Dealer or aftermarket towing package? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-22-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
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I recall the Trailer Life towing guide recommending having a towing package installed when buying a new tug, but on a RAV4 in Canada it's

$974.00 Towing Hitch - 3500 lbs V6
$91.75 Towing Hitch Ball Platform
$25.75 Trailer Ball - 2" - 6000 lbs. Max.
$585.00 Wiring Harness - 3500 lbs
$1676.50 total! (about $1360 US)

Is there any reason not to go aftermarket?

Ron
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:56 AM   #2
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One thing to consider is whether you are getting a complete factory tow package with after market equipment. It may be very difficult to duplicate the factory towing package in some models. Tow packages can include heavier suspensions and extra cooling capacity, for example. The price of after market stuff is certainly cheaper and this is the way to go, if you're just talking about basic towing equipment like you mentioned. Another consideration is warranty. Towing with a vehicle that is not equipped or rated to tow might void your warranty in some situations. If you are past the warranty period, go with your best judgement and stay away from equipment that is marginally adequate.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:09 AM   #3
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Wow Ron, that sure does sounds pricey. I don't think there would be an issue with using a good quality aftermarket product. As long as it is rated for your application and comes with a full warranty. In the past I have successfully used aftermarket products, but do prefer to order it when I buy the vehicle.

This is one of the things that swayed me to the Touring model of the Honda Pilot, was that it was already fully equipped and ready with a towing package. Even the base models have come with the hitch installed.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #4
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Get the dealer to tell you *precisely* what's in the towing package. It might be as simple as the hitch stuf or it might include stuf like:

1. Relay(s) for trailer lights
2. Wiring for brake controller
3. Wiring for TT battery charge
4. Auxiliary transmission cooler
5. Power steering cooler
6. Suspension
7. Lower rear end ratio
8. Bigger radiator
9. Different gearing in transmission
10.Tow/haul mode in transmission

Some of the stuf above only seems to show up in the heavy-duty pickups intended for towing BulgeMobiles, but I listed them for completeness.

That said, however, if the items you listed are the only ones, it would seem likely that you could get it all done aftermarket for a LOT less!
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
One thing to consider is whether you are getting a complete factory tow package with after market equipment....

[b]Another consideration is warranty. Towing with a vehicle that is not equipped or rated to tow might void your warranty in some situations.
My 2003 Honda Odyssey LX was the [b]1st ever brand-new-from-the-dealer vehicle I have ever owned. I dreaded the experience going in, and I believe I still have PTSD from it. I have a life membership in Consumer's Union, and I insisted on not over-paying for a vehicle that cost more than my first house! I had to refinance my present house to pay for it, which I consider a 15 year auto loan, and it has to last at least that long.

Unfortunately, I could not get a true understanding of just what encompassed a "Towing Package" until after I bought the van and thoroughly studied the owner's manual. After a lot of research, I had the dealer's service department install the factory Transmission Cooler and Power Steering Cooler due to the warranty issue.

I purchased the rest of the equipment after-market, and installed it myself, spending only 25% of what the dealer wanted.
(This does [b]not include the Brake Controller and Battery Charge Line installed by Camping World)
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
I recall the Trailer Life towing guide recommending having a towing package installed when buying a new tug, but on a RAV4 in Canada it's

$974.00 Towing Hitch - 3500 lbs V6
$91.75 Towing Hitch Ball Platform
$25.75 Trailer Ball - 2" - 6000 lbs. Max.
$585.00 Wiring Harness - 3500 lbs
$1676.50 total! (about $1360 US)

Is there any reason not to go aftermarket?

Ron
When i had my Rav4, I installed a after market setup as you have described. The cost was cheaper. I was pulling a 13foot Trillium (2004) model. I had no problems. I also was going to pull a 17 foot Escape with same setup. But ended up buying a truck. NOTE----------If you look around you will find a less expensive towing hitch. I paid less than $500 CDN for my Hitch. My total cost for the above installed was about $900 CDN. Most of the labor cost was Installing the wiring, at least thats what they told me.

On reflection i (Can't find bill) beleive hitch was about $375 CDN. The cost you have quoted are out of line as far as I am concerned. Shop around. Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:28 AM   #7
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Other items often included in a towing package are a higher output alternator and a greater capacity battery.

Not sure about your area but the couple of times I checked down here it was more costly to put together a 3rd party package and not feasible for some of the items that Pete itemized due to OEM warranty issues.

Don
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:42 PM   #8
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Ron there is a place in the 'Wack that does trailer hitches for anything, even though they specailize in truck and truck parts. The name of the company presently 'ESCAPES' me (LOL) but I am sure that a call to Reace could steer you in the right direction. The place is on the road that parallels the freeway west of C'wack. (They did have a display booth at the Humdinger R/V show last weekend.)

If you go with the factory tow package you WILL end up paying more money for the total install because you are paying 'factory' shop rates for labor (plus dealer parts costs) which usually are higher than an aftermarket shop. I think however one might be wise to factor in the warranty (if any) which may apply with a factory install...
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:54 PM   #9
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Is the listing in the original post for a "factory towing package" or just a set of dealer installed aftermarket items? A manufacturer's towing package is usually quoted at one price for the whole package. Some manufacturers list several "levels" of towing package depending on the GCWR of the vehicle/trailer combination.

Some dealers try to sell you a unit already on the lot and will quote a price to install the accessories you ask for instead of ordering a unit with the factory towing package. If they are dealer installed items they will only be warranted by the dealer, not by the manufacturer. And they could affect the manufacturer's warranty in nasty ways you won't find out about until there is a problem.

If I was making this deal I'd be asking a lot of questions of the dealer and getting the answers in writing. The prices in your list are way out of line for what you would be getting and don't include some essentials for trailer towing.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:40 PM   #10
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The original post was cut and pasted (with a bit of editing) from the Build and Price Your Toyota feature of the toyota.ca web site. There is no mention of transmission coolers, gear ratios, suspension upgrades or the like. The vehicle is rated for 3500 pounds towing capacity, and the web site has a document with all the different weights (tongue weights, payload, etc.). Also, for other vehicles, like the Sienna minivan, the equivalent equipment is about $500 cheaper.

Whoa - Sometime in the last two or three hours, the toyota.ca website underwent a significant makover. So far I like it better.

Ron
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