RAV4 and WDH -The Answer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-17-2015, 02:52 PM   #1
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RAV4 and WDH -The Answer

Finally, after some six years I got to speak to somebody at Toyota Canada and they explained why Toyota does not recommend a weight distribution hitch.
He said, it is because they do not have a manufacturing partnership with a WDH supplier and so they cannot offer any guarantee or take any responsibility. If they did, the manuals for the RAV and from the hitch maker would contain instructions and information for its set-up and use.
Simple as that. They are not saying you can't use one, just that they can't recommend that you do.
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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Yes, Toyota's lawyers have won out and Toyota has let them run the show instead of providing the least bit of customer service when it comes to towing. Shame on Toyota. (Apparently the marketing people still think they can sell the cars as towing capable however.)

This is the response that I got form Toyota when I asked about trailer lights and a brake controller for my new van, which was marketed as being able to tow 3500 lbs.

We apologize as we do not recommend or assist with modifying our vehicles from the original factory specifications.

Toyota's warranty covers repairs and adjustments needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship of any part supplied by Toyota.

Modifications to your vehicle could affect the performance, safety or durability, and may violate government regulations. Non-Genuine Toyota Parts, or any damage or failures resulting from their use, are not covered by any Toyota warranty.

We are sorry; we do not offer a tow wiring harness, for your vehicle. Regrettably, we do not have any recommendations to a supplier or source that may.

Your email has been documented at our National Headquarters. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:28 PM   #3
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In 2011, the year my Honda Pilot was made, every single one manufactured in every trim level came with hitch, 7-pin trailer wiring, and a brake controller port. I cross-shopped Highlanders at the time and that was one of the factors that led me to buy the Pilot. The other was that, even without a hitch or full trailer wiring, Highlanders commanded a premium of $1-2K.

More to the point of this thread, Honda has essentially the same recommendation against the use of a WDH. With a firmer rear suspension than Toyota, it is probably less of an issue.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:55 PM   #4
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Do they recommend you DON'T use a WDH, or does it say they don't recommend using a WDH? There is a difference. The second says they don't have an approved WDH so they aren't going to endorse one and take any responsibility if you choose one. Seems reasonable to me.
Language is how lawyers make a living.
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:39 AM   #5
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When you think about it how could any manufacturer say anything else? These are huge corporations. If they give their approval without having done the proper testing they would leave themselves open to liability. And there is no reason for them to spend the money on testing if there is no profit in it.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:02 AM   #6
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Yup.
There is nothing stopping somebody on this site from recommending that you add a can of Coke to your tank with every fill. Why not? The gas companies add ethanol ( from corn ) and Coca Cola probably has corn syrup in it, so maybe you could improve your mileage.
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:05 AM   #7
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A good topic and I believe by the comments so far we understand the corp positions.

Back in the good ol days, 40's, 50's, 60's, etc the auto companies were more helpful with towing info for their cars and less concerned with legalities and marketing involvement.

Many of us prefer and use the services of vehicle/trailer connection pro's who through experience and testing know and understand the big picture of towing and setup much better than the auto companies who seem all tied up with legal and marketing hoop-a-la.
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:24 AM   #8
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Yup, it's all in the legal/sue happy thinking now days.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:21 AM   #9
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It is interesting that the lawyers create their own market by providing services for both the complainer and the manufacturer. If you wish the corporation to competently run their company by protecting their shareholders and cutomers, then action to defend against lawsuits is part of responsibly running their business.

We have a vested interest in our hobby and we tend to think everyone wants what we want. Well, we need to get over ourselves. We’re a modest market at best. Of course manufacturers will recommend against towing if they don’t believe they have enough testing, or enough control over the modification system and equipment. Or, if it’ll cause warranty issues and p*ss off their customers. (Their customers are the next guy who buys the tow vehicle from me as well.) Just because they won’t sign off on my harebrained towing scheme doesn’t mark them as irresponsible.

I read posts all the time where the writer holds the manufacturer up for contempt because they won’t let the consumer add and/or modify their purchase any way the writer sees fit. Really? How is that manufacturer’s attitude in any way unreasonable?

An aftermarket modifier might know more, in a big picture sense, about towing than the original equipment vehicle manufacturer but when it comes right down to drilling holes in my tow vehicle frame or unibody we’re not talking big picture anymore, we’re talking specifics about my vehicle and I don’t cede any of the manufacturer’s expertise to the modifier.
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:04 AM   #10
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A few points:

1. I did not ask Toyota for recommendations for a manufacturer. I asked a few technical questions that needed to be known to properly equip the vehicle for towing as the marking people said it could be. One question was what additional draw could the alternator handle. These questions dealt with safely equipping the car to tow and their failure to help creates a hazard.

2. I also talked to one of their “experts” on the phone for about 15 minutes. He told me there was a wiring harness under the kick panel for the brake controller. Of course he is 100% wrong. He also could not tell me the amp rating on the alternator. Useless!

3. I especially was turned off by the comment Toyota made about documenting the correspondence at their national headquarters. Translation: Try to make a warrantee claim and we use your own inquiry against you.

4. Even going back to the day I bought the vehicle.. I was handed many documents to sign and in the middle, without explanation, they tried to slip in an arbitration agreement. Very sneaky as all the other docs did require my signature. I was alert enough to know what it was, and I just handed it back saying, “no thanks.”

I say to Toyota (and the rest of the car companies).. either make the darn parts needed to tow, or make it clear that the car cannot be used for towing without voiding the warrantee. In fact, the response I quoted above should be included in the sales brochure and in the bill of sale when the car is being purchased. As it is now, they are being quite deceptive in their marketing.

A company that puts its shareholders above it's customers serves neither.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Finally, after some six years I got to speak to somebody at Toyota Canada and they explained why Toyota does not recommend a weight distribution hitch.
He said, it is because they do not have a manufacturing partnership with a WDH supplier and so they cannot offer any guarantee or take any responsibility. If they did, the manuals for the RAV and from the hitch maker would contain instructions and information for its set-up and use.
Simple as that. They are not saying you can't use one, just that they can't recommend that you do.
Glad to hear you got a direct answer from someone in the know.

I would not assume though that when reading manuals and ones sees they don't "recommend" the use of a certain after market product that Toyota's explanation for why they don't recommend a WDH is the answer you will get from all auto manufactures on all after market items & the reason given being exactly the same.

A fine example would be, Subaru who also do not recommend a WDH on their cars. Even when they did not offer up their own hitch/receivers for their vehicles as an option - which they did not for years. But they did include pages of how to tow & hook up information in their manuals. So they clearly had no issues with a hitch being added even though they had no partnership with a hitch manufacture they just had an issue with WDH being added.

When i got a real person to talk to me about why they did not recommend a WDH, I was told something similar but in their case their was a safety concern in so far as they were worried that under certain load and road conditions the WDH could have a negatively impact on their full time all wheel drive system which is unique to Subaru's. They did not come right out and say it but I suspect in their case they were more concerned in the wrong hands (i.e. owner did not set up the WDH correctly) the results could be deadly.

Were/are they wrong to be concerned about a WDH being added and the potential for it to be set up incorrectly? Based on the number of times we see posts here asking questions and looking for help on an item that is clearly addressed in the auto manufactures manual - I suspect not.
A lot of people do not read full instruction manuals regardless of the product.

I personally don't think we can blame the auto makers or their lawyer's for being very careful in covering their butts. As been said we are a society that likes to sue and the bigger the corporation the more folks like to sue them.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
A few points:

1. I did not ask Toyota for recommendations for a manufacturer. I asked a few technical questions that needed to be known to properly equip the vehicle for towing as the marking people said it could be. One question was what additional draw could the alternator handle. These questions dealt with safely equipping the car to tow and their failure to help creates a hazard.

2. I also talked to one of their “experts” on the phone for about 15 minutes. He told me there was a wiring harness under the kick panel for the brake controller. Of course he is 100% wrong. He also could not tell me the amp rating on the alternator. Useless!

3. I especially was turned off by the comment Toyota made about documenting the correspondence at their national headquarters. Translation: Try to make a warrantee claim and we use your own inquiry against you.

4. Even going back to the day I bought the vehicle.. I was handed many documents to sign and in the middle, without explanation, they tried to slip in an arbitration agreement. Very sneaky as all the other docs did require my signature. I was alert enough to know what it was, and I just handed it back saying, “no thanks.”

I say to Toyota (and the rest of the car companies).. either make the darn parts needed to tow, or make it clear that the car cannot be used for towing without voiding the warrantee. In fact, the response I quoted above should be included in the sales brochure and in the bill of sale when the car is being purchased. As it is now, they are being quite deceptive in their marketing.

A company that puts its shareholders above it's customers serves neither.
And for these reasons I will never buy another new car or use a dealership to service my vehicle.

My alternate choice is to buy a good used vehicle, use a reputable independent garage to service the vehicle, and use a reputable towing setup shop to take care of the towing issue. Works for me.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:25 AM   #13
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...Honda has essentially the same recommendation against the use of a WDH.
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Do they recommend you DON'T use a WDH, or does it say they don't recommend using a WDH? There is a difference...
You are correct, and it is the latter. Here it is in its entirety from my 2011 Honda Pilot Owner's Manual:
"A weight distributing hitch is not recommended for use with your vehicle, as an improperly adjusted weight distributing hitch may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance."
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:51 AM   #14
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The difference Jon, is that yours gives the reason for not recommending a WDH.
Took me six years to get a reason.
I really wasn't concerned about the WDH, just irritated that they wouldn't give me an answer. It became a mission.
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