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Thanks for your insight Bmwbob, this thread has been so helpful since I am in a similar situation. Would you think the Rav4 Hybrid limited would be sufficient to tow an airstream 16RB trailer? I love the gas mileage on the RAV4 and would hate to have to trade it in for an Adventure package Rav4 since it means I would lose what attracted me to the Rav4 to begin with. It seems like it is mostly a legality issue and not a mechanical or electrical issue having the towing capacity rate at 1750 and not 3600 lbs like the European standards. I am looking forward to see how the improved hybrid system with more power affect the towing capabilities of the new 2019 version in hybrid models.
Airstream 16RB is 2800# dry, so about 3100 fully loaded, and 8 foot tall. nothing comparable to a tab trailer that is almost half the weight and a lot more aerodynamic.

I tow a 3000# trailer with the V6 and it's borderline some times, I would not consider towing more with the hybrid! EURO ratings are higher because tongue weight is lower over there and speed while towing are also lower.
I agree completely with Octane and would hate to see you HAVE to trade in your wonderful Hybrid because you burned it up trying to tow WAY over it's capability especially at Texas speeds, meantime getting :egad:5 MPG!
 

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Check what the tow rating is in Australia and if it is indeed the same car. They always seem to allow an extra 1000 lbs!
Australia is a country of massive plains. Only less than 6% of the land is mountainous. Probably US Toyota dealers are covering their bums so you're not revving up a mountain witth a 4000 pounder. Also Australia runs a lot of cars on diesel which adds more torque.
 

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Getting closer!

I installed the hitch myself (easy job). The “frame” member’s it’s hooked to looked pretty solid to me.
So, the “chassis” looks like it can handle it. The air bags can support the tongue weight.
The actual trailer we are looking at is the [email protected] 320 CS-S. The actual weight of the rig including a 20 pound LP tank and battery is 1851 pounds. I would only carry enough fresh water to service us enroute, probably 3 or 4 gallons at most, so there’s another 24-32 pounds. We would be careful about adding weight, so I’m sure we could actually be happy at 2100 pounds if not a little less.
As for the CVT, wasn’t there another thread where this was found to be a strength rather than a weakness?
I’m more familiar with the snowmobile torque converter type of CVT, but someone had mentioned that this one is somehow gear driven, so there is no belt involved. If someone is familiar with how that’s done, that might be interesting.
And one more thing to consider: this vehicle is propelled by the 2.5 liter gas engine as well as TWO electric motors, one of which drives the rear wheels independent of the transmission the other two power plants share.
To satisfy my curiosity, I selected the “ECO” app on the dash display and watched the rear motor switch on and off as the load varied. Cool!
Bob
Trailer brakes will raise your towing capacity by 350 lbs, but an aftermarket hitch reduces it by the weight of the hitch (the OEM hitch replaces the steel bumper inside, so it doesn't reduce the towing capacity). An aftermarket transmission cooler is a must also.
 

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While the speeds and tongue weights (and axle location!) do have the most significant effects, just ask Ford and U-Haul how well it worked out for them when someone towed and loaded well beyond the design limits.

Having said that I am a strong proponent of towing SAFELY, but knowing the legal limits also. Particularly in the USA if you are towing a heavier load than your owner’s manual says you should for a specific model and there’s a collision - even if you’re not at fault - say goodbye to your earnings for the rest of your life. While it’s possible to physically modify the tow vehicle with the complete towing package after the fact, a cop or DOT/Ministry official will only look at the scales and your door tag to determine rated capacity. And they can pull ANY vehicle over for a check, not just heavy trucks.

(And nothing will add 350lbs to your tongue rating on a RAV4. Nothing.*) Have a look at the towing threads in 4.3 for a lot of well-travelled discussions on the matter.

*: note, I referred to his post above incorrectly, as he stated towing capacity not “tongue rating” as I incorrectly note here. Please see my next post.

2012 RAV4 Base FWD. Upgraded to large front brakes and 3rd row rear springs.

Link to SAE J2807 test description
 

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Let's stay on point here, the use of TRAILER BRAKES on the vehicle being towed (electric or hydraulic) raises the towing capacity by 350 pounds, NOT the tongue weight. The tongue weight should be 10-15% of the weight of the trailer to minimize sway at maximum towing speeds. Any vehicle can have a towing package added to raise the safe towing capacity, and having it raises your towing capacity - that's the whole point of enhancing cooling and braking.
 

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Sorry I only got 5 minutes into the video looking for the 350 pounds before I fell asleep. Will try again tomorrow.
 

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Let's stay on point here, the use of TRAILER BRAKES on the vehicle being towed (electric or hydraulic) raises the towing capacity by 350 pounds, NOT the tongue weight. The tongue weight should be 10-15% of the weight of the trailer to minimize sway at maximum towing speeds. Any vehicle can have a towing package added to raise the safe towing capacity, and having it raises your towing capacity - that's the whole point of enhancing cooling and braking.
I typed wrong as I hadn’t replied to your comment. Just the thread. However your math is off. Any RAV4 up to 2018 without the V6 and/or factory tow prep package is rated for 1500lbs total towed weight, but above 1000 lbs the manual says you must use trailer brakes. 500, not 350. You weren’t clear on that in your message. The only 3rd/4th generation rated for more than 1500 lbs is the V6 (4.3) or Adventure/Trail with the tow prep which includes the larger radiator, integrated transmission cooler, 150A alternator, and the quicker fans/resistors.

There are a lot of novices out here looking to start towing, particularly this year with the explosion of RV sales. We don’t want them getting the wrong information as they share the roads with us and others.

You’re confusing capacity with capability by the way. Legally your capacity is dictated by the door jamb sticker. Exceed that at your financial peril, even if you’ve added the hardware to equal the towing package. You’re talking about towing capability. By all means (check my signature below, and my posting history) one can add/swap parts to make towing safer. Better brakes? Heck yeah. Stiffer springs to reduce rear sag? Sure thing. Transmission cooler which does a better job than even that included with the tow prep package? You bet. Can I get charged for an overloaded vehicle if I get pinched on the road by an inspector, if my trailer’s GVWR sticker lists more than 1500, or I carry a cubic yard of gravel in my cargo trailer? Yes indeed. And there’s no way to get out of it either. If I am involved in a crash while towing over 1500, am I on the hook even if not at fault? Yes.

I did my upgrades with factory style aftermarket parts to make my towing safer for me and those around me, based on good information, almost always sticking within the weight limits (only exceeding on a short trip 3km max from my house). And that’s why we’re all here - to share our knowledge and experience and to learn from others. We just need to make sure that the information we host here is true and accurate, and opinions are stated as such, rather than passed off as facts. If I’m wrong on something I definitely own up to it, as I did above. (Will edit the post above to add a note about that btw without changing the post).

Have a good night everyone, and make sure to research as much as possible before starting to tow, especially toward the max listed limit, per the owner’s manual.

*edit once for punctuation in the first sentence. Second edit for finer details relating to 4.3 and 4.4 GAS models (not hybrid).

2012 RAV4 Base FWD. Upgraded to large front brakes and 3rd row rear springs.

Link to SAE J2807 test description
 

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I think I overheated in my reply above. My apologies for a standoffish tone. And looking again I noticed that the thread is in the 4.4 Hybrid section - the hybrids DO have unique towing limits, so in fact that 350lbs may be very accurate, in which case I owe an apology for forgetting that detail - it doesn’t come up much, as most towing questions tend to relate exclusively to the gas-only models. Mea culpa.


2012 RAV4 Base FWD. Upgraded to large front brakes and 3rd row rear springs.

Link to SAE J2807 test description
 

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Sorry I only got 5 minutes into the video looking for the 350 pounds before I fell asleep. Will try again tomorrow.
Okay, I watched the whole video and unless I missed it still never even heard the number 350 lbs mentioned.
Tiplife, would you please clarify your math so I can be sure accurate info is being posted on this worldwide forum.
 

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Still trying to find the source of the statement "the use of TRAILER BRAKES on the vehicle being towed (electric or hydraulic) raises the towing capacity by 350 pounds," and I don't have a 4.4 Hybrid manual to refer to, but I'll take our '06 V6 manual for comparison.

On page 311 the towing limit for the 3.5L V6 with towing package = 3500 lbs. But page 314 under the heading "CAUTION" states "If the total trailer weight exceeds 272 kg (600 lb.) trailer brakes are required."

If I'm to interpret that to mean my towing limit is 600 pounds w/o trailer brakes but 3500 pounds with, then for my RAV4 I could accurately state, "the use of TRAILER BRAKES on the vehicle being towed (electric or hydraulic) raises the towing capacity by 2900 pounds!" Sounds kind of absurd to me.
 

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As I said, it is in the video. It discusses a lot of the reasons why EU towing capacities are higher, as well as the statement about a 350 pound number regarding trailer brakes.
 

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As I said, it is in the video. It discusses a lot of the reasons why EU towing capacities are higher, as well as the statement about a 350 pound number regarding trailer brakes.
Okay, I wasted another 15 minutes of my life and at 11:00 finally found the 350, not actually specifically said, but as being the difference between 2000 for a Volvo V90 with a braked trailer and 1650 w/o trailer brakes, both US spec numbers. How that applies to a RAV4 hybrid I'm not sure, but that same V90 is EU rated at 3968 with no reference to trailer brakes. Maybe that's because we tow at 80 mph and they at 50 but IMO I give up, it's just crazy.

Then he kinda dismisses his whole video by casually stating at 14:00 that his RAV4H towing test was over the 1750 rating but "I didn't really feel too bad about going a little over the RAV hybrid's tow rating." Notice there's no mention of trailer brakes making the extra weight okay. IOW, do the numbers really matter that much?
 

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I'm quite impressed with your attention and thoughtfulness about this issue. Many thanks and Good Towing!
 

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I'm quite impressed with your attention and thoughtfulness about this issue. Many thanks and Good Towing!
Thanks, the attention and practical knowledge comes from 300,000+ miles of towing various trailers (car, camper, utility, m/c dyno) with vehicles ranging from Honda Accords (not rated to tow anything) to my current F-250 with truck camper all around the US.

It includes sliding thru an intersection with a loaded car trailer with no brakes and a Honda that couldn't stop it (fixed that immediately) and using both lanes of an interstate while recovering from out-of-control sway caused by too much F-250 power and speed. The car on the trailer that time, a 57 Chevy, slid partially off and ruined two trailer tires. Fortunately the guy with me that time had my same attitude, "Wowie! That was more fun than we planned on, what's the next step?
 

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Yeah, too much speed and improper trailer weight balance will cause dangerous sway and come bite you - and I hope you got a better driving partner after that. I think after 300,000 miles of towing you figured that all out. My Accord only had a towing capacity of 970 lbs., but that was without electric brakes on the trailer. I'd guess my 102 hp Road King will tow that much, LOL...
 

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The driving partner was the owner of the '57 Chevy and I was just glad he was also a make-it-happen guy and didn't curse at me for my stupidity. Over 200,000 of those miles is while towing my dyno trailer around the country tuning Harleys like yours for the past 26 years.
 
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