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Towing with the Highlander Hybrid



  • I am curious. We have an 07 Hybrid Highlander and just installed hitch. Do you have a electric brake controller hooked up? When we did, we found that the ABS and Stability dash lights come on. The electric brake was working great but the hybrid braking system isn't working thus not recharging the battery (even when the RV isn't hooked up). Remedy? So this so that the hybrid braking system could continue to wor?. MN does not require e-brakes...and Toyota actually said it wasn't nec. when towing a 2000 pound T@DA RV. We are going to unhook the E-Brake until we find out for sure and hope that by doing it, we are able to restore the brake system.

    If anyone out there has suggestion/experience please pass it on!
    To use or not to use the electronic braking system.
  • Yes,I have a brake controller[electric] installed.When it was installed by the rv dealer the exact warning lights you describe came on.I took my hybrid to the toyota dealer and they told me that the brake wiring harness had been unplugged and then plugged back in.The rv installer had done this so he could hook up the controller to the brake wiring.A sensor had been tripped when this was done and needed to be reset by toyota.Once the reset was done everything worked fine.Also make sure there are 40 amp fuses installed in the power feed coming off the vehicle battery for protection.Have toyota check the wiring install for you.You should have the brake controller in case you leave MN.I almost got a TADA but the interior ht. was just to small.My trailer is 3200 lbs.Feel free to e mail me at
  • toddwinestoddwines Posts: 3
    edited June 2010
    I would recommend having Toyota install a trailer hitch on your Highlander Highbred. I installed my hitch myself and have had no problems over the past year and a half. Well my car died and I had to have it towed to the dealer. They said I need a new power inverter....guess how much just this part costs? $9,000.00. I called and complained to Toyota after several calls they said I caused the problem because the Highlander is considered a Passenger Vehicle. Once I put the hitch on and hauled a trailer with it, it has become a service vehicle. They said I should have had the dealer put a hitch on and do an engine modification to allow me to haul. I have hauled less then 1,500 pounds (trailer and a small riding lawn mower). The manual states a hauling capability of 3,500 pounds and I called the dealer and talked to them before I did it. They opined there would be no problems as long as I did not exceed the weight listed in my owners manual. I had 144,000 miles on it which about 75 % were highway miles.
  • hogie13hogie13 Posts: 1
    I just had a RV dealer install the receiver, brake control and sway control on our 08 HH. I had the experience where the ABS was out of wack. The dealer in MI reset the computer and that part is working well....I think. I drove the 2900 lbs. trailer from MI to GA only getting 12-13 MPG. No burning or overheating. The greatest grade between MI and GA is 6%. I only tapped the brakes once the whole 5 mile trip down never exceeding 60 mph. I called my local dealer and they told me its the regen system compensating for the extra load. I would tend to agree, but after seeing this forum, I am re thinking this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  • roxxgangroxxgang Posts: 7
    I have towed 3200 lb travel trailer back and forth MI. to AZ. 3 times now. No problems whatsoever. Average 15mpg. I now have 62k on my 2006 HH. Everytime I take it in for service I ask if I need new brakes. The pads still have 2/3 of life left on them. I say how can this be? They said because of the regen system the pads can last over 100k on the HH.
  • I'm adding tow hitch to my 06 highlander hybrid and am trying to find plug in type wiring kit/harness with clear instructions and wiring digram. Where can I find this?
  • 89fj6289fj62 Posts: 20
    Wiring harness came with my 09 HH hitch. Call your local Toyota parts person and ask if you can buy the harness separate from them hitch. Toyota harnesses are fantastic but they may be hard to install by an in experienced person. Interior panels needed to be removed to install wiring harness which connects in the fuse panel and the rear bumper needed removed to install the hitch. With that all said the Toyota hitch and wiring harness is worth the money.
  • I had the R.V. dealer install it on my 06 HH and he had a lot of trouble. The toy dealer told me they would do it too. The toy dealer is probably the way to go as I do not think there is a plug in jack on the 06 HH.
  • casitacasita Posts: 2
    I'm about to buy a HH 06. I will want to tow my small camping trailer, about
    1500 lbs. 2000 lbs loaded. I'm really confused if this is a good idea or not.
    Some people seem to not have any problems and others have major problems.
    The car i am looking at doesn't have a per prep towing package. It it nessary?
    Can it be added?
    I would also like to add electric brakes at some point.

    Thank you for any comments or advice.
  • roxxgangroxxgang Posts: 7
    The 06 can tow 3500 lbs with the prep package it comes off the lot with. Add a hitch and brakes and you will have no problems. if you have more questions.
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    Don't buy a 2006 HH or any other year. There is no savings and some owners are having $6-8,000 repair problems. We have a Prius which is great and an HH which works but produces no real savings.
  • pesto1pesto1 Posts: 2
    Hello. I am about to buy a Highlander for the family. I have a medium sized camper that, honestly, has a fair amount of tongue weight since it has a storage compartment up front. I am interested in the hybrid, but am concerned about its capacity to tow and about reliability - I can't say I've knowingly ever seen one here in SW Michigan. I'd sure appreciate any advice. Thanks.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    FWD vehicles, or even F/awd vehicles, are quite bad enough insofar as driving dynamics, driveability, are concerned. But a "high" tow tongue weight might well make matters much worse.

    And remember that without self-braking of the tow during braking the torque "weight" will increase and lighten the front even moreso.
  • casitacasita Posts: 2
    what does "quite bad enough insorfar as driving dynamics" mean?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited April 2011
    With FWD you're relying on ONLY the traction of the front tires for both directional control, steering, and engine drive torque or compression braking. That's why when things get dicey, icy, a FWD has such a strong tendency to plow, understear.

    The only known correction for that situation is to quickly slow the vehicle and thereby reduce the momentum that wants to take the weight of the vehicle in the direction it was just previously traveling. In the olden days a light touch on the e-brake would help to do that. Nowadays VSC, if you have it, automatically takes over the task of braking both rear wheels or braking only the rear wheel that "swings" the pendulum in the direction you wish to go.

    Load up the rear of a FWD and you have effectively reduced front tire traction. That situation gets even worse during braking when the "weight" on the trailer hitch increases. That's why I would ALWAYS advise have some sort of braking on the vehicle/trailer you are towing, RWD or FWD.
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