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Old 09-18-2014, 10:31 PM   #11
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I think the idea of a heavy duty alternator is to supply enough juice to charge trailer battery and run fridge on 12V, assuming you have a #10 ground.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I think the idea of a heavy duty alternator is to supply enough juice to charge trailer battery and run fridge on 12V, assuming you have a #10 ground.
Yes, but even my first car - the smallest and cheapest thing Toyota sold in 1984 - had more than enough alternator capacity to spare 10 amps or more for a trailer. Alternator current output does not seem to be the problem; if it were, turning on the headlights in the tug would be too much for it to handle, even without a trailer.

Whether you have my old 35-amp alternator, the 100A to 150A unit now common, or a 200A alternator in a police or taxi package, the current to the trailer will still be dependent only on the trailer battery voltage, the internal resistance of the battery, the resistance of the wire to the trailer, and the tug's system voltage. The tug still runs the same regulated voltage, regardless of the alternator's capacity.

If anyone ever measured the voltage in their tug (where it is controlled, not at the end of the long skinny wire to the trailer) and found that it dips significantly when the trailer battery is attached, I might think there was some issue with the tug's alternator capacity.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:28 PM   #13
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Thanks for that clarification on the alternator, Brian. I don't know the reasoning of why there is a 130A alternator in the tow package from Toyota but (I know I'm going to regret saying this), I assumed, like gbaglo said, it was to supply enough juice to both the trailer batteries and the tow vehicle battery.

It sounds like the stock alternator will be plenty especially given the trailer will have solar.

Another question for you, Brian, seeing as you seem to understand this stuff: should I be ensuring a certain size wire is run to the trailer from the alternator then, when I have the brake controller and wiring installed? Sorry if I'm not saying it correctly, it's not something I understand real well, as if you couldn't tell.
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:48 PM   #14
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I'll defer to Brian, but when I was considering a 3-way fridge, Reace told me to get a #10 ground in the tow wiring to ensure enough power to run the fridge on 12 V. He also said that if I left camp with a depleted battery, towed with the fridge on 12 V, I'd still have a depleted battery when I got to the next camp.
So, I went with a larger two-way fridge ( no 12 V ).
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:01 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post

On the other hand, I like a high capacity battery for those sub-zero (F) mornings where the vehicle has been sitting for a couple of days in the open in the high country of Colorado. That's when every last Cold-Cranking-Amp comes in handy. And that's a lot easier to implement than swapping out an alternator.

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Thanks for your input Alan.I thought I knew why there is a larger capacity battery with the tow package but now I'm wondering.

I do understand the need for cranking amps for cold weather starts and I'm always sure to get a battery with plenty to start my truck in our Manitoba winters. Consequently I haven't had to plug in the block heater on any of my Toyotas.
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I'll defer to Brian, but when I was considering a 3-way fridge, Reace told me to get a #10 ground in the tow wiring to ensure enough power to run the fridge on 12 V...
No disagreement here at all - the wire size does matter (unlike the alternator current rating). Since the tug's voltage is whatever it needs it to be, the only way to get more power to the trailer (using a conventional setup) is less resistance in the wiring to the trailer, which means heavier gauge wire.
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by iamunique127 View Post
should I be ensuring a certain size wire is run to the trailer from the alternator then, when I have the brake controller and wiring installed?
Yes, although it has nothing to do with the brakes, it makes sense to do the wiring all at the same time. Rather than a specific wire gauge, I think of this as ensuring that it is at least large enough to allow adequate current flow for your trailer's needs... but how big is that? I ran 10-gauge, but never tracked voltage or current while driving so I really don't know how appropriate the choice was. I certainly wouldn't go smaller.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:40 PM   #18
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One part of the equation solved

Hi all

I looked into what I'd have to do to bring the Tacoma barely up to what I might need and the associated costs to do so, then decided it may not be worth the trouble after all. Especially if I had to change over hitches, etc. to another vehicle later on. Also, I suspected the resale value of the Tacoma would drop like a stone after it had a 5th wheel hitch in it.

So we decided to start off with a more capable vehicle right from the start, a Tundra CrewMax, 4x4 TRD Off Road including the tow package and a brake controller already installed. Reace tells me the 5.0TA will have plenty of clearance with a standard hitch, no need for a slider.



We pick it up tomorrow.

As far as the axle height goes, now I can just have Reace match it to the truck.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:48 PM   #19
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SWEET! That's a very nice looking ride When I supplied ETI with my build sheet, I also had to supply ground to bed rail height (at truck axle) and bed to rail height so they could adjust the hitch (it IS adjustable) to fit. I had the company they recommended in Chilliwack put in the hitch in my truck. YMMV
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:03 PM   #20
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Except now you will lose that nice matching cap on the rear
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