Towing an Escape 21: 4Runner or Tacoma? - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-23-2014, 11:39 AM   #11
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The difference in tow capacity between the two could be just the hitch. I investigated why my 2008 4Runner had a tow capacity of 5000 lbs where as the V8 version was 7200 lbs. Other than the obvious engine size the power output from both was almost identical, and since I was towing well under the 5000 lb anyway.

It turned out the V8 version has a full width hitch that is bolted to the side frame rails, whereas the V6 has a small hitch block that is just bolted to the rear cross member.

You can see the difference here, the original is on the left:


And here is the installed difference
Before:


After:
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
As a mid-sized, body-on-frame SUV, the 4Runner suits us very well for taking four adults on ski trips all winter, for logging road travel here on Vancouver Island, and for making town and highway trips year-round. Apart from towing, we really have no other reason to own a pickup truck, especially a full-sized one that won't fit in our garage.

In terms of rated towing capacity, the Toyota Tacoma pickup with the full tow package would seem to be our logical Plan B.
So I agree with this...
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Originally Posted by abby View Post
... since you appear to be a Toyota devotee, I'd suggest looking at a Sequoia.
Just as the 4Runner is the SUV in the Toyota range most comparable to the Tacoma, the Sequoia is the equivalent to the Tundra. In fact, they are largely the same vehicle (but the Sequoia has an independent rear suspension). If length is the garage issue with a larger truck, the Sequoia might be an option. If width is the garage issue, then the Sequoia will be out just as the Tundra would be.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
When comparing the specifications of the two vehicles, though, it's not clear to me why the 4Runner is rated at 5000 pounds towing capacity, while the Tacoma's rating is 6400 pounds with the automatic transmission.
In general, tow ratings have little to do with anything other drivetrain reliability and rear suspension capacity; however, Toyota is the one manufacturer which has been following the industry-developed SAE J2807 standard for towing capacity rating... so there might be an element of stability considered in the ratings. At a guess, perhaps the greater load transfer to the rear axle with the 4Runner's shorter wheelbase, combined with different rear suspensions, makes rear axle rating the key.

There are so many factors that it is often difficult to identify the determining factor in differences in ratings.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Keep in mind these numbers are not the only ones you should be looking at, there are also GCCW and GCWC, carrying capacities as well as others. You mention carrying 4 adults in the 4Runner but if you carry 4 in the Taco with fuel and the tongue weight you may exceed the carrying capacity. Some truck owners feel if the bed is empty they can add firewood and chairs, hook up a 500# tongue weight, add people and fuel and they can end up overloading the vehicle.
Excellent point.

As for the similarity of the FJ Cruiser and 4Runner: yes, both are based on the Prado chassis (although different generations), are very similar in design, and share drivetrain components as expected within one manufacturer's line of products. As always, the little details can make significant differences.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ian G View Post
The difference in tow capacity between the two could be just the hitch. I investigated why my 2008 4Runner had a tow capacity of 5000 lbs where as the V8 version was 7200 lbs. Other than the obvious engine size the power output from both was almost identical, and since I was towing well under the 5000 lb anyway.

It turned out the V8 version has a full width hitch that is bolted to the side frame rails, whereas the V6 has a small hitch block that is just bolted to the rear cross member.
Interesting comparison - thanks Ian.

I would not assume that a hitch which bolts onto the crossmember is inferior, since that crossmember could be much stronger (in its structure, and in its integration to the frame rails) than the separate hitch receiver frame. For one thing, they are likely different alloys of steel. I tend to trust Toyota more than Cequent in both design and execution, although neither is perfect and both can do good work.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:56 PM   #16
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We used to have a 2004 4Runner 6cyl, I bought it as it came with a factory hitch and wiring installed good for 5000# and 500#tongue. Dealer told me, and it was in the owners manual, you can tow up to 6400# but to do that you should have the V8, upgrade the hitch and add a good oil cooler. The images above showed you the two different hitches. I don't think you'll have much trouble with the 4Runner, but as many have said just try it first and see how you feel. Definitely noted a difference on gas mileage, sweet spot was about 95 to 100kph where we could easily get about 17mpg Cdn, speed up and it dropped to about 14mpg Cdn.
We get our 19 about the same time you get your 21, enjoy the experience.
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:08 PM   #17
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Thanks for the whack of useful information, everyone.

Ian G., I'll be underneath the 4Runner later today with a flashlight seeing what the factory hitch is connected to, and how.

Brian B-P, your comments make me realize the V8 Sequoia would be a better Plan B than the Tacoma, although I'll stick with the smaller 4Runner if it tows the 21' reasonably well in the mountains.

Astrobuff, I've noticed the 4Runner's 95 to 100 km/hr sweet spot for gas mileage when not towing. I assume it could still be the most fuel efficient speed when towing.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:43 PM   #18
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I think Reace's comment "That would depend on your expectations regarding your towing experience" is bang on. I think either V6 SUV or pickup would do the job with towing capacity of 5,000 lbs + the V6 being a fair compromise between towing performance and everyday use. I would consider a V8 SUV or truck if I have more towing in the mountains with this size of trailer, full water tanks, few extra's brought along and a vehicle not used everyday in the city.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:34 PM   #19
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We have a 2012 4runner for our soon to be picked up 17B, so we are in a different league.

You might want to check out this site and thread:
HEAVIEST load towed with 4Runner - Page 4 - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum

There is some good reading in the thread and there is a lot of recommendations to add a transmission cooler for heavier loads. We are planning on putting a transmission cooler in our rig before we pickup our 17B just to give our transmission a break on long climbs.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:04 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
We are planning on putting a transmission cooler in our rig before we pickup our 17B just to give our transmission a break on long climbs.
I have a suggestion: add just a transmission temperature gauge first, to see if there is anything to fix. If you do decide to go ahead with extra cooling, the gauge and that first bit of experience will let you evaluate how well the added cooler is working.

Extra coolers are extra potential leak points, and if not bypassed when cold they keep the transmission from warming up properly (yes, too cold is bad, too).

I have a motorhome, with a transmission temperature gauge. It is equipped to run under heavy load all of the time (it's like a heavy-duty pickup with a permanently attached large trailer), so Ford gave it a substantial transmission cooler as standard equipment, so the transmission temperature behaves like an engine coolant temperature gauge: runs up to a normal operating point, then stays planted there as the system works, despite changes in speed and grade. If I had added a cooler, there would have been zero benefit to justify the cost and risk.
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