FJZ80 Real World Towing Capability

florida95fzj

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I have an opportunity to get an Airstream Basecamp. On paper I should be able to tow this with a reasonable safety margin. I can't imagine this is true in the real world.

The trailer is 3,500 lbs fully loaded GVWR, 16' long, 7' wide, and 8.5' tall.

15% tongue weight (worst case) is 525 lbs. With 1,710 lb payload (based on my sticker's GVWR - dry weight), I can't believe that the overall numbers work out. I don't understand how a J80 chassis has more payload capability than a 2022 Tundra or many half-ton truck configurations. Maybe the payload rating system changed in the last 30 years and is now more conservative?

My other concern is that the FZJ80 wheel base of 112" will cause me to get pushed around on the road. A Tundra Crew Max is 146" for comparison.

Is anyone towing something this size and in this weight range?

I'd appreciate anyone who has experience here. I've gone through the archives. Old posts tell me that a pop-up camper is manageable and a traditional 20'+ trailer is too much especially if you want to drive up hill likely due to the engine specs.
 
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LC4LIFE

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I have towed just about everything with my 80's. Small trailers, teardrop, pop-up tent trailer, 4200lb boat, tiny house, loaded car hauler, etc, etc. I have also done it with an 80 in stock form all the way to what I have now - 4" lift, gears, etc. It all sucks as soon as the road points uphill in any manner. The Basecamp will be fine behind your 80, it will just suck in the wind or up any (and I mean any) type of incline. Luckily you are in the thick air, unlike me, so it may fare a bit better but don't plan on it. The thing I despise most about my 80 is how it performs towing.
 

leonard_nemoy

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You got to realize the 80 series chassis is built stronger than most 1/2 ton trucks. I think the 80 series axles are close to 3/4 ton axles. The brakes, axles, suspension, and stuff are more than capable of towing the boat safely. The only problem you will run into is obviously the lack of power. Although you will be within the legal and safe weight limits you will be slow.

download.jpeg
 

BadReligion

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Aug 23, 2011
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Reno, NV
I have an opportunity to get an Airstream Basecamp. On paper I should be able to tow this with a reasonable safety margin. I can't imagine this is true in the real world.

The trailer is 3,500 lbs fully loaded GVWR, 16' long, 7' wide, and 8.5' tall.

15% tongue weight (worst case) is 525 lbs. With 1,710 lb payload (based on my sticker's GVWR - dry weight), I can't believe that the overall numbers work out. I don't understand how a J80 chassis has more payload capability than a 2022 Tundra or many half-ton truck configurations. Maybe the payload rating system changed in the last 30 years and is now more conservative?

My other concern is that the FZJ80 wheel base of 112" will cause me to get pushed around on the road. A Tundra Crew Max is 146" for comparison.

Is anyone towing something this size and in this weight range?

I'd appreciate anyone who has experience here. I've gone through the archives. Old posts tell me that a pop-up camper is manageable and a traditional 20'+ trailer is too much especially if you want to drive up hill likely due to the engine specs.

I would not tow anything heaver than a motorcycle trailer with an 80, it can barely move itself. I've towed with an 80, 100, and 200. With each series, the ease of towing is exponentially better. The 100 could handle a trailer that size, and the 200 is great even at its limit of 8500lbs. Weight distribution system will help considerably with stability. Even if the 80 had the power, you would need rear airbags, otherwise it will sag like crazy. The short wheel base is not great either and unless you have trailer brakes, your braking would be insufficient too.
 

florida95fzj

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Florida
I grabbed the axle ratings and it's impressive in terms of being overbuilt from a chassis point of view. It's a shame what you get for your money these days with a half-ton truck in terms of payload and overall capability. They really don't build anything like the Land Cruisers anymore. It seems design decisions are driven by saving money and improving fuel economy or pleasing the EPA. All said, it seems the 1FZ-FE is the weak point assuming you fit the right suspension and progressive trailer brakes.

IMG_9307.jpg
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
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Olathe, KS, USA
I have an opportunity to get an Airstream Basecamp. On paper I should be able to tow this with a reasonable safety margin. I can't imagine this is true in the real world.

The trailer is 3,500 lbs fully loaded GVWR, 16' long, 7' wide, and 8.5' tall.

15% tongue weight (worst case) is 525 lbs. With 1,710 lb payload (based on my sticker's GVWR - dry weight), I can't believe that the overall numbers work out. I don't understand how a J80 chassis has more payload capability than a 2022 Tundra or many half-ton truck configurations. Maybe the payload rating system changed in the last 30 years and is now more conservative?

My other concern is that the FZJ80 wheel base of 112" will cause me to get pushed around on the road. A Tundra Crew Max is 146" for comparison.

Is anyone towing something this size and in this weight range?

I'd appreciate anyone who has experience here. I've gone through the archives. Old posts tell me that a pop-up camper is manageable and a traditional 20'+ trailer is too much especially if you want to drive up hill likely due to the engine specs.
Your receiver hitch is rated for 500 LB max tongue weight.

With even that amount, you WILL need airbags in the rear.

I carry a power wheelchair and without the air bags it is a huge tail-dragger as well as bad tail-wag-the-dog syndrome.

Don't forget, GVWR must INCLUDE the weight of the truck. If your truck weights 5000 LB, then max cargo, trailer, everything is only 1470 LB, so technically, you would be over the GVWR by about 1500 LB with that trailer.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2016
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Chattanooga, TN
I've towed a few trailers with my 80 though most of the towing has been with a roughly 3k lbs (if fully loaded) popup camper.

You could tow that basecamp locally but it's not going to go well on faster roads with any kind of headwind or in steep hills if you want to maintain higher speeds/gears. The wind resistance will be the biggest issue in my experience but you'll need to be dialed in for that weight also.

In my experience with a low profile trailer that's a bit lighter smaller hills are no problem if headwind is minimal, headwind is a little more of a problem if hills are truly minimal but add both hills and headwinds and performance get's pretty rough. Put it another way, simply moving our large yak rooftop box from the 80's roof to the rack on our popup seemed to add 10-20 mph speed capabilities to our full camping rig this Summer on our 3500 mile road trip. This box move totally transformed what it was like trying to keep up with intrestate traffic out West, in terms of engine rpms, engine temps, speeds etc. though conditions were changing as we moved to different areas so my sense of the difference may have been exaggerated. We were dependent on semi drafting to maintain interstate speeds with the box on the roof in many areas though.

Another example, I've moved a few old willys jeeps on the same trailer with my 80 across the MS delta where I used to keep them. It's totally flat there and low elevation. First jeep had no roof and I folded the windshield down, couldn't really tell it was back there while cruising hwy speeds (60ish). Accell and braking was a bit slower (no trailer brakes) but towed really well overall. Second jeep had a hardtop and the 80 started to struggle above 55 or 60 mph. Same trailer, same conditions, no hills, no wind and a remarkable difference trying to maintain hwy speeds with just a little jeep top sticking up.

For our roughly 3k popup that we regularly take on long trips with the 80 good trailer brakes, fully mech baselined 80 and rear air bags are all essential. Getting the 80s brakes and steering/suspension back to 100% took the most work but cooling system work was relevant as well. We do well 95% of the time but spend a lot of time in 3rd gear on the interstate (to keep trans cool) and drop to 2nd or find a drafting partner when wind gets stiff or hills steep. I would not want to take the trips we take with a taller camper and would move to a 100 or 200 to pull the camper you are looking at on long trips. I also no longer put anything on the roof of the 80 if I'm also towing.
 

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