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Old 02-22-2021, 06:06 PM   #1
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4Runner as a tow vehicle

We are considering purchasing a 17B. We are planning to tow it with a Toyota 4Runner but are interested in whether anyone else has done so and if so how successfully.
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:50 PM   #2
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What year/engine 4Runner? All 4th and 5th Gen models should have you covered in terms of towing capacity and weight numbers, but performance will depend on other variables like the number people and amount of weight in the vehicle, typical terrain when towing (i.e., frequent mountain passes at altitude?), and personal expectations regarding speed and acceleration.

In general the 4th Gen (2003-09) V8 models are the "best" for towing given the more powerful engine and higher tow capacity. We towed our 19 with a 2009 V6 for a while. It was adequate but felt undergunned here in the Rockies with four people and loaded up for camping. There are other threads on here with people's experiences towing with the 5th Gen, I haven't towed with one of those.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:10 PM   #3
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We are planning to buy a new 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road which is a 4.0L V6.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:11 PM   #4
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We had a 2017 TRD Off Road and a 2007 Escape 17B. The 4Runner did well around Ontario, lots of power, but lacked power at higher elevations. I used a Eaz Lift Weight Distribution Hitch as the suspension is a little soft. I also used a ScanGauge2 to monitor transmission temps. On a cross country trip through Colorado and Utah I had to pull over 3 times,, it got to 230F but the weather was 90F.

Something to mention, consider your destination. If your heading into the mountains, you lose 3% hp for every 1000’ elevation. When we drove over Loveland Pass we were down 33% hp. You might want a vehicle with a turbo. If you do get the 4Runner, expect to be in third and forth gear west of Denver
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechele Wilson View Post
We are planning to buy a new 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road which is a 4.0L V6.
I have a 2020 4Runner TRD Off Road and prior to that a very similarly capable 2011 FJ Cruiser and have towed my 2013 19' and 2013 15B problem free with both. Have towed extensively through the mountains of BC, AB, and the Western USA. On very steep grades, you tend to slow down but I have found that encompasses a very small percent of my overall towing mileage and I do not fret about it, as the non-towing benefits of driving these vehicles more than make up for that minor inconvenience.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:36 PM   #6
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There would only be the two of us and a medium dog. Not a lot of gear.
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Old Yesterday, 01:35 AM   #7
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The forum Search facility reveals any number of threads pertaining to current 5th Gen 4Runners towing Escape 17's, 19's, and 21's. The general consensus seems to be "No problem" with 17's, "OK" with 19's, and "Adequate" with 21's - admittedly broad strokes but that's pretty much what it looks like to me.

Here are a few links that should keep you busy for a while:

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...ods-14793.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...1-a-12292.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...nner-4576.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...iser-1722.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...7-a-12321.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...ner-13989.html

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...nce-13422.html

A few things to keep in mind:

Much of what is said in these threads regarding FJ Cruisers (the later ones) carries across to 5th Gen 4Runners - same 1GR-FE Dual VVTi engine and Aisin A750E/F transmission and whatnot, although the FJ is likely lighter, and I'm not sure about differential or transmission ratios being the same;

Be sure to install some way to monitor the transmission fluid temperatures - ScanGauge or TorquePro or whatever;

Keep the RPM's up - torque and power tend to live at the higher end of the curve and the 1GR-FE's are pretty beefy can handle it.

We have now towed our E19 about 20,000 miles (the Pacific Coast and Southwest and finally our 2019 Alaska trip, including some pretty good mountain passes - but nothing like the Rocky Mountains), and have yet to regret for a minute hitching our trailer to our 4Runner. Nor for a minute have we regretted buying the E19 in the first place.

Maybe still wishing for a few pairs of things for the 4Runner: a pair of additional cylinders, a pair of additional transmission ratios, a pair of additional feet of wheelbase (except when off-roading of course).
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Old Yesterday, 03:08 AM   #8
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I traded my 2017 4Runner in on a 2019 Tundra 4.6L. All the numbers said it would do a better job except for one number I overlooked, the rear end ratio. I like to cruise at 110 km/h when towing, in forth, the motor was revving to high and to keep it in fifth, I was doing 118 km/h. The 4 Runner would have actually done a better job. Thankfully I only paid $34K with strong incentives ($25k US) so I traded it in on a gently used 2017 Tundra 5.7L. We'll see how that works out when I get my trailer from hibernation in May.
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Old Yesterday, 08:58 PM   #9
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Our 2011 4Runner - 17B combo has been fine for us in Idaho. 3rd gear required on steeper grades in higher elevations, easily moving along at 3000+ rpm and around 50 mph.
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Old Yesterday, 09:31 PM   #10
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Keep in mind 2'-itis. It happens to many and while we loved our 17B we went for a 21 within a year. The new Highlander got traded for a Yukon. New 4Runners are crazy expensive.
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