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Towing with the Highlander



  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    I'm not an expert here, I can only relate my own experiences. Given that, the V6 obviously has more torque than the 4 for a better margin of power when really needed. I've never liked to gamble on lack of power. As to the AWD vs front wheel, towing something transfer considerable weight to the rear wheels, thus lightening the front ones. Personally, I would be concerned about trying to get and maintain traction with front wheel on a wet, worn concrete, sandy-strewn, alge-covered up-hill boat ramp with a 1,500 lb. sailboat and a 300 lb (at least) trailer pushing down on the rearend and lifting the front. SUV's don't float well. Regards, BGood
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Well you aren't doing a lot of long mileage towing, so you don't need the tow package which includes extra cooling.

    I would get the 4wd, as you never know which boat ramp you'll be on. I've been on some that are very slippery (or steep), and you'll need every bit of traction you can get. If you are in Maryland you really don't get that bad weather, but it would be nice to have anyhow for those time you do get dumped with snow.

    Either engine would be fine. If you were doing mileage towing I'd definitely get the bigger engine, but for the minimal towing you are doing either engine will be be okay.
  • u045777u045777 Posts: 33
    Does anyone know what the tow rating is on the all new 2008 HL?
  • camptoycamptoy Posts: 2
    Got a 2002 Highlander (tow package, brake controller, Class II hitch of correct height) to pull a pop-up camper that is well under the tow and tongue wt. capacity of the vehicle. There is noticeable "hitch sag" however and for long distance towing, this can't be good. Any ideas for beefing up Highlander rear end? Can't seem to find any air shocks or other devices that fit on the Highlander and don't really want to put on heavy shocks that will be harsh when not towing. Anyone have experience with light duty weight-distributing hitches? Or would this not be safe for this vehicle?
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Experiment w/ rear tire pressures. Try +5 then experiment from there. Just lower the pressure back to normal when you get back from your trip. Hopes this helps.
  • mazzaravmazzarav Posts: 1
    I looking at purchasing a 2004 Highlander to tow a 3000 lb boat. I'm comparing the 2004 Highlander Limited 6cyl FWD vs the same in a 6cyl AWD. Can anyone offer any suggestions?
  • camptoycamptoy Posts: 2
    Probably best to go with the AWD - more traction being better than less traction. Make sure that your hitch weight is under #350 (and the less # the better)- with a hitch weight supposedly under #300, my '02 6 cyl AWD already has quite a bit of sagging at the hitch. Keep in mind that these Highlanders are built on the Camry frame. :confuse:
  • johnh9johnh9 Posts: 1
    Hi all. I've just got my 07 highlander and new to this forum.

    The manual mentioned about two towing eyelets but I found only 1 in the same place with other tools. How many eyelet do you have with your highlander?

    I'm looking for a bike rack that can carry up to 4 bikes. Do you have any recommendation?

  • I've got an '04 Highlander. V6/4WD. I want to add a hitch to tow a small 600 pound boat. I don't have the tow prep package or an existing hitch. How hard is it to add something like this myself? Any idea what the cost would run at the dealer?
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    I had the local tow and spring/suspension equipment shop (who specializes in ALL towing-related stuff and installs, even big trucks) install a DrawTite, all wiring with 7-point connector and an electric brake controller for my 1,500 lb camper in early 2006...$554 for the whole package. You may not need the controller and could save about $120. My '04 V6 awd did have the 'tow prep package', but they didn't use the wiring harness, it was quicker and less expensive for they to splice right into the existing wiring. It took them one and a half hours (including cigarette break) start to finish. I wouldn't have messed with it myself; they had all the tools and expertise. Regards, BGood
  • ch1rravuch1rravu Posts: 14
    We would like to hear experiences from real-world towing experiences of your respective SUVs/CUVs .. my friend in GA trying to figure if a Highlander can do a job of decently tow his 4750 pound boat. Recently read a review about Highlander on Trailer Boats -

    Going with Highlander, his MPG during non-towing will be excellent compared to rails-based SUVs. He is excited about that, but looking for more information on 2008 model, thanks
  • My husband and I are considering buying a 2002 V6 AWD Highlander to tow a 2200 lbs dry weight travel trailer. The hitch weight of the trailer is 173 lbs. I read in the owners manual that the maximum allowable speed to travel when towing is 72 km/h. We plan to travel on highways with speed limits of 110 km/h, so it really wouldn't be safe for us to travel 72 km/h. Does anyone have any experience with towing on highways? This maximum speed seems really unrealistic to me. I'm also concerned about the previous comments that the back end seems to sag... the manual also says not to tow anything unless the vehicle and trailer are level.

    Thanks for any help you can give! It's been really tough to find a quality SUV that is fuel efficient and good for use as an everyday city vehicle, but can also pull a trailer on the occasional weekend.

  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,554

    I think that the reference to a maximum tow speed of 72kmh is probably the maximum speed that a Kluger (Highlander) can be towed by a recovery vehicle with wheels on road, not trailer towing speed.

    The Kluger is an excellent tow vehicle, well able to tow boats, caravans and trailers. I have been towing a 6x4 trailer this afternoon with my 2004 Kluger, comfortably at 110kmh. I think the previous generation Kluger (ie 20007 and earlier) had slightly lower tow ratings so check the manual or call Toyota for details. In Australia, the specifications say maximum trailer weight of 1,500kg and drawbar download of 9-11%. The maximum wight of the laden car, (excluding trailer but including the download on the hitch) is limited at 2,380kg.

    On the latest model Kluger in Australia, maximum braked trailer weight is 2000kg or 4400 lb (750kg or 1650lb unbraked) and I think draw bar weight of 200kg or 440lb.

    However, do not put too much weight too far away from centre of moment of the trailer. Toyota Australia suggests 60% forward of axle and 40% behind.

    You may also need to adjust tire pressures to maximum specified on the tire placard

    The usual issue with trailer towing is to remember that the constraint is not getting the thing up to speed, but stopping it. Taking about 10-15kmh off normal cruising speed is a good practice. Also use the gear shift mounted overdrive lockout, particularly in hilly areas. If these steps are followed, fuel economy remains good (I have achieved 11.5l/100km today) and you do not strain engine or transmission.

    If towing for lengthy stretches, talk to a good towbar installer about additional transmission cooling and other necessary items.

    Have a service before setting out on a long trip and when you return, getting engine oil replaced, and possibly transmission fluid checked.

    Remember that the engine is hauling twice the normal weight around and all other parts of the vehicle are similarly stressed.

    Do make sure that your brakes and tires are in top notch condition because a blow out or brake failure is catastrophic when towing.

    Periodically check tire temperature of the car and trailer (tires on same axles should feel similarly hot when you pull up) and also check the bearing caps on the trailer for overheating (a frequent problem).

    If anything feels funny or is loose, stop immediately and seek assistance from a competent mechanic,


  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    I'll second everything that grahampeters says...all good advice. Just my personal experience with our '04 AWD V6, we tow a pop-up w/dry weight 1,245 lbs & 135 lb tongue-weight, plus about 300 lbs of 'stuff' and 2 adults...never a problem at 65, even 70 MPH, but I usually keep it about 60-62.
    If I had to do it all over again, I'd put on a weight-distributing hitch as there's a fair amount a sag as it is, but if you're not carrying all the extra stuff like us, you should be fine. There's plenty of power and, yes the gas mileage is really good, we average 22+ on our roadtrips. Regards, BGood
  • Hi All, new to this forum. We have an 04 Highlander V6, 4WD, with no tow package. I installed a U-Haul hitch and standard trailer wiring connector to pull my 4x8 utility trailer (which it does well). We are thinking about getting a pop-up camper and wondering what else we need to pull a a camper of about 1500lbs + 600 lbs in people and gear. I know power-wise it is rated for 3500 lbs. But am wondering if we need the larger radiator or tranny oil cooler that were part of the tow package? Toyota wants $520 for the cooler and mounting parts, $350 (approx.) for the radiator. My mechanic is telling me I should be fine without all this for a pop-up, but I'd like a Highlander-expert opinion. Our local Toyota Service rep. tells me I should be ok without, if we keep the weight to around 2000 lbs, but I think we're going to be slightly over that. I also have seen a lot of mention of electric trailer brakes on this forum. How essential are those? None of the campers I've seen so far have these, are they an add-on to the camper?
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    We used to tow a Fleetwood Cobalt pop-up, it's a relative light-weight (1,440 dry/2,300 GVWR) and it came with electric brakes. We had the hitch (DrawTite) and controller installed on our '04 4x4 and it worked great! The HL had the "tow package" with the upgraded cooling, tranny cooling and charging system, but it never taxed it. I'd recommend it only if you're doing a fair amount of mountain driving or consistent really hot ambient temps (eg. Phoenix area, Death Valley and the like) on a regular basis. We're in the midwest and used it in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
    I do recommend a model with electric brakes and most state laws have them as a requirement for trailers over a certain GVWR, in the range of many pop-ups. It makes for much more controllable stops particularly on wet/slippery pavement...the trailer essentially brakes or helps "drag" your tow vehicle down rather than it continuing to shove you along as your HL slows. Hope this helps.
    Reagrds, BGood
  • Iam looking at a 2008 US base model. I want to be able to tow a 6X12 Vnose cargo trailer that weighs about 2500 lbs loaded. Will the Highlander tow this? The trailer does have brakes which we would hook up to the Highlander. Distance being towed could be substantial - Ontario Canada to Florida.
  • Hi! I am looking to put a hitch on a 2010 Highlander. Going with a non Toyota hitch is way cheaper. But I am curious to learn how much of the non Toyota brand hitch will show compared to a Toyota brand hitch? If anyone can direct me to pictures comparing how they look once installed would be very grateful. Thanks.
  • hivemanhiveman Posts: 10
    I have an 09 Highlander Sport AWD and will be towing a 3500 lb pop up camper this summer. Can I safely leave the transmission in 4th gear manual and downshift as needed for hills? Is there an rpm limit I shouldnt exceed for much time when I am in a lower gear and going up{or down} hills? Thanks for any suggestions.
  • carfun888carfun888 Posts: 25
    Check out the video install of the 2009 Highlander in this link, That is my vehicle getting a Valley hitch at eTrailer (free labor when they video the install!). id=20099870

    Note that I removed all stickers from the hitch - at a glance can't tell the hitch is there :)
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