Hitch requirements, Highlander Hybrid - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
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Hitch requirements, Highlander Hybrid

I've read on here and the Escape forum that folks have good luck towing these lightweight trailers with a Highlander Hybrid, which is what we want to do. It turns out, the hitch we have cannot accept a weight distribution system or sway bar. Are these necessary with these trailers? We don't have any way to try it out unless we buy a trailer. Our tow limit is 3500 lbs. thanks in advance
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
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Don't have a Highlander so it is difficult for me to comment on whether you will need a WDH. I do use a WDH for towing my Escape 19' with my Toyota FJ Cruiser, and it is very solid and a pleasure to tow. In fact, I had driven to work and back for a week after my last camping trip before I even noticed that I had not yet unhitched the trailer.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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We have an '02 non hybrid Highlander that we used for a tug for a 1300 Trillium and our "new" 4500 Trillium. Also has a rating of 3500#. Tows both trailers like a dream. Wouldn't worry about a weight distribution hitch unless you are looking at a much heavier trailer. The 4500 weighed about 1900# loaded for a three week road trip.YMMV
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:59 PM   #4
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It may all depend on what the tongue limit is on your Highlander and if it sags when connected. If it doesnt sag and you have the capacity to take the normal tongue weight of which the majority on the the Real World Weights thread for the 17' Escapes fall in at between 320 and 380lbs you may not need a WDH. The best people to ask would be the folks at Escape themselves. They are more than helpful and know their trailers better than anyone ;-)
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
It may all depend on what the tongue limit is on your Highlander and if it sags when connected. If it doesnt sag and you have the capacity to take the normal tongue weight of which the majority on the the Real World Weights thread for the 17' Escapes fall in at between 320 and 380lbs you may not need a WDH.
Even if it does sag a little more than you would like, as long as you are safely within the tug's Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating and its tongue weight limit you can probably correct the ride height with air bags or air shocks (depending on model - I would need to check what's available for a Highlander).
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #6
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I have towed with my '08 Highlander for over 100,000 miles, most of those miles towing a cargo trailer for work, and did not use a WD hitch. The tongue weight of the cargo trailer was over 400 lbs at the start of each day, but I'd slowly unload it through the course of the day. There was rear sag, but it wasn't a problem for handling or performance. I should mention that mine is 4wd (all wheel drive, really), so the rear tires are helping propel the HL.

As long as you have between 150 and 430 lbs on the hitch, based on my experience you should be fine. More weight, I haven't tried; less weight might cause sway to develop.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:30 AM   #7
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What kind of hitch do you have? Curious why it won't accept a WDH.

Also check out this link, especially post #3,

Towing with Hybrid? - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
I have towed with my '08 Highlander for over 100,000 miles, most of those miles towing a cargo trailer for work, and did not use a WD hitch.
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Originally Posted by Laura & Rick View Post
What kind of hitch do you have? Curious why it won't accept a WDH.
In his post above, Mike didn't say that his hitch would not accept a WD system, only that he did not use one.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:01 PM   #9
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Mike didn't but the OP sure did ;-)
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:28 PM   #10
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Mike didn't but the OP sure did ;-)
Ah, tunnel vision at work... not seeing back more than the most recent post. Thanks Carol.

Some hitch receivers, especially original equipment on vehicles with no more than 3500 pounds rated towing capacity, have 1.25" receiver openings. WD equipment is not available in that size. Is this the reason, Deeanne?

The original post also says that the hitch cannot accept a "sway bar" (which I assume means friction-type sway control device). Adapters are available to mount the required small extra ball on a 1.25" ball mount, if that is the issue.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #11
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Hitch, Highlander Hybrid

Yes, that is the problem with the hitch, rated for 3500 pounds. But we just went to the hitch place that installed it and he looked it up and says it's fine to put a weight distrib system on it. Ao, i sounds like it is certainly possible to use the car as a tow vehicle. Now I just need to find a fiberglass trailer. They are few and far between in California.
Thanks for all the good advice.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:06 PM   #12
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It's sounds like you have a class ll hitch. You haven't said which size Escape you are considering but if its a 17 or bigger you really should upgrade to a class lll hitch. You may fine your limited in what you can buy to put on that hitch & will need to watch carefully what receiver & ball combo specs are that you put on it to meet the Ecapes tongue weight.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Deeanne E. View Post
But we just went to the hitch place that installed it and he looked it up and says it's fine to put a weight distrib system on it.
That means it must be a 2" receiver. Also, since it was installed by a hitch place - not a Toyota dealer - it is likely not a Toyota-branded (or "original equipment" or "Genuine Toyota" or "OEM") hitch. Do you know the brand and model?

What year is this Highlander? (The two generations use different hitches)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
It's sounds like you have a class ll hitch. You haven't said which size Escape you are considering but if its a 17 or bigger you really should upgrade to a class lll hitch.
The rated towing capacity of the Highlander is 3500 pounds. The rated capacity of a Class 2 hitch -and apparently of this specific hitch - is 3500 pounds. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of an Escape 17' is 3500 pounds. Some trailers within this weight limit may have more tongue weight than a typical Class 2 hitch can handle, but if an Escape 17' is too heavy for a Class 2 hitch, it is also overweight (over its own GVWR), and too heavy for the tug.

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You may [find] your limited in what you can buy to put on that hitch ...
Carol, are you assuming this is a 1.25" receiver? The hitch shop says it is not.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
That means it must be a 2" receiver. Also, since it was installed by a hitch place - not a Toyota dealer - it is likely not a Toyota-branded (or "original equipment" or "Genuine Toyota" or "OEM") hitch. Do you know the brand and model?

What year is this Highlander? (The two generations use different hitches)


The rated towing capacity of the Highlander is 3500 pounds. The rated capacity of a Class 2 hitch -and apparently of this specific hitch - is 3500 pounds. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of an Escape 17' is 3500 pounds. Some trailers within this weight limit may have more tongue weight than a typical Class 2 hitch can handle, but if an Escape 17' is too heavy for a Class 2 hitch, it is also overweight (over its

Carol, are you assuming this is a 1.25" receiver? The hitch shop says it is not.

I am assuming to a Class II hitch which is what the hitch shop confirmed it to be based on its capacity. That being the case the majority of class II hitches I have seen are 1.25" receivers. The hitch shop did not say as you indicate that's its a 2" receiver only that its possible to put a WDH on it which MAY suggest its a 2" but not a given.
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