Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

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Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby SalsaDog » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:33 am

Would anyone be willing to share some converted cargo trailer (cct) tow vehicle info? We just pulled our 6'x12' aluminum
boondocker ~4800 miles from Wisconsin to Idaho, Utah and back. We have a 2007 Saturn Aura with a 3.5 liter 225 hp
engine. It did fine, although we did take the title along just encase. I did install a proportional brake controller and have
electric brakes. The only issue we experienced very often, was too little ground clearance (National Forset dirt roads. This
was our first boondocking/dispersed camping trip in the west. At some point we will be upgrading to a standard cab 1/2
ton truck with a diesel.

So, any info will be appreciated.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Rainier70 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:38 pm

I'm not familiar with your trailer. How much does it weigh?

I am amazed you are towing it with a Saturn Aura. Just the wind resistance of the CT alone is mind blowing. What is the tow capacity rating on your vehicle? How did it do on the mountain passes?

Good to see you have electric brakes installed. Are you able to tow with a level hitch height?

I tow a steel framed, aluminum siding, 6X12 CT with a Toyota Tacoma V6. Engine is probably not much different power wise than your TV. My CT weighted about 1200 lbs new and empty. It probably is about 1700 now.

The clearance height of your car is going to be a problem on forest roads. We just did a spring over conversion on our trailer to give it more clearance for the boondock camping that we do. It is great for getting in and out of rough camping spots, but it also made it high enough that it would be a problem to try and tow it with anything of less height than a pickup.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Rainier70 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:44 pm

You might want to post your question on the Cargo Trailer section also.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Padilen » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:42 pm

A lot of variables including driving style. The weight towed and size of trailer should match tow vehicle. Different cab bed lengths for pick-ups ad more variables. I think right now there are only 2 diesel 1/2 tons available. Why diesel over gas? Check out a forum on the brand of pickup your interested in and see what people are using.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby MtnDon » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:36 pm

I'm not sure what the question is?

Sucessfully towing a cargo trailer, converted or not, depends on matching thr TV to the total load of the trailer. Period.

We use a 06 Tacoma V6 with AT and factoryvtowing package to tow our deep vee nose 6x12 CCT. Works great.

Personally I don't think there are many benefits to be realized from the diesel when looking at small trailers such as a 6x12. Yeah, they have amazing torque, and it is fun passing other vehicles on an uphill grade while towing a trailer, but that comes with an amazing price tag, IMO. If I had a 35ft 5th wheeler I'd want a diesel, but the '06Tacoma does fine with the 6x12 CCT. My 2cents.
Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Padilen » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:33 am

I wasn't sure either, I was thinking OP wanted advice on what brand to buy.
But being on a pickup forum to many people are insisting on buying the WRONG truck for their needs. Or having a truck and insisting it can tow 2x its rating, so they can get a bigger trailer.
I'm just amazed people, want a vehicle to be safe and trouble free or the manufacture should have to buy it back. Yet those same people refuse to have recall work done. Buy a vehicle that's ill suited for their needs and then neglect it. Some features are nice things to have. Being mandated as necessary because people refuse to be responsible, is insane.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby SalsaDog » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:40 am

So far, pulling the cct with the Aura has been adequate. Even in the passes. We got 16 to 18 miles/gallon. A lack of
ground clearance was a reoccurring issue, which was fixed with careful maneuvering. Hence, considering a truck?

The Aura weighs ~3600 pounds and is rated for a category 2 receiver. The cct is an Aluma 6'x12' v nose all aluminum
including the floor and wheels. It has a Dexter 3500# axle, which has torsion suspension; lighter than springs and
shackles. It weighed 1047 new (no interior sheeting) and is at 1492 finished. Tongue weight is 175. We are minimalists,
so the goal was a very light cct.

What I WAS looking for in info, was aspects with your experiences in:
manual versus automatic transmissions?
gas versus diesel?
1/2 ton versus 3/4 ton?
DuraMax versus Cummons? Chipped?
Millage & tow vehicular/ trailer combo?

I'm not brand loyal, so I'm not interested in how great you think a brand is. They ALL have their issues.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Padilen » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:44 pm

It's getting hard to find manual trannies. Now a lot of new are "dual" push a button and then it's manual mode. People are buying 1/2 tons for "car" like ride. Then believing it's a truck and will tow/haul anything, use it instead of using what's really needed- 3/4 ton or more.
I've been reading that now dealers can tell if a chip has been used. Some(most) chips do void warranty. Most users simply removed before dealer service. Now that's not going to help.
For gas/diesel - I like diesel ... For my tractor. I like gas for my vehicles. Diesel's use to be loud and smelly. This has improved. Some had turbo whine not sure if this is still a problem. Turbo whine was more of irritant to cab passengers than vehicle issue.
My friend has had 2 Cummins loves them.
My sister hauls a gooseneck horse trailer with living accommodations, with horses of course. Now she will ONLY uses a diesel 1 ton dually. She has had 2 dura max's. She as I have had many pick-ups trucks. Her combo is what she likes. She also needs a DD. An extended cab 8' bed isn't fun when trying to park in a parking lot at work. I no longer can afford more than one vehicle so my pick-up has to be DD and truck. My 1/2 ton I had to choose it over a3/4 for my comfort. Not tow/hauling. Although it's not my first 1/2 ton I do have to think about -"it fits but can I haul it"! With a 3/4 or 1 ton I'd not even bother with "what's the weight"?.
I am brand loyal not because I think it's the best for everyone. But because it's what I've had and know. So it's best for me.
As far as MPG that's something I don't bother with. I've had modded V10-v8 360 & 318 and then my modded V6. Now I have a Hemi. I have what I have I do what I enjoy. So sometimes just because I stomp on it. Don't judge me it's in my genes!
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby MtnDon » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:14 pm

What I WAS looking for in info, was aspects with your experiences in:
manual versus automatic transmissions?
Automatic for certain. Much easier to get going on a hill for example, rather than manipulate brakes, clutch, throttle. I used to be a die hard manual transmission fan, but now I won't have anything but an automatic, even for serious off road 4x4 trails...

gas versus diesel?
I believe diesel tow vehicles are great IF you need their hauling capacity, engine torque. Diesels cost more to buy and I can't see many advantages for myself. But that's just an opinion for myself. See below where I mention what I have.....

1/2 ton versus 3/4 ton?
How much tow capacity is needed? For the sounds of your trailer @1500 ponds or so a half ton is plenty. Buy one with a factory tow package. Be certain the rated trailer to be towed is well within the maximum rating. 75% is a good max to aim for IMO.

DuraMax versus Cummons? Chipped?
Sounds like you want a diesel to play with. Why not a Ford powerstroke? They all have there followers.
I have no idea.... but if it is a new vehicle and you chip it what happens to warranty? It would not surprise me if the vehicle can keep a record of chip changes in the computer. I don't know, but I would want to know before chipping a vehicle with factory warranty.


Millage & tow vehicular/ trailer combo?
'06 Tacoma V6, automatic with factory tow pack. Rated to 6500#. Trailer is a 6x12 deep vee nose, 6.5 tall, approx 2200 pounds with gear and water. Tows very nicely. Mileage varies so much in the western mountains I don't keep track. And no matter where we go we seem to run into head or front quartering winds that are high enough to lower mileage. Over 55 mph will kill any numbers worth bragging about; 65+ annhilates any chance of good numbers. A diesel should fare better than gas. However, for us and our amount of towing, I can buy a lot of gasoline for the premium cost of a diesel truck compared to a similar gas truck, even factoring in the better fuel economy of the diesel and the higher resale value. Diesel fuel costs more per volume, but diesel does go further per gallon. Some diesels models now require the use of Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Not a deal breaker but it is an additional expense and bother, IMO. Even with a higher resale value I can not make the $$ work for me to buy a diesel. Given our type and amount of use.

YMMV, as they say.

FWIW, I am not a diesel hater. I used to own a couple. They were great for what they were needed for.


It will be interesting to see how the diesel in USA manages with the new EPA rules that go into effect in 2017 as well as a further change in 2019. That doesn't bother us now, just a future point of interest.
Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Padilen » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:34 pm

I forgot to mention that all our pickup trucks are 4x4's too.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Rainier70 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:04 pm

With the minimal weight of your trailer, you could easily tow with a V6 1/2 ton two wheel, but I would highly recommend a 4x4 if you travel in the mountains or on dirt roads. There have been a few times that I would still be in the mountains if I didn't have 4 wheel drive.

One was particularly nasty to get out of. I was up on the Tri-basin Divide in Wyoming, and it had been raining for 3 days. Dirt roads can change to quicksand in just one day of rain. Three days was insanely ugly to get out of... my trailer was everywhere except right behind me! Four wheel drive, high clearance, and a heavy foot got me out. :shock:

Like I said: I too have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6 half-ton pickup, and I tow a curved face trailer. Image

I drive everything from freeway to high mountain passes, and the mileage varies accordingly. I don't often check my mileage, but occasionally I do. Without the trailer I usually get 18 to 22 mpg. Towing I get between 14 to 17 mpg. Winds, stop and go driving, mountain passes, high speed on the freeways, it all cuts into your mileage.

In a past life we have had Dodge diesel trucks and towed a 25 ft camp trailer. Now I much prefer the V-6 and my little 6x12 cargo trailer.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby SalsaDog » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:56 am

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I have decided on an 05 Tacoma from the southwest. I.e. no Wisconsin salt.

I called a local Toyota dealer, explained my situation and asked if I could pull my 6'x12' ct over and do a test pull,
they agreed.

Now all I need to do is find the right one and convert it from a city/asphalt truck into a boondocker. :beer:
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby Gerdo » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:47 pm

SalsaDog wrote: Aluma 6'x12' v nose all aluminum
including the floor and wheels. .


I had a 8x18 flatbed Aluma for my UTV. Looked great, light, towed well.

Not to scare you but about 6 months before the 5 year warranty ran out, I noticed that the main frame rails had broken. Aluma was awesome and shipped out new rails to the dealer that was fixing it. (The dealer's repair sucked and I had to get EVERYTHING re-welded at another shop). Aluma covered all costs.
Mine was an early version and they improved the rails (the replacement rails were the new versions). I also hauled near the max GVW of 4400#

The moral of this story is to inspect the tongue and frame fairly regularly. Especially before the 5 year mark. Aluminum is awesome and light but it doesn't like to be flexed as much as steel.

Back to your question. Nice choice of the Tacoma.
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Re: Towing a converted cargo trailer Info?

Postby SalsaDog » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:38 am

Thanks for the heads up, Gerdo. I'm aware of the structural fatigue issues with aluminum. But when comparing that to the
rust, corrosion and weight of steel, I opted for the aluminum. My 6'x12' is at 2040 loaded and ~300 on the tongue. I toured
the enclosed cargo trailer plant before I committed to the purchase.

Two of the big selling points for me is the use of 3/4"x2" rectangle tube for the studs and an aluminum floor.

I also got 10% off because I purchased the trailer during American Marine's spring bash and saved another $400 by picking
the trailer up at the factory in Iowa myself; no shipping.

:beer:
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