Toyota RAV4 Towing

koyztoy23koyztoy23 Member Posts: 2
I've contacted numerous dealership around my aread in California, but can't seem to find a 06 Rav4 either in the sport or limited that has the tow prep option, which comes with a bigger alternator, radiator, and the tow wiring. Has anyone added this after they purchased a Rav4 and if so, how much did it run? Does it also increase the max. tow capacity listed by toyota as well??


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    If you would like feedback from other RAV4 owners I recommend posting in either Toyota RAV4 2006+ or Toyota RAV4 so they will see your question.

    tidester, host
  • jimd4jimd4 Member Posts: 877
    If you do not have it, limit is 1500# think. With it it is 3500#. The limts are listed under specs. on Toyota web site. It is only an option on V6. I suspect it would cost a ton to replace alternator, fan clutch and maybe radiator.

    It may not be offered your region. Got to Toyota buld and price, enter your zip and you will see all options for the model you want in your region. The Regional districs seem to decide what to bring in and what you get. You can see what regions near you may be it by using other zip codes. In NY and MD, all V6 seem to have it.
  • vsoars1vsoars1 Member Posts: 4
    I am having difficulty getting the wiring done for the tow set-up. I was lucky enough to get the tow prep package on the exact car I wanted. However, no one knows (including the dealer) where the wiring is. I got the hitch put on, but they wre not able to make the wiring work. It lite up all the messages on the dash panel. Now we ordered the parts, but can't find the wiring that is suppose to be there.

  • mterrellmterrell Member Posts: 21
    I notice a hook up in mine in the compartment where the tools for the jack are stored. On the drivers side rear.
  • jimd4jimd4 Member Posts: 877
    Well you may know this by now but there is no wiring in the truck for the tow package. You have to get a Toyoto harness installed or an aftermarket wiring set and module. Lots of info at RAV4W on this stuff
  • jimd4jimd4 Member Posts: 877
    You really have a towing wire hook up in your RAV4 from the factory? Your the first I have heard of?
  • ptl4ptl4 Member Posts: 2
    I think I found the plug on the end of my Pre-Wiring, it took a mirror to do so. Remove the cover on the driver side in back, you will see a small connector, follow that wire up out of sight and you will find another unused connector. My plan is to verify this with my dealer today, and buy the rest of the harness to get the wiring back to the hitch.

  • friendly_jacekfriendly_jacek Member Posts: 96
    the toyota towing wireing has to be installed from the driver's side of dashboard as the 30 amp towing power ends there. Also, the signal for right turn signal is fed from the connections in the front. Please Google and you will find comprehensive instructions posed on various forums (can't make a link here).
  • darryljdarrylj Member Posts: 2
    Here's what my Toyota dealer told me last week.

    The 2006 RAV4 uses all LED taillights, unlike previous RAV4s. So the voltages & current are different, and all previous wiring harnesses will not work. The first local who contracted with a mechanic to have the new harness installed was quoted $200, and it took several WEEKS of labor & many phone consultations before they finally got it to work.

    Since I didn't need to tow immediately, he recommended waiting a year until the after-market companies could study & duplicate the new harness, since the Toyota one costs $150, not counting labor.

    I specifically asked if the towing package wiring harness extended at least to the back storage compartment of the vehicle, and he said yes.
  • jimd4jimd4 Member Posts: 877
    You can buy a harness on ebay from DeyerToyota that is part of the SE Toyota region. It is $89 and looks very easy to install with only a few rear panels needing to be removed. It mates with the connectors on the tail Lights and has a module which seperates the LED lights from the trailer lights.,1&item=26000451677- - 4&ih=016&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT

    I have their instructons but do not know how to post a pdf file here.

    The harness kit looks similar to the concept sold as "modulite" by net trailer sites such as etrailer.

    The also sell a complete hitch and harness combo for $239. And lots of other Toyota RAV4 accessories at less than list.
    Lots of info on all of this stuff on other RAV4 sites on the web. Untill recently even my dealer thought the tow prep included the wiring to the rear of the truck. Suprise!

    You can also buy the Toyota harness on the net for $112 and people have installed it in two hours. The Toyota detailed instructions for that are available on the net. Don't be scared away by the fact that one dealer install was a mess.
  • kascarpkascarp Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem you were. I have a 2006 RAV4 with the tow prep package. I installed a wiring harness converter that was made for a vehicle that has separate stop and turn lights. Now, My brake light, ABS light, and my VSC light come on on the dash everytime I use either of my turn signals. The dealer doesnt seem to know much about this, so he is not much help. What part did you end up buying, how much, from where, and is it something that you can install yourself?
  • cconnor1cconnor1 Member Posts: 2
    I recently purchased a 2007 RAV4 V-6, reportedly with 3,500 lb. towing capacity. When I went to local Toyota dealership to buy trailer hitch I was informed that it is only rated for 2,000 lbs. Does anyone know if Toyota makes a hitch that is rated for 3,500 lbs?

  • beebee13beebee13 Member Posts: 38
    That was the number that Toyota says we can tow! I had no idea that this might not be accurate. I am getting leary of Toyotas as I read these posts....let me rephrase that....I am getting leary of ALL car manufacturers!! I try to do as much research as I can when buying something that costs so much. Seems like every car I do research (even the luxory ones that are out of my league) there are problems that we the consumer get stuck with and the dealers just saw oh well let the buyer beware. No wonder its taking me so long to make a decision...but here in L.A. we are so spread out, and need our cars since mass transit is for the birds.....but thats another story....thanks for letting me vent. :cry: If someone has a car that is highly recommended with good service departments let me know! ;)
  • thecatthecat Member Posts: 535
    I got my hitch from "hidden hitch" (although it's anything but hidden) and it's rated for 3500lbs. They shipped it in a couple of days .. it's easy to install yourself. Just 4 bolts. Look around on the internet, there are quite a few vendors offering aftermarket hitches. You will still need to add a wiring harness. That's a job I left to the dealer.
  • cconnor1cconnor1 Member Posts: 2
    Wonders never cease. I finally received an email response from Toyota. They do indeed make a trailer hitch that is rated for 3,500 lbs. It is Part Number PT228-42060.
  • quickdtooquickdtoo Member Posts: 266
    An internet search would have given you the answer. The hitch is rated to tow 3500lbs, but the vehicle isn't without the tow prep package.

    3500lb hitch
  • sirhenrysirhenry Member Posts: 1
    I'm trying to downsize from a Dakota. I need to pull two SeaDoos on a double trailer. With gear, gas, etc. -- about 3000 lbs. I'm looking at V6 Sport with towing prep. I know the rating is 3500 lbs.

    Anyone have any experience?
  • ehowarthehowarth Member Posts: 1
    How did you resolve the wiring harness problem? My installation causes those dashboard lights to stay on after the first big current draw: turn signal, brake lights, etc.
  • darcherdarcher Member Posts: 2
    Be very careful about this pre-towing option, yes it is supposed to include a bigger alternator, radiator and tow PRE-wiring, but how does one know. What I do know is the 2007 PRE-wiring for towing amounts to connectors in the engine compartment, you still have to pop for a $165 tow wiring harness and $300 for installation. I even opened a case with toyota customer experience (200703060070) not only didn't get resolution didn't even get an answer. This is working up to be a toyota rip off.
  • rcarmircarmi Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone added a hitch to the 4 cylinder model with the 1500 towing capacity? I'm looking to do so. I have a bass tracker boat with a total rig weight of 1500 pounds and wanted to have peoples thoughrs on whether this would work for what I want to pull?

  • chrisl65chrisl65 Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 2007 RAV4 with this "Tow Prep" package. I had a hitch installed by my regular mechanic, I he advised that there was no wiring to plug in to. Of course, now I know why.

    Now I am now very concerned that I did not get the upgraded alternator and radiator. But how can I tell?

    My window sticker says that they are in there. But if they are not, it would seem that my dealer or Toyota has committed fraud.
  • dtown40dtown40 Member Posts: 18
    I raised enough fuss with my dealer about there not being any wire hook-ups, that they installed my wiring free. Just remind them about the survey you will need to fill out from Toyota. That seems to get their attention.
  • rstibbettsrstibbetts Member Posts: 5
    Has anyone pulled a boat with the Rav4? I am about to upgrade to a bigger boat (about 2300 lb load) and am wondering about trailer brakes. There is a blurb in the manual about trailer brakes being required for loads more than 600 lbs (total joke), but with a load over 2K I am thinking that trailer brakes are the way to go.
  • towheetowhee Member Posts: 1

    I am rather confused by this discussion. I want to buy a used RAV4, and I want to tow a 2000 lb. trailer. I am unclear on adding a hitch and wiring, although I have read these messages three times.

    Also, I don't know whether I can buy a 2.0 liter, or have to have the 2.4 L. I will be buying an automatic transmission, by the way.

    Thanks for your help.

  • rstibbettsrstibbetts Member Posts: 5
    I have an 07 RAV4 LTD V6 4WD with a Reese tow bar that was installed before vehicle delivery. My first thought after seeing the installed hitch was that it was very LOW to the ground and I was concerned about trailering my boat, which probably weighs about 2800 lbs fully loaded.

    I have two problems while trailering this rig. First, it is nearly impossible to maintain the vehicle in overdrive when trailering against a headwind or up a moderate incline. 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. I try to baby the vehicle to keep it from constantly shifting, but this is a losing proposition.

    The second more pressing concern is that the boat/trailer pushes the Rav4 suspension darn near to the ground. As a result the wires and linkage are tickling the ground, the hitch often scrapes going up and down driveways, and there is a serious cantor to the rig. I cannot imagine loading a 3500 lb rig to the vehicle and am seeking some solution to this problem. Has anyone tried installing helper springs to deal with heavier loads? How can the Highlander have so much more towing capacity than the Rav4 given identical engines?
  • blufz1blufz1 Member Posts: 2,045
    The vehicle and the trailer tongue should be level with the trailer tongue attached. B & M makes an adjustable height hitch. Check with your local trailer hitch shop ASAP! If your tongue is causing your car to droop it's unsafe!! Hope this helps.
  • nitecapnitecap Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2007 Toyota Rav4, 6cyl., Ltd. w/ tow prep pkg.
    I currently have 10K on this vehicle, problems have been nil. Current gas mileage is 23/29 MPG, in town & hwy respectively. This is where my problem began: I decided to purchase a wiring harness from my local dealer, they wanted about $160 (incl. tax) I thought I could do better by going on the Internet. I found a dealer in N.C. that shipped it to me for $93.00. I checked the prices at the dealer for installation, including a trailer. hitch, too much! I then approached UHaul for purchase of a trailer hitch plus installation of both my wiring harness and the hitch, they wouldn't touch the wiring harness, they advised me to have the dealer do it. After they installed my hitch (a better choice then what the dealer offers) I returned to the dealer to have my harness installed. I arrived at the dealer at 7:00 AM, I finally got out of there at 5:00PM, because of an incompetent service tech, spent more time reading the instructions then he did working. The premise that the tow prep pkg. takes care of the necessary prewire hook ups is a misnomer and a rip off! After completion of the final installation by 2 other competent techs I finally left that facility. Also, it is a good idea to have a prearranged price for this installation, it cost me $120.00. Advise, don't do it yourself, its a nightmare!
  • dollytdollyt Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 RAV4 and installed a hitch to it to tow a "Little Guy" Teardrop Camper/Trailer. According to my Manual my RAV4 has a towing capacity
    of 1500 lbs so if you are towing 1500 it should work. I am trying to find out
    if my 2004 RAV4 can safely tow 285 lbs more without causing any damage
    to my self or my vehicle.
  • nitecapnitecap Member Posts: 5
    My problem isn't tow capacity, its the factory not completing the job when you include a tow prep pkg. when you buy. My 2002 Highlander came with a tow prep pkg. as well, but only took 20minutes to plug into the existing factory pre-wire hook up. Toyota is charging for a Prep. pkg, but not including the pre-wire installation as they did on my Highlander. I have the 2007 RAV4, limited with the V6 (269 HP), tow rating at 3500#.
    Thanks anyway for your input.
  • danpcfldanpcfl Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1999 4-door, 2WD, standard trans rav4. Would like to get
    a jetski (about 1000 lbs) but am concerned about getting it out of
    the water once it's in. Not sure how well it will pull up a wet incline with
    1000 extra lbs ... has anyone done something similar ?

    Thanks for any info in advance,
  • sdc2sdc2 Member Posts: 780
    I think you will be OK, unless the ramp is very steep or sandy.
  • danpcfldanpcfl Member Posts: 3
    thanks for the input ... have you done something like this before?
  • sdc2sdc2 Member Posts: 780
    I have never owned a front-wheel drive vehicle, but I live in the land of 10,000 boat ramps and have seen front-wheel drive cars pull many boats much larger than yours out of the water...front wheel drive is at a bit of a disadvantage on a ramp because the front wheels are somewhat unloaded due to the angle and the tongue weight of the trailer. OTOH, the front wheels are more likely to stay up on the dryer part of the launch ramp where it is less slippery, so it just depends on your traction situation.
  • danpcfldanpcfl Member Posts: 3
    thanks again for your input ...
    just want to be sure that after i install a hitch and
    buy a jetski, that i will be able to get it in, and
    more importantly, out of the water
  • blufz1blufz1 Member Posts: 2,045
    I tow a small 700lb. Bass boat with my Accord and you should have no trouble loading your js. Just be slow and smooth. Always set the parking brake if you are on the ramp and loading it by yourself and have to leave the car.
  • rallymasterrallymaster Member Posts: 1
    My friend actually pulls a 2000lb boat with his minivan and it has front wheel drive.

    He does have a few issues sometimes when pulling his boat out of the water especially if the conditions are sandy (like when sand is lightly dusted on the pavement). When its wet he *sometimes* has issues too... keep in mind 2000lbs too.

    But to fix the wheels from spinning be sure you have someone with you, look at the wheel that is spinning, and have that person lean on your car over that wheel (feet off the ground for safety) if you can call that safe but it works great.
  • darren_sunsetdarren_sunset Member Posts: 1
    I would like to hear experiences towing. I have a 2800 lb boat/trailor and not convinced this engine/suspension is capable of towing without a lot of wear. Also, how big a hassel not being able to open the back door when hitched?

    thanks, darren
  • rosey282rosey282 Member Posts: 2
    I have recently purchased a 2008 rav v6 sport. I intend on towing my 17 foot 2800lb boat with it. I have added the trailer package and the dealership is confident that towing should not be an issue. I am looking for feedback from those who tow in this capacity.
  • ebuchertebuchert Member Posts: 4
    Ok I purchased the wiring harness, and routed the wire however I have not been able to figure out how to connect to the junction box on the dash. The instructions say " disconnect the rear junction block connector (18p). Route the wire harness as shown into the (18p) Unfortunately the diagram does not look like my 2008. Any Ideas?
  • ebuchertebuchert Member Posts: 4
    trying to hook up towing wire harness from dealer.
  • hank119hank119 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 200
    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 Member 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.
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