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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a max. tongue weight? Does this weight include the weight of the hitch, the trailer, and the items in the trailer? Thanks!

Tom
 

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In general, max tongue weight should be 10% of the trailer weight. But even if you get a larger capacity hitch (with a 500lb tongue weight rating) it doesn't mean you can exceed 10% of the trailer weight rating of the vehicle, because the tongue weight is also dependent on the suspension and structural capacity of the vehicle. In addition, no matter how much the trialer weighs, the tongue weight should be about 10% of the trailer weight in order to maintain stability and safety.
 
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karrock said:
Max tongue weight will vary between hitch receivers.

All your other towing questions can hopefully be answered by U-Haul! :)

http://www.uhaul.com/hitches/glossary
OK, I know I'm new here, but this is just bad information and not helpful at all. Even leaving out the fact that U-Hell doesn't know their a**** from a hole in the ground.

To answer the original question, the 4-cylinder RAV4 is rated to tow 1500 pounds and has a maximum tongue weight of 150 pounds. The V6 is rated at 3500/350. The tongue weight is the weight of the trailer that is resting on the ball when hitched up. If you can lift the tongue of the trailer, you are probably within limits of the 4-cylinder or close. The 1500 pounds of the trailer includes the trailer itself and any cargo in the trailer.

The other issue the original poster is wondering about is what the total allowable weight of the car, trailer and any cargo is. That is the number that I'm trying to find out. I would imagine this information would be in the owner's manual. The Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) is the maximum allowable weight of the car, passengers, any options in the car, the hitch, trailer and any cargo in the car or trailer. I've e-mailed Toyota asking for this number but have not gotten a response.

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the RAV4 is the maximum allowable weight supported by the car's axles. These numbers are as follows (from the Toyota website):

4-cylinder 5-pass 2wd/4wd: 4430/4535
4-cylinder 7-pass 2wd/4wd: 4730/4865
V6 5-pass 2wd/4wd: 4600/4720
V6 7-pass 2wd/4wd: 4895/5015

That weight must include the car, passengers, any options, cargo in the car, the hitch AND the tongue weight of the trailer. There are also axle weight ratings that must not be exceeded.

All tow ratings are NOT the same. Just becase two vehicles are rated to tow 3500 pounds does not mean they have comparable ratings. For an accurate tow rating, you must subtract the weight of the loaded (all passengers, full fuel tank, typical cargo load) car from the GCVWR. Then, you know how much you can tow. Very often (especially with American labeled manufacturers), the tow rating only applies if you are traveling with an empty, base model vehicle with only a driver. For example, the Honda Odyssey is rated to tow 3500 pounds (with tow package), but you are only allowed 300 pounds in the van (over an empty base model vehicle) to achieve that rating. The 2004+ Sienna is also rated to tow 3500 pounds, but the Toyota can do it while carrying 800-900 pounds in the van. Now, are those 3500 ratings the same? I don't think so.

The receiver hitch has very little to do with how much you can tow, but can place additional limits on your abilities, as you must NOT exceed any ratings set forth by the car manufacturer (GCVWR, GVWR, axle ratings, etc) nor can you exceed the ratings of the hitch. Just because you can outfit a 4-cylinder RAV with a hitch rated to tow 4000 pounds with 400 pounds of tongue weight DOES NOT mean you can tow that much. Similarly, if you were to equip a V6 tow package equipped RAV4 with a hitch rated to tow 2000 pounds and 200 pounds tongue weight (I do not believe such hitches are currently available for the '06 RAV), you would not be able to tow 3500/350 with it, you'd be limited to the limit of the hitch. I have a 3500/300 pound rated hitch on my Camry, but the car is only rated at 2000/200.

The simple answer is I don't know. Until we know the GCVWR, it's impossible to tell what the car can REALLY tow.

Hopefully, this didn't just confuse things more. If so, ask for clarification and I'll try and help.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Jeff said:
In general, max tongue weight should be 10% of the trailer weight. But even if you get a larger capacity hitch (with a 500lb tongue weight rating) it doesn't mean you can exceed 10% of the trailer weight rating of the vehicle, because the tongue weight is also dependent on the suspension and structural capacity of the vehicle. In addition, no matter how much the trialer weighs, the tongue weight should be about 10% of the trailer weight in order to maintain stability and safety.
A standard trailer (RV, utility, cargo, etc) should have a tongue weight 10-15% of the total trailer weight for stability. A boat trailer only needs around 6% of its weight on the tongue to maintain stability.

The tow vehicle has a tongue weight rating (for a RAV4.3, it's 150 pounds for the L4, 200 for the V6, or 350 for the V6 with tow package) independent of the trailer's weight. The tow vehicle doesn't care what percent the trailer's tongue weight is, as long as it's within the car's ratings. So, yes if you were towing a 3500 pound camper with the V6 with tow package, you'd want to keep the tongue weight to 350 (to meet the 10-15% for stability without exceeding the car's 350 pound rating). BUT, if you were towing a 2500 pound trailer with the same vehicle, there's no reason you couldn't run it with 250-350 pounds tongue weight (you'd still have 10-15% for stability and be under the car's tongue weight rating).
 

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Hence the "should be about 10%" in my post. The 10% rule is not a hard and fast rule, but is more of a general estimate.

Most people don't realize that the max trailer rating is not with a fully loaded vehicle, and think that they can load up their SUV and still tow the full trailer rating.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
the europ Rav4.3 can tow 2000kg

that is 4000 Lbs
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the answers! You guys are lucky in Europe because of that delicious diesel!
 
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Discussion Starter #9
If your '06 RAV is rated to tow 1500 pounds, it can do so with a fully loaded car.

Here are the GCVWR numbers for the 4-cylinder models (from an '06 owner's manual):

L4 2WD 5-pass: 5930
L4 2WD 7-pass: 6230
L4 4WD 5-pass: 6035
L4 4WD 7-pass: 6365

Toyota requires trailer brakes for any trailer over 600 pounds and they recommend NOT using a weight distributing hitch.
 

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Curb weight is about 3500
GVWR is about 4500
Towing capacity is 1500
Rated payload capacity is 900 pounds
The tongue weight would add to the GVWR factor.
Toyota does not publish the GCVWR.

I know with the Tacoma, if you are towing at the max, you are only left with about 400 pounds for the truck itself before you exceed GCVWR even though you are below GVWR, so I would be very nervous about towing 1500 (tongue weight 150) and the rated payload capacity of 750 (900 rating less the 150 tongue weight)

Keep in mind that this 750 includes passengers.
Four 200lb adults would exceed capacity with NO luggage or camping supplies.

You can tow and camp out of the Rav, but you can't take everything but the kitchen sink.
 
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