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#31 (permalink) Old 07-18-2008, 11:19 PM
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Mixed on my side

I had a Coleman pop up camper - 16ft and it was rather heavy. Honestly, I couldn't tell you how much it weighed but the RAV was right at the limit of towing it. Long story short - tree fell on it and I don't have it anymore but it was really not fun towing that trailer and I think mother-nature did me a favor.

I purchased a smaller 13 foot pop-up as a replacement. It's a StarCraft. I don't know exactly how much it weighs but I'd venture it's about 2200 lbs unloaded.

I went through the troubles of asking the wife to forgo loading the thing to the hilt and ensuring that the hitch is right so it rides correctly, etc. You clearly know the trailer is back there and sometimes it feels like the trailer is driving the truck. I don't have brakes on my popup but I'm considering it. Now realize that this is coming from someone who used to tow with a Dodge Grand Caravan. With the Caravan you had no idea a trailer was back there.

I'm sure that my experience could be dissected twenty different ways but the bottom line is that you'll want to keep your trailer as light as possible. In my experience the engine has plenty of power to pull the weight. The weight ratio between the RAV and what is being towed is where the challenge is.
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#32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 12:31 PM
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Towing by the Numbers – RAV-4 V6 Limited and 3300 Lb. Coleman Mesa – (LONG)

First, the best advice on towing is to seek the assistance of an independent towing specialist shop. Auto dealers are usually clueless, and RV dealers may try to sell you too much RV for your truck.

I’ve got a Coleman Mesa Pop-Up, 3300 lbs dry weight, and needed to determine if I can tow it with my way cool brand new RAV-4 V6 Ltd. I have the towing package, Toyota hitch, and no third seat. I am very motivated to make this work.

I thought I’d go through how I determined if it is safe to tow by using the manufacturer’s ratings as a starting point. It’s fair to say that to be safe, you shouldn’t exceed any of the manufacturer’s weight ratings. After all, towing safety is not about engine torque or horsepower. It’s all about weight, braking, and stability.

It takes a bit of time and effort to determine if your vehicle and trailer are simpatico. A lot of people just don’t understand many of the terms that are used when talking about towing. So here are some common terms, what they mean, and how to use them.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
This is the maximum weight, set by the factory, that your vehicle can weigh with all it’s cargo, fuel, passengers, options, etc. Anything that goes in or on the vehicle MUST be counted against your GVWR. You should never exceed it. The RAV-4 GVWR is located on the driver’s side door post, on a sticker. For my RAV-4, it is 4720 Lbs. For trailers, it is usually on a placard somewhere on the trailer.

CURB WEIGHT.
This is the weight of the basic model with no options and full fuel. It does not include cargo, people, or anything else. The curb weight for my RAV-4 V6 Ltd, no rear seat is 3675 lbs. I got this number from the owner's manual. For campers, Curb weight is often called “dry weight” and can be found on a placard on the trailer.

PAYLOAD or LOAD CAPACITY (terms used interchangeably)
Payload is how much weight you can put in and on your truck. For my RAV-4, Toyota states in the owner’s manual the Load Capacity is 825 Lbs. This includes weight of passengers, cargo, and TOUNGE WEIGHT of the trailer. (more on that shortly).

TONGUE WEIGHT: The weight the tongue of a bumper pull trailer puts on the back of the truck, primarily on the rear axle. Generally speaking, tongue weight should be 10% of the weight of the loaded trailer. In other words, a 3500 lb. trailer would have a 350 lb. tongue weight.

GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) This is the manufacturer’s set weight for the maximum combined weight of your trailer, truck and cargo together. Add up the actual weight of your truck with the actual weight of your trailer, plus any cargo, and make sure it is under your GCVWR. You can usually find the GCVWR in your owner’s manual. For my RAV-4, it is 8100 Lbs.

ACTUAL WEIGHT. This is one of the most important numbers for determining your towing capabilities. Actual weight is just what it says. The only truly accurate way to determine your actual weight is to go to a truck stop or grain elevator and have your truck and trailer weighed. Before your do, fill the fuel tanks, add whatever cargo you normally carry when trailering, plus yourself and normal passengers.

Still with me? Good. Let’s do some quick math on my RAV-4 before we head to the scales.

First, Am I exceeding the LOAD CAPACITY of 825 lbs?
My 3300 lb trailer is really a 3500 Lb trailer when loaded with weekend camping gear. It has a tongue weight of 350 lbs. 825-350=475 lbs.
So I have 475 lbs for passengers and cargo.
Two adults at 170 lbs each, or 340 lbs, and we have 135 lbs left.
The two kids are 100 lbs each, for 200 lbs, so we’ve just exceeded the LOAD CAPACITY by 45 Lbs. One of the 100 Lb kids has to stay with friends, so we have 35 Lbs left over for baggage and for Fido. Fido goes to the kennel, and we’re good to go with a cooler and toothbrushes. No clothes. Sorry.

Now we’re loaded to GVWR. Will we be over GCVWR? For my RAV-4, GCVWR is 8100 lbs. GVWR is 4720. 4720+3500=8220. Whoops, I’m over by 120 Lbs. So I have to leave 120 Lbs of my 200 Lbs of camping gear behind to hit GCVWR. I didn’t even include the bikes and canoe, which are a total no go.

So, according to weight, the RAV-4 CAN NOT TOW a 3500 Lb trailer with a family of four people, and normal gear. No need to go to the scales. Darn. The '98 Jeep GC stays in the fleet until we sell the camper.

How about the 2000 Lb Pop up one earlier poster has?
Let’s assume the same 200 Lbs of gear, bikes, etc. You’d be surprised how fast it adds up. So we are at 2200 Lbs for the trailer.
First, Am I exceeding the LOAD CAPACITY of 825 lbs?
My 2000 lb trailer is really a 2200 Lb trailer when loaded with weekend camping gear. It has a tongue weight of 200 lbs. 825-220=605lbs.
So I have 605 lbs for passengers and cargo.
Two adults at 170 lbs each, or 340 lbs, and we have 265 lbs left.
The two kids are 100 lbs each, for 200 lbs, so we’ve got 65 Lbs over for baggage and for Fido. If Fido is not a Bernese Mountain Dog, this could be OK!

Now we’re loaded to GVWR. Will we be over GCVWR? For my RAV-4, GCVWR is 8100 lbs. GVWR is 4720. 4720+2200=6920. I have plenty of margin here.

So according to weight, the RAV-4 can pull a 2000 Lb Pop-Up with 4 people, camping gear, etc. Time to go to the scales and verify the nmbers.

Toyota says you need trailer brakes over 600 Lbs towed vehicle weight, and anti-sway over 2000 Lbs.

There are a lot more factors that make towing comfortable and safe, like tow vehicle wheelbase, frontal area of the trailer, aerodynamics, etc. If the basic weights don’t work out, you are at risk. It takes more to be comfortable. Trailering a boat to the local lake is a lot different than cross country towing in varied conditions. YMMV.

I hope this has been helpful.

Regards,

Tom
 
#33 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 11:31 PM
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This is in reply to Fuzzy (Tom) above....

You put a lot of thought into all of that, but you're way off on one aspect....cargo weight loaded in the trailer. I don't know anyone who only loads 200 lbs in a popup for a trip.

You should never go off of the base weight. You should always go with the GVWR of the trailer. Always assume you have loaded it up to the GVWR.
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#34 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 11:38 PM
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You are on target, and it makes the situation even worse. I was being generous. 200 lBs is nothing. I'm just happy somebody responded. I think this info should be reviewed by others for correctness and then posetd as a sticky. No pride of authorship here, just interested in safety.
 
#35 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Toyota says you need trailer brakes over 600 Lbs towed vehicle weight, and anti-sway over 2000 Lbs.
Toyota also says in the owners manual, and I am completely serious about this, that the trailer hitch should be removed when you are not towing (being careful to plug holes in the body left by removed bolts and such)...which is CYA gone bat**** obviously.

I wonder how much CYA is built into the towing capacity numbers...

~Steve in Minnesota
08 Base V6 AWD Silver

"By day two of our four-day drive, no one knew which vehicles would finish in second through eighth places. Yet everyone knew where the Toyota [RAV4] would finish." - Car and Driver SUV comparison test, January 2010
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#36 (permalink) Old 09-15-2008, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSwede
Quote:
Toyota says you need trailer brakes over 600 Lbs towed vehicle weight, and anti-sway over 2000 Lbs.
Toyota also says in the owners manual, and I am completely serious about this, that the trailer hitch should be removed when you are not towing (being careful to plug holes in the body left by removed bolts and such)...which is CYA gone bat**** obviously.

I wonder how much CYA is built into the towing capacity numbers...
Well at least their CYA is consistent. The manual for the RAV says brakes are needed for trailers over 600 lbs. I've got a V6 Sport with towing package and OEM hitch and harness.

I looked in my manual for my 2009 Matrix AWD ( 2.4 litre engine 4speed auto, max tow load of 1500 lbs ) and the manual says that brakes are only required for trailers over 1000 lbs.

The Matrix AWD weighs 3274 lbs and the RAV Sport V6 is 3677 lbs. so that might account for the 400 lb difference in brakeless towing weight.... except that the Matrix limit also applies to the base Matrix which weighs only 2844 lbs? The brakes are the same on all Matrix models so shouldn't the lighter Matrix models brakes be able to pull a heavier load without trailer brakes. I must admit that I am a bit sceptical of Toyota's recommendations in this regard.

I also measured the size of the rotors and calipers on both the Matrix and the RAV and they appear to be identical.
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#37 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 04:38 PM
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well, just to throw this into the mix the wife and i just came back from a 4700km trip to Richmond Va and back to see the Cup race.
We took our rav4 V6 and our 3200lb 23ft lightweight travel trailer.

here are the particulars
-Rav4 V6 4wd
-Reese brake controller
-Drawtite class 3 receiver
-Reese weight distributing hitch w/450lb torsion bars
-Reese Sway control
-2000 Aero Cup C230 (dry unloaded weight - 3168lbs) Weighed in @ 3476lbs axle weight at a certified scale on our way back home with a full grocery and some things we bought (also had about 500lbs worth or passengers/dog/tools in the rav)

What i noticed after towing this trailer with the rav for more then 4000kms:
- averaged slightly 15mpg (12mpg us)(mostly driving @ 65mph)using 93 octane fuel
- only downshifted into 4th on big hills (went into 3rd a few times in PA)
- Very stable at speed, capable of keeping everything in line
- with my 450lb torsion bars mounted properly as they should be, the rear wheelwell gap was 1 in lower then unloaded (all in all the rig and trailer where nice and level)

only negative that i can comment on is the fact that the mirrors are rather narrow and a good set of mirror extensions would be of value.

All in all i must say that this is one competent tow vehicle when quality towing equipement that is well matched to the trailer and vehicle is used. The engine and trans stayed nice and cool, nothing at all gave me any hassle.

this just goes to show that Manufacturers tow ratings can be nearly maxed out and still very safe if the proper matched towing equipement is used.

having towed with my fathers 2004 and 2007 Avalanche (his trailer is a 29ft 5500lb Spree) i can safely say that the rav performs as well if not better in certain cercumstances.

Alex

2008 Impreza WRX **being Replaced by a 2011 F150 FX4 SuperCrew 3.5 ecoBoost**
2008 Rav4 V6 ** traded for 2011 Equinox LT V6 AWD **
1989 Scirocco 16v
1980 Camaro Z/28
1937 Plymouth Coupe
2011 Dutchmen 295BHGS
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#38 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 09:24 PM
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Nice 8)

~Steve in Minnesota
08 Base V6 AWD Silver

"By day two of our four-day drive, no one knew which vehicles would finish in second through eighth places. Yet everyone knew where the Toyota [RAV4] would finish." - Car and Driver SUV comparison test, January 2010
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