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Discussion Starter #1
Quick question guys. I think I read a post where it says that the 06-12 models shouldnt use a motorcycle carrier due to frame design. I was wondering if this is the case even with the 2012 V6 model since the "rule of thumb" is tongue weight should be no more then 10% of towing capacity.
I already have a trailer but tolls suck out in NY and also the hassle of towing. I would like to buy a motorcycle carrier to haul a 260lb dirt bike.

Think id be ok?
 

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Not sure where you got your source from but if your hitch can handle 270lbs on the tongue you are ok. A hitch with a 1 1/4 opening can handle 300 to350 lbs and one with a 2 inch opening can handle 525 lbs to 675 lbs on the tongue depending on your hitch manufacturer.

The only problem arises if you use an extender which will cut your tongue weight in half.

Don't forget you need to add the weight of the motorcycle and the carrier.
 

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Can you provide a picture of, or link to, one of these carriers?

Though I'm pretty sure you're going to find the answer is DON'T DO IT based on this information from the ever-awesome Dr. Dyno from a very similar thread a while back about a hitch-mounted wheelchair loader:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/97-...g-only-tongue-weight-strength.html#post877874

Essentially: The additional torque from what turns out to be a lever is your enemy.

.
 

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If you are using a hitch (rated class 3) with a 625 lb tongue capacity, you should be able to carry a motorcycle carrier with bike with a total weight of 270 lbs. I see no problem unless you are using an extender.

The thread mention tongue weight capacity for a hitch is 200 lbs but that is a class 1 hitch not a class 3 hitch. There is a big difference between class 1 and 2 hitches which are mainly 1 1/4 inch opening where a class 3 hitch has a 2 inch opening.

The added strength of a class 3 hitch is twice as strong as a class 1 or 2 hitch in the tongue capacity.
 

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Agree with DVS that the weight of the motorcycle plus that of the carrier and with the extension needed for the carrier factored in and acting as a lever, the actual weight upon the hitch and perhaps more importantly upon the RAV's hitch mounting points could result in damage to the RAV. Note the advice which is provided in DVS's linked post from towing expert Dr. Dyno.
 

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the hitch rating and the frame rating are two different things. My hitch is rated at #500 with weight distribution system and #450 without, but that's only because it's been tested to that on a testbed, not necessarily on a rav4 frame. It clearly states on mine to never go over the car's rating. I go right up to my 350 frame rating on mine, but it's a pretty static load compared to a motocycle carrier which is as dynamic a load as you can get, the weight is supported by the frame only, and it's way behind the rear of the car. whatever the price of a toll, is a lot less than a twisted floor pan, and a messed up bike.
 

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If you are using a hitch (rated class 3) with a 625 lb tongue capacity, you should be able to carry a motorcycle carrier with bike with a total weight of 270 lbs. I see no problem unless you are using an extender.

The thread mention tongue weight capacity for a hitch is 200 lbs but that is a class 1 hitch not a class 3 hitch. There is a big difference between class 1 and 2 hitches which are mainly 1 1/4 inch opening where a class 3 hitch has a 2 inch opening.

The added strength of a class 3 hitch is twice as strong as a class 1 or 2 hitch in the tongue capacity.
the only problem with you thinking is that he owns a Rav4, not a F150.

I've seen a lot of places where they say that if the thing you are pulling is not on an axle, you should cut the the hitch rating by 50%. And you have to take into account how much the rear would sag !
 

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K2 gets real specific with their MC carrier ratings, a vehicle with a 350lb tongue weight rating can only carry a maximum of 225lbs, if the vehicle tongue rating is 500lbs, the carrier max weight is 350lbs. The carrier itself is an extension since the weight is well behind where a ball mount would normally be located which is where tongue weight is measured. Hitch mounted cargo carriers are rated at half the hitch tongue weight rating and that includes the weight of the carrier in the total weight, I ran into this issue with a hitch rack on my 2006 V6 with the factory hitch and tow package, the rack was rated for 200lbs but 100lbs was a more realistic capacity because how far back the weight actual is.


http://detailk2.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/DK2-2015-Catalogue-web.pdf?dc971f
 

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Agree with DVS that the weight of the motorcycle plus that of the carrier and with the extension needed for the carrier factored in and acting as a lever, the actual weight upon the hitch and perhaps more importantly upon the RAV's hitch mounting points could result in damage to the RAV. Note the advice which is provided in DVS's linked post from towing expert Dr. Dyno.
You should not be using an extender. If there is not enough clearance the tire would need to be removed. There is too much weight and an extender would cut the capacity in half.
 

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Kristnet55 looks like you may have to consider renting at Uhaul a motorcycle trailer or some how put it inside the RAV.
 

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Regarding the RAV4's "frame" let's not forget (presuming this carrier is what I think it is) that the weight of the bike and carrier will be magnified by the distance from the rear bumper PLUS every bump you hit is going to put even more stress on the "frame" than just that weight.

I say don't do it. The RAV4 has a unibody "frame" and is structurally little more than a car.

Ask yourself this question: Would you do it on a Camry?

If you do choose to do this, your headlights will probably point high enough to blind other drivers.

Better to be safe than (very) sorry.

.
 

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Guys, I see you referring to my don't do it "expertise" several times, but in this case with specific changes and considerations, I'd probably do it.

The first factor is how long is the bike, how much would it stick out from the width of the RAV4. My DRZ-400 is the full width of my F250 so that's fine but is probably a foot or more wider than our RAV4. If you get past that one consider if your license plate would be visible with the bike mounted. It might have to be relocated temporarily.

I've built custom dirt bike racks for several cars in years past including a Plymouth Barracuda, a Saab 99 and my current one for the front of my '01 F250. They all had/have one important feature not found on the generic commercially available racks. That is a vertical support the bike leans against either at the top of the front forks or the center of the bike near the tank & seat. The bike is either pinned or lashed to the support such that no other mounting point is needed. If one removed the RAV4"s spare tire to get the bike as close as possible and then lashed the bars and the back upper frame to the roof rack you'd be countering the leveraging effect that for instance a wheel chair would place on the hitch, and more importantly the subframe on the RAV4. Done right you'd actually be lifting the back of the hitch. Might actually work quite well.

But if the choice is just to buy a commercial rack, stick it into the 2" receiver and strap the bike to it "free floating," no way.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey guys I was just asking to make sure. I currently tow (not carry) with my trailer 2 bikes around 380lb each, plus another 300lb trailer weight itself, class 3 hitch. The v6 RAV4 can tow 3000lb if I'm not mistaken.
With that being said I have sold my bikes and got a dirt bike which weighs 260lb. I was just thinking if it were possible to "carry" (not tow) just that one dirt bike 260lb.
If the length of the carrier would be the only problem, I would have no issue removing the spare and reducing that length when hauling the bike.
Pretty ridiculous if you ask me that a mini van can do it and not a V6 RAV4, just saying.
I guess I'll just chew up the extra tolls and hassle of the trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wouldn't it rip off the roof rack?
Guys, I see you referring to my don't do it "expertise" several times, but in this case with specific changes and considerations, I'd probably do it.

The first factor is how long is the bike, how much would it stick out from the width of the RAV4. My DRZ-400 is the full width of my F250 so that's fine but is probably a foot or more wider than our RAV4. If you get past that one consider if your license plate would be visible with the bike mounted. It might have to be relocated temporarily.

I've built custom dirt bike racks for several cars in years past including a Plymouth Barracuda, a Saab 99 and my current one for the front of my '01 F250. They all had/have one important feature not found on the generic commercially available racks. That is a vertical support the bike leans against either at the top of the front forks or the center of the bike near the tank & seat. The bike is either pinned or lashed to the support such that no other mounting point is needed. If one removed the RAV4"s spare tire to get the bike as close as possible and then lashed the bars and the back upper frame to the roof rack you'd be countering the leveraging effect that for instance a wheel chair would place on the hitch, and more importantly the subframe on the RAV4. Done right you'd actually be lifting the back of the hitch. Might actually work quite well.

But if the choice is just to buy a commercial rack, stick it into the 2" receiver and strap the bike to it "free floating," no way.
 

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In addition to the question of rear license plate visibility, here's another factor to consider: Would the tail (brake AND turn signal) lights be very visible to vehicles behind you? I notice in your photo that this is not the case at all for the right turn signal on the minivan.

If the dirt bike does stick out past the edges of the RAV4, keep in mind that what sticks out will catch air, and the additional drag will put more force (torque) on the hitch receiver.

I don't think it's a question of the V6 RAV "can't" do it, because until it's tried one wouldn't know for certain. I think it's more a case of "shouldn't" do it because it's pushing the safety limits, in several areas, and probably violating the law in some cases such as visibility of the rear license plate and turn signals.

If one were to try it, I think this is a case where the (more expensive) Toyota OEM hitch would be highly advisable, provided the RAV4 has the Tow Prep package. This is because the OEM hitch attaches to "dog biscuit" brackets (seen at the top of the first image) that hang down from the "frame" with the Tow Prep package, providing more vertical support and probably reducing the amount of "twist" that can be incurred on the "frame." Less expensive OEM hitches do not leverage these additional support points:



Here's part of the OEM hitch, with "dog biscuit" attachment bracket at the bottom of this picture:



If one were to try it, one would think adding air bags to the rear suspension would be highly desirable as well, to help keep your headlights pointed to where they should be.

.
 

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Many good points DVS. From krisnet55's picture of the bike on the Dodge blocking the taillights and plate are evident.

It's also easy to envision the amount of tilt leverage weight that would be relieved with a strap from the handlebars to the left & right roof rack mounts, even w/o a lot of tension on the strap. With the RAV4 V6's propensity to accelerate under a dirt bike rider's right foot the support strap becomes an even better idea!

Also agree on the Toyota Receiver but since there's apparently already some type on there to haul his trailer, the extra $$ to upgrade would pay a lot of tolls instead.

So, while I love designing new rigs, with all the mods, some costly, and remaining unknowns, it's probably best to stick with the tried-and-true trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Trust me guys if I were to do such a thing I would do everything possible to make it right.
I'm very meticulous, here is my current trailer set up and it shows how I lock in the bike. Basically a solid thick reinforced steel rod that goes through the real axle. On top of that I add 3 straps, 2 to the front forks and another securing the rear. The bikes don't move at all.
More then the tolls it's the hassle of not being able to drive in Parkways, as in only highways/expressways. Where I live (Long Island,NY) most roads are parkways and to get from point A to point B is a pain in the arse due to traffic. As far as tolls I used to spend $78 in tolls alone for a 2.5 hour ride. My buddies without a trailer would pay $28. As you see I'm not trying to be lazy or excessively cheap.
 

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Okay, I was guessing a few bucks on tolls but it quickly adds to hundreds. And I get the parkway issue as I can't tow on the Merritt in CT. Would be nice when I-95 is jammed.

Obviously you have to live with the length of the bike issue but the others are solvable by someone with mechanical/electrical ability. And if you're willing to remove the spare to do this we may be in business.

Lights: On one of my homemade bike racks I mounted trailer lights and wired them to a standard 4-flat trailer connector. They'd replace the reflectors in your picture. Worked perfect. Move the plate if it isn't visible between the front wheel and the engine.

Weight distribution & leverage relief on the hitch: Starting with a commercial rack you pictured I'd add a hefty vertical strut, maybe even a wood 4" X 4", in the center where the tube from the receiver meets the wheel rack. You might even be able to help support it with a horizontal brace to the spare tire mount. The bike leans against it, and combined with the strap to the roof rack, takes a lot of the strain off the hitch.

Your choice but on my F-250 front rack the vertical strut holds the front suspension just below the fender and only the tires are strapped into the rack so the bike is allowed to "float" on it's suspension. (The handlebar strap connects under the hood.) Unlike the picture where the bike is strapped down solid, allowing the bike to float reduces the shock load on both the RAV4 and the rack. Everything on mine is designed with minimum straps but such that one failure doesn't dump the bike.

You'd be near the 350# limit on the receiver but considering that rating also includes towing a 3500# trailer I'm not too concerned, even with an aftermarket receiver.

Headlight re-aiming: With the spare off, the weight as far forward as possible, and the RAV4's short rear axle-to-bumper overhang compared to a sedan, I doubt there'd be any serious problem.

I say go for it, cautiously of course. :thumbs_up:
 

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There is a guy in town that hauls a motorcycle (newer dirt bike so I am guessing 250lbs ) with his Gen 1 Subaru forester. Been around for a couple of years. Doesn't seem like it is too big of a deal.
I snapped a picture but can;t seem to find it. Here is one I pulled off the web of a crosstrek hauling a KTM. Same car and bike basicly.


I would think to go for it. Use the OEM toyota hitch with the extra mounting points, and an aluminum hitch hauler. Just be careful at the big bump areas; railroad Xing, Bridges, speed bumps, driveways.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well put it this way. I do lots of local rides and due to parkway restrictions it takes me over an hour and 20 min of what normally would take 35-40 min. Plus I'm not really all that savvy with directions and more then once I've ended up on a parkway.
For the carrier I'd most likely add lights to it and just plug it in the existing trailer harness, no big deal. As far as the plate I can tap some screws and screw it on to the carrier itself or even just zip tie it to the bike. I'm not sure about local laws as far as plates but keep in mind in NY we also have front plates.
Regardless of all that if I were to take a long drive say 2+ hours to go riding most likely I'd be with a buddy and have to take the trailer.
To be completely honest I've never liked those carriers, but then again all the guys that I've seen using them are not as anal as me. I'm quite sure I can come up with something to make it more stable and secure and safe. Just hoping the car can handle it. Hell I'd even take my bike empty on gas and just take a jug to save some weight.
 
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