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Old 02-05-2024, 07:52 PM   #1
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Decision on Escape19F1, Now to build an order.

Hello All,

Pleased to find this forum. My wife, Nancy, and I have been studying the possibility of going full-time on the road for about two years. After a few pissy days of annoyance at youngsters on YouTube not giving the whole story to life in a Sprinter van... which led to months of thinking we couldn't swing the prices... we realized a trailer would suit our needs just as well, if not better. ETI is a wonderful solution to the ridiculous prices of the middle man.

We're both at age 60... retired... and drive a 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road model, 4.0 liter, 6-cylinder engine. My greatest concern is to not overload our tow vehicle... and whether or not we need to upgrade to a larger tow vehicle for a 19 footer? The 4Runner... Squatchy... is stock at present. I'm wondering about mods like beefier springs, and shocks... and any other engine mods that could boost our model's ability to safely tow the listed weights on the 19.

So, certainly more homework yet to do. I believe I'll find most, if not all, of my answers around the forum. Thanks for having this resource.
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Old 02-05-2024, 09:30 PM   #2
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Hit the books

Yes, indeed, time to do your homework. There are no easy & quick answers to your queries. Look up the manufacturers specs on your tug, towing capacity, gross vehicle weight rating, etc.
Springs, shocks and the like are one thing that help, but a transmission cooler is a bigger issue in my mind. A weight distribution hitch is highly recommended.
You are entering an educational experience. Keep an open mind. Read & learn as much as you can.

bon voyage
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Old 02-05-2024, 09:51 PM   #3
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Hi, Habberdabber. Transmission cooler! I knew there was a cooler that needed adding...couldn't remember what component. Weight distribution hitch, yes.
And plenty of studying to go. ��
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Old 02-05-2024, 11:39 PM   #4
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IMO the 4Runner can do the job, if you're willing to hear the engine rev on the long mountain grades. That won't hurt the engine, but it can sound concerning to someone who isn't used to hearing it.
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Old 02-06-2024, 12:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
IMO the 4Runner can do the job, if you're willing to hear the engine rev on the long mountain grades. That won't hurt the engine, but it can sound concerning to someone who isn't used to hearing it.
Good to know, Mike. Thanks. I think definitely I'll add in the transmission cooler, trailer brake controller goes without saying, and maybe beef up the shocks, and all because I do some trail driving. I love the sound of our engine. We've been in a few sketchy places in the three years we've had Squatchy... that ka-chunk, ka-chunk of the crawl control, even knowing it was going to make that sound, took some steely nerves to trust I wasn't ruining the wheels. But what a tool it is!

I am so stinking excited to get on to this next chapter. But fortunately we have a self-imposed timeline until mid-2025 to finish paying off one last debt... then hit the road. So, meanwhile, plenty of time to study and prepare. We've watched tons of YT videos over the last couple of years as we pondered the jump to full-time... got cold feet, moved home to Oregon from Upstate New York... life happened. And now... it's time!
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Old 02-06-2024, 08:52 AM   #6
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Cathleen

If I were you I'd check your owner's manual or contact your Toyota dealer about the transmission cooler. If I recall correctly the Off Road model already has a trans cooler as part of the factory tow package. The tow package results in the vehicle being rated for higher towing capacity. When I was looking at 4L Tacomas that was the case and it raised the towing capacity from around 5,000 lbs to 6,500 lbs. The springs may be beefed up already, too.

It would be worth dropping in to Toyota to ask some questions.
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Old 02-06-2024, 09:41 AM   #7
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I installed a Scan Gauge to monitor my transmission temps and other variables while pulling the trailer, especially in the mountains.

Most people including Toyota sales personnel aren't aware that certain model Tundras with the 4.6L engine do not have a transmission cooler as all the previous models did. (mine is a 2014)

They say you really don't want to wait for the transmission overtemp light to come on, which is at approx at 300f.

Mine runs around 195-200 and will climb to 250 going over Raton Pass, I experimented last year and lowered my speed going over the pass and it only got to about 230.



https://www.scangauge.com/products/scangauge-ii/
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Old 02-06-2024, 09:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by daveandalice View Post
I installed a Scan Gauge to monitor my transmission temps and other variables while pulling the trailer, especially in the mountains.

Most people including Toyota sales personnel aren't aware that certain model Tundras with the 4.6L engine do not have a transmission cooler as all the previous models did. (mine is a 2014)
Does your Tundra have either the factory tow package or Off Road package?
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Old 02-06-2024, 10:10 AM   #9
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I have been towing my 2013 Escape 19' with my 2020 Toyota 4Runner Off Road since I purchased the 4R new in 2020, and before that I towed the 19' with my 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser since we purchased the Escape new in 2013. Both vehicles towed the 19' in a similar manner. In my opinion, and for the conditions under which I tow which is a mix of flat land and mountain towing, the 4R can tow the 19' adequately but particularly on steep mountain grades is approaching the point where I would want a more capable tug. If I was to move to a 21' trailer, I would definitely upgrade the tow vehicle as well, but at this time the the 4R meets my needs. I tow with a weight distribution hitch and the ride is very smooth. I use a wireless brake controller (Tekonsha Pridigy RF) and have had no issues with it. I have not upgraded the transmission cooler, but if I was towing more on the steep mountain grades in the Western USA, I would consider doing that. I find it much easier to tow when the fresh water and holding tanks are empty, so if I know there is water at my destination, I often choose to tow with empty tanks. In your case, I would suggest starting out with your 4R and if you find it is not meeting your needs after a good trial, by all means consider upgrading at that time.
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Old 02-06-2024, 10:48 AM   #10
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Yes I have the TSS Off Road 2wd

I have had multiple Toyota people crawl under the truck with me so I could point out the side of the transmission where there is a thermostatically controlled manifold with two water coolant (not transmission fluid) hoses coming and going.

To add a transmission cooler involves installing a different model manifold with four ports, two for the water and two for transmission fluid that goes to a cooler mounted in front of the radiator.

I'm used to "old school" where you simply tap into the tranny lines going from the radiator to the transmission to install a cooler.

Here's a detailed Tundra transmission cooler install, lots of parts involved.

https://www.tundras.com/threads/add-...der-400.77739/
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Old 02-06-2024, 03:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamunique127 View Post
Cathleen

If I were you I'd check your owner's manual or contact your Toyota dealer about the transmission cooler. If I recall correctly the Off Road model already has a trans cooler as part of the factory tow package. The tow package results in the vehicle being rated for higher towing capacity. When I was looking at 4L Tacomas that was the case and it raised the towing capacity from around 5,000 lbs to 6,500 lbs. The springs may be beefed up already, too.

It would be worth dropping in to Toyota to ask some questions.
Wise counsel. I'll do that, indeed. As usual... we dive into a new project and I start casting about for fellow user experiences. A conversation with our trusty Toyota guys is on the list.
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Old 02-06-2024, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveandalice View Post
I installed a Scan Gauge to monitor my transmission temps and other variables while pulling the trailer, especially in the mountains.

Most people including Toyota sales personnel aren't aware that certain model Tundras with the 4.6L engine do not have a transmission cooler as all the previous models did. (mine is a 2014)

They say you really don't want to wait for the transmission overtemp light to come on, which is at approx at 300f.

Mine runs around 195-200 and will climb to 250 going over Raton Pass, I experimented last year and lowered my speed going over the pass and it only got to about 230.



https://www.scangauge.com/products/scangauge-ii/
This is exactly what I need to be sure we take good care of our Squatchy. It's a Japanese model, too... I want to be sure to take good care of the beast. Thanks very much for the scoop on temperatures. I agree... by the time the light comes on... pffffttt. I had a 1990 Dodge W150 that was a clunky pig in hot weather at higher elevations. I don't want to experience that mess again.
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Old 02-06-2024, 04:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Walter View Post
I have been towing my 2013 Escape 19' with my 2020 Toyota 4Runner Off Road since I purchased the 4R new in 2020, and before that I towed the 19' with my 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser since we purchased the Escape new in 2013. Both vehicles towed the 19' in a similar manner. In my opinion, and for the conditions under which I tow which is a mix of flat land and mountain towing, the 4R can tow the 19' adequately but particularly on steep mountain grades is approaching the point where I would want a more capable tug. If I was to move to a 21' trailer, I would definitely upgrade the tow vehicle as well, but at this time the the 4R meets my needs. I tow with a weight distribution hitch and the ride is very smooth. I use a wireless brake controller (Tekonsha Pridigy RF) and have had no issues with it. I have not upgraded the transmission cooler, but if I was towing more on the steep mountain grades in the Western USA, I would consider doing that. I find it much easier to tow when the fresh water and holding tanks are empty, so if I know there is water at my destination, I often choose to tow with empty tanks. In your case, I would suggest starting out with your 4R and if you find it is not meeting your needs after a good trial, by all means consider upgrading at that time.
Thank you, Dave. I'm really glad to find other 4Runner folks out there... and that you're able to tow the 19 footer with it. I think, once I find out what is on our beast in more detail (trying not to be a dumb girl)... if there's no transmission cooler, I'll have it added. We bought our 2018 used, back in 2021. Got a fantastic deal... only 12,000 miles on the odometer. I know there's a trailer hitch on it, so I guess that means it came with the trailer package? But that's a lousy way to operate. It's time I knew more about my vehicle. I might know just enough to be dangerous. Haha!

Nancy and I have been thinking that to tow with dry tanks will be easier on our peace of mind. We do want to be able to be off grid. And I'm still thinking, with proper planning, we can fill up tanks closer to our offroad destinations. I do widefield Milky Way astrophotography as a hobby, as well as all kinds of landscape shooting. So I'm excited to be able to get to some places out on BLM land down in Utah, and go back to roam some of my old haunts on the Oregon Outback, too.

All that said, it'd be great to be able to stick with our current 4Runner. It's been such a sturdy vehicle. Best I've ever owned.

We have our first phone conversation with Kyle, at ETI, tomorrow morning... the journey to the build begins.
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Old 02-06-2024, 04:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveandalice View Post
Yes I have the TSS Off Road 2wd

I have had multiple Toyota people crawl under the truck with me so I could point out the side of the transmission where there is a thermostatically controlled manifold with two water coolant (not transmission fluid) hoses coming and going.

To add a transmission cooler involves installing a different model manifold with four ports, two for the water and two for transmission fluid that goes to a cooler mounted in front of the radiator.

I'm used to "old school" where you simply tap into the tranny lines going from the radiator to the transmission to install a cooler.

Here's a detailed Tundra transmission cooler install, lots of parts involved.

https://www.tundras.com/threads/add-...der-400.77739/
Time for me to Google what it'd look like on our 4Runner... and crawl under our rig to see what's what.
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Old 02-06-2024, 04:47 PM   #15
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IMO the 4Runner can do the job, if you're willing to hear the engine rev on the long mountain grades. That won't hurt the engine, but it can sound concerning to someone who isn't used to hearing it.
I've towed my 19 up and down Colorado passes with a 5.3 V8 Silverado, 5.0 V8 Ford F150, and now have the 5th Gen. 4Runner. All of them worked hard going over Monarch pass and the like. The 4Runner engine is definitely strong enough to do the job and I've developed complete confidence in it.

To make my 4Runner tow friendly I added a transmission cooler, bump stops, ScanGuage, and use a weight distribution hitch. None of this is expensive. Not sure about the labor bill on the tranny cooler tho because I did it myself.
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Old 02-06-2024, 05:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kingfish View Post
I've towed my 19 up and down Colorado passes with a 5.3 V8 Silverado, 5.0 V8 Ford F150, and now have the 5th Gen. 4Runner. All of them worked hard going over Monarch pass and the like. The 4Runner engine is definitely strong enough to do the job and I've developed complete confidence in it.

To make my 4Runner tow friendly I added a transmission cooler, bump stops, ScanGuage, and use a weight distribution hitch. None of this is expensive. Not sure about the labor bill on the tranny cooler tho because I did it myself.
Thanks, Kingfish. I know what everything is except a "bump stop." Googling will commence shortly. I don't have the tools or expertise to do the tranny cooler myself, so yeah...that'll be an expense. And that's ok.

We're headed slow and steady toward full-timing. It's been a couple of years in the dreaming phase... and now we're ready to pull the trigger on the actual build. I'm so excited!
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Old 02-06-2024, 05:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kingfish View Post
I've towed my 19 up and down Colorado passes with a 5.3 V8 Silverado, 5.0 V8 Ford F150, and now have the 5th Gen. 4Runner. All of them worked hard going over Monarch pass and the like. The 4Runner engine is definitely strong enough to do the job and I've developed complete confidence in it.

To make my 4Runner tow friendly I added a transmission cooler, bump stops, ScanGuage, and use a weight distribution hitch. None of this is expensive. Not sure about the labor bill on the tranny cooler tho because I did it myself.
Ok... I just read the information page on the Timbren website. Good to know. It sounds like we have factory installed stuff, but I'll be changing that up. Our plan is to be on dirt, but no nutso trails pulling a trailer. We had a taste of an extremely rocky trail in Colorado three years ago... while we survived our jaunt, it convinced me I'm more of a desert, and Forest Service road wanderer. But the bump stops will certainly make life more bearable on the potholes I do manage to hit dead on.
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Old 02-06-2024, 05:43 PM   #18
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Since we have a few Toyota connoisseurs in this thread I can't emphasize my pleasure with my 1996 T-100 with the 3.4 that I use on close by trips, it's only driven sparingly and has almost 175,000 miles after 28 years, so it's almost broken in, not one oil leak and a blast to drive.

The 2014 Tundra with the 4.6 is phenomenal on cross country trips, especially crossing the panhandle of Texas where we seem to always get caught in a severe weather event where I'm glad we're in a larger tow vehicle.
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Old 02-06-2024, 06:28 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by daveandalice View Post
Since we have a few Toyota connoisseurs in this thread I can't emphasize my pleasure with my 1996 T-100 with the 3.4 that I use on close by trips, it's only driven sparingly and has almost 175,000 miles after 28 years, so it's almost broken in, not one oil leak and a blast to drive.

The 2014 Tundra with the 4.6 is phenomenal on cross country trips, especially crossing the panhandle of Texas where we seem to always get caught in a severe weather event where I'm glad we're in a larger tow vehicle.
Yep, commited Toyota owner here. If we did upgrade, it'd be a Tundra. There's a fellow in our apartment complex with a T-100. It makes me smile every time I see him drive by. 😇
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Old 02-06-2024, 06:41 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by daveandalice View Post
Since we have a few Toyota connoisseurs in this thread I can't emphasize my pleasure with my 1996 T-100 with the 3.4 that I use on close by trips, it's only driven sparingly and has almost 175,000 miles after 28 years, so it's almost broken in, not one oil leak and a blast to drive.

The 2014 Tundra with the 4.6 is phenomenal on cross country trips, especially crossing the panhandle of Texas where we seem to always get caught in a severe weather event where I'm glad we're in a larger tow vehicle.


My 1993 T100 was the first model year and it was a most excellent truck. I sold it after 17 yrs and 320,000 kms. I didn't have a single problem until it needed valves and then I sold it in 2012.


Photo from my For Sale ad
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