The Toyota FJ Cruiser debuted in the US in 2006 and was in production until the final model year in 2014. Apparently it is still in production in some other areas of the world, but no longer in the US. The 2014 model was powered by a 4.0L V6 engine with 260 horsepower.
But can it tow?
Yes. The unmodified Toyota FJ Cruiser towing capacity is 4,700lb. However the full answer is more complicated and dependent on your exact model and you should consider a number of other factors that we will discuss below.
What is the FJ Cruiser towing capacity?
The FJ Cruiser had only one engine type but for towing considerations you should find out whether you have the 2WD or 4WD version. There is no difference in the maximum gross trailer weight – they can all tow 4,700 lbs – however they have different Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) values. The GCWR determines not only the towing capacity but how much cargo you can carry in the FJ Cruiser while you are towing.
Note that this information assumes your trailer has trailer brakes. If you do not have trailer brakes then that trailer’s weight should not exceed 1,000 lbs.
The above weights provide the theoretical gross trailer weight that can be towed by your Toyota FJ Cruiser. The gross trailer weight is the dry weight of the trailer plus the weight of the trailer’s cargo.
However theory and practice are not always the same! So let’s get into some more details.
Suppose you have calculated your gross trailer weight as 2,500 lb. This is the dry weight of the empty trailer plus all the cargo, any water, waste, propane and batteries. If you have a Toyota FJ Cruiser then you may be able to tow this trailer. However you need to check all the details in the remainder of this article before confirming.
Gross vehicle weight rating of the Toyota FJ Cruiser
We will come back to the trailer shortly. However one key check you need to make is that the weight of the FJ Cruiser’s cargo does not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
When you’re towing you don’t have an empty SUV. You need to consider the weights of the;
- A tank of gas and other vehicle fluids,
- Other passengers,
- Specific vehicle options,
- Any stuff that you might have in the vehicle.
None of this is in the trailer but it’s important to note that it does count towards the GVWR.
The total allowable weight of cargo in the Toyota FJ Cruiser is 1,130 lb. So the total weight of driver, passenger(s), and all cargo must not exceed 1,130lbs.
How to check your Toyota FJ Cruiser is not overloaded
You need to either weigh your fully laden SUV on a CAT scale or estimate the total weight.
To estimate the laden weight you need the weight of the empty vehicle from the manufacturer (curb weight) plus an estimate the weight of the people and cargo. In addition your will have some weight from your trailer through the tongue weight (more on this below). You can assume that the tongue weight is between 10% -15% of the gross trailer weight.
What is the curb weight of a Toyota FJ Cruiser?
An empty SUV is measured by the manufacturer as the curb weight.
The US EPA defines the curb weight as the weight of the vehicle with standard equipment and fluids, but not including options, driver, passengers or cargo. Your vehicle will have different options and will have a driver, passengers and cargo. So what do you do?
The best place to find the weight of your vehicle is to look on the sticker on the driver’s door jamb. If that fails then assume the curb weight of the Toyota FJ Cruiser is 4,290 lb.
You can then use our calculator with the curb weight and add the weight of passengers and cargo plus the weight of your trailer to ensure it is within the allowances shown above.
Are we done?
Not quite! We now need to check the combined weight of the SUV and the trailer.
Gross combined vehicle weight
There are a few constraints to consider when towing a trailer. First you need to establish whether your trailer and its contents are within limits.
What is the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of the Toyota FJ Cruiser?
The GCWR is the total allowable weight of the empty SUV, its cargo and the weight of the trailer. It’s the weight of the whole kit and caboodle.
The GCWR of the 2WD model is 9,200 lb and for the 4WD model it is 9,500 lb.
Suppose you have calculated your gross trailer weight as 2,500 lb and you have a Toyota FJ Cruiser 2WD version with passengers, gas, driver, luggage weight of 1,000 lb. The curb weight of the vehicle given above is 4,290 lb. That is a gross combined weight of 7,790 lb.
This is within the vehicle’s GCWR of 9,200 lb of the the 2WD. It’s also well within 10% of that limit so you have some margin of error which is desirable.
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What is the maximum tongue weight of a Toyota FJ Cruiser?
When you are towing a trailer the weight of that trailer gets transmitted down through two places – the axle and wheels of the trailer and the hitch between the trailer and your SUV.
You need to ensure that there is not too much weight being transmitted through the hitch. Toyota does not have an explicit tongue weight limit for the FJ Cruiser, however they do recommend that the tongue weight is between 9% and 11% of the total trailer weight.
So given a maximum trailer weight of 4,700lbs then the maximum tongue weight for any model of FJ Cruiser is between 423 lbs and 517 lbs.
How should I measure trailer tongue weight on the Toyota FJ Cruiser?
You have three options to measure the tongue weight from your trailer.
- Use a specialized tongue weight scale such as a Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale
- Weigh your vehicle and trailer on a CAT scale
- Estimate the tongue weight
Option 1 is best, followed by 2. However let’s look at option 3.
Your trailer’s manufacturer will usually provide an indication of the tongue weight. For a travel trailer with batteries and propane you may need to add that weight if the manufacturer has not included it. In addition you need to add the weight of the hitch. Note that this is an estimate since not all the weight of these objects will be transmitted through the hitch, so adding 100% of the weight to your tongue weight will over-estimate it. Also some of the weight of the trailer cargo will get transmitted through the hitch.
Tongue weight rule of thumb
It’s normally recommended that the tongue weight is between 10%-15% of the gross trailer weight (dry weight plus the weight of the cargo). If the tongue weight is below 10% then that will cause towing instability and the trailer may porpoise, and if the tongue weight is too high then the trailer will be pitched forward and put too much load on the hitch. You want a level trailer and ideally the tongue load will be 12% of the gross trailer weight. [Note Toyota recommend between 9%-11% for the FJ Cruiser].
So one check you need to do is to take the gross trailer weight you calculated above and check that 10%-15% is within the maximum tongue weight given in the table above.
Suppose you have calculated your gross trailer weight as 2,500 lb. The ideal tongue load is between 10% and 15% of this amount. That would be between 150 lb – 375 lb. If you own a Toyota FJ Cruiser then the tongue load cannot exceed 517 lb and so you will likely be easily within limits as long as you don’t have a very heavy hitch, or you don’t have all your trailer cargo in the very front of the trailer.
Adjusting tongue weight
You have two main methods to adjust tongue weight;
- Either add or remove load from the trailer. Adding weight to the trailer will increase the tongue weight, and removing weight will reduce the tongue weight.
- Moving weight around the trailer. You can increase tongue weight by moving existing load to the front of the trailer. Similarly, you can reduce tongue weight by moving existing load to the rear of the trailer.
However, you do not want your trailer very unbalanced, and you want a level trailer while towing.
Check the rear axle weight rating
The rear axle weight rating is similar to the tongue weight. All vehicles have a weight limit that they can take on the rear and front axles. Usually the best place to find this information is on the driver’s door jamb sticker. The best way to check you are not exceeding this amount is to weigh your trailer and towing vehicle at a CAT scale.
Or you can just weigh your fully-laden SUV and make an allowance for trailer weight that is transmitted to the rear axle – namely the tongue weight.
However, if you’re within the tongue weight guidance, then in all likelihood your rear axle will be within limit but it’s very dependent on the load you are carrying in your SUV.
What is the maximum trailer frontal area?
If your trailer and FJ Cruiser have passed all the previous tests then you are probably good-to-go. However manufacturers often give a restriction on the trailer frontal area. This is area of the front of the trailer that creates drag. You can have a very light trailer that is within the weight restrictions described above, but if it’s a huge sail that blocks airflow then it’s a no-no.
Trailers with a more aerodynamic profile, such as a teardrop, are clearly better in this respect. However Toyota does not specify the maximum frontal area for the FJ Cruiser.
Putting it all together!
Have you been following everything upto now?
There are a number of checks you need to make to ensure that you have a safe towing experience with your Toyota FJ Cruiser.
- Check that the gross trailer weight is within the tow rating of the SUV
- Check that the SUV is not overloaded and the gross weight of the SUV plus the tongue weight does not exceed the GVWR
- Check that the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer does not exceed the GCWR
- Check that the tongue weight is between 9% -11% of the gross trailer weight
In theory you also need to check the rear-axle load, front-axle load and trailer frontal area. However if you have passed all the above tests and are within 10% on all of them then you are probably fine.
I’m confused and I have questions!
There is a lot to keep straight here.
However we have now provided you with all the information on the Toyota FJ Cruiser to enable you to input all the key data into our towing calculator. This is the easiest way to check that you have completed all the steps.
Our tool is simple but comprehensive. You won’t miss anything is you follow all the steps, but drop us a note if you are struggling! Stay safe!
What can a Toyota FJ Cruiser tow?
Given the above numbers, you might be asking – What kind of trailers can a Toyota FJ Cruiser tow? Let’s dig into it now!
As we saw above the maximum tow rating for a Toyota FJ Cruiser was 4,700 lb. This would require a Class III hitch. A Class II hitch can only handle trailer weights up to 3,500 lbs. The following table summarizes the trailer hitch definitions.
It’s worth saying that both the Class I and Class II hitches have the same receiver dimensions of 1.25″ x 1.25″. However Class II trailers will not fit with a Class I hitch as a Class I hitch has a stopper mechanism to prevent this. But a Class I trailer will fit into a Class I hitch. A Class III hitch usually has a 2″ square receiver.
|Class||Maximum Trailer Weight|
|Class I - Light Duty||2,000 lb|
|Class II - Medium Duty||3,500 lb|
|Class III - Heavy Duty||6,000 lb|
|Class IV - Extra Heavy Duty||10,000 lb|
So with the Toyota FJ Cruiser you need a Class III hitch, depending on the weight of the trailer.
Class II Hitch Examples
- Bikes on a rack
- Small luggage trailers
- Small pop-up campers
- Small boats
- Some tear drop camper trailers
Class III Hitch Examples
- Boat trailers
- Jet skis
- Utility trailers
- Bike racks
Frequently asked questions
What is the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser towing capacity? Same as the 2014 model
What is the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser towing capacity? Same as the 2014 model
Can a Toyota FJ Cruiser tow a boat? Yes, as long as the weight parameters lie within the ranges described in this article.
Are FJ Cruisers good for towing? With a maximum rating of 4,700lbs you are not going to be able to tow a large trailer. A boat, a lightweight camper and something like jet skis are possible.
How much can a Ford F-150 tow? Wrong article! You want to read this article.
For your Toyota FJ Cruiser use the above information above to find the towing rating, GVWR, curb weight and GCWR. Write this data down then visit our towing calculator main page to put it all together.
If you have remaining questions please contact us.
Please refer to the disclaimer for important notes and limitations on this article