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Old 01-01-2019, 09:10 PM   #1
grilled cheeseus
 
Drives: 2007 3 door 5MT
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: snowbirding in Tucson
Posts: 23
I built a camping trailer and towed it to Arizona

Sharing this to inspire the curious and refute the naysayers regarding long-distance towing with a Yaris.

I built a camping/travel trailer on a $300 Harbor Freight "super duty folding trailer" frame and drove from NY to AZ over ~2 weeks last fall, about 900 pounds towed, zero issues with my '07 hatchback (on its third cross-continent trip).







Yes, it's slow going over 6000 foot mountain passes, but the roads are full of vehicles with a worse power/weight ratio (e.g. semi trucks), and they do just fine too.

Blog post about the trailer (written before the trip):

https://blog.c-mart.in/posts/hazard-...travel-trailer

Photo album of the trailer build last Spring:

https://imgur.com/a/3hfjtIH

Some things I've done to my Yaris:
  • Curt 11050 "hidden-style" hitch bolted to the recovery points
  • Curt 45028 ball mount with 4 5/8" rise (very recommended to lift your ball)
  • Firestone 4136 air spring kit (very recommended, eliminates saggy rear, easy to install)
  • This trailer wiring harness kit, spliced into the rear brakes and turn signals
  • 5000 lumen light bar from Walmart (stupid and unnecessary, therefore necessary)
  • Junkyard alloy rims from a Chevy Aveo (same as above)

Some shots of the trip to Arizona..

Random pee break:



If this is OK, then towing 900 pounds with a Yaris is definitely OK:



If this is OK (yes they are all connected) then what I'm doing is definitely OK:



Sleeping at a rest stop:



Stayed in St. Louis for a week to attend a conference. The motel let me to park next to the front office for security:



Spent a few days in Tulsa OK to help some people from the internet build a boat:



They taught me to weld, so I disabled the "tilt bed" feature on the trailer frame. Taking this slop out of the trailer tongue made the entire ride less jouncy:



Somewhere in New Mexico:



Final sleep on the road, I-10 in SE Arizona:



Rolling into Tucson (destination and where I am currently):



I've been living out of the trailer (in a friend's backyard) since October. I doubled the electrical system capacity (another AGM battery and solar panel) to take advantage of the Arizona sun and charge my Onewheel (which I use to commute to work).

Later this spring I'll de-snowbird back to NY, probably via the Pacific Northwest.

Last edited by grilled cheeseus; 01-01-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:10 PM   #2
dogsridewith
 
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Nice!
What were your typical highway cruise speed and mpg?
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:26 PM   #3
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Nice job!

I considered doing the same with my Wife's Sonic and spent a fair bit of time researching it on tnttt but we've decided to go in another direction and build a minivan camper instead
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:30 PM   #4
grilled cheeseus
 
Drives: 2007 3 door 5MT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogsridewith View Post
Nice!
What were your typical highway cruise speed and mpg?
Typically about 60 MPH. 65 was still fairly comfortable but I was in no rush and wanted to burn fewer dinosaur squeezings.

I think the best tank was about 32 MPG (in Ohio?) and the worst was about 27 MPG (big headwind in New Mexico). I probably averaged about 29-30.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:11 PM   #5
kimona
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Very nice setup!
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:24 PM   #6
06YarisRS
 
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So cool!
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:31 AM   #7
dogsridewith
 
Drives: 2007 2-door hatchback
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Roughly, w/ a tape--what is outside-of-tread to outside-of-tread for both car and trailer?
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:00 AM   #8
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That's awesome.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:28 AM   #9
justanotherdrunk
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looks good thanks for posting
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:15 PM   #10
CrankyOldMan
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Awesome work!
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:25 AM   #11
ern-diz
 
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I always get a kick out of this kind of thing. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:22 PM   #12
Janviernes
 
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Awesome work! I think I'm going to switch up my project to a foamie as well.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:37 PM   #13
nemelek
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Thanks for posting. Love it.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:29 PM   #14
grilled cheeseus
 
Drives: 2007 3 door 5MT
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Thanks everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janviernes View Post
Awesome work! I think I'm going to switch up my project to a foamie as well.
To be clear, mine is not a foamie :) It's 3/4" plywood (except the roof which is 1/2" plywood over 2x3 spars) skinned with sheet aluminum. It's not the lightest way to build one of these, but it is easier to build than foam, and extremely sturdy. I hang 40 pounds of AGM batteries and a 30 pound electric skateboard from the interior walls. Walk on the roof without hesitation.

Honestly, after 3 months of living out of it (and relying on friend's bathroom/kitchen), it's getting somewhat cramped. I'm planning to upgrade to a Class A motorhome (probably 30-35 feet), so my house will tow the Yaris rather than the other way around. I guess it's true what they say about new RVers upgrading to something else within a year.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:22 PM   #15
dogsridewith
 
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Done right, a second tow hook mount installed opposite the existing one might make a good attachment for a fork-type tow bar?
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:51 PM   #16
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That is super cool! Please share more road trip pics if you have any!
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:17 AM   #17
bentjazz
 
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Wow. Ultra-cool. Thanks for posting. Would like to see what it's like inside the camper.....
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:30 AM   #18
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DUDE.

I SAW YOU ON SV SEEKER's CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE!

Nice work. I couldn't believe it. I take it your car is the 1NZ engine? I had a feeling it would do fine towing a small trailer. I have loaded my 1L up with hundreds of kilos and driven it up and down mountains for a couple weeks. These cars are tanks.
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