Let's talk towing

hear

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Looking at getting a new vehicle, needs to check several boxes if possible. It'll be my "daily driver" for driving across the metroplex for softball tournaments, buying jeep parts in south Dallas, etc. And my wife will be driving it, so it needs to ride nice, which currently my JKU does not qualify LOL. And neither do the TJs. I have 5 kids, so having a 3rd row would be ideal, which precludes any sort of pickup truck, which I don't really want anyway. I've found some options, mainly in the Toyota/Lexus family, but I need help understanding towing capacity.

But let's start from the back end. The desire is to trailer my 97 TJ to the trails. I don't have a trailer myself, but obviously I can rent one for the handful of times a year I would need it. I don't have a place to store one so buying is out. And I have a friend with one that I could borrow in a pinch. The U-haul car hauler weighs 2210lbs. Looks like the TJ weighs close to 3300lbs. I have aftermarket bumpers & sliders, which adds an additional 190lbs. So call it 3500lbs, or 5700lbs in total.

Using the 2011 Sequoia as a working example, the 4.6L V8 4WD states it has a towing capacity of 6800lbs, so before doing anything else, it would appear that I'm 1100lbs (almost 20% under max). Having exactly zero experience towing, I don't yet understand curb weight GVWR tongue weight (actually I do understand that one) etc, but this chart would suggest that I'm good to go at 6800lb capacity even with 1200lbs of cargo in the towing vehicle.

In situations where I would be towing, I would likely only have me in the car, or me & maybe 2 kids. I carry some tools & parts when we go, but I would still be well under that 1200lb figure listed in the vehicle weight. So I say all this with the understanding that based on stuff I've read here, the numbers get more complicated in ways I don't understand yet. This is where you educate me.

2011-and-2012-Sequoia-Towing-Chart.png
 
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Ive got a 2018 silverado crew cab with the 6.6ft bed and with the tow package can get over 10k towing capacity. Its roomy inside because of the crew cab great power from the 6.2 V8
 
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Looking at getting a new vehicle, needs to check several boxes if possible. It'll be my "daily driver" for driving across the metroplex for softball tournaments, buying jeep parts in south Dallas, etc. And my wife will be driving it, so it needs to ride nice, which currently my JKU does not qualify LOL. And neither do the TJs. I have 5 kids, so having a 3rd row would be ideal, which precludes any sort of pickup truck, which I don't really want anyway. I've found some options, mainly in the Toyota/Lexus family, but I need help understanding towing capacity.

But let's start from the back end. The desire is to trailer my 97 TJ to the trails. I don't have a trailer myself, but obviously I can rent one for the handful of times a year I would need it. I don't have a place to store one so buying is out. And I have a friend with one that I could borrow in a pinch. The U-haul car hauler weighs 2210lbs. Looks like the TJ weighs close to 3300lbs. I have aftermarket bumpers & sliders, which adds an additional 190lbs. So call it 3500lbs, or 5700lbs in total.

Using the 2011 Sequoia as a working example, the 4.6L V8 4WD states it has a towing capacity of 6800lbs, so before doing anything else, it would appear that I'm 1100lbs (almost 20% under max). Having exactly zero experience towing, I don't yet understand curb weight GVWR tongue weight (actually I do understand that one) etc, but this chart would suggest that I'm good to go at 6800lb capacity even with 1200lbs of cargo in the towing vehicle.

In situations where I would be towing, I would likely only have me in the car, or me & maybe 2 kids. I carry some tools & parts when we go, but I would still be well under that 1200lb figure listed in the vehicle weight. So I say all this with the understanding that based on stuff I've read here, the numbers get more complicated in ways I don't understand yet. This is where you educate me.

View attachment 408038

Based on your needs and the fact you mentioned Toyota, I’d say a sequoia is a great choice. IF you can find one with a high enough GVWR.

Tow capacity is kinda a BS made up number and doesn’t really matter legally in most cases. The biggest thing that will matter from a legal standpoint is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, Axle Weight Rating and tire weight ratings. Ideally you’d be under all those to be safe in a legal aspect in the event of a crash.

GVWR tells you what the total weight of the vehicle can be that includes passengers, gear, tongue weight of the trailer and anything else put into the vehicle besides how it rolled of the factory line. It does include 150-200lbs for the driver already.

GVWR are made up by the manufacturer and the formulas they use to get to those numbers are not consistent between manufacturers.

Axle weight ratings tell you what the axle was designed to support. Same goes for tire weight ratings.

To figure out your GVWR and Axle ratings when all loaded up will require scales. I use the CAT scales you can find at gas stations.

For GVWR add up whatever passenger weight over 150-200 pounds plus whatever gear or tools you put in the vehicle or Lods done to the vehicle. Once you know that you can get an idea of what your new “curb weight” is.

For example I have a 2018 Ram 1500. It’s a GVWR of 6,900lbs and has 3900 axles front and rear. In stock form I had roughly a 5,600 lbs truck which left me with 1,400 lbs of payload. I’ve added about 400 lbs to the bed of the truck through drawers and a camper shell so that brings my payload or GVWR capacity to 1,000 lbs before I hit that 6,900 mark.

When I tow my Jeep (4,500lbs) on my trailer (2,000lbs) that adds about 650 lbs to my GVWR. Meaning I have 350lbs to spare for passengers and gear to remain legal. I don’t particularly worry about being over GVWR for worrying of breaking something but should you be involved in an accident and you’re at fault, and it can be proved you were over GVWR, there can be some legal action taken against you for that.

In that same scenario, my rear axle capacity is 3,900 lbs and as my truck sits the rear axle weighs 2,700lbs. Add in the 650lbs for the trailer and that increases up to 3,350 which is well below the 3,900 rating. My tires are rated for over 3k lbs each so no worries ever there.

Hope that helps paint a picture.
 
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Ive got a 2018 silverado crew cab with the 6.6ft bed and with the tow package can get over 10k towing capacity. Its roomy inside because of the crew cab great power from the 6.2 V8 Here's a plug for a thing you said you didn't want and you gave a valid reason for why it wouldn't work.

I translated it for you.
 
Thanks for that reply @imahnu. I'm currently zeroed in on the Sequoia, or the Lexus equivalent, and then obviously the Land Cruiser but those are a chunk more expensive. I'm averse to spending a bunch of money on a vehicle (for me, for my wife different story), so I'm shopping used, and everything in the range of what I want to spend is north of 100k miles, so I've gravitated to Toyota for their reputation on longevity in that drivetrain. The 2007 4Runner came in a V8 version that is rated for 7300lbs, but those are hard to come by, and even harder to find in the sort of shape I'd be interested in driving on the regs.

I'm also super annoyed at the lack of towing capacity on my wife's Expedition. We bought one of the last new cars available during the height of the chip shortage and tow package wasn't on THE ONE CAR they had on the lot that met my needs. Not that I was shopping for a tow vehicle anyway. It's rated at 6600lbs, which means I couldn't use it (or the sequoia for that matter) to tow it to say Moab for a family vacation.
 
Thanks for that reply @imahnu. I'm currently zeroed in on the Sequoia, or the Lexus equivalent, and then obviously the Land Cruiser but those are a chunk more expensive. I'm averse to spending a bunch of money on a vehicle (for me, for my wife different story), so I'm shopping used, and everything in the range of what I want to spend is north of 100k miles, so I've gravitated to Toyota for their reputation on longevity in that drivetrain. The 2007 4Runner came in a V8 version that is rated for 7300lbs, but those are hard to come by, and even harder to find in the sort of shape I'd be interested in driving on the regs.

I'm also super annoyed at the lack of towing capacity on my wife's Expedition. We bought one of the last new cars available during the height of the chip shortage and tow package wasn't on THE ONE CAR they had on the lot that met my needs. Not that I was shopping for a tow vehicle anyway. It's rated at 6600lbs, which means I couldn't use it (or the sequoia for that matter) to tow it to say Moab for a family vacation.

Like I mentioned I wouldn’t worry about tow rating much. For reference in Ram trucks you can find tow ratings for the exact same truck for anywhere from 6,900 lbs to 10,400 lbs depending on what gear ratio it has. For you I’d look for the biggest engine, a sequoia with the 5.7 and the biggest gap between curb weight and gvwr or “payload rating”. On the driver door jamb will be a sticker that tells you how much weight can be added to the vehicle before you hit max gvwr. If it’s 1,000lbs or more you SHOULD be okay but you’ll have to figure out the math on your own to know for sure.
 
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Ok on that particular vehicles curb weight is 5900lbs, GVWR is 7300lbs.

So is the math actually simple here?

GVWR - curb = how much cargo
Tow rating is how much you can haul?

I swear I’ve read threads where it’s waaaay more complicated than that.
 
Ok on that particular vehicles curb weight is 5900lbs, GVWR is 7300lbs.

So is the math actually simple here?

GVWR - curb = how much cargo
Tow rating is how much you can haul?

I swear I’ve read threads where it’s waaaay more complicated than that.

If the curb weight is actually 5,900 lbs then you’d have 1,400 lbs of gvwr capacity to play with. Subtract any passenger weight, gear and any thing else added and roughly 600 lbs for the trailer and as long as you’re not at 7,300 lbs then yes that’s a good vehicle as far as gvwr is concerned. If it was me I’d look for a sequoia with a bigger engine which should have a higher curb weight and possibly a higher gvwr as it’ll have a easier time pulling the weight.

But if the tow rating is higher than the weight of the trailer, the gvwr is higher then load and the axle ratings and tire ratings are higher than the load then you’re all good on a capacity and legal stand point.
 
Ok on that particular vehicles curb weight is 5900lbs, GVWR is 7300lbs.

So is the math actually simple here?

GVWR - curb = how much cargo
Tow rating is how much you can haul?

I swear I’ve read threads where it’s waaaay more complicated than that.

7,300 - 5,900 leaves you with 1,400. (Assuming it actually weighs 5,900lbs, I say that because that is often misreported by manufactures on a individual vehicle basis).

1,400 - 600 (trailer) - 400 (passengers and cargo) would leave you with 400lbs as spare room in terms of gvwr capacity.
 
I know you laid out some very specific needs for your own vehicle but how about a BMW 335i?

Just kidding of course, but Sequoias are a good choice. I know some people who tow their camper that's about the same size as this one with their Sequoia no problem over big passes in Colorado.

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Calculating towing capacity can be confusing as manufacturers sometimes use different terminology such as TWR shown on the chart you attached. I see you have the Toyota's GVWR number, which is the maximum total weight of the towing vehicle including occupants, cargo and trailer tongue weight. Is there a GCWR number for the Toyota? That number is the combined weight of the loaded tow vehicle, including trailer tongue weight,(GVWR) plus the weight of the loaded trailer itself , adding both together, to equal GCWR. It is the maximum combined weight of the loaded truck and loaded trailer together that should not be exceeded. For example, my F150 has a GVWR of 7000 lbs, a GCWR of 14,000 lbs. I can load my truck up to 7000 lbs max and then tow up to 7000 lbs max to hit the max GCWR of 14,000 lbs. If my loaded truck only weighed 6000 lbs then I could tow 8000 lbs. If you can get a GCWR number on the tow vehicle then you can do the calculations and ensure you stay safely within the overall combined weight limits.
 
Imahnu did a great job explaining the numbers (and which ones you can ignore), so I won't rehash them. But when we bought our travel trailer a couple years ago, the best advice I got was to take our rig (2021 F-150 Max Tow and an East To West Alta 2800KBH trailer) to the local CAT scales and get your axle weights and total weight fully loaded. This will give you some peace of mind once you're ready to hit the road. Just my $0.02
 
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Another consideration, when buying a tow vehicle look for one that has the factory towing package already installed. This would include items such as trailer brake controller, additional transmission cooler, beefed up suspension, axle gearing, trailer wiring connector. All these things are costly to add on afterwards. And don't forget the bigger fuel tank. Sucks to stop to fill up every 150 miles while towing instead of every 300 miles when not.
 
We bought a Ford Expedition that has the tow package. So it came with the tow brake built in and has towing options with the transmission. It's a 3.5 V6 with Eco Boost (twin turbo). They call it Eco boost so you're wife won't know it's a turbo... ;)

IIRC, the tow capacity is 9-10,000. It had a lot of options we didn't really need, but it was a great deal so I pulled for it because I wanted the tow package (also 4WD). Ours seats 7 because we wanted captain's chairs in the middle row to keep our kids from killing each other, plus easier to get to the 3rd row if the middle isn't a bench seat. Though you lose one seat, 7 instead of 8.

So not a Toyota like you were looking at, but you could see if Toyota has a tow package, or possibly consider another 3rd row SUV that does. Without the tow package, max towing was around 6-7K like you're seeing. We were also considering a Tahoe at the time.
 
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Towing might not be an issue but stopping is another story. I've done some pretty dumb stuff towing big air compressors and generators never had an issue towing but had a few pedal to the floor moments trying to stop.
 
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This thread sent me down a rabbit hole of looking at Tundra's. Our purple TJ friend tow's his Jeep with a Tundra.

A subcontractor I used to work with had a Tundra (2013) with a 5.7 (IIRC) and put a gooseneck hitch in it. He pulled smaller tractors, equipment, hay bales, you name it. He said it worked surprisingly well.
 
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