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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Hello all, this is my first post. So I'm transitioning my 09 rav I4 from a commuter vehicle to a landscaping truck/commuter vehicle. I don't have the finances to buy a proper work Truck yet. Anyway, I'm wondering about the tow capacity bc I need an enclosed trailer. The 1500 pounds capability limits me to a small 5x8,but id really like a 5x10 full height enclosed. That would put me around 18-1900 pounds with the mower and other equipment. So my question is what upgrades should i do to safely tow 1900 lbs? Is it even worth it as this car had 175000 miles on it or is it at the end of its life anyway? Your advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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transmission oil cooler, rear air bags to level out the rear, brake controller (depending on if the trailers in that class have electric brakes), new transmission oil since it's probably going to see abuse, class 3 hitch
 

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Regardless of what is done would you be insured in case of an accident with the official tow capacity being exceeded if discovered?

Considering the mileage, that load will put quite a strain on every component. Are you financially prepared for the potential repair bills?

I don't think it is worth it.
 

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If you can fit in a heavy duty transmission cooler with a fan that will greatly help. Install a switch so you turn the fan on or off when needed. Some fans are quite big so you need to ensure the fan and cooler has enough room to fit.

Those 5 x 10 trailers are close to 600 lbs (some maybe heavier) so they are not as heavy as they look. I am not sure how you calculated you will be towing 1900 lbs ?

Should have gotten a V6 with the tow package since that would have worked out better but who knows you maybe overestimating what you will be towing.
 

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If you can fit in a heavy duty transmission cooler with a fan that will greatly help. Install a switch so you turn it on or off when needed. Some fans are quite big so you need to ensure the fan and cooler has enough room to fit.

Those 5 x 10 trailers are close to 600 lbs so they are not as heavy as they look.

Should have gotten a V6 with the tow package since that would have worked out better.
I just looked up three manufacturers of 5X10 enclosed trailers. The average empty weight was 980 lbs. Certainly there are both lighter and heavier available.
 

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I just looked up three manufacturers of 5X10 enclosed trailers. The average empty weight was 980 lbs. Certainly there are both lighter and heavier available.
I edited my post as you were writing yours just in case. I know some are heavier and some are lighter depending on the material. If the OP wanted to get a 5 x 10 trailer he should look for a lighter one to save on the weight capacity. It would make a big difference for him. I was planning on buying one last year for a big cross country move but that did not happen.
 

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Those 5 x 10 trailers are close to 600 lbs (some maybe heavier) so they are not as heavy as they look. I am not sure how you calculated you will be towing 1900 lbs ?
I think the OP was referring to a trailer fully loaded with mower etc.
 

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Those airbags look like a major PITA to install
Took me 2 hours on my 2007, on my 2012 I had my mechanic install them, and he charged me for 1.5 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm leaning towards the 5x8. I don't really want to go against Toyota's suggestions in case of accident like Rtexas said. With a 5x8 I think I'll only need to shell out extra $400 for the trailer brakes to make the load compliant with manufacturer's suggestion. They say brakes on any trailer with a loaded weight in excess of 600. I don't want to invest too much in the rav bc it has so many miles and I'll need a different vehicles within 2 seasons anyway. Sucks not being rich.
 

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Maybe I missed something but from reading your profile and your sig. line I couldn't determine whether your RAV has the 4-cylinder or V6 engine. How much you can tow depends upon which engine you have. In any event, unless a RAV with 175,000 miles on the clock has been abused, hasn't been properly maintained or has had lots of problems it should be good for many more miles.
 

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I think the OP was referring to a trailer fully loaded with mower etc.
I know that but I was saying you can get a lighter trailer. Most of the 5 x 10 average weight are heavy. I mention he can get one bigger but lighter. (5 x 10 instead of 5 x 8)
 

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What about towing without the brakes?

Both my boats are about 2000lbs, and no trailer brakes. My sister in law is a insurance agent, and she says that I'm covered whatever happens, but that's in Quebec, Canada... so it can be done, the question is do feel comfortable doing it, is it legal in your jurisdiction, and does your insurance agree... the 600lbs rating from Toyota is just lawyer numbers it's the legal limit you have to be worried about!
 

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What about towing without the brakes?
Toyota flatly states that brakes are required towing over 600 lbs. Unless the trailer you are considering towing has surge brakes ( or electric), you are just asking for it. Again, my opinion as a person that has towed for a few decades.

I had a Mercury Station wagon specifically set up for towing back in the day equipped with four wheel disc brakes and surge brakes on the boat trailer. Even with all of that it took a while to stop and required looking WAY ahead to apply the brakes in order to stop at a safe distance. Don't risk it without trailer brakes.

In my opinion your car and engine are too small for what you want to do unless you are careful and install the correct equipment. Even then you will be over the "official" limit that Toyota says is possible in the USA. Other countries have much higher towing ratings for the same car but you don't live there.
 

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OP, also consider that your 4-Cylinder RAV4 has smaller brakes than the V6 version. It *will* have less stopping power than the V6.

Another thing to consider is a large enclosed trailer will add quite a bit of air drag which will put more strain on the system. It won't harm stopping, but will affect acceleration and strain on the system.

If you're in a super-hot area (Arizona, Death Valley, etc.) that won't help with keeping the transmission oil cool.

If you can stay within 1500 lbs total behind the hitch (or very close to it), and you get a transmission oil cooler plus other things like air bags and make sure the trailer has good, working brakes, you'll probably be fine.

Upwards of 1900 lbs total, though, would be kind of scary, especially from a potential legal standpoint.

Having said that, the RAV4 is rated to have up to about 1000 lbs of cargo within the RAV4 itself (including driver and passengers), plus the 1500 lbs of towing capacity.

So if some weight can be safely transported inside the RAV4 (bags of soil or seed, weed whackers, etc. - but I would NOT put fuel in the back) it may be possible to at least stay within officially rated (legal) limits.

But generally speaking it's better to be safe than sorry...

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

.
 

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Maybe I missed something but from reading your profile and your sig. line I couldn't determine whether your RAV has the 4-cylinder or V6 engine. How much you can tow depends upon which engine you have. In any event, unless a RAV with 175,000 miles on the clock has been abused, hasn't been properly maintained or has had lots of problems it should be good for many more miles.
He says V4 which doesn't exist on a RAV so I'm assuming I4 2.4l engine.
 

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He says V4 which doesn't exist on a RAV so I'm assuming I4 2.4l engine.

That was my assumption as well, but I wanted to make certain that it was actually the case since the original post was somewhat ambiguous.
 

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The 1500 pounds capability limits me to a small 5x8,but id really like a 5x10 full height enclosed.
This also leads me to believe it's the I4.
 
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