Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

Towing over 4,000 lbs.

caturicecaturice Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in General
I will be buying a truck (ideally a Toyota) by the
end of this year, which will be followed up with
the purchase of a boat. The truck will also be my
primary vehicle so it needs to be reliable and
somewhat practical. The boat will weigh just under
3,900 lbs (without trailer) and the Tacoma V6 has a
towing limit of 5,000 lbs. While I wouldn't be
exceeding that, is it wise to approach this limit
so closely? I'd be getting the locking
differential, but don't really want to get the 4x4
since it costs more (in purchase price, gas mileage
and maintenance) though it would help me at the
slippery boat ramp--any input here?

If y'all think it foolish for me to go this route
with the truck, how about if I get put a TRD super
charger on it? That would increase the hp from 190
to 256 and the torque from 220 lb.-ft. to 267
lb.-ft. I realize that this add-on probably puts me
in the price range of a Tundra V8 (245 hp, 315
lb.-ft.) or maybe an F-150, but unless that's
absolutely necessary, I'm against a truck that

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!


  • agentboyagentboy Member Posts: 11
    If the boat weighs 3900 lbs, the tandem axle trailer (assuming aluminum I-beam) will weigh around 1200 lbs (more if galvanized steel). Add the weight of fuel on the boat, a bunch of "stuff" on the boat, and you're looking at close to 6000 lbs. Now, add the weight of all the people and "stuff" in the truck and subtract that from the vehicle's tow rating and you'll see that you will be WAY WAY over a 5000 lb tow rating.

    It's not just the engine's power which determines a vehicle's tow rating, you also have to factor in the transmission and suspension capabilities. If you tow a load over the vehicle's rating, you open yourself up to all sorts of legal liabilities (as well as voiding any vehicle drivetrain warranty).

    And good luck trying to pull a 6000 lb load up a steep, slick boat ramp with a compact pickup. Even a full size 2WD pickup can have problems unless you get enough weight over the rear wheels.

    I would definitely recommend a full size, long wheel base truck for your towing situation.

    Doug ('99 Sierra 2500 ext cab, 6L, 4.1 axle)
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Sorry, you will need a full size. And yes, you can be held very liable if you exceed the trucks towing/hauling cababilities and/if you have an accident. (Friend is a state pratrol person).
  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    A full size SUV or full size pickup would be better and safer. A 1500 will give you 7,000# towing capacity easily and still give a decent ride. Extended cabs are useful, popular and will hold better resale. I also recommend the tow pakage and heavy duty service group package.
  • polsenpolsen Member Posts: 25
    Sorry, nobody likes the compact pickup. The RVing Trailer crowd champions a 75% towing limit. That is 75% of the listed towing capacity in order to maintain a reserve for emergency handling and braking. 75% of 5000 = 3750#, barely adequate if your numbers are correct. The other point hinted at here is that stability is greatly enhanced by a longer wheelbase. The usual recommendation is the wheelbase of a long-bed standard cab full-sized pickup. The Trailer experts also are big fans of the hensley or pull-rite hitches that reduce trailer sway.
    I used a S-10 pickup and U-haul trailers on several cross country trips and the sway was hair-raising. My Ex borrowed it to move the other direction and wrecked it because of sway.
    Most of the first person accounts I've read at www.dejanews.com (a newsgroup search site) reported a big difference in white-fingered driving after moving up to a longer wheelbase.
  • caturicecaturice Member Posts: 7
    I should have specified-the 3900 lbs. is the boat's wet weight. Add the trailer to that and it brings the total right around 5000 lbs. The Tacoma's GCWR is 9000 lbs. and its curb weight is 3300 lbs. so total that all up and I have about 700 lbs. left over for people and gear, no? (Is tongue weight supposed to be figured into this?)

    Let's assume that I'd approach, but not exceed, both the towing weight and the GCWR. The Tacoma has a wheelbase of 121.9 inches. The Tundra has a wheelbase of 128.3 (extra-cab, short bed--only configuration offered). Is this difference of under 7 inches going to make a noticeable difference in the stability? Is the wider stance important too?

    I would definitely be getting the Tacoma tow package (including sway control) and the heavy-duty service package. And the trailer would have brakes. Although the full-size truck would be better, is there that big of a difference between the Tacoma and Tundra? (I'll end up buying whatever truck I need to for the boat, but I'm just trying to keep the truck as close to what I want as possible.)
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    Tongue loading should not matter, unless it causes you to exceed the GAWR for the rear axle.

    I have pulled loads like yours with my Chevy S10. It can do it, but you may find yourself driving in 3rd gear to hold 50 mph into a strong headwind, or up a hill.
  • FETZFETZ Member Posts: 51
    If you're going to tow that much weight at speeds over say, 45 mph - definitely get a full size truck.

    I know from personal experience, that even if you don't exceed the manufacturer's tow rating, you can still get into trouble.

    I had a Ford Ranger rated to tow 5,000 lbs. I was pulling a 4,000 lb. (wet weight) travel trailer at 60 mph, and the sway got out of hand. It sent me into a sideways slide, and when I steered into the skid attempting to regain course, it snapped sideways the other direction - doing this back and forth "cracking the whip" six times before I was able to regain control. It was all over the highway. I damn near went sailing off a cliff. Needless to say, that scared the living @#$% out of me and my passenger. I was very lucky the trailer didn't roll over and take the truck with it, or hit any other cars.

    Compact trucks may have enough power to pull that weight. But in my opinion have too short a wheelbase, and aren't heavy enough to keep the rig safely planted in your own lane when you approach freeway speeds.

    The #1 thing you can do for towing stability is go for a long wheelbase. Now, I wouldn't tow anything over 2,000 lbs. with a compact truck at freeway speeds.

    I tow a larger trailer now (about 6,000 lbs) and pull it with a one ton longbed crew cab. I know that's overkill, but it's stable as the Rock of Gibralter.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Member Posts: 2,721
    I never had a sway problem like that, even with my short wheelbase S10 pulling a 4000 lb trailer at 60 mph.

    I think the design of the trailer has as much to do with stability, not just the truck.

    A longer wheelbase truck should help stability, all other things being equal.
  • caturicecaturice Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for all the input. I'm leaning toward the Tundra now. I've got a few months left before I buy, so if you've got any more comments feel to post.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Do your children a favor and buy American designed/made.....
  • caturicecaturice Member Posts: 7
    I understand where you're coming from. However I did that already, in the form of an '87 Jeep Wrangler. Which is the reason that the vehicle I'm going to be buying this time around is based on the manufacturer's track record, and not much else.
    Besides, Tundra is made in Indiana. And I don't plan on having kids.:)
  • rick63rick63 Member Posts: 10
    Try a Heavy Duty Dakota,
    I know the Big truck fans will say that is an oxymoron. My loaded 4x2 is I believe rated to tow around 6700# and I have the 2000# payload package as well. All in all I believe it to be a potent hauler of moderate sized loads in a small package
  • dolson2dolson2 Member Posts: 1
    Will the Toyota Tundra v-8 handle steep hills pulling a 5,000-6,000# trailer travel in Oregon?
  • caturicecaturice Member Posts: 7
    There's a review of the Tundra in regard to how well it tows in the August '99 issue of Trailer Boats magazine. Unfortunately they chose to tow only a 4200# boat. Still, it deals with the towing perfomance, which I haven't seen in any other reviews. (As far as picking up an issue, I've only seen the magazine available at marine stores and a couple of airport magazine shops.)
  • chimaerafarmchimaerafarm Member Posts: 2
    ok. help! i'm trying to determine which truck will suit my purposes, best. towing a 6000# horse trailer. add three horses, plus tack and you've put on, before passenger & vehicle load, at least another 4500#s.
    have looked at dodge 3500 dully and ford 350. learned that the f350 is not the f350 of old, even as a dully. seems one needs to step up to the f450 to get what used to come with the 350.
    add to the mix that sales persons claim that i can get what i need with a gmc 2500 (uh-huh???).
    anyone care to offer an opinion on what i should get.
    btw - no major off road or steep mountain roads.
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    I also have a Ranger rated to tow 5,000lbs. Go with a full size if your going to tow this much weight any distance. Think safety. The most I have towed was about 4200 lbs. The Ranger pulled it just fine but it was only across town. I wouldn't try it across state or country though.
  • blugillblugill Member Posts: 36
    My understanding was the old F350 became the F250 superduty. The F350 (superduty) is a new design. Can someone verify this?

    In any case, the F250 (superduty?) should be able to pull this much though the 350 is better.

    What is missing in the F350 that you think you need? The 350 with dualies (and probably SRW) shoud work just fine.

    I know a guy who often hauls 20,000# (or more) in his dodge 3500 w/cummins, and his only complaint is that the transmission doesn't have enough gears so he can't get to the next gear on a hill. His only worry is if the DOT were ever to stop him, his license doesn't allow that much weight.

    BTW, are you sure about that 6000# weight on the trailer? It sounds like maximun loaded weight, I can't imangine a horse trailer that heavey. A camper trailer yes, but not a horse trailer.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    old f350 is not the new f250SD. Brand new from the ground up are the SD's.

    The F350SD should work great for your purposes. My buddies V10 will pull our jointly owned travel trailer around like a breeze. Go with the 4.30 rear end.
  • dewdodewdo Member Posts: 2
    Been towing a 15,000 lb fifth wheel for five years with a 1994 Ram 2500 with the Automatic with a couple of transmission problems that were my fault. I used a D-Celerator exhaust brake which caused the nylon connector in the line going to the cooler to blow out due to heat generated going down hill.

    Just bought a Ram3500 4x4 diesel and had the BD brake installed along with the "Auto Loc" to keep the converter locked up when using the brake. So far looks pretty good.

  • zcowgalzcowgal Member Posts: 3
    HELP!!! I'm about to buy a new truck and need help: Has anyone had any problem with the Ford F Series 4x4 truck bed being too high for a goose neck trailer that the trailer does not ride level (rides front end high)? I understand that Ford will adjust (no chg) the axle heigth 2" up or down to fix this problem...Has anyone had this done? I have a new 3 horse trailer w/ living quarters and am buying new truck. Will a F250 SD Crew SWB be safe enough for 21.5 length horse trailer? Or should I get the F350 SD Ext. LWB??? The F250 will be near max tow weight.
  • blugillblugill Member Posts: 36
    Yes, I know people who have had problems with the bed height of the F250. If the dealer can't adjust the spacers enough, the trailer sales people should be able to adjust the trailer to fit.

    My great uncle who had this problem had to put spaces on the axel of his older horse trailer, the horses just have to step higher. He has one of the first '99 superduties though, as I recall Ford has changed the default hight and a new F250 might fit.

    When you are towing heavy stuff, long wheel base a dualies are better. You can of course get by with near maximun weight, but if you are close going with both DRW and LWB will make the whole system more stable. Depending on your driving skill this might be niessicary. As I recall the difference will only be a could thousand on a 30,000 truck. If your doing the rodeo circuit than you should do the f350 LWB DRW, if you are just taking the horses to the local fair once a year there is no need.
  • zcowgalzcowgal Member Posts: 3
    thanks bluegill~ I've come to the conclusion that the F250 will not be enough truck. I'll be hauling to alot of shows, some several hundred miles away. Don't want a dually though as this is also my only vehicle and often need to go to the city. Considering the F350 SD turbo diesel, crew cab with SWB, SRW. Also...found out through asking around that Ford will provide a free one-time adjustment to raise or lower the axle 2 inches. Even the salesmen at the Ford dealership weren't aware of this...found out through their service department. Hey...thanks for the input! Appreciate it!
  • comptimecomptime Member Posts: 19
  • ckitchensckitchens Member Posts: 67
    Spent plenty of time towing things. How much time do you intend to use your vehicle towing 2,000 pounds +? Anyway, a small V-8 or even larger would be a very good choice. Pushing any engine and usually more important the corresponding drivetrain to the limit - is just not a good idea. Buy a truck and engine/drivetrain larger than you think you need. It won't cost must more for commuting and you'll really appreciate it in the long run.
  • moudry1moudry1 Member Posts: 61
  • babsriggsbabsriggs Member Posts: 2
    I only have 15,000 to spend on a tow vehicle. I will be towing a 2 horse gooseneck. What should I be looking for? so far, I plan on a 3/4 ton 4x4. What else?
  • mckainmckain Member Posts: 20
    I tried towing this weekend with my new 99 1500 silverado/extcab, 5.3L, auto, 4x4, w/Z71. My previous truck had a 9000lb suspension so it never had a squating issue, but this truck does. I haul 1000 lbs of truck payload with 500-800 Lbs of tongue weight.

    Setup like this the rear dropped 3" at the receiver. This puts the headlights at the top of the trees... not good.

    I bought the 1500 because the older C20 w/heavy suspension just road too rough the 300 days of the year I was not towing. So I was wondering what you would recommend to solve the sagging issue. I don't want to make the ride any worse (its still a truck!) than it is now when the truck is empty. But I need more rear-axle capacity when towing.

    Suggestions comments welcome. Any websites I should look at?

    Overall the truck had plenty of power (w/3.73) and was very stable. The trailer is a 16' dual axle flatbed, total trailer weight (last weekend) about 3500lb. A few times a year I'll push this to 6500lb. But 500-800 on the tongue is consistent.

  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    Adjustable shocks in the rear may take care of your varying loads.
  • moudry1moudry1 Member Posts: 61
  • gsirogsiro Member Posts: 1
    I need a 4 wheel drive vehicle with decent miles per gallon and ability to occassionally tow a 25' sail boat on a tandem axle trailer under 4,000 pounds. I have towed this boat cross country with a 1988 Ford Aero Star with a 3.0 engine with no problems. I don't care if I have the best truck in the market. Price and miles per gallon are very important to me. Any suggestions estimated costs?
  • moudry1moudry1 Member Posts: 61
    The new chevy engines are very efficient.A base model silverado with a 5.3 liter,3.73 rear end would be a very econmical choice and do a great job. Check this site for invoice and options.
  • carmolarcarmolar Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone have a recommendation on a reliable SUV that will tow a 5,000 lb (full weight) horse trailer? I need an SUV (as opposed to truck) to throw the kiddies and dogs in as well as pulling a trailer. I've been through three transmissions on an old Chevy C10 and don't want to do that again. I would be towing a couple times a month about 200-300 miles each time.
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Well first, wouldn't the SUV conference be a better location to ask this question? In any case, you might want to look at the Suburban or Expedition.
  • mozeemozee Member Posts: 12
    Your only choice for tow vehicle is a suburban or the new excursion,the expidition is not capable due to it,s short wb.Safe towing of live animals that may move around,requires a minimum 120'' WB.Any shorter is dangerous and many horses+people have been killed in finding this out.I suggest a new 2500 series suburban,nice ride and stable tow vehicle.Good luck. John
  • meredithmeredith Member Posts: 575
    As a result of 30 or more days of inactivity....

    this topic is being "frozen." It will be archived or deleted in the next 10 days or so.

    Front Porch Philosopher
    SUV, Pickups, & Aftermarket and Accessories Host
This discussion has been closed.