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95.5-2004 Tacomas & 96-2002 4Runners 4th gen pickups and 3rd gen 4Runners

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Old 08-03-2004, 09:11 PM   #1
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How can i increase towing capacity?

how can i do it safely and effectively? is it in the HP? torque? axles? vehicle weight? im sure all contribute, but what i want to do is effectively raise my towing capacity...i have a 96 SR5 2wd auto with '99 4wd springs on 265/75/16's).

i want to regularly tow a 98 TT porsche, it weighs about 2500-3000 lbs. the trailer weighs im guessing 600-900...

what would you guys suggest to be safe?

tranny cooler...( a given right?)
air shocks out back...
TRD supercharger...

what else?

i want to do it regularly, and safely with lots of room to spare as far as capacity (hp/braking...etc) goes...
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Old 08-04-2004, 12:52 AM   #2
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I believe they rate you weight according to your Gross Maximum Vehicle weight or something of the sort. They judge how much the axle can handle or something.

However I put in airshocks for towing and they rock. Awesome. You can adjust for heavy loads without sacraficing ride comfort. I would definitley recommend heavy duty brakes. I've pulled around 4000 pounds with my 97 and the braking was scary...
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Old 08-04-2004, 01:17 AM   #3
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Rear end Sag or Lift has a direct effect on the amount of brake balance from front to rear. Towing power comes mostly from available Torque. Adding a Supercharger will most noticably boost torque in the higher RPM ranges. Most people I know like full sized diesel trucks as Tow vehicles because of their added torque at lower RPMs. If it were me towing my race car to the track every weekend I'd find myself an older Full size Diesel and not use up my Runner. Right tool for the job and all.......
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:21 AM   #4
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You should go by the manual, for the max combined vehicle weight. Weigh you truck with a full gas tank and add the weight of people, tools and other stuff that you will take along. Subtract that from the max combined wt. and that will give you the towing compacity. On my '97 it leaves me a bit under the 5000 lbs that the book states. I think a trans. cooler and trailer brakes would be a must.
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:41 AM   #5
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Surge GT,
All those things are taken into account when a manufacturer certifies towing capability (or Gross Combined Weight Rating.) The size of the brakes, the weight capacity of the axle, the strength of the axle, the strength of the transmission, the tire ratings, the amount of available power, cooling system capability, etc. For example, you add power and now you overheat, or now you snap an axle, or now it feels good with the trailer on but the first long downhill stop you make, you run out of brakes before you run out of surplus kinetic energy...
Stay within the rating. I can tell you from long experience that most vehicles can easily 'seem' to tow much more than they're rated for - but just moving the load isn't the same as doing so safely and maintaining control at all times...

A good tranny cooler is a smart idea - bigger is better. Be sure your brakes are in good shape. Be sure your radiator is clean (inside and outside) and the coolant is the right mix and the fan is in good working order. Put brakes on the trailer and learn how to adjust the controller. You'll be fine with 4000 pounds, it'll just be slower.
Do you still have stock gears...?
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:01 AM   #6
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as mentioned trailor brakes, tranny oil cooler are a must......I noticed while reading through the manual that the TRD w/ towing package and TRD w/o towing package have a different radiator fan, I dunno if its just the cutch for better cooling for what but its something I'd look into if I were you. S/C would be nice if you have the money but I'd focus on better brakes pads/rotors for safety reasons. Also as mentioned the rear is gonna sag from the tongue weight, if your shocks are mushy its gonna ride nice w/o a load but kinda bad when towing, so you may want to look into adjustable shocks, maybe even stiffer springs if it sags to bad....Good luck, keep us updated...
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:20 AM   #7
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I think you would be pushing it with close to 4000 lbs. Maybe ok intermittently, but not on a regular basis as you stated. I don't think you would have much room to spare with hp and braking as you also stated. As Modzilla said, you will use up your Runner pretty quick towing that on a regular basis. With the amount of money you spend on upgrades, a different vehicle may be a better long term option.
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:53 PM   #8
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All good advice. That's why I keep the F*150 around, I need to pull stuff that would be a strain for the Yota...
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:02 PM   #9
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Keep in mind that if you go with the TRD SC and an extreme load, you are gonna ping something fierce. So be sure to upgrade that fuel system via URD. Tack on another grand for the fuel mods.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:09 PM   #10
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:26 PM   #11
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If you want to increase towing capacity, you're definetly going to want more horsepower and more torque. But, if you do that, you are going to need a stronger engine and transmission that can withstand the extra power. Also, you should try out a few performance chips. They make special performance chips especially for towing big loads. If your truck is diesel, then i'd say Bully Dog (www.bullydog.com) makes an awesome product.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:09 PM   #12
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My '89 Toyota 4WD V6 truck may be able to haul 3500 pounds but it can't stop it.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:20 PM   #13
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FYI: Land cruiser would have no problem handling that kind of load.
GVWR is not something I would load beyond.

Suggest a rear suspension package to control the boat on the road

http://www.shadetreemechanic.com/roadmaster.htm
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:37 PM   #14
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hmmmm....

ok..so if im doing this on a regular basis, go for another vehicle unless i plan on doing ALOT of mods and wearing out the runner real quick..

how about intermittantly? what do you guys suggest?

the truth is. its not going to be an every weekend thing...i like to drive the car more than trailer it. whats happeneing is im building a motor for it/tubing it. etc. but keep it street legal where i'll drive the car to events...so i might take it to a shop maybe two or three times in two weeks...then not do anything for months...i just wanted the option to do it regularly...now that that looks like a no go...how about intermittantly?

you know the deal? i wont always need to tow..but will in spurts...and how is everybody with like say...4000lbs and up? what were your real time experiences? ive done a search, and found all kinds of great info. now what about all you guys who have towed (and how many times) 3500 and up?

and thanks again for all the replies thus far!
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:22 PM   #15
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Personally I feel very strongly that this makes for a very good light duty Tow vehicle. You know, a small bike trailer with a couple dirt bikes, one or maybe two wave runners, a bass boat. Stuff like that. Towing payloads aproaching 2 tons even intermittantly is asking for trouble. But each to his own. If you must tow heavier payloads I'd go extra slow and easy. Also plan on having a much decreased lifespan on brake parts. In my opinion it's always gonna be a trade off. You'll spend the extra money beefing up your rig and replacing parts more often or you can spend a couple grand getting a cool older fullsize truck to do the same job. They also come in handy for bigger jobs around the house. I think everyone should have an old pick up that is fairly reliable to do the bigger dirtier jobs that always come along from time to time. Say your girl friend has had her eye on an antique desk .....There ya go. Plus chicks dig old trucks too. Don't ask me why but they do.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MODZILLA
Plus chicks dig old trucks too. Don't ask me why but they do.

haha... actually they do, my truck looks really good for a 1985... and most people are just like wow, looks great... the girls are like, so when are you taking me 4wheeling?
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Old 08-05-2004, 12:11 AM   #17
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Another big factor is where you are towing it. I live up in the mountains and 1500 pounds can be a lot of weight up some of these hills with my 22R. If you are only going to be towing it every now and then on flat ground then it would probably tow it just fine. What engine do you have? I believe if you have the V6 in a Tacoma then 4000 is under the maximum capacity. Either way, make sure you have good trailer brakes and maybe think about some upgraded brakes. Braking can be a bigger issue than power when towing. I remember once I towed about 1000 pounds with a golf cart and I locked up the brakes as the trailer pushed me down the hill.
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Old 08-05-2004, 02:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurgeGT
how can i do it safely and effectively? is it in the HP? torque? axles? vehicle weight? im sure all contribute, but what i want to do is effectively raise my towing capacity...i have a 96 SR5 2wd auto with '99 4wd springs on 265/75/16's).

i want to regularly tow a 98 TT porsche, it weighs about 2500-3000 lbs. the trailer weighs im guessing 600-900...

what would you guys suggest to be safe?

tranny cooler...( a given right?)
air shocks out back...
TRD supercharger...

what else?

i want to do it regularly, and safely with lots of room to spare as far as capacity (hp/braking...etc) goes...

Beef up the rear suspension with heavier springs and maybe some airbags. Tranny cooler. Trailer brakes are a must. Regear that rear end to 4.30-4.56 if you need more power. Tow ratings are more about suspension and frame strength than engine power. I wouldn't waste the money on the supercharger myself, towing is not a race, it's more about patience.

Or upgrade to a vehicle which is more appropriate for this task.
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Old 08-05-2004, 08:17 AM   #19
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Here's a suggestion: You already have a trailer hitch. Go find a trailer and a load that weighs about 4000 pounds and take it for a nice long tow. It will open your eyes...

In the truck-and-trailer world 4k is not much of a tow, but in the Toyota world, while it's perfectly do-able, 4000 pounds is enough weight to get your attention. You will feel it, you'll know it's heavy going straight, you'll know its heavy accellerating, and you'll respect it's mass when stopping. God forbid some kid on skateboard pops out in front of you - see my point? I wouldn't hesitate to tow 4k occasionally with that 4Runner - its perfectly capable of it, but I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, even with all the updgrades mentioned in this post (and certainly not with a S/C.) I'd get a physically heavier and stronger tow vehicle.
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Old 08-05-2004, 08:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurgeGT
now what about all you guys who have towed (and how many times) 3500 and up?

and thanks again for all the replies thus far!
My boat weighs a little more than 3k when full of gas. I usually take 4 adults and camping gear, so I am pretty close to 3,500+.

I have heavy duty springs (pp springs), TRD Tranny cooler, TRD thermostat, TRD supercharger and run premium. Mine actually pulls quite well. I do have to get on it when I go up steep canyons, but I can still get up it at around 50 mph. I don't have any fuel mods but I have yet to make it ping when towing, you just gotta know when to downshift and when to turn the OD off.

Eventually (within the next two years) I am going to get a V8 truck for my wife and use that to tow. But my 4Runner does the job fine for now.

Click the image to open in full size.
It is loaded with camping gear and coolers, it also has a cargo bag on the roof..
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