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Toyota RAV4 Towing



  • hank119hank119 Posts: 39
    I'm having difficulty obtaining a 2008 Rav4 Limited V-6 with the tow prep package.
    Toyota's web site says that the V-6 models can tow 2000 Lbs. without the tow prep package.
    Has anyone any experience towing a boat without the tow prep package. Although my
    trailer load is about 1750 lbs. I like to have a comfortable margin when launching and recovering.
  • ebuchertebuchert Posts: 4
    u should hold out for the package regarding increased cooling and larger alternator. Wiring for the harness is not a lot of un.
  • dtowndtown Posts: 20
    Let the dealer install the trailer wiring to the rear of the Rav, then have your hitch installed at an aftermarket shop. Toyota hitchs are VERY expensive compared to aftermarket.
  • hank119hank119 Posts: 39
    ebuchert and dtown,

    I appreciate your responses. I definitely would get the tow prep package if available. My problem with the tow prep package is that it's currently unavailable on the Limited models.
    My question concerns the Toyota spec of 2000 pounds for the Rav4 without
    the tow prep. I wonder if anyone has had any experience towing a boat with a Rav4
    not equipped with tow prep. Does it overheat or affect the transmission ?
    My trailer load is between 1750 and 2000 lbs. and I only tow about about 10 miles
    from storage yard to launch ramp, three or four times a year. Once I launch the boat it's tied up at my dock for several months before I need to tow again.
    As for the tow hitch, Toyota MSRP for the tow hitch installed is $395 which includes wiring to rear of vehicle. This is tough to beat aftermarket.
  • bradhexumbradhexum Posts: 1

    I'm not sure where you're purchasing, but I'm sorry to hear you cannot find a Limited w/ towing prep package-- mine was able to have it installed.
    Unfortunately I cannot offer any advice on towing w/out prep package, however, I can suggest an aftermarket hitch, with wiring, for much cheaper than toyota charges. offers the hitch for less than 100, and wiring for around 70 (toyota wiring is expensive!!). I'm looking at Hitchsource. You do have to install it yourself, but it takes around 15 minutes and appears to be quite simple.
    Good luck!
  • timcoynetimcoyne Posts: 1
    I am about to install the reciver and the wiring in my 2008 rav4.
    I can tell how to attach the reciever , I cant tell how to install the wire harness for the hitch . The Rav4 has a tow prep package Can you Help?
  • hank119hank119 Posts: 39
    I'm having my installation done by my Toyota dealer. You may get some information about installation of wiring from Enter Rav4 and they'll display several hitches you can use. They'll have a link to their wiring package. Click on this for a description of the wiring installation on the Rav4.

    The tricky part is connecting the battery directly to the unit.
    The Rav4 has LED rear lights and these require a direct connection to the battery. You can't splice to the existing wiring.
    There are connectors in the rear side panels to the controls but you also need that direct battery connection for the power.
  • ebuchertebuchert Posts: 4
    It is not a lot of fun but I have done it. Remove the pannels from the driver side of your vehicle. Run the harness wires from rear to front. Now comes the fun. Under the dash there is a fuse box. You will need to remove the 18 pin connector from the front (engine side ) of the box. Some such as I would say it is the rear of the box.. Change the fuse in the engincompartment fuse box and you are set. OR YOU CAN DO AS I DID... I ran the wires then when it got to the fuse box I brought the vehicle to toyota and bitched about the misleading information regarding the towing package. I reminded them I was not a satisfied customer, certanily this would reflect on the survey, because the information provided on the sticker is misleading. I was reimbursed for the $110.00 Toyota Harness and they made the final connections. Good Luck.
  • tireguytireguy Posts: 193
    My old Siena had an overdrive cancel feature, which the Rav4 apparently lacks. I have trailered in 4th gear, but the high RPM kills my MPG on the HWY.

    Overriding overdrive and shifting to 4th gear on a 5 speed transmission are the same thing.

    Has anyone tried installing helper springs to deal with heavier loads?

    You should look into getting some AirLift Air Ride 2000 airbags to back up the suspension. I had them installed on my Wrangler for towing a similar load with a similarly limited vehicle. Then later installed them on my Yukon XL just to keep it level with heavy loads, either in the cargo area or trailer. With the Jeep I went so far as to install the driver-controlled compressor to pump them up on the go. With the Yukon, I got lazy and just routed a shrader valve into the gas fill cap compartment. When I want a little more firmness, I just give it a shot with a tire inflator.
  • rtedrted Posts: 11
    In answer to older posts saying how hard the OEM hitch wiring harness is, and hooking to the dash fuses etc:

    Get the harness from E-Trailer ( that only requires a connection on each side at the tail lights - a direct plug between - and, a fused hot feed from the battery that the kit comes with.

    Took me 15 minutes, including hiding the hot wire under the panel molding etc. It took about the same amount of time to put on the Class III hitch that I bought with the harness. The hot feed can pass through one of the wire bundle grommets about 4" wide, through the firewall behind the shock towers. The grommet and wire bundle on the passenger side is easier to find from the hood end.
  • nitecapnitecap Posts: 5
    That procedure you so aptly illustrated is a good one for vehicles not equipped with the new 'LED' tail lights. According to every thing I read this procedure won't work on my 2007 RAV4 because of this newer upgrade...

    Thanks, D.C.
  • larry51klarry51k Posts: 35
    If I get the towing package, does it include the wiring harness and is it installed?
  • cbmortoncbmorton Posts: 252
    No, the factory tow prep does not include the wiring harness. This will need to be installed along with the hitch.
  • I have a 2008 Rav4, 4 cylinder. My trailer and everything on it weights 2,000 lbs all together - can my dear car handle that?
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