Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am new to this forum. I don't currently own a Rav4. Me and my wife have owned 2 Honda CR-Vs in the past 8 years and we love them, but we are planning a move cross country. We're going from San Diego to New Hampshire, so we're looking at 4wd models for the snow. One thing that led me to be interested in Rav4s is the limited V6 models. We are thinking of renting a Uhaul 5x8 trailer and just towing our things back in that. The max weight for the trailer and load is 2700 lbs, but the empty weight is only 900, so there's no way all of our stuff with the trailer would come even close to 2700 lbs.

Anyways, I have my eye on some Rav4s for sale, none of which come installed with a tow package. I do have to make somewhat of an economical decision as we need to be strategic with our finances between jobs. I am somewhat mechanically inclined. I'm not a professional mechanic, but I've done a pretty fair share of work on all of our vehicles. The models I'm looking at are 3rd generation (particularly 2007-2012 models) and I'm wondering if anyone here has experience installing tow packages into these, and what I'm looking at for cost? I have seen some youtube videos showing how to install additional tranny coolers by linking them into the existing factory cooler, but transmissions are not really my forte. Do all vehicles come with transmission cooling systems in front of the radiator? Is this an easy task to take on? I also read in another thread here that you have to be careful using additional tranny coolers in cold weather as it can increase risk of condensation within the fluid and then the need for thermal bypass valve. I was hoping for a simple solution, but depending on how far down the rabbit hole goes with this idea, I'm not sure all the extra work and money will be worth saving the money to tow all of our stuff back home.

As far as the hitch and electrical goes, I'm assuming this would be a pretty straightforward process and I would just have a shop somewhere do the install. But what is stumping me is where to go with the tranny cooler.

Any ideas, advice, or wisdom on the matter? :confused:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,113 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,717 Posts
Best to get a RAV4 with the towing package (3500 lbs limit) if you are towing that much weight. Not all V6 have them and are an option in the US but in Canada they are in all V6 models. The best way to tell if it has the towing package is the 140 AMP fuse in the engine area next to the battery. There is no way to install a towing package.

An additional aftermarket tranny cooler does help with the cooling and you can get one with a bypass for colder climate. The Hayden 698 has the bypass to allow the transmission oil to flow if it reaches a certain temperature so it is not circulating cold fluid.

For better reliability 2009 to 2012 model are highly recommended. Careful to research as there are a number of problems for all vehicles such as the V6 transmission whine (noise problem but no mechanical failure- remedy to fix noise is to rebuild tranny) and rear differential growl/leak.

The hitch is really easy to install with no drilling. The wiring is more work since the side panels at the rear cargo is tricky to remove. You may need a brake controller if Uhaul requires one ? But in any case trailer brakes should be required and many states it is mandatory depending on the weight.

The transmission cooler connects to the return line see here. You would also need to take the grill/bumper off to install the tranny cooler in front of the condenser. (see here how to remove it) Many have removed the grill/bumper including myself. It looks harder than it really is because there are many clips under the car and a couple under the fender. You would need a trim removal tool to remove those clips. I found there was a pair of bolt on top of the radiator that was a little hard to remove since it was rusted and seized. A vise grip plier used instead prevented the head from striping since the philips head would not turn easily.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,505 Posts
Aviator: Consider as well that the factory tow package includes the larger capacity alternator.

Thanks to DL175 for the extra hands-on tips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
And may include a larger rad, plus the front brake rotors are a tad larger in diameter.

I'm from Canada & our 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 came standard with the tow package...weird but without a tow hitch.
- and it does have the 140 amp fuse
- so many people may think, no tow package without a factory Class III hitch
- just not the case, on some v6 Limited's
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the insight. Not sure I'm going to be able to find a Rav4 with the limited V6 and 4WD option with a tow package in the San Diego area. There's only a small handful of V6 4WDs around and none of them have the tow package. I'm not looking to use this vehicle for long term towing use. It will be nice to have the option, but realistically, I may never use it to tow again after our move. Really it just needs to get cross country without causing too much wear or damage to the engine/tranny. We're also making a little bit of a road trip out of it and will be making many stops, but also not taking the most direct route. Do you think this is a bad idea to pursue with the model Rav4 I am looking into getting?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,153 Posts
There's only a small handful of V6 4WDs around and none of them have the tow package.
Okay, some confusion here. There's a difference between the RAV4 coming from the factory with what's called the "tow prep package" as identified by the 140A fuse and one with an actual hitch receiver bolted on the back, which none came with. So w/o checking for the 140A fuse you can't tell if a RAV4 has the 3500lb capacity tow prep package or not except if it isn't a V6 you know it doesn't.

If you're buying a vehicle for use in New England I wouldn't let your one-time cross country trip be the deciding factor. You can always ship most of your belongings or sell locally and buy new later. But if you want a RAV4 I'd find a tow prepped V6 and add the hitch and wiring.

With the heavy Navy presence in SD out-of-staters may have what you need. I bought our RAV4 in Florida, not exactly 4WD country. But it was originally purchased in PA and had the tow prep package altho I didn't know it at the time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RTexasF

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,499 Posts
And may include a larger rad, plus the front brake rotors are a tad larger in diameter.

I'm from Canada & our 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 came standard with the tow package...weird but without a tow hitch.
- and it does have the 140 amp fuse
- so many people may think, no tow package without a factory Class III hitch
- just not the case, on some v6 Limited's
It's my understanding that no RAVs ever came with a hitch as part of the tow pkge.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,942 Posts
Hitch and wiring are dealer installed options even with factory tow prep, as I recollect the tow prep package also included 2 cooling fans.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,153 Posts
It's my understanding that no RAVs ever came with a hitch as part of the tow pkge.
My understanding too.
There's a difference between the RAV4 coming from the factory with what's called the "tow prep package" as identified by the 140A fuse and one with an actual hitch receiver bolted on the back, which none came with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
And may include a larger rad, plus the front brake rotors are a tad larger in diameter.

I'm from Canada & our 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 came standard with the tow package...weird but without a tow hitch.
- and it does have the 140 amp fuse
- so many people may think, no tow package without a factory Class III hitch
- just not the case, on some v6 Limited's
I checked out the rotor part for Canadians, same part number for USA. Any additional info about larger rotors?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
I checked out the rotor part for Canadians, same part number for USA. Any additional info about larger rotors?
the 4 cylinder wo the 3rd row has the small rotors, the 4cylinder with 3rd row and all V6 have the bigger rotors regardless of tow prep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
the problem with towing is not just the weight, but also the drag... when I towed my 4*8 utility trailer, even with 2500# of firewood, the temps would only go to about 205F, pulling my RV that is not much more in weight, temps would go higher than 240F... I installed the biggest cooler I could fit, and now temps are 20-25F lower
that would be my main concern pulling an enclosed uhaul, not the lower output of the alternator, and the smaller radiator fan relays/coupling
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top