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Old 04-13-2022, 07:55 AM #1
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total newbie to towing question

Before anything else, yes I did go through a lot of threads including the 36 page thread about towing but nothing definitive.

Thinking of towing my track car. My last 2 track days I came home on a tow truck. Luckily I got reimbursed by my insurance but the hassle was not worth it

Thinking on renting a Uhaul trailer and doing this about once a month. Farthest track is about 150 miles and mostly freeway driving. Here's the details that I got

Uhaul auto trailer 2200 lbs (from website)
track car about 2500 (NC miata)
2016 sr5 with gobi rack and ladder

Can the car handle it? appreciate your inputs!
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Old 04-13-2022, 10:20 AM #2
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Yea, it can technically handle it. I'd recommend rear airbags at a minimum (Air Lift 1000s are cheap and easy install) and a weight distributing hitch. It's not the best tow vehicle, but with those improvements you should be fine.
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Old 04-13-2022, 10:45 AM #3
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I think your max is 5,000 lbs IF you have the towing package, which is probably a 500 lb. tongue weight max. (Check your owner's manual.) The trailer will need to have brakes, electric or surge type. A weight distribution hitch will shift some of the weight onto the front axle and trailer. This doesn't change the total weight which must still be under the 5,000 but it will somewhat reduce the tongue weight.

You will not be able to carry much inside the car, including a passenger. The tongue and hitch weights factor into the total carrying capacity of the vehicle. (This is shown on the driver side door information sticker.)

I have never understood the air bag concept. Air bags will not reduce any weight, they will only level out the tow vehicle. A weight distribution hitch is designed to do both. The trailer brakes are a must and are usually required in most states, depending on the total trailer weight.
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Old 04-13-2022, 11:25 AM #4
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total newbie to towing question

Per the Uhaul website…

“Other Hitch Systems
Weight distributing or sway control devices ARE NOT USED for towing U-Haul trailers. Towing a properly loaded U-Haul trailer does not require these devices. These devices may have a negative effect on vehicle handling and braking and may restrict the operation of the trailer coupling mechanism”

Why not rent a uhaul for a day, load the track car up and go for a short drive. If you feel comfortable with the way it handles in town and on highway then go for it.

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Last edited by Ascole; 04-13-2022 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 04-13-2022, 11:29 AM #5
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I'd show up at U-haul with a proper truck instead of your 4runner. Not sure they'd rent you a car hauler with the 4runner. I know Penske is hard-core on that policy.
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Old 04-13-2022, 11:59 AM #6
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I think it'll tow it pretty well. The chassis is does really well for towing. The engine is the weak link for sure. But a car on trailer has far less drag than a travel trailer. So it'll pull a lot easier despite being a bit heavier than some travel trailers.

I would also recommend rear air springs. They both help support the load and keep the vehicle leveled up, but also increase effective spring rates make for a much more confident towing experience. You'll have a lot less wallowing and body roll with the air springs with that extra weight on the rear axle.

All 5th gen 4Runners have the same tow setup, so there's no tow prep package to have or not have. The only issue that seems to come up is transmission temps. I don't think you'll need one if you aren't going over any big passes regularly. But it may be worth adding an OBD2 dongle with the Torque app or similar to watch your trans temps in real time and make sure it's not getting too hot. The ELM327 bluetooth transmitter and the app cost less than $20 combined, so it can give you some piece of mind if you're worried about it.

Uhaul trailers kinda suck. They're really heavy and usually have surge brakes that aren't very good. If you can rent a normal flatbed car hauler with trailer brakes it'll be a lot better experience. And it'll probably be half the weight of the uhaul trailer.

I would not install a trailer brake controller. I have one hardwired in my 4R, but have since used a Curt Echo wireless inline brake controller. No install needed. Works great on almost anything with a 7 pin plug except on some Ford trucks that use non-standard 7 pin electronics. Plus you can take it with you when you change vehicles.

Good luck towing your car.

Also - just for fun. I took this pic in Texas. On the highway. So who says a 4R can't tow? This bad boy is double towing!!

Last edited by Jetboy; 04-13-2022 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 04-13-2022, 12:16 PM #7
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U-Haul is the most convenient. But their tarilers are overbuilt because they know people will do werid and dumb things.

A nice car trailer is around 1800lbs for an aluminum one. See if you can find a place that rents these locally. I've towed FD rx7s with my 4runner and these nicer car trailers and without and load balancer or air bags the 4runner towed fine on flat highway. On hilly highways it was not good, I had to use a lot of throttle for holding 55mph along highway 280 in NorCal.

I don't regularly tow such a thing. Maybe twice a year.

My advice. Ditch your road side assistance via your car insurance. Get AAA plus or primere with the 200+ mile flat bed tow. You can use it for your 4runner too if you need roadside assist since 2016 is way past the Toyota free road side assist.
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Old 04-13-2022, 12:30 PM #8
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I've towed a u-haul trailer with a small little Honda CRX with my 3rd gen 4runner way back in the days... it was struggling!! I wouldn't do it again.
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Old 04-13-2022, 01:47 PM #9
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Towing questions always generate a lot of opinions and individual experiences. My experiences are below; not suggesting any of them are 'right', just offering what worked for me as a data point for your decision.

I'd be hesitant to tow that load with a 4runner. I'd like to have a longer wheelbase and I'd like to have a little more headroom between total weight and max tow rating.

I towed a couple different family campers over the years, first with our (now gone) 3rd gen and then with a 2nd gen Tacoma. Loaded and wet the largest camper was ~4k#. When we first started towing it we were using the 3rd gen 4Runner and it got pushed around a lot by the trailer at freeway speeds. Started towing the truck and felt an immediate improvement in towing stability with no other changes. Added air springs (not as good as as weight-distributing hitch but it was a start) which returned weight to the front end, upgraded the transmission cooler to protect the tranny, replaced the trailer brake shoes and properly adjusted them. I'd also increase the PSI in the rear tires of the tow vehicle to near max cold to improve the handling and stability under the additional load. We weren't going to win any races but it towed well. Longest trip was 500 miles round-trip with some pretty good grades and it was comfortable and solid.

Car on a trailer will be more aerodynamic but I agree with others that the Uhaul trailer is likely over-built and heavier than it needs to be. I've also always preferred electric brakes with a brake controller over surge brakes (after calibrating the brake controller to my load).

As another poster suggested, I'd look for opportunities to do a few test runs and get comfortable before making the decision to go all-in. Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2022, 03:52 PM #10
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I completely agree with wsu_runner post and will share one person's opinion.
I too miss having a longer wheelbase and some margin under the max rating.

Acceleration sucks but not a big issue. It's having control of the load and stability is why I don't like pushing this platform. For me I notice things get squirrely for my #4000 enclosed trailer and my near #5000 boat. If I go above 60mph it gets less stable. Dips or ruts in the road also impact stability, sometimes much more than is comfortable. I keep towing those two at a bare minimum because of that. Thankfully I've avoided emergency or even hard braking.

It's not that it can't' do it, because it can. It's just not what this platform is good at. That short wheelbase is awesome for off road, good for urban parking lots, and fits in my garage. For towing... yeah, those are the only days I miss my silverado. For my #3200 boat there are no issues.

If you decide to tow these kinds of loads there was good advice on airbags. I'm also looking at upgrading shocks to mitigate bounce and roll.
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Old 04-13-2022, 07:42 PM #11
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On paper sure...


In reality... it's going to be a nightmare experience.

I tow 2 motorcycles and trailer...that's about max I would go and it's not entirely fun.
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Old 04-14-2022, 11:41 AM #12
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The distribution of weight on the trailer is very important, more important than the wheelbase. Too much weight on the back end of the trailer and you're going to fishtail, possibly end up with the tail wagging the dog. Too much in the front and you'll lift the front axle off the ground too much and lose steering and braking capability.

If you have never towed anything or have only towed infrequently then any towing rig is going to be a challenge for you. The dynamics of the tow vehicle are completely changed. If you are in this category, you need to practice, practice, practice or get an experienced driver with a capable tow vehicle to pull whatever it is you want to pull. Also be aware of the towing laws in any state you will be driving through.

There are no air bags on my 4Runner, but I do have an Equalizer WDH

Couple of cargo load demonstrations
Tongue Weight Safety Demonstration - YouTube
Towing a trailer can be dangerous with the wrong weight distribution - YouTube
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Old 04-14-2022, 12:03 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadpoppa View Post
On paper sure...


In reality... it's going to be a nightmare experience.

I tow 2 motorcycles and trailer...that's about max I would go and it's not entirely fun.
Agreed. I'm actually surprised the tow rating is 5k on these things. I towed half that and it was not the best experience, so I added air bags and it made a HUGE difference in squat and trailer control. Regardless, I wouldn't tow close to the max unless I absolutely had to, even with air bags.
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Old 04-14-2022, 12:55 PM #14
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I think it would be interesting to compare towing with KDSS vs without. I find the 4Runner to tow pretty well for a midsize SUV. At least the chassis and handling. It weighs as much as most half ton pickups. Has brakes that are as big or bigger than most early 2000's 3/4 trucks. Front brakes are bigger than my 07 powerstroke. And the GX version has a 6500lb tow rating that seems well within the vehicle's capability. GX has the heavier duty rear hitch and trans cooler, but same platform and suspension setup.

I've never tried towing with a non-kdss version. So maybe that's where the biggest difference in experience comes in? I didn't like how the non-kdss version handled empty. So I guess I might not like it towing either.

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Old 04-14-2022, 01:12 PM #15
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total newbie to towing question

You’re towing maximum 150 miles once a month, you’ll be fine. Just take it easy and don’t expect to get anywhere fast. Pay attention to load balance, tongue weight, and combined weight…if these numbers correspond correctly you’ll be ok.

Expect to be overtaken, expect to be cut off, expect to not be let onto and off the highway. You learn in CDL training to check mirrors and look around at least every 10 seconds, this helps create a sense of awareness…definitely comes in handy because most all drivers are idiots.
Also when in doubt, get out and look.

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