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Old 10-31-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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Default Towing with a Toyota Highlander

Hi All,

Apologies if this has been asked before but I did not see it here.
My wife loves the Fun Finders - consequently I must obtain one or else!!

We have perfectly good 2005 6 cyl. 3.3L Highlander (we got new) with the factory tow package -rated to tow up to 3500 lbs, got a class V Hitch & used it to pull a 1600 lb dry-weight popup previously- without issues.

So, what size Fun Finder can we tow comfortable, with proper anti-sway weight dist. etc. bars installed ? (We ain't gotta do the Rockies in it).

thanks all, Sodfodder (b/c I play in the garden)
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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With 3500 lb capacity your best bet would be the the 160 or the 139. With even the 189 FBR which is the lightest you would be pushing it in my opinion.

It's dry weight is 2,788 with a tongue weight of 255 lbs. That only leaves 457 lbs for everything else, gear, battery, propane, awning water, passengers etc.

Even the 160 WB at 2,593 with a tongue weight of 290 lbs is on the high end, leaving only 617 lbs for "everything else", but you might do it if you're frugal with what you carry.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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X2 on what LJAZ says... I wouldn't even consider the 189FBR. The "dry weight" of a travel trailer never takes into account "mandatory options" (like the awning) or the weight of the propane, etc. It is not uncommon to find that your true "out the door" weight is going to be 300-400 lbs. more than the advertised "dry weight".

Another concern you are going to encounter with moving up to a "hard sided" travel trailer is the "sail area" of the solid front end. Much as sticking your hand out the window at 65 mph with your palm facing forward, your Highlander will now have to contend with pulling an almost 8' wide, 10+' high wall through the air. You are going to find your Highlander pretty well stressed with the effort.

IMHO, with the Highlander's wheelbase, small V6 and light duty towing equipment, you'll be pushing the limits with virtually any hardsided trailer. It (the Highlander) was not designed to tow them. I don't have the vehicle's weight specs in front of me, but, based on the design (unitbody) and a 3500 lb limit, I would hazard that it was designed for utility trailers and small to medium popups. Get your vehicle's numbers and pay very close attention to them...given the vehicles design and age (2005), you may find that total vehicle loading may prohibit the tongue weights needed to keep a hard sided travel trailer stable while towing. Don't let anyone convince you that "a weight distribution hitch will fix it". You have to account for the weight of a weight distribution hitch in your calculations too...that alone can be 150 lbs. total.



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2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
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2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:20 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I guess this confirms what I really knew deep down and I do not want to be stressed out on every camping trip with dicey towing on the road. Btw, my Highlander has 230 HP and weights 5400 lbs.

So, can someone recommend a good tow vehicle type with decent gas mileage? We do not want to drive a gas hog all year to permit us to camp four times a year.
Am maybe considering the Honda Ridgeline with a 5000 lb tow capability.
-thanks for input !
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:34 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, "good tow vehicle" and "decent gas mileage" can't be used together in the same sentence

You have the "mass" in vehicle weight (which at 230 HP probably means that you don't have much in the gross vehicle weight range; vehicle weight plus load capacity). When you start talking "good" tow vehicles, you need to look at body type (frame structure is hands down better than Unibody) and torque. In gassers, torque comes at the expense of fuel mileage. Gas engines produce gobs of horsepower, but, not so much (at smaller fuel efficient displacements) torque and it is torque that "pulls", hence the measurement "pounds feet" or colloquially known by "foot pounds". With gas engines, in order to get a good amount of torque, you've got to have displacement and cylinders (rotating mass) and that doesn't equate to efficiency.

A Honda Ridgeline or Toyota / Nissan larger pickup would work well as well as a 1/4 ton pickup (RAM/Ford/Chevy/GMC) from the US makers. If you want an SUV, you'll need to look at the larger units out there; Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevy Suburbans, etc.

If you can find a diesel, you'll get the best of both worlds. Diesels, as opposed to gassers, develop gobs of torque; that's why the over the road rigs are diesels. Can pull tons all day long and do it much more efficiently than a gas version of the same truck.

Unfortunately, if you are looking at "mid-sized" trailers, the choices are few. Smaller, fuel efficient vehicles are limited in the ability to tow hard sided trailers due to the "sail area" of the trailer's front end and the lack of a frame to support tonque weight. Larger trailers, like my new 5th wheel, require the "full sized" vehicles, but, are available with the more fuel efficient and higher torque diesels. There isn't a whole lot out there for the mid-sized trailer crowd that is "economical" and a "good tow vehicle".



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2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:21 AM   #6
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Thanks Don!
So can you recommend a mid-sized diesel for towing 3000-4000 pounds?
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:24 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, I'm not aware of that many "mid-sized" vehicles being produced for sale in this country that have diesel power under the hood. In Europe, virtually all the models (even those from US makers like Chrysler) are available with diesels. One of the biggest laments in this country from us Commander owners is that we couldn't get ours with the diesel engines so prevalent in Europe...in England, for instance, you can't hardly find a gas Commander, they are predominately all diesels, but, I digress...

The only "mid-sized" diesels available in this country (that I'm aware of) are unfortunately "pricey" as they come from Land Rover, Mercedes and Volkswagon. Probably the best choice of that lot would be the Toureg (SP?) 4x4...much like a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but, available with a diesel engine.

Most diesels in this country are relegated to the pickup truck and service van segments and even those, as I mentioned earlier, are aimed at serious towing; you almost have to go to 3/4 ton pickups or heavy duty work vans in order to get them. That is about to change, most manufacturers are gearing up for increased diesel availability. Greater fuel economy will let automakers increase corporate fuel mileage to meet the higher requirements just passed and diesel, actually, is easier to refine than gasoline (again, in the rest of the world, diesel sells for less than gasoline).



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My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

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Bronwyn
2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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