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Discussion Starter #41
^^^^ dabeyta3's entire post is excellent, but this 1000x.
Weight is predicable and controllable, sway is unpredictable and has to dealt with in the moment.
The FJ is a great vehicle; be aware of its limitations as you are of its strengths so there is much happy camping 🙂
Agreed on your dog quote in your signature. I Great photo.
Our dog wishes the rear windows opened so he could stick his head out.
 

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Thanks!
My dog wishes that I were out camping this weekend like you are (nice looking camper btw) 🐶⛺
 

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@dabeyta3

I'd looked at drawtite and curt photos, the curt had looked better to me, so I'm just going curt, since knowing the brand name more
Either the curt or drawtite will probably be fine. I just had the drawtite, and really put it to the test. The bolts never loosened and it held well over the 600lbs on occasion. I probably had closer to 800 lbs on short little tows.


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Thank you, those are three very good points.
I will be getting a Curt, think model 13357, frame mounted hitch this week, installed by les Schwab tire centers. Also likely air bags. Possibly bilstien 5100 shocks, priceyx not sure I need them yet.

Then an auxiliary trans cooler install by Ed's Transmission. Max at Ed's checked it out on Thursday, wants to measure it more and pull out grill, to put largest one in that will fit. Also have the camco eazlift R3 ReCurve WDH. Got the tekonsha Voyager brake controller and a furrion trailer backup camera.

Hope others see those photos and info, when having same question.
I also put air bags on mine. However, after going back and forth I ended up removing mine. Even aired down to 2 lbs they made the unloaded ride extra bouncy over bumps. The weight distribution worked just fine and air bags tend to cause you overload your rear axle.

Also on the brake controller I tried the prodigy p3 but it seemed to have issues with the fj. I think the fj’s close wheelbase combined with coil springs allowed more pronounced up, down, back and forth movements which the p3 didn’t like. It would either under apply or over apply the brakes. I ended up going with the p2 which didn’t have those issues.

I had bilstein 5100’s on my fj. They did make a decent difference, I felt they were a good investment. Mine were the leveling ones, and one notch above stock was the best for towing.

Last, I also installed a trans cooler in mine. It was a Hayden and was super easy. Just be sure to buy 3/8” trans line, anything smaller will restrict flow and cause problems.




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Discussion Starter #46
Either the curt or drawtite will probably be fine. I just had the drawtite, and really put it to the test. The bolts never loosened and it held well over the 600lbs on occasion. I probably had closer to 800 lbs on short little tows.


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Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #47
have the Curt 13367 on the way; have an appt weds at Ed's Transmission for the aux tranny cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
BAL travel trailer tongue twister. Dad recommended, son approved.

...I do know in this photo, the power isn't connected, and it's a small coupler lock. Getting stronger coupler pin friday, with the Curt receiver install.
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Discussion Starter #52 (Edited)
For this set up on this trip; found a set of scales along the highway; vehicle weight (with passengers, dogs, gear, kayaks and tongue weight of the trailer) was just at 6,000 lbs = 430 lbs over the AT GVWR of 5,570 and trailer weight was 3,250 = 1,450 lbs under the maximum 4,700 towable weight. Trailer's tanks were 1/3 of fresh water, empty on grey and black.

Going to do some adjustment of the gear in the rig (heavy chairs, stool and ladder) back into the trailer, back of the axle; additionally get some of the heavier items (wood blocks, gas grill) out of the front trailer compartment and into the back if possible, off the tongue. Once I get the Curt frame mounted receiver on this week, will have the RV dealer re-do the WDH and then re-check. Don't currently have a good way to weigh the actual tongue weight. The WDH itself is about 86 lbs.

At some point I may experiment and not use the WDH and re-weigh. And take a trip to see how the sway and handling is.

On Friday I did get a Toyota service done, oil/lube/tire rotate and the brake & coolant service; they said it was time (56,000 miles). since it was in, and the trailer was off, just did it.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Curt left/right frame mounted receiver installed this week and R3 WDH re-adjusted; definitely looks better. Seemed OK on the tow 5 miles home. Headed to the coast 1 night this weekend; will see how it handles differently.

Still have the 6 bolt OEM center frame receiver in a box. they also had to remove the rear tow hook to get the Curt on.
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(Emphasis mine...)

I’ve read through most of the thread but in case I missed something I’m sorry for repeating it.

1. The fj’s factory hitch is what you have. It’s held on by 6 bolts, two on the bottom and 4 on the face. It’s held on to the frame member at the back of the fj. That frame member is crazy strong but the unfortunately the oem hitch isn’t. It was originally rated for 5k and 500 lb tongue weight (downward weight). I believe those numbers were dropped slightly in later years but that’s more because of what the fj’s suspension can handle. THIS HITCH IS NOT WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION COMPATIBLE. I bent my hitch, bolts and almost had a disaster and my wasn’t even cranked up very high. The bottom bolts will bend and then the hitch.

2. Buy a drawtite hitch from amazon or etrailer. It’s the best one. Easy install, it took me 20 minutes. It mounts to the frame in two different spots, and spreads out the weight. It still uses 6 bolts and is much much stronger. The drawtite hitch is rated at 6000k and 600lbs tongue weight when using a wdh. It won’t raise the fj’s legal limits, but it’s much stronger. With this hitch wd works very well.

3. If you’re plan on towing a travel trailer or similar seriously look into a Hensley arrow or arrow cub hitch. They are much more expensive but it has wd and will eliminate sway. Sway will be your real enemy. I got one and it completely changed how the fj tows. Much safer. I’ve since bought a new tundra to tow with but I still use a Hensley with it as well. If you have to use the fj to tow, a Hensley might save your life. The wheelbase is just to short.

Here are a few pics of my hitch when I found it loose and pointing slightly upward on my fj.
So I'm a bit confused... if you stick with the OEM center-mounted hitch (even if temporarily), does it work with something like a Hensley Cub or ProPride 3P-600 (I like this design) or not? Some other stuff I've read indicates the entire point of the Hensley/ProPride design is to not require frame-mounted hitches, but maybe that's incorrect or I'm misunderstanding. Given the safety and stability benefits, the $2800 or whatever invested in these hitches seems pretty worthwhile. Better safe than sorry (or dead).

That said, the Draw-Tite hitch for the FJ doesn't seem terribly expensive and appears easy to install for sure. Definitely not a ton of $$$ relative to a ProPride... 😎

Thanks for all the great info in this thread.
 

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if you stick with the OEM center-mounted hitch (even if temporarily), does it work with something like a Hensley Cub or ProPride 3P-600
Hi scootle,

The Hensley/ProPride (4-Link) hitch can be used with either a frame mounted aka the OEM hitch.
Weight distribution (WD) hitches should should only be used with a frame mounted hitch.

There are two different elements here that are frequently combined because they can, though don't have to, work together - sway control and weight distribution. You can have one or both in a hitch.
A 4-Link hitch reduces sway by moving the effective hitch pivot point forward towards the rear axle from the actual hitch pivot point. A virtual 5th wheel. The mechanics of this process are within the hitch itself and not transferred to the FJ because it is not redistributing weight to do this. The engineering is amazing clever, but a bit off topic.
A WD hitch reduces sway by shifting effective location the weight (Center of Gravity) of the Tow Trailer to a more stable location, as well as making sure the hitch weight is neither too heavy nor too light*. The mechanics of this process with a cross member hitch (OEM) transfers forces to the hitch and cross member. The frame can take a greater amount of this force, and is why a frame mounted hitch should be used with a WD hitch.

* Notes on hitch or tongue weight and height for anyone reading this to get up to speed. Having too much hitch weight in relation to trailer weight will cause the front of the trailer and the rear of the tow vehicle to dive. If the dives is too great you will loose traction in braking and control in steering which can be dangerous. Also the opposite, too little relative hitch weight, is a concern. When the weight on the hitch a trailer will be more prone to sway because the weight is too rearward. Proper loading of weight in the trailer is key, forward-back and right-left, and then may need to be further adjusted with a WD system. If your tow trailer will equal or exceed the weight of the tow vehicle, I would consider WD. Additionally, make sure the ball is at the proper height for the trailer - level and unhooked, measure height from the ground to the top of the hitch receiver, and again to the bottom of the trailer coupler. The difference between these heights is the rise or drop adjustment needed for the ball.

Better safe than sorry (or dead).
+1 👍
 
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Got it, makes sense. The design of the 4-Link hitches is pretty darn clever, that's for sure. Engineering ftw. Thanks for the great info!
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
Comparison photos of the R3 ReCurve 600 WDH vs. Standard hitch. The difference is 1.5 inches less on the height the bumper goes down for the WDH vs. Standard. In walking around the vehicle, looking at all angles, the WDH is a keeper for me, even though adding the extra initial hitch weight vs. Standard.

I hate having to pick up and put in the WDH, and it's a bear sometimes to get the stabilizer bars unhooked.

But overall I'm "hooked" on this WDH model, for the $600 dealer installed and adjusted cost. I've heard the Hensley Arrow Cub is best, but currently stay with this one, trip number three schedules this weekend over the cascade range to Bend, Oregon. The experiment continues.

Will be the first trip with the Curt receiver.
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Discussion Starter #60
The Curt receiver and WDH are a great combination. On trip 3 today, it pulled and felt much better, over Hwy 20 Santiam Pass to Bend, Oregon. Photos below of The Camp, a retro rv park, just off 97. Bring your own RV, or they'll let you you stay in theirs.
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