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  #1  
Old 11-17-2004, 04:40 PM
APerkins
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Hi All,

Howdy All. Quick intro. Wife and I are considering a new 2005 3023 to pull behind our 2000 Toyota Tundra Limited 4x4 4.3L V8. We live in the pacific northwest and want to seem more of the US of A, especially the western states.

We have tons of camping gear, but have no experience with RV'ing or travel trailers. Most of the camping I've done is mountaineering, and some car camping. Fortunately, we'll be able to travel quite a bit. So we'll go out for a little while and come home, with each trip becoming progressively longer.

From all the great info on this forum, here is the info I've gathered so far:
Truck will require:
Brake Controller
Class III WD hitch rated @ 1000 lbs
Transmission Oil Cooler


Three questions:
Is a 3023 large enough for us (Wife, me, 80 lb Chessie) to go out for 2 weeks, a month, or more than a month?
Is there anything I should consider for the TM? More battery power, larger fresh water tank? Longer black or grey water dumping hose?
Any additional purchases for the truck? Better, wider mirrors perhaps?



Thanks,
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2004, 05:51 PM
Windbreaker
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Good questions all but a little more information is needed. In the past you boondocked it big time, will this continue? Or, are you making this move because you are getting older and prefer a little less active camping trip, like say - full hook-up camping in a trailer park?

A set of mirrors is a must, most states require that you be able to see to at least 200 feet behind your trailer.

If you doing the west your doing long steep climbs. I suggest a heavy duty radiator, and oil cooler as well. A jack for the trailer is a must. And I would suggest that you check out the list offered here and on other RV sites.

Have you check the weight rateing of your truck? Your 4.3 L motor will most likely be ok for most of your travels but when you buy a new truck you might consider a 5.0 L or larger for those higher elevations and long steep grades.
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2004, 08:16 PM
APerkins
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Some boondocking, but mostly wife and I will be RV'ing. If I go out climbing, kayaking, or mountain biking, the some boondocking might be in order.

The trailer jack is now on my list.

Not sure I want to do anything as far as radiator or oil cooler just yet. Will keep in mind, since I think that is pretty good advice.
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2004, 08:22 PM
APerkins
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Oh, and it's a 4.7L not a 4.3. Not like it makes THAT much of a difference. Towing capacity of a tundra is 7000, and my goal is to stay under half of that if at all possible. I don't want to strain my truck.

The simple fact that I could get one or more electrical appliances in my camping adventure, is awesome. I'm used to packing it in, packing it out. Wife won't go anymore unless she can have good coffee and a shower. Who can blame her, huh?

Thanks for your help BTW.
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2004, 08:59 AM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 823
Default Greetings from another Tundra owner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by APerkins
Oh, and it's a 4.7L not a 4.3. Not like it makes THAT much of a difference. Towing capacity of a tundra is 7000, and my goal is to stay under half of that if at all possible. I don't want to strain my truck.
You will find the Tundra does very well as a tow vehicle for any TrailManor, particularly for towing near sea level. Your decision to stay around half of the factory's incredibly optimistic tow rating is quite wise. Reason: the factory tow rating is determined by subtracting the weight of a bare bones, no options, no gas, no cargo, no passengers truck from the Gross Combined Weight Rating (11,800 lbs). If you subtract the weight of typically optioned, loaded for camping 4X4 Tundra with passengers, gas, and cargo, the real tow rating is more like 6000 lbs. Similarly, TrailManor lists the empty, no options weight of their trailers. Add in typical options and a load of food, supplies, water, etc. and a 3023 will weigh more like 4500 to 4800 lbs. So your real world margin between GCWR limits and rig weight is actually only about 1200 to 1500 lbs...still plenty but not nearly as big as the so called ratings would have led you to believe.

I have an '03 Tundra Access Cab SR5 4X4 and bought it specifically to be the tow vehicle for my '02 27202SL TM. Stock, it did fairly well at my very high altitudes (from 6000 to 12000 feet above sea level)...revved up in 2nd gear I could readily stay with traffic even on 7% grades. However, I have done a few mods for even more power and less transmission shifting; specifically JBA exhaust headers, a Gibson muffler, and now a regearing to 4.30 gears...and it now will outperform just about any other truck (even a Dodge Hemi ) when I go into the mountains with my TM in tow.

Since it appears you do not have the factory towing package on yours, yes there are a few things you will need (but a heavy duty radiator is NOT needed (or even available)...the stock factory radiator provides plenty of engine cooling...and the engine also has a good engine oil cooler). Specifically:
  • An auxilliary transmission cooler. This is a mandatory item to insure good towing life with the '00 Tundra transmission. Get a "stacked plate" design; the best are the Tru Cool Brand. Do not buy the OEM Toyota one...it's too small and not particularly effective. My Tundra (with factory towing package) came equipped with the OEM cooler; I'm replacing it before the next towing season with a Tru Cool cooler (probably one with a fan).
  • 1000 lb Class III/IV hitch receiver. The OEM towing package hitch is good though pricey; any of the quality aftermarket hitches will work well. The factory hitch is sometimes available on eBay for a very good price.
  • Weight Distributing Hitch (WDH) with at least 750 lb or 1000 lb spring bars. The Tundra rear suspension was designed more for comfort than for heavy duty weight carrying. The hitch weight of a 3023 TM (around 550 to 600 lbs) will induce a great deal of rear sag/front lift if you do not use a WDH. A sway control device is not needed and not advised...if you use a WDH to insure the truck is level with the trailer attached, the Tundra has more than enough wheelbase and steering control to prevent sway from a naturally sway resistant trailer like a TrailManor.
  • Brake Controller and wiring for the brake controller and 12 V supply line to the trailer. Even though your truck did not have the factory towing package, it may very well have the taillight converter (turns 3 bulb system (brake and turn separate) into a 2 bulb system (brake and turn together) and all you will need is a connector to plug into it. If you become a paid member of the TundraSolutions Club, you can have access to wiring diagrams and a detailed "how to" in the club "Garage" section for installing a brake controller on your truck.
  • Towing mirrors. The Tundra is not truly a full size truck...it's about 5 inches narrower than Ford 150s, Dodge Rams, etc. You will therefore need supplemental towing mirrors...by far the best are those made by McKesh. Although rather pricey, McKesh mirrors have no vibration whatsoever and they work very well on the Tundra doors. Aftermarket replacement mirrors that electrically extend are not available for Tundras...this is a fairly low volume truck (~100K units per year) and not often used for heavy duty towing so the Aftermarket manufacturers have not produced many Tundra offerings.

When towing a sizable trailer like a TM with a Tundra it's extremely important to always do so with Overdrive turned OFF. The front planetary gearset (used when the transmission is in Overdrive) is a known weak area of the '00 - '02 Tundras.

Another item that greatly improves a Tundra's towing capability is to mount Light Truck (LT) series tires instead of Passenger (P) series tires. LT series tires have much stiffer sidewalls than P series tires...this greatly reduces the side-side sway of the rear of the truck when towing. If you are near time for tire replacement, I can heartily recommend using Michelin LTX M/S tires in the 265/75R16 size...these tires have excellent grip, excellent road manners when towing and extremely long life (at least 75 thousand miles).

BTW, I am the Towing Moderator at TundraSolutions as well as one of the moderators of both the Engine/DriveTrain and Handling/Suspension/Brakes forums on that website. There is a great deal of information available about improving your Tundra's performance and lifetime. Feel free to ask me any questions about using a Tundra as a tow vehicle.

As for modifying the trailer for boondock camping, I'm probably "Mr Boondocker" around here...90% of my camping is in no-hookups campgrounds. Accordingly I have equipped my TM with solar panels as well as dual 6V Golf cart batteries. Will be happy to answer any specific questions about how to optimize things for boondock camping.
__________________
Ray

I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers


The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)


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  #6  
Old 11-18-2004, 09:12 AM
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Bill Bill is offline
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I think you'll be pleased with the combo. Your Tundra has the same engine size and tow rating as my Explorer - the one difference being that I have the factory tow package which includes a 5-speed automatic and a 3.73 rear end. As others have said, a truck of this size is sufficient for travelling in the mountainous west, but doesn't have a whole lot of margin. Be prepared to take your time and to be passed by other vehicles at high altitudes - high Sierras, and the Colorado Rockies. The altitude is the killer, more than the grade.

I, too, keep my TM to less than half of the tow rating. By the way, this is harder to do than it would seem. The mfr's stated weight of a travel trailer (ANY travel trailer) does NOT reflect what the trailer will weigh once you have added all the factory options plus all your stuff, including food, water, propane, clothes, tools, etc. When you are ready for the road, you will probably be well over 3500 pounds. You might consider having the rig weighed, just to be sure.

As for comfort on an extended trip, my wife and I spent 30 days touring chunks of the west in our 2720SL with a small dog and a big cat. It was pretty good, but at the end of 30 days we were glad to get home. A 3023 should be better.

Bill
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  #7  
Old 11-18-2004, 03:19 PM
CC_Turtle
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Hi,

I just upgraded my tacoma to a tundra and what a difference! you will be happy with the tundra's towing abilities.

Teresa
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  #8  
Old 11-18-2004, 09:07 PM
APerkins
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[QUOTE=RockyMtnRay]...and it now will outperform just about any other truck (even a Dodge Hemi ) when I go into the mountains with my TM in tow. /[QUOTE]

Not anything much better than a rice burner eatin' up American Iron.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2004, 09:41 AM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
 
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 823
Thumbs up Indeed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by APerkins

Not anything much better than a rice burner eatin' up American Iron.
Hee hee...yes indeed. Three occasions come to mind...

1. Eastbound on I70 on the 8 mile, steady 7% grade climb up to the Eisenhower tunnels under the Continental Divide. Starting elevation on this grade is 8700 feet, ending elevation at the tunnel entrance is 11,150 feet. At the beginning of the grade a Hemi powered Ram roars past me at about 80 mph with a single axle utility trailer in tow. I'm doing the speed limit...60 mph. 5 miles up the grade at about 10,000 feet, Mr. Hemi Ram is down to 45 mph. The Tundra with TM in tow is still happily climbing at 60 mph. I wave "buh-bye" as I blast past him. His reaction:

2. Eastbound again on I70, this time coming up the notorious Floyd Hill east of Idaho Springs. 2 mile long, 6 to 7 percent grade with a sharp 50 mph curve at the bottom so it's hard to get any momentum going into the grade. Thankfully it's 3 lanes going up cause I'm over in the left lane within half a mile with the speed steadily rising to about 65 mph by the top. Halfway up I overtake a brand new Ford 150 pulling an itty-bitty little Coleman popup and barely doing 40 mph. The driver of the Ford is so amazed that a Toyota pulling a much bigger trailer is overtaking him so fast that he literally hangs his head out the window with his mouth wide open! I just gave him a ear to ear grin and stuck my nose in the air.

3. Westbound I70, this time a couple of miles below the east entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnels at about 10,100 feet. Speed limit is 65, the grade is between 5 and 6 percent, and I'm running heavy with a full load of food and water in the TM...plus a lot of cargo on the truck including a kayak and my bicycle. Nonetheless, I'm still easily holding 65 to 70 mph, most of the time in 3rd gear. Overtake a Chevy Suburban...loaded but without any trailer in tow...that's clearly struggling to maintain 60 mph. The Suburban's driver's expression was priceless as he watches my rice burner...with sizeable trailer in tow...leave him in the dust.

As you may be gathering, Bill's comment above about being prepared to be passed by other vehicles at high altitudes just doesn't apply to the Tundra. In fact, you should be prepared to be the one doing the passing. Stock, that required simply being willing to let that wonderful 32 valve engine rev around 4600 RPM in 2nd gear (which I'm sure you realize it loves to do). After I installed the headers and free-er flowing muffler, I could more often than not stay in 3rd gear at around 3000 RPM on these high altitude grades. This week my Tundra's differentials are being regeared (from the stock 3.91 ratio to 4.30). That will do two things...a direct 10% gain in torque at the wheels and move the engine's peak torque RPM right into my preferred towing speeds (65 to 70 mph) which will provide yet another 10 to 15 percent gain in usable torque at the wheels. I'm expecting to now be able to stay in 3rd (direct drive) and easily achieve the speed limit on all but the toughest, highest climbs.
__________________
Ray

I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers


The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)


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  #10  
Old 11-28-2004, 04:33 PM
tomnet
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Default High altitude pursuit

Well, that was actually pretty exciting - what guy doesn't like the
prospect of blowing off the competition at 12,000 feet. Must have
been a thrill for the Spitfire and Mustang pilots facing their ME-109
enemies at 30,000+ ft in models with their reduction gearing, props,
boost, etc. all dialed in - for bigger stakes though. Excuse the digress
but what about super or turbo boost as then one may be able to
run at lower RPM where the stock Tundra exhaust manifold, muffler
would suffice. Just a thought.
Tom

Just starting to look at TM's for my 2003 Tundra (Stepside) and thinking
about skiing.
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