Can a Toyota Highlander 2wd tow a 17B without a weight distribution hitch? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-26-2016, 07:34 PM   #1
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Question Can a Toyota Highlander 2wd tow a 17B without a weight distribution hitch?

If a Toyota Highlander can tow a 17B without a wdh, are there any other concerns?
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
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All you can do is try it. My RAV4 can tow mine without WDH, but with WDH is more comfortable and secure feeling.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:48 PM   #3
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If a Toyota Highlander can tow a 17B without a wdh, are there any other concerns?
We have a 2011 Honda Pilot 2WD (very similar to the Highlander), and tow a 2015 17A with no problem, without a WDH. On the 17's the trailer axle is 12 feet from the coupler, so the trailer is extremely stable. On the way from ETI with our new trailer, I experimented with trying to induce sway, and also watched the trailer in the mirror when semi's passed us going the other way on the two-lane road. No sway or movement was detected. Again, I find the 17 a very, very stable tow.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:20 PM   #4
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If a Toyota Highlander can tow a 17B without a wdh, are there any other concerns?
The Highlanders have evolved greatly over the years. Newer ones are very capable. Which year are you considering?
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Glenn. I'm weary of wrestling with it. Even though it is good exercise to hook and un-hook it.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:53 PM   #6
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The Highlanders have evolved greatly over the years. Newer ones are very capable. Which year are you considering?
2017 as they will have sonar for parking...which I have on my Sienna and it has sved my bacon more than once.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:08 PM   #7
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Have to say, my buddy bought a Highlander recently and he is still using his WDH with his 19. I think it's just a more comfortable ride.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:41 PM   #8
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2017 as they will have sonar for parking...which I have on my Sienna and it has sved my bacon more than once.
Can hardly believe that they did not put sonar on a Highlander all of this time. We have it on our 2011 4Runner. Can't do without it now. I never turn it off. It can beep with the ball mount on because, if you turn it off then, you will likely forget to turn it back on.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:09 AM   #9
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Even within the current model year, there is a choice of powertrains (engines and transmissions):
  • The 2.7L four-cylinder has a towing capacity of only 1500 pounds, so is not suitable for any Escape. This isn't a concern in Canada - we don't get the 4-cylinder Highlander here.
  • The hybrid (with 3.5L six-cylinder) has a towing capacity of 3500 pounds, so it may be suitable for a 17' Escape, depending on how much in-vehicle passenger and cargo load can be combined with the trailer; however, there is no 2WD hybrid Highlander (they're all 4WD).
  • The 3.5L six-cylinder (non-hybrid version) has a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, so it can certainly handle a 17' Escape... even in the 2WD (which is front-wheel-drive) version.
It looks like the rear parking assist sonar only comes on the Limited trim level. In the U.S. that is available with 2WD, but in Canada a Limited is AWD only.

The distance from the Highlander's rear axle to the towing ball is probably roughly 40% of the wheelbase. The tongue weight of a loaded-to-the-max Escape 17' (4000 pounds total, including about 1800 pounds of options, water, propane, and your stuff) with 12% tongue weight (higher than necessary, but the same ratio as a typical empty Escape) would be about 480 pounds. That is within the vehicle's hitch weight rating, and would reduce front axle load by about 190 pounds... about 8% of the empty Highlander's front axle load. Is that enough to need WD? I don't think so.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:28 AM   #10
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Brian hits on an important point for those who commonly ask if they "need" a WDH. The purpose of a weight distribution hitches is just that -- to distribute weight, from the rear to the front of the tow vehicle. If the rear axle load of your setup will far exceed the front axle load, a WDH is "needed". The fact that you sometimes get a better ride or less sway depending on the setup is a secondary benefit. We don't "need" a WDH with our 19 and our pickup, but we like the feel when using it vs not.

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