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Old 09-02-2008, 10:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
On other fronts:

Doug, welding a hitch to the frame is NOT best practices. We had a long, long discussion on this subject a month or so ago and I finally called the factory. The tech on the phone clearly and very directly stated
"The unit is not designed for this additional weight" "Anyone adding weight to the rear exterior of and Airstream, will eventually see frame separation from the body...it's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when" "anyone doing this is just asking for problems" Again, all these statements were from Airstream tech support on a live phone call.
THanks for the heads up on this. I guess I should have checked into this before welding that on.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:39 PM   #16
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... YOU GOTS TO DRIVE IT TO UNDERSTAND.
wacky is as wacky does.

drivers wanted...

itownething

cheers
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:28 PM   #17
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I just had a customer return from Alaska with his Highlander Hybrid and 25' Airstream. He was very pleased with the performance and the 16 MPG average for the trip.

Andy

That can't be true. I have a Tacoma that has a tow rating of 6100 pounds and I barely get 10 mpg. I don't believe the Highlander has a tow rating or suspension to handle a 25 footer. I wanted the 25 but my truck could not handle it let alone stop it.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:46 PM   #18
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One other thing else to consider about a combined black/gray water tank. Everytime I have dry camped my gray water has alway filled up by day 3-4 when my black water was barely 1/4 full. I have used a bucket to transfer my gray water to my black water via the toilet. Now that being said I have always carred extra water at sights that had no water so running out of water was not an issue for the lenght of time I stayed.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:28 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BigPlay View Post
Andrew T:
I just had a customer return from Alaska with his Highlander Hybrid and 25' Airstream. He was very pleased with the performance and the 16 MPG average for the trip.


BigPlay:
That can't be true. I have a Tacoma that has a tow rating of 6100 pounds and I barely get 10 mpg. I don't believe the Highlander has a tow rating or suspension to handle a 25 footer. I wanted the 25 but my truck could not handle it let alone stop it.
You may doubt the MPG numbers, but that setup is real; at least, I've seen a photo on these forums of a similar setup (Lexus RX 400h, I believe) with a 25 footer. It was most definitely Alaska as the backdrop. Now I wouldn't choose that combo myself, as I felt we were at the high end for pulling power - not stopping power, though. We felt completely in control in a variety of conditions.

As for the MPGs, it's probably pretty accurate. We took our 19' Globe Trotter (around 3000 lbs.) from Chicago to California and back with a 2008 Highlander Hybrid. No problems to speak of (certain very steep portions of Highway 1 up near Mendocino got a little iffy) and we averaged 15 MPG over 5,000 miles.

One complaint I will readily make about towing with hybrid is its CVT, or continuously variable transmission. Because it doesn't have the traditional 4 or so gears, we couldn't satisfactorily use the cruise control, even on the slightest grades. It would whine and rev the engine very high, so I had to drive the whole trip with my foot on the gas pedal.

Unhitched we average about 26 MPG, so I'd say we're happy with the Hi-Hy as an overall vehicle if you're balancing everyday grocery-getter and tow vehicle.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:49 AM   #20
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Brad, a quick question: you didn't use the cruise control because of the high-revving engine noise, right? I assume that it would have held the speed. Having driven a lot of CVT-equipped cars, I know their noise characteristics.

With "responsible" speed management, I can get 15 out of our Odyssey towing the Minuet. I'm also surprised (and impressed) the HiHy could do that towing a heavier 25'.

Tom
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:34 AM   #21
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Brad, a quick question: you didn't use the cruise control because of the high-revving engine noise, right? I assume that it would have held the speed. Having driven a lot of CVT-equipped cars, I know their noise characteristics.

With "responsible" speed management, I can get 15 out of our Odyssey towing the Minuet. I'm also surprised (and impressed) the HiHy could do that towing a heavier 25'.

Tom
Tom,
We had a Prius for a couple years before this, and had the Highlander for about 9 months before doing this trip so I too knew what to expect as far as freeflowing revving. But it was really off the charts on even the slightest grades... like the gentle Missouri hills on the first day, for example. The CVT seems to be programmed to respond to the weight of the vehicle, and it reacted as if I'd really thrown it off by adding the trailer behind it. I decided not to stress the engine and my nerves, by listening to a high-pitched whine for the following 5 weeks.

As for the Lexus and the 25'er yeah, I'm impressed as well. As I say - after doing our trip through some mountainous areas, I felt we were approaching our max with the 3000 lbs we already had.

But I wouldn't hesitate to pair a Highlander and a 25-footer if we were traveling closer to home: Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana or Michigan.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:23 AM   #22
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Ok.. so here's the update (I started the thread).. We ended up buying another TT..A fiberglass 17ft and towed it for about 6 mos. We liked it, but it had a wet bath and we just didn't think it was going to fit our longer goals.. So I always looked on the internet for Bambi's - I found a 2008 19ft and just went for it.. We picked it up in Vegas with the Highlander and drove it to Florida and back to SF (bay area)..Took it out a couple of times to Yosemite and So Cal.. To be honest the Highlander performed well, but the white knuckle experience going up & down hills we're a tad stressful. We had plans for a Colorado trip and I just knew the Highlander wouldn't be the best choice..would it have made the trip, probably would I have fun towing it..definitely not. We ended up getting F150 (short bed) and really love it, towing is a breeze and I never feel like there's a possible safety issue..

If I had to do all over again.. I would just get the truck!
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:38 AM   #23
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Sounds like you found the right solution for you guys, Zimode. I certainly had Tahoe-envy during our trip, knowing how much harder our V6 was working on our behalf. But given the small amount of time we currently spend towing, plus the fact we don't have the space to keep a dedicated tow vehicle, I think we'll stick with the Hi-Hy for a while.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:57 AM   #24
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Brad, what sort of hitch do you use on the rig? I am looking for a smaller vehicle than our E150, which can go offroad if needed - like up onto forest roads - and safely tow our Caravel in a pinch.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:59 AM   #25
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Brad.. we ended up getting rid of our RX300, it had 140K mi on it and got the truck.. so it wasn't just a dedicated vehicle.. What I found out so far is that with a Tonneau cover, I get pretty much the same highway gas mileage as I get with the Highlander, 24-25mpg.. and towing is just a uptick better on the F150..around 16.5.. The other upside was the larger gas tank..

I still love my Highlander!! It's an amazing vehicle and has served us extremely well.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #26
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Stef: Reese hitch with 800 lb. bars. I'd prefer lighter-rated bars... but that's what I've got so that's what we're using. I believe the receiver is a Hidden Hitch, and it was modified by Andy Thompson of Can/AM RV this summer to be bolted and welded in several places, to add additional points of contact with the Highlander.

Zimode: Good deal - I may look into a pickup next time around. I'd definitely want some kind of top on the back for the dogs, but we'd use the cargo space constantly.

I've followed Rich Luhr's experiences with his diesel Mercedes SUV over at his Man in the Maze blog too - he's getting some good results from his all-in-one choice.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #27
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Tom,As for the Lexus and the 25'er yeah, I'm impressed as well. As I say - after doing our trip through some mountainous areas, I felt we were approaching our max with the 3000 lbs we already had.

But I wouldn't hesitate to pair a Highlander and a 25-footer if we were traveling closer to home: Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana or Michigan.
I know what you mean. We towed our T@B cross-country last summer with the Odyssey before buying the Argosy. Driving up over some of the mountain passes, I kinda wanted the Yukon Denali that was following me.

But I get the feeling that that was all in my head. The van kept up 45-50 mph (this is at 7000-9000 feet) just fine. Even with the Argosy in the hills of Vermont, the van can maintain the speed limit in the steep stuff just fine. It works some, but it's not going to blow up from it.

Never had a worry going DOWNhill with either trailer - in fact, the Minuet tows better than the T@B thanks to the sway control and weight distribution. Like you, I'm running heavier weight bars (set up by CanAm) than expected, but I can't complain about the ride or, better yet, the van's steering feel and stability.

Having said all of that, we just looked at a 25FB at the big RV show here in Tampa (we're on vacation) and love that trailer. Someday we'll upgrade. I know Andy has clients that happily tow longer trailers with their Odysseys - but I would rather have some more torque myself in front of a 7000 lb loaded trailer...

But that probably means a new Focus or Prius for my wife to commute with and a dedicated tow vehicle that sits most of the time...

Tom
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:26 PM   #28
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I know Andy has clients that happily tow longer trailers with their Odysseys - but I would rather have some more torque myself in front of a 7000 lb loaded trailer...
There certainly is a wider range of functional combos than a quick browse of the threads on this site would have one think. Not every trailer necessitates running out for the latest F-350--dually-Hemi-Allison-positraction-3.23-rearend-gear-quadcab with a Hensley hitch.

I would say that the bigger your tow vehicle, the less you're likely to even think about your trailer as you head towards that next mountain pass - that's a peace of mind worth the money for many people. I spent about 1% of our trip with whitish-knuckles on the steep sections of Highway 1... but found was worth it for the benefits the rest of the time. Besides, who's to say I'm not overly cautious due to the limited time I've spent towing?

But I admit: I'd consider a different tow vehicle if we found ourselves towing more and more every year, and especially if we chose to full-time. Bottom line: the Highlander is a great sometimes tow vehicle.
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