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Nissan Armada Towing

mikesr403mikesr403 Posts: 1
Can anyone help me with this..The GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) For the LE Armada is about 7000 lbs, it's curb weight is 5623 lbs, that leaves about 1400 lbs that the armada can be loaded up with to meet specs. With a towing capacity of 9000 lbs, trailers that are 7000 lbs and up have hitch weights of 900 to 1200 lbs. That leaves about 200 lbs. I weigh 250 lbs, does that mean my wife goes on vocation without me and the dogs. I can't believe that nissan would design the Armada without at least GVWR of 7500 lbs for a 9000 lb tow capacity...Somebody please explain.
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Comments

  • jklein1jklein1 Posts: 4
    Has anyone had problems with their 05 Armada rear differential going out when towing? We tow 8500 lbs from Phoenix to flagstaff and it has gone out both times. Nissan replaced the differntial - still went out. Replaced it a 2nd time and added synthetic fluid. Have not had a chance to test it again. Don't think it can tow that much weight up the mountains and do not beleive the synthetic will make that much of a difference.
  • What weight synthetic fluid did they add? I've put 75W-90 in my Dodge Dakota, but I only tow about 4,000 lbs. I would think you would need 75W-140.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,313
    Maybe if we tweak the title, some Armada owners will find your question.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • In order to tow this much weight requires you use a weight distributing hitch. Without a weight distributing hitch the Armada is only rated to tow 5,000lbs. With a weight distributing hitch up to 33% of the tongue weight will be distributed away from the tow vehicle and onto the trailer axles.

    Also, you should maintain a tongue weight of 10%-15% of the trailer weight. So, with a 7,000lb trailer you would maintain a tongue weight of 700 - 1,050lbs. Assuming your weight distributing hitch redistributes approximately 30% of the 700lbs, or 210lbs to the trailer axles this leaves you with about 490lbs added to the Armada. Taking away the 490lbs from your 1,400lbs available leaves you about 900lbs for other cargo.

    Maintaining proper tongue weight, and properly setting up and using a quality weight distributing hitch is essential when towing with an Armada or any other 1/2 ton vehicle.
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    When you say the differential "went out", what exactly do you mean?
  • The 1st time heading up to Flagstaff, Az it started smoking and burned up the seal and lost all the fluid. They replaced the rear differntial. They told me it was probably a bad seal.
    The 2nd time we tried, we could smell the burning fluid again, so we turned around and took it easy coming back home and they said they found metal shavings in there and replaced it again and this time they said they put synthetic fluid in. We took it up there once more, but did not fill up the trailer with water and left the quad at home to reduce the weight. We made it this time. Not sure what will happen the next time we add the weight to it...
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Wow, it is hard to believe that Nissan would give a truck a 9000 lb tow rating if it can't handle it. I would think the truck could tow 10-12,000 lbs. with no short term damage. Can they be so stupid to not realize they will get killed with warranty claims? Were you towing a boat or a house trailer? I'm not trying to suggest you are to blame (just trying to find out the true capability of the truck), but how certain are you that you were only towing 8500 lbs? I know with boats sometimes the actual weight is far more than the manufacturers specifications. Did your 8500 lb. estimate all your gear in the trailer and in the Armada, as well as the people in the Armada? Just curious, how hot did your trans get?...did you happen to notice the trans temperature gauge? I guess it could be that the differential just can't handle the weight, or it could be that the seal failed and the differential overheated when it ran low on fluid, but that doesn't explain the second occurance...unless the dealer did not replace the diff as they said they did, or the new diff was not installed correctly, which is not an easy job (can you tell I don't trust car dealers?) I have to agree that synthethic fluid could help as it does not start to break down and will continue to protect your diff until a much higher temperature. How hot was the weather when this happened? What speed were you driving? I had a Grand Cherokee that I used to tow my boat with. The pinion seal was installed backwards at the factory, and only when the diff got hot (when I towed my boat) did the lube start to leak thru the seal. Chrysler did specify 75W140 synthetic. At that time the only place you could find it was at a Chrysler or Jeep dealer, and they charged $23 per quart!
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    One more question...how did the rear suspension handle all that tongue weight? Did the auto leveling suspension do its job and prevent the rear of the truck from sagging? And how well did the truck ride while towing all that weight?
  • I have a 2006 Armada LE 4X4. I towed our 30' Travel Trailer with it over about 3000 miles down through Texas recently. The auto leveling suspension does well, but as you get close to rated tongue weight, it starts to sag. I have to adjust the weight distributing hitch (Equalizer brand) a little tighter and see if I can pull it a little more level. I'll let you know what I find.
    Ct..
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Thanks, what was the tonque weight of your travel trailer?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    10% is the max allowed tounge weight, that's 900lbs on the tounge weight at 9000lbs towing capacity. I've towed up to 6000lbs on my car trailer w/o a weight distributing hitch w/o any problems. I plan to be towing a 9000lb boat next summer with a tounge weight of around 600 or 700lbs w/o much issue either.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    a 9000lb cigarette boat with my 04 w/o issue. I would think that the issue with the original poster was that the dealer did not in fact replace the diffy, but rather cleaned it out and replaced the seal.

    Another option for those of use planning to tow often would be to get some finned rear diffy plates, perhaps off of the pathfinder to aid in cooling.

    -mike
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Paisan, how far did you tow it? Flat ground or hills? Did you use a weight distributing hitch? Any idea what your tongue weight was?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Only about 10 miles on back roads. Toungue weight was probably around 650-700lbs max. No weight distributing hitch on it. Usually I tow my race car trailer and my performance boat which weigh 6000lbs w/o issue distances of 500-1000 miles at a clip hilly terrain w/o even knowing they are there.

    -mike
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Mike, despite that you did not use a weight distributing hitch, was the auto leveling rear suspension (I assume you have that) able to overcome all that tongue weight and keep the truck level (by keeping the rear from sagging)? Did you notice if the steering became much lighter because of all the weight on the back of the truck (and less weight on the front)? Thanks again.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The air bags worked well, it also pays to put the correct hitch height. The hitch height of the Armada is pretty high, if you have a too short a hitch height you will force the rear end down.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Towed the 9,000lb trailer about 25 miles today on the NJTP and GSP. Amazed at how it towed. It towed better than with the 22ft boat! I barely noticed it was there in terms of sway. I felt it on the hills a bit but was able to maintain 65mph w/o issue.

    image
    image
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Just an update and FYI, towed the 33 Baja up from NYC to Lake George over Memorial Day Weekend. Put on a total of 600 miles mostly highway and up the mountains. Set the cruise on 69 and had the AC cranking, managed to get 10mpg and no towing or safety issues.

    -mike
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Mike, sounds excellent, thanks for the update. I assume the weather was as great as here (I'm in NJ). Where do you launch on Lake George, and where do you overnight? I'm headed up there the first week of July.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Weather was decent, Sunday had some T-storms (actually towed about 100 miles in some T-storms). Saturday and Monday were awsome.

    I have a friend who lives in LG and we usually stay at his place but next time I may stay on the boat either at the Lake George Village Muni docks or one of the coves. We lauched at Fishies Marina on the Eastern Shore. Heading up there camping on the big island July 8-12!

    I launch out of Barneget in NJ and Liberty State Park for NY Harbor.

    What kind of boat you have?

    I'm also planning on doing the rear diffy fluid shortly, so I'll let you know what that looks like after towing with the truck a lot.

    Pics are up http://pbase.com/paisan/mdw07

    -mike
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Great pics, looks like fun! I currently have a 20' Four Winns cuddy that I tow with my Pathfinder. I had been looking at 26' Express Cruisers (as well as a larger tow vehicle), but the high fuel prices have pretty much scared me away. What were they charging for fuel on Lake George this past weekend? Thanks.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sometimes I wish for a smaller boat. The twin 502s suck down about 1.5mpg cause I'm on the gas a lot :)

    Price was fairly cheap on the water about $3.75/gal on LG. I have a 185gal tank so I almost always tank up on the trailer. We put in 105 gal on saturday to the tune of $325...

    Cruisers are cool, my next boat will likely be a cruiser although thinking of selling the 33 Outlaw and getting a 30ft centerconsole with Twin 225s or 250s.

    -mike
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    $3.75 per gallon sounds about right. I've been going to Lake George for about 15 years, and the "on the water" price for 89 octane is typically about $.75 more per gallon versus filling the tank at a gas station in Glens Falls on the way to the lake.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    $3.25 was the going rate on land, so we thought it was a good deal! :)

    -mike
  • legcnelegcne Posts: 8
    I am towing a 35 ft travel trailer. Dry weight is 7350 lbs, hitch weight is 690 lbs. I am using a Blue Ox weight distributing hitch. Tows really well. I have put about 3,000 miles on it recently. But the rear sags. The rear fender well comes down to the top of the tire. Since the rear suspension is independent, the tires splay. Looks like a dog getting ready to take a dump.

    This Armada does have the factory towing package with a hitch capacity of 910 lbs. I was told it has an auto leveling system but if it does it isn't working. I have no idea how to tell if this auto leveling system is installed.

    Can you tell me how to verify this is installed? And how to determine if it is working as it is supposed to?

    If it is not, what would be the best way to raise the rear end? Airbags??
  • jklein1jklein1 Posts: 4
    When you put weight on the Armada, you should here the Auto Leveling whine and see the rear end lifting ever so slowly.
    I never had a problem with the back end being to low...just a problem pulling up a mountain.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If you have the towing package, then you have the auto-leveling airbags. I have about 900lb tounge weight and it sit's perfectly level. As was posted above, let it idle for a few minutes on a level surface and you should hear the rear pump running and filling up the rear suspension. To verify it has the towing package, check for the ATF Temp gauge on your dash. You should have Coolant Temp, Oil Pressure, ATF Temp, Volts, and fuel.

    -mike
  • haropharop Posts: 59
    In a few weeks I will be towing U-Haul 6x12 trailer for about 1500 miles. It is listed as 1800lb empty and 2600lb for load. I also found this at uhaul.com :

    "All U-Haul braked trailers use a surge brake system."

    I assume I don't need brake controller. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Related to this also I am not able to locate brake controller plug under the dash. Actually I found the white tag which reads "brake controller" or something but I cannot pull it out and I don't see the head. It is also possible it was already used by previous owner.

    And lastly I am planning to change transmission, transaxle and transfer case fluids. Any thoughts for this would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    -haro
  • rshershe Posts: 236
    Surge brakes don't require a brake controller. They sense the centrifugal force when the tow vehicle starts to stop and applies the brakes automatically. They can sometimes cause issues on downhill slopes, as the controller senses this as the tow vehicle applying the brakes.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You won't even feel a 6x12 box trailer on the Armada. I regularly tow my 35' Cig. boat which is about a 39' trailer with triple axles and surge brakes.

    As for the brake controller, none is needed on a trailer with surge brakes so you are good there. If you were to hook up a brake controller at some point you will need the harness that plugs into the trailer harness under the dash. Essentially there is a harness with bare ends that you connect your controller to and then plug that in under the dash.

    -mike
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