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Old 06-03-2013, 08:51 AM   #1
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towing vehicle

We have a 19 on order for late summer completion and now need to start our search for a tow vehicle. My wife really likes the new Toyota Highlanders even though I favor the Honda Pilot somewhat. I want her to share some of the driving so we will probably end up with the Toyota. When we were out test driving them this weekend I noticed the Highlanders that had a factory hitch and tow package came with a flat 4 wire connector on bumper. So here are my questions.

Does Toyota do the conversion to 7 wire at the dealership or is it something I would need to go elsewhere to have this done?

What about the break controller? We were going to add that to our options from Escape but would it be better to purchase it now and have it setup before our trip to Chilliwack?

Can you get all this done at the factory when you pick it up your trailer from Tammy and Reace?

And finally, are the 19 owners out there who are towing with the newer (2009 or later) Highlanders happy with their towing experiences?

Thanks,
John
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jrn56 View Post
We have a 19 on order for late summer completion and now need to start our search for a tow vehicle. My wife really likes the new Toyota Highlanders even though I favor the Honda Pilot somewhat. I want her to share some of the driving so we will probably end up with the Toyota. When we were out test driving them this weekend I noticed the Highlanders that had a factory hitch and tow package came with a flat 4 wire connector on bumper. So here are my questions.

Does Toyota do the conversion to 7 wire at the dealership or is it something I would need to go elsewhere to have this done?

What about the break controller? We were going to add that to our options from Escape but would it be better to purchase it now and have it setup before our trip to Chilliwack?

Can you get all this done at the factory when you pick it up your trailer from Tammy and Reace?

And finally, are the 19 owners out there who are towing with the newer (2009 or later) Highlanders happy with their towing experiences?

Thanks,
John
John, our Tacoma with tow package came with the round 7 wire. I would first talk with the Toyota dealership people and see what your options are from them. If Toyota has it as an option to get the 7 wire, then it will also come prewired and ready for a brake controller to just be plugged into the system.

Eric
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
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Also, make sure the hitch receiver from Toyota is a Class III so you can use a weight distribution hitch. The factory hitch for my 2008 RAV4 was only class II so I went with an after-market hitch receiver.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #4
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With a newer Pilot there are no worries, it comes ready for tow. Some of the lower models need the wiring at the hitch, and they all need a brake controller, but with my Touring model, it was just plug and play.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:36 PM   #5
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Also, make sure the hitch receiver from Toyota is a Class III so you can use a weight distribution hitch. The factory hitch for my 2008 RAV4 was only class II so I went with an after-market hitch receiver.
It looks like the Toyota factory hitch is class III but includes a flat 4 wire harness. It seems like a vehicle with a towing capacity of 5000 lbs would be wired for trailer brakes. I guess Honda is a little smarter.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:30 PM   #6
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Toyota factory hitch ( class II ) cost $300 more than the class III I had installed. And my install included brake controller. Install was done in Toyota dealer shop.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:30 PM   #7
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John, The Highlander with the factory tow package still requires a converter and a wiring harness, all for a 4 wire setup. You have to have someone or yourself add extra wiring for the 7 wire setup. It's any easy project to do - I have done 4 Highlanders thus far. Here's a writeup on how to do it,

Wiring for 7 Wire Trailer Setup - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

A Toyota dealer may do it, but it could get costly. Some have had an independent shop or even U-Haul do the job. I don't think that Escape would take on this wiring job. Again, a job you could do by yourself or with a friend to help out. If you or have someone do the wiring I would suggest that you also put in the brake controller before picking up your Escape. Unfortunately, Toyota has not applied the Plug-n-Play brake controller concept to the Highlander.

To summarized, you need a hitch, converter, wire harness (all from Toyota or third party like trailer.com), brake controller and additional wiring (for the electric brakes and to charge the trailer battery from the TV alternator).

I tow my 19 Escape with a 2008 Highlander and my younger son also tows it with his 2012 Highlander. We are both pleased with the combination.

Rick
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:44 PM   #8
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John,

We picked up our 19' Escape about a month ago. We tow with a 2012 Highlander and have been very pleased with the combo. I must admit the mpg kind of suprised me, I have been getting around 15 miles to the gallon so far, better than I expected. I had a independent shop handle the wiring for the 7 pin and brake controller.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:04 AM   #9
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It sounds like people are happy towing a 19 with the Highlander. Since we will be driving this vehicle everyday without towing it needs to meet those needs too. The Pilot is still in the running too.

Thanks for the feedback,
John
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:02 AM   #10
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It seems strange that the car company's still seem perplexed at what equiptment people need to tow trailers. For the most part they have it figured out with full Size trucks with built in brake controllers and such but they sure seem to be missing the mark with smaller vehicles
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