Last post on Aug 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM
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Toyota 4Runner, Towing, SUV
#9 of 124 towing a horse trailer with a 4Runner
Aug 21, 2006 (1:29 pm)
I am new to this forum and need some help. We have just ordered a horse trailer. I have a 2002 Toyota 4Runner 6 cyl. 2 wheel drive. We have had a class III hitch installed rated 5000lbs., which is our maximum towing capacity. We plan on having a transmission cooler and a trailer braking system installed this week. Would the weight distribution hitch and Air shocks be a good idea also? Or should we just go out and get a used truck for trailering? Trailer weight empty is about 2500lbs. We will be mostly hauling 1 horse about 1000 lbs.(3500 lbs. total for horse and trailer) around town for lessons etc. occasionally 2 horses for about 4500lbs.total for horse and trailer. I am new to trailering and I just want everyone to be safe. Any advice would be appreciated.
Aug 21, 2006 (1:43 pm)
As you can see by my last post - on August 15 - that at least a week has past and i've learned a LOT about towing.
I've upgraded to a Denali as a tow vehicle and will end up with a lightweight travel trailer that will max out at 6440#.
For full control, best towing and safety you really only want to tow at 75% of your max. Being your max is 5000#'s you only should tow 3750#. Weight is weight - doesn't matter if it's a horse or a travel trailer. with your trailer and 2 horses you are 2000#'s OVER your tow weight. Not good for your car or for us on the road with you.
My opinion - buy a truck for towing the horse trailer and 2 horses. My friends tows her 2 horses and trailer with a Lincoln Navigator and it tows it with ease. They are actually looking into buying a smaller car for everyday use thus allowing to keep the trailer hooked up to the Navigator and they won't have to hook/unhook daily. Just load the horses and go.
You can do the opposite. Find a truck to tow the horses, keep the trailer hooked up and use your 4Runner for everyday driving. Also look into a good weight distributing hitch - such as the Reese dual cam, Equalizer or, if you have the money, a Hensley (though with the right truck that one could be overkill with just a horse trailer)
check out the following website to help you understand the whole towing/weight/safety issue. It deals with Travel Trailers but info would be the same for horse trailer:
#11 of 124 Toyota 4-Runner Towing
Jan 09, 2007 (5:46 am)
Can a Toyota 4-Runner V8 tow 4500 lbs? Thinking of buying a 2006,need to know if the transmission will hold up to the towing.
#12 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [jjoliver]
Jan 11, 2007 (10:37 am)
A 4Runner v6 can tow 6400 lbs with a weight distributing hitch installed, and if planning to do lots of towing of any weight, a v6 should have the external tranny cooler installed. v8's already come with the external cooler and WDH so to answer your question, yes, the tranny is designed to hold up against the 4500 lbs you are talking about. Don't use "D", use "4" for the extra engine braking and avoidance of bogging down the tranny with extra shifts between 4th and 5th gears.
#13 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [jjoliver]
Jan 12, 2007 (9:26 am)
The Toyota 4-Runner V8 4WD can tow 7000 lbs (2WD = 7200 lbs). It already has the transmission cooler and weight distributing hitch as standard equipment.
#14 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [biglatka]
Jan 20, 2007 (9:22 pm)
Here is a great website that explains wheelbase vs, trailer length:
Please note the 4Runner comes standard with a hitch - but it is not weight distributing! The entire hitch weight rests on the rear axle. To overcome this you need to buy either an "equalizer" or "Hensley" hitch. You can do a search. These hitches put the weight of the trailer on all axles. That means both axles of the tow vehicle and both axles of the trailer. (Assuming a dual axle trailer). And the tow vehicle will stay level if installed correctly.
It's complicated... read up on it. But DO NOT consider the weight of the trailer alone! The length must be considered.
I have a '05 4Runner w/the XREAS suspension and tow a 21 foot trailer (about 5,000 lbs.) with an "Equalizer" brand weight distributing hitch. IT tows OK - still some sway due to the 109.5" wheelbase. A "Hensley" hitch is better.. but costs about 3K. It would allow a slightly longer trailer to be towed.
#15 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [chuck1]
Jan 22, 2007 (8:43 am)
I am towing a boat trailer with my 2004 - 4.7 V8. The trailer is between 4500 and 5000 lbs. It pulls fine and has good control, I keep it in 4th gear while towing and it occasionaly drops to 3rd on long hills.
My concern is the gas mileage. Without the trailer it gets 18 - 20 mpg on the highway, but once I put the trailer on it immediatly drops to 9 - 10 mpg. Uphill, downhill, fast or slow does not matter; it is as if someone flipped a switch to low mpg mode. Once I remove the trailer, it takes about 30 miles of driving, and then the mileage goes back to normal. I even checked the computer when filling up and it is accurate.
I would expect some drop in mileage, but not this much, and not all the time. Any idea on what is going on and does this seem normal? Anyone else check their mileage when towing?
#16 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [jdower]
Jan 22, 2007 (7:57 pm)
When I tow my 5,000 pound trailer (shaped like a big box) I get 10 miles per gallon.
So, it seems that pulling about the same weight, our miles per gallon are the same.
It also seems that those who tow with Suburbans, get slightly less 8 to 9 miles per gallon.
I guess if you play...ya gotta pay!
#17 of 124 Re: need help from those who tow travel trailers [biglatka]
Feb 11, 2007 (3:55 pm)
Howdy, I have 2004 V8 4Runner and after extensive research I bought in 2005 new 25Z (25’ 6” - exterior travel length 27’ 6”) Jay Feather hard-walls trailer, dry weight 4635 lb, when loaded about 5400 lb., and I have put a lot of miles on it since. I have asked two RV experts to test drive the combo before I bough it, and they were both comfortable and found the towing safe. I use equalizers and anti-sway bar; it can get pretty windy in some mountain passes around here, and one can only imagine the wind load on the side of the trailer. I have never experienced unsafe conditions. One thing I should mention is that my trailer is fairly low and has TorFlex® independent torsion-axle suspension. I used to hauled “normal height” 16’ trailer with Ford Expedition, and am not finding any difference in terms of safety. Mileage? About 7.8 on flat, 6.7 up hill……best I had at speed of 55 miles about 9 miles/gallon (US). Of course this is only my personal experience, but I hope it might helps to someone who likes extra space in his/her trailer and owns 4Runner (V8); happy towing!!!
#18 of 124 Re: Toyota 4-Runner Towing [jdower]
Feb 11, 2007 (9:47 pm)
I think the "problem" is that when you are not pulling the trailer your car is shifting into top gear which is more efficient than your towing gear of 4 sometimes shifting down to 3. That is probably several mpg. Hope this saves you a trip to the dealer.