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Nuts & Bolts: Compact Seats & Towing

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on November 20, 2017
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Photographers: Trenton McGee

I have a 1983 4x4 Toyota Pickup and was wondering if you guys could recommend a good suspension seat for long-distance driving. The problem I have is that I’m 5 foot 11 and 215 pounds, so the cab is kind of small. Some buddies and I are planning a trip to Moab next year. I'm not sure if I will drive it out to Moab from Cali or flat-tow it with my 2005 Tacoma. I would rather drive the 2005, but I have never flat-towed a vehicle before. I was thinking of unbolting the rear driveline and bolting on some stock rubber on the 1983 if I tow.

Misael T.
Via nuts@4wor.com

It would be hard to go wrong with any of the several excellent suspension seats on the market so long as you stick with a name brand. More than likely you’ll need to fab up your own seat mounts, but how low and far back you’re able to go will ultimately depend on your cage and floor setup. Toyota seats are usually positioned very low to the floor, so building brackets with an eye towards maximizing room (as opposed to ease of installation and removal) is a good plan. Mastercraft (mastercraftsafety.com), Beard (beardseats.com), and PRP (prpseats.com) are just a few manufacturers of quality suspension seats. Choosing a seat with less side bolster will help with entry and egress but will hurt in terms of sidehill stability and overall comfort while in the seat.

Flat-towing your Toyota is a viable option, but we’re not sure we’d recommend doing it with a Tacoma. While on paper your Tacoma can handle the weight, in reality it might be a little sketchy. Having done a fair amount of flat towing, our experience is that you want your tow rig to be longer and heavier than the vehicle being towed, otherwise the towed vehicle isn’t very agreeable to following, especially in a turn. The curb weight of your trail rig is likely much more than when it rolled off the factory line thanks to bumpers, a rollcage, tools, and so on, so it’s conceivable that your trail rig actually weighs more than your Tacoma. The wheelbase of the two trucks is also close to the same, and these two things could result in a very unpleasant flat-towing experience. Also remember that many states require a braking device on anything being towed over 2,500 pounds, and while this law is rarely enforced, it could be a problem in the event of an accident. We wouldn’t hesitate to flat-tow your trail rig with a 1/2-ton fullsize truck, so we’d recommend borrowing or renting one, or simply driving your trail rig instead. At minimum, we would recommend trying out the setup with your Tacoma before making the trek to Utah. Yes, you should absolutely unbolt the rear driveshaft when flat-towing your truck long distances.

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