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As you've all read, the 18 Adventure AWD has a tow rating of 3500 while my 15 AWD is 1500. According to the article I read, the only difference is a higher capacity radiator and coolers for ATF and engine oil. I currently have 41k miles and will be out of warranty at 60k and am wanting to increase my safe towing limit to the 18 spec. Yes, the trailer will have brakes. Anyone care to comment on if this is even possible?
 

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As you've all read, the 18 Adventure AWD has a tow rating of 3500 while my 15 AWD is 1500. According to the article I read, the only difference is a higher capacity radiator and coolers for ATF and engine oil. I currently have 41k miles and will be out of warranty at 60k and am wanting to increase my safe towing limit to the 18 spec. Yes, the trailer will have brakes. Anyone care to comment on if this is even possible?
Add the coolers and a new radiator and throw in a higher output alternator too.
 

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Just wondering where we've read all this.
 

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I looked for higher tow rating on 2018 Adventure as well, with no luck. Found info that Euro model RAVs have always rated higher though.
 

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It's 2900 for front wheel drive and 3500 for all wheel drive as you said. Another article I read says 5,000 lbs which can't be right. I question how well the four banger will pull 3500 lbs. in spite of the rating.

Other articles say the engine oil capacity is larger but I can't seem to find anything from Toyota.
Here's what Toyota says:

RAV4 Adventure
The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive. Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height. As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P.
 

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This article has details on the suspension change, just different springs.


A Toyota representative told me that the Adventure only picks up 0.4-inches of ground clearance (moving from 6.1-inches to 6.5-inches in total), using a unique set of springs to achieve the lift. The rep clarified that there’s no “puck”-style spacer in the suspension and that no ancillary systems (axles, control arms) had to be changed to accommodate the ride height increase.
https://truckyeah.jalopnik.com/if-you-get-the-2018-toyota-rav4-with-its-optional-lift-1792494542
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My intent is to tow a 13' Scamp travel trailer with electric brakes. There are already several that do (with added transmission cooler brake controller and Firestone rear airbags) and don't seem to have any problems. I used to be Service Manager at a local Toyota Dealership and will check with the Parts Manager and post part numbers and prices for the coolers, radiator and alternator.
 

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The RAV4 Adventure is supposedly rated to tow up to 3500 lbs. with a 176 HP four-banger (per Car and Driver mag.)?? Should be great going especially for other drivers stuck behind that sort of setup going upgrade on two-lane mountain roads (read "road rage") . . .


Seems like Toyota's el cheapo publicity attempt to recapture the capability lost when they dropped the V6 for the 4th generation RAV.
 
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In the late 70s- early 80s I owned a '13 Boler, similar to the Scamp, weighed 900lbs dry, about 1400lb ready to roll, towed it with a '77 Datsun P/U most of the time, but we made a 600 mile trip to Vancouver Island and back towing with my wife's VW Rabbit pickup, the Boler had no trailer brakes, emergency stopping in rain was sketchy, so I drove slower in what little wet weather we had, but it worked out well with no "events". VW had no tow improvements other than hitch and wiring, and some sand bags in the bed. It was rated to tow 1000lbs as I recollect. With basic tow improvement preparation you should be good to go.
 

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My intent is to tow a 13' Scamp travel trailer with electric brakes. There are already several that do (with added transmission cooler brake controller and Firestone rear airbags) and don't seem to have any problems. I used to be Service Manager at a local Toyota Dealership and will check with the Parts Manager and post part numbers and prices for the coolers, radiator and alternator.
Any idea of the towed weight when loaded up and ready to go? Looking at the specs I'd guess under 2,000 lbs. unless you pack heavy :)
 

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Part Numbers?

My intent is to tow a 13' Scamp travel trailer with electric brakes. There are already several that do (with added transmission cooler brake controller and Firestone rear airbags) and don't seem to have any problems. I used to be Service Manager at a local Toyota Dealership and will check with the Parts Manager and post part numbers and prices for the coolers, radiator and alternator.
Hey, I'm also thinking about doing this upgrade to my parents RAV4 in 2 years when their warranty goes out. Have you had time to look up the part numbers yet?:D
 

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I have a 2016 Lexus nx200t and a scamp 13. Although the engines are different, the chasis and awd system on the rav4 and nx200t are the same. The nx200 does have certain beefier parts that make the chasis stiffer. Anyway, I just went on a 5000 mile trip and the car pulled the scamp without breaking a sweat, even over 11,000 ft mountain passes @ 13% grade. My car is rated to tow 2000lbs and I do have a tow package with upgraded radiator, engine, and transmission coolers. I will be upgrading my rear springs to the 2018 rav4 adventure model soon as the only issue I have noticed is that the rear of the car sags a little more than I'd like with 200 lbs of tongue weight and a couple of passengers in back. Hoping the springs are the fix i'm looking for. The part number for the springs is 48231-0R180 and they are about $65 a piece. I'll post an update once the mod is done.

I would mention that although the car can pull the weight just fine, even with trailer brakes on the Scamp, sudden breaking does not inspire a whole lot of confidence at around 2000lbs of additional weight let alone 3500. I didn't have problems stopping at all, and this is the first time I am towing anything, but it does take considerably longer to stop.

 

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In all honesty I just can't see, after decades of towing, how a small displacement 4 banger can tow 3500 pounds regardless of coolers, etc. The cooling ability may be there but the power is not. It just doesn't work practically although it may be possible........which is questionable at best.......on flat ground.
 

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In all honesty I just can't see, after decades of towing, how a small displacement 4 banger can tow 3500 pounds regardless of coolers, etc. The cooling ability may be there but the power is not. It just doesn't work practically although it may be possible........which is questionable at best.......on flat ground.
The NX 200t has a turbo with an output of 235 hp so no ordinary 4 banger like the 4th Gen RAV4. It does have the muscle to pull easily 2000 lbs.
 

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The NX 200t has a turbo with an output of 235 hp so no ordinary 4 banger like the 4th Gen RAV4. It does have the muscle to pull easily 2000 lbs.
Understood but I'm referring to the Adventure with the same engine as all RAVs. I'm also talking about pulling and stopping 3500 lbs.
 

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Understood but I'm referring to the Adventure with the same engine as all RAVs. I'm also talking about pulling and stopping 3500 lbs.

Well the Adventure does not have that much power at 176 hp will be hard on the engine pulling 3500 lbs.
 

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Remember folks, it wasn’t that long ago (2009 MY) that Ford’s Ranger with a 3.0 V6 (150 hp) was rated for 2000+ pounds. I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s mg dad would tow a loaded hardtop tent trailer with (variously) a 120 hp Chev Citation, an 80 hp ranger 2.0, and later (big upgrade!) a Bronco II with 140 hp. We didn’t tow fast, but were able to do so at or near the speed limit of the day. If in doubt, talk to Dr. Dyno about his Accord!

For those upgrading their suspension and coolers, remember to not overload the axles based on the GAWR and GVWR on your door frame. No matter how much upgrading you do, you could still have trouble with the law if you’re weighed and you go over on any measurement. The likelihood of being weighed is low, but real. I’m presently investigating having the weight classification upgraded for my RAV (Transport Canada allows specific companies to re-rate GVWR). I will advise of the information I find with this.
 

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Remember folks, it wasn’t that long ago (2009 MY) that Ford’s Ranger with a 3.0 V6 (150 hp) was rated for 2000+ pounds. I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s mg dad would tow a loaded hardtop tent trailer with (variously) a 120 hp Chev Citation, an 80 hp ranger 2.0, and later (big upgrade!) a Bronco II with 140 hp. We didn’t tow fast, but were able to do so at or near the speed limit of the day. If in doubt, talk to Dr. Dyno about his Accord!
I agree with this. My 2.5L Colorado isn't very fast, but it is rated at 200 hp and 191 lb-ft. My '89 C1500 with a 305 (5.0 liter) V8 was rated at 170 hp and 270 lb-ft, but I think the towing rating was less than my Colorado's 3500 lb rating. I know the Colorado will pull 1600 lbs easily, as I have done that already. My wife's RAV4 is the hybrid, and it has similar power ratings, although the torque is available lower in the powerband thanks to the electric motors. I have no doubt that the hybrid's powertrain could pull 3500 lbs because it is similar in power to the Colorado, but I'm not sure about the chassis. With stiffer rear springs, it may be possible. But I think Americans are a bit too used to "bigger is better", and think you need a Powerstroke, Cummins, or Duramax when you really don't.

I was reading about an author that wanted to tour the country in a camper, and he asked for suggestions about a tow vehicle. The trailer he wanted wasn't all that large, and I believe it was smaller than the one my grandparents had in the early to mid '90s. People were recommending 3/4 ton pickups with diesels. My grandparents pulled their fairly large trailer with a 1989 Suburban K1500 (half ton, 4x4) with a 350 (5.7 liter) gas V8 with roughly 210 hp and 300 lb-ft. Even full-size trucks with V8s in the '80s and '90s (which were actually about the size of my Colorado) were pretty weak compared to today's base models, yet they still pulled quite a bit.

One last thought - I had a Rogue with a 170 hp 2.5 liter, and it was rated at 1000 lbs. The versions with paddle shifters were rated at 1500 lbs because they had an additional oil cooler, but they were discontinued before I bought mine. The Rogue forums said that you couldn't add that oil cooler to the base model. I'm not sure how true that is because I never looked. I do know that it would pull a trailer that was about 12' long, and I found out later it probably weighed 1000 lbs. It felt like it wasn't even there when I was driving to the lake.
 

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In researching this for my 2012 2.5, I’ve found the following mechanical differences between a base 2.5 FWD 2-row and the Tow Prep V6 (other than the V6 and 5-speed auto), all listed in comparison to the base. On the V6 with Tow Prep, there are larger front brakes, different brake booster, and heavier rear springs (shared with all 3-row RAVs, even 2.5), the 140 amp alternator and fuse, the trailer light pre-wiring, the dog-biscuit mounts for the factory hitch, and the transmission cooler built into the larger capacity radiator. The Adventure appears to get back all this equipment as well as an oil cooler for the crankcase. Remember the V6 has an oil capacity of 6 L vs the 4.4L in the 2.5. Part of the extra demand on the coolant is having to cool the transmission fluid, so if an external cooler is used, that can alleviate the extra strain on the engine cooling system. The oil cooler is available even from the Canadian model Venza; it too came with the tow prep (all Canadian Venzas had it, no matter engine size) but I am trying to figure out how it connects. Plus the dealer list price for it is about $800!!! Yikes.

Bottom line, trailer brakes are a must over 1,000 lbs per the manual. BUT what about adding the bigger brakes to the base 2.5? Further making things interesting, I have read (but cannot yet confirm) that 2013-up LE models have the small front brakes but the XLE and above all have the large brakes (and likely booster as well).

As has been mentioned ad infinitum in other threads, there are big differences in calculating towing capacity for North America vs every other market, hence our lower ratings. I suspect there is a certain amount of legal CYA with the lower rating too due to threat of lawsuits. In the end if the MTO or state DOT pulls someone over, they will only be looking at local statutes and the GAWR/GVWR against the loaded weights. As I said above there MAY be a possibility for Canadian vehicles to have these ratings raised after modifying the suspension and brakes... I’m looking into this next week but it may only be for heavy trucks. But the unibody is the same for my 2.5 as for my cousin’s 3.5...

Caveat emptor with everything I’ve mentioned above. You tow at your own risk, check the laws for the jurisdictions in which you’ll be towing, even if you’re just passing through.
 
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