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Old 05-24-2016, 06:57 PM   #1
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Name: Jon
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Arizona
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Hi, I am Jon and my wife is Cherie....

We are newbies to the travel trailer world and are in the process of purchasing a 2011 Trillium 1300. We have never towed a trailer (or anything else) and have a 2008 Toyota RAV V6 to do the heavy lifting. We recently had a tow hitch installed, and will pick up the trailer this weekend when the owner returns to town (we live in Surprise, AZ). The RAV does not have a tow package. We are wondering what we can expect from the RAV (other than lower gas mileage)? Also, is a tranny cooler something to consider? I know there will be more questions, but thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Jon
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:46 PM   #2
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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I have tow package and I still managed to turn on the transmission fluid warning light ( I was taking a long, steep hill in 3rd - read the manual and don't do that ).
I would definitely add the tranny cooler and I hope you have brakes on that trailer because a brake job on a RAV4 can run many hundreds of dollars. RAV may stop it, but you get to pay for it.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:51 PM   #3
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Trailer: Escape 17 ft 2006 / 2005 Honda Pilot
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I'm assuming your hitch setup includes a brake controller and 7 pin connection? And that who ever installed it remembered to hook up the battery so it will charge your trailer battery as you drive (I had someone forget that once).
Other than that, check your owners manual or online to see what they say about about a transfer cooler.
Go slow and you'll do fine! Have fun!


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Old 05-24-2016, 08:52 PM   #4
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Welcome to the party Jon. You didn't say how far you're going to pick it up or if you had a brake controller installed. I didn't have a controller yet when I brought my SD17 home so just took it easy.....and took the long way around to miss the 10 mile long grade that drops 3500' with 86 sharp corners . Next trip out I had brakes and wouldn't tow a TT without them.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:17 PM   #5
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
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Congratulations Jon. As a fellow Arizonan I know how long & steep the grades are here, combined with high heat, so I would recommend a transmission cooler. Happy Trails
Dave & Paula
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:46 PM   #6
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
British Columbia
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We're also driving a Rav 4V6

Hi there, we just bought a Boler 1700 last weekend and we're towing with the 2008 Rav4 V6. In Canada, all the V6's came with the tow package (under the hood) or we would certainly have installed it as well.

We installed a brake system and 7 prong electrical receiver and a weight equalizer as well, maybe not necessary for a 13 ft, I don't know.

Our mileage was halved, if we drove at 2700 rpms and around 50mph, maybe a bit less.

Other than that, we drove it through the Rocky Mountains, 800 km, to bring it home and after we figured a few things out (think about mirrors before you p/u), it was smooth sailing.

Congrats! We are so excited too.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:02 AM   #7
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
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If you read the manual, you will see that it says to tow in 4, not in D.
It also says not to tow uphill in a lower gear for a prolonged time. Doesn't specify what that is.
Since the warning light came on, I've towed in 4 and had no issues.
My trailer tongue weight is about 320 lbs. and I use a weight distribution hitch. I'd rather not hook it up, but the ride is so much more comfortable and secure.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:29 AM   #8
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The V6 Rav will be peppy enough. I had the same engine in my '08 Highlander and I towed over 140K miles with it (both work and play). Definitely get a tranny cooler. In the last year or two the trans temp light was coming on more and more frequently on long grades at altitude, and I did have the extra factory cooling. The happy news is that the dealership assured me that my tranny was fine; the warning light comes on before it gets hot enough to do serious harm.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:43 AM   #9
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
If you read the manual, you will see that it says to tow in 4, not in D.
Hi Glen, my hubs and happened upon the same part in the manual just last week and we reviewed it again after reading your comment, but we understood it to mean: for better engine braking, use 4, not D. Of course, we are not experts,....
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BolerBee View Post
Hi Glen, my hubs and happened upon the same part in the manual just last week and we reviewed it again after reading your comment, but we understood it to mean: for better engine braking, use 4, not D. Of course, we are not experts,....
I use a bluetooth OBD2 device with the Torque App to keep an eye on my tranny temps.. it showed clearly that 4th kept the tranny cooler than "D" when towing. I think everyone towing should have a tranny temp gauge.
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:41 PM   #11
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
British Columbia
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Tranny Temp Gauge

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I use a bluetooth OBD2 device with the Torque App to keep an eye on my tranny temps.. it showed clearly that 4th kept the tranny cooler than "D" when towing. I think everyone towing should have a tranny temp gauge.
Thanks for this! Neither of us have ever heard of such a gauge, but we will look into it.

Some vehicles have a switch to put the engine into tow mode. Have you ever heard of such a switch going in after market? We felt that our Rav was not shifting optimally. For example, having crested a hill, the engine took longer to go up a gear and drop RPM's from 3500 to 2500, than we expected - we would be shifting differently if it were a standard. We wondered that this must be affecting mileage as well.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:38 PM   #12
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Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
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Put the RAV in '4' for towing, like the manual says.
Works for me.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:20 PM   #13
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Welcome Jon from another Jon that towed an Escape 17B for 76,703 miles with a 2010 RAV4. It just hit 134,000 miles & I just traded it in for a 2016 Tacoma since the V6 is no longer an option with the RAV4s.

My only complaint with the RAV4 was too small a gas tank for towing. I got 15MPG average, but a strong headwind could get me down to 8-10MPG, and the gas stations out west could be a reach. The other problem was not enough ground clearance. Other than that it served me well.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:27 PM   #14
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If you have a transmission temperature gauge, (for example I use a ScanGauge II) you will quickly discover why you should tow in 4th. When towing in drive, the torque converter continually locks & unlocks on every little hill, causing the transmission to overheat. leaving the selector in 4th & letting the RAV4's computer decide when to shift will result in cooler transmission temperatures, and the mileage differences are minimal.
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