Better tow vehicle. Highlander vs. Sienna van - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-30-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Trailer: X-treme Lite 160
Posts: 104
I currently own a 04 Highlander w/ 3.3v6. It does a pretty good job but would like something that is a little stronger in the rear. (The Highlander is on a Camry chassis). I am towing approx. 2800lbs. gross w/ 300-320 on the tongue. I have heard that the max. tongue should not exceed 250 lbs. from the dealer even though the tow cap. is 3500 lbs.. Has anyone used either the Highlander or the Sienna for towing? My wife would like the added room in the Sienna for her drapery business. Or is there another van that would be better? Are there any all wheel drives or rear wheel drive vans out there? Please Help!

Thanks,
Gary
__________________

__________________
Gary Little is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
Those who have waded through my posts of the past will know what I am about to say... the Toyota Sienna works very well for towing, at least for a trailer the size of my 17' Boler (wider and slightly heavier than a Scamp 16'). Compared to the Highlander, it has more wheelbase (which is good), and essentially the same drivetrain (which is more than adequate, in my opinion).

If you are going to a van and want all-wheel-drive, the Sienna is an option, and there are likely others (I'm not sure which ones in this model year). Most rear-drive vans are much larger (and heavier) than a "minivan" such as the Sienna; the exceptions would be the Chevrolet Astro (if you can still get one), and the Dodge Sprinter (large but lean).

As for the Highlander...

The maximum tongue weight should not be a rumour, and I don't trust dealers for technical information. My manual explicitly provides the maximum hitch weight, both without a weight-distributing hitch (350 lb) and with one (maybe 450 lb, but I don't have a WDH so I don't remember). The towing section of Toyota manuals can be hard to read because it is so wordy, but I suggest another look.

While the Highlander does share drivetrains with the Camry (and Sienna, and Lexus RX), and probably steering and front suspension as well, I believe that it has its own unique rear suspension. Whether shared or not, if the only concern is a lack of spring stiffness (not load capacity), then air bags may be the solution - I added Firestone Coil-Rite bags to my Sienna, and am very satisfied with the result. They correct the ride height and add stiffness, but only when you want it for towing and pump them up.
__________________

__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2006, 08:57 PM   #3
Moderator
 
Frederick L. Simson's Avatar
 
Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
California
Posts: 8,151
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Frederick L. Simson
Talking

Last July at the Oregon Gathering, I met a couple of guys who towed their 17' Casita Spirit with a Toyota Highlander and were quite pleased with the combination.
__________________
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
Frederick L. Simson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2006, 11:04 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Tom Trostel's Avatar
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: 1980 Bigfoot 17 ft
Texas
Posts: 1,300
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Tom Trostel Send a message via MSN to Tom Trostel
Both the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey are great tow vehicles for your size trailer. The Sienna is available in 4 wheel drive; however, that model has been plagued with tire problems. The drive system takes away the space where 2 wheel drive models have their spare tire. There is no spare on the 4 wheel drive model and the run-flat tires have been failing a low mileage and causing strange handling due to uneven wear.
Tom Trostel
__________________
1980 Bigfoot 17' & former owner of 1973 Compact Jr
Tom Trostel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2006, 11:25 PM   #5
Member
 
Name: Karen
Trailer: Formerly Bigfoot 25RB21 and Scamp 19
Colorado
Posts: 91
I towed my trailer (about 1800 lbs dry weight) for a season with a 2004 Sienna. I added Air Lift bags because I was constantly scraping the hitch (coming out of my driveway - which isn't even remotely steep, turning out of my street, pulling into gas stations, driving down bumpy dirt roads, etc.) The air bags helped significantly but I still scraped the hitch too often for my comfort. I anticipate you will have the same problem given how much heavier your trailer is than mine. I still have my Sienna but got a 4Runner for towing. I love it.

If it weren't for the clearance problem, I would probably still be towing with the Sienna because otherwise it was quite capable. I haven't heard the same clearance complaints about the Honda Odyssey, which is another very capable minivan, so you might check it out as well (although it does not have an all wheel drive option).

Karen
__________________
Karen T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2006, 11:07 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Brian B-P's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
I used a friend's Sienna for a test pull of a trailer, and scraped the hitch on the way out the RV dealer's lot; however, that is a bad driveway entrance, that Sienna had no air bags, and the hitch weight was too high (about the 350 lb limit) to use without air or a WDH. With my Sienna and a tent trailer (no air or WDH), I had no clearance problems. With my Sienna and my Boler B1700 (with air, still no WDH), I have no clearance problems. Individual experiences vary, of course, and my Class 2 OEM hitch (built by Reese) may not hang down as far as others.

The reliability of run-flat tires has been the subject of controversy for any of the many vehicles which now use them. The 2004-up Sienna can fit a spare (or the flat regular tire) in the rear well, behind the rear seats, on the left side, but putting a wheel and tire there means that side of the rear seat can't fold down into the well. Some Siennas (all-wheel drive with lower trim levels) were apparently sold with regular tires, and a plastic cover for the spare for use in the well.
__________________
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2006, 12:49 PM   #7
Member
 
Name: Karen
Trailer: Formerly Bigfoot 25RB21 and Scamp 19
Colorado
Posts: 91
Quote:
Individual experiences vary, of course, and my Class 2 OEM hitch (built by Reese) may not hang down as far as others.
Yes - my hitch is a Class III and I have noticed Class II hitches on other new model Siennas look like they don't hang down as far.
__________________

__________________
Karen T is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can a Sienna tow a 13'er Donna Adams Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 12 12-14-2009 10:07 AM
What do we need for Sienna hitch? Penney H. & Mike E. Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 5 10-08-2009 09:33 AM
Toyota Sienna Tow Vehicle DanMurphy Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 03-06-2008 07:32 PM
Towing with Toyota Sienna 3.3L Alan P. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 05-29-2007 11:31 PM
Negotiating the price on our new Toyota Sienna. Candi Woods Money Matters 7 02-05-2007 08:00 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.