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Old 02-02-2015, 12:16 PM   #141
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Just remembered that at least for the 2013 model year all SE models had the tow package as standard- whether or not you got the factory receiver hitch.

I don't disagree that the aftermarket hitches are not a bad choice and if buying a used Highlander that didn't have one but had the tow package I would make it work as I have with other after market hitches on other vehicles. If you have to do an aftermarket just don't assume that the OEM is not competitive. When looking for one for my son's 2004 Highlander(gen 1) it turns out the OEM came with the wiring harness that just plugged in to a receptacle. It bolted on easily and we didn't have to buy the harness or maybe figure out how to wire it in, which can be very difficult on some vehicles. On our Murano it took the dealership over 6 hours(honored the 1.5 hour quote) and they had to remove the headliner!
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:23 PM   #142
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Get quotes.
I got my class III after market hitch and install, wiring and install of Prodigy brake controller ( I provided controller ), for $650. It was installed at the Toyota dealer ( they wanted to sell a car ).
The Toyota OEM class II hitch alone was almost $1,000.
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:17 PM   #143
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Just to reinforce what Ross said: the auto manufacturers don't cover everything you need for towing, but on the things they do cover they do some really good work. Definitely at least consider what is available.

We have the OEM receiver on our Sienna, and although it was significantly more expensive than aftermarket (but not by nearly as much as Baglo's), mounts the same way as aftermarket, and doesn't even integrate with the bumper... it still fits better and is constructed better than most aftermarket alternatives for this model of vehicle.
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Old 02-02-2015, 06:51 PM   #144
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The nice thing about buying a newer vehicle set up for towing is that some trucks will already have your electric brake controller installed. They work in conjunction with the vehicle transmission and the on board computer for best use. In addition with tow mode activated the transmission will "engine brake" on those long down hill segments to save your brakes.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:02 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I believe Glenn Baglo has posted several times his tongue weight on the Escape 17, try him and or here are some numbers Trailer Weights in the Real World - Fiberglass RV
Any tow vehicle rated 350/3500 should be adequate. That said, going with a 500/5000 should allow you extra just in case you get the "2 foot itis" and want a Escape 19 later on.
I would endorse going with your more conservative suggested hitch/towing limits of 500/5000 lbs. Not all tow vehicles live up to their towing specs equally. One issue I ran into with a Dodge caravan we had was that despite our tent trailer and load being within the tow limit, we went through 2 transmissions in 9 years. A transmission repair mechanic pointed out that the various manufacturers often overate the vehicle towing capacity, especially for more than occasional use. He showed me the friction disc sizes in the Caravan's transmission vs ones from a Safari van, and what a difference! His point was that the Caravan's transmission wasn't designed to tow, while the much larger Safari discs were actually the size of a truck transmission.

I'm guessing that the only place you would get reliable information on the longevity of tow vehicles is from forums like this. I think trucks wouldn't be an issue, but SUVs and vans might be over time. Even with trucks, manufacturers can rate their towing limits differently. Our 1996 F150 at its towing limit was scary, while our 2005 Tundra was much more manageable. Better brakes, engine power, etc with the Toyota and yet they had very similar towing limits (as per their manuals).

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Old 02-02-2015, 07:12 PM   #146
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Caravan transmission wasn't designed to handle the van, never mind towing.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:54 PM   #147
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Exactly. You can't always believe the sales people or even the manual when buying a tow vehicle. Hopefully Ford is more conservative with their towing limits on their newer trucks.

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Old 02-02-2015, 10:08 PM   #148
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Quote:
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Caravan transmission wasn't designed to handle the van, never mind towing.
2X! I've had 3 of them, and needed transmission repair on all of them. Only towing was an occasional utility trailer. While I loved the size & ease of stuffing things in it, I was glad to get rid of the last one & switch to a RAV4. Like Glenn, I tow a 17B, 56,000 miles so far. Tongue weight at 345 lbs & loaded trailer weight 3010 lbs.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:26 PM   #149
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... In addition with tow mode activated the transmission will "engine brake" on those long down hill segments to save your brakes.
Engine braking is a valuable technique (when properly used), and transmission control features which do it automatically (when a grade descent is detected) and effectively (which requires locking the torque converter) are handy. Both my 2004 Toyota van and my 2008 Ford motorhome do this... towing or not. The van has this feature with or without the towing preparation package (and has no tow mode), and the motorhome has a tow/haul mode switch.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:53 AM   #150
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We have towed our 17b about 1000 miles since January with our 2011 RAV4, tow package, and Anderson hitch. Plenty of power to maintain 65 mph up interstate passes although it downshifts to 4th gear. 2012 RAV4's should be coming off lease right now if you are interested.
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