2008 Toyota Highlander V6 towing 16'ft. Casita SD? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-22-2018, 07:29 PM   #1
koy
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2008 Toyota Highlander V6 towing 16'ft. Casita SD?

Hello, everyone - I recently got this 2008 Toyota highlander V6, it said that the towing capacity is 2000 lb. My 16' ft. Casita SD' gross weight is 2100 lb. plus three people on the car. I do used a Weight Distribution Hitch and a Brake Control on my Toyota Highlander. The one thing that I'm concerning is - can I "over-kill" the towing on my Toyota Highlander ? any suggestion will be helpful. Thank-you.
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:34 PM   #2
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You can sell your Highlander now and buy a tow vehicle rated to tow your trailer, or you can wait until your Highlander breaks from the abuse and then trade it in on a proper tow vehicle.
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:39 PM   #3
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Sorry... look for a tow vehicle rated to tow 3500. Then you can look at the other specs including gross combined weight rating and tongue weight rating, etc... That Highlander is no good for you. Other Highlanders will work but not that one.

PS. what was wrong with the Odyssey van?
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:50 PM   #4
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The reason your tow rating is so low is the lack of the factory tow prep package, which includes upgraded engine cooling, a larger alternator, and an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler.

I'm skeptical that the gross weight of your Casita 16 SD is 2100#. That sounds more like a dry weight. Loaded weights in our database indicate that the loaded weight is likely closer to 3000#. That, combined with the extra people in the car (tow ratings often only include the driver and no cargo), means you're not just a little over.

Our first tow vehicle was a 2000 Toyota Sienna V6, no tow prep package, rated 2000#. We used it to pull an 1800# Scamp 13 with four people on board (2 were small children). We overheated the transmission on the first long grade on our first trip. It didn't kill the vehicle, thanks to sensors that detected the overheating condition, but it was clear the vehicle wasn't up to the task as equipped.

We might have made it work with the addition of a transmission cooler, upgraded hitch, and trailer brake wiring, but as the vehicle was already 13 years old at the time, we decided to start over with a more capable vehicle. Enter a used Honda Pilot with full towing upgrades and rated for 3500#.

You've got some hard choices ahead. I'd say of the 3 deficiencies, the transmission cooler is the most important, and that can be added easily.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
... I'd say of the 3 deficiencies, the transmission cooler is the most important, and that can be added easily.
I had a 08 Highlander and had discussions about adding a tranny cooler. Long story, but I have some serious doubt that it is a reasonable possibility.

I used it to tow a 1500 lb pop-up camper and it barely got the job done. And then the timing belt cover gasket started to leak oil and the repair est. was over $2,000. No, the OP should not use a 2008 Highlander (W/O tow package) to tow his Casita. A replacement vehicle is the only option.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:24 PM   #6
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I was not familiar with the timing belt cover gasket issue. That makes the lack of upgraded engine cooling more concerning. Any idea what was causing it? I know the 3.0L and 3.3L engines both had issues with restricted internal oil circulation, finally resolved in the 3.5L. Our Sienna had the 3.0L, and I'm guessing the '08 Highlander had the 3.3L?

As to the ATF cooler, are you saying it can't be done, or that it won't help?

I do think we made the right decision not to try to patch up a marginal vehicle.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I was not familiar with the timing belt cover gasket issue. That makes the lack of upgraded engine cooling more concerning. Any idea what was causing it? I know the 3.0L and 3.3L engines both had issues with restricted internal oil circulation, finally resolved in the 3.5L. Our Sienna had the 3.0L, and I'm guessing the '08 Highlander had the 3.3L?

As to the ATF cooler, are you saying it can't be done, or that it won't help?

I do think we made the right decision not to try to patch up a marginal vehicle.
My 2008 Highlander had the 3.5-liter 2GR-FE motor. I have no clue as to why the gasket failed but the cost to repair it was mostly due to the fact that the entire engine had to be removed to get to it.

Now my 2015 Sienna has the same 3.5-liter 2GR-FE motor and its a time-tested and highly reliable machine. I even use the oil filters I had left over when I sold the Highlander. I don't know if the same gasket failure in a Sienna would require the engine to be removed, and the exorbitant costs of doing so, but there is more room to work in the engine compartment so maybe not. At any rate, I expect I will never find out.

So I am not knocking (no pun) the engine even if there was an issue with the gasket at one time, but for towing anything more than a small pop-up with a Highlander, a higher tow rating is needed.

Memory is starting to fade but I will say that I was talked out of adding a tranny cooler (not engine cooling) to my 2008 Highlander. Risk of over-cooling when not towing was one thing. Perhaps there was limited room. Maybe something else too, there may have been other limitations such as the rear end strength.
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:30 PM   #8
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Since you already have the Casita, take it to your nearest truck stop and weigh it. 2100 pounds sounds very light to me.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:04 AM   #9
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Thank-you everyone for the advice,and it is a hard decision to make trading a new car (cost more money) or down side to a 13' ft. Casita or Scamp ?
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:15 AM   #10
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Thank-you everyone for the advice,and it is a hard decision to make trading a new car (cost more money) or down side to a 13' ft. Casita or Scamp ?
Well since the Highlander is ten or eleven years old, I would personally go with a new or newer vehicle rated to tow a minimum 3,500 lbs.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:38 AM   #11
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Main downside of a 13'er is giving up the bathroom. Other than that you'd have everything you now have in your 16' Casita.

We camp at developed campgrounds- state parks mostly- with toilets and (usually) shower facilities. Occasionally, they will be less than satisfactory, but generally it has not been an issue. We enjoy camping in our 13' Scamp with 4 people.

My experience and Gordon's still stand as a caution, however. Towing without the cooling upgrades may be marginal even with an under-2000# trailer.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:21 AM   #12
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I’ve towed my trailer with a V6 vehicle and it never worked well for me
It always felt like the vehicle was struggling
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Iíve towed my trailer with a V6 vehicle and it never worked well for me
...
Iíve towed my trailer with a V6 vehicle and it worked well for me.

Its not about the number cylinders.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Iíve towed my trailer with a V6 vehicle and it worked well for me.

Its not about the number cylinders.

Ditto.
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