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View Full Version : What do you tow with a 3rd gen 4r/1st gen Taco?



Martinjmpr
01-10-2012, 03:10 PM
And how well does it do as a tow vehicle?

Wife has said that she'd be more amenable to camping if we had a more comfortable setup for sleeping - to that end we are looking at small trailers. Right now her favorite are the little "teardrop" trailers. Weight on those runs ~1,000lbs give or take a few.

I know the 4runner is "rated" to pull up to 3,000# (or is it 5,000#?) but obviously there's a big difference between hauling a load across town and hauling a load up and down the 10,000' passes of the Rocky Mountains.

So what are you guys towing with your 3rd gen 4runners/1st gen Tacos? My biggest concerns are the relatively anemic power of the 3.4 and whether towing puts undue wear-and-tear on the auto tranny (though FWIW I already have an external tranny cooler.)

Thanks in advance!

thefatkid
01-10-2012, 05:42 PM
I towed with my 3.4 swapped 2nd generation 4Runner. The trailer loaded was about 4klbs (14' enclosed box trailer). My 4runner used the T100 a340f transmission with an external cooler. Towing I70 west to Moab my tranmission never went above 180. Back eastbound to denver the passes are a little worse but the transmission never heated up, just lower vehicle speed. I would typically run in 2nd gear (manually) to reduce lugging and keep the engine speed around 4krpm or above to 4500rpm.

Do I think there was any measurable wear from towing, not really. Nothing heated up more then normal, all fluids looked/smelled no different after the trip. I recently switch to a 3rd gen with a manual transmission so I think it will be an easier trip to Moab this year. My 1st 3.4 swap 2nd generation was a manual and towed better/easier. Braking assist was better as well as finding the right gear for engine loading.

I will say this, braking axles are a must on any load above 2klbs.

Box Rocket
01-10-2012, 08:52 PM
I tow my small trailer once or twice a month. It's been fine with my 3.4 and auto tranny when towing to moab. The trailer does not have brakes and that hasn't been an issue for me. I don't have exact numbers on weight but I think my trailer weighs about 600* empty. Loaded I'm typically around 1200-1500* range tops. That's not much to really worry about IMO.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k254/boxrocket/Gold%20Truck/WhiteRocks_01.jpg

bigwapitijohnny
01-11-2012, 01:46 AM
I had a 3rd generation 4runner (1998 - with a 3.4L V6) that was heavily armored. I don't know what the overall weight of the rig was.


http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/4runner/IMG_2853.jpg

I tow an Outlander Sherpa II which is about 1800-2200 lbs fully loaded (full Engel 45 / 15 gallons of water / 20 lbs. of propane / dual battery system / 3 man expedition RTT / 10 gallons of fuel / chairs / utensils / blah / blah).


http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/Outlander%20trailer/Profile.jpg

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/Outlander%20trailer/Farm1.jpg

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/Outlander%20trailer/Table2.jpg

Around the flat state of Kansas, I thought the 4runner was fine pulling the Sherpa II. It was only this past Spring that I realized how underpowered the rig was. My son and I participated in the Central Overland Cinco de Mayo rally. This was held in Northern Arkansas and the route consisted of some paved passes that had short 7-10% grades...NOT GOOD. I barely made it up these passes ~ Tires aired down / Overdrive off / Power on / Petal floored...It was then that I realized my rig would struggle quite a bit in the Rockies...


http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/2011-05-06_18-17-09_779.jpg

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/2011-05-08_06-32-39_394.jpg

I would say that your trailer size (fully loaded) should be your criteria in your vehicle choice. Don't get me wrong, that 4runner is an excellent platform, however, not for me and my family at this chapter of our lives...

By the way, I went with this to tow my Sherpa II through the Rockies...:smiley_drive:


http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u38/bigwapitijohnny/Tundra/300126523_photobucket_6012_.jpg

Regards,

BWJ

Stick Figure
01-11-2012, 03:15 AM
What haven't I towed with my poor 4Runner?

From the last move (southern --> nothern cal)...


http://www.mostdesigns.com/zgallery/zp-core/i.php?a=Personal+Vehicles%2F4Runner%2Fmoving+pics&i=IMAG0494.jpg&s=1000

Yes those tool boxes are FULL and weigh a ton.

http://www.mostdesigns.com/zgallery/zp-core/i.php?a=Personal+Vehicles%2F4Runner%2Fmoving+pics&i=IMAG0512.jpg&s=1000

g/f driving in one of the other rounds of moving .. just some smaller household stuff this time around.

http://www.mostdesigns.com/zgallery/zp-core/i.php?a=Personal+Vehicles%2F4Runner%2Fmoving+pics&i=IMAG0530.jpg&s=1000
one more trip towing the Supra up.

and that's not the first time its towed that ..

http://www.mostdesigns.com/zgallery/cache/Personal%20Vehicles/Supra/IMAG1015.jpg_1000.jpg
Older shot from towing the Supra through the Rockies on the way out to southern cal.

We've used it to move multiple times (some in town, some 1500 miles through mountains), and towed multiple cars (some out of the range of what it is rated it). Truck has 193k on it, 265/75/17 tires (10 ply) a trans cooler, and is the Sport with the locker so I assume it has the 4:10 ratio but never have verified that. I find that it tows extremely well for what it is. I wouldn't recommend it as a full time tow rig to anyone, but i don't see you have any real problems with a camping trailer, and a well running vehicle.

Marc P
01-11-2012, 02:02 PM
I tow a pretty big pop-up with my 3rd gen. It is the max I would ever tow with it. It gets very heavy once loaded with my family and all of our stuff. I have added an external tranny cooler and plan on adding aigbags soon.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/MarcP1971/2011-11-18_13-11-59_382.jpg

98roamer
01-11-2012, 03:20 PM
I tow a pretty big pop-up with my 3rd gen. It is the max I would ever tow with it. It gets very heavy once loaded with my family and all of our stuff. I have added an external tranny cooler and plan on adding aigbags soon.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/MarcP1971/2011-11-18_13-11-59_382.jpg

I've towed a similar Popup, it's a Coachman Clipper ST1275 a couple of times a year, without any issues, but we only go a couple of hours away.

Martinjmpr
01-11-2012, 04:02 PM
Thanks for all the input! From what it looks like, I should be fine towing a small (1100lb) teardrop trailer with my 99 SR5.

I guess we'll see how well it does this Summer and if we determine that the 4runner is not powerful enough then I can start looking for another vehicle in the fall.

tanglefoot
01-11-2012, 06:14 PM
The 3rd gen 4Runner is rated for 5,000 lbs of trailer.

We tow the family runabout boat (Bayliner 175) with my parents' '98 3.4 5-speed. It does really nicely. Originally, the rear suspension was prone to bottoming on highway bumps but after the suspension recall work at the dealership, the rear suspension has much more support.

The boat+trailer weight is about 2200 lbs (no trailer brakes) and there are usually 4-5 people + stuff in the 4Runner. We take it over Trailridge Road to Lake Grandby and the Eisenhower Tunnel to Dillon Reservoir. I think the 3.4 is a great combination of torque and fuel economy and the chassis/brakes handle the load nicely. I take it easy and don't try to keep up with traffic on the grades but it's a pretty satisfying tow rig. It goes and stops much better than my '85 with the 22re, which I've also towed the boat with but only on the flats.

http://i786.photobucket.com/albums/yy142/Tanglefoot80/ontrailerSmall.jpg

Martinjmpr
01-11-2012, 06:18 PM
We tow the family runabout boat (Bayliner 175) with my parents' '98 3.4 5-speed. It does really nicely. Originally, the rear suspension was prone to bottoming on highway bumps but after the suspension recall work at the dealership, the rear suspension has much more support.

The boat+trailer weight is about 2300 lbs. We've taken it over Trailridge Road and the Eisenhower Tunnel here in CO. I think the 3.4 is a great combination of torque and fuel economy. I take it easy and don't try to keep up with traffic on the climbs but it's pretty satisfying. I find it really nice and powerful coming from my 22re, which I've also towed the boat with but only on the flats.

Does the boat trailer have brakes? As I'm sure you know, the brakes on the 3rd gen are marginal for just the vehicle, expecting it to handle more weight seems a bit risky (although it would seem to me that having tongue weight on the rear axle would increase the efficiency of the rear drums, wouldn't it? The weight of the trailer would counteract the normal tendency for the weight to shift forward, right?)

Pikeman
01-11-2012, 06:44 PM
Martin I would suggest trailer brakes even on a 1000lb trailer that will be used for light to medium trails. This not only applies to our 3rd gens but I think any trailer towed offroad shoud have them no matter the tow vehicle . this is what I will be towing with a few modifications. I am swapping axles, to electric and making a new tongue with Max coupler.

81389

tanglefoot
01-11-2012, 06:56 PM
Our boat trailer does not have trailer brakes. I think the '98 has really nice brakes. I do downshift to 3rd or 4th coming down from the Eisenhower tunnel and 2nd coming down the steep parts of Trailridge and with pulse-braking, the 4runner brakes never get hot enough for any fade or smell. It also panic-stops reasonably well. I never get as many surprise red lights as I do when the boat's hitched on (Murphy at work, I suppose), and the combo stops plenty fast and feels fine. It doesn't exhibit much nose-dive.

I have found that braking power seems less adequate on automatic-transmission vehicles though, as the drive train tends to fight against the brakes a lot of the time. You might want to make a habit of manually down-shifting to help control that runaway auto-tranny effect.

Is it possible that the rear drums are out of adjustment? You could adjust the star wheels out a little or bend the proportioning valve linkage for some more rear brake power--just make sure you're not getting so much rear-bias that the rear brakes are locking up before the fronts.

I've adjusted the LSPV linkage on the '85 but we've never messed with anything on the '98.

Mrknowitall
01-11-2012, 07:58 PM
I'll chime in, even though mine is a Tundra (5VZ auto, nonetheless). I really don't think there is enough powere there to hurt anything. If you go to the Mtns once in a great while, it'll be fine. Or, if you don't plan on running above 70 much. With deeper gears, it would be just fine. The step between 2nd and D is just too big (the difference between 3 and 4 in the MT is almost the same). With the right gears, D will get it done with 3-4k, as long as there's not too much windage. Pulling my 4-runner up a good grade requires 2nd... not fun.

Stick Figure
01-12-2012, 05:55 AM
Remember too there are two different size of factory brakes for the 3rd gen 4runner. If you had the 16" wheels stock you SHOULD have had the larger size from the factory.

98roamer
01-12-2012, 01:13 PM
I have a 98 Limited with 16" rims and I feel the brakes are on the light side, even with my Brembos rotors and Hawk pads. Electric trailer brakes for me.