RAV4 people: why is my hitch only 4 inches off the ground? - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Wallo View Post
ThomasG and Brian B-P;

After Toyota reconnects everything, I'm first taking it over to U-Haul and inquire about the gauge wire for the brakes. I haven't even had the Scamp hooked up to the RAV yet. I just get the idiot lites coming on as I drive. When the 7Pin connector is disconnected from the RAV, I get no idiot lites. The Toyota tech said it has to do with electronic resistance that informs the computer and lets me know thru the idiot lights. Even tho' I bought the V6 with the "towing package", and the owners manual claims it is capable of towing 3500#, Toyota technical said it wasn't meant to have a 7 Pin plug, just a 4 pin. But, they also say if you pull over 1000#, you need to have brakes on the trailer..thus the need for a 7 Pin. The Toyota garage has pictures of the wiring, and claim it is done to specs and well done. So, I chalk it up to a runaround by Toyota. If push comes to shove, Toyota is responsible if my ABS is disabled because of computer problems and causes an accident.
I'll also check around the Rav4 boards and see if there is any discussion about a 7 pin connector.
Alice there are different ways to connect trailer lights.

  • One way is to connect them directly to the tow vehicle lights.
  • A second way is to use an electronic module that powers the trailer lights off the tow vehicle lights
  • A third kind of module is powered directly off the tow battery, but uses a signal from the tow lights to operate the trailer lights.
Some newer vehicles with sophisticated electronics need the third kind. You need to understand what you need and what you have. A good place to start is the Toyota forum that I linked. Do a search there and if you find no answer, post a question there.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:40 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by deryk View Post
Yes Arlon, if the vehicle can support it and from a little over 2 years of towing with my Rav4, it has a soft rear end even with the airbags in the rear the nose is still pointing up a bit.
Me thinks you just hit the hammer on the head in regards to your sway issue.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:49 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
Alice there are different ways to connect trailer lights.

  • One way is to connect them directly to the tow vehicle lights.
  • A second way is to use an electronic module that powers the trailer lights off the tow vehicle lights
  • A third kind of module is powered directly off the tow battery, but uses a signal from the tow lights to operate the trailer lights.
Some newer vehicles with sophisticated electronics need the third kind. You need to understand what you need and what you have. A good place to start is the Toyota forum that I linked. Do a search there and if you find no answer, post a question there.
Its a good bet the Forester that Alice had also had the electronic module (my older Outback does hidden under the panels in the rear of the car) and perhaps who ever did the install of the wiring harness/hitch to the Toyota didnt add one (thats been known to happen) as they often dont come with one pre wiring from the factory & it needs to be added with the final section of the wiring harness or if there is one its not malfunctioning correctly (I had one go bad) - although I would be surprised if someone didnt look at that when they tried to fix her problem.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:50 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by lpk49 View Post
i went to the link about "weight in the real world" and am more confused because the casita freedom is mentioned many times all with different weights. none say if they are deluxe or not.

i checked again and saw #30 is 16' liberty deluxe that might be closest to mine-if the 17's listed were not del. it had tongue weight of 280

and i guess #65 is Freds so maybe he will tell me if his is deluxe-and if propane and water tanks were full
his tongue was 360

dealer told me mine (2007 casita freedom deluxe) was 365-so its close...

i still need to know if i can make this work. i could also take out the bath sink and shower but i cant see that would take away much weight.

thanks again

reading about the u-haul wiring stuff is upsetting too...but one thing at a time i guess-if i cant pull it it wont really matter
The tongue weight changes depending on how you load it. Any figures from Casita or even from the "real world" chart are only estimates. You MUST weigh your own trailer including tongue weight. Take it to a public scale and the guys there will help you. Without data you are just guessing.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by lpk49 View Post

and i guess #65 is Freds so maybe he will tell me if his is deluxe-and if propane and water tanks were full
his tongue was 360
Hope Fred pipes up as to whether or not that was his trailer or not but one thing to keep in mind on the Real World Weights is that most of the trailers were weighed on arrival at a rally being held at a state park with full facilities. So the need to tow with/bring water to the camp out would not have been necessary.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:02 PM   #62
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While other trailer tongue weight samples are helpful, the only way you are going to know the actual tongue weight of your trailer is to measure it when loaded for a trip. As you add your "stuff", the tongue weight will change, depending on the weight of the stuff, of course, but also on the location. The closer to the tongue, the more the actual weight of the item appears as tongue weight. While loading stuff behind the wheels MAY reduce tongue weight, it still adds to the overall trailer weight.

I've measured my tongue weight with a bathroom scale, using a fulcrum as described in the link. Be sure the tongue is level when making the measurement.

As to the trailer lights, it has nothing to do with the 4 wire vs 7 wire connector - there is no interconnection between pins on either connector. The likely problem is the additional current drawn by the trailer's lights causes the ABS & cruise control electronics to detect a fault. While I don't know the exact way the electronics of the RAV4 work, in many new vehicles a pulse of a few microseconds in injected into the light wiring that will detect a burned out lamp or other problems. My 2010 RAV4 manual expressly states not to tap into the vehicle light wiring to add trailer lights.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Toyots sells a wiring harness (the link is to the installation manual in PDF form) that includes a converter & wiring to go to the connector under the steering wheel. It is a pain to install, but if you are adding a brake controller & charge line, all it requires is crawling under the dash (and, of course, ordering & paying for the harness).

Finally, for anyone thinking that adding air bags will increase the tongue weight limits by hundreds of pounds, remember that the RAV4, like most tow vehicles limited to 3500/350 lbs does not have a frame - the hitch is attached to the unibody of the vehicle. Put too much of an overload & you may find your entire hitch torn loose after a rough drive or even a set of railroad tracks!
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:03 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha Effinger View Post
Wallo we had the same problem with our new 2010 RAV4 dealer installed tow package. After a number of return trips to the dealer it was determined that the taillight, turn signal module was defective. When that was replaced we have had no further problems.
Martha, Thank you for jumping in with this info. Was your ABS and BRAKE lite on along with your cruise control not working? Do you recall how the dealership found that it was the tail light, turn signal module? Which dealership was it? (Incase my dealer thinks I'm wacko). I take the RAV back on Friday, they can fix it then.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:25 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
If U Haul didn't use Toyota's trailer wiring harness, and tapped into the RAV4's wiring at the rear of the vehicle, that may explain why you are having ABS & cruise control problems. While it is a pain to run the wiring to the connector under the dash, that is the "official" way to wire trailer lights & it works fine for my Escape.

As to the discussion of air bags & weight distribution hitches, both can help with vehicle "squat", but neither increase tongue weight limits. The RAV4 is limited to 350 lbs, which, as Deryk has pointed out, limits using one to tow a front bathroom Casita.
Hi Jon; According to the dealer, U-Haul did the wiring exactly to the specs of Toyota. This U-Haul does all the trailer hitch work for the dealership here. I even took a wiring printout to U-Haul of what you had posted on FGRV and they said that's how they did it. So, they are very familiar with how it should be done. Martha posted here that she had the same problem going and their dealer found out the problem was in their tail light.

I'll keep dogging the problem until it is resolved, then post the results here and on the RAV4 forum for any others plagued with idiot lights and hitch wiring.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #65
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Alice it may be that the modular unit on the wiring harness is malfunctioning - I know when the one on my car went bad all sorts of strange things happened with various lights in the car. If the dealer continues to suggest the answer is to disconnect the ABS lights etc that are malfunctioning (would be surprised if they do though) ask if they will try changing out the modular unit on the wiring harness first.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:42 PM   #66
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oh boy. i just talked to the owner of the rv shop. for almost and hour. he wanted to explain so i would understand. he seems like a good guy and really has a lot of experience.

he thinks i should put this on:

49903 Reese Pro Series Complete RB Weight Distribution Kit 10,000 lbs.

he would charge me about 330.

he says labor is only a 1/2 hr. and if i bring him one that he agrees will work he would put that on instead.

the price in the ad is not exact...

the owner also told me, when his guy put my brake controller on he totally re-wired my rav...so what i paid the u-haul guy to do a few days earlier was just undone...and done right...but i paid labor to do it twice.

i dont know if i can get any money back from u-haul but i do feel better knowing it was done right.

i am hoping those who have experience pulling a camper like mine(17' 2007, casita freedom deluxe, tongue 365, loaded 3500) will tell me what they are using for a hitch.

if you can send a link i can talk to rv guy about it and if he agrees get it myself and have him put it in.

he says he would only not agree if he didnt think it was the correct hitch for the rig-he wouldnt do something he felt was unsafe.

so-it would be really helpful to me if you could send me what you are using.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:49 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by arlon View Post
If you're still sagging with air bags, something isn't right. They should be able to lift the rear 2" above level with 1000+ pounds on the tongue (double those numbers on my truck). I have bags on my truck and van...
There are very different air-assist products for a typical truck's leaf-spring live axle and the independent coil-sprung suspension of the RAV-4.

The truck will use complete air springs which are completely separate from the leaf springs, and can handle relatively high pressures and loads; Firestone Ride-Rite and Air Lift RideControl are examples. They can be used to push the ride height above the empty level, but should not be. They are constructed of rubber reinforced with cord like a tire.

The RAV-4 will use air bags which are inserted into the coils, depend on the coils for strength, and operate at relatively low pressure; Firestone Coil-Rite and Air Lift 1000 are examples. They are explicitly not for lifting the vehicle, only to reduce (possibly eliminate) drop under load. They are just polyurethane bags, with no reinforcement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arlon View Post
That 350lb limit goes right out the door with the bags installed, that's why you'd use them.
No, the limit is the result of many factors, and we cannot safely assume that it is simply related to springs. I used them to improve the behaviour of the rear suspension under heavy load, but only within the rated hitch weight limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
...we will get a chance to see what the front axle weight is without the trailer, with the trailer without wdh, and finally with the wdh...With the even heavier Casita 17 I would like to see those numbers on the other 2 new members Rav4's as well.
Yes, I am interested in those numbers, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arlon View Post
The Goodyear RAV4 bags go inside the coils and are as long as the coil springs... If you have some universal bags, that might be the issue.
I was not aware that Goodyear made these bags; Firestone and Air Lift are big suppliers. I don't think any of us are using some sort of universal-fit product, in any vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deryk View Post
... it works fine but isn't going to raise it up higher then without the airbags.
... because it is not intended to. I think you have this well understood, Deryk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
As to the discussion of air bags & weight distribution hitches, both can help with vehicle "squat", but neither increase tongue weight limits.
Yes, I agree; there may be different limits for weight-carrying and weight-distributing modes of towing (there are for my Sienna), but whatever those limits, they are not changed by air bags.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arlon View Post
Really? I would have figured that limit was more tied to the factory spring rate which is the main purpose for getting the "500-1000lb load increasing" air bags.
Soft springs are a valid reason for using air bags in coils. These bags (or other types of air spring in other suspensions) may increase the load which the driver finds acceptable, but do not increase the load-carrying rating of the vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
I have airbags from Summit Racing in the rear coils of my Golf and they are shorter than the coils. But they most certainly raise the rear of the car when fully inflated.
But the bags should not be fully inflated unless the vehicle is carrying so much load the resulting ride height is no higher than the stock empty height.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
The tongue weight capacity is inclusive of all aspects of the weight being applied to rear of the vehicle. Any weak link in this system will lower the capacity. That could include the hitch itself, the uni-body frame where the hitch attaches, the rear springs, etc....
I agree.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:50 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Wallo View Post
Martha, Thank you for jumping in with this info. Was your ABS and BRAKE lite on along with your cruise control not working? Do you recall how the dealership found that it was the tail light, turn signal module? Which dealership was it? (Incase my dealer thinks I'm wacko). I take the RAV back on Friday, they can fix it then.
The abs light came on a couple of times. The dealer had the brake controller installed by an external hitch shop. The hitch shop called the manufacturer of the brake controller and model and they provided the solution. This was done through the Toyota dealership in Ukiah, CA.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:22 PM   #69
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I tow a Snoozy with a measured weight of 2850 total and 390# tongue weight with my 2007 RAV4 V6 with tow package, class 3 aftermarket hitch, tail light control module from Etrailer and Firestone airbags inflated to 40psi. It looks almost perfectly level to me and handles fine. Zero sway. Tongue wt is much greater than usual for a Snoozy as I have 130# of batteries in the tongue box.

We have driven almost 4,000 miles this winter with another 1,000 left before we get back to Michigan.

Mileage isn't great at about 15 when towing at 65 mph but otherwise the car pulls the Snoozy just fine. I would not want a WD hitch with my setup. It adds quite a bit of tongue weight and the car is level enough and handles fine as-is.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:01 PM   #70
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Denny, would you consider weighing your Rav4 and rig on a CAT scale just to see what the difference of the weights are on your steering axle with and without the trailer?
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