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Old 02-22-2021, 10:50 PM   #1
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2019 RAV4 Adventure & 17B

Hey yall. Im extremely interested in an escape 17b, and I currently have a vehicle that I was hoping would be suffice but after a quick chat with someone at escape, it seems they think it might be a little under powered, so Im hoping someone else has some ideas on what we could do. Our RAV4 adventure AWD, 4 cylinder has a towing capacity of 3500, and a payload of 1090. It would be for two people only, almost always driving to campgrounds dry and filling up there. Does anyone here have any similar set ups? Were definitely wanting something that can go the distance without too much restriction on kind of terrain we can tackle, but were not afraid to take mountains roads slowly of course. But we also dont want to ruin our toad in the process. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:41 AM   #2
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I cancelled my order for a new 17B after I found out that it would weigh too much for my 2010 Rav4 V6 with towing package. Instead I bought a 2010 17B which is lighter and has less tongue weight. My 17B weighs about 3200lb with full water and loaded with all my stuff. My Rav has the same towing specs as yours...3500/350. I added an aux transmission cooler to help protect the transmission from high temps. I also use a Scanguage to monitor the transmission temp as well as other things.

I don't know much about the newer Rav4 but I sure like having the 269HP V6. I just got back from a 2500mi trip which included Death Valley, many steep mountain passes, 30+mph headwinds/crosswinds in NV and Im very pleased with how the Rav performed. With the exception of climbing out of Death Valley on Daylight Pass Rd, I can easily maintain 55mph on I-5s passes thru Oregon and California. The headwinds combined with climbing 3000 in NV knocked fuel mileage down to about 12 where I typically average 15-16mpg. But the trailer and Rav were more stable in the crosswinds than I would have thought. I am careful to pay attention to proper trailer loading and use a WDH with sway damping.

Also, I always tow with full fresh water. Its nice to be able to stay overnight in a rest area and be able to use the shower and toilet. Also since the fresh water is behind the axle it lightens the tongue weight.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:08 AM   #3
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I cancelled my order for a new 17B after I found out that it would weigh too much for my 2010 Rav4 V6 with towing package. Instead I bought a 2010 17B which is lighter and has less tongue weight. My 17B weighs about 3200lb with full water and loaded with all my stuff. My Rav has the same towing specs as yours...3500/350. I added an aux transmission cooler to help protect the transmission from high temps. I also use a Scanguage to monitor the transmission temp as well as other things.

I don't know much about the newer Rav4 but I sure like having the 269HP V6. I just got back from a 2500mi trip which included Death Valley, many steep mountain passes, 30+mph headwinds/crosswinds in NV and Im very pleased with how the Rav performed. With the exception of climbing out of Death Valley on Daylight Pass Rd, I can easily maintain 55mph on I-5s passes thru Oregon and California. The headwinds combined with climbing 3000 in NV knocked fuel mileage down to about 12 where I typically average 15-16mpg. But the trailer and Rav were more stable in the crosswinds than I would have thought. I am careful to pay attention to proper trailer loading and use a WDH with sway damping.

Also, I always tow with full fresh water. Its nice to be able to stay overnight in a rest area and be able to use the shower and toilet. Also since the fresh water is behind the axle it lightens the tongue weight.
Hey thanks a lot for the reply. I really appreciate it. Our rav comes equipped with a upgraded radiator, an engine oil cooler, and a transmission cooler with the adventure trim.

I wish we could find an older 17b but it seems like they dont pop up too often. We wouldnt be traveling with our tanks full, and id say we pack pretty lightly but who knows!

I was really bummed when the sales rep said they recommended a towing capacity of 4000 or 5000 for the new 17B.

Im pretty sure we could actually be under the ratings, tongue weight too but not by much and Im not sure how damaging it would be to the rav to get so close to the max.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:32 AM   #4
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I think this combination at best will be right up against the limits, and in spirit may be above the limits of what the RAV4 was designed to do.

The 3500lb tow rating, is per the manual, for a vehicle empty of all but the driver and one passenger. You can assume they expect those two people to weigh 150 lbs each. So every pound above 300 going into the car should be considered as subtracted from the tow rating.

Air drag is the bigger place where the Escape 17 is going to be more than the engineers tested for. The SAE J2807 tow standard assumes that the trailer frontal area scales with the trailer weight and I would guess this assumption held in the vehicle development testing as well. When people think of a 3500 lb tow rating, they are thinking of a utility flatbed, a pop-up, or a small enclosed utility trailer. The Escape 17 drag force towing is going to be more like 4000-5000 pound tow rated vehicle is designed for.

Your questions left then are:
1) Is is safe? - My first step is to really check everything (GVWR, GCVWR etc.) and consider what has no margin and how comfortable I am with that. For example, I'd never like having a single GAWR at the limit.
2) Will you break it? - I'd be more worried about this. You're going to be right up against the maximum for weight and for sure pulling a much bigger frontal area than they tested for. That means the vehicle will run a higher load factor on the powertrain than they ever tested for, all day long while towing.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:38 AM   #5
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You could definitely tow an older one or a 15a or b so worth keeping your eyes open for it.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:22 AM   #6
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It certainly can be done . I would talk to Jon Vermilye. I am sure he will be happy share his experiences .



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Old 02-23-2021, 08:52 AM   #7
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It certainly can be done . I would talk to Jon Vermilye. I am sure he will be happy share his experiences .



2015 Trip to Alaska & More, Day 1
Well, I've have posted many times about towing a 17B with a RAV 4 Sport, but the differences between my situation & the original poster are significant. First the 2010 RAV4 I towed with had the V6 rather than a 4. I rarely felt any lack of power, although I have to admit that I joined the trucks going over I 70 Eisenhower Tunnel approach, and the climb to Cedar Breaks was interesting. A second difference is trailer weight. My 17B was a 2011, actual weight varied between 3010 pounds & 3100 pounds, with 345 pounds of tongue weight. My biggest complaint was the small fuel tank & low ground clearance.

I have no idea of how comfortable towing with the considerably smaller 4 cylinder engine would be, but I suspect for long trips it would be a problem. The V6 equipped RAV4 Sport was the "hottest" vehicle I've driven since my '69 Camaro SS convertible (Boy, I did love that car, although it was junk compared to the RAV4). As to stability, I found the RAV4 a more stable tow vehicle than my Tacoma Off Road. I suspect it was because of the short distance between the trailer ball and the rear axle since it was a much shorter wheelbase than the truck.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by thompkinz View Post
Hey yall. Im extremely interested in an escape 17b, and I currently have a vehicle that I was hoping would be suffice but after a quick chat with someone at escape, it seems they think it might be a little under powered, so Im hoping someone else has some ideas on what we could do. Our RAV4 adventure AWD, 4 cylinder has a towing capacity of 3500, and a payload of 1090. It would be for two people only, almost always driving to campgrounds dry and filling up there. Does anyone here have any similar set ups? Were definitely wanting something that can go the distance without too much restriction on kind of terrain we can tackle, but were not afraid to take mountains roads slowly of course. But we also dont want to ruin our toad in the process. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Although they are no longer in production, you could think about picking up a used 15A or 15B, which would likely be a better fit with your Rav4. We purchased a similar new Rav4 Trail edition in 2018. Although we have not used the Rav4 for towing our 15B (we mostly towed with an FJ or 4Runner), I expect based on our driving experience over the past few years with the Rav4 that it would be 'adequate' for towing the 15B.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:09 AM   #9
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...I’m pretty sure we could actually be under the ratings, tongue weight too but not by much and I’m not sure how damaging it would be to the rav to get so close to the max.
Read this thread on the newer 17b weights...https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post217957

When I initially placed my order for a new 17b I was going by Jon Vermilye’s “Trailer Weights in the Real World” spreadsheet. http://lakeshoreimages.com/spreadsheets/Weight.xlsx. What I didn't realize was that all the 17b’s on the list were of the older generation. Currently the newest one on the list is a 2013. Escape changed the mold somewhere around 2016-2017 and from that point forward the weight went up.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:40 AM   #10
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Well, I've have posted many times about towing a 17B with a RAV 4 Sport, but the differences between my situation & the original poster are significant. First the 2010 RAV4 I towed with had the V6 rather than a 4. I rarely felt any lack of power, although I have to admit that I joined the trucks going over I 70 Eisenhower Tunnel approach, and the climb to Cedar Breaks was interesting. A second difference is trailer weight. My 17B was a 2011, actual weight varied between 3010 pounds & 3100 pounds, with 345 pounds of tongue weight. My biggest complaint was the small fuel tank & low ground clearance.

I have no idea of how comfortable towing with the considerably smaller 4 cylinder engine would be, but I suspect for long trips it would be a problem. The V6 equipped RAV4 Sport was the "hottest" vehicle I've driven since my '69 Camaro SS convertible (Boy, I did love that car, although it was junk compared to the RAV4). As to stability, I found the RAV4 a more stable tow vehicle than my Tacoma Off Road. I suspect it was because of the short distance between the trailer ball and the rear axle since it was a much shorter wheelbase than the truck.

I missed the fact the OP was referring to the 4 cylinder. I am suppressed the 4 cyl has a towing capacity of 3500. I have done some towing with 4 cylinders in the past.personal I would only consider towing a small pop up under 1500 lbs. maybe a older 15 escape.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:56 AM   #11
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203 hp, which is an adequate number. But it only makes that power level above 6000 rpm. I look at the power curves published and it reaches about 140 hp by 4000 rpm. This engine will struggle to maintain speed with a full cross section trailer on near-level ground without frequently downshifting to access 4000+ rpm. It's going to be a busy, noisy tow vehicle.

Just some seat of the pants stuff, but pulling a trailer like an Escape will put you into the range of needing 120 - 200 hp a lot when running highway speeds. Figure like 120 running on the flat, 200 as you climb a modest rise to a highway overpass or something like that. You can look at published engine power curves to see what kinds of engine rpms your transmission will be giving you as it tries to maintain speed down the highway.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:05 AM   #12
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I’d consider trading the rav4 in for a Highlander, which would be perfect for a 17b or , as some do, a 19 or 21. Just get the xle or above trim with all wheel drive. With a 17 you’d have plenty of margin.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:17 PM   #13
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Id consider trading the rav4 in for a Highlander, which would be perfect for a 17b or , as some do, a 19 or 21. Just get the xle or above trim with all wheel drive. With a 17 youd have plenty of margin.

Last service on my 2008 RAV4 V6 Sport I was advised I needed suspension work. Estimate came to about $3,000.

Gave the RAV to my daughter and bought a Highlander XLE. Have yet to tow the 17B any distance, but with 5,000 lb. tow max, I'll be very comfortable.
You will pay more in maintenance for a stressed vehicle.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:22 PM   #14
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Since the OP was asking for advice...mine is that his Rav is undersized for the newer 17B's. Actually it is probably not really a good choice even for an older ligher 17B.

While I'm happy with my Rav and 17B, it is a tradeoff. I can't carry anything in the cargo area of the Rav because tongue weight is already at the maximum. So that means everything I take has to fit in the trailer. That means when I'm traveling I have my 60lb paramotor stored on the axle in front of the fridge. It is big and bulky. When staying overnight while on the road I have to move it to the dinette area which impedes access to the bathroom door. I would really like to have a tow vehicle that I could load up with my "stuff" so that the trailer is more user friendly when traveling. The Rav is a daily driver for my wife that doubles once/twice a year as my tow vehicle when I go on a big camping trip. So, I live with and respect it's limitations. This will change in the future, but at this point I don't want to buy a second vehicle that better suited for towing since I don't tow very often. I would not want to tow even my older and lighter 17B with anything less capable than my current Rav.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:46 PM   #15
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Escape changed the mold somewhere around 2016-2017 and from that point forward the weight went up.
True. During 2016, Escape updated all of the models to the new style with vertical side walls; both styles were built that year. Since they are the same width at the belt line, the vertical wall makes trailers of the newer style about 4 inches wider at the bottom (and top) which means more floor (and roof) and axle length and frame crossmember length. The overall result was an increase in the weight of every model which was a small fraction of the trailer weight, but significant to people near their towing limits.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:04 PM   #16
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The 3500lb tow rating, is per the manual, for a vehicle empty of all but the driver and one passenger. You can assume they expect those two people to weigh 150 lbs each. So every pound above 300 going into the car should be considered as subtracted from the tow rating.
Likely, but not necessarily. That assumes that trailer weight rating is determined entirely by gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and curb weight, and that is unlikely to work out to exactly one of the SAE J604 trailer weight classes (in this case, Class 2) by coincidence, unless the GCWR is fudged to make this work out.

From the owner's manual for the 2019 RAV4:
Quote:
Confirm that the gross trailer weight, gross combination weight, gross vehicle weight, gross axle weight and tongue weight are all within the limits.
■ GCWR*
 Without towing package
Vehicles without Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD system: 6110 lb. (2770 kg)
Vehicles with Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD system: 6205 lb. (2815 kg)
 With towing package
8205 lb. (3725 kg)
...
So if this RAV4 with the towing package has an empty weight of 8205 - 3500 = 4708 pounds, adding anything to it would take away from the gross combination weight allowance remaining for the trailer.

In fact the curb weight (empty but with fuel and ready to drive) of a 2019 RAV4 is hundreds of pounds less than 4700 pounds, so a couple of people fit without reducing the allowed trailer weight... as far as GCWR is concerned. I would load the RAV4 up as if going on a trip, except for the trailer, and take it to a scale to see what it really weighs with you and your stuff. Subtract that from 8205 pounds and you have one of the limits on what the trailer could weigh, instead of trying to adjust the 3500 pound trailer limit for passengers. Also check the rear axle weight at the same time, and make sure that it is hundreds of pounds below the rear axle gross weight rating (GAWR-rear), which is shown on the placard which is probably on the edge of the driver's door.

The 2019 RAV4 owners manual has an excellent section about trailer towing - I strongly suggest reading it.

The high air drag of a travel trailer compared to the J2807 test trailer is a valid concern.
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