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Tow vehicle for older Trail-et

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    Tow vehicle for older Trail-et

    New (used) truck recommendations needed for a bumper pull. I don't do a lot of hauling, some paper chases, trail rides, and clinics. Smallish horse (950 lb) at present, but sometimes a larger friend. Till recently, I was proud owner of a 24 year old basic model Brenderup which could be pulled with my 3.9 liter Dodge Dakota (or probably just about anything, including a 3.0L Mazda minivan), but the trailer fell apart, couldn't get parts, sadly had to give up on it. A friend sold me a 1991 Trail-et "New Yorker" (tack/dressing room model). Came with weight distribution bars. I was told the Dodge could handle it with the bars, but found that it has too much rust to install the new hitch it needed. so, back to the usual puzzle of how to pull this with the least severe environmental / economic impact. I will keep driving my '95 Tercel as long as possible for everyday use, although some value as a car is of course a plus in a tow vehicle.
    I used to think a Ford Explorer was a good tow vehicle but I've heard that since 2011 they are unibody instead of the former truck frame which tows better. If it has a tow package could it still work? Or look for a 2010 or older? Other suggestions?

    That probably has a GVWR in the 7,000 range, so you're looking at most full size SUVs or F150 size pick-up trucks, so long as you configure them properly. The Ford Explorer can be configured up to a maximum tow rating of 5600 lbs., so it is too small for that trailer.


      I pulled my new Yorker all over the place with an F150 and later, an expedition (both with tow packages). Both did more than fine, and there were a fair amount of 1400 mile round trips. It's a very light trailer compared to today's 2H BPs. That said, I still wouldn't tow with anything lighter than that (and I had one of the first model year explorers. Nothing about it made me think it was a tow vehicle!)
      Last edited by DMK; Jul. 11, 2020, 05:32 PM.
      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


        I have a Trail-et. Great trailer, standard size and weight. I started out with a $4000 Ram 1500 and when that died I upgraded to a second hand Ford F250. I really like the extra power. I do live in a mountainous area.


          Mine is newer 2000. I have towed it with 2 different 1500s, a 2500 crew cab and now a diesel 350.
          The 350 doesn't notice it.
          1500s were fine.
          Never had sway or weight distribution bars.
          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


            Well most here will tell you 3/4 ton or you’re going to die in a fiery crash. 🙄

            I wouldn't turn down a unibody tow vehicle for that reason alone. The new Durango Hellcat is specced to tow 8,700 lbs, even more than the Suburban. The limiting factor for the other Durangos is horsepower, not frame construction. The Durango forums are loaded with folks towing big travel trailers which are far more squirrely to tow than a 2 horse trailer. I just bought a 2019 Durango Citadel to downsize from truck and daily driver to just one vehicle. Tow rating 7200 lbs. Hauls great and drives so much nicer than a body on frame Tahoe.

            Back in 2004 I towed a 3200lb stock trailer from PA to NM with one 1400lb horse with a 2003 v6 Explorer. Probably took 5 years off of that vehicle in one trip because it just didn’t have the horsepower. Hills were no problem. The Appalachians were no problem. It was when we hit the high headwinds and 75mph speed limits of the plains states and were struggling to break 50mph hauling that giant sail through the wind.

            I had NO problems with stability or breaking. Got cut off and had to slam on the breaks to avoid rear ending a car and had absolutely no problems. No problems with side winds or passing trucks. I would have kept that vehicle if it had been a v8. I loved it.

            I traded it in for an F-250 6.0 diesel that was a smoking deal (I was shopping for a v8 F150), and still have and may end up keeping because it has an EGR delete and will probably cost more to get it to pass inspection than anyone will pay for it.

            I pulled the same trailer and one horse with a 1996 Dodge 1500 V8 from FL to NV with no problems. Plenty of power, flew through the mountains through Flagstaff without a problem. The F250 was behind me hauling our 30’ Sprinter travel trailer and just barely keeping up.

            Now you want to talk about dangerous towing. That RV damn near got me killed. Stability should be inherent to the trailer. We’ve all seen little utility trailers wagging down the road. The first time I hauled with water in the tanks I exited a tunnel and got hit by a crosswind on a bridge over the Lehigh River and ended up swaying over both lanes watching my life flash before my eyes. My BF was driving, I reached over and grabbed the wheel to keep him from oversteering and we were able to steady it and pull over. Draining the tanks made a world of difference but it still got pushed over by the wind of every passing semi and gives me nightmares.

            The point of that story is that your truck, no matter what size, should not have to deal with a poorly balanced trailer. Most horse trailers have excellent balance but there are a few that scare me.

            The Durango hauls my 2H with 2 horses (6200lbs) on it just fine locally. I only go 20 miles once a week usually with just 1 horse (4700 lbs) and the weight is well within the towing capacity of 7200. And actually the brakes are much better on the Durango than on my F250 so go figure.

            Now I just need to get my 17 year old trailer repainted to match, or trade it in. Still deciding.
            Equine Portrait Commissions and Sporting Art
            Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
            Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


              And empty weight of that trailer Is showing 3200-3400lbs so add your horse and gear and passenger weight to that when figuring your required tow rating plus some wiggle room of 20% or so.
              Equine Portrait Commissions and Sporting Art
              Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
              Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


                Original Poster

                Thanks to all for lots of good advice and suggestions, as well as exciting stories. Alot of good choices, but probably not an Explorer.