Cheap tow vehicle ideas? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2015, 01:34 PM   #1
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Cheap tow vehicle ideas?

It seems like it would be more work than it's worth to get my Corolla ready to tow. Brake modules kit would have to be installed in the vehicle and the available hitches are only class 1 rated. Not to mention it would be beyond the legal limits. I want to give it a try but I know I would end up wanting more than 2,000 pounds in the end.

So I am wondering if anyone could give me some ideas on a cheap tow vehicle. Preferably a 4 cylinder. I know it will make the vehicle work harder and i'll get the same MPG as a larger engine but I need the fuel economy when i'm not towing as well. Plus the 4 cylinder trucks are CHEAP. (BTW I am poor and need an under $4k tow vehicle)

It appears that the toyota 4 cylinder pick-up has a 3500 tow rating if it's a manual transmission with sway control. Only 2000 pounds if it's automatic.

The ford ranger i4 towing is rather restrictive and only for 2300 pounds.

Any other ideas for cheap economy tow vehicles? (pick-ups are preferred)
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:59 PM   #2
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It seems like it would be more work than it's worth to get my Corolla ready to tow. Brake modules kit would have to be installed in the vehicle and the available hitches are only class 1 rated. Not to mention it would be beyond the legal limits. I want to give it a try but I know I would end up wanting more than 2,000 pounds in the end.

So I am wondering if anyone could give me some ideas on a cheap tow vehicle. Preferably a 4 cylinder. I know it will make the vehicle work harder and i'll get the same MPG as a larger engine but I need the fuel economy when i'm not towing as well. Plus the 4 cylinder trucks are CHEAP. (BTW I am poor and need an under $4k tow vehicle)

It appears that the toyota 4 cylinder pick-up has a 3500 tow rating if it's a manual transmission with sway control. Only 2000 pounds if it's automatic.

The ford ranger i4 towing is rather restrictive and only for 2300 pounds.

Any other ideas for cheap economy tow vehicles? (pick-ups are preferred)
I would highly recommend something like a used Toyota RAV 4 -- if you can find one. Several members of the Escape Forum tow a 17 with them, and that trailer is substantially heavier than what you're talking about.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:21 PM   #3
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George.... If you need a pick up then that is fine but there are better TV's.

Seven months ago we bought a 2005 Toyota Sienna Mini Van for $6,000 CDN.
That is less than $5,000US. The van works great and would get roughly the same mileage as a 4 cyl pick up. It came with a modest 3,500lb tow rating. Realize the Sienna would outperform a 4cyl pick up anyway you would want to measure.

Our primary tow vehicle is an 03 Infiniti G35 sedan but I would not hesitate to tow our 23' trailer across the country with the Sienna.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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George.... If you need a pick up then that is fine but there are better TV's.

Seven months ago we bought a 2005 Toyota Sienna Mini Van for $6,000 CDN.
That is less than $5,000US. The van works great and would get roughly the same mileage as a 4 cyl pick up. It came with the 3,500lb tow pkg. Realize the Sienna would outperform a 4cyl pick up anyway you would want to measure.

Our primary tow vehicle is an 03 Infiniti G35 sedan but I would not hesitate to tow our 23' trailer across the country with the Sienna.
I am sold on the Toyota Sienna. Do you know why they are so cheap? Were there any major issues or years I should avoid getting? There is a 1998 I could get for under 3k!

A little reading i've done they are basically a Toyota Camry with a beefed up body. I am not as familiar with the reliability of Toyota Camrys.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:41 PM   #5
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It doesn't appear to me that mini-vans hold their value, any of the manufacturers in the beginning but seem to always have value since I saw several that were on lots with more than 200,000 miles and there was still a market for all of them, Toyota, Dodge, Chrysler, etc. The old Chevy Astro vans were towing at least 5,000 lbs and some even more but they discontinued them but I still see them running. We live in a low income area so I see what lasts since 2nd hand (3rd, 4th....) is king here.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:47 PM   #6
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Geo..... The Camry's are one of the most reliable cars money can buy. A quick glance at consumer reports shows the Sienna's from 03 to present have a better than average reliability rating and have a "recommendation" from CR as a good vehicle to own.

I did not follow the Sienna's prior to 04 so you would have to research the previous gen Sienna's. IMHO a 97 or 98 is an oldish vehicle that can be a risky buy unless you are an auto savy type of guy and really know what you are looking at. The Honda Oddys mini vans are also a good bet that would also serve your purpose.
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:56 PM   #7
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1996 thru 2002 4runners can be found in your price range. Usually with high miles but a well maintained toyota 3.4L V6 will run forever. The 3.4L is the best engine toyota has ever produced imo. People are getting 300k-400k miles out of them. I'm a auto technician and i have 5 toyotas. They've treated me so good i can't justify selling any of them. My stepson did take over my 93 camry when he went to college, he's still driving it to this day. The thing wont die, lol. Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:17 PM   #8
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1996 thru 2002 4runners can be found in your price range.
Well known as a very stout and reliable vehicle that are great off road performers but have a reputation as an unstable tow vehicle. There are much better choices.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:27 PM   #9
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Hmmmm... Just where do Toyota 4Runners have a reputation as being an unstable tow vehicle. I think that your comment deserves some references in the FGRV world.....



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Old 03-03-2015, 07:10 PM   #10
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Do yourself a favor and get a V6. It will have the power so you will not have to worry.
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:49 PM   #11
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Hmmmm... Just where do Toyota 4Runners have a reputation as being an unstable tow vehicle. I think that your comment deserves some references in the FGRV world.....
Post #30 here Bob...... http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...n-67646-3.html
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:43 PM   #12
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I worked part time for a car rental company after I retired. We had at least 50 Sienna vans in the fleet at any one time. Rental customers would trash thrash and crash them all the time. They were very dependable with few problems. We did keep them for about 25000 miles then replace them. If I wanted a mini van, Sienna would be the only one I would consider. They were also comfortable to drive. Great vehicles !!! As far as resale, supply and demand have a major effect on price.


I can't comment on how good they are as tow vehicles but they are great vans.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:07 PM   #13
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RE: Posts #8 & #11


Looks to me that that is one persons opinion, one who specializes in setting up vehicles to tow Airstreams at well over the TV's manufacturers weight limits, in which case it may not be suited for that application.

Let's cite some examples about them being unstable vehicles for FGRV's when being towed within the manufacturers specifications.


Other that that earlier post and your repeat of that, I have never heard a complaint about unstable towing an FGRV with a 4Runner.



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Old 03-03-2015, 09:33 PM   #14
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The older version of the Ford Escape might meet your criteria.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:10 AM   #15
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Hi George

I don't know where in Oregon you're located. But next month (Apr 23-26) is Spring NOG held at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. You're welcome to come out and visit the folks and view trailers. I know there's going to be a couple of bolers and at least one Compact in attendance. Attending a gathering is another piece to that decision-making process.

2015 Spring NOG - Northern Oregon Gathering - Casita Travel Trailer Forum
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:26 AM   #16
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RE: Posts #8 & #11

I have never heard a complaint about unstable towing an FGRV with a 4Runner.
George has been seeking advice about buying a TV for his proposed egg. Leading him toward a top rated vehicle is a good thing.

The Toyota Sienna was suggested as well as other vehicles which included an older Toyota 4 Runner.

For a comparision test take a 3,500lb fiberglass trailer and connect it 1st to a Sienna (tow rated for 3,500lbs). Take it for a highway drive with a 40MPH cross wind. Let a few 18 wheelers pass by etc.

Then take the older (5,000lb tow rated) 4 Runner with the same 3,500 fiberglass trailer and do the same drive.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:39 AM   #17
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Well known as a very stout and reliable vehicle that are great off road performers but have a reputation as an unstable tow vehicle. There are much better choices.
Wow, I couldn't disagree more. The 4-Runner is the only midsized SUV in North America with true body-on-frame construction and is stellar at towing. Know many owners and they LOVE its towing capabilities. I have not heard of any "reputation" of them being unstable at towing.
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:11 AM   #18
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My suggestion would be to choose/buy the "egg" first. Check the loaded weight & loaded tongue weight before purchasing a tow vehicle to insure you have a usable match. For example, I'm one of those towing an Escape 17B with a RAV4. Trailer loaded for a trip is 3010 lbs, tongue weight 345 lbs, both within the limits of the vehicle. If I had a Casita 17, I'd likely be OK for the total weight, but well over the rated tongue weight.

You can download a spreadsheet of the actual weights of some of the different fiberglass trailers at my website, but again you should check the weight of YOUR trailer before choosing a tow vehicle.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:58 PM   #19
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We have camping friends that tow with a 2004 4-runner, and it tows their 97 17 ft. SD Casita with ease. No problems, they only use a anti sway bar and its a very stable ride, they have towed the SD all over from Northern California with no problems, to southern calif, North coast, etc. on all sorts of roads from major freeways to county roads, this suv is one of the few vehicles with a frame under it still, and is a great tow vehicle.
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:05 PM   #20
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Wow, I couldn't disagree more. The 4-Runner is the only midsized SUV in North America with true body-on-frame construction and is stellar at towing. Know many owners and they LOVE its towing capabilities. I have not heard of any "reputation" of them being unstable at towing.
My buddy in upstate New York towed his 18' Fun Finder with an 04 Nissan Quest mini van.
It worked fine and when the lease was up he thought he would try something with more power. He leased a V8 4 Runner. Right away he felt insecure with the new vehicle towing the 18'. He made numerous adjustments/added a sway bar etc trying to improve the ride/stability, but it never met his expectations. He ended up replacing the 4 Runner with a Toyota Sienna mini van and the good road feel and stability returned.

His experience reaffirms the reports I have read and the accounts by the towing specialist at the seminar I attended.
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