• Will My 2008 Toyota 4Runner V8 Tow This 6,500 Lbs Camping Trailer? (Ask TFLtruck)

    toyota 4runner v8 towing camper trailer specs
    Toyota 4Runner V8

    Will my 2008 Toyota 4Runner V8 tow this Rockwood MiniLite camping trailer comfortably? The trailer maxes out near 6,500 lbs. This is a question we recently received at ask@tfltruck.com. That’s a very interesting question because it has to do with a V8-powered 4Runner, and because this trailer has a fairly big profile.

    Let’s take a look at the 4Runner specifications. The 4.7L V8 under the hood is rated at a healthy 260 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm and 306 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm. It’s backed up by a 5-speed automatic transmission. The maximum towing rating for this setup is 7,300 lbs when using a weight distribution hitch (WDH). The owner of this rig is using a WDH, which is excellent for weight distribution and also to help control trailer sway. The owner is also using extension mirrors to see around this wide trailer, which is all goodness.

    This trailer has a relatively tall and long profile, and it may not be always loaded to 6,500 lbs. There is no doubt that the powertrain is strong enough for this trailer, but the crucial questions are: will the trailer sway and is it easy to stop this rig.

    We have not had a chance to tow with a 4Runner, but if the trailer is loaded correctly (with about 10% tongue weight) then the sway should be minimized. A proper trailer brake controller is required for trailer of this size and weight. If it’s working properly, then stopping should also be taken car of.

    What do you guys think? Will this 4Runner tow this trailer comfortably?

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

    Similar Articles

    34 thoughts on “Will My 2008 Toyota 4Runner V8 Tow This 6,500 Lbs Camping Trailer? (Ask TFLtruck)

    1. I’m sure the 4Runner will tow that setup ok—but it probably do it from the slow lane. My concern would be the rear tires on the 4Runner. Will they be HD enough to handle the extra weight—especially during hot summer travel? I would at least upgrade the tires.

      1. If you have to ask them it weighs too much.

        Tires should definitely be considered.

        You’ll definitely need a trailer break controller installed, set up properly AND adjusted for the trailers weight.

        MOST IMPORTANT. If you are planning to tow that close to the limit, the trailer better be DRY, and you aren’t giving yourself much room for cargo. Make sure the truck can take 650 pounds of tongue weight. Remember that cargo in the back had to be included in that rear axle maximum weight.

        Stay within recommended speeds (probably 60/65).

      1. As long as your mindset is right, especially as far as leaving enough space, you’ll be fine. The people who get into trouble the most on the highway are the ones who want to convince themselves that the trailer isn’t back there.

    2. I have not towed with a V8 4th Gen 4Runner, but I’ve towed a ~3,500 pound trailer with a V6 4th Gen 4Runner and it hunted for gears the whole time. Also got ~8 mpg with this small trailer (I usually average ~23 highway). Maybe the V8’s extra power will help with gear hunting, but our V6 doesn’t have a tow/haul mode and I don’t think the V8 4Runner’s have a tow/haul either.

      For comparison, my 2016 3″ lifted Platinum 5.7 Tundra (4×4, 4.30 gears, 34″ tires) and my brothers 2015 Ram 2500 6.4 (4×4 3.73 gears) tows this trailer in 6th gear and you can barely feel it.

        1. You know this article pertains to 4th gen 4Runners right? And the V8 isn’t that much more powerful than the V6 due to being Full-time 4WD right?

          Probably don’t know anything about 4Runners…

          1. I am well aware of what the article “pertains” to Tyler. I’m commenting on your statement “my 2016 3″ lifted Platinum 5.7 Tundra (4×4, 4.30 gears, 34″ tires) and my brothers 2015 Ram 2500 6.4 (4×4 3.73 gears)” Could you explain “for comparison” to the TFL community how a lifted half-ton and 3/4 ton ram have literally anything to do with 4-runner towing? Eat less glue.

            1. Yeah, the 4Runner is an SUV built for off-roading, not towing. So the 4Runner will tow worse then two lifted trucks running oversized tires in an overdrive gear.
              I have a 4th gen 4Runner V6 4WD, 5th gen Trail 4Runner, and my Tundra. Both 4Runner’s have very poor towing performance.

              There is a reason why Toyota doesn’t give the 4Runner a tow/haul mode, even on the 5th gens the tow/haul is still missing.

              Pretty common sense to me, maybe you should eat less glue…

      1. That 4th gen 4Runner has an OD off button. When used, the little 5VZ will stay near its peak torque at highway speeds and the converter stays locked up, even with your foot flat on the floor.

    3. I recently owned a 4Runner like this with the V8 engine. It was great at towing my 5,500 pounds utility trailer. However, adding another 1,000 pounds gets the total weight close to the 4Runners limits. If the reader lives in Kansas and doesn’t have plans to hit the Rocky Mountains, they may have little problem using the 4Runner to tow their trailer.

    4. I have towed with that same 4.7 engine and 5 speed trans, but in a sequoia so little heavier and longer wheelbase, and it will tow that trailer just fine with 0 problems. I would lock out 5th gear for the most part which will prevent gear hunting and have a weight distributing hitch and enjoy. Also that trailer empty doesn’t look more than about 4500lbs, but even loaded it will be fine. Plenty of power and torque for that setup. That’s the same engine/trans that went 1 million miles in the 07 tundra that TFL posted so it will also last forever too.

    5. One thing to watch out for is the rear axle weigh rating on the 4Runner. I know the F150’s and other half tons will run out of axle rating with trailers about that size in some cases.

    6. Jay, you are right!

      Max payload is only 1235 lbs.
      650lbs for tongue weight leaves only 600 lbs for the hitch, people and cargo/luggage in the 4 runner.

      3 people and their phones and tablets would put you over the max Payload.

      It’s my experience that if you aren’t worried about time most modern vehicles can hold the legal minimum speed limit.
      When you stress everything to its limits you increase the chance of breakage.
      Breakage while traveling can become a safety issue in addition to a inconvenence.

        1. A full size diesel truck with less payload than a typical minivan? That’s embarrassing!!

          When loaded to the weight limit and driving on the highway at 70+ mph, there is a large difference between towing a boat and towing a trailer shaped like a brick.

          I’m guessing one trip with this setup with do nothing expect give people false confidence. Run this setup to a weekend getaway 4 hours away from home every weekend for a year. Then I’ll be impressed.

          1. The 4.7 may be a decent motor but 305 ft-lbs aint a lot. I have been spoiled by a tune 3.5 ecoboost that is making well over 400 ft-lbs at 2000 rpm’s where I can hold 6th gear even on some easier hills at 6500′. I just cant imagine towing and needing to be in 3rd or 4th gear cruising down the flat highway.

    7. Also, where is this guy located. If its colorado or Utah or something similar, that V8 aint making 260hp/305 ft-lbs. At my house it would be making 210hp/245tq. Ouch.

    8. I would consider either a lighter trailer or bigger engined, longer wheelbase vehicle. I have a ‘runner like yours and it tows 4500 lbs like nobody’s business. Same with my 3500 lb utility trailer.
      With 3000 Lbs of dirt in the trailer, (6,500 total) it is working pretty hard on steep hills, especially with 3 adults on board. If this is an occasional thing, then go ahead. If a lot of hills are in the equation, I might second guess myself. In any event, leave the Overdrive off.

    9. I would be concerned since the layout of the trailer appears less than ideal. There’s a heavy slide is up front and the axles are dead center of the trailer, a high moment of inertia will Is more likely to sway.

    10. Unless I missed it the owner did not state if he had trailer brake controller and the factory tow package. Without the factory tow package towing capacity is reduced as additional cooling is needed. Second, that SUV did not come with a trailer brake controller and probably didn’t come with a 7 PIN connector either.

      “Comfortably” needs to pertain to the drive as well, so I’d say “you’re going to need bigger truck”.

      If the guy is asking, then he’s not comfortable.

      1. @Your Mom: It is very likely your 4R is not safe to tow that trailer, period. Here’s why–and TFLTruck missed this too. Back in ’11 when Toyota complied with the J2807 towing standard, the 5.7 Sequioa took a significant hit in towing capacity, from mid 9K to mid 7K. That reduction is for a heavier and much more powerful and capable towing vehicle. So, with that in mind, will your 4R safely tow?

      2. @Your Mom: Another consideration is insurance. Check with your insurance company to see what is covered. TFLTruck missed this too…
        Finally, check your owner’s manual to see what the “optimistic” capacities are for your 4R. If you exceed it and are in an accident, you may be held liable for damages.

    11. I had a 2003 4Runner V8 Sport 2WD. When towing a utility trailer with about 1500 lbs in 90 degree weather, the clutch fan would lock up even at freeway speeds. Very annoying with the roar of the fan and significant decrease in gas mileage. Toyota said it was normal…lol. This model did not have a electric backup fan like my 2006 Frontier and 2012 Ram. Even with the ‘sport’ suspension, it was twitchy.

    12. The biggest issue I have here is wind. Can that short wheel base truck handle the wind with that big heavy trailer? There is a lot more mass to handle. The trl becomes very heavy when windy.

    Leave a Reply