Towing with a Hilux

Submitted: Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:39
ThreadID: 107205 Views:5118 Replies:10 FollowUps:8
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Hi Guys,

We would like to hear from people towing or that have towed with a hilux. Ours is an dual cab auto 2012 and is a very nice car but we would like some advice on getting a bigger fan for the transmission as we are told they can get to hot and this is what toyota is doing to fix the problem. Also on putting a chip on it?

We are getting ready to traveling oz again with a big 4wd campertrailer average weight is 2.5t. The ute and trailer have big 4wd tyres on as we go spend lots of time 4 wheel driving and on the dirt.

Please dont say buy a landcruiser because we would if we had the money!!! are sick of being told that.

Thanks The Smiths.
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Reply By: evaredy - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:57

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:57
This may interest you...
AnswerID: 530303

Follow Up By: evaredy - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:58

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:58
What type of camper trailer do you have that weighs 2.5? That's one heavy CT.
FollowupID: 813219

Reply By: evaredy - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 13:13

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 13:13
Just looking at the specs for a 2012 Dual Cab Hilux.

The maximum it can tow is 2,500 kg, you state your camper is 2,500 kg, so you are towing at the maximum allowed.

I would be interested in knowing what weight you also carry in the ute. You may find you are over your GCM (Gross Combination Mass).

The GCM for your vehicle is 5,280 kg, it can tow a maximum of 2,500 kg and carry a maximum weight of 965 kg.

This weight is all passengers, fuel, everything you carry in the tub and includes the weight of any roof rack, bullbar, canopy and any other addon's for the vehicle.

If you are over the GCM will may find yourself in a world of hurt, should you be involved in an accident, your insurance will not cover you.

AnswerID: 530309

Reply By: Leafy Sea Dragon - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 13:58

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 13:58
I have an 07 D4D auto dual-cab and I have fitted after market trans cooler after issues towing my camper.

No problems since its been fitted.


AnswerID: 530318

Reply By: kdnosmith - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:01

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:01
Sorry its 2ton fully loaded not 2.5ton. We havent had both car and camper fully load togther yet as we have only had the Hilux 6 weeks. Thats what the camper weigh in at last time when on our way up to Darwin from Canberra so we are working off the same weight as most of the stuff will be coming again. We have a Explorer walk through 4WD campertrailer and its a big unit. But that was carrying 200lt water, extra fuel and everything for a family of 4 to be self reliable for up to 10days! We dont put to much on the back of the ute as we have our dog and a pee wee motorbike traveling with us!(kids) We have a tool box, fridge, dog and mini bike thats all on the back. We are sure it is not over our tow or weight limits.

Thanks Leafy

AnswerID: 530325

Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:38

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:38
How big's your toolbox, Leafy? Tradie's, with everything in it? I reckon that and the bike could add up to a fair bit. Add the fridge (I guess it's not a small one, and it won't be empty!) and four bodies. Would be worth weighing, I reckon.

What I have done here, and if you can do it I'd recommend it, is take the packed up rig to the local tip (lol) and weigh it on their weighbridge. In NSW waste depots, if you don't want a printed ticket it's free, just pick a time when they are not busy. Ours has a reading visible to the driver so a print-out is not needed, I just take a note of it.

I do car and van together. result is Combination Mass (1)
Then move forward so the car's rear wheels are off the deck. Result is Trailer Mass minus ball weight. (2)
If you can be bothered faffing about you can now lower the jockey wheel and take the weight off the hitch. Call it result (3)

(1) is what we're discussing

(1) minus (2) is the weight of the car, including ball weight. Add the weight of the occupants if they are not there.

(3) is the total weight of the trailer, including ball weight

(3) minus (2) is the ball weight

It took longer to write this than it does to do it :-)


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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:39

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 16:39
Doh... Should kdnosmith in the first line, not Leafy

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Follow Up By: evaredy - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 20:16

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 20:16
If you weighed everything, you may be very surprised at just how quickly things add up.

If you are unsure of the weights, it would be a good idea to do as Frank suggested and have both the vehicle and camper weighed. But have the vehicle and camper loaded exactly the same as you would when leaving for a trip.

Your camper seems to be very heavy, if it weighs 2,000 kg loaded, can I ask what brand and model it is?

Just to give some idea of how things can add up ....

You have 965 kg, you need to take the tow ball weight from this, 2,000 kg trailer approx 10% but lets say it's only 150 kg

So total carrying capacity is 965 kg - tow ball 150 kg = 815 kg to play with.

Family of 4, 2 adults at say 80 kg each = 160 kg
2 children say 35 kg each = 70 kg
Full tank of fuel 75L = approx 60 kg
Fridge 40L stocked with food and drinks = 35 kg
Dog = 14 kg
Motor bike = 65 kg
Tool box = 25 kg
This gives you a total of 429 kg

815 - 429 = 386 kg.

Then you need to look at any addons you have installed on the vehicle, does it have a canopy, bullbar, roof racks, steel side steps, AGM battery etc?

if it does, you may be closer to the limit than you think.

If you want to get an idea of how heavy the tow ball is on the camper, you can buy a tow ball weight scale at Repco for approx $50, it is very easy to use.

Is the vehicle still under manufacturers warranty? If it is, you may find that adding an after market Inter cooler or chip may void your warranty should something happen.

FollowupID: 813265

Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 17:09

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 17:09
I have an 07 D4D auto Prado, towing 2200kg. Trans used to get hot in mountain areas, around 130. Had the Trans Overheat light come on once - Scangauge said 150 at that point.

I fitted an aftermarket trans cooler (fan assisted because some of the hard work is done at low speed). Since then, on a regular road where it used to get to 130 it's now down to under 100. Definitely worthwhile.

And after every big trek I do an out-of-schedule trans fluid change. Still good at 160,000 km, most of it towing.


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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 22:06

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 22:06
I offered an opinion about cooling the transmission, but I didn't do the same for your question about a chip.

It's a personal thing. I have considered it for my Prado, but haven't done it as yet for a few reasons. I still don't know whether or not to do it, but here's what's making me procrastinate:

1 You get more power and torque. That puts more stress and strain on everything from the top of the pistons through the drive train and down to the tyres on the ground. More stress and strain, more wear and tear, more maintenance, less reliability, perhaps?

2 If the transmission gets hot when working hard (towing) in standard configuration, how will it fare handling substantially more power and torque?

3 If you dick around with the engine performance curves and parameters, do you need to alter the electronic smarts that jointly with the engine management system also control the transmission? I don't know, but it's never mentioned in chip ads or discussion.

4 Cost. If you chip it you usually need a better exhaust. $$$ added to the $$$ for a good chip.

5 Choice. I am bamboozled by the claims the chip makers all make and by the varying reports you hear/read about, not all good. How do you make an educated choice?

6 Fuel consumption. More power and more torque come from burning more fuel, = $$$. I can live with what I have, it's just a bit slow off the mark and up hills fully loaded with 2200kg behind. But off road it doesn't need any more and low range is more than adequate for doodling around fire trails.

So I just procrastinate and continue to be satisfied (almost) with what I have.


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Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 19:28

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 19:28
Part of the problem with auto fluid heat, apart from the load in the vehicle and the trailer, is the bigger tyres you have fitted. The will effectively over gear the road wheels and cause more load on the engine, which will in turn develop more heat as a result of that load.
Some of the load will be because of the trailer two weight but the factor of the tyre size will increase the slip rate of the torque converter if not in a lock up mode.
If the load is high the auto will drop out of lock up, so slip will be generating more heat in the auto fluid.

A trans cooler is the only way to compensate for that. Auto fluid heat will ADD to the engine cooling system unless cooled first before entering the radiator's bottom heat exchanger.
AnswerID: 530343

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 20:39

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 20:39
I fitted a transmission cooler to mine in front of the radiator. Brand was PWR ? from memory and bought it from Repco for about $120. Easy to fit up.
AnswerID: 530354

Reply By: 671 - Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 21:27

Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 21:27
If you take a little car like a Hilux (I have two of them) and add a trailer that big plus big tyres and a chip then run it around the bush, you will be taking it to its absolute limit and maybe beyond and there will be a big question mark hanging over its reliability. I won't say buy a Landcruiser because even one of those will be working hard.
AnswerID: 530357

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 10:50

Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 10:50
Or buy a lighter camper trailer.

The biggest advantage of the hilux has always been that they are light......every advantage about the hilux plays to that fact.

As soon as you start loading a hilux heavily, it looses its advantages.

Cut your weight down and you will have a hard time finding a more economical and practical 4wd tourer.

Load them heavily.....yeh they will push on and do the job..but not well, not comfortably and possibly not as economically as a heaver vehicle.

A hilux is what it is......are good for what they where designed for....lots of people try to make them something that they are not.

If ya wanted a high capacity towing vehicle with big wheels....ya shoud have baught something else.

FollowupID: 813295

Reply By: evaredy - Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:58

Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:58

This is why I have been discussing the weights, but rather than just tell you to get another vehicle, we need to work out what the weights are for your vehicle AND your camper. There may be other ways to improve the performance without going to extremes of buying a new car or camper.

Can you please let me know what brand and model camper you have?

The camper seems very heavy and I am wondering if it is over the limits. If this is the case, then shaving weight of the camper and vehicle will make a big difference to it's performance.

Once we know, we can then look at what you pack and take with you, things like the Pee Wee motor bike should stay at home. I bet there are a lot of other things that while nice to have, are not needed, which can reduce the overall weghts.

AnswerID: 530391

Follow Up By: kdnosmith - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 13:29

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 13:29
Thanks evaredy for your help with weights we have been looking into it and looking at what we can cut. When we sold our farm and left on the road we had an 80 series towing the camper and she was brilliant but we ended up getting our dog back so we needed a ute plus a ute suits us better and chopping the 80 was a hard decision but we couldnt justify spending that kind of money on a 22yr car. So thats how we ended up with the hilux due to budget and many other factors which we did spend time on looking into and driving others ect.
Our camper is an Explorer walk through Wentworth. Being a walk through makes it about 1 1/2 foot longer then a normal Wentworth. I just went and checked the compliance plate TARE MASS is 1050 and AXLE LOAD CAPACITY is 1950.
I also think we over packed because had left a house and took to many thinks we did not need but when we set off this time round we know we dont need so much crap!!
Thanks to your advice we will now load up and weigh her a few times i think before leaving.
FollowupID: 813695

Reply By: Member - Lisa & Peter (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 08:02

Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 08:02
We have a manual dual cab 2010, have now done over 100,000km with a lot of towing and 4wd work, including Cape York (most of telegraph track, frenchmans track all with trailer), a month in Tasmania (no hard 4wd where we went there) and 8 weeks in NT including Litchfield, Kakadu, Lorella springs, plus many shorter trips. Our offroad CT is about 1800kg loaded. We are very happy overall with the hilux, very capable offroad (with lift and suspension upgrade), good towing, very comfortable, and set up to suit us.

We have a lot of mods, and in retrospect we should have done a GVM upgrade when new, we are about to do that now which will be more involved and expensive. After doing the sums we decided to keep the hilux rather than buy a landcruiser as it has served us very well, also we wouldn't recoup the costs of all the accessories fitted. Time will tell whether this is the right decision.

We do have a chip (supplied by roo systems) and a bigger exhaust. This combo gives a noticeable improvement in power, but we had a lot of problems with engine faults to start with and eventually exchanged the chip for a less powerful one. We found the first chip threw up engine faults once we fitted the bigger exhaust and especially in cold weather. If you fit a chip and exhaust, I would recommend you have it done locally as it may need tweaking to get it right. Not sure if the roo chip was the best choice but others seem to have issues too. Have a look on Newhilux

We have a low coolant, high temp warning fitted and keep an eye on that when towing, and don't tow in fifth gear.

We have only had one failure, broke a spring (arb heavy duty) on the savannah way 180km east ofBorroloola. These have been replaced with a higher rated spring.

Sorry I can't help you with the transmission cooler, you will find lots of info on Newhilux website.

Cheers and good luck


AnswerID: 530447

Follow Up By: kdnosmith - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 13:36

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 13:36
Hi Lisa and Peter, thanks for you reply. We are very happy with the Hilux and we just want to look after it so thats why we are asking the questions before something while out! We took it out last weekend and it has not missed a beat but we have been told about a few things to keep an eye on. I guess like any car each has its problems if not looked after properly.
We are currently in Darwin so its hot up here and we are heading to north qld next.
Thank again.
FollowupID: 813696

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