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Toyota Tundra + Horse Trailer

Recently purchased a 2009 Toyota Tundra SR5, V8, 5.7L specifically to pull a 2 horse, gooseneck horse trailer (trailer weight = 4,600 lbs.; horse weight = 2,600; miscellaneous items = 500 lbs.) Now all of my horsey friends are saying this truck cannot do this safely or without burning up the engine.

Did the Tundra come with a “towing package”? The Tundra transmission has a “towing” feature I believe. You are towing just short of 8,000 lbs. Is this within the capacity specs listed by Toyota for the Tundra as equipped?

You are certainly either close to or at the capacity of the truck. If you have electric brakes on the trailer and you set your brake controller properly you should be OK. The gooseneck trailer puts the trailer weight more central to the vehicle so it should handle ok. I think the motor and transmisssion can handle it.

What you definately need to follow is the “severe” service maintenance schedule. You’ll need to change differential and transmission fluids more frequently as they carry much of the load as you go down the road.

Most drivers keep the speeds lower when the horses are loaded in the trailer. I wouldn’t exceed 65 mph with a trailer full of horses and stick to 55 to 60 when pulling my horses.

I have an '01 Sequoia with a 2 horse “bumper pull” trailer. My load is about 5,500 lbs. Gas mileage goes from 18.5 to 11.0 but otherwise it handles the load fine. You have a bigger truck, bigger motor, better transmission, and a better hitch system than I use. You should be fine, even with the extra weight of your rig.

I do not see any issues with the truck being able to handle it. Use Tow / Haul every time and all that. Trailer brakes with properly adjusted gain… The 5.7 is as good as it gets with a gasoline engine. I think they use an Isin Automatic transmission on that truck.
Is the concern about the shift points, resulting in an uneasy drive for the horses?

Yes the truck did come with the towing package. Thanks so much!

Thanks! Not worried about the ride for the horses!

According to the Tundra ads it has bigger brakes and stronger frame than the American counterparts. Should be no problem. Your horsey friends must be “buy American” types. Tell them the Tundra was made in the USA. It is plenty of truck for the job.

I’m looking at a Popular Mechanics test of half ton pick ups and the tow capacity of the Tundra is listed at 10,100 lbs for the crew max. That’s near the ratings of the diesel offerings of both Ford and GMC and better than all in the test except for Ford. It also, in their test has the best engine performance under load and no load as well as decent economy compared to offerings of Nissan, Ford, GMC and Dodge in a gas engine.

If it can’t handle your loads. then neither can any other gas engine PUs.
If you break down, you’ll be in good company as no one else is better motor wise.
Your horsey buddies may feel Tundra falls short in some areas like handling or ride compared to others, but in this test as well as Consumer Report’s, engine and drive train performance isn’t one of them. They are making the claims in my opinion, because of their good luck with what they have, and unfamiliarity with the Tundra. The publications I’ve seen don’t agree.

Your friends must be thinking of Toyota as an itty bitty foreign car. That’s completely wrong in the case of your truck. The only thing better would be a one ton truck with dual rear wheels and a turbocharged diesel engine.

Follow the severe service schedule for engine oil changes. Change transmission fluid annually even if the service schedule doesn’t require it that often.

You must have a huge trailer. Most of the two horse trailers I have looked at weigh about 2,500 pounds empty.

Not so much. The Gas and Diesel Ford Super Duty trucks, top out at around 15k pounds for conventional towing and whopping 24k pounds for 5th wheel towing. The Tundra is nowhere near that. But to be fair the Tundra is marketed as a “half-ton” truck. It does have alot under the hood but the main issue with the Tundra is that the chassis/frame isn’t particularly ridged by truck standards. The Nissan Titan has the same problem. They exhibit alot of flex when loaded. Not something you want. The Tundra’s 4WD system is also notoriously fickle as well. With that said the people I know who own them all like them, but they all use their Tundras as commuting vehicles and to maybe tow some small boats. Nothing that really puts a strain on the truck.

If the OP plans on towing 7700 pounds worth of horse regularly he’s going to have to be on top of the maintenance. Personally, I would’ve gone with a 3/4 ton on 1 ton truck just to have some more margin of safety.

I guess we can list 100 such trucks, all better than the Tundra for towing, but all more than 1/2 ton rated. I stand by what I’ve said, the Tundra is a solid 1/2 ton towing machine within it’s rated capacity according to everything I’ve read.

So let’s compare apples to apples. the Tundra is more than adequate for his purpose with a 20% safety margin.