Toyota Pick-ups, Land Cruiser, and 4 Runner 1997-00

Hitch (Tongue) Weight


Figure the hitch weight to select a proper hitch. Hitch weight is usually 911% of the trailer gross weight and should be measured with the trailer loaded. NEVER load the trailer with more weight in the back than in the front. About 60 percent of the trailer load should be in the front half of the trailer and the remaining 40 percent in the rear.

Use only a weight-carrying hitch designed for the total trailer weight. Toyota does NOT recommend using a weight distribution (load equalizing) hitch. The hitch must be bolted securely to the vehicle frame and installed according to the hitch manufacturer's instructions.

Toyota recommends removing the hitch when not towing to prevent injury and/or damage due to the hitch in the event of a rear end collision. After removal of the hitch, seal the installation area to prevent entry of exhaust fumes and mud.

Do NOT use an axle-mounting hitch as it may cause damage to the axle housing, wheel bearings, wheels and/or tires.

Toyota recommends trailers with brakes that conform to all applicable federal and state regulations. A safety chain must always be used between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Leave sufficient slack in the chain for turns. The chains should cross under the trailer tongue to prevent the tongue from dropping to the ground in case it becomes damaged or separated. Follow correct safety chain procedures from the hitch manufacturer.

If the total trailer weight exceeds 1,000 lbs. (453 kg), trailer brakes are required. NEVER tap into the truck's hydraulic system, as it would lower its braking effectiveness. NEVER tow a trailer without using safety chains securely attached to both the trailer and the tow vehicle. If damage occurs to the coupling unit or hitch ball, there is danger of the trailer wandering over into another lane.

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Fig. Calculating proper tongue weight for your trailer

Check the gross weight rating of your trailer. Tongue weight is usually figured as 10% of gross trailer weight. Therefore, a trailer with a maximum gross weight of 2000 lbs. will have a maximum tongue weight of 200 lbs. Class I trailers fall into this category. Class II trailers are those with a gross weight rating of 2,0003,000 lbs., while Class III trailers fall into the 3,5006,000 lbs. category. Class IV trailers are those over 6,000 lbs. and are for use with fifth wheel trucks, only.

When you've determined the hitch that you'll need, follow the manufacturer's installation instructions, exactly, especially when it comes to fastener torque. The hitch will subjected to a lot of stress and good hitches come with hardened bolts. NEVER substitute an inferior bolt for a hardened bolt.