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Old 03-21-2013, 07:52 PM   #1
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after market tow package

We're considering a used Highlander that doesn't have a tow package. Does anyone tell us if there any limitations on after market tow packages installed by U-haul, etc?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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The factory tow package on the Highlander includes larger alternator, fan and transmission cooler. U-Haul won't be installing those, and at the dealer, the cost would be substantial.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:10 PM   #3
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I would not want people working at a hitch shop doing those kinds of repairs to my vehicle . It's very unlikely they are qualified to doing those sorts of things
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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It is also very possible that without the tow package that particular year Highlander has a lower towing capacity. It may be as low as 2,000 pounds which would virtually eliminate any Escape you might be looking at. You will need to do a search on the specific year and towing capacity without the tow package installed.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:39 PM   #5
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Another consideration. I don't see from your profile where you are located.
In Canada, my RAV4 V6 Sport has the transmission cooler and HD alternator as standard equipment. In the U.S. that equipment is optional.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
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I have seen several examples if where people buy a vehicle and then try and retrofit it with aftermarket parts to simulate towing packages and it rarely ends well. I have seen transmission cooler lines come off and wreck transmissions , just my opinion but buy the vehicle with the proper tow package .
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The factory tow package on the Highlander includes larger alternator, fan and transmission cooler. U-Haul won't be installing those, and at the dealer, the cost would be substantial.
Yes, although details of Toyota's towing preparation package vary by model and year.

Ruthe, is this Highlander missing the towing preparation package, or just missing the hitch and wiring (which are not in the prep package but are readily available aftermarket)?

Also, what year is the Highlander? When they had the "M" series engine the prep package presumably had a larger transmission cooler, but if it is like the Sienna more recent Highlanders which have the "GR" series engine likely have an engine oil cooler in the package. The engine oil cooler is much more expensive and difficult to retrofit than the transmission cooler.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:07 PM   #8
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It is a 2005. Tonight we sat down and went through all the comments people made when I asked a few weeks ago about the best tow vehicles for a 19. There was a thread a couple days later which was also useful. So we went through every single response, took notes and then started looking at used vehicles on auto trader. We came across the 2005 Highlander which has a good price and only 39 thousand miles, but they didn't mention a tow package in the ad and Terry (my husband) said we should check to see if after market tow packages would work. I have to admit I didn't realize how much was involved. I have learned a lot tonight. Thank you all.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:45 PM   #9
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Ruthe, the 2005 Highlander is tow rated for 3,500 lbs. The Escape 15 and 17 models would do just fine, but not for the 19. You would need to go to a 2008 or newer Highlander with the tow package which has a 5,000 towing capacity.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:55 PM   #10
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Rick - what is the source of your information? The reason I ask is because of the differences in vehicles between Canada and the U.S. and Europe and the tow ratings given for each.
I'm not disputing the information. Just wondering how one can confirm the info for a particular vehicle, like the one under consideration.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:47 AM   #11
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If you check the VIN # with Toyota, its hould indicate whether the tow package is installed.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:17 AM   #12
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Glenn, I used edmunds.com. Too bad Toyota didn't offer the same equipped vehicles in both Canada and the U.S. Here in the states, Toyota vehicles even differ by regions.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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Be very careful here. I am quoting Toyota
Towing Capabilities

Four-cylinder Highlanders can tow 1,500 pounds, or up to 3,000 pounds if you buy the towing prep package
V6 Highlanders can tow 2,000 pounds, or up to 3,500 with the towing prep package

You must have the Toyota tow package to tow 3,500 pounds. Just saying that the buyer needs to be aware that not any 2005 can tow 3500 pounds.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:04 PM   #14
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The specs quoted in this discussion for the Highlander's towing capacity all look correct, for both Canada and the U.S.

Some Toyota models are very consistent between Canada and the U.S., especially those built in North America and in only one factory in North America, such as the Sienna and likely the Highlander.

One national difference is that Toyota tends to include the towing prep package in Canada as standard equipment - it may not even appear on the vehicle's documentation - while it is optional (although very common in most years) in the U.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by techfan View Post
You must have the Toyota tow package to tow 3,500 pounds. Just saying that the buyer needs to be aware that not any 2005 can tow 3500 pounds.
Correct... which is why the discussion of towing "packages" is important. What Toyota is requiring for 3500 lb trailer towing capacity is the V6 engine with the towing preparation package, as Glenn (gbaglo) explained at the beginning of this discussion; the existence or not of that is what Jon (Vermilye) mentioned could be confirmed by Toyota.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ruthe View Post
It is a 2005...
We came across the 2005 Highlander which has a good price and only 39 thousand miles, but they didn't mention a tow package in the ad...
I suspect that a lot of people would not mention the towing prep package in an ad even if they had it, as they might not be aware of the package.

I assume this vehicle has a V6 engine, as few people would deliberately choose the less-common 4-cylinder if they had towing in mind.

2005 is in the first generation of Highlanders, which use the "MZ" series of V6 engines; these do not have an engine oil cooler in the towing prep package, so it would be just the components which gbaglo listed at the start. In 2005, they specifically had the 3.3 L 3MZ-FE engine, identical to the 2004-2006 Sienna (such as mine). It is very difficult to visually spot the towing package components, since every Highlander will have a transmission cooler integrated into the radiator (the package gives you a larger cooler in a higher-capacity radiator). That VIN check with Toyota seems like a good idea.

Toyota provides lots of towing information in the owners manual (at least they did in 2004/2005, and at least for the Sienna), so that's a good reference source. Fortunately, they offer these manuals (a section at a time) for free download from Toyota owners; you do need to register, but it is free and does not require that you already have a Toyota. Trailer towing information is in Section 3 - "Starting and Driving". It looks like the same content as my Sienna manual (most is generic stuff independent of model, and the Sienna and Highlander have the same drivetrain and so the same rated capacity), and it confirms the ratings others have quoted.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #16
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Hi Ruthe

I don't know where you live but I have my 07 Trailblazer with towing package up for sale. It has 6200 lb towing capacity, towing package and we pulled our 19 footer with it with no problems. Check it out on autotrader.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:18 PM   #17
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Hi Ruthe

I don't know where you live but I have my 07 Trailblazer with towing package up for sale. It has 6200 lb towing capacity, towing package and we pulled our 19 footer with it with no problems. Check it out on autotrader.
If all members included their City and State or City and Province somewhere in their Public Profile it would sure be helpful!
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:42 PM   #18
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Me too, me too. Ditto.
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