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Author Topic: Toyota Tacoma  (Read 1373 times)

Whipfinisher

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Toyota Tacoma
« on: May 07, 2017, 12:14:45 PM »
I currently tow a 14DB (~2600 lb unloaded) with a Toyota Highlander, which has a 5,000 lb towing capacity.  The Highlander does fine, but I can tell that it wasn't designed to tow an upright camper.  Would I notice a justifiable improvement with a 3.5L V6 Tacoma?   We would like to do more cross country trips. The size of the 14DB fits us well, and don't intend to get a larger camper.


DavidM

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 01:11:53 PM »
Even though the Highlander and the Tacoma have similar tow ratings (the Tacoma is 6,000 lbs with the bigger engine which does nothing for sway) they are built entirely differently.

The Highlander is a unit body design and is made for mostly carrying passengers, so the suspension is soft. That means that it will sag more when weight is put on the tongue and the vehicle will be more affected by trailer sway.

Let's stop for a minute and talk about sway. When a gust of wind hits the side of the trailer, it starts to move it over. These forces are transmitted to the hitch and are resisted by the tow vehicle. But a soft suspension resists less and lets the sway progress. In the extreme case the vehicles response is out of sync with the force input and the situation worsens and the sway gets bigger and bigger unless something is done like slowing down.

The Tacoma is a body on frame design which is inherently stiffer. The suspension is stiffer. So it doesn't sag as much when weight is put on the hitch and it resists sway better.

All of that being said, I have a TV similar to the Highlander, the Nissan Pathfinder and it tows a bigger trailer, the 16TBS fine with no sway.

But if you are not comfortable towing with the Highlander, the Tacoma should be a significant improvement.

David
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 01:14:37 PM by DavidM »

Merlin

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 09:35:01 PM »
Before you progress too far in your decisions, take a long test drive in a Tacoma. It is an entirely different experience than the Highlander, without even considering towing. If you are used to the comfort, handling, and ergonomics of a Highlander, you may have a lot of trouble adjusting to the comfort, handling, and ergonomics of a Tacoma. Lots of folks with Tacos love them, but going to one from a Highlander might be a jolting experience, both literally and figuratively. If you end up sticking with the Highlander and want a better towing experience, consider a sway control hitch. That would help address the issues David brought up, if your Highlander is prone to sway. And, finally, weigh your trailer and know your tongue weight. Unloaded trailer weight is irrelevant. You should be working from the GVWR and not the "dry" weight. With actual "going down the road weight", the tongue weight may exceed the load capacity of the Highlander, reinforcing the move to a pickup truck or the addition of a weight distribution hitch to the Highlander.
Michigan

Whipfinisher

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 12:31:04 AM »
Thanks David and Merlin,

An Andersen WDH fixed a slight sway problem that I had with the Highlander.   However, porpoising remains noticeable on uneven or bumpy roads.    Would a stiffer frame dampen out the porpoising? 

Lets cut to the chase, my wife drives the comfortable highlander on a daily basis.  I drive a 2000 ford focus with 120,000 miles on it. I can probably keep driving the focus until it qualifies for antique licence plates.    I'm just looking for an excuse to buy a truck.  ;)     

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 08:53:06 AM »
 :) As an excuse to buy a truck, towing is an excellent one!  The stiffer rear suspension and especially the stiffer shocks of the Taco should fix most of the porpoising. Sound like you know what you're getting into with the Tacoma. Are you looking new or used? 
Michigan

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2017, 11:46:36 AM »
We tow with a 4Runner, which is built on the Taco frame and it does really well, but is also comfortable as a people moving ride.

But we also tow with an F-150, and the ride is much more comfortable for towing. Longer and a touch wider, heavier, stiffer suspension, all of that. Not a big horsepower difference, 300 vs. 260 for the 4Runner. We tend to use the truck more, now, because it lets us bring extra stuff like firewood, lounge chairs, kayak, etc.

I will also say there is a noticeable difference between towing with the passenger studded snow tires I use on the truck in the winter, versus the 10 ply truck tires she's wearing now. Really makes it hard to tell anything is back there.



Whipfinisher

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2017, 12:24:14 AM »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the 4Runner vs. F-150.  It is reassuring to hear that they both tow a 14DBS well, and that moving to up to a truck may solve the proposing problem. 

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2017, 02:20:33 AM »
Actually I was kinda saying the 4Runner would satisfy the towing need while still giving her  the SUV-ness of the Highlander.

But that having been said, TANSTATMTV.



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Paul

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2017, 07:04:49 AM »
The F150 is really good at towing!  Unrelated but I saw a tacoma towing a 30+ foot trailer the other day I am sure he was overloaded!
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charliem

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 08:48:40 AM »
I have to jump in here before the F150 guys take over and, although I'd love to have a 150, it is a beast. My Taco tows a 21RBS very well and will absolutely handle a 14. With an E2 WDH most or all porpoising will disappear. My Taco is a 2013 with the 4.0L engine and a belt driven supercharger. However, the SC is just for high altitude towing and would not be necessary with the 14. Please note that I'm a bit biased and Real Men Drive Pickups!
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Paul

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2017, 12:47:45 PM »
I have to jump in here before the F150 guys take over and, although I'd love to have a 150, it is a beast. My Taco tows a 21RBS very well and will absolutely handle a 14. With an E2 WDH most or all porpoising will disappear. My Taco is a 2013 with the 4.0L engine and a belt driven supercharger. However, the SC is just for high altitude towing and would not be necessary with the 14. Please note that I'm a bit biased and Real Men Drive Pickups!

Real Men Drive a Real Pickup like the F150  8)

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Popup2012

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 12:18:39 AM »
I sold my 2012 Tacoma w/tow package and bought a 2017 F-150 XLT (6 1/2 ft bed,3.5 Eco,Max tow and BLIS).   I love the way it tow my 16TBS and hardly know it is back there. I really like the ability to enter the freeway with power to spare. You really have to keep your speed down.

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Re: Toyota Tacoma
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 01:59:31 PM »
I own a 2015 double cab tacoma TRD sport with the 4.0 and the towing package. It handles the 21rbs fine, but it is at it's limit. all things considered, the money is almost the same for an access cab tundra. The mileage isn't that far off if you take the 4.6L option with a tow package. It will easily handle everything you are attempting. The new 3rd Gen tacoma had a bit of a rocky start with the new engine transmission combination with regards to the automatics. The ride is VERY different. The cab space is pretty identical between the access cab tundra and the double cab tacoma with regards to back seat leg room and comfort. In the front the tundra has it hands down. I don't regret the taco and it is a very capable truck. All of this being said, my wife drives a Toyota Sequoia. That is what does 75% of the camping trips. I am considering replacing the sequoia with a Subaru Outback... That is what the boss wants. That leaves the Taco as the primary to vehicle. It is great for flat lands, but I don't know about the mountains. Power and pulling is not their weakness, braking and being a light weight vehicle is where is questionable. Tongue weight is sensitive with the taco. I use a WDH that corrects it, but the bigger tow vehicle is more comfortable. If I could wipe the slate clean and have the best fit for my family, I would have gone access cab tundra and the wife would have her Subaru. The taco will be in the driveway for another 7-8 years. The sequoia has 110,000 on it, so it has another 3-4 years left in it. I hope this helps... FWIW, campers tend to grow in size every 4-5 years, if you know beyond all doubts that the 14 is the camper for you then the taco will be great. If you have kids and can see future growth... Look to the tundra. Finally if you go with the Taco and you would be wise to consider the 6 speed stick option.