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Towing Question


capl
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Hi Everyone,

We live in Arizona and I had camped years ago in a GM motor home.  Now we hope to order an Oliver Elite I but recently was questioned as to whether or not our Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk with a 3.2L engine can tow it.  So I have gathered some numbers and asked Jason at Oliver to provide the hitch weight and cargo weight of the travel trailer.

What I have thus far are the following numbers:

Jeep  two passengers with weight at 320 lbs.

Cargo load max capacity 900 lbs

Max gross trailer weight   4,500 lbs.

Max tongue Wt. 450 lbs.

Curb weight   4,250 lbs.   

GVWR   5,500 lbs.

For the Oliver 

GVWR   5,000 lbs.

Dry weight         3,700 lbs.

Tongue weight       370 lbs.

Cargo Weight

Hitch Weight    

If anyone can help with the computations and any additional input, I would greatly appreciate it.  

 

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Welcome to the forum. 

The GM motorhomes were the height of cool, back in the day. My boss had one, and I thought it was awesome.

You can easily  keep an Elite to under 4500 pounds. Don't get a tongue basket. Don't get 30 lb tanks. 

We've not weighed ours in a long time, but our tongue weight, years ago,, loaded for camping with some fresh and some grey and black from a three day trip, our trailer weighed 3960, with 420 on the tongue, 3540 on the axle. We've removed and replaced some equipment,  so I'm sure we weigh a bit less, now. Think through options, and what you want to carry, carefully. 

Add the tongue weight to your passengers and pets, and that will tell you how much cargo you can carry in the Jeep. Probably not more than 200 pounds or so.

You'll get a sticker with fully optioned weight, as delivered, and then you can figure out what you can carry in the trailer, within your Jeeps limits.

We use cushions and a mattress topper. I'm sure the custom mattresses are a bit heavier. 

Is your trailhawk a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee? Where do you want to camp?

Our Volvo xc90, with which we towed our Ollie Elite home to Florida,  was fine in flats and hills, but probably would have struggled in the mountains. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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1 hour ago, capl said:

Hi Everyone,

We live in Arizona and I had camped years ago in a GM motor home.  Now we hope to order an Oliver Elite I but recently was questioned as to whether or not our Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk with a 3.2L engine can tow it.  So I have gathered some numbers and asked Jason at Oliver to provide the hitch weight and cargo weight of the travel trailer.

What I have thus far are the following numbers:

Jeep  two passengers with weight at 320 lbs.

Cargo load max capacity 900 lbs

Max gross trailer weight   4,500 lbs.

Max tongue Wt. 450 lbs.

Curb weight   4,250 lbs.   

GVWR   5,500 lbs.

For the Oliver 

GVWR   5,000 lbs.

Dry weight         3,700 lbs.

Tongue weight       370 lbs.

Cargo Weight

Hitch Weight    

If anyone can help with the computations and any additional input, I would greatly appreciate it.  

 

I will reiterate the discussion we had on Facebook in this thread...

As Sherry stated ..."You can easily  keep an Elite to under 4500 pounds..." You can, but just barely. A fully loaded, ready to camp Elite will weigh over 4000 pounds. Your tongue weight will be over 400 pounds. The only way to know an exact weight will be to load it up and use a tongue scale to measure it. You're very close to your max tow and max tongue weight capacities.

You state your cargo carrying capacity to be 900 pounds. You state your passenger weight to be 320 pounds. Adding the tongue weight (400 pounds min) to the passenger weight (320 pounds) = 720 pounds. Make sure you remember to subtract the weight of your hitch and ball. This leaves you less than 180 pounds for camping gear.

One thing you didn't mention but would be a deal breaker for most is your fuel capacity and towing MPG. That vehicle has less than a 15.8 gallon capacity and a combined MPG of 21. Cut that number in half for estimated towing MPG. You will be stopping for gas in a little over 100 miles each time. There will be many places that are too far between services for you to go.

As I stated in our FB conversation, I believe this vehicle to be extremely marginal at best and without very careful attention to loading may actually become unsafe. You need to consider a more capable tow vehicle to be legal and safe.

 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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39 minutes ago, ScubaRx said:

A fully loaded, ready to camp Elite will weigh over 4000 pounds. Your tongue weight will be over 400 pounds. The only way to know an exact weight will be to load it up and use a tongue scale to measure it.

I agree with Steve about 80 per cent.Some  people carry less than me, many (like Steve)  carry much  more. We're under 4k, fully loaded, but still sure the 420 tongue is close. No basket. 20 lb tanks.

I think it's also important to consider that towing with a marginal vehicle might meet safety requirements,  but it won't likely be as fun or easy. And that small gas tank would be a no go for us . (I  read the fb link.) Thanks for adding that, Steve.

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Agree with me or not, I don’t have a dog in this race.

My only point is that I believe that this is a terrible choice for a tow vehicle for an Oliver. The numbers bear that out and after towing our two Oliver’s over 150K miles during the past 14 years using five different tow vehicles, I believe I’m qualified to know what it takes to do it safely. 
 

My goal is to always help new owners and potential owners from making very costly mistakes (like I did) because many times they simply don't know what all is needed in order to make wise decisions. 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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22 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

 

My goal is to always help new owners and potential owners from making very costly mistakes (like I did) because many times they simply don't know what all is needed in order to make wise decisions. 

That's the 80 per cent with which I  totally agree. 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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15 hours ago, capl said:

If anyone can help with the computations and any additional input, I would greatly appreciate it.  

One thing you have to consider is the maximum frontal area of the trailer. The Cherokees are limited to less than 40 square feet which pretty much restricts them to towing boats,  popup campers, or maybe a larger teardrop.

Assuming the numbers you provide for the Jeep are from the vehicle information label on the drivers door jamb and/or the owner's manual, your actual maximum payload is 1250# (5500 gvwr minus 4250 curb weight). Whenever you'll be loading close to the GVWR, it is  best to first verify your true curb weight at a public scale,  then add the weight of your anticipated passenger and equipment load to determine a best-estimate for tow vehicle weight, before adding the trailer tongue load. The difference between this estimate and the maximum GVWR  can be used to determine the maximum tongue/trailer weights. 

If a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) for your vehicle is available, it is often best to use this number to determine the actual maximum trailer weight. Manufactures often toute high tow weight ratings that, when combined with the GVWR, far exceed the GCWR. This means the tow vehicle is safe to tow the advertised trailer weight only with minimal payload.  Again, in cases where anticipated loading will be near the GVWR, you may find your maximum trailer weight will be far less than the advertised tow rating.

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I don’t want to sound harsh but I’ve owned two Jeep Cherokees, a 2014 and a 2019 (both with the V-6 engine), and while they are great little SUVs, I think they would be terrible tow vehicles, even for the smaller Elite I.  The payload capacity is really limited, there isn’t much room for carrying the typical camping gear, and the towing specs are marginal for an Elite I with any options or water in the tanks, food in the fridge and pantry, etc.  And does yours have the optional Jeep trailer tow package with the necessary 7 pin electrical trailer connector port near the back bumper, and the 2” receiver for towing?   If it doesn’t have the towing wire harness with connector already installed, that makes it really expensive and complicated to install a trailer brake controller.  

1F934B65-3C74-48DE-A44E-A4CB3F94E05F.jpeg

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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@bhncb, I'd love to see a published equation for figuring frontal area. It's a really good point, but not exactly sure how to figure it with the rounded shorter (and trolley roof)  front of an Elite. Our is a little over 6' at the front, (not counting tires height) and 6'6" at the bellybutton,  but narrows top and bottom. The accessories on top surely increase drag, but if I were so inclined to reach back to high school math, and did proper measurements,  I'd probably be close to the 40 sf limit. Maybe out, maybe in. The back, of course, is far more squared off.

@FrankC, your experience with two cherokees is important.  Did you tow anything with them?

We have a friend in NY state with a lesser capable Cherokee model than the Trailhawk. He tows a big 4x4 utv, a lot. Traded up from a 2up to a heavier side by side, recently,  and is buying an aluminum trailer vs steel, to stay within the limits.

I usually say, your TV that you own, if within legal and comfortable limits, is the best choice, to begin. Depends entirely on your skills and camping style, and where you want to go. Marginal tow is a no go for mountain passes, imo.

Many people change up later.

Some people are ok limiting gear, staying on the flats, and good weather,  not carrying water in any of the tanks. Others are not. Some people routinely drive mountain passes, (like us) and are unwilling to monitor every piece of gear and its weight. And, travel with empty tanks, routinely. Which would probably be required in the op situation.  

Some people just camp weekends, short drives, with hookups. Not us, but that's ok, too.

Steve/ @scubarx is not only kind hearted, but super skilled in many areas, and brings joy to others and himself being able to fix and repair.  He carries a LOT of weight in parts and tools and bedslides that many of us don't. Plus, a huge generator on the tongue.

It's not the end if the world to camp minimalist.  It's also not the end of the world to enjoy every avaiilable option. 

Everyone is different.  That's why the world is so much fun.

 

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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5 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

 

@FrankC, your experience with two cherokees is important.  Did you tow anything with them?

We did some car camping with our Cherokees, but never used either of them for any towing because of the limited towing capacity, limited payload weight and cargo volume.  Absolutely love the Cherokees as an SUV, especially in the winter with the snow we get here in Pennsylvania, and our two Cherokees are still in the family, handed down to our son (the 2014) and our daughter (the 2019).   They’ve been great all around vehicles but because of their size and specs, I wouldn’t tow anything even the size/weight of an Elite I with one.   I’m in the camp of folks on this forum that believe you don’t want to be anywhere close to the max specs of your tow vehicle when towing.   It’s a big strain on the engine, brakes, suspension, tires, etc., and emergency situations/panic stops do happen pretty regularly when towing because other drivers are morons.   I like a nice safety margin.  

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

I'd love to see a published equation for figuring frontal area.

Ford defines it thusly:

"Frontal Area is the total area in square feet that a moving vehicle and trailer exposes to air resistance."

It doesn't require an aerodynamic drag calculation.  Just add to the published tow vehicle height and width, any additional for the trailer that extends beyond the tow vehicle.

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So, my 2008 elite, 6.5 at belly, x 6 plus a bit, at height, from front roof to bottom fiberglass,   (assuming air flows under the trailer, not counting tires, etc.) Would be roughly 39  point something sf. I'm not discounting for curves in  and up and down and sides, not adding on for trolley top, and additions, like vents, ac, antenna, etc. 

It's a bit more complicated than I feel like measuring and calculating, but I suspect Elite, with curves and indents, may be a lot less than a flat front trailer. And, quite probably under 40 sf.

 Could certainly be out or wrong, but I think the curved surfaces make up for a lot. 

Never really thought about it much, till now. 

Looking forward to a math challenge. 

And, @bhncb you've brought up this good point, and many others, in other posts. I really appreciate it, as do others 

I could certainly be out of whack, here.

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Here is my two bits (for what its worth?)-  I started out in this rv world pulling a tiny camper that also hit near the extreme end of my towing capacity.  I went ahead and did it.    Once.   My vehicle was at it's max "design spec" and acted like it.    It's fuel range was at 150 miles.  It was pulling its heart out.   Stopping was there... but fortunately never had to really test it.   I called a spade a spade.... decided all I was going to do was prematurely ruin a great SUV making it do something it wasn't really designed to do.   This is not to mention the safety aspect that ... I have since come to realize was also border line.   Towing vehicle weight, wheel-base, BRAKE power, tongue weight... and several other things, all were "border line".   Anytime you are pushing a design spec to near its max.... you have to decide how long you really want to do that.

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Hull # 1000 something

2019 F-150, 3.5L Ecoboost, 3.55 rear end, with Max tow package

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11 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Looking forward to a math challenge. 

I believe, if you asked a vehicle mfg for a calculation, you'd be closer using the LE exterior width (6' 6") and height minus the A/C unit. (9' minus 12" maybe?). As long as a surface opposes air flow, whether angled or curved doesn't factor into a frontal area equation. Of course we know it will have an effect, but perhaps some allowance in the mfg specification has been made, for simplicity sake. Think like an engineer designing something for the "ignorant consumer"

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Before buying our LE2, we towed a 2000lb aluminum travel trailer out west a couple times from NC with a 2013 4.0L Nissan Frontier. Best fuel economy I could get with this rig was  13.5MPG. Called this trailer a lightweight aluminum brick because of the lack of aerodynamics. The Trailer Frontal rating for the 2013 Frontier pickup was 60sf.

When we purchased Ollie in Missouri,  towed Ollie home with the 4.0L Frontier and happy with the fuel economy increase to 15MPG to NC (checked by actual gallons burned) with Ollie being over double the weight of our previous light-weight aluminum camper, with same average speed.

In 2014 the trailer frontal area dropped on the 2014 4.0L Frontier to 30sf with same engine and pickup frontal area. Believe these changes were made due to SAE J2807 towing method ratings.

If you look at 2014 Ford towing brochure, if I read it correctly, even the Ford F-550 Super Duty is restricted to trailer frontal area of 60sf, page 13:

https://www.fleet.ford.com/content/dam/aem_fleet/en_us/fleet/towing-guides/Ford_Linc_14RVTTowGuide.pdf

This is a good discussion on the FGRV forum on the same topic during 2016:

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/trailer-frontal-area-77307.html

Bill

LE2 #75

 

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12 hours ago, Dave and Kimberly said:

Here is my two bits (for what its worth?)-  I started out in this rv world pulling a tiny camper that also hit near the extreme end of my towing capacity.  I went ahead and did it.    Once.   My vehicle was at it's max "design spec" and acted like it.    It's fuel range was at 150 miles.  It was pulling its heart out.   Stopping was there... but fortunately never had to really test it.   I called a spade a spade.... decided all I was going to do was prematurely ruin a great SUV making it do something it wasn't really designed to do.   This is not to mention the safety aspect that ... I have since come to realize was also border line.   Towing vehicle weight, wheel-base, BRAKE power, tongue weight... and several other things, all were "border line".   Anytime you are pushing a design spec to near its max.... you have to decide how long you really want to do that.

Well said! And I strongly urge anyone asking the question "how much can I tow?" to read Dave's statement above however many times it takes to fully understand what he is saying.

I see the word "overkill" used a lot in this and other forums. In my opinion when it comes to breaking ability, weight of tow vehicle VS. weight of trailer and the amount of cushion or reserve left in the tow vehicles overall abilities that there is no such thing as "overkill" properly defined this would be "safer", "more reliable", "less stressful" and "much more enjoyable".

I own a Ram One Ton and have towed 5th wheels, Gooseneck Equipment Trailers and Dump Trailers that are at the maximum of what my truck is capable of in all respects for decades..... In all of those situations myself and everyone around me in traffic were at a greater risk because of the fact my Rig was traveling at its maximum capacity... while capable and rated for it the fact remains its literally on the edge of disaster and I was responsible to keep it on the safe side of that edge every second. I do not consider this type of travel a vacation by any definition of the word. 

My reason for purchasing an Oliver is so that I can hook it up behind my One Ton and enjoy my drive more than I would with a 40' long 30,000lb 5th Wheel behind me so I caution those of you that are considering towing your Oliver behind any Rig that would be at its Maximum all the while you are in motion/driving for all of those same reasons. The physics are the exact same despite the gross weight being much different in the event of a sudden need to break or high wind or ice or another bad driver an Elk/Moose/Deer/Dog  your still at a much larger risk of experiencing a catastrophic event that you could otherwise avoid with a larger tow vehicle that provides another type of "insurance" you cannot purchase from an insurance agent..... the ability to break, swerve and hopefully avoid a wreck in most cases.

Good Luck to you all and please know we are not giving this advice because we want you to be just like us it is because we want the roads to be safe for you and for us and our loved ones and the larger your tow rig the safer we all are no doubt about it. 

Don't fall for the overkill hype!! 

Dan

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10 hours ago, fairmontrvpark said:

Don't fall for the overkill hype!! 

When we purchased our Elite II we had a Tacoma.  It was our first RV and we weren’t sure how it was going to work out.   Most of our “new” Oliver friends were towing with half tons and advised me to upgrade to a larger truck.  Sure enough, my range was very limited (150-200 miles max) and payload capacity was limiting.  I traded the Tacoma after 6 months for a Ram 1500.  Night and day difference.  Then, most of our now “old” Oliver friends upgraded to 3/4 ton diesels.  After 5+ years and over 60K towing miles on the 1500 I traded in for a Ram 2500 with the big Cummins diesel.  Towing is stress free, no Andersen, great range and we can load just about anything in the truck we need.  It is definitely not overkill.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

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On 8/31/2021 at 4:50 PM, capl said:

Hi Everyone,

We live in Arizona and I had camped years ago in a GM motor home.  Now we hope to order an Oliver Elite I but recently was questioned as to whether or not our Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk with a 3.2L engine can tow it.  So I have gathered some numbers and asked Jason at Oliver to provide the hitch weight and cargo weight of the travel trailer.

What I have thus far are the following numbers:

Jeep  two passengers with weight at 320 lbs.

Cargo load max capacity 900 lbs

Max gross trailer weight   4,500 lbs.

Max tongue Wt. 450 lbs.

Curb weight   4,250 lbs.   

GVWR   5,500 lbs.

For the Oliver 

GVWR   5,000 lbs.

Dry weight         3,700 lbs.

Tongue weight       370 lbs.

Cargo Weight

Hitch Weight    

If anyone can help with the computations and any additional input, I would greatly appreciate it.  

 

We towed our LE2 Ollie several years with a 2016 5.7L Toyota Tundra. It's hard to actually know what your ready to camp rig weighs until weighing it. We're thinking about buying a new 2022 Tundra 3.5L twin turbo next year, will see when maximum weight capacities (should be higher) are published and we can drive one. The 1/2 ton Tundra has been a reliable safe tow vehicle for our Ollie rig for several years and thousands of miles.  Tested another mid-sized pickup as Ollies TV, but still thinking about another new Tundra as Ollie's TV.

Here's the CAT scales results with our LE2 Ollie and Tundra. I always like to put rig and vehicle weight capacities on one sheet for quick reference.  We were approaching gross TV weight with Ollie connected, full fuel (38 gallons), two people on board, and gear in the back with about 150 pounds of gear to load. Our Ollie's ready to camp weight around 4950 pounds, we keep Ollie & TV light as possible.

Tundra%20Ollie%20Weights-XL.jpg

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Bill

LE2 #75

 

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I'll also be "looking" at a 2022 1/2 ton when they are available and the Toyota is high on my list of trucks to look at.  I've had absolutely no problems with either of the Ford 150's I've owned but my old Tacoma is still just about the best truck I've ever owned.  This should be an interesting comparison.

Bill

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

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Yep, We have a 2003 Tacoma 2.4L with manual transmission and over 180,000 miles, running strong! Bought a new base model for $12,500 during 2003. 

For us a 1/2 ton TV is all we need. Some folks don't like the grill/front end design on the new Tundra, but guessing there will be different grills available with different trim levels. Will see!

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Bill

LE2 #75

 

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