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Discussion Starter #1
There's a lot of information out there about the OEM RAV4 hitch so I thought I would put together all the information that I have found into one easy spot. Most of the information here will be about V6 hitch information because that's what I have.

Here's my situation... A co-worker had a brand new 2006 RAV4 Limited V6 and had a hitch installed AFTER he purchased the vehicle. He just traded it in for a brand new 4Runner. The dealer doesn't want to sell it with the hitch on because someone may not buy it if it's known that the RAV4 has been used for a fair amount of 3500lb hauling. The dealer doesn't care about keeping the hitch or not, so my co-worker got the hitch back and I got it for free! :) When I got the hitch home I noticed there were some pieces missing, so I had to do my research quick to get the pieces off it before someone else purchased it and it was gone. Here's what my research has lead me to find....

First of all, thanks to John Davies and his very nice website which has the hitch installation details for a hitch installation on a RAV4 with tow package: http://www.spokanister.net/Vehicles_RAV4_Hitch.html

Edit: The above link no longer works, fortunately, DVS had the foresight to archive that page, including all photos. You can find it here: http://www.rav4world.com/forums/97-4-3-exterior/70172-toyota-rav4-oem-hitch-guide-2006-2008-a-3.html#post2284778 Many thanks to DVS!

Canada: All V6 RAV4's come with the tow prep package. Mine is a 2007 base model V6 and I have it. Nothing else was on the invoice.

USA: The tow prep package is an option for USA models.

All: The hitch and wiring kit are dealer installed options for both Canada and USA. The tow prep package includes the upgraded alternator, bumper brackets, and relay in the fuse box (It may include more, I'm not sure).

There's two type of Toyota OEM hitch packages which are part numbers:

  • - PT228-42060 (vehicles with tow package)
    - PT228-42061 (vehicles without tow package)
    - You'll also need a wiring package, from Toyota or not. I don't have one yet myself.
A quick way to find out if your vehicle has the tow prep package is to look for the bumper brackets located behind the rear bumper: http://www.spokanister.net/images_web/RAV4/Hitch/RAV4_Hitch-05.JPG The bracket is at the top of the picture and has 3 bolts holding it on at the top and 2 holes at the bottom used to mount the hitch. Someone else mentioned looking for the relays at the radiator fans, but it was too dark for me to see what I was looking for under the hood. The bumper brackets are much easier to find.

The tow package hitch kit includes the "stiffeners". The bumper brackets are already installed and I think they install them as part of the tow package so that you don't have to remove the bumper after to install them. The "stiffeners" add the extra support to tow up to 3500lbs.

The non-tow package hitch kit includes the bumper brackets and does NOT include the "stiffeners". The hitch therefore just mounts to the frame rails and the bumper brackets. Most aftermarket hitches only mount to the bottom frame rails. I think this setup is good for 1500lbs? Or 2000lbs?

John Davies' website includes the Toyota instructions for vehicles with and without tow prep packages:
http://www.spokanister.net/Vehicles_RAV4_Hitch.html

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and I'll update this post with any info that I have. I haven't even installed my hitch yet, but I will be doing it this weekend.

;D
 

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bigred-d said:
- I have posted the Toyota instructions for vehicles with the tow package here: http://www.mediafire.com/?909edabz2gt[/list]
I've updated my web page with a link to this thread,

http://www.spokanister.net/Vehicles_RAV4_Hitch.html

but I haven't been able to successfully download the file you linked to. If you can email me the pdf as an attachment I will post it on my website next to the other install file. Contact info:

http://www.spokanister.net/contact_about.html

Thanks for the extra info. It can get confusing.

Please note I have changed the name of the file that was already on my site to reflect that it is applicable to vehicles _without_ tow package. Sorry if this screws up anybody's bookmarks. This is why I prefer that folks link to a page rather than to a specific file, which may get altered or moved.

Congratulations on the free hitch! That is a really big score.
 

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bigred-d said:
I fixed the link to the doc I posted above. Try it again...

;D
Still no joy... the link is fine, but when I try to download, it hangs and nothing else happens. I've tried both a Windoze and Mac machine, and also a download manager. There is something amiss at the website hosting the file.

Can you just email me a copy of the "With tow package" pdf, direct?

And can you edit your first post above here to link to my webpage url rather than to just the pdf file? I much prefer this to direct file linking, since a visitor will get more out of the entire page than out of just a single file.
 

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Not sure that I follow...

You mention that the non toyota hitches will only enable you to haul 1500-2000 lbs because they don't have the stiffeners? So why do aftermarket shops sell a class III hitch? Wouldn't they only sell a II?
 

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dusty said:
Not sure that I follow...

You mention that the non toyota hitches will only enable you to haul 1500-2000 lbs because they don't have the stiffeners? So why do aftermarket shops sell a class III hitch? Wouldn't they only sell a II?
Because Toyota is conservative and knows the vehicle intimately, since they designed it. They feel it is unsafe to tow 3500 pounds unless you have the "correct" hitch (theirs, with cooling upgrades). Most importantly, they also will honor the warranty of the body structure if there are any problems towing the rated load.

Reese or Drawtite say their _hitch_ can tow 3500 pounds, but they don't know squat about how the _structure_ of the RAV4 will hold up to that load with only 4 bolts holding the receiver on. Nor do they provide ANY kind of structural warranty if you should warp the cargo floor or rip the back off your trucklet on a rough road.

Has anyone seen any kind of warranty document for an aftermarket hitch that covers vehicle damage? I know I haven't.

And I know who's towing advice I would follow... and it isn't aftermarket.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I only want to tow up to 1000lbs, but I feel safer with the Toyota hitch since it bolts the the RAV at many points instead of just 4 bolts.

Why would Toyota design such a hitch if only 4 bolts would do?

Many people have towed 3500lbs with an after market hitch and had no problems, I just wouldn't take the chance knowing something better was available.

;D
 

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bigred-d said:
All: The hitch and wiring kit are dealer installed options for both Canada and USA. The tow prep package includes the upgraded alternator, bumper brackets, and relay in the fuse box (It may include more, I'm not sure).
So just to clarify, a stock V6 has the upgraded alternator, bumper brackets, fan relay, and fuse box relay. So the dealer is charging $900 cdn + for just the actual hitch and wiring + labour? WOW. That seems kinda steep.

I have ordered a V6 and am trying to justify the $900 for the tow kit. I am considering waiting and getting it done by a third party.

I guess I would just like to clarify what the 3500 lb tow kit includes for $900.
 

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John, bigred-d you have taken the time to provide some very useful info on the tow hitches and installation. I am sure many will greatly appreciate your efforts. :thumbs_up:

After reading about that extra bracket, I am convinced I would only buy a Toyota hitch. With these unibody/monoque style frameless bodies on RAVs, the more attachment points for tow hitches the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
deuces_r_wild said:
I guess I would just like to clarify what the 3500 lb tow kit includes for $900.
Wiring, hitch, and install for both.

I think the install was something like 4 hours, which at a dealership will wind up being $400 easy. The hitch alone is $450 or so. I'm not sure on the cost of the wiring kit, but I would assume around $100. So we're already over $900 there.

The good thing is you're in Canada, so your tow prep package is included. :)

;D
 

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bigred-d said:
I think the install was something like 4 hours, which at a dealership will wind up being $400 easy. The hitch alone is $450 or so. I'm not sure on the cost of the wiring kit, but I would assume around $100. So we're already over $900 there.
An experienced service tech with a hoist and pneumatic impact tools won't spend 4 hours - more like 2. When you are crawling around on the floor by yourself, trying to bench press the main piece into place..... it takes a lot of extra time, especially if it doesn't fit right.

Yeah, $900 seems high at first, but the parts are pricey straight from the dealer, and there is a lot of labor involved, esp that stupid OEM harness. Going aftermarket there would save a fair bit of cash and a lot of labor.

All I gotta say is, if you use the OEM trailer harness, make SURE the tech runs extra 12AWG or larger brake and power wires to the back, in case you want to haul a small travel trailer. Better now while the trim panels are peeled back than later, for sure.
 

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OEM Hitch for non tow package 1500 lb Rav 4 cyl

I have seen pictures of the 3500 lb hitch and by the looks of it, it seems to be very tightly spaced to the bumper. I have not seen a picture of the 1500lb unit and would like to believe that it will be as good a fit as the above.
Does anyone have a picture of their rig with the oem 1500 lb unit installed. I really want to see if the receiver sticks out further and thus cause your leg to get banged.
I ck'd the pictures on page one of the install and cannot see much difference in the two parts list except for the Stiffener's and from what I can see you can actually use these if you bought the 3500lb unit. Two parts guys say " the 3500lb hitch will not fit the non tow equipped 4 cylinder Rav4".
So that is my problem. I think it will and they say it won't. I think they might not be the sharpest stick in the wood pile. Hence my post.
Thanks in advance for your assistance and feedback.
 

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Wiring Harness Install Manual

I found the 06 to 08 wiring harness install manual online and I'm posting it here so that you can get everything in one place.

2006 Trailer Wire Harness Installation Manual

I got my hitch and harness from an advertiser here on RAV4 World. Based on the dealer estimate I'm going to save about $300 doing this myself.
 

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So it took me less than 3 hours to pull all the panels and to install and test the harness. It's working fine. Thanks for the pics and directions posted above. They did help in a few places when I didn't know what spot to pull on or how to remove something. Nothing was broken during the install and I'm pretty sure I can put it back together good as new.

Getting your head up under the dash to connect the rear block connector sucks. That's the most physically difficult part.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mine was quite tight on one side. I had to loosen both and tighten them a little bit at a time on each side until they were both done.

These huge hunks of metal aren't exactly a precision piece, and especially an aftermarket one the holes may not quite line up. Because of this you will need to tighten gradually so it can flex into shape a bit.

;D
 

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This thread most substantially helped me out today; bigtime thanks for the links. :cheers:

I picked up:

1) PT228-42060
2) 08921-42900

Neither had a single page of installation instructions in their respective boxes.

Item 1) is now installed; the "2006" instructions were dead on for a 2010 V-6 TO. Hopefully the same will be true for the wiring tomorrow.

The factory hitch has 29 fasteners attaching it to the vehicle, not that I counted. For those who might suggest to save some bucks, aftermarket hitches cannot come close to the refinement of this kit....29 freaking holes with weld nuts, and they all lined up just fine. Of course, this is also a two week old vehicle, and I get very substantial discounts on factory parts.

Does anyone have links to the FSM's?
 

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murderman said:
For those who might suggest to save some bucks, aftermarket hitches cannot come close to the refinement of this kit....29 freaking holes with weld nuts, and they all lined up just fine.
995,81$ plus tax Is the price tag in Canada for the hitch only. It's way to much $$$ for a hitch IMHO. Sure it is Toyota designed to fit the Car,.... Anyhow, I'm happy with my Curt Class III hitch, 15 min install job, for $157.48$ (http://www.hitchsource.com). I just can't justify the difference with 29 bolts.
 

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I agree completely that nearly $1k is way too much for a hitch, but I didn't pay anywhere near that for mine. The install was only about two hours.

I simply made the statement that I think the factory hitch is a superior product, which I also feel is important considering the unibody construction of the Rav.

It is good that we have choices; we just happened to make different ones.
 
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