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Old 11-18-2015, 07:17 PM   #1
Name: Teal
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 48
Happy to be a new member!


Hello fellow fiberglass RVers! I am new owner of a 2004 Scamp 16 (forward wet bath and side dinette for two) not sure which floor plan that equates to...

I am towing with my 2004 Toyota Highlander V6 Limited 7pax. I am totally new to be a solo trailer owner (have done motorhome travel for years with my husband, but now taking solo trips with my Scamp hoping to connect with others).

I have some questions on towing and car needs... is anyone else towing with the same car as I am? have you added spring helpers? are you using a load leveling and sway bar distribution system, if so which one? I am researching and reading blogs for info and hoping some members may be able to shed some light on these questions for me.

In addition, my trailer has brakes and a seven pin round connector... does anyone know what is needed for the Highlander to connect the brakes? one of the activators with interior controls or does it work off of the car brakes?

I hope to meet some of you out there in the world and thank you in advance for posting any advice you may have for these issues.

Thank you!
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:32 PM   #2
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Jon in AZ's Avatar
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 11,555
Happy to be a new member!

Welcome, Teal!

Sounds like you have Scamp's Layout 6. Very nice! Hope you'll post some pictures of your prize when you have a chance.

It should be a good match for your Highlander if it has the towing package. With the towing package (includes engine and transmission cooling upgrades and a heavy-duty alternator) I believe it's rated for 3500 pounds. Without, it's only 2000 pounds. If you didn't buy this new or you're not sure, a dealer can look up the VIN number to find out if it has the towing package. Your Scamp should weigh in the neighborhood of 2500 pounds fully loaded. You probably won't need a weight distributing (load leveling) hitch, but a sway bar is not a bad idea.

I don't think the tow package includes any of the trailer wiring, so you'll have to have a full 7-blade harness wired up, including lights, a brake wire, and a charging line for the trailer battery. You'll also need a brake controller.

Best wishes in your new adventure from a fellow Arizonan! We're up in the White Mountain area.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:39 PM   #3
Name: Teal
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 48
Hi Jon,

My Highlander was not bought new... I researched it but will have to look into the VIN number etc... it did not have a tow bar on it we added one to the Highlander specs a Curt model with the lighting kit but it was only a four pin and we modified to the 7... but brakes etc not hooked up to that yet. I'll have to check into the transmission cooling etc. but must look into the brake control stuff. Also, will look into the battery charging line ... brake wire is one I was wondering on how to get hooked up in the car.

I'm hoping I don't have the wrong car... it only has 45k miles on it and is the Limited edition in pristine condition. I am hoping I can invest in it and it will serve me in towing my Scamp. I will post pics... I want to outfit it, update upholstery and curtains to suit me.

Thanks for your input on the load leveling, its been puzzling reading varied info. Do you think spring helpers are a good idea? I have the 7pax third row seating so that equates to tougher springs in the rear per my reading.

I am in the Verde Valley not all that far from you. A summer trip to the White Mountains is on my list!
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:22 PM   #4
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Name: Rich
Trailer: 2015 Scamp 13D
Posts: 136
First, welcome to the group. We all wish you many years of great adventures with your trailer.

I tow with a 2013 Highlander Hybrid Limited. My catalog on the Highlanders for that year says that the Highlander Limited had a "heavy-duty radiator with engine oil cooler, 200-watt fan coupling and supplemental transmission oil cooler." Perhaps the 2004 had similar equipment. Please follow Jon's advice and get your VIN checked so you know for sure.

If you have not done so already please also consider joining the "scampowners.com" group. Lots of good advice to be found there also.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:40 AM   #5
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Carl Pa's Avatar
Name: Carl
Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
Posts: 578
I have the 2012 Rav4 Tow Pkg. No wiring for towing was on it when purchased new. Put a after market receiver on it. Had u haul install the 7 and 4 pin plugs and to wire and install the brake controller. I use no WDH or sway control, It is OK, I am thinking of getting a sway control bar this year. Good luck. Carl
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Old 11-19-2015, 01:08 PM   #6
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 2017 Escape 17B
SW Virginia
Posts: 2,228
If it turns out you don't already have them, it's not that big an expense to install a transmission cooler and heavy duty alternator. Otherwise you should be good to go. For the trailer brakes the Tekonsha Prodigy 2 brake controller would be an excellent choice.
You're in for a lot of fun with your egg and I hope we get to meet you at a fiberglass rally before too long.

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Old 11-21-2015, 10:24 AM   #7
Name: Teal
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 48
Thank you so much for the invaluable suggestion to call a Toyota dealer and have my VIN number checked to see what the car was built with... yeah! I have the Tow Prep Package! so happy to know that I have the upgraded radiator and alternator and transmission cooler! Also, a lighting pre wired somewhere under the hood... have to look into this more for proper installation of the lighting wire.

Thanks also for the suggestion on the type of brake controller to purchase... its on my list now and I have a friend who can install it for me.

Everyone has been so responsive to my questions I am so grateful for you all!
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Old 11-21-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 11,555

Great news, Teal!
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:30 AM   #9
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Carl V's Avatar
Trailer: No Trailer Yet
Posts: 684
I've been towing my 2500lbs popup camper with my '06 Highlander AWD V6 for 5 years now. I've been a member of this group for some time, but we've only bought our first FG trailer last summer. Our FG trailer is a Trillium 5500, I expect the loaded weight will be 3300-3500 lbs. I've only towed the Trillium about 100 miles the day I bought it. Everything went just fine. The trailer is currently being restored/redecorated, probably a 2 years project.

I've towed the popup 2-3000 miles every summer with the Highlander. My HL has the towing package as standard equipment, just like all canadian-market AWD V6 Highlanders (and Siennas too I've heard). You can confirm the presence of the transmission cooler, it is visible in the front driver-side corner "air intake" below the bumper.

Always turn off Overdrive when you tow. I use Mobil 1 ATF, synthetics in the engine, transfer case and rear differential.

The rear suspension of the HL is rather soft, and my popup has a tongue weight around 300 lbs, depending on propane quantity. I use Reese's 350 Mini weight distributing hitch (now discontinued) which also acts as a friction anti-sway. Good system, trailer is super stable behind the HL, and the HL rides level. I would not tow anything but a light utility trailer without the WD hitch, as is improves the ride dramatically, it's really night and day.
If I was you, I'd forget about helper springs and I'd invest in a similar WDH system (combined weight distributing and anti-sway) like Reese's SteadiFlex, Husky CenterLine, or Equal-i-zer, with a rating appropriate to your tongue weight.

Make sure the receiver hitch you have is rated for weight distributing. First, it has to be a Class III (5000 lbs), but depending on years, some Curt hitches were not rated for WD, and on some years it was hitches made by Cequent (Reese, Hidden-Hitch, Draw-Tite) that were not rated for WD. My HL came with a Cequent hitch not rated for WD, I had to replace it with a WD-rated Curt. See my posts in this thread on ToyotaNation:
Advice on trailer hitch for 2002, best looking hitch? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Sometime around 2004-2005 Toyota introduced the 7 seat version HL. Because of this, changes were made to the rear frame of the vehicle, and I think this caused some hitches incompatibilities between model years. If yours is like mine, Cequent Class III hitches are not WD rated, but Curt and Valley hitches are.

The FG trailer we bought came with a very old WD hitch. It's a standard model with chains and blade-type friction sway-bay. There is no brand name on it, I've never seen anything like it, and it looks waaay too stiff for my trailer, so I don't like it and I intend to eventually ditch it and get a newer, more efficient system, like an Equal-i-zer. But the Highlander was towing the Trillium just fine with it. Aerodynamic drag is much more noticeable than with the popup, but I expected this.

Back to the HL: if yours is like mine, there is a big connector hidden somewhere under the plastic panels and trims at the rear of the vehicle (on 2006 models it's on the driver side). Toyota's OEM converter and harness kit plugs in there. But this kit costs a fortune, and is only a 4-pin harness. I bought an aftermarket converter and did my own wiring. All the wires you need are at this connector, you can easily figure out which is which with a simple test light.

Also, Toyota's converter is a powered unit, this means the trailer lights are not powered from the HL's light circuits, they are powered straight from the battery, with the light circuits of the HL only providing "signals" to the converter. This is much better than having like 20-something marker lights drawing power to a car's light system that wasn't design to handle that load. You can also get aftermarket "powered" converted, they are a bit more expensive than the regular ones, but they are worth it, and this is what I'm using. No need to run a large wire from the battery to the converter to power it, as you can use the same wire that powers the OEM converter, in that same connector. This wire is powered when you insert a fuse in the "Towing" socket in the engine compartment fuse box.

My brake controller is a Tekonsha Primus IQ, very good proportional unit, and quite affordable. Get anything from Tekonsha and you'll be all right, except the old Voyager model, which uses old technology.
You will need towing mirrors, I use 2 Tow-N-See convex, the work very well.

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Old 11-21-2015, 12:02 PM   #10
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Glenn Baglo's Avatar
Trailer: Escape 17 ft
Posts: 8,314
I concur with all you've said, but I have replaced my Tow-n-See mirrors with Milenco Grand Aero ( kept the Tow-n-See as spare ).
The Milenco attaches to the mirror housing so that vehicle mirrors can be adjusted independently of the Milenco, increasing view coverage.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:04 PM   #11
Name: Teal
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 48
Thanks for all this info Carl... I'll check into some of these things, I did add an aftermarket Curt tow bar hitch, the one specified for the HL, I'll check on the rating. Good advice overall and so glad to hear you have been towing successfully for years with your HL.

Good luck with your Trillium project!
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