tacoma (and yet almost as much truck weight as a V6 model) there's not much allowance for a trailer, cargo in the trailer, passengers, and cargo in the truck. Since engine-limited GCWR is basically a reliability and performance issue (rather than structure or control) that's where the concern would lie.

Our Sienna is not much "bigger" than the Tacoma, but has a significantly stronger engine, so I won't venture a guess about the acceptability of the Tacoma's performance.

As already noted, a 17' Casita would be problem due to hitch weight. The rest of the similarly sized trailers (including my Boler) tend to have lower hitch weights, and so the 350 lb limit may not be a problem. I use air bags in my Sienna's rear suspension to better handle the hitch and cargo weight, but the Tacoma's rear suspension (same for 4-cylinder and V6) is probably more stiffly sprung (but actually has a lower GAWR than my Sienna), and I suspect a 2.4L Tacoma with big egg trailer will hit the GCWR long before the rear axle load becomes any kind of issue.

In this situation, I would really watch both weight and frontal area (for drag), avoiding the roomy but heavier and parachute-like widebody designs. The Boler B1700, at least some Burro 17', and recent Bigfoot models are wider than the traditional eggs; the Escape 17, Scamp 16', Trilliums smaller than the 5500, and all Casitas (for instance) are typical narrow (6'8") body width.

It would be nice if a 13' egg (or Trillium 4500) were big enough...
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
It looks like that as far as the published weights go, we're OK. But what by the time we add in all the extras?...
6700 lb GCWR, minus

- 3400 lb truck curb weight, minus
- 2400 lb Boler B1700RGH, minus
- 600 lb cargo (including water in heater, but little in tank; my typical for B1700), equals
-------
300 lb left for driver, passengers, and cargo in truck

I don't see a 17' Boler as practical, unless cargo packing is quite spartan.

Dick, what published trailer weights are you considering?
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:19 PM   #4
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6700 lb GCWR, minus

- 3400 lb truck curb weight, minus
- 2400 lb Boler B1700RGH, minus
- 600 lb cargo (including water in heater, but little in tank; my typical for B1700), equals
-------
300 lb left for driver, passengers, and cargo in truck

I don't see a 17' Boler as practical, unless cargo packing is quite spartan.

Dick, what published trailer weights are you considering?

The brochure for the Casita 16 with bathroom lists dry weight at 2065 lbs, and hitch weight 255 lbs. The brochure for the Scamp 16 lists a weight before options of 1500 lbs, hitch weight 175 lbs.
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:21 PM   #5
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The rear bumper and vehicle are both rated with a towing capacity of 3500 lbs, and tongue weight of 350 lbs...
While the bumper as hitch is no doubt structurally adequate for the rated load, it's really unlikely to be at the right height for the trailer. I think bolting on a receiver-type hitch with 2" box, to allow the use of ball platform with any required distance of drop (or rise), would be a good idea. The receiver would likely be rated for more than 3500/350, but it won't matter since the truck would still be the limitation.
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
For a tow vehicle, we have a Toyota Tacoma extra cab, with a 4 cylinder 2.4 liter engine, and a four speed automatic transmission. The rear bumper and vehicle are both rated with a towing capacity of 3500 lbs, and tongue weight of 350 lbs, and a GCWR of 6700 pounds. .

Thanks.
I have an 05 Toyota Tacoma with the 2.7 L 4 cyl and 5 sp. man. tran.. I have a 13' Scamp and with my 600 lb quad runner in the back of the truck I am pushing it.
If all my travels were on the flat I would have no problem but I like the Mts.. I have had Toyotas all my life and feel there is no better truck on the market but you would not be happy towing a 17 ' trailer with the 4 cyl..
Do it right, be safe, and have a good frame mounted hitch installed on your truck. U-Haul has a good hitch selection and are the most reasonable cost wise.
John
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:12 AM   #7
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Dick,
After reading all the replies to your post, hopefully you've not decided against a trailer. Your Toyota should do just fine with a 13' or 16' trailer. And with such low mileage, it's barely broken in! As has been said, add a 2" receiver hitch to the truck in addition to a transmission cooler. Hopefully the trailer you find will have brakes (add them if ordering new) so a brake controller and appropriate wiring will also be needed. As for mileage, expect it to drop a bit, maybe to the low to mid teens, but as they say "You're mileage may vary". All in all, with a little planning before and after the trailer purchase, you'll be all set to go camping and enjoy the freedom of the open road.

Take care and don't be afraid to ask more questions or search for specific topics. Almost anything trailer related (and not) can be found in these forums.

Later.

PS- Maybe Roger H. will chime in. He drives a Toy and has towed various trailers with it.

OH ROOOOGERRRR.......
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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Dick,
After reading all the replies to your post, hopefully you've not decided against a trailer. Your Toyota should do just fine with a 13' or 16' trailer. And with such low mileage, it's barely broken in! As has been said, add a 2" receiver hitch to the truck in addition to a transmission cooler. Hopefully the trailer you find will have brakes (add them if ordering new) so a brake controller and appropriate wiring will also be needed. As for mileage, expect it to drop a bit, maybe to the low to mid teens, but as they say "You're mileage may vary". All in all, with a little planning before and after the trailer purchase, you'll be all set to go camping and enjoy the freedom of the open road.

Take care and don't be afraid to ask more questions or search for specific topics. Almost anything trailer related (and not) can be found in these forums.

Later.

PS- Maybe Roger H. will chime in. He drives a Toy and has towed various trailers with it.

OH ROOOOGERRRR.......

Thanks for all the input so far. It's greatly appreciated. Now if we can just find a unit with enough headroom and suitable otherwise. My wife and I are both around 5'10" tall. Looks like the new (post-plant-fire) Scamps are OK there. Now, if Casita would increase there headroom on their models besides the 17s.

Dick W
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:35 PM   #9
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Hi. I just towed a 16 foot 1989 Scamp with my 2007 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4x4. This vehicle has a 6 cyl engine and has the TRD off road package. It has 6600 miles on it. Had I known the problems I would have after towing this I would have first bought the right electrical hookup. After searching at 4 locations in Hopkins, I finally went to Northern Hydraulics. I bought a TAP 37595adapter. This is a 7 hole RV blade to a 7 hole pin type according to the package it came in. Once hooked up to my truck, the right signal worked, the left signal turned on both signals at the same time.

After getting back home I discovered that I could not put my truck into drive, reverse or anything. I now have to manually push down on a small button to the left of the gears to be able to drive it and put it in drive. Each time I drive it I have to do this. Now the signals on the truck don't work and a sign on the front which means bring to a Toyota dealer immediately flashes. The soonest I can get my truck in is Wed. of next week.

I just want to say be careful with what you hook up. Also I am looking for help. I do not know what I did wrong but obviously something.
Doris
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:26 AM   #10
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6700 lb GCWR, minus

- 3400 lb truck curb weight, minus
- 2400 lb Boler B1700RGH, minus
- 600 lb cargo (including water in heater, but little in tank; my typical for B1700), equals
-------
300 lb left for driver, passengers, and cargo in truck

I don't see a 17' Boler as practical, unless cargo packing is quite spartan.

Dick, what published trailer weights are you considering?
I always understood the GCWR was the weight specified by the chassis manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of the vehicle (including driver, passengers, liquids, and cargo). This is the Tow Vehicle only and does not include the trailer.

Good luck!
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
This is the Tow Vehicle only and does not include the trailer.
Actually the GCWR does include a trailer component.
Acronym Definitions
Quote:
GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating
The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE COMBINED WEIGHT of the tow vehicle and the attached towed vehicle. GCWR assumes that both vehicles have functioning brakes, with exceptions in some cases for very light towed vehicles, normally less than 1,500 pounds. (Check your chassis manual or towing guide.)
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:25 AM   #12
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Actually the GCWR does include a trailer component.
Acronym Definitions
I stand corrected, I missed the "C" in the GCWR. My apologies, it was a long day yesterday..
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:56 PM   #13
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Always keep in mind that these numbers kind of pyramid on each other, two GAWRs being a base for GVWR, two GVWRs making up GCWR, etc. ALWAYS, the first number reached is the LIMIT, just like weak link in chain.
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