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Old 04-12-2014, 03:53 PM   #1
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Towing with a Nissan SV 4x4 (newbie questions)

Since we are eagerly anticipating our 17b (to be hatched October 2014) we recently purchased a used 2012 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 with 26000-K. It has a 6300 lb. / 2858 kg. tow rating. We likely will never purchase a larger trailer.

As we move into retirement, we expect to keep both the 17b and Nissan for a long time. We want to be conservative and safe (hence buying a vehicle with the 6300 lb. rating).

The Nissan is not yet equipped for towing.

Here are our towing newbie questions:

? what type of hitch should we put on the truck - class 3? is there a hitch that people recommend?

? Escape recommends a tug with a capacity of 3500 for the 17b. With the Nissan’s 6300 lb. rating would an equalizer hitch / Anderson hitch help or be necessary? (I really don't know the difference between an equalizer hitch and Anderson other than noting the Anderson is more expensive than the equalizer on the Escape build sheet.

? Towing package. A colleague with towing experience suggested a towing package with transmission cooler mentioning traveling steep grades like the Coquihalla here in BC make a transmission cooler advisable even with the cushion we have with the Nissan / 17b combo.

Any opinions / advise would be appreciated.


(now that we’ve slapped down our $500 AND bought a tug we feel like we’ve almost joined the Escape family - albeit no egg yet).

Larry
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #2
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Nissan Frontier Truck
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Old 04-12-2014, 04:33 PM   #3
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Nissan Frontier Truck
Hi: LarryandLiz... This 4X4 already has a tranny cooler. Located in front of and to the left of the rad.
You qualify for an "Easter EGG" Alf
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:20 PM   #4
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Well good to know.

Saves me from going to someone unscrupulous and paying to have it put in when it was already there. Wouldn't I look stupid.

Thanks Escape Artist
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:30 PM   #5
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Well good to know.

Saves me from going to someone unscrupulous and paying to have it put in when it was already there. Wouldn't I look stupid.

Thanks Escape Artist
Hi: LarryandLiz... Don't feel to bad as someone had to explain it to me too!!! Alf
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:10 PM   #6
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Share, share, share.. pay it forward. It isn't just about paying the persons bill behind you in the Starbucks drive through... it's about KNOWLEDGE!
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:40 PM   #7
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Receivers -
Class III - up to 5,000 lb
Class IV - up to 10,000 lb
It is up to you, but I would get a class IV if available for your truck since the truck is rated to 6300 lbs.

The Andersen is a brand of weight distributing hitch (WDH) which works differently from other WDHs. The Andersen proponents love it, but I don't think it is worth the extra dollars and I don't like the way it tensions the hitch. Read any of several threads in the forum discussing it and pick your religion.

Brands - receiver and hitch - I think the major brands area all OK with little to differentiate them (except the Andersen.) I would browse the Frontier forums and see if there are some receivers that fit the Frontier better than others.

Opinions in this forum vary widely about the need for a WDH - again read the forum and decide. I tow a 19' with a 2005 Tundra and prefer the way everything handles with a WDH.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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Hi: LarryandLiz... This 4X4 already has a tranny cooler. Located in front of and to the left of the rad.
You qualify for an "Easter EGG" Alf
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It gets even better ... you are also pre-wired for an electric brake controller and 7-pin receptical (you will have to get and install the internal wiring harness when you choose your controller). FWIW, I opted for a hitch from U-Haul. About a quarter of what the Nissan dealer quoted. Six bolts and it's installed. Works like a charm on my 19'.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:15 PM   #9
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Given the tow rating, this is presumably a V6 (you can get a 4-cylinder Frontier SV, at least in 2014).

Doug (or Karen?) is correct: to avoid limiting your truck's towing ability with the hitch, a Class 4 hitch receiver rated for the truck's full capacity is required. Even though a travel trailer over 5000 pounds is not expected, I think it would be a shame to not be able to use the full capacity of the truck for the occasional job with a rented or borrowed trailer. If it already has a hitch, it will presumably be at least Class 3 (no one would put a Class 2 or 1 hitch on a current Frontier), and I wouldn't change it to tow an Escape (especially a 17')... but if there's no hitch, I would buy Class 4. It will have a 2" square opening in either case, so the same hitch parts (ball mounts or WD systems) will fit.

I would absolutely get the factory towing preparation package (any set of equipment including features such as improved transmission or engine cooling) on any vehicle. The hitch receiver itself may be practical to get aftermarket, but hitches which are really designed to integrate with the vehicle are typically better mounted than anything aftermarket - the Frontier may not have one of those nicely integrated hitches, even if factory original.

This is a used truck, so it is too late to add any factory package... but maybe it already has it? If you don't know, Nissan Canada (or perhaps a dealer) can probably check, given the VIN. I would determine how it is equipped before considered aftermarket mods such as hacking into the transmission cooling lines for a cooler. By the way, those coolers are only for automatics...

Is this a King cab or Crew cab? In the current SV they have the same box length (1861 mm / 6 ft), so the Crew cab has a longer wheelbase, and thus less reason for weight-distribution or sway-control system. In either case, with a mid-size truck and only a Escape 17', I would go without a WD system at least to try it out. You're likely to be at only half the trucks hitch weight limit, and the rear axle load (which is what WD exists to reduce) will likely be no where near the max, and probably still less than the front axle load.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:51 PM   #10
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Thanks Brian.

It's a crew cab so the wdh may be overkill, I was thinking this might be the case given the cushion we have.

Escape Artist says it comes with a transmission cooler. We opened the hood ( for the first time) and think we spotted a smaller radiator in front of the regular radiator (on the left side facing the truck).

We obviously have lots to learn.

Larry
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Old 04-13-2014, 12:18 AM   #11
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Thanks Brian.

It's a crew cab so the wdh may be overkill

Larry
Oops. It is a KING Cab. No full back seat just wee little seats in back
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Oops. It is a KING Cab. No full back seat just wee little seats in back
Hi: LarryandLiz... Still a nice truck with a 6'1" box. The tranny cooler is actually 2 stage, as the line comes out of the trans. then through the bottom of the main rad. then through the cooler rad. and back down into the trans. I'm very protective of the trans. fluid condition, and get my mech. to check it regularly. The dip stick for it is bolted down, just to keep us DIY's out of there!!! Alf
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:05 AM   #13
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As others have said already, the Frontier is already set up for towing. All you'll need is a hitch receiver that is very easy to bolt onto the frame, a wiring harness (~$30 from the dealer) that installs behind the passenger kick panel, a brake controller that plugs into an already installed connection under the dash, and a 7-pin cable that plugs into a connection already installed under the truck bed. All the wiring is already installed by Nissan. Setting up the Frontier for towing is very easy.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:07 AM   #14
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Oops. It is a KING Cab. No full back seat just wee little seats in back
The crew cab subtracts another 200 pounds from towing capacity making it 6,100 not 6,300. With the king you still have your 6,300. Been studying this vehicle as a replacement tow vehicle. Think it is a great choice!
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Old 04-13-2014, 10:05 AM   #15
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Oops. It is a KING Cab. No full back seat just wee little seats in back
Quote:
Originally Posted by techfan View Post
The crew cab subtracts another 200 pounds from towing capacity making it 6,100 not 6,300. With the king you still have your 6,300.
What's going on with the capacity is just the Gross Combined Weight Rating is the same regardless of the cab (because all the mechanical bits are the same), and the heavier cab uses up a couple hundred pounds of that capacity. With an under-two-ton trailer, I doubt this is a big deal, but yes, the highest capacity is in the lightest configuration with the big engine, which would be a two-wheel-drive King Cab (there are no more "regular" cabs).

Comparing in SV trim, the King Cab keeps the overall length down, which is convenient, but all that length difference is in wheelbase... and long wheelbase is good for towing. It's still not a small vehicle, but be aware that the towing experience will be most comparable with other short-wheelbase Frontier owners, rather than with long-wheelbase Frontier owners. Probably not a big deal at all.
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