Factory receivers vs after market - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-15-2010, 07:28 PM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 13 ft 2006
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Factory receivers vs after market

Browsing the web, I went to the etrailer website. I have a 2006 Toyota RAV4, 4WD, towing package 3500 lbs, gross combined wt 8400 lbs. Pull a 2008 17' Fleetwood Orbit Trailer, dry wt 2810 lbs.

My RAV4 came with a factory receiver installed so I don't know the price as it was part of the car price.

As I browsed the etrailer website, I looked at the hitches they had for my RAV4. Then I looked at the installation video and immediately recognized a big difference between the factory vs the after market draw tite unit. They have other makes, all were very similar (350 lbs tongue wt and 3500 lbs trailer).

The draw tite hitch was round bar, like the factory hitch, and attached with 2 bolts thru a plate to the middle and back hole in the U-shaped frame channel (2 bolts each side, total 4 bolts).

I went to my RAV4 and observed that the receiver had an L-shaped plate that was 18" long, fitting along the U-frame with 3 bolts in each side. From the receiver, on the inside is another plate that has a bolt into the channel. Also, from this plate are brackets that go up to the back of the car frame cross member that has 3 bolts to the back of the car. That is a total of 14 bolts! Giving a large foot print - I believe that is very important with a unibody SUV.

After reviewing these after market units, there is no way I would pull the trailer I have (over 3000 lbs for the road) with one of the after market hitches.

The company says they meet Toyota specs - what does that mean - distance between bolt holes?

The after market hitches for the Highlander, look much more sturdy (500 lbs tongue wt - 5000 lbs trailer). I don't know what the factory hitch looks like for the Highlander.

I feel lucky I have the factory hitch! We just finished 7,000+ miles with several 10,000'+ mountain passes and road construction that had some very rough surfaces. I do have air-springs, equallizer hitch with 400 lbs spring bars, sway control and after market transmission oil cooler.

Jim Witte
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Maryland
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It all depends on the vehicle in question... on my Sprinter van, the Curt hitch actually uses two MORE mounting points than the factory hitch.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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And on my Volvo, the Drawtite hitch (I believe they have merged with Reese now) is the exact same hitch as the Volvo one, from what I (and others) can tell.

So I guess it depends.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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The receiver hitch on my F-150 isn't made by Ford, even if it was installed by Ford. I think most will find it's sorta like a molded trailer. Parts are made by other manufacturers even if sold as a complete unit by another manufacturer. I think the hitch on my truck is by Reece. YMMV
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:35 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Keep in mind that some websites show the exact same pictures etc. for different hitches. If possible download the installation instructions for the exact hitch you are looking at. That might give a more accurate comparison.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:43 PM   #6
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Name: Laura & Rick
Trailer: Had an Escape 21 ft
Washington
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Originally Posted by Jim Witte View Post
Browsing the web, I went to the etrailer website. I have a 2006 Toyota RAV4, 4WD, towing package 3500 lbs, gross combined wt 8400 lbs. Pull a 2008 17' Fleetwood Orbit Trailer, dry wt 2810 lbs.

My RAV4 came with a factory receiver installed so I don't know the price as it was part of the car price.

As I browsed the etrailer website, I looked at the hitches they had for my RAV4. Then I looked at the installation video and immediately recognized a big difference between the factory vs the after market draw tite unit. They have other makes, all were very similar (350 lbs tongue wt and 3500 lbs trailer).

The draw tite hitch was round bar, like the factory hitch, and attached with 2 bolts thru a plate to the middle and back hole in the U-shaped frame channel (2 bolts each side, total 4 bolts).

I went to my RAV4 and observed that the receiver had an L-shaped plate that was 18" long, fitting along the U-frame with 3 bolts in each side. From the receiver, on the inside is another plate that has a bolt into the channel. Also, from this plate are brackets that go up to the back of the car frame cross member that has 3 bolts to the back of the car. That is a total of 14 bolts! Giving a large foot print - I believe that is very important with a unibody SUV.

After reviewing these after market units, there is no way I would pull the trailer I have (over 3000 lbs for the road) with one of the after market hitches.

The company says they meet Toyota specs - what does that mean - distance between bolt holes?

The after market hitches for the Highlander, look much more sturdy (500 lbs tongue wt - 5000 lbs trailer). I don't know what the factory hitch looks like for the Highlander.

I feel lucky I have the factory hitch! We just finished 7,000+ miles with several 10,000'+ mountain passes and road construction that had some very rough surfaces. I do have air-springs, equallizer hitch with 400 lbs spring bars, sway control and after market transmission oil cooler.

Jim Witte
Jim, having a Highlander, the factory hitch looks good, easy to install and is higher off the ground than after-market hitches. The down side is the cost. After-marker hitches work fine but the receiver is lower to the ground and the right side mount goes under the muffler, but cost a lot less. Check out the RAV4 and Highlander (gen 2) forums at Toyota Nation.
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