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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2014 Rav4 Limited. You can run it in a sport, regular or economy mode 5 gear auto with the 5th being auto drive. I've done a lot of research on how much I can tow and I find the big difference is whether or not you have brakes on the trailer. I'm getting a small 17 footer and the total towing weight will be 2000 to 2100 lbs. The Toyota UK towing weight with trailer brakes is about 3600 lbs (which I would never do!) But I am going to tow a boat a long flat distance with my RAV4 (until I get the money to get a Tacoma in the next 2 years).


So question I have is what mode do I run it in ? I have heard you should not run your transmission in 5th gear or overdrive when towing. Should I keep it in standard mode in 4th gear? What puts less strain on the transmission?


Thanks
 

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Welcome! Amazing difference between the North America towing capacity and that of UK models, with the latter rated between 1500 kg and 2000 kg. braked, and with less powerful engines at that!
 

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In the USA the limit is 1500 lbs for your vehicle. Brakes or not, overloading it by 500-600 lbs (or more) is not the best idea I've heard today. Who cares what limits the UK or Mars has unless you drive there? As a rule you do not tow in overdrive. A big Ford diesel could pull it off but I question transmission longevity with a RAV4......especially if over the stated towing limit.
 

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Quag,

I just installed a hitch and am in the process of buying a boat. I am looking for an Alumacraft v-16 with the split bench and hopefully a 25 hp Suzuki.

http://www.equipmentsearch.com/uploadedimages/7327/13228855.jpg

I want a hair bigger boat too but I want to have the least weight possible. I drove a 2013 Rav4 2wd and thought it had a ok power but went AWD and it is kind of a slug. My total trailering weight I am est. is 800 to 850lbs with gas and gear.

I think I must have a trans cooler with my boat setup and you absolutely will need one.

The tranny you have is a 6 speed and from what I have researched WE will have to use manual mode so you don't lug it in 5th and 6th gear dependent on speed.

As far as the cooler, I am being very careful to go with a top tier (Mocal or Setrab) and go with 1/2 large lightweight braided line with "AN" aircraft style fittings, the cheaper ones you use hose clamps on. I will have to step down the size to fit the oem trans oil heater, the reast of the way to the cooler will be large less restrictive line and at least a 19 row cooler for less restriction. I have seen too many issues with common coolers and small line that limits flow and stresses out trannys. You have to pay to play and it will cost and extra $200 by going this route, but I think it is worth it in the long haul. You can not limit the tranny flow. Also I am in Minnesota so I need to have a thermostat or a 3 way valve bypass set up that will need to changed over in fall and back in spring.
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Discussion Starter #5
Mainia thanks for your thoughtful reply. You are obviously more familiar with auto issues than I am. I am also concerned with the transmission cooling. I will go over your suggestions with my mechanic. Good suggestions.


But on the RAV4 you are obviously in snow country like I am, I'm in northern central Mass. The AWD Rav4 is one of the best snow cars I have driven given the right tires. I don't know how you got by in Minn with a 2WD. Everyone here in New England that has a RAV4 has AWD I have only heard of 2WD RAV4s down south. I have never driven a 2WD RAV4. But I find my 2014 AWD RAV4 to be very aggressive and fun to drive. Particularly if you drive it in the Sports mode. One question I have, is I have not heard of 6 gears., mine is a auto and there is only 5 gears. The 5th gear is the over drive. When I tow this boat I intend to drive it in the Regular Mode (not Sports or Economy) and stay in 4th gear. Do you have a recommendation of what mode would put the least strain on the tranny? I'm thinking of putting it into overdrive or 5th gear on long down hills.


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Put your shifter in manual mode and go to a road were you can go at leat 50mph push forward as you drive and see what number of what gear you can go to. Mine says 6.

When towing you may leave it is sport mode untill you get to gear 5 and gear 6. If I am pulling trailered weight I want to stay at around 2,800 to 3,000 rpm as not to lug the motor. So if I am going 65 or 70 with the boat I may be in 5th gear in manual mode. If you stay in regular D mode you maybe gear hunting all the time and that beats the heck out of the tranny.

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Discussion Starter #7
Put your shifter in manual mode and go to a road were you can go at leat 50mph push forward as you drive and see what number of what gear you can go to. Mine says 6.

When towing you may leave it is sport mode untill you get to gear 5 and gear 6. If I am pulling trailered weight I want to stay at around 2,800 to 3,000 rpm as not to lug the motor. So if I am going 65 or 70 with the boat I may be in 5th gear in manual mode. If you stay in regular D mode you maybe gear hunting all the time and that beats the heck out of the tranny.

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Thanks Mania that's exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for. I'll post my experience after I get back from MI with my new boat, hopefully its not a disaster post. This is the first car that I have had 3 driving modes Sport, Regular and Economy. There's really not a lot of direction on what to mode to use under what circumstance. I usually drive in Economy Mode and I take it out of overdrive to 4th gear when I want a little more power. I see what you mean now about manual mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok here's my after action report thanks to Mainia for the driving tips.
Trailered my new 17 ft Triumph boat from Kalamazoo MI to central Mass. About 850 miles with a Toyota RAV4. The trailer is a Shorelander. It was an easy tow and the tow brakes really helped. Some information:

  • RAV4 161 HP 4 cyl AWD
  • Toyota US towing capacity US 1500 lbs (presume this assumes no brakes on trailer)
  • towing capacity Toyota UK same engine 1650 lbs (no trailer brakes) 3650 lbs (trailer brakes)
  • My towing load boat, trailer and engine (1900 lbs)
  • Car Load (driver and luggage) 250 lbs
  • Car and trailer tire pressures 45lbs cold (max 51 lbs)
  • Tongue weight was not measured but it was not heavy as I could easily pick it up with 1 hand
  • Used a 3 inch rise on the hitch, as the receiver rides low to level the trailer
  • Average gas mileage 17 mpg for trip vs 29 mpg highway normal driving
I drove the Rav4 in manual mode and generally was able to stay in 4th or 5th gear. I rarely used 6th gear or 3rd gear. I started out in Sports mode but then found that operating in Standard mode was fine. My goal was to keep the RPMs below 3000 whenever possible. I was able to operate between 2500 and 3000 RPM easily. On long uphill’s in the western Mass mountains I was able to climb with the RPMs below 4000 RPM. I had no trailer sway and the RAV4 handled this load easily. I averaged between 65 to 70 mph. However, I was the only occupant and I had only one suitcase. So my total load was around 2100 lbs. I still want to upgrade to a 6 cylinder to tow longer distances and to carry a large luggage load but I felt the RAV4 is fine for select short distances. But I would not want to use a RAV4 for regularly tow long distances with this type of load. I think the key factor in setup is the addition of trailer brakes. I have trailered larger loads with bigger vehicles but there were no brakes on the trailer. Those rides were not pleasant. This long ride with a RAV4 was no big deal.
 

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Toyota US towing capacity US 1500 lbs (presume this assumes no brakes on trailer)
No, this assumes brakes on any load 600 lbs or more as advised in the owner's manual. Even with the 4.3 V-6 with 3500 lb tow rating brakes are advised from 600 lbs on.
 
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