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Old 06-19-2019, 06:20 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by CasitaMiner View Post
If I was going to tow a Casita with a SUV, it would be the 4.0L V6 4Runner with the tow package, great drive train. The older 3.4L is not near as good power.
Thoughts on a 4x4 4runner v6 or v8? I'd really like a 4x4 even though I know I don't need it for towing. I'm a backpacker and a 4runner really appeals to me. I go hiking where I have to travel 10 to 20 miles down rutted muddy forest service roads and sometimes have to ford streams that lap at the bottom of the doors. I figured that I'd need a V8 for towing - what are your thoughts on that? I know a V6 would do it

A 4runner would do double duty for me and wouldn't just be a tow vehicle.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:26 PM   #42
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Only caveat Iíd have relates to one of the trailers on your short list, the Bigfoot 17.5. Itís a bigger, heavier trailer than the others. The 4Runner V8 could pull it, but it will likely challenge the 5000# chassis tow rating.

I hope the river fording will happen after you park the trailer. None of the molded trailers are really built for heavy-duty off-roading.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:29 PM   #43
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Jon, I agree with you fully on the bigfoot, I would jump to a Tundra 5.7 4x4 for this one. They are heavy. 4 seasons trailer.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:46 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by CasitaMiner View Post
Jon, I agree with you fully on the bigfoot, I would jump to a Tundra 5.7 4x4 for this one. They are heavy. 4 seasons trailer.
Or one could jump to a real truck !!
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:53 PM   #45
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Only caveat Iíd have relates to one of the trailers on your short list, the Bigfoot 17.5. Itís a bigger, heavier trailer than the others. The 4Runner V8 could pull it, but it will likely challenge the 5000# chassis tow rating.

I hope the river fording will happen after you park the trailer. None of the molded trailers are really built for heavy-duty off-roading.
My point was I could use the 4runner to get to the trailhead on backpacking trips AND as a tow vehicle for a camper. Backpacking does not require the use of a camper.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:54 PM   #46
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2004 Bigfoot 17

I tow my Bigfoot (2750 lbs dry wt.) with an F-150, 5.0 liter V8 and it is by no means overkill. So nice to have power in reserve. Nothing worse than wondering if you are killing your engine while pushing it up a mountain. Plenty of power also reduces much of the physical stress of towing, for me, at least.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:43 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by John_M_1 View Post
My point was I could use the 4runner to get to the trailhead on backpacking trips AND as a tow vehicle for a camper. Backpacking does not require the use of a camper.
Got it! Reread your post and I see it now. Carry on...
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:00 PM   #48
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Trailer: Burro 13' 1983
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tow vehicle

I have been pulling my 13' Burro since 2011 with 2011 Kia Sorento V6 FWD and have had no problems at all. I bought the Sorento new and have kept up normal maintenance. I have 222000+miles on it and hope to make 5000000.
I usually get 15mpg while towing at 60 to 70 mph and 20 to 23 not towing. This will vary depending on grades you are driving and also the wind. I did not buy the Sorento for towing, but having seating for seven after my Honda Odyssey transmission went out three times. I bought the Burro after I had bought the Kia, so it was not bought strictly for towing, but has worked well as a tow vehicle. I think a Kia should be a pretty good buy, as they do not hold their resale value like Toyota products and almost any pickup truck.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:22 AM   #49
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The various 3-row SUVs with 5000lb ratings are pretty popular for the Escape 19 and would also do nicely for smaller/lighter ones. Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe. Ford Explorer would also work well and has a bit of extra power.

I went with the Highlander because it was the most car-like to drive and a bit easier to find one with the tow package and 5000lb rating (just XLE trim or higher). It was a bit down on power for the Eisenhower Tunnel and I had to sit in the right lane with the semis for a bit, but it didn't overheat or anything. Closer to sea level it's adequate. A turbo motor like the Explorer (even the 2.3EB, but especially the 3.5E would do better at altitude.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:21 AM   #50
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Minivan as tow vehicle!

Donít know if I can add much to the discussion at this point, but will add my two bits anyhow... We tow a recent Casita 17 SD (est. 2850 lbs fully loaded) with a 2015 Honda Odyssey (3,500 lbs tow rating, with transmission cooler). (An Odyssey because our local Toyota dealer recommended very strongly against towing anything with the Sienna minivan). With our Odyssey we have towed from Texas to Florida and from Florida to Michigan and back. Previously we have towed another single axle trailer of similar weight characteristics through hilly Pennsylvania, Maryland, and back to Florida. Other than our mileage dropping to 12 - 14 mpg, we have had no problems. We use an Andersen hitch, which has effectively eliminated sway and bounce. We estimate that hitch weight is on the order of 320 lbs, but have yet to measure it. The tow vehicle appears level, however. Air bag suspension helps somewhat in lifting the rear end by perhaps 3/4 inch. These were our desiderata in selecting a tow vehicle: comfort, dual use as family hauler, maintenance cost and resale value, wheelbase length, cargo bulk and weight capacity, reserve (excess) tow capacity of 10 - 15%, fuel economy both towing and non-towing, and ease of access to cargo while towing. Negatives for us with the Odyssey included front wheel drive, a less robust transmission than a truck, low ground clearance, and lower engine torque. Trading up to a new Honda Ridgeline pickup would solve many of these negatives, while still allowing for a comfortable and economical standard drive. The Ridgeline is of course a native front wheel drive, but can be purchased with an on-demand AWD. Perhaps even better would be an F150 crew cab short bed with the 3.5 liter Ecoboost, as it is native rear wheel drive. The F150 is also good in the sense that it would allow migration to a larger and heavier camper if eventually desired.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:25 AM   #51
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That raises a question about small displacement turbocharged engines. Most seem to agree they get you up the mountain with a load as well or better than a larger displacement, non-turbo engine. But I have heard remarks that small displacement turbos donít provide as much engine braking effect to get down the other side. True? False? How much of an issue for towing?

Specifically, how does a turbo four compare to a V6, and how does a turbo six compare to a V8, when descending steep grades towing a trailer?

Asking in part because the Subaru Ascent 2.4T is one of the vehicles Iím watching to replace our Honda Pilot 3.5L in a few years. Both have the same 5000/500# tow rating.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:28 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
That raises a question about small displacement turbocharged engines. Most seem to agree they get you up the mountain with a load as well or better than a larger displacement, non-turbo engine. But I have heard remarks that small displacement turbos donít provide as much engine braking effect to get down the other side. True? False? How much of an issue for towing?

Specifically, how does a turbo four compare to a V6, and how does a turbo six compare to a V8, when descending steep grades towing a trailer?

Asking in part because the Subaru Ascent 2.4T is one of the vehicles Iím watching to replace our Honda Pilot 3.5L in a few years. Both have the same 5000/500# tow rating.
I tow an Escape 21 with a 2018 Ford F150, 3.5 EcoBoost. While there is useful engine braking, it is not the equivalent of a V8 with the same horsepower/torque ratings, however the 10 speed transmission gives you lots of choices for the amount of holdback. That said, it is a great tow vehicle for the 21.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:00 PM   #53
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I'm the author of the thread so I'll give it a blast of reality now. I bought a Casita SD 17' and now need a tow vehicle for it. I've confirmed that my '96 Ford ranger just isn't up to the task by using it to tow to the storage facility just 5 easy miles away. I got there but the truck didn't like it.

The camper weighs about 3500 loaded (at most) but has a tongue weight of about 450 maximum. Casitas are a little heavy on the tongue weight. I've been looking at a 4x4 Frontier as a tow vehicle because I can get a nice used one for a reasonable price and still use it for other stuff. A full sized truck I'm told will tow the casita even better but it will cost me more and be less useful for other things (basically just a tow vehicle and nothing else based on my circumstances). So I'm wondering about people's comments who have towed with both and whether a full sized truck is really that much better.

I'm a backpacker and the benefit of the the frontier is its narrow width. When I'm backpacking (not towing) I'm driving down narrow dirt roads in the mountains with drops of hundreds of feet on the side of the road. A full sized truck has the tires hugging the edge if its necessary to pass someone. The frontier would also give decent gas mileage for my daily 100 mile commute and the full sized might not (eco boost is an exception but at a big extra cost).

Thoughts on this would be helpful. Used 4x4 low miles frontier that gets about 20 mpg every day (towing lower) for about $20,000 compared to used 4x4 full sized low mile that gets about 15-18 mpg every day for $25,000 at the minimum - more like $30,000 usually. Is the comfort provided by a full sized truck towing a light trailer offset by its extra cost, lower mpg and in my case less utility considering it will only be used for towing maybe 10% of the time? My friends who tow similar campers liked the bigger truck more when they upgraded but felt the frontier was more than adequate .
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:22 PM   #54
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Frontier

[i like the Nissan Frontier as a tow vehicle for the same reasons as you. It is more than adequate as a tow and for the rest of the time I use it as I would a car. It is not a wide truck so I find it easier to park than my older full sized truck. I tow a 20í 5th wheel all over the place with no problem at all so I am very happy with the Frontier both as a tow and for use as a car QUOTE=John_M_1;748399]I'm the author of the thread so I'll give it a blast of I reality now. I bought a Casita SD 17' and now need a tow vehicle for it. I've confirmed that my '96 Ford ranger just isn't up to the task by using it to tow to the storage facility just 5 easy miles away. I got there but the truck didn't like it.

The camper weighs about 3500 loaded (at most) but has a tongue weight of about 450 maximum. Casitas are a little heavy on the tongue weight. I've been looking at a 4x4 Frontier as a tow vehicle because I can get a nice used one for a reasonable price and still use it for other stuff. A full sized truck I'm told will tow the casita even better but it will cost me more and be less useful for other things (basically just a tow vehicle and nothing else based on my circumstances). So I'm wondering about people's comments who have towed with both and whether a full sized truck is really that much better.

I'm a backpacker and the benefit of the the frontier is its narrow width. When I'm backpacking (not towing) I'm driving down narrow dirt roads in the mountains with drops of hundreds of feet on the side of the road. A full sized truck has the tires hugging the edge if its necessary to pass someone. The frontier would also give decent gas mileage for my daily 100 mile commute and the full sized might not (eco boost is an exception but at a big extra cost).

Thoughts on this would be helpful. Used 4x4 low miles frontier that gets about 20 mpg every day (towing lower) for about $20,000 compared to used 4x4 full sized low mile that gets about 15-18 mpg every day for $25,000 at the minimum - more like $30,000 usually. Is the comfort provided by a full sized truck towing a light trailer offset by its extra cost, lower mpg and in my case less utility considering it will only be used for towing maybe 10% of the time? My friends who tow similar campers liked the bigger truck more when they upgraded but felt the frontier was more than adequate .[/QUOTE]
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:16 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by John_M_1 View Post
I'm the author of the thread so I'll give it a blast of reality now. I bought a Casita SD 17' and now need a tow vehicle for it. I've confirmed that my '96 Ford ranger just isn't up to the task by using it to tow to the storage facility just 5 easy miles away. I got there but the truck didn't like it.
The camper weighs about 3500 loaded (at most) but has a tongue weight of about 450 maximum. Casitas are a little heavy on the tongue weight.
John, I've been towing an SD 17 also with my '02 Ranger 4D XLT 4.0L and it worked perfectly. I did add air bags as these trucks are known to squat a bit with a load. My HW with the SD was #360 lbs and the bags worked well. But my Ranger was totaled 2 months ago and I'm sure missing my baby. I'm also looking at a Frontier as a replacement. I've never owned a Nissan but everything I've heard from mechanics has been good. They've all said the 4.0L is bulletproof and the extra 60 hp can't hurt either. I've towed many times with full size trucks but it sounds like you have the same reasons for the smaller size.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:07 AM   #56
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John, I've been towing an SD 17 also with my '02 Ranger 4D XLT 4.0L and it worked perfectly. I did add air bags as these trucks are known to squat a bit with a load. My HW with the SD was #360 lbs and the bags worked well. But my Ranger was totaled 2 months ago and I'm sure missing my baby. I'm also looking at a Frontier as a replacement. I've never owned a Nissan but everything I've heard from mechanics has been good. They've all said the 4.0L is bulletproof and the extra 60 hp can't hurt either. I've towed many times with full size trucks but it sounds like you have the same reasons for the smaller size.
My Ranger is old (1996) and originally belonged to my dad who doesn't believe in maintenance. It has no power at all - none. I could barely get it moving with the trailer on when pulling away from a stop light. My ranger has only 145 HP and the 4.0L Frontier has 260 hp I think so that its quite a bit more power.

There is probably something wrong with my truck and I've been working on trying to figure it out. But it works for commuting to work. I'm told the 3.0 L was a great tow vehicle even when new due to its slowness.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:20 AM   #57
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John, the 4.0L was rated at 207. I don't know what the 3.0 has but I wouldn't even try to pull a 17' Casita with it. The Frontier 4.0 is rated at 261 hp but it's said to be a bit thirstier. RV/marine and economy should never be in the same sentence .
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:56 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by John_M_1 View Post
About 18 months ago I had a series of posts about what my 96 ranger 3.0L could tow and for the most part the answer was a 13 ft something (like a scamp) or maybe a 16 footer. Well, now that I've driven the truck for a year I don't think I would tow anything with it. It has NO power. Its the only vehicle I've ever owned that I would call a total performance DOG.

I am now considering buying a used SUV for towing. I've been looking at bigger used SUV's with a V-8 engine for pulling a used casita 17 or, bigfoot 17.7 or escape of similar size. I know the SUV with a v-8 is overkill, but I currently have my eye on a used jeep grand cherokee with a v8 engine and 4WD in nice condition.

Anyhow, the question is: What midsize SUV will work well for towing a trailer with a dry weight of about 2500-3000 lbs and still have some margin. I don't want another truck (I've already got one) so please keep suggestions limited to SUV's. Also, I know there is no correct answer - just looking for practical experience from people who already know what works for them.
Based on your own description , you have a truck in name only
3000 lbs dry weight translates into well over 3500 lbs when loaded for travel
I would look at something with a 5000 lb tow rating
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:28 AM   #59
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Good tow vehicle for 2500 lb empty weight camper

Frontier V6 is a solid choice as well as a good value. Do check the payload rating (should be on a sticker on the door jamb). Tongue weight, hitch, accessories (like a cap or tonneau), people, and cargo all count against payload. 4-door, 4WD models tend to have the lowest payload ratings
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:58 AM   #60
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Frontier V6 is a solid choice as well as a good value. Do check the payload rating (should be on a sticker on the door jamb). Tongue weight, hitch, people, and cargo all count against payload. 4-door, 4WD models tend to have the lowest payload ratings
Thanks. I'm buying a previously owned truck. The tow rating on a Frontier 4x4 is around 6100 lbs. Payload is about 1060 (I think) but I plan to check all that before I buy. I hadn't focused on the figure though - 1060 lbs is a bit light. The crew cab and the 4x4 reduce the payload a good bit. I'll have to think more about that.
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