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Towing Impressions with the Xterra

49026 Views 117 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  Tlrtucker
Towing with the Xterra

I just got back from a trip which involved towing a 6x12 U-Haul weighing about 3500's. While no where close to the tow rating of the X, it gave me a pretty good idea of how the X handles towing.

Here's my impressions:

Power: There's plenty for towing at this weight. On the flats and slight inclines, 6th gear and cruise control worked at speeds up to 75mph.

On larger hills, a downshift to 5th was all that was required. Cruise control would hold up to 75mph with out any problem.

Accelerating up to speed was a snap, especially once the engine was above about 3000 rpm's.

Technically, I could have left it in 5th the entire time, but I wanted a little better mileage.

Mileage at speeds from 65 to 75mph varied from a high of 13.5 to a low of 11.8. This is a 6 speed manual that is just past its break-in period.

Brakes worked well. The U-Haul has hydraulic surge brakes. I didn't test full bore stops, but stopping power seemed adequate.

Handling was good. The very responsive steering of the X requires a bit of getting used to, but it's no different than when it's unloaded. There was no sway evident, except after my first attempt to load the trailer. I had temporarily loaded a Dana 60 and 14 Bolt axle in the back half of the trailer to transport them a short distance before I reloaded the trailer. Once I reloaded the trailer, all was good. Weight distribution ended up being about 70% front and 30% back, so it was a bit front heavy.

Suspension: This is the only thing I can find fault with. The rear of the Xterra sagged more that I would have liked, but this is not unexpected. Overall sag was about 2 at the hitch. It was not on the bump stops and did not bottom out very often. I would run a weight distributing hitch at tongue weights over about 300's but these are not recommended with U-Hauls.

Overall, this is a pretty good little tow vehicle within its limits.

-Old Army
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I have been pretty happy. I towed an enclosed trailer with Formula 500 in it. It was a brick and just pulled hard even behind a 3/4 ton suburban. It pulled that okay. Better that a V8 Explore I pulled it with once.

Flash forward 7 years and I am pulling a pair of Yamaha Waverunners. Weight about 2400lbs with trailer. Pulls them really well and better than the gen2 MDX I had before this.

Pretty happy with it and love the size in general.
I towed in the Mississippi River Valley this weekend with a pair of Wave Runners. (3000lbs with trailer/gas etc)

It was pretty windy, but it held strong in 4th most of the time with a few shifts to 3rd on tough climbs. It had a lot easier time holding 75mph than 80mph.
I have been looking at some Yamaha boats ranging from 19 to 21 feet. The two things I have been considering is if my X will tow it and if it will fit in my current garage. Anyone out thier pulling a SX/AR192 or SX/AR210 with an Xterra?
So to me it seems like the weaklink in Xterra's towing capablities is the length and weight. It has the power, transmission, and brakes of frontier/pathfinder that have a 6500lb vs the 5000lb tow rating.
Looks like I will be picking up a Yamaha AR210- It says it is 3000lbs dry. I guess I will find out if my Xterra can tow it or if I will need a tow vehicle on the way home.
Trim is 2009 Off-Road with AT. Stock Supension.

I figure I won't use OD and will be looking at airbags for rear. I need to figure out what type of brakes on are the trailer.
5 pin connector. Surge brakes and a 5th pin is to disable for backing up.
Can I get an adapter for 5th plug or do I need to get some type of controller?
That is a much better way to say it, thanks. That is also the same reason its so much fun to try and back a surge brake equipt trailer uphill.
Exactly. I am also glad I didn't get a Jeep Unlimited at this time. It wouldn't have been able to pull the boat.
Surge equipped trailers are supposed to have a lever to lock the the tongue and disengage the surge brakes. I rented a Uhaul who's lever was completely rusted and locked up. I could not disengage the surge brakes. I had to shove it up an uphill driveway. I was in 4LO making a lot of noise pissing neighbors off.
I am not sure they are supposed to, but I could certainly see that on a UHAUL trailer.
I will be upgrading my rear suspension this winter for next summers boating season.

Any feedback on the following systems? How do they impact driving when not towing?

Timbren JRC01 Suspension Enhancement System


AIR LIFT 59562 Ride Control Rear Air Spring Kit
Boating/Towing season is back. I had a rear leaf break this spring and replaced it. When I did that I put on some Hellwig 550 Helper springs. I figured they would help with
everyday driving and towing. Well they did seem to help with everyday driving they didn't with towing. I just ordered some Timbren JRC01's. I am hoping they do the trick.

Great to hear. I will give a report when I get them installed and tested. I hope to get out boating this weekend so we will see.
You can’t beat airbags for towing. You can adjust them specifically to your load.

Combine those with a WD hitch and you are golden. Makes a huge difference.
What worries me about them I heard they require you to check on them routinely. How much maintenance do they require?
The Timbren's are doing their thing. I would recommend them. I am starting to think I either need a smaller boat or a bigger tow vehicle.
I am debating if I keep my Xterra at this point. I pulled my boat with father inlaws GMC Sierra and it had no clue it was back there. I am thinking about the following options. Pathfinder with V8. Armada, or Toyota Sequoia with 5.7L.

Anyone ever tow with an X vs PAthfinder V8?
I feel like I could use even more spring then what my Timbren's and Hellwig 550 EZ's provide. I don't want any lift.
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