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Truck towing capacity vs. new trailer - brainstorm with me!

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  • Truck towing capacity vs. new trailer - brainstorm with me!

    I have a 2002 Toyota Sequoia that I use to pull my older steel trailer. I am really hoping to upgrade to a newer trailer, but need the infinite CoTH wisdom to let me know if my Sequoia can handle what I'm looking into.

    What I have now:
    Sequoia, 6500lbs towing capacity, V8, 4.7L engine size
    Circa 1990, make unknown, steel two horse straight load bp. Weight according to registration is 3000lbs. Current estimated weight with current trailer and horse = 4,200lbs.

    I'm interested in selling my older steel trailer, and upgrading to a Hawk trailer, wb size, with a dressing room. This trailer weighs 3700lbs. I usually only trailer my horse short distances (1-2 hours). If go with the new trailer, I may also have my husband’s motorcycle on board (add on an additional 500lbs), which doesn't fit on the trailer now. My estimated new weight with trailer, horse, motorcycle = 5,400lbs.

    So, CoTHers opinions needed. Am I crazy for even considering this set up with my Sequoia? I love my older steel trailer, but I really want the upgrade!

  • #2
    Well the GVWR is 6500 pounds minus the vehicle weight which is 5070 pounds so that leaves you with a towing capacity of 1430# which is an empty lightweight trailer. Amiwrong here?

    Edmunds also lists the payload at 1430
    , and don't forget that is before all passengers and gear are in the vehicle.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by HotHorse View Post
      Well the GVWR is 6500 pounds minus the vehicle weight which is 5070 pounds so that leaves you with a towing capacity of 1430# which is an empty lightweight trailer. Amiwrong here?

      Edmunds also lists the payload at 1430
      , and don't forget that is before all passengers and gear are in the vehicle.
      Okay, color me a bit slow, but I'm not pulling the weight of the Sequoia (5070 lbs), so how does this factor into the towing equation? Honestly don't understand and not trying to be snarky.

      No one has ever mentioned to me that my Sequoia isn't adequate to do the job I need it to do. Have I been mislead??


      • #4
        It's my understanding that the tow capacity is calculated like this:

        Payload - The combined, maximum allowable weight of cargo, occupants and optional equipment that the vehicle is designed to carry. (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the base curb weight.) source
        where what you can pull/carry is "everything the engine can pull" minus the vehicle's own weight. It is not an absolute hard physical limit of what your vehicle can haul, because technically a sedan can pull a horse trailer (but when will it brake... nobody knows!). Someone else can chime in on how they get that number -- but for practical purposes, it is the number the manufacturer feels comfortable with, what with warranties and longetivity.

        There is more to the tow vehicle than just engine capacity, there is also the suspension and braking power of course. And a Tow Package will typically include a transmission cooler in addition to wiring and ball or gooseneck hookup.

        I'll leave it to one of the actual trailer gurus on here to get into details, suffice to say that many people do pull with SUVs and many people do not. It probably does put extra strain on the Sequoia, but you might be successful for short flat drives.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks, Hothorse, I really do appreciate you breaking this down for me. I've done a bit more googling around, and I do think the upgrades I was hoping for are too much for my Sequoia.

          I have a good little trailer that is a dream to pull. It's not fancy, but both the truck and trailer are paid for. Eegads...never thought this set up may not be ideal. Something else to consider.


          • #6
            Payload is what you can carry in the vehicle, tow capacity is what you tow behind the vehicle. But, you need to include the weight of your total cargo in the vehicle when determining if you've reached your max towing weight.

            If your trailer is 3000 lbs, horse and hay/water/tack in the trailer is 1500 lbs, you, your husband, 2 kids and a dog in the truck are 500 lbs, you are at 5000 lbs total of your 6500 lb towing capacity. When calculating your total weight, you need to include cargo/passengers in the truck too. At least, that's how I was told to calculate if I'm in the safe towing capacity range.

            Payload is in the truck.
            Towing capacity is behind the truck (or in the bed and behind the truck if you have a gooseneck).

            Do you have a tow package with an additional transmission and/or oil cooler? Bigger brakes on the truck? I'm assuming you must have a trailer brake with controller? The 4.7 l engine isn't the biggest out there, but if you've been towing safely with it so far, well, it must be working for you. Do you know the rear axle ratio on your truck? That will also get you a better tow capacity. Watch out if you have bigger and badder tires; that will reduce your towing capacity. You need to confirm your set up on the truck before you can really confirm how much you can safely tow.

            Isn't this fun?

            You would probably be ok with the new trailer-- but there are more trailer/tow savvy people on here-- hope they weigh in.


            • Original Poster

              Well, heck, I don't know!
              I did have the trailer brake box installed in my sequoia when I bought it used, and I had a break box added to the trailer when I got it. I've been pulling with it since 2009, and it's been good. But, I've never trailered over 3 hours and I drive like a granny. It's 9 X out 10, just my horse and me.

              I tell them every time I take my vehicle to the dealership that I pull a horse trailer with it, but who knows if that translates into what I actually need! I did just put new 26" Yokohama tires on it, which aren't the honking big tires.

              This is fun like a dental visit!


              • #8
                How much do you like your Sequoia? I can pretty much promise you that if you put a big Hawk BP with a DR behind a 4.7L V8, you can kiss your transmission, cooling system, engine, and brakes a grinding goodbye. And I say that sadly and from experience towing a LIGHTER trailer w/ DR with a '96 Tahoe with a BIIIIG 5.7L old school V8 in it. I had an ironclad rule, even with that, that ONLY one horse could ride in the trailer at a time, it never went over 60 mph and I changed the oil every 14 seconds.

                Gearing and axles differ, but my work truck is a 4.8L V8 Silverado and I laugh at its panting efforts pulling our work boats, which are much lighter than my loaded trailer. I also never like to come close to the max capacity when towing horses. Something will break. Something ALWAYS breaks (ask my friend, her big diesel truck's transmission exploded on the side of a mountain in VA last weekend between a blind curve and a bridge - it's never in a good place - and I had to haul her and her horse home) and when it does, I have learned I want plenty of leftover truck to compensate!

                If what you have is working for you, I would not seek a trailer any larger for that vehicle and I would over-maintain the crap out of it. I now tow with a 7.3L diesel F250 and it's only with it that I realize I really should have just done that in the first place -- I would have saved a TON of money on gas, maintenance, and repairs (like radiators, sigh). But again -- if it ain't broke, don't 'fix' it and certainly don't push your luck!
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                We Are Flying Solo


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks, Wildlifer. This is helpful. I do like my Sequoia, especially love that it's paid for, and it's my only vehicle that I rely on for work. I would like it to last me a few more years.
                  I generally trailer with my trainer, but on the one off that I want to do something that she's not doing is when I use it. I don't go off by myself more than 5 times per year, now that we don't hunt much (another story for another time!). Rarely do I have a second horse, and if I do we're going 5 miles to the local state park (and I'm driving like a super granny).
                  Yes I'm trying to justify the upgrade. but, I do want to be safe for those around me and my horse.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TimelyImpulse View Post
                    Payload is in the truck.
                    Towing capacity is behind the truck (or in the bed and behind the truck if you have a gooseneck).
                    Thanks Timely I did mean tow capacity - behind the truck not in it.

                    I think the formula is the same though: Edit: sorry... one little letter difference, below formula references gCwr. Today I learned a new thing.

                    Determine Towing Capacity

                    The final step is to subtract the actual weights from the ratings, leaving the remainder as the towing capacity. It is important to consider all calculations below and use the smallest, or most restrictive, for determining the maximum trailer weight the vehicle should tow.
                    GCWR - GVW = Maximum Trailer Weight (Tow Vehicle Sizing)
                    Originally posted by HappyHoppingHaffyl
                    This is fun like a dental visit!
                    You have a great sense of humor Happy I like your style
                    Last edited by HotHorse; May. 28, 2013, 09:04 PM.


                    • #11
                      Your truck is about 5,100 pounds empty, and has a max weight of 6,500 pounds. That leaves you with 1,400 pounds for passengers, dogs, coolers, and trailer tongue weight. Your towing capacity also happens to be 6,500 pounds. Just a coincidence that the numbers are the same. That is how much you can pull.

                      Yes, you could do it, I would not do it with a 118 inch wheelbase.


                      • #12
                        I agree that the weight of the proposed new trailer isn't the best match for your current tow vehicle. That generation of Tundra/Sequoia are less capable than the current generations. A lighter weight option with DR might be something to consider...there are options available that could come in at meaningful lower trailer weight. Do a little shopping!


                        • #13
                          The problem with dressing rooms is not only that they increase the base trailer weight, but also that you put stuff in 'em.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks everyone for your feedback. I knew I could count on the collective CoTH wisdom to point me in the right direction!
                            It's a bummer it's not the right set up for me right now. I'm going to keep my little steel trailer until my Sequoia is ready to bite the dust.
                            Thanks again, everyone!


                            • #15
                              Cool, good decision and thanks for being smart and thoughtful, unlike some who scream in protest. We really really just want peeps and horses to be safe! All things in moderation, of course, but caution is the better side of valor.
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo