towing A 16' travle trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-26-2020, 06:56 PM   #1
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Name: James & Debra
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Arizona
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towing A 16' travle trailer

Hi we have A 2002 Toyota Tacoma prerunner, V6, auto trans, TRD, SR5, 4.3L, (no towing package) We currently have a 13' Scamp but would like to move up to a 16' Scamp or Casita, but I am a little leery of doing that because the Tacoma is slow going up hill, with the gas pedal to the floor at times, driving in with the overdrive (in 3rd) some times only going 30mph. is this normal for this Tacoma? I think I heard that the Tacoma's are all slow going up hill. Do any of you have this truck and what are your experiences with this truck and pulling a travel trailer (16' especially) Thanks Jim
ps. No I cant just sell the truck and buy a bigger one because it was a gift.
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Old 02-26-2020, 07:21 PM   #2
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Best read your manual. i doubt you are supposed to be towing in overdrive. Prolonged (whatever that means ) towing up grades wasn't recommended for my Ford Explorer ( I almost blew the torque converter ) and isn't recommended for my RAV4.
You should also look into getting an additional transmission oil cooler.
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:51 PM   #3
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sorry that should have said overdrive off
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:40 PM   #4
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An additional transmission cooler was recommended by a mechanic for our 99 Nissan Pathfinder. Was quite a bit of work to install. Yesterday we installed a temperature gauge for the transmission fluid. We are curious to see what it will read going up the steep grades when we head to Arizona in four weeks.
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Old 02-27-2020, 07:19 AM   #5
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I don't think your poor towing performance will be improved by moving to the 16'.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:33 AM   #6
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Doubt you're going to get much feedback on towing with an 18 year old truck. But you know you're not happy with how it tows a 13'. Why would you even consider towing a larger trailer?

What's your typical payload?
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Old 02-27-2020, 09:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Justus C View Post
Doubt you're going to get much feedback on towing with an 18 year old truck. But you know you're not happy with how it tows a 13'. Why would you even consider towing a larger trailer?

What's your typical payload?
Well stated and logical .
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:31 PM   #8
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I have a 2002 Tacoma Prerunner with the 3.4 l V6 engine and noticed in my owners manual one day on page 210 that you could determine your towing capacity by checking the color of the cooling fan clutch. If it was orange ( the color of mine ) it would have a 3500 lb. towing capacity. If the cooling fan clutch was orange the towing capacity was 6000 lbs. I went to the Dealer and asked them about it and they told me that that Toyota had put out a technical service bulletin that changing out the fan clutch would increase the towing capacity. I did that and also installed the transmission oil cooler. I assume that the fan clutch kicks in more often on the green one than the orange one.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:35 PM   #9
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Hi when I read (in the book) that about the orange or green fan clutch spacer I thought it was an indicator much like putting a name on the motor saying it was more powerful (different inside pistons, valves, other) not that it the same motor but with a different fan clutch, WOW! that good news, Thanks
and I already planned to put in the trans cooler.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:40 PM   #10
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Thanks folks for your reply's, And keep them coming any info you share is helpful
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:59 PM   #11
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I meant to say on my post that if the fan clutch was green it had the higher towing capacity. Also if you have synthetic ATF in your trans it will do a better job of handling the heat.
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:00 PM   #12
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I have a 2015 taco sr5 v6 4wd with tow package. Tow a 13 and don't even feel it. Rated to tow 6500
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:03 PM   #13
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The rest of the story about the Tacoma is it was a gift from my mother-in-law, (it had low miles & well-kept) it had been my late father-in-laws truck and if I don't keep it for at least 4-5 years I think she will be hurt, and that is something I don't want to do. .. as Paul Harvey would say that's the rest of the story
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:06 PM   #14
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I bought mine new but it has proven itself to be a very solid truck and at my age I think it will outlast me.
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by James R Williams View Post
The rest of the story about the Tacoma is it was a gift from my mother-in-law, (it had low miles & well-kept) it had been my late father-in-laws truck and if I don't keep it for at least 4-5 years I think she will be hurt, and that is something I don't want to do. …….. as Paul Harvey would say that's the rest of the story
Keeping the truck and acquiring a better tow vehicle are not mutually exclusive. (Its OK to keep the truck AND get a better TV). If you want to move up in trailer, and the truck is not doing an adequate job pulling the smaller trailer, then something has to change.

Your alternative is to start looking for either mechanical issues or an even lighter 13 foot trailer to get your towing situation better.
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:33 PM   #16
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1) Park the 4 runner in a storage garage
2) Buy a tow vehicle like the new Ford Ranger
3) Go camping

If you injure or kill yourself or your family or others towing with an inadequate tow vehicle then your MIL will have a real reason to be upset !
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:09 AM   #17
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My 2008 Tacoma 4.0L 4x4 w/ the factory tow package, and the 6 speed stick shift towed our 4000+ lb Escape 21 from Texas to Reno, then over the sierras back to coastal California. At times I had to use 4th gear to go up long steep grades at highway speeds, most grades, 5th was fine, and I never used 6th.

it also towed our loaded Casita 16 Deluxe all over the west prior to getting the Escape, including lots of mountains.

the Prerunner is essentially the 4x4 chassis but iwthout the transaxle and front differential, so should basically be the same thing.





edit: OH, your 2002 is the first generation, a smaller lighter truck than the 2005+ like my 2008.
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:02 AM   #18
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towing A 16' travle trailer

I am somewhat surprised that your experience is so poor with only a 13 Scamp. With a vehicle that age there could be any number of issues contributing to the weak performance. You say it has low miles and regular service, which is good.

What is the original tow rating of this vehicle as equipped? Were there upgrades available to increase the rating? The owners manual and a dealer can help with that. That will give you some idea of whether your experience is normal or not. If you have a trusted mechanic, Id give it a once over, discussing the poor towing performance.

About those 30 mph climbs... Were there other factors adding to the severity of the climb- grade, length, altitude, temperature, headwinds...? I have climbed the I-8 grade into San Diego in 105* weather against a 40 mph headwind and my 00 Toyota Sienna 3.0L V6 was reduced to about that speed pulling our 13 Scamp. Those are pretty extreme conditions, and it performed acceptably otherwise.

Adding a transmission cooler might be a good thing, but only if everything else checks out okay. It will not substantially improve performance, so a larger trailer is off the table.

Add the cooler and keep the 13. Or keep the truck as a daily driver and buy something else for towing, as several have suggested.

Peace in the family is good.
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:50 AM   #19
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Let’s see now , we can modify the rear suspension , add a transmission cooler , add an oil cooler , changeout the cooling fan , add a WDH , retune the engine ,tow in 2nd gear , tow at 40 mph max , only tow on flat or downhill grades , never tow in hot weather , carry 2 - 5 gallon cans of spare fuel , leave the A/C off ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC
Or we could come to the realization that some vehicles just aren’t designed , built , intended or make good tow vehicles
I’ve hauled firewood with a friends Nissan Frontier and it only took me one trip to realize that the truck wasn’t up to the task .

iE ; You don’t frame a house with a tack hammer. !!
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Old 02-28-2020, 09:04 AM   #20
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One other thought. Since your truck doesn’t have the tow package, check the rear axle ratio. I had an F150 built during the “gas crisis” of the early 70’s. Would hardly tow my 3000# boat uphill with the 5.0 V8 without using 2nd gear, at 40ish mph. Found it had a very high axle ratio (something like 2.73 IIRC) for fuel economy. Re-gearing is relatively cheap and could be a solution. Good luck.
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