Ask TFL: 2005 Toyota 4Runner V8 – First Time Towing a Show Car

2003 2005 toyota 4runner v8 towing
2003 Toyota 4Runner

We received the following great towing questions about towing a show car behind a Toyota 4Runner V8. The question came in from John via These questions are about a fairly rare low mile 4Runner V8.

I recently purchased a 2005 4Runner SR5 v8 with only 54k miles on it. I bought it with the intention of towing my 3,600 lb Oldsmobile to car shows.
I never towed anything before in my life. would you be able to help answer a few questions?

1. What modifications need to be made to the truck itself?  New hitch? Transmission cooler?
2. What else should I check on the truck before towing?
3. Should I purchase a WDH and trailer brake controller?

Let’s start with the towing vehicle. You need to know the towing rating of your truck or SUV. It’s sad that Toyota no longer makes a 4Runner with a V8, but back in 2005 this SUV had a 4.7L V8 with a rating of 270 hp @ 5,400 rpm and 320 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm. The V8 was mated to a 5-speed automatic. The maximum towing rating is listed between 7,000 – 7,300 lbs.  Let’s assume 7,000 lbs for the sake of this discussion.

Since you are towing a car that weighs 3,600 lbs, you need a trailer that can handle the load. I imagine it would be a covered trailer in order to protect the show car. Car hauler trailers that can fit a car like this have an empty weight of 3,000 – 4,000 lbs. Even if the trailer weighs about 3,000 lbs, you are already pushing the towing limit of the 4Runner V8. You need to bring some tie-downs, supplies, and more. All those items add weight.

At this point, you should stop and find determine the maximum weight of the car and trailer that you need to haul. If it’s getting close to 7,000 lbs of total weight, then you need a more capable towing vehicle.

2003 Toyota 4Runner.

Before you tow, you should make sure the trailer is in good shape. If it’s used, you need to check the trailer brakes, wheel bearings, and lights.  The trailer needs to be in good and safe working order.

The 4Runner needs to be in good working order. This also includes all regular maintenance, including the brakes. Check underneath for any rust on the hitch or other critical areas. If there is structural rust, the hitch or other components may need to be replaced.

Next, you naturally need a brake controller for the truck or SUV. The 4Runner may have come prewired for a brake controller. You can buy an aftermarket unit (we like Prodigy P3), and install it without much trouble.

Given that the car hauler trailer may be long and heavy, getting a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) is a great idea. We use a height-adjustable GenY Hitch with a WDH that also provides for sway control. The hitch height adjustment is important in order to help get the SUV and trailer as level as possible.

Have a safe trailering experience!

Here is the latest 2018 Toyota Sequoia with the 5.7L V8 taking on the Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing test.

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