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Toyota 4Runner as tow vehicle?

Discussion in 'Dock Talk' started by tyjy, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. tyjy

    tyjy Well-Known Member

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    We are not car buffs, at all, but need a replacement vehicle for our tow vehicle that just died. Never pulled anything as big/heavy as a pontoon. Does anyone have an opinion or experience with a Toyota 4Runner

    (not shopping for brand new or too much $$$ as it won't be driven as anyone's primary vehicle).

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2014
  2. ssc

    ssc Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking for a used 4runner, I would suggest a 4th gen with the v-8. It is rated for towing 7500 pounds and the new 5th gen is rated at 4700. It is only a v-6. Mine is 4wd and the v-8 has full time 4wd. In my opinion it is an outstanding vehicle. It is the first vehicle I have had that has over 100,000 miles. We intend on keeping it. The new 5th gen, in my opinion, is ugly and I do not want a v-6. Another thought is an older tundra with a v-8. I also have a new tundra with the 5.7 which is what I use as my tow vehicle and it does a great job.

    Cheers, Steve
     
  3. sportsfisher

    sportsfisher Active Member

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    Pretty much a ditto on towing boats with a 4Runner, especiallly a 4th generation with a V8, that is 4WD.  The use of 4WD can be very beneficial whenever there are any questionable launch ramp conditions.  We don't now tow our new Bennington 22-SSX since it can stay at the lake on our lift at a covered dock.  However, we used to tow our previous fiberglass I/O Bowrider boat that weighed more than our Bennington.  We pretty much couldn't even tell there was ever a boat on a trailer behind our 4Runner Sport Edition unless we were looking in the mirrors!  We really love our 4th gen Toyota 4Runner.  Bennington, and 4Runner, would truly be an outstanding boating combo!

    Enjoy!
     
  4. Bamaman

    Bamaman Well-Known Member

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    Many such vehicles, like Explorer and Highlander, with their trailer towing options will technically tow a 4000-5000 lb. pontoon/tritoon boat.

    But a pontoon boat is very un-aerodynamic and they're very wide and long.  They tow like they're substantially heavier than they are.

    I would prefer a V-8 powered rear wheel drive truck or SUV to tow a pontoon boat.  I have a 3/4 ton diesel with the tow package and rear air suspension, and even it knows the pontoon's back there.

    I was looking at the Highlanders recently, but the Toyota dealers are being greedy since relatively few are on dealers' lots.  Sitting side by side the Highlander, the Pathfinder is certainly an ugly duckling.  And the Highlander is easier to live with--ride, more room, etc.
     
  5. spinzone

    spinzone Well-Known Member

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  6. tyjy

    tyjy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for responding. Appreciate the advice!

    We're begrudgingly car shuffling around here and trying to not have to have a separate vehicle for each use! The 4Runner would be mainly used for little trips, pulling a smaller trailer and occasionally getting around on the snowy roads in winter. Don't plan on putting that many miles on as I know anything w/towing capacity & V8 is not the best on gas mileage. Thought if we buy an SUV like a 4Runner that can also pull the pontoon every once in a while but mainly out of the water (storage is 5 miles away from marina) it'd kill a bunch of birds with one stone.
     
  7. BigKahuna

    BigKahuna Well-Known Member

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    We had a conversion van w/a small V8 that used to struggle pulling our boat.......We sold it and bought an Expedition. No problem towing it but you know it's still back there............
     
  8. Wild and Free

    Wild and Free Well-Known Member

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    Seeing what you have for a pontoon and if only pulling it 5 miles max you should be ok as long as you keep it slow. Anymore than that I wouldn't even start to consider it for longer tows. I have a 2500 Dodge Cummins 4X4 quad cab and tow a ton and the pontoon on open roads with a bit of a breeze lives up to the old saying of " the tail wagging the dog". scenario.
     
    I have a friend who has a 28 foot cuddy cabin "Shockwave" brand speed boat with a 650 HP Dodge V10 engine on a triple axle trailer and he pulls it all over the country with a Dodge Durango but it is more stable and aerodynamic that a toon.
     
    Just to give folks an idea of some of what I pull around with my Cummins here is a thread from a Dodge Cummins forum I am a mod on. Yeah there are pics of the toon in this thread as well! :p

    http://forum.mopar1973man.com/index.php?/topic/7130-wf-hauling-stuff/
     
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  9. kaydano

    kaydano Well-Known Member

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    I skimmed the above, and so I might have missed it, but make sure whatever vehicle you get has a Class III or IV hitch.  A Class III is good for up to 5000 lbs.  My boat/trailer weighs just over 5000 lbs, just to give you an example.  Class IV is good for 10,000 lbs.  I believe the 2 inch receivers are all class III or above.  The 1.25 square receivers are Class 1 and 2, and you don't want those.

    Also agree with all above on 4WD and V8.  Generally, if you get the V8 version of whatever vehicle, it will generally have the towing capacity you need (but not always have the right hitch).

    Many vehicles state towing capacity on a sticker by the hitch, just in case you are looking at a used car lot at night.

    Good luck!
     
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  10. kaydano

    kaydano Well-Known Member

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    Correction:  Some websites appear to show Class III is good for up to 6,000 lbs.  Other websites show 5,000 lbs.  You will need to go off the specifics of the vehicle you are looking at to be sure.

    But again, stay away from vehicles with the 1-1/4 x 1-1/4 inch square receivers.  They will not be heavy enough.  You want the 2" x 2" receivers.  If you are driving through used car lots, you can tell the difference in size without even getting out of the car.
     
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  11. ssc

    ssc Well-Known Member

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    One other item to keep in mind. Do not try to tow anything unless the vehicle is in spec for the weight of the item you tow. It is always best to give yourself a bit of cushion. You risk substantial liability if you are in an accident, including waiver of insurance coverage and fines. We have had these conversations on many of the hipo boating sites. Based on what I have seen at ramps and my experience, I really do think 4WD is appropriate.

    Cheers, Steve
     
  12. WTingler

    WTingler Active Member

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    Hello

    New member. First post

    Actually have a Bennington on order.  Will arrive in September.

    I have a 4th generation V8 4runner as a tow vehicle

    I have no issues towing a 24 foot pontoon.  Keep in mind the wheelbase is not as wide as a full sized truck and adjust your driving accordingly.  Spend the extra money for the trailer brakes
     
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  13. tyjy

    tyjy Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all so much! Definitely appreciate all this input, you guys are always so helpful!  

    (I found a low miles 2008 4Runner, V8, 4WD just posted today, went to check it out at local dealer & hopefully test drive...gone, snapped up already. Sales guy said they're gone as soon as they hit the lot.)
     
  14. Bill N

    Bill N Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like this vehicles main purpose would be for towing the pontoon?

    I would find a nice older (1995-1999) suburban. Great tow rigs.

    A full width vehicle will tow a pontoon much easier than a mid-size & you might actually see something in your mirrors!
     
  15. StanVol

    StanVol Active Member

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    My of the rack 2008 Expedition has a 9200 lb Tow capacity.  Should be able to pick up one of those at a good price.
     
  16. AlexW

    AlexW Active Member

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    I don't know exactly where you're from in SW Wisconsin, but we get around Dubuque, Galena, and all of southern Wisconsin often.  With the hills and road conditions around this area, I wouldn't consider anything less that a full-size vehicle to pull our pontoon.  If you're set on a Toyota, I think a Sequoia would be a better choice.  If you're open, I'd look at used Suburbans, etc.
     
    Parzival likes this.
  17. JeffS

    JeffS Well-Known Member

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    My Bennington and trailer is deceivingly heavy. Not sure if you have the metal underskin, or rough water package - but those are heavy items on the boat. My 2250GBR with underskin waveshield, SPS, rough water package and F200 is over 6,000 pounds on the trailer. I never would have expected the boat to be that heavy when I was shopping for boats.

    We tow 100% of the time. No lake home for me. And in the 4 weeks with our new boat, we've logged well over 1,000 miles on the trailer going every which way and back.

    We have a 2007 Expedition. It's not too big at all for this boat. It's the exact right size tow vehicle. You want your truck to be heavier than your boat if at all possible. And the width that others talk about...that's a bigger deal than you may realize. Just my opinion...I'd strongly encourage you to consider a full size truck to tow.

    -Jeff
     
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  18. tyjy

    tyjy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the additional input. Definitely made us stop & think this through a little more. We do have something to use while we consider all angles so the monkey is off our backs so being armed with suggestions from folks in the know helps tremendously.

    AlexW: We're on the Crawford/Vernon County line and there's huuuge elevation contrast with all the bluffs and valleys. If we pulled w/a trailer any distance it'd be to Eagle River. I haven't looked at the landscape between here & there but probably not flat. 
     
  19. JeffS

    JeffS Well-Known Member

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    I'm in SE WI...going up north is indeed not flat.

    Just for reference...how hard a truck works to pull these deceptively heavy boats...

    We went to Minocqua this last weekend (30mi west of Eagle River) and my full size Expedition tow vehicle got 8.5mpg. 

    Not only is it heavy, but it's HUGE relative to its wind profile. 

    $210 in fuel for the truck plus $143 in fuel on the boat (ethanol-free premium available in the north woods at a very premium price of $4.14/gal). $350 just in fuel!!! Ouch.

    I could not have imagined a smaller lighter truck doing that duty.
     
  20. AlexW

    AlexW Active Member

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    I know the general area - you definitely want a big vehicle for towing there!   :)

    I'll echo Jeff's comments.  I've pulled a Mastercraft to Minocqua several times (not the pontoon, though), it isn't a flat trip.

    We took our 2375GCW to Delavan a few weeks ago - across Highway 11 to I-43; I have a '13 half ton truck and we got 7.8 MPG on the way over (fighting a little wind) and 8.9 MPG on the way back.  As Jeff mentioned, large wind profile and deceivingly heavy.
     

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