2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 03-08-2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

We will be picking up our 19 ft Escape in May. I am trying to decide between adding rear air bags (to help the rear springs) versus using a weight distribution hitch. For easy of use I would prefer not to have to mess with the daily WD hitch ritual. For those who have a 2005-10 Tacoma pulling a 19ft how does the Tacoma do without the WD hitch? Any bottoming out or sway? I plan on dual propane tanks and eventually dual 6 volt batteries mounted on tongue. My Tacoma has the v6 tow package.
Thanks in advance
Ambrose
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

I know you asked for a response from those with your exact truck/trailer mix, but I'm going to jump in here anyway. We tried towing our current 17' Casita using our 4.0 L Ford Ranger with just airbags, and then with a WDH. We found the using the WDH MUCH MUCH more stable and solid and it provided us with a greater sense of security. In fact, I seldom inflate the bags these days.

While attaching the hitch is a bit of a nuisance, its really not that bad.

YMMV

Dave
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

I tow my 19 with an 06 Tacoma with the tow package, not the TRD model (which has a beefier set of shocks/springs). I found that the tow package makes everything in the truck HD, EXCEPT the rear suspension. Look at your rear leaves -- you'll probably see 2 springs with a shorter helper. You'll also notice a rather short suspension travel distance before the springs hit the stops -- under 3". We were bottoming out on big bumps on the 1000 mi.+ home from Canada. Not comfortable on bumpy roads.

I nuked the problem, probably overkill, and did both the air bags and the WD hitch at the same time. In retrospect, I think the better course of action would be to start with the air bags and take a few trips before deciding to add the WD hitch. However, with both, the ride is much improved and the whole unit feels rock-solid, even in stout wind. Bottom line - I think you'll really want the air bags.

If your Tacoma's still under warranty, it may qualify for a third option. Toyota has a TSB out for newer Tacomas -- "Harsh ride under load." They will add a third leaf and Bilstein shocks all around. I've heard that this cure can make the unladen ride so harsh as to be unpleasant, though.

On the whole, I think the Tacoma is a great TV.

Bruce
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:05 PM   #4
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

Thanks for the replies. I had the rear spring TSB done to my Tacoma a few years back. It helped some, but I am still using Hellwig leaf helpers when I tow. Bruce, have you ever towed your 19 ft with just the air bags? If so, how did that work? Also what brand Air Bags did you guys get. I have been looking at the Firestone and the Air Lift brands. I like where the Firestone bag sits (right over the rear axle) but you have to cut your bump stop off to install it. With that design if I decided against air bags in the future I would have to get new bump stops. With the Air Lift brand the bump stops stay in place and the bag mounts just in front of the axle. It seems to me having the air bag in the center, right over the axle is a better design.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

I tow a 17 with a 2007 tacoma with Firestone air bags. 6500 lb tow package on truck. No wdh. I originally installed the airbags when I had a truck camper and inflated them to 40psi. With the trailer, I run the bags at a very low 10psi. No sag, no bounce, no harsh ride, and trailer tracks well both on highway and on gravel. I have the bump stops and they can be reinstalled should I remove the airbags.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:10 PM   #6
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

hey Prairieboy- that's good news. What do you estimate your hitch weight to be? Also with your bump stops- what did you do just loosen the u-bolts and remove them? The Firestone installation instructions I have seen show cutting the rubber stops level with the u- bolts.
thanks
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:58 PM   #7
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

I had the work done at the local shop, and never even knew about the bump stops. I've not towed it with just the air bags; I have using the WD hitch down to a pretty simple drill. When camping, I just drop it under the tongue and cable lock it to the frame.

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Old 03-11-2010, 12:56 AM   #8
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Re: 2005-10 Tacoma towing 19 ft

Hi: Yes, if you loosen the u-bolts, the bump stops are removable. According to Escape, the dry weight of the hitch is about 250 lb or roughly 12% of the dry trailer weight of 2000 lb. Fully loaded, let's guess a max load of 800 lb for a total of 2800 lb and the hitch at 12% would be 330 lb. Which is only about 25% of my Tacoma's payload of 1205 lb. My truck has the 3 leaf rear springs rather than the stiffer 4 leaf pack. The 19 ft is a little heavier than the 17 but not much so unless you have a signficantly lower payload rating on your truck, can't see why your's would handle any different than mine.
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