Pulling a Travel Trailer - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 04:48 PM
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Pulling a Travel Trailer

We're looking at buying a travel trailer soon. The best deal I have found so far is on a 20' trailer with a dry weight of 3000lbs and full capacity of 5500lbs.

I'm not worried about the pulling capacity of the FJ, but more the handling of a longer trailer like this. The total length is about 10' longer than what I'm used to. I don't plan on putting 2500lbs of stuff in it - but I may be close to the 5000lb capacity of the FJ.

I've pulled many loaded trailers before, but not anything above 3000lbs or this long. I'm worried it may be a bit long for the FJ's short wheelbase.

Does anybody have any suggestions or recommendations?

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#2 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 04:54 PM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

I'm not a trailer expert...but I would want a longer wheel base vehicle for that size of trailer. I'll also note that I always lean toward the safe side, and that is one reason I wouldn't pull that big of trailer with an FJ. But I bet it will tow fine with stabilizer bars most of the time...it's just the bad weather like high winds or comming down a mountain in the rain that worry me.

But don't jump to any conclusions yet...let's hear from some others!

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#3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 05:19 PM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

There are other threads on trailer pulling w/an FJ posted elsewhere on this forum (just do a search) and some people claim that there's no problem pulling a long (20ft+) trailer as long as it doesn't exceed the FJ's GVWR, but I'm skeptical.

I have no problem pulling my 9ft Horizon Adventure Trailer w/my FJ, which is about 3000lbs fully loaded w/water, gas, food & gear and have no problem pulling a motorcycle on a trailer w/it either. But, I personally would NEVER try pulling my 27' Outdoors Creekside Travel Trailer w/my FJ, even though this trailer is rated at "only" 4900 lbs dry weight (just within the FJ's GVWR). I only pull it w/my Ford F250 4x4 7.3L SuperCab Longbed Diesel, which is 20ft long, has as 13ft wheelbase, 505Ft/lb torque and a GVWR of around 12.5k lbs. That's what the F250 is designed for -- not so the FJ.

Even if the FJ can "technically" pull a long and heavy travel trailer, IMHO the FJ is too light and is too underpowered (no torque) to tow one efficiently and doing so will strain the engine, drive train and brakes (especially in mountain terrain) -- not to mention sucking up gas faster than you can gulp a coke -- far beyond the limits intended for this off-road vehicle.

Doesn't mean you couldn't pull a long trailer w/your FJ from time-to-time or on an emergency basis, if necessary, but I certainly wouldn't want to use it for towing such a trailer over great distances or for extended periods of time.

Just my 2 cents!

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#4 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 05:31 PM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

I agree that a long heavy trailer is too much for the FJ. I was looking at 20' or less and within the load capacity. We are 'shopping' on Thursday and will make a decision once we actually see it.

My main dilemma is getting a trailer that will last us WITHOUT getting rid of the FJ. I don't want to sink money in something we find is too small then have to sell it and the FJ just to upgrade.

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#5 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 08:56 PM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

Quote:
SVTim previously said: View Post
I agree that a long heavy trailer is too much for the FJ. I was looking at 20' or less and within the load capacity. We are 'shopping' on Thursday and will make a decision once we actually see it.

My main dilemma is getting a trailer that will last us WITHOUT getting rid of the FJ. I don't want to sink money in something we find is too small then have to sell it and the FJ just to upgrade.
Do a search for those other trailer threads I mentioned.

There are pics and discussions of light & "compact" travel trailers that other FJers are pulling that may suit your needs, but ultimately they are all a compromise in terms of space and features and, if you really need a lot of room and conveniences in your trailer, you may have to choose a pull vehicle other than the FJ.

Good luck!

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#6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 10:24 PM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

I did just pull a little 6x8 flat bed trailer with two dirt bikes on it from CO to CA and back. It did cost me almost 5 miles per gallon going through the mountains and then the gas mileage fell to about 12 mpg with a very heavy head wind.

My cousin pulls an 18 foot flat bed trailer with his desert car and a dirt bike on it behind his 4cy Toyota Tocoma, and it seems to pull ok. He has to drop the shift down to 3rd gear going over the 3K ft mountains in CA. It always sounds like he's really pushing the engine hard over those mountains. My FJ was dropping down to 3rd gear if I tried to keep the speed up in the CO mountains with the trailer up around 10k ft.

So I think that travel trailer will give the engine a good work out. It's just the handling in bad weather that I would really worry about.

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#7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 08:04 AM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

After all of the searching and reading, I found that much above a 20' Travel Trailer was a bad idea. It wasn't so much the weight as it was the wind pushing a long trailer connected to a short wheelbase vehicle (FJ). Think 'tail wagging the dog' syndrome.

So we revised our search and ended up getting a 18.5' Hybrid Travel Trailer. Max GVWR is 3500, so I am still within a 75% safe range of the FJ's capacity. I should be getting the 7-pin wiring and brake controller tomorrow and picking up the trailer on Wednesday. The only thing I see as a problem is the height of my existing hitch with the 3" lift.

I'm going to find a 5" drop ball mount and see how that works. I'm going to see how this set up works when I get the trailer and make a determination then if I'll be upgrading to a load distributing setup with sway control.

Thanks for the help.

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#8 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 08:31 AM
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Re: Pulling a Travel Trailer

I think that the question most neglect when talking about this subject is, Is it safe? The answer is no. As Swing mentioned above the FJ is not designed for the job. The FJ will tow a 20’ trailer but the physics of a 20’ high profile trailer being pulled by a short wheel base tow rig is not safe.

That is the true issue here. I have seen quite a few posters on this forum post like it is no big deal for them to tow either a trailer that is too long or even over weight. OK no big deal for them, they get out of control, it’s their life and equipment. But what about MY life and equipment?

When you hit the road with tow rig and trailer you are also responsible for the safety of others. It is one thing to knowingly endanger your own safety, something very different to knowingly endanger others.

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