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Toyota Tacoma Trailer and Towing Questions



  • 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.
  • tacowoodytacowoody Posts: 3
    I have a 2006 V6 Tacoma Double Cab 2wd with TRD. I want to kick myself for not getting it with a tow package. Even without the constant need for towing I'd rather have the extra goodies for better performance.I have to tow a 19' travel trailer with a dry weight of 2900. Is there anyway I can get the tranny cooler, oil cooler, and 130amp alt and install them myself or have someone else do it?Toyota parts dept. says they don't sell those parts as accessories and if you don't have a tow package you're out of luck...told me to get another Taco with the package. That was a dealer in So Cal 909.Other inept parts workers don't even know what I'm talking about. One told me that a Taco without the tow package can tow up to 5,000lbs. What can I do? I went to the dealer yesterday and looked at the tow package Tacos and saw that the installation of the tranny cooler is pretty straightforward. Now the oil cooler was different.I don't know if it's an internal cooler within the radiator or something like that. Also if I tow...does it need to be in 4th gear so as not to burn out the tranny?For those in So Cal, I have to tow north up the Cajon Pass and then through the desert on the 395 and up Tioga Pass.I want to make sure my lil Taco can tow through this.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    I know what you mean about the parts and service people knowing jack squat--that's been true with Nissan too. However, I called a transmission shop and asked them and they said that an aftermarket transmission oil cooler could be installed, but they didn't think an engine oil cooler could and they do not recommend changing the alternator from 110 to 130. For one thing, it doesn't make that much of a difference to go from 20 amps higher, for another, putting in an after-market alternator in can apparently mess up the electrical components in the vehicle. Personally, I would talk to a few more transmission and repair shops that deal with trucks instead of talking to the dealers--they just seem intent on selling new cars and not providing good information and service on the ones already sold. If you find out any more details, please post them as I am sure we would all be interested to hear more on this subject!
  • tacowoodytacowoody Posts: 3
    I know of this place in Corona,CA called Hayden Automotive and they make tranny coolers including some of different ratings for the 2005-2007 Tacoma. I'm going to look into that. The part number is #402. I think PepBoys had it for $29. Those guys at Toyota gave me different answers from dealer to dealer. They didn't know what gear is best for towing. They told me to refer to the owner's manual which I did but it say's nothing about it. I told them my old Dodge recommended towing with the overdrive off. Then this Toyota service nut said, "well if Dodge says to do that you probably should with your Tacoma." Don't know if he was being sarcastic. They don't know jack.I really would like to have an oil cooler too. I bet that could really improve performance. Do you know if the oil cooler is internal like in the radiator? Would you trust the stuff from JCWhitney? They claim to have some after-market oil coolers for 06 Tacos but I don't know if that's possible or trustworthy info. I see what you're saying about the alternator too. Do they put in a heavier duty alternator to keep up with providing power to the trailer lights or am I missing something? Never quite understood why a heavier output alternator for towing. I'm going to start off with the tranny cooler and let you know how the installation goes. I wish Toyota had tow accessories they could install for you. At least you'd be more confident in the results. I wish they had more informed service techs. Thanks. I'll keep you posted.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    I was told by that transmission shop that the engine oil cooler would be a little box near the oil dipstick... I tried looking for it, but not being a mechanic, I couldn't tell what I was looking at. Maybe if you compare your engine with a truck that you know has one, then you'd know what to look for. I did get the impression that the higher amperage was because it was powering a trailer, but several people, including a few on some car forums said that 20 amps wasn't enough to make a big difference.

    Haven't heard of JC Whitney, but would recommend doing as much online research and posting on forums like this one to ask about other people's experiences. With how uninformed the dealers are about their product, I would swear they just drive go-carts themselves. Good luck!
  • Does a bed entender require drilling into the composite bed liner? Thanks.
  • bushsm135bushsm135 Posts: 2
    It is my understanding from a transmission person that a transmission cooler can be added to any vehicle. All it is, is a small radiator that is attached infront or off to the side of your vehicles radiator. I have one installed on an old 1978 Forf Granada which burned transmission oil due to heat after it was installed and the transmission overhauled I had no problems with the vehicle. As for the oil cooler if I am not mistaken its the same thing. The reason a larger amp altenator is used is because some trailers have electric brakes which puts a strain on the electrical system. If you do not have electric brakes then I would not change. Hope this helps.
  • bototowbototow Posts: 2
    We just got back from our trip in to the mountains with our toyota taco 4x2 v6 w/ towing package. The truck did great. We borrowed a trailer that weighed in at 4900 dry. We drove up to Mt. Hood which has a pass summit at around 4000 ft. and a pretty steep grade for about 6 miles. We waited to fill up the fresh water until we got to the top, but our route brought us back down quite a ways and then back up, didn't notice the difference really. We were able to go up the steep grades at 45 mph without pushing it much. Hanging around 3000 rpm ( no constant shifting into low gear) We probably had around 1000 lbs of gear and fluids between the truck and trailer not including us and the 20 lb kid. The only thing I am considering is adding some leaf springs for stiffer rear suspension. I think we are pushing the limit a little, and would recommend slightly less weight (maybe around 4000-4300 dry) only so you could load up more gear and fluids more comfortably. We are going to go ahead and buy the trailer w/ 5100 lb dry weight and deal with it, we really like the trailer. In a couple of years when we pay the truck off, we are going to buy a slightly used 4-runner w/ v8 which should give us a little breathing room.

    We got a Reese 1000 lb hitch w/ weight dist. and will be putting a dual cam sway control on new trailer.

    Does anyone know if the taco towing package has larger wiring to charge the house batteries quickly? And any tips on getting a generator. I am thinking of starting out with just a converter along with two 6 volt house batteries for quick 120v use.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    This is very helpful, gandalf & bushsm 135. Thanks for sharing this information. I will definitely be installing a supplemental transmission and engine cooler, as well as a heavier duty battery because we expect to tow up to 5,000 lbs. (total tow weight, cargo included).

    Really glad to hear that the Taco did so well.

    Happy Trails!
  • mwhitney1mwhitney1 Posts: 1
    I have an 07 prerunner,4door,TRD with factory tow package and 5000 miles. My first chance to check highway milage I pulled an open trailer with motorcycle total 800-900 lb.
    Ran 70-80 mostly , some flat (florida) some mountains Ga , NC . Worst MPG was 16.5 Best was 20. Truck ran as if trailer was not there on the flats. Going up hill in 5th the tranny would come out of overdrive then down to 4th. Never needed 3rd.Never ran hotter than normal.
  • aaronhiaaronhi Posts: 8
    I admit I am new to trailers with trucks but used to have a Tacoma and really loved it. My wife is going to be getting a horse and I wonder if a new tacoma can haul it in a two horse trailer? I would like to get either the extended cab or double cab 2007 or 2008 truck with the V6 and 4 wheel drive. I would only haul the horse 1-2 a month for horse shows in/around Connecticut. Can the tacoma do it or should I be thinking Tundra? Thanks for any advice.
  • uncalumnusuncalumnus Posts: 11
    I just bought my Tacoma. It has a towing package and is rated to tow 6500 pounds. I know nothing about horses and such. I hope this info helps. Personally if I were doing a lot of towing, I would think a V-8 is the way to go. It should have no trouble on hills and valleys. My Tacoma can go pretty good with the 4.0 liter V-6. I just don't tow, so my first thought is a V-8 is a better choice over the long haul.
  • I just bought a 2007 Tacoma with tow package and took the fairly new brake controller off my 4Runner. Question about wiring the controller to the Tacoma: the jumper harness provided by Toyota has 5 wires and my controller only has 4. As the controller was previously installed by Cap-It, they did not leave me with instructions. Unfortunately they did a messy job and I thought I could tackle installing the controller in my Tacoma myself.

    I can match up 4 wires, I think. According to Toyota's diagram:

    1. Black-red: fused trailer brake controller battery feed matches to the one labeled "Battery" on my controller
    2. Green-white: vehicle stop lamp switch to brake controller (input) to "Stoplight"
    3. Brown: trailer ground to "Ground"
    4. Red: trailer electric brake feed from brake controller (output) to "Brake"
    5. Green: Headlamp switch to vehicle trail lamps to ???

    Can anyone help? Thanks
  • I just bought a 2007 Tacoma with tow package and would like to install a fairly new brake controller which came off my 4Runner. I am not clear on how to wire the jumper harness supplied by Toyota to the controller: the jumper harness has 5 wires and my controller only has 4. As the controller was previously installed by Cap-It, they did not leave me with instructions. Unfortunately they did a messy job and I thought I could tackle installing the controller in myself.

    I can match up 4 wires, I think. According to Toyota's diagram:

    1. Black-red: fused trailer brake controller battery feed matches to the one labeled "Battery" on my controller
    2. Green-white: vehicle stop lamp switch to brake controller (input) to "Stoplight"
    3. Brown: trailer ground to "Ground"
    4. Red: trailer electric brake feed from brake controller (output) to "Brake"
    5. Green: Headlamp switch to vehicle trail lamps to ???

    Can anyone help? Thanks.
  • I had the same question and couldn't find an answer online. I called the local Giant RV service department and their manager said you only need four of the wires in the harness - leave the green wire unconnected. So that's what I am doing.
  • andiantandiant Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Tacoma with 3RZ engine. There is no break-out harness to connect a trailer wiring plug to. I checked to see if there was an available plug hidden by the tail lights, on top of frame etc. and come to the conclusion there is not one. The fuse boxes under hood and dash board do not reference a fuse for trailers.

    I am about to make my own rig coming from my unused power supply outlets but would rather go with the way it should be.

    Where does the power supply come from (fuse box under dash or engine compartment)?
    Where would the or is the connector to plug to an existing harness?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • Good evening everyone. I am from CT and am considering purchasing a 2007 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 with the optional tow package. My wife has bought a horse that weighs about 1,000 pounds. I have never towed in my life so am looking for someone with practical experience towing a two horse trailer. I understand what the Tacoma is rated to tow and it is more than we would need for a two horse trailer and one horse. I am curious to hear from someone on whether the Tacoma is the right choice for us or do we need to be looking at a Tundra or similar truck. Thanks for your time.
  • I saw your message and wondered if I had somehow been typing in my sleep, as I have almost the exact situation (only two horses to pull instead of 1) ... also from CT and looking at the 2007 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4. I don't have an answer for you, unfortunately, but will be very interested in hearing any feedback you get. Many thanks!
  • It must be a good question because I have either not gotten responses (here) or mixed responses ( I live in/around Hartford and it is getting tougher to find 2007s as the 2008s are coming out. I would prefer a Tacoma but just don't know quite yet. You might want to try calling one of the bigger trailer companies (one in Bolton, CT) and see what they say. Getting good prices on the 2007?
  • Question - I have a 99 Tacoma PreRunner (2.7L 4Cy) that is suppose to be rated at pulling 3,500 LBs. I'm looking at pulling a trailer that is rated at 2100 and probably 2800 GVWR. I realize pulling with a four cylinder is not great but will it work?
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