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Old 09-27-2014, 01:38 PM   #1
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Tow 19' with v6 4Runner?

I'm very close to pulling the trigger on purchasing a 19' Escape. I've been through a bunch of posts here and elsewhere. I currently own a V8 2006 Tundra SR5 access cab and a 2014 Volvo XC60 T6. The Tundra would be perfect if it was a true 4door, but it is not. We are a family of three and the rear seats are cramped for long rides. My wife would be willing to let go of the XC60 if she got a new 4Runner in limited trim. I know these come with a tow hitch Class III, but do they also have trans cooler and trailer brakes, or is that after market?

Anyone have a newer v6 4Runner who tows a 19'? If so what is your set up? Cost? satisfaction with towing? Other v6 suggestions that are not pickup trucks? I prefer frame on body for towing. Thanks.
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:54 PM   #2
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Lots of threads here on the same topic. I haven't towed with a 4-Runner, but there are many forum members who do and are happy with it.

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...ckage-346.html
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...coma-3365.html
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...kage-1513.html

As for the towing package, all the new 4-Runners are SAE J2807 towing rating-compliant, with a 4700 lb towing capacity regardless of trim level. All come standard with a "super ECT" transmission with O/D, a lock-up torque converter and a transmission cooler. The 4-Runner will tow any 19 no problem IMHO.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:24 PM   #3
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I would trade up the Tundra to a 4 door and keep the V-8 and the XC60 .
After pulling your 19 with a V-8 the V-6 will not do the same job as the Tundra .
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Old 09-27-2014, 11:39 PM   #4
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GRINGOandTICA, I've been towing an Escape 21 with a 2011 4Runner for just over two weeks. In nearly all situations, including today's run across secondary highways and I-90 from West Glacier to Spokane, the 'Runner is up to the job, as I recently posted in an earlier thread on this site, and would be even more capable towing an Escape 19, which weighs 500 pounds fewer, and has less wind resistance. However, an experience a few days ago has me reconsidering my earlier conclusions.

We had left Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, and were headed to West Glacier in Montana. When we turned west at Browning, MT, we hit a substantial headwind. This, combined with some long, steepish grades at over 5000 feet altitude. brought our maximum speed on the uphills down to 40mph at times in a 70 zone where, of course, most other drivers want to be doing 80mph or more. The passing lanes were few, but fortunately traffic was light, and other motorists soon had chances to pass us, but that will not always be the case. I would have considered maintaining 55 or 60mph in those conditions as acceptable, but there was no chance of that with the headwind. I never want to be "that guy" at the head of a long line of frustrated drivers itching to pass, and possibly taking risks to do so.

Next spring we want to camp and hike in Utah and other states where the elevation and grades of the mountain passes are even more challenging than in BC and MT. The 4Runner will be as great as always for this winter's ski season, but I'm starting to consider replacing it with a V8-equipped Tundra or Sequoia before our next major towing trip.

In Canada, 4Runners come with a trailer wiring harness, beefed-up alternator, and transmission cooler. I'm not sure if US models are similarly equipped. You would have to spend $150 to $200 to install a brake controller like the Tekonsha P2 that I'm very happy with. Just about all the non-Toyota V6 SUVs with 5000-pound towing capacity are now crossovers, so if you want body-on-frame, the 4Runner and Sequoia are two of a dwindling number of options.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:42 AM   #5
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We had left Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, and were headed to West Glacier in Montana. When we turned west at Browning, MT, we hit a substantial headwind. This, combined with some long, steepish grades at over 5000 feet altitude. brought our maximum speed on the uphills down to 40mph at times in a 70 zone where, of course, most other drivers want to be doing 80mph or more.
What speed were the big commercial trucks doing in this situation? I notice that on extended steep mountain grades, they are passed by everything else on the road (including me in either our van with travel trailer or me in our motorhome) - life seems to go on despite this.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:47 AM   #6
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I have towed our 17B with a 2011 4Runner V6 since April (previously with a 98 4Runner V6). It tows our trailer with ease in mountain conditions, and I'm confident that it would be a suitable TV for a 19.
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Old 09-28-2014, 01:50 PM   #7
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We tow our 19 with a 2012 Ford Flex. The Escape pulls very nicely, including up to and through the Eisenhower tunnel in the Rockies (11,158 ft elevation.) Typical mileage runs between 15 and 17 mpg.
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:08 PM   #8
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We tow our 19 with a 2012 Ford Flex. The Escape pulls very nicely, including up to and through the Eisenhower tunnel in the Rockies (11,158 ft elevation.) Typical mileage runs between 15 and 17 mpg.
At least for 2014, the rated towing capacity for a Flex is the same (4500 lb) regardless of drivetrain (either engine, 2WD or 4WD). To put performance and mileage information into context, which engine is this, and is it 4WD?
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:28 PM   #9
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I've pulled my 19 with both 2010 and 2012 Nissan Xterra V6 Up many climbs as much as 8000 ft. With 2 Kyacks and extra gear and bikes. Managed OK. 8 is great but gas is expensive.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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We have a 2014 4Runner SR5 V6 and purchased an Escape 19 in June. We picked up the trailer in BC, toured the Pacific northwest for two months, and drove home to MA. So we have over 5000 miles towing including western mountains, but not extensive experience.

IMO, the 4Runner is a competent tow vehicle, but not an ideal one. Our US version has a class III hitch and 7-pin trailer plug standard, but the transmission cooler is just the lower third of the radiator -- it does not have a separate auxiliary cooler. Nor does the 4Runner have a tow/haul mode.

The good: It's a Japanese-built Toyota, so the reliability is stellar. It is body-on-frame. It's 4-wheel disk brakes are over-engineered for A-TRAC, so it has plenty of braking. It gets 20-25mpg when not towing and has 4wd when you need it. It was stable when towing the Escape 19 with a weight-distributing hitch even in crosswinds. It had adequate torque when towing for all roads we drove, including some western mountains. We used engine braking on the long downhills and the 4Runner never felt pushed around.

The bad: Mileage is 13mpg at 65mph. The transmission fluid temperature can get high. The transmission torque converter typically locks in 4th over 45mph, and then transmission fluid temperatures stay low. But if you are pulling a trailer up a many-mile hill at a lower speed, the transmission temperature will go up.

Before the trip, I installed a Long 4589 21000btu auxiliary transmission cooler in series after the factory radiator cooler, mounted in front of the ac condenser. I have no before/after temperature comparisons, but would guess that it lowers the transmission fluid temperature by 20-30 degrees F. I also installed a ScanGauge so I could watch the transmission fluid temperatures. Our peak temperature was 206 degrees F at the torque converter and 186 degrees F in the pan, so that's still comfortably cool. Not many roads in the eastern US will really stress it, but we plan to do more Rocky mountain driving, so it's a limitation to be aware of.

We wanted Toyota and body-on-frame, but didn't want a pickup. That only leaves the 4Runner and Sequoia. The Sequoia is pricey and too tall for our garage, and the gas mileage wasn't great, so we got the 4Runner. It's not ideal, but with the auxiliary transmission cooler, it's been fine so far.

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Old 09-28-2014, 11:07 PM   #11
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Catchlight, before you give up on your V6, try downshifting and forcing higher rpm's. Our 4Runner V6 torque is uninspiring under 2000rpm, but much better over 3000rpm. It's a Japanese engine -- sustained high revs doesn't seem to hurt it -- so if you haven't already done so, wind 'er up and see if it helps.

V8's, on the other hand, typically have good low-rpm torque.

FWIW, we drove West Glacier to Browning at 55mph, but we were driving east and pulling a 19, so not a good comparison.

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Old 09-28-2014, 11:32 PM   #12
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Best read the manual before you do that.
I dropped my RAV4 V6 into 3rd and kept it there going up the Coquihalla ( snowshed to summit ) which caused my transmission temp warning light to come on.
The manual says not to do hard towing in 3 for any prolonged length of time. Says to tow in 4, not D, not 3, but 4.
My RAV has transmission fluid cooler, but I'm not doing that again. It is the steepest section, but it was only a few minutes, maintaining 90 KPH ( 56 MPH ).
Not sure what the 4Runner manual says, but I'd check it out.

BTW, that doesn't keep me from stomping on the gas and letting the transmission downshift.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:00 AM   #13
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Best read the manual before you do that.
I dropped my RAV4 V6 into 3rd and kept it there going up the Coquihalla ( snowshed to summit ) which caused my transmission temp warning light to come on.
The manual says not to do hard towing in 3 for any prolonged length of time. Says to tow in 4, not D, not 3, but 4.
My RAV has transmission fluid cooler, but I'm not doing that again. It is the steepest section, but it was only a few minutes, maintaining 90 KPH ( 56 MPH ).
Not sure what the 4Runner manual says, but I'd check it out.

BTW, that doesn't keep me from stomping on the gas and letting the transmission downshift.
Valid concern.

But the 4Runner transmission torque converter unlocks at 45mph in 4th, so any sustained pull below that speed will cause the temperature to climb regardless of the gear. In fact, if you can't maintain 45mph, you're better in a lower gear, as the transmission coolant pumps faster. If you can keep it above 45mph in 4th, that will keep lock and keep the temperature down. There is no lock in 3rd. The Toyota manual doesn't give the above detail, but that's really what it is trying to say.

This is where a transmission temperature gauge is invaluable, as you can see when you can push it and when you can't.

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Old 09-29-2014, 02:57 AM   #14
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My suggestion in post #11 should really have a big caveat, and that's don't try it unless you have a transmission temperature gauge and the temps begin and remain within a safe operating range.

I had just posted on the transmission concerns in post #10, but didn't explicitly link that to post #11, and I should have.

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Old 09-29-2014, 11:34 AM   #15
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Catchlight, if that head wind was a week ago (Sept. 20/21), it was a really big head wind! We were pulling a 17b across Montana on I-90 with our Highlander. We got as low as 11 MPG that day (our average for the whole trip to the west coast was 15.6) I don't have any knowledge of 4runners, but you do point out the effect of wind on towing. My worst days pulling trailers had nothing to do with hills, but everything to do with 40-50 mph head winds on the plains.

Our first towing experience was pulling a rented Scamp with our Sienna across North Dakota. We could only go about 50 MPH on the flats, and the engine was straining (I would have done better to have down shifted, but what did I know?). We got horrible mileage that day. On the other hand, two days later the wind was still blowing and we drove back to St. Paul with 23 MPG.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
At least for 2014, the rated towing capacity for a Flex is the same (4500 lb) regardless of drivetrain (either engine, 2WD or 4WD). To put performance and mileage information into context, which engine is this, and is it 4WD?
We do NOT have the Ecoboost engine and this is 2WD.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:31 PM   #17
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I should clarify that our 2011 4Runner has done a good job of pulling our Escape 21, except for the one headwind-at-altitude situation we encountered in Montana (Post #4 above) last week.

Since then we have hauled from West Glacier, MT to Coeur d'Alene, ID, and from there to just south of Portland, and the rig was rock steady and held speeds close to the limit on uphills. I've come to love the sound of that V6 working hard to take us up a long uphill

Bill R, I typically downshift when the revs drop to 2500 in fourth or third during a climb, and occasionally to second if it bogs down in third. When the revs hit about 4500 in second or third I just hold that speed until the crest of the hill when I can upshift without losing speed again. I never use fifth when towing. I sure wish the tachometer was the big central dial on the instrument panel, not the speedometer. I get my speed from the GPS, anyway, especially when in the USA, because the MPH readings are illegible on the Toyota speedometer.

Back to the original poster's question, based on our three weeks' experience I think a newish 4Runner would be a solid TV for an Escape 19, both uphill and downhill. The performance of the 4Runner and Escape 21 brakes on steep down grades has been excellent, and there would be an even bigger safety margin with an Escape 19 weighing 500 pounds less. It's important also to downshift at the right points, and to err on the side of applying engine resistance earlier rather than later.

After five Toyotas we know our local dealer quite well, and I think his guys will let me put the Andersen hitch assembly on one of his Tundras, and on a Sequoia if he gets one in, and see what difference the increased power and torque of a V8 would make hauling the 21' up our ski mountain, which is nearby. If the difference is dramatic, I'll reluctantly consider making a change in TV.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
At least for 2014, the rated towing capacity for a Flex is the same (4500 lb) regardless of drivetrain (either engine, 2WD or 4WD). To put performance and mileage information into context, which engine is this, and is it 4WD?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rvomaha View Post
We do NOT have the Ecoboost engine and this is 2WD.
Thanks
That makes it a 3.5L "Duratec" V6 with about 262 hp maximum output... roughly comparable to a 4Runner V6.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:13 PM   #19
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Lots of great input here, thxs.

Not trying to add fuel to the fire, but test drove a 4Runner today. Picked up a US sales brochure, and it states it has a towing capacity of 5,000lbs. I thought it was 4,700lbs??
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:16 PM   #20
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The tow capacity in Canada is 5000 pounds, and both our dealer and Toyota Canada confirmed that rating when that 4700 pound figure showed up in the US.
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