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Old 02-25-2021, 06:29 AM   #1
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Default Hauling a small teardrop trailer advice

So after a few trips camping out in the PNW my girl doesn't like staying in tents. It scares her, makes her skittish and feel vulnerable. Problem is when I was building my D21, I fitted it for my style of camping (minimalist/bushcrafting) all I take is a hammock or maybe a small tent plus my gear.

That got me thinking of hauling a tiny teardrop trailer (since I think she just wants 4 walls and a roof) like a 5x8 won't weigh more than 1100-1400lbs. Anyone have experience doing this? I don't know shit about hauling anything, I don't even have a tow hitch since I just welded 2 steel pipes on the rear bumper mounts. Anyways I figured this would be fine since that's around 1/3 of the total tow weight of a V6 4x4 right? Do I need to upgrade my brakes? So many questions...

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:43 AM   #2
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Just my two cents but those teardrop trailers are MIGHTY expensive for the space you get. There are hitch kits you can get from Amazon that can boost how much you can haul, although the recommended load is 2,000 pounds on your typical hardbody, with an additional 200-250 pounds allowed for the hitch.

But the truth is you can haul a bit more than that, and some guys around IN have done that, especially with the V-6 engine.

I once owned a Toyota motor home. Dolphin model or something. It was an underpowered PITA and I didn't keep it much more than a couple of trips.

And then I owned a 14-foot trailer that had way more living space, and was much more roomy (like a fishing cabin with a bed, kitchen, shower and toilet) and beat that motor home all to hell on comfort.

My advice is you install a hitch, and the beef-up kit for it, and then go looking for a trailer between 13-17 feet long. Used. Even at that short length, you get a kitchen, a dinette where you can mount a TV above it, rudimentary shower and toilet...and you should be able to tote that around occasionally with no big problems. You will be slow going up the passes, but on the flat you will be able to do normal speed with no problem. Install a couple of good deep cycle batteries and an extra propane tank up front and you can take it to Nevada. Just no jackrabbit starts or stops and you will be fine. Doing the private owner buy can be tricky, so trust me on something here...you can look all over WA state and the only place you will get the absolute best deal is at Poulsbo RV. No one can touch them, and they will bargain on price. They are also one of the few RV lots who actually TELL you the price and give the weights without you having to leave them contact info so they can 'give you a bid'.

By the way...that motorhome had a four banger with an auto trans.

THIS TRAILER at Poulsbo RV is a 20-footer, and weighs, with the hitch, about 3100 pounds. Maybe 3500 with gear and water. That's a bit above the rating for a hardbody, but not THAT far above it. So...if you could find a 16-17 foot similar..used...yeah, you could probably tow it around no problem.

EDIT: I see you have the V-6 with shift. Might want to invest in a heavy-duty clutch set. But with THAT engine, yeah...my guess is you could haul up to 17 feet with success. On Snoqualmie Pass, you will be doing 45 in the right lane. Big deal. Have fun on your vacation when you get to wherever you are going.

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Last edited by XoXSciFiGuy; 02-25-2021 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:00 AM   #3
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Jp2Code hauls a tractor with his HD V6. You’re probably fine hauling that small trailer.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:54 PM   #4
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i have a 97 4cyl automatic
went to nissan and ask this
im gonna buy a small 8x6 trailer to haul my junk to flea markets what kind of trans cooler should i buy
nissan tech said your truck with a 4cyl and automatic trans is not meant to pull that kind of trailer.
tech said he would only pull like one jetski or a small lawnmower trailer
tech said my trans would burn up
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:34 PM   #5
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I occasionally pull 6-7k of hay. You'll be fine wit a tiny teardrop. A 17foot proper camp trailer would start getting pretty heavy for regular use.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:48 PM   #6
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I agree with scifiguy. Production teardrops are quite expensive. I just built a 11x6 teardrop-esque trailer. I haven't used my d21 yet to haul it, was still working on the truck. Used a s10 to take it out to nevada for the winter. Pulled fine with that.

Id say if you're handy, not on a time crunch, and set on a tear drop sized camper; just build it. Youll save considerably and be able to get it exactly as you want it.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:40 PM   #7
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I pulled a 1500lb pop up with my 97 auto, no issues. Turned overdrive off when I was in the hilly parts of eastern ky.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:51 PM   #8
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You didnt really say anything about ur truck...MT or AT (at needs a cooler).

My 4cyl 2wd 720 pulls a ton fairly regularly.

There is a video on youtube of a guy that made his own.. 2" foam glued together and then fiberglassed over. It looked just fine.

Your bumper has #s stamped in it. IMHO receiver hitches are over-rated. I bet your bumper is rated at plenty enough to tow your trailer.

I agree, teardrops are expensive, count on $10K-$20K for a new one. There are 2 manufacturers in my town (Grand Junction).

Have you watched Craigslist?


An older 10'-12" camper, especially a fiberglass one, I forget the name.

How about a redneck tow hauler....flatbed trailer, w.a removable pick.up bed camper. This should put you at about 2,000#, and it.would give you a flat spot (under the over-hang) to haul an ATV or.bikes. And, when not in use, a trailer...although you have a PU. I couldnt exist w.o my trailer. I've moved people, fridges, ATVs, hay and camped out if it.

Something like this, but smaller, less overhang.

Other ideas....


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Old 02-25-2021, 05:57 PM   #9
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I would humbly advise against anything bigger than a small teardrop or 8-10' camper. They get heavy pretty quickly once you load in all your gear. My folks have a 19' camper they tow with our 4runner and that poor truck really isn't meant to tow something that heavy, even though it's technically within the limit for what it can tow. I won't be surprised if it needs a new transmission in the future.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:21 PM   #10
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Here's the forum you need for that: http://tnttt.com/

I weighed my truck before and after unloading my gear and ABS plastic shell and it came to 800 lbs. That was with a large tent, and a toilet/shower setup as well.
So if you think about it that way, all of that would be dispersed across the truck and trailer, so 1,400lbs (for example) isn't that much more. Especially if it is on a third axle.

Build your own. I have friends who have built them. Mostly rigid foam covered in "poor man's fiberglass" with the smallest A/C window unit stuck in the front, resting on the tongue for the times when you can plug into shore power.
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