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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at the 246 torque and the 222 torque of the highlander. Both V6 models, yet they have the same 3500 lb tow rating. The Rav4 has a higher rpm for it's torque, but still.

Then looking at the Tacoma with it's 266 torque rating and it can pull 6500 lbs. Yes it's a truck, I'm not expecting the Rav4 to pull 6000 lbs, but it should be closer to 4000 lbs shouldn't it?

Or possibly a little more, maybe in the 4000-5000 lb range?
 
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Discussion Starter #2
I towed a 4,000 pound camper with a V8 Tundra rated for 7,000 pounds. Sorry, you are dreaming if you think the RAV can pull 4,000 pounds. Yes, it will move it around a parkilng lot or down a flat road for a short distance. Your transmission is getting very hot at this point. Also, your short wheelbase and suspension will get you into an accident much quicker. Hello jack knife.

You cannot take any hill with that weight. I had to go up hills at 45mpg even with the Tundra. Yes, it would go faster but you save that for the rest of the interstate. Moreover, if you have any frontage to the trailer, the wind resistance will make it seem much heavier to your vehicle.

Anyway, trailering heavy poundage is very complicated and the RAV is just not the vehicle for it anyway. It's dangerous enough as it is.

Pull a pop-up camper, jet ski, utility trailer etc. with the RAV. If you look around you will see that experienced people pull trailers with 3/4 & 1-ton pickup trucks. Even they found their 1/2 ton F150 is only good for small campers and boats.

Don't listen to your head or the salesmen that say "Awe that'll pull it no problem"
 
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Exactly G Man!

Not to mention the RAV is not primarily a rear wheel drive vehicle like the 4 Runner (most preferable for towing). Oh, and the previous "I know the Tacoma's a truck but" line of thought. Being a truck or truck based 4 Runner makes all the difference in the world. There you get bigger brakes, higher load rated tires, better differential gearing, heavy duty radiators and so on.

But, this discussion is not going to prevent many a poor little V6 RAV from being asked to do more than they were designed to.

Never forget the RAV is really an AWD car based on the Corolla...unless you want to argue the 4.3 is more like the Camry.
Either way, cars don't pull big trailers.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
The point I was trying to make is that, as the RAV4 and highlander are both car based. Wouldn't the RAV4 with it's higher torque be able to pull a little more than the highlander?
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I see your point and it has merit based on the engine alone.

The limitations probably come in with the uni-body frame that both Highlander and RAV employ. You know how they fix them after a car accident...pulling them from different angles to get back straight. Well, towing something will be pulling on the the body and the Highlander and RAV unibody's may only be able to handle the same 3,500 pounds for that reason before they start to deform.
 
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Unibodies are stiffer and stronger than comparable body-on-frame designs. As long as the hitch has adequate attachment to the "frame," their is no danger of deforming a unibody. Brakes are mostly irrelevant when towing, as the trailer has brakes of its own, the tow vehicle's brakes are only designed to stop the GVWR of the vehicle, even on an F-350.

SUV's in general make poor tow vehicles, unless we're talking Excursions or Suburbans. Usually, SUV's have narrow tracks/width, short wheelbases, high centers of gravities, and poor aerodynamics. These all are bad things when towing.

Having said that, the RAV should be quite capable at towing a small trailer, and doing it quickly. In my opinion, the biggest downside to towing with the RAV is its short wheelbase.

RAV4 and Highlander are very similar in most all cases, don't see why their tow ratings would be much different. I also don't know what the GCWR of the Highlander is, the RAV4's 3500 rating may be higher than the Highlander's 3500 rating for all I know. The RAV4 is rated to tow 3500 even if the car is fully loaded, don't know about the Highlander.

I see no reason that the RAV4 wouldn't make a dandy tow vehicle for a 3500 pound trailer under about 20' in length.
 

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Almost all of the heavy duty towing vehicles out there are body on frame design, one of the reason is that you can attach the receiver part of the hitch directly to the frame of the vehicle. On a vehicle with unibody construction, there's not as solid a place to bolt the hitch to the vehicle. With a body-on-frame design you're pulling the trailer with the actual frame of the truck or SUV rather than just having the trailer attached to the body of the vehicle.

The tow rating of any vehicle is based on numerous factors. The best advice is do not exceed the tow rating for any vehicle. If you do, you'll be overloading the suspension, overextending safe braking distances, and experience further reduced and possibly unsafe passing ability. You'll also overextend brake component capacities and, in some situations, encounter premature brake fade. Furthermore, you won't be doing any favors to the engine and drivetrain, and the chance of eventual transmission failure is also possible.
 

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CampingColorado said:
Unibodies are stiffer and stronger than comparable body-on-frame designs. As long as the hitch has adequate attachment to the "frame," their is no danger of deforming a unibody. Brakes are mostly irrelevant when towing, as the trailer has brakes of its own, the tow vehicle's brakes are only designed to stop the GVWR of the vehicle, even on an F-350.
If I was doing any serious towing, it would be with a body on frame truck or big SUV, period. Brakes are extremely relevant in a tow vehicle, as the trailer brakes don't take 100% of the load. Trust me, even with electric brakes, there's no way you're stopping a vehicle/trailer combo in the same distance as just the vehicle.

Towing stresses many systems on a vehicle, the engine is only one small piece of the equation. The brakes, suspension, transmission, AWD (if appropriate) and cooling systems get really abused by towing, I for one would want to make sure the vehicle I was towing with was able to handle the weight.

Although the engine in the RAV4 is powerful, I would never exceed the tow rating from any manufacturer. If you talk to people who haul serious trailers, you'll find that they often have vehicles whose tow ratings far exceed what they're actually towing.

Better safe than sorry!

DJ
 

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My Sabb3 9-3 is rated to tow 1000lbs standard and 3,500 lbs. with trailer brakes :shock: There's no way i would do anything close to that amount, but that's what the manual says. In other words dont' take the manufacturer's ratings to heart when it comes to towing, use common sesne.

We tried to tow a 20' trailer with 5 motorcycles and LOTs of gear using my friend's Ford Expedition. That vehicle had a tow rating of 9,000 lbs, and we were probably pulling about 5-6,000 lbs. That truck became so unstable on the highway that the trailer swayed into the next lane at 60 mph :shock: :shock: :shock: We had to bring it back and take seperate trailers. Turns out, the factory tires were cushy passenger tires, so the sidewalls were flexing under load. Rear springs were also way under spring for heavy loads, despite the rating. So the lesson learned is that sometimes the max towing is only achievable with modifications.
 

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Another thing to consider is the gross combined weight rating (GCWR). That's the combined weight of the vehicle (inlcuding cargo), plus the weight of the trailer (also including cargo). It's very common for people to have several hundred extra pounds of weight in a tow vehicle that will effectively diminish the tow rating. Most often it's the additional people that make up the extra weight. Remember, two average adults weigh about 300 lbs by themselves, not including kids and gear...

HTH -

DJ
 
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Discussion Starter #12
dj06482 said:
Another thing to consider is the gross combined weight rating (GCWR). That's the combined weight of the vehicle (inlcuding cargo), plus the weight of the trailer (also including cargo). It's very common for people to have several hundred extra pounds of weight in a tow vehicle that will effectively diminish the tow rating. Most often it's the additional people that make up the extra weight. Remember, two average adults weigh about 300 lbs by themselves, not including kids and gear.
That's the really nice thing about the '06 RAV. It's GCWR is high enough that it can tow its full tow rating even when the car is fully loaded (accounting for the trailer's tongue weight). With most American-labeled manufacturered SUV's you have to reduce the tow rating for passengers and cargo in the car. You don't have to do that with the RAV, it is rated to tow its full rating even if the car is fully loaded. So, in reality, the 3500 rating in the RAV is pretty comparable to a 4500 rating of an American-labeled SUV.
 
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