Can a Sienna tow a 13'er - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-10-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
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Any problems w/ a 2005 Sienna (factory installed hitch) towing a 13' Burro? Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded which is well w/in range but I towed it once & mileage on inside meter occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously. 2 separate Toyota dealers said it was o.k. to tow it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car. I'll be in mtn. country. thanks for comments
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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Any problems w/ a 2005 Sienna (factory installed hitch) towing a 13' Burro? Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded which is well w/in range but I towed it once & mileage on inside meter occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously. 2 separate Toyota dealers said it was o.k. to tow it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car. I'll be in mtn. country. thanks for comments
Donna,

Just my casual observation....I've seen several comments on here about how great the Sienna works as a tow vehicle. The real reference is your owners manual. You should be able to find the max allowable trailer weight and the max allowable tongue weight there for your specific model of Sienna. Until you check that, we would all be guessing. If your Burro really is less than 1000 pounds empty (brochures are not to be trusted), then you can add 300-400 pounds to that to cover the weight of all the "necessities" you will want to pack. I would assume a total weight of 1500 pounds....and I bet your Sienna will do that easily. A quick Google shows 3500 pounds max, but check your manual to be sure.

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Old 12-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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Hi Donna, we too have an 05 Sienna. We currently tow a popup with a dry weight of 1700 lbs so with clothes, linens, ice chest, kid's bike, etc for four people on our 600 mile T'giving trip from Florida to NC we averaged 17 mpg which is exactly what I get in town not towing. Hitch weight I'm sure was 200lbs plus due to a full propane tank and battery. We have a Class III Hitch installed from U-Haul. What were the conditions when you were reading 3 MPG? I feel the popup back there going up highway entrance ramps and some of the hills in NC but on flat lands I dont even know it's there and had to remind myself not to drive 75mph on the interstate. I do feel it when braking for sure.
We are Egg shopping for a 13 footer and I know since the van handles the Popup so well an even lighter egg will be no trouble at all. Folks on here tow 16 and 17 footers with our vans but I'd just rather have a little more cushion as I plan to take it to WY to visit family and eventually to the Rockies, the Sierras, The Smokies and so forth so not just plain old flat Florida, lol. Maybe if u could tell us a little more about exactly what you had loaded where, speed, terrain etc it will help the forum with input. Like how long did the trip computer read 3 MPG? Were you going up a hill? What gear were you in? My dealer said when changing speeds frequently or climbing to take it out of overdrive to prevent the transmission from slipping etc. My RPM's when out of overdrive were around 2100 and when in overdrive around 1700 at 65 MPH.

Hope I didnt just hit you with too much, lol.

Melissa


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Any problems w/ a 2005 Sienna (factory installed hitch) towing a 13' Burro? Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded which is well w/in range but I towed it once & mileage on inside meter occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously. 2 separate Toyota dealers said it was o.k. to tow it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car. I'll be in mtn. country. thanks for comments
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:50 PM   #4
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I towed it once & mileage on inside meter [b]occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously.

...it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car.
So, you have a trip computer display that gives you instantaneous fuel miles per gallon readouts?
I think that you might be suffering from TMI. (Too Much Information)

That display is calculating the miles per gallon for that instant of time. What we need to do here is define "[b]occasionally".

Depending on what else is happening at that "occasion", it could be flashing you transitory circumstantial information that may not be of any significance.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:54 PM   #5
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Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded
And you have a vehicle scale's weigh ticket to confirm this?
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:09 PM   #6
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Hi Donna...we tow with an '06 Sienna (tow rated for a 3500 lb trailer) Our Trillium is about 1200lbs "dry" but I guesstimate it is around 1600 loaded for a trip.
We've trailered it to Florida two times (about 3000 miles round trip) and to Texas & Arizona once, the Smokies this summer, Maine last summer. Never a problem. MPG is about 15 or 16 at freeway speeds on mid-grade or hi-test. Tranny stays in OD unless we're descending steep grades.
Funny but my mpg's were the same as with our old 02 Sienna with the 3 liter engine...this one has the 3.3
Interesting to note that the new Siennas are tow- rated for 2000lb unless you get the 'tow package" (read" tranny cooler")...makes my '06 seem like a keeper.
The factory installed hitch on our rig seems to be prone to scraping on steep gas station ramps but the "outriggers" that hang below keep the working bits out of harms way.
We are set to go "snowbirding" again to the Keys in early Jan- Yesterday's weather has me thinking about moving the departure date up!
Happy Towing...Alistair
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:27 PM   #7
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Hi Alistair, Do you know what year the tow package was no longer a standard option? We have a 2005 and thought next year about trading it but I need to know what is the last year the package came standard so I dont end up with one without it. This is the first I've heard of it.

Thanks!
Melissa

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Hi Donna...we tow with an '06 Sienna (tow rated for a 3500 lb trailer) Our Trillium is about 1200lbs "dry" but I guesstimate it is around 1600 loaded for a trip.
We've trailered it to Florida two times (about 3000 miles round trip) and to Texas & Arizona once, the Smokies this summer, Maine last summer. Never a problem. MPG is about 15 or 16 at freeway speeds on mid-grade or hi-test. Tranny stays in OD unless we're descending steep grades.
Funny but my mpg's were the same as with our old 02 Sienna with the 3 liter engine...this one has the 3.3
Interesting to note that the new Siennas are tow- rated for 2000lb unless you get the 'tow package" (read" tranny cooler")...makes my '06 seem like a keeper.
The factory installed hitch on our rig seems to be prone to scraping on steep gas station ramps but the "outriggers" that hang below keep the working bits out of harms way.
We are set to go "snowbirding" again to the Keys in early Jan- Yesterday's weather has me thinking about moving the departure date up!
Happy Towing...Alistair
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:30 PM   #8
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Any problems w/ a 2005 Sienna (factory installed hitch) towing a 13' Burro? Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded which is well w/in range but I towed it once & mileage on inside meter occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously. 2 separate Toyota dealers said it was o.k. to tow it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car. I'll be in mtn. country. thanks for comments
I wouldn't be concerned if the MPG drops tp 3 MPG if you're towing up a severe incline or accelerating from a standing stop.

I some times tell people that I get 18 to 20 MPG when towing. However, due to the MPG droping to 3 MPG when accelerating and towing up inclines the Escalade only averages 14.8 MPG.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:08 AM   #9
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Hi Melissa...saw the specs on the new Siennas on the Toyota website...and also on one of the Sienna Club threads. The cost for a tranny cooler is not large given the price of a new rig...and the dealer should be willing to work something out if tow package was a deal breaker.
I just changed my Trans fluid at 96000 kms ( 60000 miles) and it was getting quite dark. Frequent fluid changes will be a part of my maintenance regimen from now on.
Happy towing...Alistair
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:50 AM   #10
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Hi Alistair,

We would not be purchasing a brand new van as they are just too much especially since in 4 years we will have a kid in college. We will be looking for used so need to know what is the last year the vans came from the factory with the tow package. If we find a deal on a newer model that may or may not have had it we'll be sure and have it verified (twice, lol) that it really does have it. From I understand, our 2005 has the 150 amp alternator, transmission cooler, larger radiator and something else I'm forgetting. I was reading a thread on the '08 and folks seem to be getting conflicting info from both Toyota and dealers as to what is has/needs. Some have even been told if you dont get the package from the factory you cant tow more than 2000lbs. Keeping my 05 is looking better and better, lol. Oh, we were advised when towing to change the tranny fluid every 30K-35K miles instead of the usual 60K so that may help you.

Melissa
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Hi Melissa...saw the specs on the new Siennas on the Toyota website...and also on one of the Sienna Club threads. The cost for a tranny cooler is not large given the price of a new rig...and the dealer should be willing to work something out if tow package was a deal breaker.
I just changed my Trans fluid at 96000 kms ( 60000 miles) and it was getting quite dark. Frequent fluid changes will be a part of my maintenance regimen from now on.
Happy towing...Alistair
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:01 PM   #11
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2005, 2006, and 2007 Toyota Siennas all came with tow prep packages. 2008 & 2009 Siennas have an optional tow prep package available, but it is rare to find one. The '08 & '09 need an additional oil cooler that is very expensive to retrofit. I think the Canadian models do not follow this time line. I hope this helps.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:06 PM   #12
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Thanks Tom, ya it does help. I'm just confused about 1 thing, in 2007 Toyota changed the engine from the 3.3L to the 3.5L and if I read the Sienna Forum correctly, that change is what mandates the engine oil cooler which no longer came stock with the new engine beginning in 2007. If that is indeed the case then anything later than 2006 may or may not have the cooler as it seems to be rare here in the U.S. That seems to be where the confusion is, did the 2007 still come with the oil cooler even though it has the new engine. That seems to be the million dollar question, lol. I read where the Canada models all come with tow prep package, lucky dogs, lol.

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2005, 2006, and 2007 Toyota Siennas all came with tow prep packages. 2008 & 2009 Siennas have an optional tow prep package available, but it is rare to find one. The '08 & '09 need an additional oil cooler that is very expensive to retrofit. I think the Canadian models do not follow this time line. I hope this helps.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:07 AM   #13
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Any problems w/ a 2005 Sienna (factory installed hitch) towing a 13' Burro? Burro weight is slightly under 1000 lbs unloaded which is well w/in range but I towed it once & mileage on inside meter occasionally dropped to 3 mpg. I thought if it dropped any more I might have to get out & push. Seriously. 2 separate Toyota dealers said it was o.k. to tow it but it scares me--I don't want to damage my car. I'll be in mtn. country. thanks for comments
If manual says 3500# tow rating, you are fine. As far as gas mileage, I'll bet you were accelerating when it dropped. Secret to MPG when towing is to be very gentle on gas pedal.
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