RAV4 towing 13' Scamp - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-16-2016, 04:00 PM   #1
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Name: Trish
Trailer: Looking for Scamp
Louisiana
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RAV4 towing 13' Scamp

Hi, I am Trish in Louisiana, looking for info on towing a 13' Scamp with Toyota RAV4 having a tow limit of 1500#. I have not bought a camper yet and it's the most lightweight one (that I like) of it's type that I can find. What must be done to tweak my vehicle for safe towing? Any other related info is welcome as I have just begun my research. Thx, Trish
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Old 04-16-2016, 04:13 PM   #2
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Name: Ann
Trailer: 2016 Scamp 13'
Washington
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Hi Trish,

Welcome to this wonderful forum!

You'll also need to find the maximum tongue weight for your RAV4, which should be listed in the Owner's Manual. Many times it's the tongue weight that is almost impossible to stay under the limit with the newer SCAMPs. But possibly you're looking for a vintage trailer; long ago they were not as heavy.

Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Name: Trish
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Thanks Triker, I am looking for that information. I may, as you say, need a vintage and would love to refurb one if one can be located at the right price.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:54 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1977 Trillium 4500 (previously a 1978 Trillium 4500, Rpod 171 and Surveyor SV251)
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Our Rav4 tows our Trillium just fine.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:57 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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What year and model is your RAV4? Is it equipped with factory tow package.
These things matter.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:29 PM   #6
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Name: Trish
Trailer: Looking for Scamp
Louisiana
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Hi Phil 4500, there is no trailer hitch or tow package on it. the vehicle was just gifted to me 2 days ago. I plan to be pulling a Scamp if and when I get it through the Blue Ridge hills of GA and N. Carolina. If I order a Scamp I think there is a braking option, not sure yet, though. what is the dry wt. of your Trillium and what kind of tow pkg do you have. Thx.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:46 PM   #7
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Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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Rav4 has changed over the years, so what year is yours? The 2005-2012 offered an optional V6 and could tow 3500 lbs with 350 lbs hitch weight max. 1500 lb limit suggests to me that you have a 4 cylinder engine. But if it's 2005-2012, I think it would be safe to say that structurally you'd have no worries about your hitch weight. As for other model years, I have no idea, they are different vehicles entirely.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:16 PM   #8
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Name: Trish
Trailer: Looking for Scamp
Louisiana
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My RAV4 is a 2007 2WD, automatic trans. Tow max is 1500# and I am researching to find the tongue wt. I read I may need a trans cooler. Lots to learn. Thanks Mike.


Nite all, thanks all, will check back in tomorrow.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:16 PM   #9
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In that case, I'd suggest buying a class III (which has 2" square opening) hitch receiver. A class II (1.25" opening) would work, but the the II and the III are pretty much the same cost so why not get the stronger one? Your Rav should be able to handle up to 350 lbs on the hitch, although some users have commented that Ravs without the 3rd row seat have softer rear suspension (resulting in more rear end squat) than those with 3rd row. The drive train will still limit you to 1500 lbs towing, of course.

Have a look at this table: Trailer Weights in the Real World
You'll see that nearly all the 13'ers weighed in this table were less than 250 lbs hitch weight, no problem for you there at all. Some were over 1500 lbs total, which shows that it matters how much stuff you carry around with you. Total weight will affect you most when climbing steeper hills and mountains, but has much less impact in fairly level terrain. Traveling in LA, you could get away with being a little overweight; in the Rockies your Rav would have its tongue hanging out.

You can research what components the factory tow package would have included, possibly by asking a Toyota dealer, and then add what's necessary. My '08 Highlander has factory tow pkg, and the most important part of that pkg was the extra cooling; coolers are not expensive and are good insurance against heat damage. Some things, like higher capacity alternator, may not be vital to add.
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Old 04-17-2016, 05:01 AM   #10
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Name: Trish
Trailer: Looking for Scamp
Louisiana
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Hi Mike, I will access and read the link you sent. Much research to be done yet. I saw coolers online from about $30 to about $60, very affordable, and if not a high level of difficulty to install will do it myself.


I am also wondering about my braking going down those hills. Any ideas about that?


Thanks !
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:59 AM   #11
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I've found that if I keep my truck in lower gears, I don't even need to use brakes on downhills. And I'm talking mountain passes in the west. I have a manual transmission but I'm sure the same applies with an automatic. Downshift, keep it out of overdrive, and most of the braking will be done with engine compression.

If you buy a Scamp with trailer brakes and wire a brake controller into your Rav4, even better.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:14 AM   #12
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RAV4 towing 13' Scamp

You need a trailer with its own electric brakes. Pretty sure your owner's manual insists on that (you have read the towing section, right?). Most vintage 13'ers did not originally come with brakes; whether they have them now depends on whether previous owners included them with an axle upgrade. The rubber torsion axle on most small fiberglass trailers has a lifespan of 15-20 years. Many run well past their expiration date, but the ride becomes brittle with the rubber and may sit lower to the ground than normal.

If you are inspecting a unit for sale and it has brakes, fine. If it doesn't, but the axle has square flanges behind the wheel, you can add them ($). If it doesn't, you will need to replace the axle ($$). Needing a new axle shouldn't automatically disqualify an otherwise good condition trailer, but it should be reflected in the price.

Speaking of inspections, there are some common issues that should disqualify a trailer for consideration, at least by a newbie, including rotten floors, a cracked, rusted out frame, and serious door fit issues. A helpful resource when you inspect a trailer is the Buyer's Checklist here. I would strongly recommend taking with you a second pair of eyes with some RV experience and not emotionally invested in the purchase.

Best wishes!
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:23 AM   #13
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Name: Trish
Trailer: Looking for Scamp
Louisiana
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I'll do it like that going downhill. Should be okay on gentle Blue Ridge hills. Thx.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:37 AM   #14
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To clarify, Trish… Zach is correct. You use lower gears to control speed on a normal descent. The trailer brakes are for when you round a curve and come on a logging truck going 15 mph, or a small passenger car pulls suddenly in front of you on a crowded freeway and immediately brakes hard because they are trying to make their exit, which they failed to anticipate early enough to change lanes safely. In normal use, they will also save wear and tear on your expensive vehicle brakes. Have you priced a brake job recently?
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