Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

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Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Adirondackersouth » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:55 pm

Hello everyone,
Last May my old truck kicked the bucket and the new vehicle of rapid choice was a 2008 Toyota highlander. The price was right and needed a vehicle in 3 days. Long story short the sad thing about my choice is that it only has a 2000K towing capacity. Here is my question that may have some baring on my future teardrop or Tiny Travel Trailer Purchase.

The book says I can only pull 2K without a towing package.

Online on a forum I have watched they say I can add the cooler and the bigger fan and then I can tow 5K.

Is this legit for a basic model?

David :thumbsup:
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Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Padilen » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:33 pm

I'm not familiar with Toyota's, I have add things to my vehicles to help with towing. A towing package can be mirrors to gears.
My Jeep I added wiring and hitch, came with power steering and trans cooler. But if I had kept it I would have added the mechanical fan. The only other thing that was missing and couldn't be added was electronic sway control. Which was a safety feature, that may or may not have been helpful.
I would add the cooler and join the Toyota forum. If it is anything like my JEEP, KK's forum was you'll find lots of useful information.
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby tony.latham » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:20 pm

I've got a 2007 Tacoma. The factory tow package included the following (to get to a 6500 lb tow rating): engine oil cooler, transmission cooler, group 27 battery, 130 amp alternator, 7-way round plug, and a plug and play brake controller pigtail.

I'd find out what it would cost to install a transmission cooler.

What are you planning on towing that's above the current 2,000 pound rating? My 5 x 10' 'drop weighs 1300 pounds.

Tony
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Ned B » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:23 am

David, having chimed in on your trailer search thread, I'm confident you're looking at a trailer that shouldn't stress your highlander as it sits now. If you get a commercial built trailer you'll likely be closer to the published limits of your SUV though, depending on what you wind up with.

Your highlander has a decent capacity as it sits, adding a tranny cooler and an auxiliary fan to the truck will help. Probably the best thing to add on top of those is a brake controller, and to have brakes on your trailer once you get over 1000 lbs.
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Gettin Started » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:56 am

If automatic transmission or other coolers are required and you're mechanically inclined, they are usually easy to install yourself. Search for youtube videos for your make/model. I've done it twice on minivans and saved a ton of money over paying a mechanic to do it.
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby gudmund » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:03 am

add the trans cooler and change the front brake pads to semi-metallic ones if it has the ceramic ones on it. Warning- the semi-metallic ones will leave black brake dust but they do stop better when towing. As long as you keep the weight under 1500 lbs., like most teardrops, you should be fine. Most states require trailer brakes when you tow over 1500 lbs. along with most of the vehicle owners manuals I have looked at say you need them when towing over 1000 lbs. for whatever this is worth. (I think they say this just to cover themselves being I have read the same wording in my old S-10 owners manual along with the higher towing rated Colorado of today with bigger brakes along with a friends 1 ton rated Dodge 3500 diesel full sized truck that is rated to tow over 15000 lbs.) When you put the trans cooler on make sure you change the fluid also - this is one of the most over looked maintenance things that never gets done along with the changing of brake fluid that should be done more often (especially when towing!!)
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Adirondackersouth » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:01 pm

Adirondackersouth wrote:Hello everyone,
Last May my old truck kicked the bucket and the new vehicle of rapid choice was a 2008 Toyota highlander. The price was right and needed a vehicle in 3 days. Long story short the sad thing about my choice is that it only has a 2000K towing capacity. Here is my question that may have some baring on my future teardrop or Tiny Travel Trailer Purchase.

The book says I can only pull 2K without a towing package.

Online on a forum I have watched they say I can add the cooler and the bigger fan and then I can tow 5K.

Is this legit for a basic model?

David :thumbsup:


Hello All,
I am not sure how to respond to all the fine information here except to do it here.

The issue is that the teardrop selection is kind of few and far between and are priced for square ft pretty high. I have talked to a number of people that have been in the RV business and they have seen teardrops go through the roof in price over the past decade. Frankly if they were a bit cheaper I would not be entertaining the idea of boosting my Highlander up to Small trailer level. I can find a 13-15 foot trailer a lot more often then I can find any reasonably prices teardrop. Used or otherwise.

Before I get hate mail about Teardrop pricing being reasonable. Let me add that I teach HS in a state that devalues teachers. We are ranked 41st in worst paid state in the country. I have friends who think nothing of getting a loan for 15,000 and picking up something they can tow. I am not that guy! I am the guy that scrapes money together to go on a trip and goes bare bones so I can maximize my time and money. Getting a 5K trailer right now is not in the cards. So an old Standy or teardrop from someone who wants to pass on the love of teardrop camping and isn't all about making a huge profit doing it. I have added up the cost of making one and think that I could probably make a really decent standy model in a basic way for about 2K in materials.

Any thoughts on the cost of putting in my own coolers and fan, etc. I am somewhat handy but realistically I am not a mechanic. What would a mechanic charge if I got the parts?

David :roll:
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Gettin Started » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:14 pm

$50 give or take for an ATF cooler. Many sources including local auto stores, but check this link and type in your vehicle to get a sense for options. I've never seen any additional parts beyond what comes with the cooler.

https://www.etrailer.com/fitguidetran.htm
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Adirondackersouth » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby KCStudly » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:25 am

Whatever you decide your budget is to build, at least double it.... and how ever long you expect it to take to build; triple it. Truth.

Especially if you are not a "handy" sort.

On the flip side, whatever "affordable" used camper you can find, expect deterioration to be well set in. :thumbdown:
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Redneck Teepee » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:25 am

I'll second KC's take on the matter ^^^^^^ Budgets are a guideline so things do not get to crazy or out of hand. Good luck on your search. :thumbsup:
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby pchast » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:32 pm

These guys are right about costs and time. But, let me say that if you can devote
1-200 every few paychecks its doable.
:thinking:
Keep things simple. No galley, throw a bit in a tongue box for cooking and use
battery lights and a cooler in the car. A vent is kind of important... If you can
manage to stay away from built-ins and extras You could keep the price real
small.

I didn't. :oops:
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Adirondackersouth » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:39 am

KCStudly wrote:Whatever you decide your budget is to build, at least double it.... and how ever long you expect it to take to build; triple it. Truth.

Especially if you are not a "handy" sort.

On the flip side, whatever "affordable" used camper you can find, expect deterioration to be well set in. :thumbdown:


Hey there KCStudly -
I appreciate the advice about budgets. When my X wife and I were general contractors on the 1K square foot addition on our second house 13 years ago I was constantly relearning something either in technique or concept that I previously thought I knew from reading about it or doing it. Some of the work we had done before ourselves and it was a snap. Teardrop trailers are I bet the same thing.

So lets see if this math sounds right.

2000 in materials + 2000 in MORE materials = 4000.00
Design phase (10 hours) + planning, obtaining the materials from various sources, making templates, bending gluing, sanding, installing and the various other surprises along the way comes to about what? 4 months?

David
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby Adirondackersouth » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:44 am

pchast wrote:These guys are right about costs and time. But, let me say that if you can devote
1-200 every few paychecks its doable.
:thinking:
Keep things simple. No galley, throw a bit in a tongue box for cooking and use
battery lights and a cooler in the car. A vent is kind of important... If you can
manage to stay away from built-ins and extras You could keep the price real
small.

I didn't. :oops:



That is good advice about the build ins. The galley area looks like the most expensive place to spend money
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Re: Toyota Highlander Basic Towing question

Postby KCStudly » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:23 am

Adirondackersouth wrote:4 months?


:roll: :worship: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I will answer with a question. Can you find any other build thread on this forum that completed a ground up build in that amount of time (that wasn't a production shop or retired person... even including those...), and if so, was the end result to the level of detail and quality that you have in mind for your build?

How many times have you read a thread that said the first time builder expected to assemble their trailer-in-a-box "today"; then it took three days to get it sorted out; and the bearings had still not been repacked, the wiring wasn't done, it wasn't level, and they had some other gripe that the store couldn't resolve the same day?

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it is better to have a realistic view. Yes, things may go swimmingly well for you, and I hope that is the case; but I advise that you be prepared for a longer trip. Even on a simple build.

Not trying to be adversarial, just trying to share my experience and the overwhelming evidence that I see posted all about this place. I budgeted from 3 to 5K and from 1 to 2-1/2 years. I haven't added up the receipts since crossing the 6.5k mark (probably closer to 7.5k with all of the epoxy/FG supplies and misc. stuff adding up... so far). After a year in design the actual build crossed the 4 yr mark in February (5 yrs and counting). Yes, mine is a much more detailed design with a self built trailer and what I hope can be considered a high level of fit and finish, but everything is relative. I am not alone in this hindsight. Very few get built on time; fewer within budget. Just saying.


Maybe you can use this dissenting view as motivation to prove me wrong. I'd like that. Go for it!
:beer:
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