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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Afternoon:

I am new to this site but have read a lot of good threads which have helped me with my Rav4 in the past. Now I am not sure what to do; so here I am. I have a 2008 Rav4 6 cylinder without the tow prep package. I saw no need for the tow prep package at the time I bought the car new. Now I have a need for the tow prep package; since I would like to do some cross country RV'ing. The pop up trailer is 2300 pounds loaded with camping gear, water, battery, full propane tanks, etc. The tongue weight is 235 pounds for the pop up which includes the battery and filled propane tanks. The 2008 Rav4 6 cylinder, front will drive without tow prep is rated for 2000 pounds which includes 200 pounds tongue rate. Given that I love this car and don't wish to part with it, I would like to put an after market transmission cooler along with rear air shocks with the hope it will allow for the extra payload without damage to the car. Has anybody out there had any experience towing at maximum capacity without the tow prep package? What would all of you do? I really don't want to give up the car with only 60,000 miles on it. Thank you for your thoughts and insights.
 

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I have no answer however your perfectly detailed situation should be the root of a FAQ. I look forward to responses from a few esteemed contributors.
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Unless you want to climb mountains at 70 mph or stay with FL traffic at 80 I'd have no problems with towing your rig.

Would highly recommend an add-on cooler such as others have used and will likely post-especially important in your hot southern temps.

Tongue weight may not be a problem with some load balancing. Another member mentioned adding air bags to eliminate rear sag. IMO That's definitely better than heavier springs that you're stuck with the rest of the time.
 

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Adding an aftermarket tranny cooler will do. The excessive heat from the transmission is always the biggest problem with towing. I would put some of the heavy camping gear inside the cargo of the car to reduce the trailer weight. You should be fine especially with that V6 since you are not that much over.

The factory towing package consist of: larger radiator fan coupling, transmission cooler, and 150A alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I sure thank all you for confirming my thoughts. What I don't know is what are air bags to help level the rear of my Rav4. Can one of you guy help me with this. Apparently they are different than air shocks or are they the same.
 

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The Tow Prep package was available only as a factory-installed item on new 3rd generation V6 RAVs, and was/is not available as a dealer or aftermarket item. Basically you're supposed to be confined to the non-tow prep V6 RAV towing weight limit
 

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I sure thank all you for confirming my thoughts. What I don't know is what are air bags to help level the rear of my Rav4. Can one of you guy help me with this. Apparently they are different than air shocks or are they the same.
Air bags fit inside the springs, air shocks are simply shocks controlled by air pressure. I question if air shocks are even available for the RAV4 but the bags are. There are also Sumosprings available, click the link below.

Bags: http://www.etrailer.com/susp-2008_Toyota_RAV4.htm
 

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the tow prep included a bigger rad with integrated transmission cooler, a bigger alternator, bigger fan relays. so the only important thing for pulling a popup would be the transmission oil cooler. even with the biggest cooler I could find, my temps when towing my RV are still a bit high for my liking, with a popup you should be good since there will be less wind drag.

you will either need a weight distribution hitch or air bag to keep the rav4 level, otherwise be ready to change your rear tires often. if the rear is sagging by even an inch, the rear camber will be way off... cost me a set of tires last spring :(
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the info. What kind of weight are you towing behind your Rav4? What type of trailer are you towing? I am having air bags installed. Great advice.
 

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Thanks for the info. What kind of weight are you towing behind your Rav4? What type of trailer are you towing? I am having air bags installed. Great advice.
I tow a Jayco 154bh, which is about 2600 dry, 2900 loaded, mpg go down the drain, but that's to be expected when towing an 8 foot tall box... >:D
 

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How did it work out for you?

I was curious about the same thing regarding my 2008 V6 Rav4. Looking at purchasing a 2200 base weight camper. Did the conversions you made work? What did you do and what was the approximate cost of modifications? Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After one year of use and 10,000 miles later, I can say it works great. We have been up and down mountains all over the eastern part of the USA with no problems. I just keep my RPM's under 3000 when climbing. The changes I had done were to have a transmission cooler installed, added air begs for the rear suspension and an electric brake on the Rav4. My total weight for are travel trailer is 2200 lbs fully loaded. The cost of the conversion $1300 including all parts. Still better than buying a new car. The only down side is the short wheel base on the Rav4 which causes you to have to fight a little swaying on a windy day. Would I do it again? Absolutly. A matter of fact we will be leaving in April for a trip out west to see the other half of the USA.
 
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