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Morning all,

I'm planning to tow a 14x7 enclosed trailer with 3 dirt bikes, tools and gear. Estimated total weight will be appx 3000 pounds. Trip will be from Central Tx to the mountains of Colorado and Utah. I know gas mileage will suck, but just curious how much of a struggle it will be once I get into the mountains/elevation. Trip will be app 2800 miles round trip.

Anyone have experience(s) they could share towing this type of load with their 4.6 Tundra? Curious about gas mileage as well(I know it won't be good as it sucks even when not towing). Also, I do have the tow package for what it's worth.

Or....should I just rent and save the wear and tear? smile

Thanks All!

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Does that include the weight of the trailer?
Sounds to me like you're underestimating the load.


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Originally Posted by mark shubert
Does that include the weight of the trailer?
Sounds to me like you're underestimating the load.

Yes, that includes the weight of the trailer. 2200 pounds for the trailer 800 for dirt bikes and gear. What would your weight estimate of a 14x7 trailer be?

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Does the trailer have brakes and does the pickup have a controller for them? You've got ~300+HP, down would concern me a LOT more than up. Get some tongue weight when you load and hook up. You DO NOT want that bugger wiggling behind you headed down-hill.

Arriving safe and sound without soiling your trousers trumps any number some needle points to upon your speedometer.


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As long as you load the trailer properly, IE weight forward and use your transmission on the downhill runs to help control your speed; you'll be fine. As mentioned above, trailer brakes would be a good idea, but 3000# isn't too heavy so if it doesn't just drive appropriately.

Not sure what you mean by rent. Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, etc. won't allow you to use their vehicles to tow.

Last edited by Ben_Lurkin; 03/22/23.

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Our 4.6 has plenty power to pull our 3000 appx pound camper. It cuts fuel mileage from 16 or so to well under 10 depending on how you drive it. if you want to drive speed limit up and down the hills in TX you might make 5-6 mpg.

It was used to tow a camper from VA to FL for a few years before we bought it. Snowbirding.

I had to replace one faulty shift sensor in the transmission after we bought it.

I have no clue about real mountains. But I suspect if you run it tow/haul and just take it easy and in no hurry it won't hurt a thing other than the fuel bill.


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Originally Posted by horse1
Does the trailer have brakes and does the pickup have a controller for them? You've got ~300+HP, down would concern me a LOT more than up. Get some tongue weight when you load and hook up. You DO NOT want that bugger wiggling behind you headed down-hill. Arriving safe and sound without soiling your trousers trumps any number some needle points to upon your speedometer.
This is the point. The post about decrease in mpg when towing 3000k also gives a clue about effectiveness up/down mountains and maybe engine stress.


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I tow a 3500# fishing boat with a 4.6 tundra and it does well and gets respectable fuel economy as well (13-14 mpg in the mountains). Your trailer will have a lot more wind resistance than my boat so it will be a bit tougher, but I certainly don’t see a problem with it.

Keep it in S4 and let the engine run the higher RPM where it makes its power and you will be fine.


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See if this helps
Trailer weights by trailer type

small horse trailer sounds similar and would be 3,000lbs or more itself.


When I bought a camper the rule of thumb was to keep your towing weight down to 1,000 pounds less than its rated capacity.

Not knowing which particular model Tundra you have I looked up tow ratings for 4.6 Tundra and the minum listed was 6500 pounds. That should keep you within a safe margin.

You never said if you have a towing package with brakes or not. It makes all the difference.

I towed a heavy trailer with a pallet of wet grass 200+ miles with a simple bumper hitch, no trailer package or trailer brakes and don't wish that on anyone especially going to Colorado.

Just flat NO.

Not sure what an after market towing package might set you back but worth it even on a one time trip. I had one added eventually and was glad I did.

I was also glad the truck I owned was built with a transmission cooler.

Last edited by kenjs1; 03/22/23.

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Yes, trailer has a brake and I have a controller for it.


Originally Posted by horse1
Does the trailer have brakes and does the pickup have a controller for them? You've got ~300+HP, down would concern me a LOT more than up. Get some tongue weight when you load and hook up. You DO NOT want that bugger wiggling behind you headed down-hill.

Arriving safe and sound without soiling your trousers trumps any number some needle points to upon your speedometer.

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One way to find out, just do it.. If you have problems on the road, trade it in, and come home in a new 3/4 ton!

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3 dirt bikes, tools and gear only weigh 800?? Gas cans for bikes?


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I'm on my third Tundra - a 2005 4.7L, 2013 4.6L, and a 2020 5.7L (all double cabs). Have towed with all of them to different extents - but not in the western mountain states. So for what it's worth:

Make sure you have working trailer brakes and a decent brake controller wired up. Your weight estimates sound a little low for the trailer and cargo mentioned. Is the trailer double axle? (Seems like a 14ft trailer should be). Anyway, with working trailer brakes and properly loaded your Tundra should be good at least double the weight you've estimated - but you'll notice the grades.

I did a fair amount of towing similar to the loads you're looking at with my 2013 4.6L. Helped my sister with a few loads of stuff when she moved about 6 yrs ago and moved myself 3 yrs ago from central VA to northern NY. Used a single axle 6x10 v-nose enclosed cargo trailer with a max rated weight of 3500 lbs - and had it loaded to that or a little more on some of the trips. I put electric brakes on the trailer and really appreciated them when trailer was loaded heavy, and especially on some of the trips made during winter. (remember to adjust electric brake gain setting to match actual final weight of loaded trailer!!)

Ok - performance. My truck accelerated and handled pretty good with the 3000-3500 lbs of trailer. You can pretty much forget about overdrive (unless going downhill!) My truck spent most of it's time in 4th or 5th gear in moderate rolling terrain. Keeping speed to 65 or below helped to keep it in at least 5th. The transmission was pretty good with gear selection - didn't search between gears much (my 2005 Tundra was a little annoying with that). Definitely remember to switch to the "Tow/haul" mode every time you start the truck - it resets transmission shift points for better pulling and improves engine braking. I'd guess that on a few of the grades you'll hit in NM and CO and up you'll be looking at climbing in 3rd or 4th in the 40-55 mph range. If you're used to driving TX at 70-75mph you should plan on moving a little slower smile

Gas mileage will suck even on flat roads - largely from the wind resistance of the enclosed trailer. My 18-20 mpg unloaded highway mileage dropped to 10-12 mpg with the trailer.

If you have the towing package on your Tundra does that include the dual temperature gauges - one for coolant, one for transmission? Nice feature - keep an eye on both when climbing the long uphills. Your towing package should also include a transmission cooler so another plus. If you don't have a brake controller already it's an easy hookup - the Tundra tow package is pre-wired. There should be a plug connection inside the kick panel down by driver's left foot and you can buy controllers pre-wired with the proper connector.


My newer 2020 with the 5.7L is a different animal - I've towed up to 9000lbs with that so far with no issues - but not in the Rocky Mtns!

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Originally Posted by Heym06
One way to find out, just do it.. If you have problems on the road, trade it in, and come home in a new 3/4 ton!

ha ha - and a new rifle.....but I think should be evident.


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Would rent a 3/4 ton through Enterprise Truck Rental. They allow towing.

Originally Posted by Ben_Lurkin
As long as you load the trailer properly, IE weight forward and use your transmission on the downhill runs to help control your speed; you'll be fine. As mentioned above, trailer brakes would be a good idea, but 3000# isn't too heavy so if it doesn't just drive appropriately.

Not sure what you mean by rent. Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, etc. won't allow you to use their vehicles to tow.

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Great info Mike. Exactly what I was looking for.

Originally Posted by MikeL2
I'm on my third Tundra - a 2005 4.7L, 2013 4.6L, and a 2020 5.7L (all double cabs). Have towed with all of them to different extents - but not in the western mountain states. So for what it's worth:

Make sure you have working trailer brakes and a decent brake controller wired up. Your weight estimates sound a little low for the trailer and cargo mentioned. Is the trailer double axle? (Seems like a 14ft trailer should be). Anyway, with working trailer brakes and properly loaded your Tundra should be good at least double the weight you've estimated - but you'll notice the grades.

I did a fair amount of towing similar to the loads you're looking at with my 2013 4.6L. Helped my sister with a few loads of stuff when she moved about 6 yrs ago and moved myself 3 yrs ago from central VA to northern NY. Used a single axle 6x10 v-nose enclosed cargo trailer with a max rated weight of 3500 lbs - and had it loaded to that or a little more on some of the trips. I put electric brakes on the trailer and really appreciated them when trailer was loaded heavy, and especially on some of the trips made during winter. (remember to adjust electric brake gain setting to match actual final weight of loaded trailer!!)

Ok - performance. My truck accelerated and handled pretty good with the 3000-3500 lbs of trailer. You can pretty much forget about overdrive (unless going downhill!) My truck spent most of it's time in 4th or 5th gear in moderate rolling terrain. Keeping speed to 65 or below helped to keep it in at least 5th. The transmission was pretty good with gear selection - didn't search between gears much (my 2005 Tundra was a little annoying with that). Definitely remember to switch to the "Tow/haul" mode every time you start the truck - it resets transmission shift points for better pulling and improves engine braking. I'd guess that on a few of the grades you'll hit in NM and CO and up you'll be looking at climbing in 3rd or 4th in the 40-55 mph range. If you're used to driving TX at 70-75mph you should plan on moving a little slower smile

Gas mileage will suck even on flat roads - largely from the wind resistance of the enclosed trailer. My 18-20 mpg unloaded highway mileage dropped to 10-12 mpg with the trailer.

If you have the towing package on your Tundra does that include the dual temperature gauges - one for coolant, one for transmission? Nice feature - keep an eye on both when climbing the long uphills. Your towing package should also include a transmission cooler so another plus. If you don't have a brake controller already it's an easy hookup - the Tundra tow package is pre-wired. There should be a plug connection inside the kick panel down by driver's left foot and you can buy controllers pre-wired with the proper connector.


My newer 2020 with the 5.7L is a different animal - I've towed up to 9000lbs with that so far with no issues - but not in the Rocky Mtns!

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Just make sure you are down shifting coming down the hill. The mountains can toast a set of rotors in a few minutes if you don't know how to down shift properly and just ride the brakes. Google is your friend and very useful information on how to downshift. Every year going hunting there are always out of staters with their brakes burning up. It never fails. You always smell them before you see them!

Last edited by COLORADO_LUCKYDOG; 03/22/23.

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Originally Posted by Heym06
One way to find out, just do it.. If you have problems on the road, trade it in, and come home in a new 3/4 ton!
half ton trucks are not made to pull anything period. That said its what the wife bought while I was at work and she didn't want to drive a 1 ton herself.

If it were up to me it would have been a 1 ton something. To pull anything.

So far for 5 years now she has pulled the 3500ish pound or maybe its 3000..appx 18 foot single wheel travel trailer with dirt bike on the back bumper and gear 2 weekends of every month from March through October.

Its lasting better than any half ton GM product I ever had.


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Originally Posted by 10gaugemag
3 dirt bikes, tools and gear only weigh 800?? Gas cans for bikes?
I thought he was way under too. My bike, gear bag and tool box are easily over 300 lbs. Extras box, gas cans, camping gear, trailer spare and who knows what else. He probably won't have any real trouble, just needs to stay within the truck limits.


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My 2010 tundra pulls the 26ft 4300lb travel trailer with no problems up and down the Ozarks @10mpg. You shouldn't have any issues with a 3000lb trailer.

Ensure the braking system is working. Put it in tow mode ase the manual shift if equipped.

Good luck and safe travels.


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