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Old 09-17-2019, 12:59 AM #1
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4Runner underpowered for towing my trailer. Should I get a Tundra?

Greetings. I bought a new 4Runner in 2018, and I mostly love it. Had a Pathfinder for 16 years, but it was time for something new as it has 287K miles on the meter (still running OK). I have 25K miles on the 4Runner, and I've towed my camper trailer behind it numerous times to the Sierras, northern CA, and central OR. My main complaint about the 4Runner is that it just lacks power. It's seriously underpowered in my opinion. Towing a 2,400 lbs trailer at 8,000 ft elevation on a steep incline is no fun at all. I'm basically revving the engine at 4,000 RPM and still only doing 50mph at best. In those moments, I just want a Ram 3500 with a huge ass, way overpowered diesel V8 with insane torque. Since I'm almost always towing the trailer for my trips, I've been toying with the idea of trading the 4Runner in and getting a vehicle with a V8 and a lot more torque/horsepower. The Tundra looks like a good candidate, or maybe even the Sequoia. I don't do any serious off-roading or rock crawling, but I would like to eventually build out the vehicle to be able to tackle some semi gnarly trails. I usually don't pick a trail because it's challenging, but rather because it might take me to beautiful places where most of the crowds can't go. That said, I do like good ground clearance, solid 4wd features, and most of all, a sturdy as hell vehicle that won't break when I do take it on some rough trails.

So now to my questions. It's not clear to me if the newer Tundras (2019/2020) have as nice 4wd features as the 4Runner (crawl control, locking rear diff, 4wd low gearing, etc). Another consideration is that the wheel base is quite a bit longer on the Tundra. Again, I'm not doing stuff like the Rubicon, or Hell's Revenge, but I do want a vehicle that could possibly tackle some tough trails if needed. I'm also thinking about after market parts availability. I do want a nice bull bar with a heavy duty winch, etc. I assume that there's a lot more of that available for the 4Runner than the Tundra. Or maybe I'm wrong? Any other considerations? I just wish the 5th Gen 4Runner had a reasonably lightweight 350+ HP V8 as an engine option or that I could afford a Landcruiser...
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:37 PM #2
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It could be all about the elevation, but it surprises me that you are having lots of problems. Have you tried a Pedal Commander Throttle Response Controller?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BMK5YHQ...v_ov_lig_dp_it
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:45 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WirChf View Post
It could be all about the elevation, but it surprises me that you are having lots of problems. Have you tried a Pedal Commander Throttle Response Controller?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BMK5YHQ...v_ov_lig_dp_it
Interesting! I've heard of people doing mods to the factory throttle, especially on 4Runners. I might have to try that. It's not that I'm having lots of problems, it's just that the lack of torque and power is a bit frustrating when towing. I really wish i had 100 more HP and a lot more torque. I'm still thinking of getting a Tundra, but the lack of a rear diff locker, crawl control, and the longer wheel base has me hesitating. On the other hand, I don't do all that much true off-roading, so it might be just fine for what I do. So many decisions! :-)
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:11 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorbound View Post
Interesting! I've heard of people doing mods to the factory throttle, especially on 4Runners. I might have to try that. It's not that I'm having lots of problems, it's just that the lack of torque and power is a bit frustrating when towing. I really wish i had 100 more HP and a lot more torque. I'm still thinking of getting a Tundra, but the lack of a rear diff locker, crawl control, and the longer wheel base has me hesitating. On the other hand, I don't do all that much true off-roading, so it might be just fine for what I do. So many decisions! :-)
I'm curious which way you will be going. I'll be in the same boat as you within the next year after we buy a camper. I'll be pulling it up towards Tahoe from Sacramento, and even down to Mammoth often.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:03 PM #5
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Originally Posted by WirChf View Post
I'm curious which way you will be going. I'll be in the same boat as you within the next year after we buy a camper. I'll be pulling it up towards Tahoe from Sacramento, and even down to Mammoth often.
Right now, I'm leaning towards a Tundra. Even with a more responsive throttle, I'm not sure the 4Runner is the best vehicle for towing my trailer which weighs about 2,400 lbs fully loaded. I guess I'd be giving up some 4wd capabilities, and the 4Runner is definitely more nimble than the Tundra, but for the kind of wheeling I mostly do, I think a Tundra would be more than capable.
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:43 AM #6
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The Dodge Cummins is a Straight 6. It would not feel the 2400lb trailer. Which would mean upgrading the trailer. I have an exhaust brake on my 2006. Still have the factory brake pads with 123K miles with lots of heavy towing at 50% pad life remaining.

Have you considered the Lexus GX with the V8?
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:48 PM #7
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I'm more curious on how a 16 year old Pathfinder is capable.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:24 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcjeep View Post
The Dodge Cummins is a Straight 6. It would not feel the 2400lb trailer. Which would mean upgrading the trailer. I have an exhaust brake on my 2006. Still have the factory brake pads with 123K miles with lots of heavy towing at 50% pad life remaining.

Have you considered the Lexus GX with the V8?
Are you saying you can drop a Cummins engine in the 4Runner? Or were you referring to the Ram truck? I read somewhere that it has 900+ pound feet of torque.

I have not looked into the Lexus GX, but I'm guessing it's up there in price with the Land Cruiser.

Last edited by outdoorbound; 09-24-2019 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:25 PM #9
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I'm more curious on how a 16 year old Pathfinder is capable.
Who said that? I said it's still running fine.
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:30 PM #10
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I'm curious which way you will be going. I'll be in the same boat as you within the next year after we buy a camper. I'll be pulling it up towards Tahoe from Sacramento, and even down to Mammoth often.
I did end up buying a Pedal Commander and installed it yesterday. It sure makes the 4Runner a lot more fun to drive even if it doesn't give me more HP or torque :-)
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:39 PM #11
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Who said that? I said it's still running fine.
You. I never said it was broken?

Wanted to know more about this Pathfinder you had that out pulls the 4R.
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Old 09-25-2019, 01:11 AM #12
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Are you saying you can drop a Cummins engine in the 4Runner? Or were you referring to the Ram truck? I read somewhere that it has 900+ pound feet of torque.

I have not looked into the Lexus GX, but I'm guessing it's up there in price with the Land Cruiser.
Someone mentioned V8 Cummins. It's a straight 6. Cummins engine too heavy for a light duty half ton.

Used Lexus GX are a great bargain. Biggest negative in my opinion is the rear barn door. It opens the wrong way. Maybe rent one for a day? Turo?
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:23 AM #13
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I did end up buying a Pedal Commander and installed it yesterday. It sure makes the 4Runner a lot more fun to drive even if it doesn't give me more HP or torque :-)
Nice! Do you plan on towing the camper soon with it? Report back if you do tow with it.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:03 AM #14
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Originally Posted by Dillusion View Post
You. I never said it was broken?

Wanted to know more about this Pathfinder you had that out pulls the 4R.
I think you need to read the original post again. I never said that I towed the trailer with the Pathfinder. Although, I find the slightly lower gearing much more pleasant in the Pathfinder...

I bought the 4Runner to replace the Pathfinder since it's pretty old and worn with many miles on the meter.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:15 AM #15
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Nice! Do you plan on towing the camper soon with it? Report back if you do tow with it.
I just got back from a trip to the Sierras. Towed the trailer probably 500 miles, up to 7,000+ ft elevation at the highest pass. It certainly was a lot more enjoyable with the more responsive throttle, but I still wish I had lower gearing or a lot more torque. It's pretty annoying to listen to the engine at 3,500 RPM for more than a short period of time.
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