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Old 07-08-2018, 03:05 PM   #1
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A Question About Towing a 21

Hello everyone,
My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a new 21 and I'm trying to decide on a proper tow vehicle.
More than likely we will be on the road at least 6 to 8 months a year with travels ranging over most of the US and some trips to Canada and Alaska. So lots of mountains.
Is the general feeling that a new Toyota 4runner will handle a 21, or should I consider a half ton pickup?
I'm mostly concerned about overstressing the powertrain of whatever we end up buying.
I've been an aircraft mechanic for the last 47 years so I'm not afraid of doing any modifications to get the vehicle into towing shape.
If we have to keep the speed down when towing I can do that no problem, my daily driver is a 82 Mercedes 240D (67hp. new!)
Thanks for any info you folks can give us.
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:37 PM   #2
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A 4-Runner will tow a 21, but it will be hard on it in a mountainous environment. Being on the road 6-8 months annually I'd expect you'll be on the heavier end (more stuff), so a stronger vehicle would put you in a better position to stop and stay within payload weight limits. A larger vehicle might also ride better, which will be appreciated as you travel longer distances.
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:41 PM   #3
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Having towed an older model (2014) 21' which is lighter than the current one, with a 4Runner, and then we now tow with a Ram, my response would include several questions.

Do you already have the 4Runner?
Do you have a reason to want to use an SUV versus a truck?

There are a good number of owners using 4Runners and Highlanders, but I really enjoy not having to watch transmission temps, what gear I'm in, and and the weight of stuff we take like I did with our older model 4Runner

Bear in mind that the new 21 could easily have a tongue weight of 500+ pounds. My older one has that much, and if yours is well optioned, it could get well over that.

You sound like a patient guy if you're driving the Diesel, but you should try a test drive in some of the new pickups, diesel and gas of all the major brands. I think you'll be impressed.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:10 PM   #4
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I was looking at the 4runner because of it's off road capabilities over a pickup. We plan on staying in an area of an extended time so we can really explore before moving on.
My wife doesn't like the idea of a pick up for some reason. We've demoed a F150 and Ram and she isn't impressed with the ride, and thinks they're too big to trail drive in mountians. ( I kind of agree on the size issue)
I've been looking at 4runner forums and it seems like some say no problem pulling that weight just do a few mods, i.e. trans cooler, a regear, and others say don't even think about it.
As far as carrying more stuff a pick up is better for that, but does anyone really fill up the bed when traveling? And if so, with what?
Thanks for the very helpful replies!
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorbudd View Post
I was looking at the 4runner because of it's off road capabilities over a pickup. We plan on staying in an area of an extended time so we can really explore before moving on.
My wife doesn't like the idea of a pick up for some reason. We've demoed a F150 and Ram and she isn't impressed with the ride, and thinks they're too big to trail drive in mountians. ( I kind of agree on the size issue)
I've been looking at 4runner forums and it seems like some say no problem pulling that weight just do a few mods, i.e. trans cooler, a regear, and others say don't even think about it.
As far as carrying more stuff a pick up is better for that, but does anyone really fill up the bed when traveling? And if so, with what?
Thanks for the very helpful replies!
In regards to bed of truck

Question 1 = Yes
Question 2 = Gas grill , propane , cord , hoses ,lawn chairs , portable table , electric griddle , trailer accessories , tools , BAL leveler , Kindling , cooler , trailer repair parts , small air compressor , jack , etc etc etc etc !!

The bed of my truck is full

Most of which I do not want to carry in my trailer or inside the passenger compartment of my truck .
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorbudd View Post
I was looking at the 4runner because of it's off road capabilities over a pickup. We plan on staying in an area of an extended time so we can really explore before moving on.
My wife doesn't like the idea of a pick up for some reason. We've demoed a F150 and Ram and she isn't impressed with the ride, and thinks they're too big to trail drive in mountians. ( I kind of agree on the size issue)
I've been looking at 4runner forums and it seems like some say no problem pulling that weight just do a few mods, i.e. trans cooler, a regear, and others say don't even think about it.
As far as carrying more stuff a pick up is better for that, but does anyone really fill up the bed when traveling? And if so, with what?
Thanks for the very helpful replies!
Hey Rotorbudd, we are sort of with you on this and am interested to see what people are saying. We too are looking for an SUV rather than a truck for our new 21 due in December this year. We live in a mountainous kind of environment, and I can tell you that from the towing experience with our previous 17B and a smaller vehicle, albeit correctly rated for the trailer we had, it wasn't quite enough. If you want to be on the road for 6-8 months of the year, to my mind, a vehicle that's only rated 5,000 lbs will be barely enough for a 21. Sure it can do it, but long climbs will feel laboured and slow and you may find yourself frustrated at wishing you had gone for a vehicle that could tow a little more.

Someone on this forum (with apologies as I can't remember who) suggested that to be comfortable, you should only be towing at 80% of your maximum tow rating. Maybe something like a Tahoe or a Yukon or perhaps a Pathfinder or something with at least a 5,500 - 6,000 lb tow rating would be better for your 21.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
In regards to bed of truck

Question 1 = Yes
Question 2 = Gas grill , propane , cord , hoses ,lawn chairs , portable table , electric griddle , trailer accessories , tools , BAL leveler , Kindling , cooler , trailer repair parts , small air compressor , jack , etc etc etc etc !!

The bed of my truck is full

Most of which I do not want to carry in my trailer or inside the passenger compartment of my truck .
So I guess with a pick up and that in the bed I would need something like a Leer topper to keep it safe and out of sight?
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorbudd View Post
So I guess with a pick up and that in the bed I would need something like a Leer topper to keep it safe and out of sight?
I have a fiberglass Unicover topper painted to match my vehicle
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:13 PM   #9
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Just this past weekend we traded in our Jeep Commander (5000# tow capability, V-8) for a slightly used Ford F-150 because we were doing only 40 mph on the upgrades towing our 21. There was no reserve to get that extra oomph to pass, etc. This coming week we will be checking out pulling with the trailer. The truck has a tow capacity of 7600#. My husband really wanted to get an SUV, mostly for security and weather protection for the stuff in the bed of the truck.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:19 PM   #10
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Shucks--the message got sent before I finished.
We will be getting a canopy for the truck bed to deal with the weather and security issue.
We were amazed that we got almost 25 mpg driving up the Columbia River to Hood River (unloaded) and back to Vancouver, WA using the a/c intermittently--which is a whole lot better than the Jeep ever got unloaded. I find the truck easy to drive, although a little large for a tight parking, lot but great on the highway. Very comfortable and you can see over the guardrails better!
Nancy
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