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Old 07-03-2019, 02:33 PM   #1
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Name: Don
Trailer: In the market
Oregon
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Towing with Rav4

I have a Rav4 with the V6. Plenty of power but it seems the rear springs are weak when even only 240 lbs of weight on the tongue. Will this be a problem, because of the sagging? Has anyone gone to a weight distribution system? Or can it be left the way it is? Thanks ahead for any help. Don
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:00 PM   #2
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Trailer: Escape 17 ft
Posts: 8,314
I use a WDH and wouldn't be without it. I don't care where the headlights are pointed since I don't drive at night. I do care how the WDH makes my 17B and the RAV4 feel like a unit. No porpoising. I've made a couple abrupt lane changes to avoid debris or a collision and experienced no sway.

My tongue weight is 320 - 340 lbs.


Mine is nothing fancy. A Pro-Series without sway control.
Pictures 1 and 3 are without WD; 2 and 4 are with WD.
Attached Thumbnails
No WDH2.jpg   With WDH2.jpg  

NO WDH1.jpg   With WDH1.jpg  

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Old 07-03-2019, 04:02 PM   #3
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Name: J
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I don't care where the headlights are pointed since I don't drive at night. .
Next you will be telling us you never drive in the rain.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:24 PM   #4
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
Pennsylvania
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I have a Rav4 with tow pkg. to tow my scamp 16 front bath. I do not use a WDH, it goes down some but not much. I do use an anti rattle hitch bracket. The Scamps are on the lighter side then other brands though. I am careful in small gas stations where their driveway has steep exits and entrances so it does not catch. It has done a great job towing. I keep it level with the right rise ball hitch.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
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We have Rav4 6 cyl and only 200 pounds on the tongue. No problem at all. We just have a 13 with total weight of 1600. Ours is very basic and we carry no water. When we haul a bunch of stuff we try to put the weight over the wheels in the center.

We also watch for entry to gas stations.

Is there any way you can lessen tongue weight?
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:42 PM   #6
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Tongue weight should be around 12 per cent of trailer weight. If you lighten the tongue, you can induce sway.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:54 PM   #7
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy View Post
We have Rav4 6 cyl and only 200 pounds on the tongue. No problem at all. We just have a 13 with total weight of 1600. Ours is very basic and we carry no water. When we haul a bunch of stuff we try to put the weight over the wheels in the center.
...
Is there any way you can lessen tongue weight?
Yes, but I'm not sure you want to. 200/1600 = 12.5%, which is just about perfect for this trailer and should make for very stable towing. The minimum recommended 10% TW would be 160# so you have at most 40# to play with. You lighten the tongue by transferring some heavier items behind the axle.

However, based on our experience carrying bicycles on the back of our basic Scamp 13, I found the closer you get to the minimum 10% tongue weight, the more squirrelly the back end gets, with every little gust of wind or passing semi causing a little waggle. Never tended toward dangerous sway , but required diligence and added to the stress of towing. I finally found an easy way to move the bikes inside the trailer, centered over the axle, and the improvement in stability and handling was dramatic. We run about 1700# with a little over 200# on the tongue, so close to 12%.

I'd recommend leaving the weight distribution as it is. For some vehicles you can install airbags to take some of the squat out of a soft rear suspension (common in many Toyota products).
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:43 PM   #8
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Name: Mac
Trailer: 2013 Casita 17' LD
Oregon
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Another vote for airbags. They're inexpensive, and while they don't increase the carrying capacity, they can raise the vehicle. We have them on our 4Runner. Loaded down, the rear sagged about 2". Air bags cut that in half, which made a big difference in headlight aim and stability, in my opinion.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:28 AM   #9
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Trailer: Escape 21C
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I towed an Escape 17B 85,000 miles with a 2010 RAV4 V6 with tow package. Trailer at 3010 pounds, and tongue at 345 pounds. I used a weight distribution hitch. I liked the combination, except for the small gas tank and low ground clearance.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:44 AM   #10
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Name: Doug
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16, 2011 RAV4 V6
California
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Air bags. I tow our Scamp 16 with a Rav4 V6 and the bags work great. A bit of a pain to install but worth the effort.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:39 AM   #11
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Name: David
Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13 S1 BB
IL
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Another vote for the airbags, really helped with rear squat with our scamp 13 in tow.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:47 AM   #12
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Air bags do not transfer weight to the front axle of the tow and the trailer axle. They just make it harder to compress the springs. As an option, you could replace your springs with a chunk of train rail.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:48 AM   #13
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Former Scamp 13, Former Airstream 16
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Airbags may be fine if you don't have any trailer stability issues when towing. Remember that all the tongue weight remains on the ball, even with airbags added. WDH distributes a portion of that weight to all four corners of the tow vehicle. As Glenn mentions a properly set up WDH will increase stability and make the rig more responsive if an evasive maneuver is ever needed.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:53 AM   #14
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Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13 S1 BB
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Air bags do not transfer weight to the front axle of the tow and the trailer axle. They just make it harder to compress the springs. As an option, you could replace your springs with a chunk of train rail.
True, but in my situation the car is rated to tow the load, just the rear sag was making people very angry about my led headlights. The airbags were a better option for me without adding all that extra metal from a weight distribution system. Toyota/Lexus also doesn't specifically say weight distribution is ok on a 2008 unibody rav4/nx200t so i didn't want to take any chances. Train rail may be a bit hard in the suspension department, the airbags help stiffen it up, but the ride isn't bad at all.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:07 PM   #15
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: Scamp
Texas
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I tow with a 2012 RAV4 v6/tow package. I usually use a WDH (especially if going farther), but don’t use WDH when going to nearby campsites. My camper is a Scamp 16, but used to have a Casita 17’ and had a Scamp 13 before that. Towed Coast-to-Coast, up/down Rockies, Sierras, Cascades, Olympics, Adirondacks, Appalachians with the RAV4. No problem. I carry 2 MTB’s on rear of trailer. AVG 13-15 mpg with Scamp. I used to have a GMC High Sierra 2500 TV, and there is an obvious difference in stability, but I have total confidence in the little Toyota and my own good old-fashioned street sense.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:15 PM   #16
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Name: Don
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I don't know if my question got to you. I'
ll ask here, What make of Air Bags did you use and did you have them installed, or install them yourself?
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Old 03-23-2023, 10:12 AM   #17
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Name: Deb
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Rav4 payload capacity

As a newbie on the forum, I'm not sure if responding to an old thread will get to any of the contributors, but I'll try... Seems to be several other Rav4 V6 factory tow package peps on this thread and I'm hoping for some advice.... With a 3500 trailer max/ 350 tongue max I feel I am safe to be seriously considering the Scamp 16 and discontinued Casita 16's in those weight departments. However my concern comes in with my 2007 Rav4 max gross vehicle weight/ payload capacity being only 825 lbs as written both in the manual and on the door. With one of us 210, the other 130, the tongue at 300 depending on model and according to "trailer weights in real world thread" we are only left with 185 lbs for cargo to pack in Rav4. That does not seem like much! whats your experience in what you can safely pack in the Rav4? I was really hoping that especially since these trailers don't have garage storage to pack tools at the least in the car but would prefer to also pack in car a couple blow-up paddleboards, maybe a cooler, you get the idea.. stuff. Seems impossible. Guess bikes are out of the question :-( . So my question is do people ignore this low payload capacity? (unlikely but seems everyone concerned w choosing a tow vehicle based on its tow capacity alone), pack car super lean? change the rear springs? all of the above? other?? I would really appreciate any help from anyone particularly Rav4'ers. Super new at this research and trying to not make stupid mistakes in purchasing. I could compromise on front bath if I had to giving me a little less tongue weight and give it to tools etc in the car but is it worth it for that little amount and why dictate the rig all around this seemingly small payload if in the end we will want to go up to truck as soon as we can for greater capacity? Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:13 PM   #18
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Deb, unfortunately, what you've discovered is the Achilles heel of smaller tow vehicles. Tow ratings are based on two "average" (165#) occupants and no other people or cargo in the vehicle. Many tow vehicles, even light trucks, often run out of payload long before they hit the maximum rated trailer weight. In your case, that powerful V6 and cooling upgrades that boost the tow rating also increase the curb weight, which reduces available payload.

And no, you can't just ignore the chassis weight ratings. Too much weight in the vehicle will affect steering and handling and can cause accelerated wear on suspension components and tires.

You may be able to shift some cargo to the trailer and/or look for ways to lighten the trailer and/or tow vehicle. But if you're planning to travel heavy with lots of outdoor "toys" and don't want the inconvenience of having them piled inside the trailer in transit, then yes, a larger vehicle might be in your future.
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:18 PM   #19
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Name: David
Trailer: 2013 Scamp 13 S1 BB
IL
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Deb, unfortunately, what you've discovered is the Achilles heel of smaller tow vehicles. Tow ratings are based on two "average" (165#) occupants and no other people or cargo in the vehicle. Many tow vehicles, even light trucks, often run out of payload long before they hit the maximum rated trailer weight. In your case, that powerful V6 and heavy duty radiator that bump the tow rating also increase the curb weight, which reduces available payload.
I agree, you can try to shift some things into the camper. The payload and gvwr affect braking and steering not just the suspension. What I have done is tried to only keep clothes and light items in the car and keep most of the equipment in the scamp. I have a 13 front bunk and big bed and even with the limited storage space I manage to bump closely to the 2300 lb weight limit on the scamp while also being close to the payload limit of the car. Ideally I would also upgrade my car, but luckily this problem only appears when going on long haul trips. Short weekend trips are not as much of a problem as we carry less stuff with us.
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:43 PM   #20
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Name: Deb
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thanks...

Thank you both, Jon and Gompka. Very helpful. I like my Rav4 cause despite its age its doing great with only 60K mls and don't want to destroy it by carrying or towing too much. Just thought so strange how everyone selling and purchasing seems to just discuss tow capacity. This forum has been great to learn the complexities. We don't need to take much for longer trips if we cant- few clothes, couple dishes, shoes etc is better than not going but it adds up I'm sure and looks like we'll be focusing on the practical extras like tools and skipping fun extras for now. We do have a Jeep with a powerhouse hemi V8 engine built to tow and carry like no other its size but its also old and has a lot more miles and other concerns for long trips. In long distance travel reducing stress of breakdowns is key so likely we will stick with my Rav4 for longer trips and travel light until one day in the future my BF unloads that jeep for a truck. Until then... I'll take your advice for sure. Thanks again!
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