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Is a Toyota Tacoma ('16 or '17) a good tow vehicle for a Legacy Elite II?


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While the Elite II weighs under 4700 lbs. dry, it will weigh more when you're out exploring. Mine typically weighs between 5100 and 5500 lbs. depending on what's in the tanks (fresh water, grey and black). My tow vehicle is rated at 7700 lbs. and 660 lbs. tongue weight. I wouldn't be comfortable towing unless I had at least 1,000 lbs. more capacity than what I am towing. You also need to consider what your tow vehicle is rated for the weight of what you have in the vehicle plus the camper. Many Oliver owners who frequent the forum are very happy towing with heavy duty pickups--F250s and F350s for example. Others, like me, sought a tow vehicle with adequate capacity that has better handling characteristics. Mine is a VW Toureg TDI. It has the same towing capacity as the Audi A7 and the Porsche Cayenne (both of these vehicles also tow Ollies). I've been warned by members of the forum about the likelihood of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Hasn't happened to me or anyone else I know who has chosen this type of tow vehicle. I guess time will tell.

 

So, my advice is to pay attention to the numbers. Buy a tow vehicle that has more than adequate capacity to tow the Ollie. Second, chose something you are comfortable driving. Third, talk to people who tow with the vehicle you are considering. Fourth, don't assume all pickups have adequate towing capacity--some don't. Fifth, if you want to tow with an SUV, your options are very limited. Mercedes, Audi, VW and Porsche are the only manufacturers of SUV's that I'd consider. I've owned Suburbans, but the last time I checked, they didn't have the towing capacity to make me comfortable. I've towed my Elite II about 16,000 miles in my first year of ownership of my camper with my VW Touareg TDI and I have been very satisfied. I've towed in the mountains of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and I've yet to find a mountain pass that made my Touareg breathe hard and my descents have been comfortable and safe because of the excellent handling and braking characteristics of the Touareg.

Don

 

2020 Kimberley Kruiser S-Class Off-Road Karavan 

 

 

2019 Ram 2500 Diesel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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I should add that I've towed a 23' Mastercraft boat (I don't recall the weight, but it was a heavy boat with a V-8 inboard) from Iowa to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, and I test-drove the Ram 1/2 ton with both the hemi V-8 and the diesel and a '16 Ford F150 with the 3.5 liter Eco-boost V-6. When I buy a new tow vehicle, I'm planning to ask the dealers to allow me to test-drive towing my Ollie. I know the local Ford dealer is willing to accommodate me.

Don

 

2020 Kimberley Kruiser S-Class Off-Road Karavan 

 

 

2019 Ram 2500 Diesel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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  • 2 months later...

We just picked up our Olie last week, an Elite II.  Dry, the Olie weighs 5200 pounds.  We have a 2016 Tacoma with and automatic transmission and would not recommend that for towing an Elite II.  We averaged 13 MPG on a trip from Hohenwald to Webster, Texas, and back to western North Carolina.  While the Tacoma would pull the Olie at 70 miles and hour, we felt that 65 was a better speed on the interstates.  Most of the time the Tacoma traveled in fifth gear and only on a long level straight stretch of road, would the Tacoma go into sixth gear.  We read the article in Trailer Life about a Tacoma pulling an Elite II.  We are now in the market for a new tow vehicle...

 

Some other comments on the Tacoma;  We find the Tacoma small and not as comfortable our 1999 4Runner that we sold just before we acquired the Tacoma.  The doors are smaller and we must both bed down to enter and I stand 5'10" tall.  Unladen the gas mileage runs between 20 and 21 MPG.  The Tacoma accelerates strongly and will keep up with most any other vehicle.  When climbing a long hill while pulling the Olie, the Tacoma would down shift, often times to fourth gear and lower.  On a long climb, it occasionally downshifted to third gear and the tachometer showed RPM's between 4000 and 4500.  It was LOUD.  It pulled it, but it was not a pleasant ride.

 

One positive note, the 40 foot turning radius of the Tacoma made for excellent trailer maneuvering.

 

We read most of the other forums on tow vehicles and we are not looking for a vehicle that will pull at least 8000 pounds.  Good luck!  More later...

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  • 1 year later...

Yvonne:

 

I am glad that you had a good ending to the near catastrophe. It certainly could have gone a lot worse.

 

You raise an important point, and that is TV heavy towing durability.  A beloved vehicle, such as my 2005 Sequoia with only 228,000 miles on it is about as reliable as a vehicle can be.  But, as advised by John D this past early Spring, its 4.7L V8 simply does not have the power, and I worry about its heavy towing durability in mountains and on fire roads that I travel each summer.

 

Your selection of the F250 certainly has the durability for safe long term mountain travel with Ollie.  A quick look at your drive shaft vs. the smaller half ton P/U trucks clearly demonstrates the point. As does the size of it's brakes, axles and a bunch of other critical parts that can get stressed to the max by temperature, grade and heavy tow loads; especially in the mountains.  For many months I have been chasing MPG numbers and as a result really like the great MPG numbers that the Ram 1500 Eco Diesel or the F-150's can provide.  And yes, the F250 carries a higher fuel and maintenance cost.  But the cost delta between a F150 and a F-250 diesel is not all that great any more.  But the cost potential of just one critical mechanical failure could be really high, especially in the mountains.

 

The durability consideration in my eyes has two components.  One is weight related and the other is capability related of the various truck components.  On both the weight and component capacity, I think that the Nissan Titon XD has an advantage over all the 1/2 ton trucks.  And of course the 3/4 ton trucks do over the half and 5/8 ton trucks.  So it appears to boil down to what is really important?  Cost of operation or intrinsic safety of the TV and Trailer?

 

In the hundreds of posts about tow vehicles that I have read here and elsewhere, I do not recall the concept of heavy towing durability getting discussed much.  Especially with regard to owners looking as to which TV to acquire.  Maybe it should be.

 

So, I thank you for causing that concept to click.... at least in my thick skull.

 

Thank you.

Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

ALAZARCACOIDKSKYLAMSNENVNMNCOKORTNTXUTVA

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
We’re currently retired, in our early 60s and living in FL. The plan is to visit a bunch of different places in the US with the intention of relocating our retirement home (in a condo now, not loving it). I’m a newbie at all this (have never owned a TT or RV in my life). Unfortunately, we think the current real estate condition in most of the places we’re interested in are over-valued and over-heated (too many Flippers) and I think the values are unsustainable and due to crash again. So the plan is to get a TT and do a couple of years of “moving about the country” and getting a feel for each location.

 

I’m interested in the Oliver Legacy Elite II because I have adult children, one of which can join us for weeks at a time to travel with. If it was just me and my wife, we could probably get by with the smaller Legacy Elite and the choice of a Tacoma would be easier (I think).

 

After reading this: RV Industry Death Spiral I want to be very, very careful in the TT I chose.

 

I personally would go with one of the new full size pickups as you are wanting a Tacoma, all get much better fuel mileage then in the past and can handle a trailer the size of the Oliver with no problem. I always thought the Tacoma was on the small side of the pickup market and was not even close to what a full size pickup offers. Since you said you are new to the RV world I would give it much thought on this, if you visit any fiberglass rallies you will find that most are using full size pickups over other vehicles, there is a good reason for this.

 

 

 

trainman

Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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  • Moderators

Certainly the Tacoma can pull the Elite II.  But, it just as certainly has its limitations.  Several years ago I was towing a "stick built" that weighed only 3200 pounds.  Heading west on Interstate 70 into Kansas a headwind picked up and was blowing at 40 mph.  My gas mileage went to 4.  Yes, four miles to the gallon.  With the relatively small gas tank in the Tacoma I HAD to stop every 120 miles to refill.  I was not so worried about the cost of this as I was about being out in the middle of nowhere and not being able to find a gas station - they don't call the west "wide open spaces" for nothing.

 

After that trip I decided to not take that risk ever again and purchased an F-150 with the large gas tank.  Now, not only do I get better gas mileage but I never am worried about braking, running out of gas, pulling virtually any hill at virtually any (sane) speed or even my personal comfort with reduced noise levels and roomier cabin.  Virtually all of the 1/2 ton trucks currently on the market will give you these benefits plus an added safety margin.

 

Bill

  • Thanks 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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