I hate to stir up this hornets' nest - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 11-11-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
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I hate to stir up this hornets' nest

I am curious about the factors that go into determining vehicle tow limits. We have a Toyota Sienna with the tow package & 3500 lb limit. We had the Timbren suspension enhancement system installed, thus considerably beefing up the load capacity of the rear springs. So I'm wondering what percentage the tow limit is based on suspension versus engine torque etc?

It has always seemed odd that different vehicles having the same engine have such varied limits.




Timbren Suspension Enhancement System
Timbren Suspension Enhancement System
Timbren Suspension Enhancement System
Timbren Suspension Enhancement System
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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Well one would also have to consider how rigid the chassis is, what the transmission can handle, how much mass the brakes were meant to handle, how strong the attachment points for the hitch are, etc., etc., etc..
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:32 AM   #3
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The tow capacity is set by the manufacturer and normally it can not be increased due to aftermarket add-ons. Your axle ratings will be the limiting factor, not suspension.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Beefing up the Suspension will not increase the load or towing capacity. The main benefit to beefing up your suspension is it will limit sag when hauling near load capacity. I did a lot of research on this subject as I was considering hauling the new 5.0 with a Nissan Frontier. I finally concluded that it would best for me to upgrade to a RAM 1500, which I did, ouch $$$.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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SJ23 Tech Tip A09 - Tow Vehicle Considerations
A comprehensive description.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #6
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Hi Neal,
Some of us can't stay away from the hornets nest. While in tow mode, do you plan to follow the idiots or lead a pack of maniacs? Take into consideration steep grades, adequate engine and transmission cooling, and your combined passenger & extra stuff weight.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
Jubal, thanks for the link to that excellent article. Next May we will start towing an Escape 19 with a 2011 4Runner, often in the mountains, and reading that made me glad we opted to stay at about 75% of the Toyota's rated towing capacity.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Changing or adding to the springs will not change the Gross Axle Weight Rating, because you don't know what - other than springs - may be the limiting factor for the axle. It might be the axle beam strength, hubs, bearings, brakes, springs, tires, or the frame... for instance.

Is the towing limit due to that axle capacity (GAWR), or something else? There are many factors, and there's no definitive way to know which one was the most limiting for any specific vehicle. In some cases it's easy to make a good guess, but that's only if the trailer limit happens to equal the difference between curb weight and GCWR, which is not likely the case if it happens to be nice round number like 3500 pounds.


Now, if you want to speculate...
I tow with a Sienna. My guess is that the 3500 limit is chosen for three reasons:
  1. it is the Class 2 limit, so it's a good description of the rough size of trailers that the vehicle is intended to handle;
  2. with an assumed 10% tongue weight and a desire to limit hitch weight to 350 pounds for structural or handling reasons, the result is a 3500 pound trailer; and,
  3. in a minivan, people are likely to tow with passengers and unlikely to check the total weight (GCWR), so some trailer weight should be picked that still allows for passengers and luggage while staying within GCWR, and 3500 pounds is a reasonable number.

I'm not disagreeing with your use of the Timbren blocks, Neal, but if you have the stock tires for the base second-generation Sienna, your GAWR-rear is limited by the tires.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveandsandyclink View Post
Hi Neal,
Some of us can't stay away from the hornets nest. While in tow mode, do you plan to follow the idiots or lead a pack of maniacs? Take into consideration steep grades, adequate engine and transmission cooling, and your combined passenger & extra stuff weight.
Most likely I'll be following the idiots.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:54 AM   #10
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I tend to pass the idiots (and responsible, yet slow drivers) if possible, and give way to the maniacs to pass. Most times, I seem to find a good pack willing to travel at the speed I like, which is maintaining the speed limit, or just a bit beyond.
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