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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello again!

I've posted a question in here once before about towing but now that I'm actually at the point of starting to look at campers this spring I'm having some troubles determining what is too much and what is okay. I have a 2001 Frontier XE - 6cyl - Crew Cab - 4wd. The hitch I'm planning on buying is a Curt Class 3 that comes with the hitch, receiver, ball, wiring, etc. Anyways. The towing capacity on my pickup is 5000lbs.

I'm looking at "vintage" (aka old/beater/starter) campers. Initially I was shooting for a goal of 2500lbs or less dry weight but I've found a camper I really like that according to the seller is 18'. I've looked online at NADA to see details and it is likely one of 3 models; a 17'6" with dry weight of 2790, a 20'3" with dry weight of 3110, or a 20'3" with dry weight of 3280. Considering it's a small pickup, and 16 years old, is this too much for my Frontier?

Things to consider: I am in eastern SD so no mountains or anything but some hills. Will likely be going camping no further than 200 miles from home so not long cross-country journeys through the mountains or anything. I will also have two light kayaks on my roof rack (not sure if this is relevant whatsoever but hey).

I know a pop-up camper would be a lot lighter but we would really prefer a travel trailer if it is possible. However, I also love my pickup and would prefer not to destroy it the first year I have it ::laugh:: Any thoughts or advice?
 

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Hey man that sounds like you have a fun time ahead of you! No one can really be 100% sure how each truck will run, but I will tell you I used to haul different trailers for work, probably 500+ miles a week and no problem.

My truck is a 2001 Nissan Frontier SE V6 Dessert Runner. Now how well your truck holds up to it might depend on the maintenance from the last owner. I bought my truck last year and am still catching up on all the neglect. But a new leaf pack will help the ride towing. And being within 200 miles from home is good. I made a trip from Florida to South Carolina towing an open trailer and had no issues with overheating or anything. I haven't put a second transmission cooler on it but some folks do and swear by it, and it never seems like a bad idea. When I used to haul an enclosed trailer for work it was probably ~2500lbs dry, probably well over ~3100 lbs loaded and I pulled it like no problem. Definitely stay on top of oil changes! Especially if you're working your truck under a load! But as far as how the truck will take it, it should do very well despite being a compact truck. Don't get me wrong, my MPG goes way south when towing or under a heavy load, which makes sense, so consider that when driving. I usually get around 15 MPG now depending on how heavy my foot is (lifted, 31 AT tires, rollbar, toolbox, brush guard). When loaded or hauling it can go down to around 11 MPG. Worst I got was 9 MPG. This is travelling between 55-70 MPH. That's the best speed for me. If I go faster than that, even without hauling, my MPG goes into the toilet. Probably because of how un-aerodynamic my truck is now haha. But I am sure your truck will do great for making vacation trips with a camper! I off-road my truck, but if I was hauling or going on a vacation I would steer clear of going off anything crazy just in case something breaks (so no jumping the truck haha). I loaded my truck and went from Florida through the Tennessee Great Smokey Mountains October 2016 and had no problem. Had to take off overdrive to go up the steep mountain roads or else my truck would just bog down slow. So remember to disengage overdrive while hauling or loaded, especially getting up to speed or inclining.
At any rate, I hope the best for you! I'm jealous as I wish I could get a camper haha. Enjoy your truck, it should last quite a long time if cared for, these trucks are mules. :)

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
 

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For the record, hills in SD, might be mountains, in IL. I believe the truck will handle it, you're just going to up the maintenance schedule. Brakes twice as fast, still not a problem, but towing they can go bad fast. Up the fluid maintenance, it's easy, all of them. Even in our flat land hills, I have to take my truck out of overdrive. Number one in my book listen to your truck. I routinely drive with no radio, your truck will tell you if it doesn't like something. There is a reason that the old joke about fixing a noise, was to turn up the radio. lol
 
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