New to TT....mistake on choice in Tow vehicle?? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-22-2016, 12:06 PM   #1
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New to TT....mistake on choice in Tow vehicle??

Hi,
My husband and I are both novice TT folks. We have a 2016 Tacoma 6 cylinder with the tow package SR 5. It supposedly has a towing weight limit of 6800 pounds. We bought it with the intention of getting an ultralight TT and decided on the 2017 Aerolite 213rbsl, which we have yet to take out. When driving home from the dealership we had a sinking feeling that we had made a bad choice in trying to stay with our favorite truck, as this is our third Tacoma and I have always had great maintenance records with them. I noticed in browsing that most who have TT are using much larger vehicles for towing. Has anyone had success with towing 5000 pounds with the Tacoma? The Tundra is too large for our needs other than towing seems. Any advice appreciated as we are so new to this that it took our neighbors to help us get it in the driveway lol!!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:04 PM   #2
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We use a 2013 F150 3.5 Ecoboost to tow our 2016 213RBSL and you hardly know its back there. The general rule I have always gone by is to take your vehicles max towing capacity x 66% = max towing wet weight (+/-10%). This is kind of the "sweet spot" for towing with your vehicle. Of course your vehicle will tow up to its max towing weight, but you don't want to be there day to day.

Your Tacoma is 6,800# x 66% = 4,500# max wet weight to be around the "sweet spot" for towing with it.

Our 213RBSL is 5,100# dry, 6,600# wet, I imagine yours is similar. So it seems for day to day towing your running well over the "sweet spot", but just under the max towing capacity of the Tacoma.

Hope this helps and great choice on the trailer - we love our 213!
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:30 PM   #3
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Thanks!

Thanks Jeff for your quick response. I had a feeling we had made a mistake in our choice of towing vehicle. In looking again it is actually 6500 for the 4 wheel drive so we are above with that wet weight. It has an ECT power button that gives additional help when towing and going on steep inclines but we have not tried that. This truck is less than six months old so we will take a huge loss if we trade but at the same time I don't want to ruin the transmission overworking it. Thank you again and yes, I love the 213 and will be using it in October for a trip to Grayson Highlands. Hopefully we get this towing figured out by then.
Jan & Chuck
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Old 09-22-2016, 03:47 PM   #4
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We towed a small TT (3500 lb GVWR) with an '03 Tacoma TRD V6 with tow package for a few years and my father still uses the same setup. It towed this trailer to Alaska and back. My impression was it was the max the truck could handle, both in terms of adequate power and payload. I think the max tow rating was 5000 lbs, but you have to remember that any light duty truck will max out its payload due to trailer tongue weight long before the trailer weight actually reaches the truck's max tow rating. Guess a trailer's loaded weight or go by it's GVWR, multiply that value by 15% to estimate the tongue weight. This is how much weight your truck will have to carry in addition to any cargo and passengers. Light duty trucks may have strong engines, but they still aren't designed to carry the types of payload that towing a modest sized trailer requires. Regardless of its max tow rating.

My recommendation for sticking with a Tacoma is microlight single axels (think Casita or Scamp) or popup trailers. 3500 GVWR is a good rule of thumb for max trailer size. Note that this is loaded/gross weight, not the dry weight which will be less than that.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for your response

I am appreciative of your advice. Not quite sure what to do with this situation now. Seems like the RV dealership should have steered us to the correct weight capacity but I know they just want to move the TT's. My bad!!! And I'm so bummed at the moment. Has definitely taken the shine out of the excitement of the TT.
Thanks,
Jan
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:16 PM   #6
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My Colorado has very similar specs to the Tacoma, with the max tow at 7000lbs. I tow a 213 with it in Tennessee. I will say that I certainly wouldn't tow anything bigger with it as it's pushing the limits of handling imo. We only do shorter trips, usually within 75 miles of the house, so it's not really an issue. My camper weights 5400lbs fully loaded. Just be mindful of your payload rating.

I believe mine is at 1540lbs, so with the tongue weight and cargo weight, I stay well below that at just under 1000 lbs. Not sure of the Tacoma horsepower/torque ratings, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to get anywhere.

Little trucks can tow big!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Towing your rig

The TT you have weighs 6,600 lb. fully loaded. Your truck according to TRAILER LIFE 2016 GUIDE TO TOW RATINGS says it can tow 6,800 lb. if you have a full tow package. You still have 200 lbs. left. I would say you would have a tough time loading 1545 lbs. of cargo in your trailer. Your truck can safely tow this trailer fully loaded, if you look at the numbers. Just do not overload your truck payload. Remember truck payload includes 2 passengers @ 150 lb. x 2 and a full gas tank 8 lbs. a gallon. and you must minus the dry hitch 556 lbs. weight of the trailer. If it were me I would just hook the trailer up and try to pack light and not bother with a heavy weight distribution hitch/anti sway. Those things just add to the hitch weight and are a pain to hook up. The newer trucks are very powerful and a designed to tow alot of weight safely. Alot of people think the trucks are from the 1970's to 1980's. These newer truck motors, suspensions and transmissions are very advanced and can handle the weight. Congratulation on your new truck and trailer go enjoy it.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hikergal View Post
I don't want to ruin the transmission overworking it.
Jan & Chuck
Welcome to the forum, Jan and Chuck.

Before I put a bunch of towing miles on a new truck, I would install an extra transmission cooler.

Heat is the killer for automatic transmissions, automatic transmissions. When you start getting over 175F the life exceptancy drops off dramaticalty.

Transmission Temperature Failure Chart

Keep your transmission fluid clean, with regular filter changes and fluid flushes. I shorten up the tranmission service schedule on all my vehicles and it pays divedends. My wife had a Mustang 2.4L-4 cylinder, had 140,000 miles on it when we sold it, The person that bought it got another 20K out of it before the engine was run dry of oil.

A second transmission cooler such as this Delrale will help controlling heat. Delrale was and may still be a NASCAR supplier and they make a good product.

https://www.amazon.com/Derale-15800-...mission+cooler
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:34 PM   #9
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Thank you both so much!!

dawniewest and master blaster thanks for your encouragement. My brother just came up to help us and he was a trucker for years. He felt that the Tacoma could handle it so we will go with both your experience and his feelings on this. We will just pack light as possible get out there and enjoy it. Sure can't afford to switch vehicles at this point in the game. Thanks again for your information. And I guess you noticed dawniewest, we are in TN also! Happy trails to you both!
Jan
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:37 PM   #10
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Thanks! We will certainly take your advice on this and do that before we head out on our first journey!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:52 PM   #11
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I've been on this forum for a few months now and I can vouch for the advice you've gotten so for. In fact, counting me, there are 4 owners of the exact same 213RBSL responding. And we have ALL actually pulled it with our various vehicles.

Having said that, if you look closely, you will STILL see that we each have our own threshold of comfort when towing this TT.

GJwinner850 has F150 with Ecoboost......Completely comfortable and gives the math equation that supports his comfort zone.

Dawniewest has the latest era Colorado (Which I am certain is considerably more truck than the older versions) He is comfortable, with the one caveat that they are short pulls, not cross country hauls.

You (OP) have the Tacoma and have expressed you do NOT feel it is enough truck. (Edit: While I was typing, other responses have seemed to sway your opinion)

And now me. I am another F150 Ecoboost (current 2016 model) Even with a weight distribution hitch, I still would like more headroom-for-comfort if I am going to make a long haul. It isn't the towing capacity that I am concerned with. That truck has more than enough grunt to yank around the ~5000-5500lbs this 213RBSL weighs. But for ALL of our trucks, it still eats up a good chunk of the roughly, say 1500lbs, that our trucks' list as their Cargo Carrying Capacity.

I will admit that I am probably influenced by having an F350 and\or a Cummins 2500 at my disposal if I want it. And since I haven't made any long-distance pulls, I haven't had to decide. I DO know I much prefer driving and riding in the F150. It's far more comfortable, in my opinion.

I probably haven't helped you a bit. Sorry.
I guess I am trying to find a friendly way of say that if YOU feel your truck is not enough truck after actually pulling the 213, then I would have to agree with you. Which, by the way, is one more example of proof that "towing capacity" is almost always the wrong rating to be concerned with. Cargo Capacity of the truck itself will usually be the first limit you hit. But even that doesn't rank as high as the comfort-limit that I feel if I am either the driver or the passenger.

Good luck!
One really good piece of news though.........That is an awesome TT!!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:09 PM   #12
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Thanks for your info!

Hi snake bitten,
Well since I am the passenger and have only been in the vehicle with the 213 on the hitch from dealer to home (around 50 miles) I will have to give it a little more time before I can make a complete denial of the capability of the Tacoma. It does have an ECT power boost element to it that we did not utilize as we were so focused on just getting home in rush hour traffic after a long stressful day at the dealership. I do love this TT though as it has all we could ever need in a TT plus looks really nice. The true test will be when we travel up I 81 to the mountains in VA for our first road trip. When we bought the truck we were not thinking TT, but was more in the line of tent campers. I am an avid hiker and my husband is unable to hike currently but wanted to travel with so we started looking and I was sold on this 213 from the start. Nice to have a comfortable place to return to after a day on the trails. So we will take our time and hope for the best. About the limit of what we can do at the moment!! Thanks again for your input and hope you always enjoy that Aerolite.
Jan
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:25 PM   #13
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You are very welcome Jan,

Same to you folks. Hope you enjoy many sunrise and sunsets sitting under that awesome awning!

As for me, I'm either camping or camping. One RV or the other. One is my "roadie" and the other is my base camp\home.

I suppose I was made for the tinyhouse lifestyle long before it became popular, or I was aware that I was compatible.
(Shortly after making out my first will, and on paper, divvying up our life's accumulations amongst our children, I suddenly realized I really didn't care about all that stuff anyways. So, I told them they didn't have to wait until dad keeled over. Come and get it. Of course they have to brush-hog and pay the taxes\insurance now. Dad is free-to-travel! )

So I cut down a few trees back in the wooded portion of our homestead and put in utilities. Me and the deer, armadillos, raccoons, and a few chickens are chilling.

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Old 09-22-2016, 10:32 PM   #14
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New TT

When you post and ask questions on these RV forums you will get alot of opinions about what to do. Some people that have travel trailers over do it with the tow vehicle and weight distribution hitches. These are light weight travel trailers and the trucks today are very capable of towing them safely. Some of the senior members are stuck in the old way of thinking "more is better" They mean well but are stuck in the 80's and 90's. I have towed my 2010 Dutchman Kodiak 24RBS well over 3000 miles all over Florida and in the Smoky Mountains. I have been in cross winds, head winds and have had the wind at our back! Up and down 8+ grades and passed by big trucks at 80+ MPH. I tow with a 2016 Chevy 1500, I do not use a weight distribution hitch and no sway control. The truck has is a full tow package from the factory. The only time I have felt unsafe is going through big cities like Jacksonville FL and Atlanta GA. Rush hour traffic with a 25ft trailer on is no fun! The new trucks now days are so nice you just set the cruise control and the computerized transmission does all the work! The first few hundred miles were a bit scary until I got used to towing and now I handle it alot better. There is a learning curve to this. Just go out and enjoy it!! Go hiking, cook outside have a camp fire, you will meet some of the finest like minded people when camping and if you need help just ask other campers they will be more than happy. Thats what we have found. We used to tent camp too. Loved it but now I sold our tent on Ebay! wait until you go to your own bathroom at night and go right back to bed! No sleeping on the ground!!
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:52 PM   #15
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Ready to hit the road!!

Thanks to you both. Yes, I am ready to try this out and if campers are anything like those I have had the good fortune to meet on the trails in the Smokies, I think we will be very happy!! Wishing you both the same. We are going to "camp" in our back area this weekend to see that all is in working order. My brother was very impressed with the 213 and he has a large fifth wheel. Smaller is better to me also even though this feels huge compared to a tent (and of course the convenience factor!).
Happy trails,
Jan
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:11 PM   #16
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Some of the senior members are stuck in the old way of thinking "more is better" They mean well but are stuck in the 80's and 90's.
Well, i'm 47, I hardly think that make me a senior. I also find your dismissal of weight distribution hitches to be short sighted and dangerous. Just because you think modern trucks can handle any sized trailer without safety precautions, doesn't make it good advice. I also don't think that writing people off as "old and stuck in their ways" who base their opinions on common sense, modern data and experience is wise.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:07 AM   #17
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Hi dawniewest good to hear from you! Weight distribution hitches have nothing to do with safety as per the link you sent in the past. All they do is put some weight off the back of the truck to the front axle. If you tow with in the trucks limit and do not overload the trailer and payload of the truck then that is safe. These new trucks are designed by engineers to tow safely with in the limits with out any other enhancements. WDH's are after market additions and are not required if you tow with in the limit of the truck. To doubt the experience of such learned men and women is something I do not understand? I look at them like if you want tinted windows or a cap for the bed. All after market stuff if you like them them get them, but it does not effect what the truck is. or what it can tow safely. I myself choose not to waste my money on unnecessary after market stuff that will not make the truck or trailer any "safer" To me it is just another thing to break and fiddle with. I go camping to have fun not get all greasier messing around with a WDH. The RV industry sure has everyone fooled about this! When they sell these things as "must have for safety" Kind of like a home alarm salesman asking you do you want your family safe? What are you going to say NO? it is called a loaded question. Easy sell. They make a lot of $$$ on after market parts. If it makes people "feel" safer that is great. I will tow with in my trucks limit and not over load it or the trailer, watch my tire pressure and drive no faster than 65 MPH. I hope this helps you understand after market parts. Take care nice to hear from you.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:40 AM   #18
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@ masterblaster...

What is the tongue weight rating of your hitch? 500#, 1000#? What are the WDH numbers? Not all trucks have the same specifications. Load capacity has a huge bearing on it too. Not to mention liability. Overload a truck get in accident and see what happens. It is not a "stuck in the 70's and 80's" thing. Great that you are an engineer, lawyer and everything works perfect. There is quite a difference between a Chevy 1500 and a Toyota Tacoma. I will reserve my opinion of Chevrolet products.

There is nothing wrong with WDH and in many cases it is needed to tow SAFELY and avoid issues, both mechanical and legal. As a side note... I am a risk manager for a large national roofing contractor and have trucks on the road all over the country. I have been towing a wide variety of trailers for over 35 years, I also have a Class A CDL with multiple endorsements. Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should!

Hikergal, very carefully read the specific tow requirements for your truck. I think you are probably ok, but near the limits. A properly setup WDH and sway control will go a long way towards making things comfortable for towing near the limits. I travel the I-81 corridor on a regular basis between Wytheville and I-26. Gorgeous country!


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Old 09-23-2016, 12:55 AM   #19
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Easy mark here!

Oh to be 47 again . That is a good age to be.
Well, as we were both clueless as to what we needed,
we have the sway bar and the middle of the road priced hitch. That is one reason my brother came up today was to give yet another lesson in removing and replacing the towing mechanism. I am reading the owners manual from front to back. I am a read it, see it done, do it kind of learner. I think everyone has to do what they feel is the best for their comfort level, but having been a trauma nurse for thirty years I can imagine just about any kind of incident that could deteriorate into an accident. Not the best person to have as a front seat passenger lol!!
You guys be safe out there!!
Jan
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:12 AM   #20
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Wdh

Wow, How many times do I have to say do not overload your truck or trailer and you will not need a WDH it may be recommended but not needed, The old trucks of the 70's 80's and 90's are old technology and can not even compare to the new trucks of today. If you "feel" better then by all means go out and buy that WDH. You and I know they are not needed for safe towing with in limits of each truck. Just another way to make extra money for the RV dealers. If you have a overloaded truck and trailer with out a WDH when you put that WDH on your truck you will still have a overloaded truck and trailer the only difference now is you spent $500.00+ on a WDH. Does any of this makes sense to anyone?
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