Towing with Nissan Xterra

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steve0321

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Sep 24, 2006
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I've been looking at used pop-ups and I've scared myself off from some because of my concern about towing capacity. I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra, 2wd, V6, automatic, Class III hitch. Towing capacity is listed as up to 5,000 lbs. Some of the popups I've looked at are pretty large, very roomy but with box length up to 12 ft. I've seen "dry weights" listed anywhere from 1800 up to 2300 lbs. - I know loaded they'll get heavier. The larger campers also have had electric brakes. Just wanting some opinions on how my Xterra might really perform towing these weights. They're welll below max, but I've never towed anything larger than a small boat.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
Small V6's don't have a lot of reserve power, so they tend to bog down somewhat when heavily loaded. I would try to stay well under that 5000 lb rating.  Remember also that the 5000 lbs assumes an empty Xterra - no passengers or gear onboard. Everything you carry in/on the Xterra - even the trailer hitch - must be subtracted from the available towing capacity.

We generally recommend a reserve or safety margin of 10% of the tow capacity in the Eastern US and 20% in the West. That leaves you some working room for climbing steep grades.
 

steve0321

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Sep 24, 2006
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Thanks for the info, I hadn'd really thought about the weight IN the Xterra (duh). I split the difference and used 15% safety margin and did some guessitmate calculations. Starting with a "dry" 2300 lbs camper plus people and all the gear in both vehicle and camper can add up really fast. Anyway, this gives me something to think about.

Thanks.
 

BernieD

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Mar 1, 2005
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Goodyear, AZ
steve0321 said:
I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra, 2wd, V6, automatic, Class III hitch.

We also have a 2001 XTerra, but with 4wd. Back when we got it, I towed a car trailer and race car, total trailer weight loaded was about 4,000#s. No problems towing tho admittedly, we didn't go up and down mountains ;) Our trailer had surge brakes and they worked fine for us.
 

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