Towing with Sienna/Rav4/Highlander? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-14-2013, 01:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jeffee View Post
In prep for the spring I'm thinking of replacing my 2007 Sienna with a Rav4 6 cyl or a Highlander 4 or 6 cyl pulling a Scamp 16'. The Sienna (6 cyl) has no overdrive button like old models and needs to be driven in 4th gear to avoid constant down shifting even on flat hi-way. At 60 mph I get 12 mpg. That’s what I get in Chicago traffic and I’d like to improve both if possible. I’d love to get a 2 or 3 year old Highlander but don’t know if I can get away a 4 cyl which is rated to tow 3500 I believe. (Scamp 2,000ish lbs)???? My biggest fear is the transmissions on all these vehicles.

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A couple of additions on my RAV4. Highway driving I get 25 MPG, mixed city/highway drops to 21-22, and towing drops to 15 MPG. I suspect the gearing on the RAV4 isn't as efficient as a truck's when towing since the mileage hit is much higher. I usually drive secondary roads & limit my top speed to 57 MPH.

As to the 4th gear, Toyota recommends towing in 4th (rather than 5th) for the RAV4. I've tried 5th on very flat roads, but the slightest hill causes transmission hunting.

A couple of other points - at 15 MPG you are going to be stopping for fuel more often than normal since it only has a 15 gallon tank & I follow the "refill at 1/2 a tank" rule. Not a problem for me since I'm in no hurry & like to get out & stretch, etc but for some it can be annoying; even a problem in some of the western states that have long hauls between stations. I just love those "next gas 125 miles" signs when driving in a headwind!

I also miss having an "outside" for things like a generator, gas can, etc. On the other hand I really like the MPG when unhooked.

Lastly, my local dealer states that the Highlander is the replacement for the tow version of the RAV4 & cost about the same. Of course when I told him I'd pay what I paid for my 2010 RAV4 for a new Highlander, he just smiled...
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #16
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Selecting "4" on the shifter is the same thing as turning an "overdrive" button off. What you're preventing is not just downshifting, it's "hunting" (shifting up to 5th and back down to 4th excessively).
Manual for my 2008 RAV4 Sport V6 says to tow in "4", not to tow in overdrive.
My 1994 Ford Explorer said the same. I almost blew up my torque converter when I forgot that instruction. Mechanic told me it was a close call when I described the symptoms ( note that he charged me nothing and re-torqued my aluminum wheels for free ). And, at the time I was only towing a tent trailer.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:19 PM   #17
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Yep, it sounds like no perfect solution. I have great difficulty in making decisions when the choices such. Maybe I'll keep the Sienna for this summer Colorado/ New Mexico trip and deal with the 12 MPG. Then again.....
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:32 PM   #18
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Highlander V6 Fuel Requirement

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
When I looked at the Highlander I saw that the v-6 required premium fuel. Might want to check on that.
According to the manual for our 2012 Highlander V6 the octane rating of fuel needs to be 87 or higher which is regular gasoline, and that's what we have been using.

We are getting 15 - 20 mpg towing and 20 - 23 not towing. This is equivalent to 12 - 16 litres per 100 km towing and 10 - 12 litres per 100 km not towing.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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I apologize, I'm confusing this with the Outlander. Got my High and Out confused.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:57 PM   #20
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In prep for the spring I'm thinking of replacing my 2007 Sienna with a Rav4 6 cyl or a Highlander 4 or 6 cyl pulling a Scamp 16'.
Much discussion specific to RAV4 6 cyl. at the following current thread: link

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:22 PM   #21
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I pull a 17 ft EggCamper with my 2008 Toyota Highlander V6 (with 5000 lb tow package). I use normal unleaded gas and get between 15 and 18 mpg at mostly 60 mph. The Highlander pulls the trailer very well and will consider repurchasing a newer Highlander (with tow package) in the future when needed. The only issue I don't like is the fact that you cannot lock out overdrive.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:31 PM   #22
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I pull a 17 ft EggCamper with my 2008 Toyota Highlander V6...
The only issue I don't like is the fact that you cannot lock out overdrive.
With the 2008 Highlander non-hybrid gear selector, can you place it in the first position below "D"? This would be "4" for a five-speed like mine; "5" for a six-speed. That locks out the top gear ("overdrive"), but shifters with the "+/-" pattern (instead of a notch for each gear) don't have an obvious equivalent.

What does the 2008 Highlander manual say to do with the transmission selector when towing with the non-hybrid V6?
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:57 PM   #23
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When I looked at the Highlander I saw that the v-6 required premium fuel. Might want to check on that.
Nope. The Highlander uses regular gas.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:43 PM   #24
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I pull a 17 ft EggCamper with my 2008 Toyota Highlander V6 (with 5000 lb tow package). I use normal unleaded gas and get between 15 and 18 mpg at mostly 60 mph. The Highlander pulls the trailer very well and will consider repurchasing a newer Highlander (with tow package) in the future when needed. The only issue I don't like is the fact that you cannot lock out overdrive.
I have a 08 Highlander also, with over 100k towing miles. Locking out OD is easy. Just move the shift lever to the left, from D into S (selectshift). This puts it into 4th and prevents it from going into 5th...OD. From this position, the shifter can be bumped to the back to drop into 3, or 2 , or 1... with all higher gears locked out.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:01 PM   #25
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Mike Magee,

I gotta ask, what does E14RB mean?? It's driving me nuts!
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:38 PM   #26
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Mike,

In your scenario....are you saying I would have to manually shift the gears up and down??
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:15 PM   #27
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Mike Magee,

I gotta ask, what does E14RB mean?? It's driving me nuts!
I'll take a stab at that one...but only 'cause it mystified me, too!

I think it means "Escape 14 foot trailer with a rear bed".

Although if this proves to be correct, it opens up the Unsolved Mystery of where the bed must be in other models- I guess one could say that this "Escapes" me!

Francesca
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:49 PM   #28
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Francesca, me thinks that Escape come only in 13, 15, 17, 19 and the 5.0 versions. I don't recall any Escape 14 footer.
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