Out with the van and In with the Truck (New Tow Rig)

Discussion in 'Checkout My Rig !' started by GreatBigAbyss, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    So a few years ago I bought a used 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan with the intention of pulling a Pop-Up Trailer with it. And, indeed, that summer we bought our NTU Pop-Up. I modified the van for pulling it, and basically dialed it in for towing. Airbags in the rear springs (which, btw, leaked on our trip to the Rockies this past summer), brake controller, etc.

    The van was adequate out in the prairies, and quite well matched to the size of the trailer that we are towing (10' Palomino). Out in the Rockies, however, the Pentastar felt a little strained, especially when pulling the trailer at altitude. There was almost no reserve power.

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    What's more, I've been mulling over the thought of buying a larger, hard-sided travel trailer. Something in the 23-24' length. This is definitely NOT something that the van would be able to pull, EVER. Heck, even if we wanted to move to a larger 12' Pop-up with a dining slide and front storage trunk, I'm of the opinion the van wouldn't have been enough vehicle, especially for long roadtrips.

    So I started musing about a new tow vehicle. At first I started looking at CUV's, but their 5000lb tow rating wasn't really as big of an improvement over the van's 3500lbs to make it worthwhile to switch. Also, CUV's with V6's have basically the same power rating as my van did (the van was 283hp), so a CUV like a Pathfinder would not have been an improvement over the van in the mountains. I considered the Durango R/T with the Hemi. The Durango has a 7400lb tow rating with the V8, and with 360hp, PLENTY of reserve power. That SUV should be able to handle a 23-24' travel trailer with relative ease. The problem is that Durango R/T's are $60 000CAD new, and in the $40's for a 3-year old model. That's a lotta Moula. Combined with Chrysler's less than stellar reliability record, I wasn't sure I loved the idea of plonking down $40-$60CAD on a vehicle that could possibly be plagued with problems after the warranty expired.

    Enter Toyota: I started looking at Tundra's in the fall. What drew me to them was their solid build quality and solid reputation for reliability. Yes, the Tundra is very dated (the current generation came out in 2007, and was last refreshed in 2014), with an interior that isn't competitive with the rest of the Big 3 truck makers. And the powertrain, while advanced for its time (aluminum block/heads, DOHC, etc.) hasn't kept up with the competition with regards to fuel economy (worst rated fuel economy out of all the half-tons for sale - I blame the 6-speed transmission and 4.30 rear end). That being said, the fact that the truck has been around for over a decade in (more or less) its current form, means ALL the bugs have been worked out, and combined with Toyota's solid engineering and build quality, a newer Tundra is able to reach 500 000kms without too many problems. There is no newfangled technology to break. The Tundra is a simple, down-to-earth, archaic half ton without too many pretensions.

    So the search was on for a used Tundra. My usual buying habits are to buy a 3-4 year old vehicle with 50-75 000kms on the clock. The problem with finding a Tundra of this vintage? Their ridiculous resale value meant that such examples were still in the low $40 000CAD range. Even ten year old Tundras with 200 000kms on the clock are going for $20 000. This made the decision to go with a brand new Tundra pretty easy. My local Toyota dealer made me an excellent deal on a new truck. The factory was offering $8000 off on a cash sale, and my dealership offered me an additional $4000 to take a truck off their hands that had been sitting on their lot for months. That is a total of $12000 off the MSRP of a brand new truck, something which is almost unheard of on a new Tundra. What I paid for my brand new Tundra after freight and fees was maybe a $1000-$2000 more than 3-4 year old used examples with 75 000kms on them. It was a stupid easy decision to make.

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    For the last two months, I have been the proud owner of a 2018 Toyota Tundra SR5 CrewMAX TRD Off-Road. I LOVE the packaging on this truck. The SR5 is the 'base' truck, but the TRD Off-Road package adds a lot of goodies, like Navigation, Sunroof, Power Drivers seat, Heated seats, LED Headlights/Foglights, nicer wheels, and a few other goodies. It has the all important 5.7L I-Force V8, good for 381hp and 401ft-lbs of torque. A six speed transmission is the only one available, and a HUGE 4.30 rear end is standard. The result is 9600lbs of towing capacity, more than enough to handle any trailer I see myself buying in the next year or two.

    The interior is cloth (which I like) and relatively bare-bones with regards to materials. The backseat is HUGE. There is about twice as much legroom back there as there was in the 2nd row of my minivan. The rear window rolls all the way down - a Tundra exclusive.
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    I've been driving the truck for 2.5 months now. The V8 makes ALL the right noises (V8 FTW), and has plenty of thrust at any speed. Yes, fuel economy sucks. It's really cold here in Winnipeg, I have winter tires on the truck, and I'm doing lots of short trips and idling. My average is about 24L/100kms, or 9.6 USMPG. That's really bad. But I also knew it was going to be terrible when I bought it, so it doesn't come as a surprise. Overall I am very, very happy with this truck, and expect to have many, many years of completely trouble-free operation from it.
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  2. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Nice! Now you need a bigger camper to put all that horsepower to use.
     
  3. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    I'm planning on it. The idea is to get a 23'-24' travel trailer for trips that are within a couple of hours of home. I'm considering keeping our PUP for multi-day, cross-the-continent type road trips, because it is so easy to pull, and doesn't affect fuel economy all that much.
     
    PopUpSteve likes this.
  4. MattF350

    MattF350 Member

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    Nice truck!
    V8s are nice for everything except gas mileage. my 6.2 is quite thirsty...all the time :D
     
  5. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Those are fantastic trucks. I always wanted one. However, the lowish payload on them wouldn't work for my needs.
     
  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Nice! I've had my eye on the Tundra too or maybe the Sequoia. I really love my Toyota 4 runner and it's still going strong for it's age. The biggest hold back for me...is I dread having to parallel park a big suv in the city I live in and the much lower mpg I would get. Stop and go traffic is murder and worse on the truck. Decisions decisions. Congratulations and can't wait to see your new TT to go with your fancy new truck.[:D]
     
  7. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    ^^The problem with the Sequoia is that it has an IRS, and has therefore a significantly lower tow rating than a Tundra, at 7100lbs. It's not much higher than the tow rating of an older 4-Runner, but comes with a significant fuel economy penalty.

    It might be a year or two before we get a TT. We'll do at least one more summer with our pop-up.
     
  8. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Nice looking truck, you will love it. My dad used to say if you want to pull something you have to give up something which in this case is gas mileage. Good luck with the new truck and happy camping
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Nice truck...
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing inherently wrong with an IRS. My Expedition has one and tows 9000lbs.
    Towing a 6500lb hybrid, I get 8MPG. Abysmal, but I'm towing. I average 13.3 with mostly city driving. On a good day on the highway, not towing, I'll get 18.
    It has a 5.4L V8, 6 speed with 3.31 rear gears. 310hp/380lb-ft
    How can you only be getting 9.6 NOT towing?
     
  11. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    I'm pointing at the IRS on the Sequoia as being the reason it has a diminished tow rating, but I'm not 100% sure that's the reason. It has an otherwise similar drivetrain to the Tundra.

    As far as fuel mileage, well, mine is so bad because I'm doing a lot of cold starts, idling in the mornings, and short trips. And when I say cold, well, right now in Winnipeg it is -7F. Engines just burn a lot more fuel when starting in such cold weather. On the occasional longer trip I've done with the truck since I've had it, I've gotten about 17-18L/100kms, which is about 13-14MPG.

    The Tundra is well known to have the worst fuel economy figures of practically all half-tons. However, what you lose in fuel economy, you generally make up in reliability and dependability over other domestic brands.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Yeesh! -7F I suppose all that and a lot of idling won't help. I WISH I had that HP and torque though. Congratulations though. Tundra is a great looking truck. Change your fluids and that thing will last a loooong time.
     
  13. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations! Great looking truck! I may very well be thinking Tundra next time around, but I hope that's a long ways off [:)C]
     
  14. Rudy4536

    Rudy4536 Member

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    Good choice!
    I just gave my son my 2007 with 210,000 trouble free miles as i went with a new 2018 trunda. if you got the 38 gallon gas tank you'll really like the range of this thing.
    I'm getting 16 on the highway empty, haven't towed the e3 yet.
    Loving the truck.
    Good luck
     
  15. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I think that Tundras have issues with the factory brake controller for a trailer. You might want to get install an aftermarket controller.
     
  16. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    ^^^link to an article/thread? Do you have anything to substantiate your claim before I go out and plonk a few hundred dollars on a controller?

    I think I'll try the one in the truck first.
     
  17. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I know several Tundra owners that tow regularly. None have mentioned brake controller problems.
     
  18. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who tows with a newer Tundra and he had issues. I just did a quick google search.

    Integrated Brake Controller Failure: The factory integrated brake controller (IBC) in newer Toyota Tundra models doesn't provide enough braking power for trailers. Many Tundra owners fix this problem by installing aftermarket brake controllers.

    http://www.carproblemzoo.com/toyota/tundra/2017/service-brakes-problems.php
     
  19. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Thanks for the Heads Up. It is something to keep an eye on. I don't think I'll have any issues with my Pop-Up, but when I buy a bigger trailer, I'll definitely have this in the back of my mind the first few times I tow it.
     
  20. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    My friend loves his Tundra and tows fine with his controller.
     

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