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Toyota Tacoma Trailer and Towing Questions



  • tdomet11tdomet11 Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Tacoma 4 cyl.. Would like to pull a lightweight pop up camper. I am being told it can not be pulled from the bumper (just using a tow ball) with out adding a permanent tow bar, witch will be bolted onto the bumper. We pulled a heavier camper just on the bumper of a Mazda are Tacoma’s that much different?
    Can anyone tell me if a 2007 Tacoma is pre wired for the light hook up. I have been told by a garage it is not and will have to buy a converter for it and they want to charge me for 2 hours of labor to install a converter and run the wires for my camper.
    Please send information will appreciate anything I can find out. Thank You
  • bhdpalbhdpal Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 2007 Toyota Tacoma Extended Cab 4X4, V-6, 5 speed automatic transmission Pickup Truck. It does not have the towing package. I checked under the rear bumper for a trailer connector wiring harness but did not find any.
    I want to wire the truck lights to a four wire flat plug that will activate the lights on a small boat trailer.

    Where can I find do-it-yourself instructions for this task or would I be better taking it back to the dealer ?
  • mtranchmtranch Posts: 1
    My husband and I are considering purchasing a Tacoma and they have a towing package ($650) and an off-road package ($3800). Which of these is worth the money? Does the off-road package help with towing or increase towing capacity?
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Find a good hitch and trailer shop. They do it every day.
  • dperdper Posts: 1
    I bought a toyota tocoma 2007 and need to know if this truck ready to be hookup with wiring kit to pull a trailer. If the truck is already wher are the conection
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    I am trying to find a reliable truck with as good gas mielage as possible that can tow a maximum 5,500 lbs hard sided (not fold-down) travel trailer (that's the GVWR fully loaded up + 2 passengers)without overtaxing the engine going up hill and while still getting decent gas mileage towing and around town (particularly around town). I noticed that several versions of the Tacoma have a GVWR tow rating of 6,500 lbs, but no one seems to be using them for tow trailers. I have seen one posting about using a Tundra for towing loads, but the gas mileage on the Tundra looks awful. Does anyone out there use their Tacoma for towing a travel trailer? If so, how much do you tow, how does the Taco do uphill and what's the towing and non-towing real world mpg? Is it true that I should get a Dodge Ram 2500 with Cummins Turbocharged diesel instead? I like the Toyota reliability, but want the right truck for the job.
  • gandalf1gandalf1 Posts: 62
    I have a 2006 Tacoma V6, 4x4 DC (with tow pkg) that I've been using to tow my 22' travel trailer for the past year. The unloaded weight of the trailer is 4,340 (max. rating of 5,500). I would estimate that the trailer weighs around 5,000 lbs. when I tow - plus two adults, one rugrat.

    Your situation might be different but here's what I was looking for. I wanted a truck that can serve as my hunting truck, our second family 'car', and then tow our trailer adequately when necessary - and get reasonable mileage, especially around town when not towing. My Tacoma consistently gets 17 mpg (checked today and it was 17.25) in strictly in town driving (SoCal suburb driving with lots of signals and traffic), and usually 21 mpg in strictly freeway driving - @70mph. The Nissan Titan I was considering probably gets a 'real world' 10-11 mpg in town - I am sooo thankful I bought the Tacoma and not the Titan (plus, the Titan has some quality issues as well).

    So far, I've towed the trailer on 4 trips, the longest about 600 miles with lots of big hills. And I am leaving next week on another 600 mile trip. Obviously, a big V8 or diesel will outpull the Tacoma up a hill but so what if I have to drop down a gear and it takes me a few minutes extra to pull a long, steep grade? Besides, I'll pass the V8 while they're getting gas - or would if they didn't have a much bigger tank than my 21 gal's! ;) I do take it fairly easy on those steep hills (maybe 3-3.2k rpm)and the truck could take a lot more but I plan on keeping the truck for a long time so no use pushing it. Of course, the Tacoma is fine on the flat stuff at the CA posted towing limit of 55 mph (and could probably do 70 mph if I wanted to push it..). I get around 12mpg when towing, big hills and all (or, about what a V8 gets in normal driving and not towing).

    So then, the Tacoma was a compromise for me. It's great the 95% of the time I'm not towing with very good mileage for a 4,100 lb truck, and adequately tows my trailer when called upon. Frankly, I was a little worried initially about how it would tow up hills and much relieved when it did a pretty good job.

    I haven't jumped on this forum for quite a while but will check back over the next few days in case you have more questions.
  • banowetlbanowetl Posts: 6
    I have an 06 Double Cab Sport long bed (with the tow package) that I use to tow our 21' Starcraft camper. It't dry weight is only 2900lbs and probably 4000lbs when loaded. I have an Equalizer weight distribution hitch which distributes the load over the trucks two axles. The long bed gives my truck an extra foot of wheelbase which makes the ride smooth when pulling the camper. I use my truck for comuting and hauling as well as towing much as gandalf1 does. The Tacoma gets mush better gas mileage that a full size truck and I am satisfied with the towing performance that it gives me. On a recent trip of about 140 miles going thru hilly areas, I got 16-17 mpg towing the trailer. Yes, a full size truck would have been going faster up the hills, but the gas savings with the Tacoma the rest of the time is worth it for me.
    I have a brother who has a Dodge 2500 diesel and I would not be able to drive such a truck the rest of the time. The noise of the engine is unacceptable to me.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    Thank you, gandalf1 and banowetl, for your helpful responses. Most of our road trips will be 1,200-2,000 miles round-trip, including plenty of hills and grades, so I am glad to hear that you've both been getting decent mpg even towing. I still have a few questions:

    1. Engine power (my biggest concern): I want to feel confident that the truck has enough power to maintain a reasonable highway speed on most hills. Could you confidently take 5,000 lbs. up a long, mild grade at say 50mph, or would the Tacoma slow way down to say 25 mph? How often and under what circumstances have you had the feeling that you couldn't get it to go faster if you got behind and pushed?

    I am in total agreement that getting better mpg is more important than being able to race up a hill at 75 mph--I don't expect to be able to go even 40 mph up a steep grade--but at the same time, I wouldn't be comfortable slowing to, say 25-35 mph on a mild but long grade, because to me, that means that my tow vehicle is underpowered for the load and could be unsafe in inclement weather and challenging conditions.

    2. I definitely plan to use an Equalizer sway control and weight distribution hitch and appreciated hearing that the long bed helps in keeping the ride smooth--Banowetl, are you using a 4 x 4 too? I was planning on getting a Double Cabd in a 2 x 4 because the gas mileage is supposedly a little better and my wife's older Nissan 4 x 4 used to go out of alignment a lot even when it wasn't taken off-road. Would you both recommend a 4 x 4 for towing, or will a 2 x 4 do just as well? We will be taking some washboarded dirt and sandy roads, but I have seen minivans doing well along them, so wonder if would we need the 4WD? Do you feel it helps with towing traction?

    3. Any other optional equipment or after-market add-ons that you would recommend for increasing safety, power, mpg?

    4. Banowetl's Starcraft is, I assume, a fold down--Gandalf1, what kind of travel trailer are you towing--is it a hardsided or fold down? If hard-sided, are you happy with it?

    Thanks for your input on any of the questions above!

    We want a lightweight hard-side that doesn't fold down So far, looking at the 17' Casita, the 18-20' Trail-Lite Crossover and TrailCruiser, and similar "lightweight" TTs. The manufacturer's websites are not all very straightforward about the GVWR of their TTs, so I am still researching which will get us the lowest GVWR with the size fridge and storage we need, and just 1 Q bed).

    Like gandalf1, this would be the second family car, so the Titan and Tundra's mpg are unacceptable(we are in Phoenix, AZ, with traffic that is often very similar to SoCal, though I try to avoid getting stuck in it as much as possible).

    Banowetl's note about the Dodge engine noise would ring true for me as well--can't stand noisy engines. The main strengths that caught my attention with the Dodge 2500 Ram Turbocharged Cummins diesels were the gas mileage and that Dodge is now manufacturing their 6.7L engine to comply with 2010 clean emission standards, while the current Tacoma and Tundra have very poor air pollution ratings (which makes no sense from a manufacturer that is able to make a Prius--the plug-in electric hybrid will be our next purchase when it comes out).
  • gandalf1gandalf1 Posts: 62
    tent2tt: Whew, hope I don't miss a question! But I know this is important to you so I'll give my honest opinions.

    First, my trailer is a 2005 22 foot Outback by Keystone(although model is listed as 21RS, the length is 22.1 feet), and hard-sided, two axles. This is not one of the so called 'lite' models. It has every option available (A/C, microwave, awning etc.) so that puts the unloaded weight up to the 4340, although the brochure says it's 3990. And like I mentioned before, it is probably around 5,000 when I tow it (and 1,500 under the Tacoma's rating). The queen bed slides out the rear so it's essentially a 26-27 footer once it's set up. Frankly, from what kind of trailer you're thinking about, the weight should be much less than my trailer.

    Yes, it will pull a long, mild grade at 50mph or better, but you will have your foot in it a bit, and of course, we're talking 4th gear, not overdrive. On the trip I took it on last year (and will again next week), I got up to 7,500 ft. elevation and there's a long, very steep grade (like 10-15 miles or so long) that seems like it is 30 degree's, that I pulled at 35mph, but could have gone 40mph (and I could have gone 140mph coming down that sucker..). Btw, they say you lose 3% hp for every 1,000 ft of elevation, so at 7,000 ft, I was 21% short of sea level hp.

    I use an equalizer hitch and sway control bar (very unwise for anyone not to I think). Also, Toyota gives you a handy little pig tail plug-in (they hide it in the glove box) for connecting up your electric brake controller (I put in a Prodigy model)- to the left of the steering column, making the spare change holder inaccessible

    I think a 2x4 PreRunner model will be fine, and perhaps even better since it won't have as much to haul around as a 4x4. That said, and it sounds like you plan on doing some mild off-roading, so you get stuck just once in sand and you'll wish you'd bought the 4x4! I mainly got the 4x4 for my quail hunting trips, but there is peace of mind knowing that I can probably get my trailer out of mud, deep sand (when we beach camp) or anything else if need be, especially with the locking differential (part of the Off Road pkg). Btw, I put 140k miles on my last Toyota 4x4 and it never needed an alignment so I wouldn't be too concerned about that...although that was a solid front axle, not like these new independent front ends.

    I don't have any other optional equipment (other than I just bought clip-on extender mirrors, the regular mirrors wasn't quite enough). . The tow package comes with the good stuff - aux. transmission cooler, aux. engine oil cooler, HD battery, alternator etc. The only things Toyota should have included, but didn't, was the brake controller and extendable mirrors.

    Well, hope I didn't miss anything! And good luck!
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    You really took some time and effort to answer my questions and provide some important details that are very helpful. Your trailer actually sounds lighter weight than many of the supposedly "lightweight" models we are looking at, so I will check out the smaller Outback models to see what they have to offer.

    It does sound as though the 4 x 4 option might be smarter for our needs. We were recently trying to drive a "shortcut" dirt road on our way to Southern Utah. We were in my little Nissan Altima, which did as well as it could considering that it has hardly any clearance and the road was very rutted and washboarded. When we came to a sand pit, however, we had to turn around and go the long way (turned out to be the more scenic way anyway, but the dirt road would've shaved an hour off our time and gotten us a better camping spot). The trucks of course were plowing right through, though in slightly rainy conditions, I bet only a 4 x 4 would have made it.

    Really helpful also to hear about the brake controller set up and extendable mirrors. Thank you again and happy trailering!
  • gandalf1gandalf1 Posts: 62

    There will be probably be times when you will be towing and maybe thinking you should have gotten a Chevy or Ford half ton and their 9500lb (or whatever) tow rating, but I look at it this way. The Tacoma is just about the perfect truck for me the 99% of the time when I'm not towing (carries stuff - bed extender is cool, good mileage - esp. compared to a V8, and goes like stink - no kidding, it's fast), so I can handle the 1% 'adequate' while towing. And by adequate, I'm saying pretty good, and that's including towing up some major mountains.

    Good luck, and happy trailering to you too!

    Ps. Today, at the 10,000+ mileage mark, it needed a new air filter so I sprung for a lifetime K&N filter at Auto Zone for $36.99 (best price I found), instead of a standard filter for $20+ that will need replacing in another 10k miles. Plus, the K&N is supposed to flow a lot more air.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    You know, it really is a question of being willing to make some compromises and determining in what areas those will be.

    It looks as though the Cummins diesel engines last a long time without issue, but it's the other parts of the American vehicles that I am worried about: transmission, AC, electrical, fuel pumps, etc. There is deep loyalty and pride expressed by many diesel owners and at the same time, the reliability reports of the Ford/Chevy/Dodge products and warranty services are not anywhere near those of Toyota or Nissan. There must be some deficiencies in order for the reliability to be considered "average" or "below average" as compared with "above average." I wonder if the diesel owners giving their trucks rave reviews are just used to having to deal with a certain amount of chronic repair issues and consider them normal, or if in fact their particular truck has not had problems?

    If the Tacoma can tow 5,000 lbs. safely and steadily, and get better overall mpg, then I am willing to make do with going slower uphill (within reason) at times and having the diesel owners wave at me as they pass by. I am also considering the Nissan Frontier because it has higher torque than the Tacoma, which might give it a little more oomph up the hills, but the Taco gets better mileage (reliability wise, I have a Nissan Altima which has been terrific and my wife has a Toyota Echo, which is also fantastic, so I feel pretty confident in both makers).

    I really appreciate learning of the 10K air filter--I am right with you in being willing to spend a little more to improve performance and increase the car's longevity--after all, new cars cost as much as a downpayment on a house (well, maybe not a house in CA, but in a lot of other places still). These forums are really helpful and I thank you again for sharing your experience and great tips!
  • banowetlbanowetl Posts: 6
    1. In my towing of our trailer which is a 21 foot hard sided hybrid (pop out beds), I have always taken it easy on the big hills simply because of the mileage. I could have given it the gas and gone faster, but whats the point. I live in Iowa and was going to take it to Montana this summer until we found a house to rent north of yellowstone. I don't think that I would have had any problems with the hills in WY and MT. I know that I would be using more gas.
    2. I have the 4x4 sport package and use it in the snow here in Iowa and beach driving down in Texas. I plan on using it this summer on national forest roads in Montanna. I wouldn't change to a 4x2 even for better gas mileage.
    3. The Equalizer brand hitch is the best and works great with the Tacoma and my Starcraft. I purchased mine online and saved a bundle (free shipping). I also got the Prodigy brake controller. It was a snap to install witth the tow package and also works great. My other option was the skid plate which we used while beach driving
    4. We had been looking at the 2006 Jayco Feather Lite campers for $16,000-$20,000 when we found this hardsided 2001 Starcraft 21ck for sale down the block from our house for $4000. It is 21 feet long and has a queen pop out in the front and a full pop out in the back. It has the bigger dual powered fridge, microwave, hot water, air, and a 30 gallon water tank. The only thing that it lacks is an oven. On a few trips with the wife and my self, we did not put out the pop outs and slept on the dining table bed. Our next camper most likely will be a 25 foot Jayco Feather Lite. They have a slideout and an oven.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    Yours sound similar to our needs and we are happy to stay with a smaller footprint TT anyway...thank you for sharing what has worked for you and the excellent tips on hitch and brakes!

    We are both dreaming (literally) of taking some wonderful road trips soon.
  • caverdudecaverdude Posts: 1
    Interested in an 07 Prerunner with a limited slip diff. Salesmen have claimed that they all have LSD standard, but their literature indicates it is optional. Anyone know if they just don't know what they are talking about or do all Tacos come standard with LSD?
  • ltmarltmar Posts: 45
    The literature is correct. Depending on which model and option package is selected, different rear axles are offered. There are open, locking and limited-slip available.
  • bototowbototow Posts: 2
    Nice info.
    First, I just wanted to comment on the truck purchase issue.
    Go Toyota!! Nissan's are way less money for a reason. Dodge are scary too. Toyotas run and run and run.

    I will be getting my Pre-runner V6 4x2 w/ towing package set up this week. I am being quoted $700.00 to 900 for hitch, weight distrib., brakes and anti-sway. Also need the wiring redone for 7 prong instead of 4. Is this w/in reason?

    Tent2tt - I am purchasing a trailer that weighs 5100 dry and a little concerned myself. I hooked my truck up to a similar trailer at the dealership to test and it felt pretty good w/ out any of the equipment on yet. I have to wait for my trailer to come in so they are giving me a loaner w/ similar weight to take on a trip July 15th. I will be going into the mountains then. When I get back, if it felt like too much, I am going to jump down to a 4300 lb trailer instead. I will post my findings when we get back.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    That trailer weight of 5100 dry is worrisome... the dry weight, as you know, doesn't include all your fresh water, your food, your cargo and your passengers, so a dry weight that high could easily surpass your max towing capacity if you aren't really careful. We are looking at trailers with GVWR (that's dry plus all cargo) of 4300-4500 lbs., allowing a safety margin for towing up steep grades and at high elevations. Also, if you haven't bought your trailer yet, you may want to join the RVConsumer Group as a member--we did and believe it's well worth the membership cost because they rate trailers, campers, toyhaulers, etc. in terms of quality, durability and safety/highway stability. There is a huge amount of crap sold because there are few standards for the manufacturers, so if you are planning to really get a lot of use from your trailer, it may be worth narrowing it down to the best makes and models that would suit your needs. We have narrowed it down to just three manufacturers.

    A tow package price of $700-900 seems okay, but only if you are getting a good wdh/sway control with that--the Equalizer brand is particularly favored on online forums, as are the Prodigy brakes, so if you are getting a less-expensive brand for that price, then it is not a good deal.

    Really glad you like the Tacoma so much. We test drove a Tacoma 4 x 4 but didn't like how much it swayed back and forth when driving down the highway as well as off-road. Because we are planning to take a 5,000 GVWR trailer on backroads that can be muddy or sandy, we need a 4 x 4, so we took the Frontier out and really love the's much smoother. It's a matter of ride preference though, certainly not performance. We own both a Toyota Echo and a Nissan Altima and they have been equally excellent cars, so we like both manufacturers.

    Please do post your experiential results after your trip to the mountains! We would be eager to know how things went.
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