Towing a Light Trailer with the Bumper of a 1997 Toyota Tacoma


I am about to start light towing for the first time. Trailer and small boat together would not weigh any more than 600 lbs total. I have a bolt-on ball that goes on the rear bumper. If I dont anticipate any heavier towing loads than this, can I go with this simple ball arrangement rather than have to get an underslung hitch that bolts to the frame under the truck bed? My truck is standard type - low to the ground. So the top of the hitch is no more than 20inch above the ground. Also, the chrome bumper is not hollow. It wraps around a hidden 3/8inch thick steel flat bar that connects to the ends of the two main truck bed beams. I also have to add a wiring harness. Is kit 118379 the correct one for me? Is its 4-pole flat connector the most universal arrangement for small towing jobs? And is the 2inch diameter ball standard. Thanks in advance for your advice.


Expert Reply:

The bumper on your 1997 Toyota Tacoma will be fine to tow the 600 pound trailer and boat. You will want to check the truck owners manual for the towing capacity just to make sure.

The T-connector wiring harness # 118379 is indeed correct for your truck. It sounds like you are on top of things!

The 4-Way flat trailer connector is one of the most common connectors. If you did need a different type of connector to match what the trailer requires, the 4-Way flat can be adapted. I have linked a video showing installation on a 2000 Tacoma which will be similar to yours.

The most common ball sizes are 1-7/8 inch, 2 inch, and 2-5/16 inch. We are starting to see less 1-7/8 inch though. 2 and 2-5/16 inch are probably more common. Check the coupler on the trailer to determine which size is needed.

You will also need to check the diameter of the ball hole in the bumper to get a ball with the right diameter shank. For an accurate measurement use dial or digital calipers. Then you can choose a ball from the hitch ball main page I have linked for you. I have also linked some articles on towing for you that should be helpful.

expert reply by:
Michael H

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