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Old 05-14-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
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tow vehicle

Hi all,

We just picked up our new mini lite 1809S last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa and pulled it to Denver (our home) with our V6 Toyota 4 runner. It was difficult - had lots of head winds. Do we need a stronger engine? Are there some suv's out there that can do the job? What are your thoughts and/or experience?
Thanks.
Denver Dave
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:49 PM   #2
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It looks like your dry weight is just over 3,000 pounds. Wet is probably close to 4,000 with water, food, options, etc. It looks like most Forerunners with a v-6 have about 5,000 in towing capacity. You should also check things like gross combined vehicle weight and tongue weight. You are probably about 300 pounds of tongue weight. My guess is that you are within the capacity of your vehicle but that doesn't always make for a satisfying tow; as you have discovered. A good rule of thumb is about 60% of your tow capacity. There are a lot of factors. How heavily loaded is your tow vehicle? People, cargo. Do you tow mostly on the flat? In the open where wind is a factor? Hilly or mountainous terrain? How far are you towing? As more SUVs are converted to cross-overs versus body on frame, towing capacities are being reduced. So your options are fewer than they used to be. You might check into a mid-sized truck with 4 full doors? Dakota, Frontier, Tacoma? That would get you a longer wheelbase too which is more stable. Also, do you have a weight distribution hitch? That might make your vehicle feel better when towing but obviously won't tackle the power issue. Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:56 PM   #3
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And I now see your Colorado location. You may very well want more towing capability then. Turbo'd or Supercharged engines are nice in the mountains as they don't lose as much power at elevation. There are probably some alternatives with a V-8 too. Does the Forerunner still offer a V-8?
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
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i think you're expecting more out of your 4-runner, than it can deliver for where you live.
we live in NorCal and have lots of mountains to go over. we decided on getting a v-8 because of this. we have a ton of extra tow capacity and we need it quite often thru the Sierras, Cascades and Siskiyous.

and you'll find out that the newer v-8 truck/SUV engines, get almost the same gas mileage as v-6 truck/SUV engines, except maybe for the new Ecoboost F-150.

your 1809S will weigh around 3500lbs., without water, cargo and propane. have you checked its actual UVW from the factory? it should be listed on a sticker inside a cabinet door.
so, you'll easily be at or over 4000lbs. loaded for camping.
subtract the weight of anything in the Toyota, other than a 150lbs. driver from the 5000lbs. tow capacity.

so, you don't have much left over before you're maxed out and especially for where you live.
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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Hi Dave --

Congrats on your new camper. That is a great looking floor plan. In my experience, winds really 'pin the ears back' on my tow vehicle also.

If you in the market for a new tow vehicle, you'll find plenty of info and suggestions...


Just my two cents here...

before taking the plunge with a new vehicle, try hooking up your loaded rig and driving it on the 470 loop from Santa Fe Drive towards Golden.... if you find that you can manage the hills within your comfort zone, then you may not need a new tow vehicle.

I towed a 15' camper in major headwinds and it was very difficult also... we got about 7.5 mpg on that tank.... I find that towing in the mountains is easier than towing (and trying to maintain speed) than facing very strong headwinds.

BTW -- Those v8 Forerunners are very nice....



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Old 05-14-2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamgl View Post
Hi Dave --

Just my two cents here...

before taking the plunge with a new vehicle, try hooking up your loaded rig and driving it on the 470 loop from Santa Fe Drive towards Golden.... if you find that you can manage the hills within your comfort zone, then you may not need a new tow vehicle.

Darren
Not a bad idea. In addition to that part of C-470, I say the stretch of I-70 westbound is when coming off C-470. If you can make it up that part of I-70 from the on-ramp (off C-470) you are good to go!

I had a 2500HD gasser (towing a 26ft 5th wheel) and experienced that part of I-70 on our way to Grand Lake/Granby area last year. Berthoud Pass wasn't fun either. The mountains here are unforgiving on tow vehicles.
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:55 PM   #7
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Until last month we were pulling our mini lite 2502s with a v-6 Tacoma 4x4. Wt limits on taco was 5k but did well except for hills. We were very careful with loading both the truck and camper. Here in Alabama on mostly flat roads it was ok. But prior to living here we were in Cheyenne ,Wyo and while we never towed in that area I am certain my Taco would have struggled terribly. After 5 trips with the Taco in Al we traded in for a v-8, 5.7 liter Tundra. Bottom line, if you're not comfortable you may need more power. Best of luck, camping is too much fun to worry about towing!
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