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Discussion Starter #21
There we go back to the seeming paradox: Why would Toyota allow the car to be rated for 3630 pounds in ANY country if it could not deliver?
This vehicle either IS, or is NOT capable of doing what I contemplate without self destructing.
The UK review presented the first factual reason I’ve read for why the AWD version COULD pull the weight while the FWD one could not.
Nothing that’s been presented since I mentioned that has convinced me that there is yet another (technical) reason for the two ratings.
Our discussion has (for me) settled the matter of the unibody being able to handle the weight, especially with my airbags.
Using trailer brakes, stopping is not an issue. My experience with pulling my (heavier) boat while watching the ECO display and ICE coolant temps showed me that the car could do some significant hills at speed and not pop its cork.
I only broached the subject here to see if anyone had some less than common technical insight or experience to add to my decision matrix.
Thank you to those who contributed something meaningful.
And yes, in this litigious society, there is always an attorney standing ready to enrich themself. I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Perhaps this was not the proper forum for this discussion, but the name on the door looked promising.
SO, if there really IS a reason (not totally ignoring the possible thermal one) why my proposed use of the car is a bad idea, please state your case and provide enough technical detail to support it.
Lacking that, I suppose I’ll just have to see how it works out for me in the real world.
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The question remains: Why would Toyota sell this vehicle in ANY country with an allowed tow rating of 3630 pounds (for a braked trailer) if it was not capable of performing this feat without self destructing?
And the related issue: What (if any) changes are made to the vehicles sold in the US market that de-rate the towing capacity to only 1750 pounds?
FACTUAL answers, anyone?
Bob
 

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The question remains: Why would Toyota sell this vehicle in ANY country with an allowed tow rating of 3630 pounds (for a braked trailer) if it was not capable of performing this feat without self destructing?
And the related issue: What (if any) changes are made to the vehicles sold in the US market that de-rate the towing capacity to only 1750 pounds?
FACTUAL answers, anyone?
Bob
Unfortunately, I have yet to see any posts from any verified Toyota engineers or corporate representatives on this site... So you may have to contact Toyota Corporation directly for a straight answer (which will likely present its own challenges). I realize this is frustrating, but please try not to take it out on us. We're just a bunch of enthusiasts who are trying to not leave you hanging...

That being said, I don't know that Toyota does actually rate the RAV4 Hybrid to tow 3630 in any country. I've looked at the Toyota Canada site and their LE+ (I think what's closest to the US XLE) is rated for 1750 lbs. Their SE and Limited aren't rated to tow anything at all. Which does make you wonder why those trims have a 0 lb rating when seemingly the difference lies only in their convenience feature sets. Granted they have 18" rims instead of 17" ones, but you'd think that wouldn't make much of a difference either. I checked Toyota's UK site and they rate towing with a braked trailer at 800 kg (approximately 1760 lbs) and an un-braked trailer at 750 kg. (Screenshots attached to this post.) These sites are accessible to anyone, so please feel free to verify what I'm seeing. Perhaps it's possible that your original information source simply had a print error? Just another perspective.

Good luck with your endeavor!
 

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Forgot to add... Here's what Toyota has to say about the RAV4 Adventure: "An upgrade to the all-new 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure trim level will improve the available towing capacity of the Toyota compact crossover. Fitted with a standard Tow Prep Package, the RAV4 Adventure adds an upgraded radiator, a heavy-duty engine oil cooler and upgraded transmission fluid coolers to improve towing. With the tow hitch receiver and wiring harness, the front-wheel drive Toyota RAV4 Adventure will tow an impressive 2,900 pounds. When you add Dynamic Torque Control AWD to the equation, the RAV4 Adventure will tow 3,500 pounds – 2,000 pounds more than standard models."

So, the regular RAV4 is rated to tow 1,500 lbs, the Hybrid is 1,750 lbs, and the Adventure is 3,500 lbs. Based on that, it would appear that thermal capacity is the biggest constraint - which is usually the case, even when you're talking full-size pickup trucks. The Hybrid system has it's own dedicated cooling system, reservoir, and even radiator (hence why there are 2 separate coolant reservoirs under the hood). It's sort of the equivalent of a transmission cooler in that sense - which is probably why the Hybrid can tow more than the standard models. What we don't have is the heavy-duty oil cooler or upgraded radiator. Oil might be your biggest concern since I don't think the HybridAssistant or a ScanGauge II will actually read oil temps although you can easily monitor your water temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I just got off the phone with Toyota US. As expected, they were not able to provide me with the differences between the US and foreign market models.
But, after elevating my call to the second department level and several holds while they consulted with other folks, the answer that came back was that yes, my towing capacity is only 1750 pounds. The info you gave on the 2018 Adventure model seems to confirm that the issue is not structural, but rather thermal dissipation capacity.
I am loathe to contemplate trading my 8 month old vehicle in on a new one, but may at least visit the dealership to look at the Adventure.
Many thanks to all who chimed in with useful advice. I hope to be able to add to the knowledge base from my experiences with this car.
Bob
 

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The info you gave on the 2018 Adventure model seems to confirm that the issue is not structural, but rather thermal dissipation capacity.
And thermal load would likely be directly related to towing speed.
 

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Glad you got an answer - even if it's not the one you hoped for... Perhaps a lightly used Highlander Hybrid would fit your needs... They're awfully nice and can be found in a similar price range to a new Adventure if you're willing to get one that's a few years old. Good luck with your endeavor!
 

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The legal towing capacity is calculated using very different methodologies in different countries which reflect different governing parameters or limiting conventions. This is why the same vehicles end up with different ratings in different countries, as you noticed with your Rav4 in the US versus the EU countries.

The calculations for articulated units (combination units like vehicles with fifth wheel plates, or towing units like vehicles towing one or more trailers) in the US use a convention which stresses total vehicle stability. It is a formal series of equations which is determined by the USDOT, and which manufacturers are required to use to determine the US "legal-to-claim" towing capacities. As you have noticed, the equations used in the EU are different and so they yield different results. Toyota USA will only repeat to you what has already been submitted to the USDOT, which is the lower limit you already know.

The lower US ratings reflect the governing parameter of this different methodology, which is stability -- particularly, the ability of the articulated unit to handle "safely" at highway speeds. "Safely" means whatever USDOT says "safely" means that year.

In your case, it may be necessary to worry more about the legal implications of your decision than the mechanical implications. As many here have pointed out, the combination that you are describing is within the actual towing capacity of the Rav4 based on the more practical and more realistic EU parameters, which are not ultimately governed by the stability factor as what the USDOT uses. To compensate for this, you could tow your trailer as-is, but would want to drive slower, as Dr Dyno mentioned, and not 70mph, for example. Also, please consider unplanned events like tire failures when choosing your speed while towing, particularly steering tire failures.

As far as liability, you need to get a written statement from your insurance company that states clearly that your policy covers you in case of an accident when towing exactly what you plan to tow. Without this clarification, you are putting yourself at tremendous risk of claim denial, based on what your are describing, because the insurance company is more than likely using US towing capacities to determine your rate and policy limits.

If your insurance will not cover your combination, then you either need a new insurance company, a new towing vehicle, or a smaller towing unit. You could have a serious liability issue on your hands if you are involved in an accident while towing a trailer that your insurance company will not cover -- regardless of whether or not the accident is "your fault". In most jurisdictions, it becomes "your fault" de facto if you are towing an uninsured unit, so you could be facing enormous liability.

Next, it would be wise to get documentation from Toyota that you are not voiding your warranty, if that is important to you. Remember that the higher towing capacity in EU/AU implies other parameters in those countries, such as lower posted speed limits for vehicles that are towing loads. As Dr Dyno and other mentioned here, the thermal implications of high-speed, high-load towing may be a problem in your plan. At any rate, you will want to get this clarified or you risk voiding your warranty, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Judging by the difference in the new Adventure model, it looks like additional cooling is the main issue to be able to tow more.
I’ve just put in for an online quote from a couple of local dealers.
It appears that the Adventure is priced lower than our 2017 Limited Hybrid AWD Model, so this might work out.
Another possibility is going through Toyota or the aftermarket to add a bigger radiator and transmission cooler for the car I already have.
I haven’t seen enough detail to know whether the Adventure adds liquid cooling for the electric rear axle.
Bob
 

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I haven’t seen enough detail to know whether the Adventure adds liquid cooling for the electric rear axle.
Bob

The Adventure is a standard AWD gas Rav4, it doesn't have an electric motor rear axle, it has a shaft driven rear differential, only the Hybrids have the electric rear drive.
 

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To interrupt, how many here feel that the V6 with tow package is the best to date?
.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
ADventure towing

The Adventure is a standard AWD gas Rav4, it doesn't have an electric motor rear axle, it has a shaft driven rear differential, only the Hybrids have the electric rear drive.
I wonder how they get 600 more pounds of towing capacity just by powering the rear wheels off the same engine that powers the front ones?
Seriously, I’m hitting my Toyota dealer tomorrow to query them about putting some TRD (has there EVER been a worse acronym?) parts (big radiator, oil cooler and transmission cooler) on my current ride to get my tow rating up.
Bob
 

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I wonder how they get 600 more pounds of towing capacity just by powering the rear wheels off the same engine that powers the front ones?
Seriously, I’m hitting my Toyota dealer tomorrow to query them about putting some TRD (has there EVER been a worse acronym?) parts (big radiator, oil cooler and transmission cooler) on my current ride to get my tow rating up.
Bob
I've been staying out of this discussion, but it strikes me that there is a lot of handwringing over this issue. Maybe you should just try it and see how it goes. Back in the 80's (when admittedly young and foolish) I had a 23 foot sailboat that weighed a literal ton, with outboard and sail, anchor and a fair amount of other gear on it plus the weight of the large steel trailer it rode on, the package must have easily exceeded 3,000 pounds. I first towed it with a 1973 4 cylinder Celica, and later with an 1985 4 cylinder, 2wd Tacoma (remember tow bumpers?). Neither was further outfitted for towing, nor were there trailer brakes and I never had a) an accident or b) overheating. More recently I had a unibody 2011 Infiniti EX 35 that had no tow rating. Undeterred I used it to tow a covered, 2 up snowmobile trailer with 2 600+ lb sleds aboard (I assume 1500 to 1600 pounds total). With a 300 hp engine it towed like a dream, and my 2017 R4H also has no problem. I think if we all got wrapped up in fears of legalities and lawsuits and horrendous vehicle damage, we would just never leave home.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I did a lot of towing with both of my “No Tow”Prius cars as well, both without problems.
BUT, that was before I retired and we had another car if I fried the Prius.
Now, being retired and down to one car and a Harley, it’s a bit more difficult to replace a $39K car if I exercise poorly guided youthful exuberance.
Still, I have no qualms about modifying the car in a way that will only add to its utility.
Bob
 

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You could pick up another very inexpensive vehicle just to tow with. I paid $1700 for my 2003 Odyssey with 200,000 miles a couple years ago. It seldom gets used by me but this summer made a 6,000 mile trip out west being used by missionary family of six friends of ours. Runs perfect as of now but if it has any major problems I'll throw it away, apply my saying below, and buy another inexpensive van.
 

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I read this entire thread.

In my 47 years on this earth, and having towed with many different types of cars, trucks and soon a hybrid. Currently I tow with a 2012 Nissan Cube. :)

It's ALL about the COOLING.

You've done right with the air bags, and whatnot, but your next obstacle is cooling. Good luck and PLEASE, post what you do modify to YOUR vehicle, so others can learn from it.

Great questions and lots of good answers, and like the one guy said, we're just enthusiasts who WANT to help. So YOU become the guy that IS THE EXPERT, from YOUR experience and when some other knucklehead comes a asking about towing with a RAV 4, you can quote this thread and post pictures of what YOU'VE done to YOUR RAV 4. :)

Lastly, of ALL the worry of warranted parts, trashing a RAV 4 transmission, etc. I can tell you the MOST important thing is YOUR LIFE. Be careful, THIS is the real danger:


Peace!!:nerd
 

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Discussion Starter #38
OK. The Toyota dealers know NOTHING about the 2018 Adventure model besides what is shown in the brochure.
Our local folks won’t even get one in until the end of next month.
Here’s what I have learned, and some speculation.
1. The Adventure model will NOT be offered as a Hybrid.
2. AWD appears to be standard, though that might not necessarily be the case.
3. The only power plant is a 172 hp gas engine.
4. The transmission is a 6 speed automatic, not a CVT.
So, my Hybrid is 194 hp, with less coming from the gas engine. Seems as though that should do as good a job of playing tugboat as a gas powered rig of over 20 less hp, especially considering the immediate torque of the electric motors.
The Toyota dealer was more concerned about my Hybrid’s ability to STOP a trailer than to pull one, saying that the Hybrid has smaller brake pads than the standard RAV4 because the Hybrid also uses regenerative braking. I told them that I would be using trailer brakes.
Question: does the electro-mechanical Hybrid “power splitter” heat up under load nearly as much as the automatic transmission does?
I would be surprised to learn that it did, since it doesn’t employ friction in its operation, but I’m going to view that video on it again to be sure.
If it doesn’t get that hot, and my gas engine temperature never moved a bit when towing my 2300 pound boat/motor/trailer over 120 miles and up some pretty big hills on an 80 degree day, I don’t know why I should have to take heroic measures to add cooling.
That’s about all I know and my best guesses at the moment.
My inclination is to tow as it is with the addition of the trailer brake controller. Should something arise to move me from that position, my next backup would be either trading for the Adventure AWD model, or buying a good used Nissan pickup I saw today. It’s all set up for towing. Which of these I would do comes down to the one that requires me to write the smallest check.
Bob
 

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Check with Alamedafan, he's been towing a 2000lb tent trailer with his '16 HV.


http://www.rav4world.com/forums/109...7-rav4-hybrid-limited-towing.html#post2297601


Don't have any advice on trailers for MN, but I do have towing experience with my '16 RAV4 Hybrid Limited. I have an old Coleman popup camping trailer, base weight of 1325, max weight 1995 lbs. I'm sure I've been close to maximum load carrying 20gal of water, two 20lb propane tanks, and all the gear.

Going up a steep hill it can get noisy with the engine running at high revs continuously, but other than that the RAV4 rides fine. Even with hills or mountains on the way, I get an overall mileage of 24mpg while towing it. And, I can maintain 60 mph+ on all but the steepest hills in CA and NV.

IMHO, electric trailer brakes are a must. Braking on a level surface is sort of OK, but when I tried going down a long hill without using trailer brakes, my discs on the RAV got pretty squishy. Even on a flat surface, it clearly stops faster with the trailer brakes, and just feels safer.

I think the air helper spring kits are a must, too. Pain in the neck to get those air bladders inside the coil springs, but they keep my RAV4 level when its loaded down.

For reference, I have a Drawtite 75235 hitch, Tekonsha Prodigy P2 brake controller, Firestone 4174 Coil-Rite Air Helper Spring Kit, Reese 118578 T-One Connector. All are working well so far.

BTW, with the mostly LED lamps, Toyota changed the size of the wires and connectors starting in year 2016. T-connector trailer wiring kits for 2015 or older RAVs don't work.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
That means Almeda is carrying about 350 pounds of gear. That sounds like a lot to me, but then I remember how much stuff I used to carry in the big diesel RV we had, so I suppose it’s possible.
I did install the airbags he mentions and will use the same brake controller.
As one fellow on this thread already said, (very loose paraphrase) “You’re overthinking this. Go have fun!” :)
Bob
 
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