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Unread 07-16-2008, 01:34 PM   #1
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cheyenne, WY
Posts: 188
Flat towing experience with a 4Runner

Thought this might be helpful for anyone considering flat towing with a mid-sized SUV with a relatively weak motor.
About a year ago I used my 1999 toyota 4runner v6 with 135k miles to flat tow my 92 YJ 1200 miles from CA to Wyoming. With ~183hp and about ~215 lb-ft of torque this was some work for the Toyota. The Toyota weighs roughly 4k pounds and the jeep 3k. Hills of any kind were absolutely brutal. I got a running start at most hills and was drug down to 45mph several times. I spent 95% of the time with overdrive off so it would hang in the sweet spot and I could push decent speeds in flat open areas. I do have an auxiliary transmission cooler, which I would suggest for anybody looking to do a trip of this length with a v6 auto.
The short wheelbase is apparent and not very comforting. The most important thing I want to stress is that you have no brakes. If the slightest thing should happen and you need to stop, you're screwed. I kept a ton of distance and looked far ahead, but the feeling is unsettling. I came into a turn too fast and tried to scrub off speed but the jeep wanted to push me straight. I felt the rear move as I entered the turn, but was somehow able to recover it. I had no other incidents and the voyage was a success.

I would flat tow again with the 4Runner, but breaking is the downfall of this setup. Without wheelbase, weight, or brakes for the jeep it is a stressful drive. If better suited vehicle is available, I'd rather use that.

Fast forward to next month. I'm borrowing a 6100 lb GMC 2500HD w/ Duramax for a 1000 mile round trip flat tow over the rockies for Moab. I'll do a write-up on that when finished.

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