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Old 08-18-2016, 07:10 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
Now on to the OP's thought to "pick up a 4Runner".
I originally towed my 21' with a 2003 4Runner V6 4WD that did very well, all things considered. However if picking up a used one, some 4Runners came with a lighter duty weight carrying receiver which bolted only into a rear cross-member--all bolts within about 4 inches of each other. I switched that out for a weight distributing receiver that bolted more securely to both frame rails.

These terms are important since the weight carrying receiver was rated at 5000 lbs and would not allow a weight distributing hitch (Andersen) but the weight distributing receiver was rated at 6500 lbs and would allow a WDH. I'd hate to see a repeat of the Flex adventure with just the weight carrying hitch on an older 4R.
Hi: Bill and Earline... Thanks for your real world experience!!! Seems like a lot of technocats but little real life experience here.
It's a sad situation to be put in but I'm just glad it played out as it did. Alf
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:49 AM   #22
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'03-'09 6 cyl 4Runners have the lighter duty hitch bolted to the rear cross member of the frame. 8 cyl models from those years have the better hitch that bolts to the side frame rails. Converting to the better hitch is easy, $200 for the hitch, and the frame is already drilled and tapped. '10 and newer only come with lighter hitch, and converting to a better hitch is a custom job.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
Now on to the OP's thought to "pick up a 4Runner".
I originally towed my 21' with a 2003 4Runner V6 4WD that did very well, all things considered. However if picking up a used one, some 4Runners came with a lighter duty weight carrying receiver which bolted only into a rear cross-member--all bolts within about 4 inches of each other. I switched that out for a weight distributing receiver that bolted more securely to both frame rails.

These terms are important since the weight carrying receiver was rated at 5000 lbs and would not allow a weight distributing hitch (Andersen) but the weight distributing receiver was rated at 6500 lbs and would allow a WDH. I'd hate to see a repeat of the Flex adventure with just the weight carrying hitch on an older 4R.
Good catch, Bill

There's nothing wrong with bolting "only into a rear cross-member" - after all, any conventional hitch receiver is just a bolted-in crossmember with a socket in the middle - as long as that crossmember is suitably strong. In the previous-generation 4Runners that particular crossmember was suitable only for 5000 lb, and only for weight-carrying (no WD).

For an Escape owner, this means using that bolted-on receiver if using WD.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:05 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
'03-'09 6 cyl 4Runners have the lighter duty hitch bolted to the rear cross member of the frame. 8 cyl models from those years have the better hitch that bolts to the side frame rails. Converting to the better hitch is easy, $200 for the hitch, and the frame is already drilled and tapped.
Right - so for towing with the '03-'09 4Runner beyond the limits of the hitch integrated with the rear crossmember, use a suitable bolted-in receiver to avoid a problem similar to (but not quite the same cause as) the Flex with an inadequate aftermarket hitch.

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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
'10 and newer only come with lighter hitch, and converting to a better hitch is a custom job.
The 2010+ 4Runner crossmember is different, and Toyota rates it for towing the way the previous added-on hitch is rated - suitable for the full capacity of the vehicle (5000 pounds) with no mention of a WD restriction. Why would one assume that it is inadequate and needs conversion to something else - has there been some problem with them? Simply being a welded-in crossmember of the frame doesn't make it "lighter" than anything.

I think the lesson from Brian's story of the Flex is that the vehicle manufacturer knows what they are doing, and using their properly designed hitch within its limits works; an aftermarket hitch comes with no guarantee of suitability.

For comparison, the second-generation (current) Toyota Sequoia also has a hitch receiver integrated with the rear crossmember, which (like the 4Runner) also serves as the bumper support bar. The vehicle and that hitch are rated by Toyota for 7,000 to 7,400 pounds of trailer (depending on vehicle features, limited not by the hitch but by GCWR) with hitch load up to 11% of that (so up to 814 pounds), and WD explicitly allowed in the manual.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:53 PM   #25
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The added on hitch, as you call it, from 03 to 09 raised the towing capicity by 1500 lbs. I would call that heavier duty. Such an option isn't available on more recent models which have a lesser, or lighter duty towing capacity. That capacity might be fine, but it is still less.
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Old 08-19-2016, 12:14 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The 2010+ 4Runner crossmember is different, and Toyota rates it for towing the way the previous added-on hitch is rated - suitable for the full capacity of the vehicle (5000 pounds) with no mention of a WD restriction. .
The one year old 4 Runner we now own has a, solidly welded to the frame, cross member. It appears to me to be very strong. The dimensions are 4 inches by 2 inches. This looks to me to be a similar arrangement or even better than the Tacoma for which Toyota recommends a WDH when towing weights at the upper end of its rating.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
'03-'09 6 cyl 4Runners have the lighter duty hitch bolted to the rear cross member of the frame. 8 cyl models from those years have the better hitch that bolts to the side frame rails. Converting to the better hitch is easy, $200 for the hitch, and the frame is already drilled and tapped. '10 and newer only come with lighter hitch, and converting to a better hitch is a custom job.
I updated my 08 V6 4Runner to the frame mount hitch.
Here are some pictures of the differences in a thread from a year or so ago Towing With Toyota 4Runner
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:08 PM   #28
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Thanks, Ian, that is on my to do list just for peace of mind. I assume you are happy with the upgrade.
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I'm glad to hear that you caught this, but sad to hear that the apparent incompetence of the aftermarket hitch manufacturer ruined a good vehicle.
Just watched the install of a Hidden Hitch 87571. Why is the hitch mfg incompetent? The bolts that pulled through were OEM installed...by Ford.

http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitc...tch/87571.html
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:23 PM   #30
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Thanks, Ian, that is on my to do list just for peace of mind. I assume you are happy with the upgrade.
Very please, I use the Andersen hitch and not a problem ... except the tailgate hits the jack the ball needed to be 2.5" further away ... but I called Andersen and they now have an extended receiver, longer by 3". Mine just arrived but won't be able to test if for a week or so.
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