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Old 05-15-2017, 03:42 PM   #1
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HW-296 Towing

Has anybody towed a HW-296 with a 2nd Gen Tacoma? I'm looking at buying one and was wondering if towing with my tacoma was a bad idea. I have a 2009 double cab with the 4.0 motor. The owners manual says 6500 towing.
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:46 PM   #2
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We have a 2016 hw296 and towed for 2 summers with a 6 cylinder Jeep grand Cherokee. It pulled it but wasn't very happy doing it. Definitely couldn't go anywhere with major hills or mountains. We now own a f-150. Much better!
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:39 PM   #3
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We considered this HW really loved the size. Read about 400 blogs trying to get the real answers,they are hard to come by. I can't answer either but if your specifics are similar to mine. I may be of some help. I was told by almost everyone not to go with the hw296. I'm driving a 2014 Toyota Highlander 6 cylinder 5000 tow capacity 500 tounge weight. I have the OEM heavy-duty tow package from Toyota. Trailer and vehicle reasonably loaded would have been at my extremes. We recently purchased the HW 276 just picked it up. I had the dealer put on a 600 6000 weight distribution hitch and I have a drawtite brake controller. It towed smoother than I thought it would but I would still be leery of taking steep grades and was recommended that I not do that. Drove in manual gearing turning off overdrive did not exceed 2500 RPMs at 60 miles an hour. Hope there's some useful information in this for you.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:57 PM   #4
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Additional information from Minnesota Highlander. Toyota Highlander has a GVWR of 6000 pounds GCWR of 9990 pounds and a curb weight of 4600 pounds. There are formulas all over the web for figuring towing capacity I recommend paying attention to them.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:02 PM   #5
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As mentioned before, hills will not be your friend. May be pulling in second gear around 4500 rpm.

Remember that for every 1000 feet altitude deduct 2% of tow capacity.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:20 PM   #6
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That's what I was looking for. My manual says 6500 but that seems high. I have a pop up now but it's a 1000 pounds lighter. It pulls well like it's not there but it's single axel and no brakes. It's hard to compare the two.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uno676 View Post
That's what I was looking for. My manual says 6500 but that seems high.
That rating is done pulling a boat or flat bed trailer, not a full height travel trailer with lots of air resistance.
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:08 AM   #8
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I too pulled a pop up for 25 years. Fully loaded it was 2000 pounds less than my current hw276. The hw296 would have added another thousand pounds to my towing weight, possibly more because the storage weight is considerably more. Find yourself a truck scale get an idea of your curb weight, it will tell you front axle, rear axle breakdown. Do it with a full tank of gas, and you in the driver seat. Look inside your driver side door panel for weight ratings. Give yourself a realistic view of how much weight you would put in the trailer for storage and your vehicle separately. Remember it's important, your tongue weight rating, your battery and full propane tanks are not in the calculation of trailer tongue weight. These calculations seem a little daunting at first but if you write them all down it really does start to make sense.
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:39 AM   #9
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I did that last night wrote down all the weights and I had like 350 left in weight. So I'm going to pass on it and look for something lighter. Bummer though I really liked that camper.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:28 AM   #10
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Look at hw276 or hw277 essentialy same trailer, you lose two feet but still a lot more than typical pup.
Good luck
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:13 PM   #11
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Tow capacities for trucks are fairly accurate, and vehicle warranties are geared to backup the truck if towing that weight.

If you are a "flatlander", the truck should be fine, because you are about 1500 pounds below its tow capacity. If you get into real mountains - long uphill grades with substantial elevation changes - you may need to learn patience and give your truck a rest now and then. Furthermore, mountain natives will be blowing by you like you're parked...including semis. An overwhelmed tow vehicle will make you a rolling road-block - climbing with 4-way flashers on. On a road like I-70, you will feel very vulnerable going 35 to 40 MPH while semis blow by you climbing at 65 to 70. (Most big rigs in the mountains can climb a 6% to 8% grade at or near the speed limit, because they are running huge engines and monster transmissions.)

You'll also need to load the cab and bed judiciously. In addition to the tow rating, your truck has a number of other ratings, including a maximum combined vehicle weight rating...total weight of "everything". THAT's what the engine and drive train are truly handling...not just the trailer. So, with 4 passengers, gear, coolers, firewood, extra water, maybe a dirt bike, a canoe or kayaks with roof rack, and, and, and... it adds up.
This guide will help: Tow Vehicle Sizing

It also matters if your truck was factor prepped with a tow package. Things like a transmission cooler, larger radiator, often a bigger alternator, factory hitch and wiring, and so on. Some tow vehicles even have differential coolers. If you added the hitch as an aftermarket item, your truck won't have any of that.

Finally, no half-ton or smaller truck can handle a 500 pound tongue weight without some sort of help. A weight distributing hitch is the best way to go, but you may be able to get away with some helper springs or air bags. I have and love the Firestone airbags, but I have a RAM 1500 4-door with a 6 or 6 1/2 foot bed. It has a beefier chassis and a longer wheelbase with stouter tires than your Tacoma. Without the airbags, even towing my old 2000 pound viking, my RAM sagged in the back, porpoised over undulating roads, and shone its headlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers...and it has a factory tow package. The bags made all the difference in handling, stability, level ride, and more. But your lighter truck combined with a heavier trailer might need a weight distributing hitch AND a sway control.

It sounds as if you have half of the equation as a fixed item - the truck. I agree with others that you may do better with a bit less trailer. I have the HW-277. It has a very spacious interior with the 15' tub, a king bed and a queen bed, U-shaped dinette in the slide, and the prime reason I chose it, the outdoor kitchen. There is no couch inside, but the couches in these things are awkward, and the U-shaped dinette will seat 6, plus you can pop the table to turn it into a couch on rainy days. I looked closely at the HW-296. My truck could handle it, and the double axle seemed like an advantage, but on balance, the HW-277 was the best option for me.
As for the TV, we have the "hookup", but the last thing I'd ever do while camping is watch TV. That, of course, is a personal preference, but the 296 does a better job of accommodating a TV/DVD-Blue-ray Combo. Without a dish out here, there is no over-the-air TV.

I live in the Rockies at 8300 feet. Here, nobody tows at capacity except the guys with 350/3500 (and larger) diesels yanking Fivers. And that's a whole different breed of truck. Even near tow capacity, those things scream up the mountains.
I wrecked the transmission on a Ford Explorer with a 3500 pound tow capacity by towing our old Viking 2000 pound camper over 11,500 foot mountain passes. It helps to have considerably more vehicle than trailer out here, because a 12 to 15 mile climb at a 6% grade has a way of making mush out of transmissions.

P.S. Whatever you tow, learn to use your transmission like a manual. Keep the revs up when climbing and save the clutches with all that up and down shifting (every shift puts needless wear on the transmission when it's under heavy load during the shift). If I'm approaching a climb, I pull it down into drive-2 before I start the climb...not with the "kickdown" in the transmission. If you have a tachometer, use it and stay geared down. My older Ram has a 4-speed OD transmission. When climbing I spend all my time in drive-2 (or perhaps 2nd gear) turning about 4500 to 5000 RPM. I always tow in OD-OFF, not "tow-haul". There are zero situations where the truck should be in OD, because there are virtually no flat spaces. Redline on the 5.7 Hemi is about 6500 RPM, so it's in its comfort zone at 5000, and that's about 55 MPH. If' you're holding 55 MPH going up a lot of these mountain passes, you will be passing everybody.
Same thing in the downhills. If I'm under 40 on a winding, steep downhill, like Wolf Creek Pass, I'm in 1st. And under 60, I'm in 2nd. Save the brakes for when you NEED them. Many times I get behind a novice at towing, and the stench of overheated brakes is overwhelming. And if something happens, that guy could never stop.

This is towing in Colorado...note the lack of even guardrails. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Qn7GVnnp0n...lar%2Bhwy..jpg


My fully loaded camper and truck bed put about 5000 extra pounds on my Ram. It handles it well, but it's a load. You'd be asking a lot of your Tacoma to tow an extra 500 to 1000 pounds.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:09 PM   #12
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Yeah I live in Colorado so I know what you mean. My 1995 Starcraft pulls like it's not there and has a 12 ft box but that HW-296 adds at least a 1000 pounds. So that's why I was asking.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:31 AM   #13
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I would agree with most of the posts. The HW-296 fully loaded would be right at 5000 pounds (3600 dry, 1300 cargo, 371 tongue) plus any cargo and people in the tow vehicle. I personally would not do mountains with the set up you're looking at.
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