Tow Vehicle for 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-26-2019, 08:02 AM   #1
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Name: Jane
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Tow Vehicle for 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe

I just ordered a 2020 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe with the High Lift axle. Now I need to get a tow vehicle. Will a Toyota 4Runner do the job? Is there a better choice? Is bigger better? I don't want a truck or an SUV that drives and looks like a station wagon. Thanks for all your help. I love the descussions on this forum.
Jane
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:48 AM   #2
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Name: Neal
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Lots of information on this on Casita Travel Trailer forum
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:24 AM   #3
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
Colorado
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Towing a Casita SD

The maximum loaded weight of a Casita SD is 3,600 lbs., the tong weight runs around 400 lbs. depending on how you are loaded. My first tow vehicle was a 1998 Chevy S-10 Blazer. This vehicle was very marginal. There were high stress times when towing west of I-25, especially over Monarch Pass. The Chevy was not heavy enough and the engine was to small to hold the Casita back when going down the mountain passes. I'm currently towing with a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.7 engine and it has the factory tow package installed. This Jeep is rated at towing 5,600 lbs. and I use an Equalizer weight distribution hitch that has sway control built in. The sway control is really important when towing on I-25 in a 30 to 60 mph cross wind.

So the question is, how much weight is your Toyota 4 runner designed to tow and does it have the factory tow package installed? You have some research to do concerning a tow vehicle. Towing West of I-25 you need a tow vehicle that is significantly above marginal. You will need a weight distribution hitch and a trailer brake controller installed on your tow vehicle.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:04 AM   #4
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We owned our 2013 17ft Casita SD for 6 years . It’s a great trailer but it is tongue heavy . We towed our Casita with a 1/2 ton V8 pickup truck
Since you have ruled out trucks and full size SUV’s , I have no recommendations for a suitable tow vehicle
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:20 AM   #5
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Name: Ethan
Trailer: 2019 Parkliner
New York
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We just purchased a 2019 new 4 runner. Breaking in vehicle to tow highway speeds. Info in owner manual on line. This 4 runner is not recommended for weight distribution hitch. People have had good luck with rear air bags, and we will be installing soon. That said 4runner has 500 lb. tongue weight rating. 5,000 lb towing capacity. Have been towing a Parkliner, but not over 45 mph yet. Feels ok. 4 runner forums cover a lot of towing feed back with this vehicle.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:00 PM   #6
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Hi Janel,
Picked up my 2019 Casita Spirit Deluxe at factory in March. Tow vehicle in 6 cylinder Nissan Xtera.. .. Toyota 4 runner should be same class vehicle. Factory does a fantastic job prepping your vehicle, and will also let you know if your vehicle is suited for the tow. Who's your sales person?
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:09 PM   #7
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A minimum tow rating of 5000/500# is required. That gives lots of choices, but many are of the crossover variety. I'm assuming that's what you meant by something that "drives and looks like a station wagon"? So... no trucks and no crossovers, right? Not much left!

If you are looking for a compact SUV body style that is not a crossover and has truck-like capabilities, then the 4Runner is just about the last of the breed. It drives more like a truck than most trucks. I have seen quite a few towing Casita 17's. It minimally meets the 5000/500# requirement.

I'm a little surprised about the WDH warning. It may be more of a recommendation than a blanket prohibition, a lawyerly disclaimer against misuse of WDH to exceed the 500# tongue weight rating (I've seen 4Runners towing some pretty large stickies). Used appropriately, unlike air bags, WDH improves handling by transferring weight onto the front axle. I've seen the Anderson light-duty system, which integrates sway control, in use on 4Runner/Casita 17 rigs.

The Lexus GX is built on the same traditional body-on-frame platform. Both are in high demand because they are the last of their kind.

Next step up are full-size traditional SUV's: Sequoia, Expedition, Tahoe...
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:34 PM   #8
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I take it back. SUVs are fine, but something like the Highlander doesn't have much ground clearance and the inside is like a car. I don't want to tow with something marginal but it will also be my everyday car.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:47 PM   #9
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4Runner, built on a truck chassis, is going to ride similar to some trucks. And IMHO, truck ride and comfort has really improved. My daily driver is an F150, but I like trucks, and I don't live in an urban area.

I am a big fan of the Lexus GX, but there are plenty of other worthy choices.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janel View Post
I take it back. SUVs are fine, but something like the Highlander doesn't have much ground clearance and the inside is like a car. I don't want to tow with something marginal but it will also be my everyday car.
I’m a Honda fan, so you can take that as my bias, but I’ll throw out a couple of options to consider.

The new Passport has the same drivetrain and 5000/500# rating as the Pilot, but it’s shorter, sits on a raised suspension, and looks less like a minivan.

The Ridgeline’s open bed allows easier transporting of bulky toys like bikes while towing. It has a higher tongue weight rating (5000/600#) to better handle a Casita 17 and drives and handles similar to the Pilot/Passport on which it is based, making it a reasonable daily driver.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:04 PM   #11
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Name: JD
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My touareg TDI Diesel would be a good bet
7700 lbs rating with 550 load carrying on the hitch and 1100 weight distribution.
Got 20 + MPG towing from Florida to the Pacific and return through the mountains and all the high altitude towing
Never spin higher than 3000 rpm throughout the trip traveling the speed limits pretty much all of the way.

There is this



And there is this

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Old 10-26-2019, 07:32 PM   #12
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Name: Jann
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Originally Posted by janel View Post
I just ordered a 2020 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe with the High Lift axle. Now I need to get a tow vehicle. Will a Toyota 4Runner do the job? Is there a better choice? Is bigger better? I don't want a truck or an SUV that drives and looks like a station wagon. Thanks for all your help. I love the descussions on this forum.
Jane
We have a GMC Yukon XL but the shorter Yukon would be great also. They are taller vehicles so it is easy to get the trailer level without using to much of a drop or raise on the hitch. Our engine is a 5.3 liter and it is a half ton chassis. It tows very well over all the mountains. If we go west we have no choice but to go over a pass that is at least 11,000 ft. no matter what roads we take. We have a 2007 17' Casita. I think it is the Spirit Deluxe-the one with captains chairs at the small dinette. We don't use a WDH but do use a sway bar and don't have any issues in the wind. I'd rather have a little more engine and size than needed than not quite enough. We towed with a 4.3 engine in a Trail Blazer but it was marginal and not really sure it was quite rated for the weight. Felt like the trailer was controlling the vehicle at times as it did our Blazers. We lost more mpg with the smaller engines than we do with the Yukon. We also put extra stuff in the Yukon including an ice chest with frozen meals in it that we use first. So there's a lot of extra weight in the vehicle. When we hook up we look and it doesn't bring the rear of the vehicle down like it did the smaller ones.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:30 AM   #13
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Name: John
Trailer: Casita Patriot 17'
California
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Originally Posted by janel View Post
I just ordered a 2020 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe with the High Lift axle. Now I need to get a tow vehicle. Will a Toyota 4Runner do the job? Is there a better choice? Is bigger better? I don't want a truck or an SUV that drives and looks like a station wagon. Thanks for all your help. I love the descussions on this forum.
Jane

I have a 2007 17' Patriot with the 3" raise and shock kit. I tow it with an FJ Cruiser and friction sway bar here in SoCal (north Mojave Desert area, plenty of mountain passes). I believe it has the same engine and tow capabilities as the 4Runner and I have yet to experience any issues at all.


For what it's worth, I also use 91 Octane when towing which is a Toyota recommendation, always keep it in Drive, not the over-rdrive position, and I added an after-market oil cooler... and minimal necessary water in the holding tanks (I've been a weekend warrior with it so far).


I also experienced my first trailer wheel blow-out while towing this trailer behind the FJ at around 55mph and even though I was a little confused as to what just happened, I had no problems controlling the situation while safely pulling over.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by janel View Post
I just ordered a 2020 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe with the High Lift axle. Now I need to get a tow vehicle. Will a Toyota 4Runner do the job? Is there a better choice? Is bigger better? I don't want a truck or an SUV that drives and looks like a station wagon. Thanks for all your help. I love the descussions on this forum.
Jane
Not sure what your purpose was to order a high lift trailer axle , unless you are planning on doing a lot of off road camping. The higher the trailer the more sway you can encounter and then you can run into much more expensive and complex trailer to tow vehicle hitches. The other considerations are : how do the steps fit or do you now need something below the entry steps. The "L" shaped receiver that goes into the 2 inch
frame hitch that the trailer hitch bolts on to can be made to keep the standard trailer level when hooked up; regardless how high the tow vehicle.
Like buying the buggy before the horse ! I would rethink that decision.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:38 AM   #15
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This is an Escape 17B with high lift axle and 15" rims attached to my RAV4 with Pro Series WDH. Nothing complex here.
Attached Thumbnails
With WDH1.jpg   With WDH2.jpg  

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Old 11-02-2019, 10:42 AM   #16
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Name: Benny
Trailer: Casita
Washington
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We use a 2017 Tacoma 4 dr with a v6. We tow a 2011 17ft SD. It has the tow package. This last year we added air bags. We have taken it to AZ and back from Seattle area. We take it all over the western US and have had zero problems. I use a friction stabilizer.
If you get a 4 runner with the tow package you should be good to go.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:44 AM   #17
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Name: James
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I have a 2007 Casita 17 foot Liberty - I have the Andersen WD with sway bar control. I have a 2016 4Runner and a 2016 Tacoma and have used both. The 4runner seems to tow a bit better but it also seems to ride a bit better than the Tacoma when not towing.. both do well. I towed from NC to Colorado - Utah - Wyoming - Idaho and Montana and back to NC over a 3 month period using the 4runner - did very well in all the various conditions - averaged about 13 to 14 MPG running at about 63 to 65 MPH on the Interstate system... I have towed locally around Asheville NC using the Tacoma - also does well but there is a slight difference as the engine in the tacoma is a 3.4 vs the 4runner being a 4.0. I highly suggest and favor a good set of tires - Goodyears - speed rated - and the sway bar - we had a blown out at 65 MPH and the sway bar kept the camper tracking straight as an arrow - learned a lesson on the tires ( had the cheap china made tires at that time ) and was so greatful we had the sway bar in place. Hope that helps... happy trails
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:02 AM   #18
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Name: Debra
Trailer: Casita 2019
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Hi, I have the same Casita and after a lot of research and help from folks on this site, decided on a 4WD Jeep Grand Cherokee with the factory tow package. While I have not gotten as much experience with towing (picked up Casita in March 2019 at the factory), what I have done so far (about 2500 miles) has been really positive. And, I had no real experience with towing before.

I do use a sway bar and have traveled in several states including e some hilly but not mountainous areas. I also use the Jeep as my everyday car and am very happy with it. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:52 AM   #19
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Name: Steve
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Originally Posted by Len S View Post
Not sure what your purpose was to order a high lift trailer axle , unless you are planning on doing a lot of off road camping. The higher the trailer the more sway you can encounter and then you can run into much more expensive and complex trailer to tow vehicle hitches. The other considerations are : how do the steps fit or do you now need something below the entry steps. The "L" shaped receiver that goes into the 2 inch
frame hitch that the trailer hitch bolts on to can be made to keep the standard trailer level when hooked up; regardless how high the tow vehicle.
Like buying the buggy before the horse ! I would rethink that decision.
Our 2013 Casita SD had the factory high lift axle , shock absorber kit and it never went off road . In six years we never encountered one issue with sway
We also found the extra ground clearance to be a real asset

No issue with entering the trailer or the trailer steps , you just have to pick your feet up
No issue with any complex or expensive hitch , I just plug my standard stinger into my standard receiver hitch , hookup and go.
My Escape 21 does not have the high lift axle , wish it did !!
In my opinion the best all around tow vehicle for a FG trailer is a Ford F150 and no I don’t own one just wish I did .
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:00 PM   #20
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
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Originally Posted by Len S View Post
Not sure what your purpose was to order a high lift trailer axle , unless you are planning on doing a lot of off road camping. The higher the trailer the more sway you can encounter and then you can run into much more expensive and complex trailer to tow vehicle hitches. The other considerations are : how do the steps fit or do you now need something below the entry steps. The "L" shaped receiver that goes into the 2 inch
frame hitch that the trailer hitch bolts on to can be made to keep the standard trailer level when hooked up; regardless how high the tow vehicle.
Like buying the buggy before the horse ! I would rethink that decision.
We don't have the high lift axle but wished we did. Sometimes getting into parking lots that have dips or high driveways is a small challenge. Also when unhitching in steep spots it would be nice. We've had no choice but to park on steeper sites in campgrounds when we had reservations and getting the trailer unhitched was difficult. We use a sway bar and have had no problems at all with sway. I don't believe a higher axle would be a problem since it is not that much more.
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