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Towing with Toyota 20004Runner

We have a Toyota 2000 4Runner that we like to use to tow a travel trailer. The Toyota owners manual, with no explanation recommends a sway control hitch, but also recommends against a weight distribution hitch. I was told possibly that the 4Runner frame is not designed to distribute the weight of the the trailer to the frame, and you could damage the frame with a weight distribution hitch. I’m not sure if this is correct. It is difficult to find Toyota’s online site to answer specific questions (does anyone know if there is one). They may presently be in hiding. thaks

Think of a hitch as a piece of safety equipment. Skimping on your hitch can cause severe handling and braking issues when you are hauling your trailer. Your trailer will be full of gear, and your 4 Runner maybe full of family, with bikes on top and coolers in the back.

A weight distribution hitch can also have a sway control. I’m not convinced that Toyota dealers are that savey on hitches, also visit sellers of trailers to see what they recommend. The weigh of your trailer is a key piece of info.

Whether or not you need a weight distribution hitch depends on both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Before I can help, I need to know:

-What is the towing capacity of the 4Runner?

-What is the gross vehicle weight rating of the trailer (not it’s actual weight).

-What is the maximum tongue weight for your 4runner?

-What is the trailer’s tongue weight?

-What are the physical dimensions of the trailer?

-What is the curb weight of your 4Runner?

If you don’t know and can’t find the answers to these questions, you should take your 4Runner and your trailer (or the trailer’s specs) to a towing specialist you trust. If you don’t know one, ask one of your RVing friends to recommend a specialist.

I have an 05 4runner V6 which I tow with…no problem at all…Your owners manual should explain exactly what the towing limits are for your vehicle. I tow a larger pop-up with no problem at all. That year 4runner had the 3.0l V6 (did it have a V8 option back then???). If you had the 3.0 then I highly suggest you use full synthetic since that year engine is part of the Toyota Engine Sludge problem. And towing only makes things worse.

If an automatic…get a dedicated tranny cooler. Check with a place that specializes in tow hitches. Most places that sell trailers are.

Hello to all;
-Towing capacity 5000#
-GVWR trailer 3786#
-maximum tongue weight trailer 500#
-trailer tongue weight 286#
-GVWR 4Runner 9200#
-physical dimensions, we have not purchased trailer, but considering Rockwood mini lite etc 184
-length 18’6" I believe that includes length of tongue.
-exterior width 90"
-Exterior height not yet published.
-4600# 4Runner weight myself and wife included with small amount of cargo
engine is the V6 3.0L, no V8 (I believe) in 2000. We purchased 4Runner used last October, I’ll look at the tranny cooler and synthetic oil (thanks for info), also need to find out if factory installed hitch is class 3 hitch. I believe it is. We have considered larger trailers, up to 23’. We also live in Montana, 4000’ altitude, and probably will occasionally drive to 7000’ to 8000’. Thanks

Since you bought this SUV used…I’d seriously check out the engine before doing any towing. Make sure there’s no sludge. If you have the factory installed hitch then you probably have a factory installed tranny cooler for towing (mine does). To tell if the the hitch is class II or class III…check the size of the receiver. Class III is much larger then Class II. For some reason Ford puts Class II hitches on their Explorers even though they are Class III rated.

Great. Knowing those numbers helps a lot.

Since you won’t be very close to the towing capacity, you probably won’t need a weight distribution hitch. You will need a sway control hitch though for a trailer that big.

Here is my suggestion. Take the prospective trailer and hook it up to your 4Runner with a normal ball hitch. Then take a look at your 4Runner from the side. Does it look like you have 1,000 pounds of gravel in the rear? Is the nose of the 4Runner sticking up? If it is, you will benefit from a weight distribution hitch. If not, you will be fine without the weight distributed.

We tow with our 04 4.0 6cyl 4Runner, and though it’s rated 5000 lbs, I seldom do near that and then only for a short distance. Your 2000 is much less robust. Those here that talk about what their 4Runners do forget the newer ones have modified first gen Tundra chassis used in the newer Tacomas from 03 on.

Your motor is the size of present day 4cyls. It has the frame from the previous Tacoma. My Tacoma of that style had the 3.0 which is a very weak motor. I stayed well below 5000 lbs w/o modifications. 23 foot motor homes are way out of reach…you really need a full size vehicle with a v8 for safe towing of that size trailer.

DONOT try to upgrade your vehicle. Regardless of it’s official tow weight, it won’t safely handle much over 3500 lbs. I’ve tried with the older, smaller Tacoma with your frame,it didn’t and your 4 Runner won’t either.

Since you won’t be very close to the towing capacity, you probably won’t need a weight distribution hitch. You will need a sway control hitch though for a trailer that big.

That’s easy. The place that I bought my trailer from did that for me for free. All that needs to be done is weld on piece for one end of the sway control mechanism to connect to. Mine is by draw-tite. Works great. Just have to remember to remove it when backing up.

Thanks for all the information. I will check with the local Toyota dealership on the oil sludge problem and whether we have a factory installed transmission cooler and also try to do research on line with the Toyota website. It may be difficult at this time to access technical information from Toyota, they certainly are in the midst of many other problems. The Tacoma frame on the 2000 4Runner may be the reason that our owners manual recommends against the use of a weight distribution hitch. After the recent investment of over $700 in Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires and wheels to mount them on, we’ll stick to the Toyota and look for a smaller, lighter trailer. Any other suggestions or information, please pass them along.Thanks!