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Old 02-23-2019, 03:57 PM   #1
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5th gen 4Runner Mods.

First off I want to say that I did a SEARCH on towing with a 4Runner. Not only that but I to copious notes I recent purchased a 2019 4Runner Limited.

I ordered a 21 Escape and yes I know I should have jumped into something like a Tundra but I didn't want a truck. I like what the 4Runner will do for me 90% of the time I'm not towing. Here's my questions.
1. On the shift lever transfer case you can move from Drive to S-mode in a blink of the eye. On steep descents where it's important to increase engine breaking force or when ascending increase torque which of the 5 levels in S- mode is advisable? Default is "4" according to the manual.
2. On relatively flat terrain should I stay put in the drive mode?
3. There has been some discussion about installing an auxiliary tranny cooler. Several list members report that a cooler reduces the tranny temperature by between 20 - 30 degrees. Any input on that would be appreciated.
4. For peace of mind would it make sense to monitor the tranny temperature with a Scan Gauge 11 ( like a few members have)? Or is this just another distraction?
5. Is it a valid argument to, as one member recently wrote to: "swap out the hitch and beef up the suspension a bit." What is wrong with the current hitch that it would need to be swapped out? Has anyone beefed up their suspension?
6. Does beefing up the suspension imply that you don't need a WDH?

Okay sorry for the rat-a-tat-tat series of questions.
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Old 02-23-2019, 04:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Telescopist View Post
I ordered a 21 Escape and yes I know I should have jumped into something like a Tundra but I didn't want a truck. I like what the 4Runner will do for me 90% of the time I'm not towing. Here's my questions.
1. On the shift lever transfer case you can move from Drive to S-mode in a blink of the eye. On steep descents where it's important to increase engine breaking force or when ascending increase torque which of the 5 levels in S- mode is advisable? Default is "4" according to the manual.
Those "levels" are gear ratios (or "speeds", or "gears"). There is no single correct answer, because the right gear depends on your road speed. When you move the lever to "S" the transmission picks a gear (usually 4th), and whether you go to even lower gears - or higher - depends on what you need to produce enough engine braking or climbing power (without making the engine speed too high).
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Old 02-23-2019, 04:18 PM   #3
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5. Is it a valid argument to, as one member recently wrote to: "swap out the hitch and beef up the suspension a bit." What is wrong with the current hitch that it would need to be swapped out?.
There was a generation of 4Runners which had a hitch receiver integrated with the frame that wasn't quite strong enough to take advantage of the vehicle's maximum towing capacity, especially when using WDH. The solution was to bolt on an accessory or aftermarket receiver. I don't know how you would do that with a 2019 4Runner: I don't think anyone makes an aftermarket hitch receiver to fit the current 4Runner, and there are no mounting provisions allowed for one by Toyota, because the vehicle now already comes with a suitable hitch.
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Old 02-23-2019, 04:23 PM   #4
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Transmission temperature

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Originally Posted by Telescopist View Post
3. There has been some discussion about installing an auxiliary tranny cooler. Several list members report that a cooler reduces the tranny temperature by between 20 - 30 degrees. Any input on that would be appreciated.
4. For peace of mind would it make sense to monitor the tranny temperature with a Scan Gauge 11 ( like a few members have)? Or is this just another distraction?
If you drive along staring at the transmission temperature monitor, that's definitely an undesirable distraction. If you glance at it once or twice on each particularly challenging high-speed hot-weather grade climb, I don't see a distraction concern. I would have this sort of monitor on my Sienna, except that the CAN system code to read the transmission temperature is not available for that vehicle.

I would certainly monitor transmission temperature to see if there is actually any temperature issue before second-guessing the vehicle's manufacturer and adding another transmission cooler.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:07 PM   #5
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Those "levels" are gear ratios (or "speeds", or "gears"). There is no single correct answer, because the right gear depends on your road speed. When you move the lever to "S" the transmission picks a gear (usually 4th), and whether you go to even lower gears - or higher - depends on what you need to produce enough engine braking or climbing power (without making the engine speed too high).
Yes. This was the answer I was expecting. Thanks
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:11 PM   #6
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If you drive along staring at the transmission temperature monitor, that's definitely an undesirable distraction. If you glance at it once or twice on each particularly challenging high-speed hot-weather grade climb, I don't see a distraction concern. I would have this sort of monitor on my Sienna, except that the CAN system code to read the transmission temperature is not available for that vehicle.

I would certainly monitor transmission temperature to see if there is actually any temperature issue before second-guessing the vehicle's manufacturer and adding another transmission cooler.
Understood. Thanks for the time to address my concerns. About the auxiliary tranny cooler, I'm going to error on the side of caution and install one.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:59 PM   #7
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I'm going to error on the side of caution and install one.

That would not be the cautious thing to do. Best discuss with your Toyota service manager.
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:19 PM   #8
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Something else you can do is switch to full synthetic oil and transmission, they have a higher temperature rating than standard fluids which are partially synthetic. You will have a larger margin before any damage.
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
There was a generation of 4Runners which had a hitch receiver integrated with the frame that wasn't quite strong enough to take advantage of the vehicle's maximum towing capacity, especially when using WDH. The solution was to bolt on an accessory or aftermarket receiver. I don't know how you would do that with a 2019 4Runner: I don't think anyone makes an aftermarket hitch receiver to fit the current 4Runner, and there are no mounting provisions allowed for one by Toyota, because the vehicle now already comes with a suitable hitch.
4th gen 4Runners like my 2005 and my father’s 2007 with the V6 have 5000# tow capacity but manual says no WDH. The V8 was available with a higher tow capacity and these have a beefier hitch and can use WDH. The 5th gen 4Runners only have the V6 but the 2019 manual doesn’t specifically mention the use of WDH or not. Best to check with Toyota.
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:03 PM   #10
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This is what I found in 2007 4Runner manual in regard to WDH.
I don't see anything prohibiting WDH
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File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 3.55.59 PM.jpg (188.2 KB, 21 views)
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:06 PM   #11
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But, there is always this warning that seems to be in all Toyota manuals.
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:14 PM   #12
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But, there is always this warning that seems to be in all Toyota manuals...
It was, but when this came up recently in another thread I noticed that the limit in recent manuals (at least for some models) is much higher. This is what the 2019 4Runner manual says:
Quote:
Toyota recommends that the vehicle-trailer speed limit is 65 mph
(104 km/h) on a flat, straight, dry road. Do not exceed this limit, the
posted towing speed limit or the speed limit for your trailer as set
forth in your trailer owner’s manual, whichever is lowest. Instability
of the towing vehicle-trailer combination (trailer sway) increases as
speed increases. Exceeding speed limits may cause loss of control.
The current Highlander manual contains exactly the same text; it may be Toyota's new standard statement.
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:47 PM   #13
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Something else you can do is switch to full synthetic oil and transmission, they have a higher temperature rating than standard fluids which are partially synthetic. You will have a larger margin before any damage.
Good point. I'll find out what type if transmission fluid was put in from the get go. I'll call the dealer on Monday.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:19 PM   #14
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4th gen 4Runners like my 2005 and my father’s 2007 with the V6 have 5000# tow capacity but manual says no WDH. The V8 was available with a higher tow capacity and these have a beefier hitch and can use WDH. The 5th gen 4Runners only have the V6 but the 2019 manual doesn’t specifically mention the use of WDH or not. Best to check with Toyota.
I did. I talked to the service manager. He has no clue whether or not I should use the WDH. He redirected me to Toyota International or whatever it's called. Good luck with that. He also had no clue about installing a auxiliary tranny cooler. 'Would have to look into that', he said.

I was amused about how little my salesman was in terms of his knowledge base with respect the the 4Runner. He didn't even know if it had a 4plug, 7plug, or no plug connection in the back.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:27 PM   #15
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The material I posted from the 2007 manual seemed to defer to the hitch manufacturer.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:01 PM   #16
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I did. I talked to the service manager. He has no clue whether or not I should use the WDH. He redirected me to Toyota International or whatever it's called. Good luck with that. He also had no clue about installing a auxiliary tranny cooler. 'Would have to look into that', he said.

I was amused about how little my salesman was in terms of his knowledge base with respect the the 4Runner. He didn't even know if it had a 4plug, 7plug, or no plug connection in the back.
Sales people generally know nothing except pricing and the availability of options. Service people know how to perform standard service procedures, and essentially nothing else. While auto manufacturers like to refer customers to the dealerships, any non-standard request of a dealership is essentially pointless.

There is nothing called exactly "Toyota International", but that would be Toyota Motor Corporation and they don't interact with customers; the regional operations such as Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Canada handle that. That's normal for a major manufacturer of any product; when a dealership refers you to the manufacturer, it's normally the customer service department of those regional subsidiaries that they mean. It's rare to get anything from the regional operations beyond what is in the owner's manual, but it couldn't hurt to ask.

Dealerships tend to avoid non-OEM accessories, other than wheels and bolt-on cosmetic stuff. Towing equipment tends to be handled by sending the vehicle out to a hitch shop. I don't have much faith in a hitch shop to do anything other than bolting on hitch and running some wiring (and even that is problematic sometimes).
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:02 PM   #17
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The material I posted from the 2007 manual seemed to defer to the hitch manufacturer.
For a 2019, the hitch manufacturer is Toyota. There is no warning against using a WDH, so unless the sticker on the hitch gives only "weight-carrying" limits, I say use a WDH if you decide it is appropriate.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:44 AM   #18
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This is what I found in 2007 4Runner manual in regard to WDH.
I don't see anything prohibiting WDH
Glenn: The 4th Gen V6 4Runners all come standard with a “weight carrying hitch”. The second page you attached says, “Do not install weight distributing hitch to weight carrying hitch receiver because it will be damaged your vehicle.” Bad grammar by Toyota, but I take this to mean you need the weight distributing hitch receiver (that is only available with the V8) and coincides with their comment that a WDH is recommended if towing a trailer over 5000# (because the tow capacity of the V8 is higher). I believe it is about how the stock weight carrying hitch is designed on a rear crossmember only and handling the stress of a WDH. If I like I can bolt on an aftermarket receiver (that bolts to the frame rails directly) or the V8 version and use a WDH.

The only reason this at all matters (maybe) to the OP is the newer generation 4Runners are only available with a V6 and 5000# towing. Unless Toyota changed the hitch design the same issue may be at hand. Then again, etrailer sells upgraded hitches for the 4th gen but I don’t see any for the 5th gen (2010+) so it is possible they are ready for use with a WDH.
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:22 AM   #19
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I'll defer to Brian B-P.
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:55 AM   #20
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For a 2019, the hitch manufacturer is Toyota. There is no warning against using a WDH, so unless the sticker on the hitch gives only "weight-carrying" limits, I say use a WDH if you decide it is appropriate.
Understood. When I arrive for orientation on May 21 I'll rely on the advice of the Escape people. Don't doubt they run into these things many times.
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