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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2009 Rav 4 V6 4WD Limited with the 5 speed auto trans. I am thinking of buying a small travel trailer to tow with it. I know the engine can handle the load but of course don't want to exceed the weight of the vehicle where the trailer would push the Rav around. Does anyone have any experience with this scenario?
Thanks
Sonny
 

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Welcome! Does your RAV have the Towing Prep package installed (was available only as a factory install)? The Owner's Manual also has info about towing.
 

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With the Tow prep package (140A main fuse in the left front underhood fuse box) the RAV4 is rated to tow 3000 lbs in the US/Canada. But whether or not a trailer will "push the Rav around" depends totally on the trailer brake system. Don't buy a trailer w/o brakes & don't tow without a good brake controller (I use Tekonsha) that's set up right.
 

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Yep, 3,500. It will probably tow whatever you are looking at, just be aware it will cut your mpg in half while towing.
 

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Hey sonny, I have a 2012 RAV equipped like yours, mine does have the tow pkg. I'm towing a 16' Travel trailer that weighs around 2800# max. loaded.
The hitch weight is around 325, and I also have an Equalizer 4K weight distribution hitch.

Braking is helped with a Tekonsha brake controller.
So far I have had no problems what so ever. Hardly know the trailer is back there, and high winds and big passing trucks haven't given me any trouble at all.
Overall it is a very pleasant towing experience. Mileage run around 12-14 mpg. Hope this helps.


bobbyv
 

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Correction Dr. Dyno......that is 3500 lbs with V-6 and tow prep.
Yep, I didn't look it up but remembered it was at least twice the 1,500 lbs of the non-tow preppedies. Amazing what another 30A can do!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rav 4 towing

Thanks to all who replied. Yes my Rav has the towing prep option and indicates on the document that it has a 3500/350 limit. Thanks for the heads-up on the brake controller. Now I'm wondering about sway control plus the equalizer hitch?
Thanks again,
Sonny
 

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So what EXACTLY is the total weight and tongue weight of what you intend to tow? THAT will tell you what extra equipment you may need. If it is very near or right at the limit then you need more stuff to make it tow properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for the quick reply. I haven't bought anything to tow yet. Just trying to get a feel for what I could handle before I buy anything. I'm thinking the "80% rule" is a good idea. Due to the replies I have gotten, I have confidence that my Rav is a viable tow vehicle.
Thanks again,
Sonny
 

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IMO, sway control should be accomplished by proper weight distribution not by additional components at the hitch. That's especially true when the weight of the trailer approaches that of the tow vehicle since then it may actually affect the stability of the tow vehicle.
 

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Tongue weight and trailer balance are the biggest problems. If you can get that figured out, it will go down the road nice. Trailer brakes are a VERY good idea once you get over 1500 lbs. I pulled this load home in a snow storm because my truck is only 2wd and the snow was very slippery that day. The tree service guy said it was a smaller load.....but I think he said that just so I would come and get it. I had to throw a big piece crosswise against the gate to get the tongue weight down to my liking. I would not tow this much on a daily basis, but it did pull it without trouble. It is not my trailer and is one of those trailers I mentioned that is the worst I ever pulled. It's just plain weird how it pulls/rides.
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I'm not suggesting anyone pull this much weight with a rav. My point is that the way the trailer is loaded and balanced is 80-90% of the game. As long as your hitch and vehicle are in good shape and able to pull it, and assuming you are a careful driver, you don't have too much else to worry about except brakes and trans temps for the most part.

proper tire pressures are important. I never go by the door because handling suffers at low pressures and you need as much control as you can get. Low tire pressure can make trailer sway 10x worse. A trailer should always be loaded so there is no sway, meaning enough tongue weight.
 
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