Which Hitch to pick to tow Casita 16' with Sienna? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-24-2018, 04:08 PM   #1
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Name: Alex
Trailer: 1999 Casita 16'
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Which Hitch to pick to tow Casita 16' with Sienna?

Hello everyone,

Now that we've got the 16' Casita we need to hook it to our 2017 Toyota Sienna. After looking over some older posts it seems like opinions vary in form and in substance. Would you go to a Toyota dealer for this or any other place like Uhaul or Pep Boys would do? Would you bother with WDH? What would be your other considerations?

Any advice is appreciated.

Alex
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:30 PM   #2
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Not Toyota.. try to find a good trailer shop.. Many uhauls are OK, a few are not.

Without reviewing it, I think your Sienna requires a WDH for 350-500 lbs tongue weight. Check the specs.

Toyota does not make the required equipment to tow your camper with a Sienna and (according to them), they do not endorse any after market items and use of them might void warranty. So find a good trailer shop that knows what they are doing, or DIY with help from eTrailer.com.

BTW, 280 lbs or so is about the most tongue weight I would put on my 2015 Sienna (without WDH).. I think it would start to get too light on the steer wheels if you got closer to the max rating of 350.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:40 PM   #3
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We had UHaul install the aftermarket hitch on our Toyota Highlander, used it three seasons with our 13 foot scamp, with a 4 pin and no brakes, and then we bought a 16 foot Scamp which we've only towed home from Kentucky and around town. Our trailer service place installed a brake controller and 7 pin prior to us towing the 16. It has served us well. Toyota wouldn't install a hitch OR wiring, even though the Highlander has a tow prep package factory installed.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:59 PM   #4
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Gordon...
Why not the factory hitch? Cost? Quality? Installation cost?



Different vehicle from a different company but I liked the Ford design the best and chose it over aftermarket for my TC. It was a little more cost for the hitch (cash and carry) but not much more, and it fit without hanging under the bumper cover... In fact it replaced the bumper.

It might be worth checking the factory hitch for quality, design, fit and cost. (both installed and from parts)
Compare it to the aftermarket.

For aftermarket I like the quality of "Hidden Hitch" over its aftermarket competitors.
Drawtite is good as well.

I haven't tried them all but I like Curt the least of all the hitches I have used or worked with, especially the round tube design, and for only one reason ...
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Gordon...
Why not the factory hitch? Cost? Quality? Installation cost?

...
Actually I don't even know if there is a OEM Toyota hitch receiver for a 2017 Sienna, but its a simple bolt-on item (with a little plastic trimming required), and the easiest part of the puzzle. I am sure however that whether OEM or aftermarket, a Toyota dealer will charge a lot more than the $125 or so that you can get the hitch for and then bolt on yourself. WDH would add cost of course.

I know that on my 2008 Highlander there was a OEM hitch receiver that did not hang as low as aftermarket ones. It was integrated into the rear bumper and it looked better. And, installed by the dealer, it was three times the cost. I would imagine the quality was about the same.

But what I was talking about is the electronics. The Sienna is not pre-wired for a brake controller or trailer lights. Toyota does not (or at least did not in 2015), offer a brake controller, controller wiring harness, trailer lights harness or powered converter.

But etrailer does. This video covers the installation of a powered converter for trailer lights on a 2017 Sienna. The brake controller is also a bit of a project.
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Actually I don't even know if there is a OEM Toyota hitch receiver for a 2017 Sienna, but its a simple bolt-on item (with a little plastic trimming required), and the easiest part of the puzzle. I am sure however that whether OEM or aftermarket, a Toyota dealer will charge a lot more than the $125 or so that you can get the hitch for and then bolt on yourself. WDH would add cost of course.

I know that on my 2008 Highlander there was a OEM hitch receiver that did not hang as low as aftermarket ones. It was integrated into the rear bumper and it looked better. And, installed by the dealer, it was three times the cost. I would imagine the quality was about the same.

But what I was talking about is the electronics. The Sienna is not pre-wired for a brake controller or trailer lights. Toyota does not (or at least did not in 2015), offer a brake controller, controller wiring harness, trailer lights harness or powered converter.

But etrailer does. This video covers the installation of a powered converter for trailer lights on a 2017 Sienna. The brake controller is also a bit of a project.
Everything you said follows my experience with Toyota. They don't seem to want to cooperate with hobbyists or outside Mechanics. Even their jobber's price on parts is usually higher than retail at the parts store.

When I did my TC, I used Ford's Hitch and Ford's light harness so that the end result was the factory tow package. The parts were competitive but the harness was not "plug & play" as some of the better aftermarket ones are.
The factory tow package has a 4-plug and no brake controller, so I used a Prodigy Brake controller and a Hopkins 7plug . My Ford parts guy was as helpful as could be, even running off 26 pages of instructions and routings from relevant Ford manuals.
This was the first time I installed an OEM hitch on my own vehicle.

I am still impressed with the quality of my "Hidden Hitch" on my 17YO Ranger and I would recommend both Hopkins and Prodigy.
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:08 PM   #7
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I'd go to the Toyota dealer and have them show you how the factory hitch is installed.

We had a factory Honda hitch installed 2008 Odyssey when we purchased it with 60,000 miles. There was a world of difference in how much more of the frame the hitch attached to and the hitch was 2-4" higher than any aftermarket hitch I measured. With the factory wiring it did cost around $1,400, but it did pull better than our 2003 Odyssey with an aftermarket hitch did.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but sometimes you don't. Investigate at the dealership.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:37 AM   #8
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There are Factory hitches and then there are Dealer Installed hitches so you do have to be careful too if getting a "Factory" hitch anyway.

I have a client who is a huge dealership with 19 brands including Toyota in 13 stores as of right now and they also have a huge aftermarket operation where they can deliver you a new vehicle equipped any way you want it whether it came from the factory that way or not!

In some cases they will use the same exact parts and harness as the factory and in some they will not.
Sometimes it is pretty obvious which is on a car and sometimes it is not.

So it probably pays to research the particular dealer and vehicle to be certain if you are this concerned that you indeed are getting what you think you are too!

That also might not be as simple as you hope?
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:23 AM   #9
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A "factory" hitch usually means one that is integrated into the frame itself, and when available (not common- my Pilot has one), they're usually supplied as standard equipment. Sienna does not have a factory hitch.

Second option is a dealer-supplied, manufacturer-branded, bolt-on hitch. Typically made by one of the same companies that make aftermarket hitches, they're usually more expensive, but may be a better fit. With a low-clearance vehicle like the Sienna, that's important. You can have the dealer install it or buy it through the parts department and install it yourself.

However, you need to make sure it is the appropriate rating for your application. I'd guess the Toyota hitch for the Sienna is Class II, rated up to 3500#, weight-carrying only. If you plan to use a weight distributing hitch, you need a Class III, so...

Third option is aftermarket. Buy online and install yourself or arrange installation through a hitch installer. Some fit better than others, so I would make a point of looking for other Siennas with hitches and note the brand. E-trailer is pretty good about providing pictures of actual installations on the same vehicle.

Gordon's assessment regarding WDH seems about right, so you'll need to find out what your actual loaded weight and tongue weight are to decide about WDH. Not all Class III hitches are rated for WDH, so read the fine print.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:40 AM   #10
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Another interesting E-Trailer tidbit is that they will install anything they sell for free they claim!

They do this so they can record the process for the database on their website.

Seems like a decent deal if you are close to them and I am the local to them which is how this offer came to light for me.

I have yet to get anything there that required any real installation and I also do not entirely trust them either based on every single dealing I have had with them so far but I can see where someone might get a good deal if it worked out too.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:28 PM   #11
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One advantage of the Toyota Hitch might be that it fits the car better, doesn't stick out too far. It may require a special bumper cover.
The Draw-tite hitch we bought for our Odyssey - similar to the Sienna - was low to the ground. It needed a high-rise ball mount, which I drilled a second pin hole through to move the ball closer to the bumper. We got along fine with no WDH, but did add a sway bar. Judicious loading, and higher air pressure in the rear tires compensated for the hitch weight.
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
I'd go to the Toyota dealer and have them show you how the factory hitch is installed.

We had a factory Honda hitch installed 2008 Odyssey when we purchased it with 60,000 miles. There was a world of difference in how much more of the frame the hitch attached to and the hitch was 2-4" higher than any aftermarket hitch I measured. With the factory wiring it did cost around $1,400, but it did pull better than our 2003 Odyssey with an aftermarket hitch did.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but sometimes you don't. Investigate at the dealership.

Enjoy,

Perry
This was the case with my previous Highlander, too.
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Old 04-26-2018, 07:27 AM   #13
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Paul had our hitch professionally installed at U-Haul. We had no problem with their using whatever hitch they usually install. They asked pertinent questions and we felt comfortable with the whole process.

They are close to us, (and they expect at some point you'll haul one of their trailers with that hitch...so we figured they'd have extra incentive to make it solid).

Too, the cost was about half of what our car's dealership wanted for installing whatever aftermarket hitches they normally use. Our Dodge Grand Caravan didn't come with a tow package.

We trust U-Haul.

The manager stayed late to finish the day they said. They sent a car to pick Paul up at home (another advantage of being close) when the car and hitch were ready for pick-up. Nice service!

So far in two years we haven't had a whiff of trouble. Solid as can be and the trailer follows along just like it should.

Hoping all goes well with your choice and the installation. Mostly, I think, it does.

BEST
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:27 AM   #14
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U-Haul shops are independent franchises so the quality of work can vary greatly. Do your homework: seek out recommendations from neighbors, friends, and coworkers with hitches, check BBB, Angie's List, Yelp, etc. Ours has done good work in the past, but it's now under new ownership, so all bets are off.
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