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Old 11-12-2014, 06:52 PM   #1
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Can a 2014 Toyota Highlander pull a 16' bambi?

Wondering if anyone has experience towing a 16' bambi with their Toyota Highlander where the hitch was installed after market as opposed to at the factory. I have been told the stated 5000 pound towing capacity is only when the tow package is factory installed and without it being factory installed the car can only pull 2000 pounds. We have a 2014 Highlander (front wheel drive, V-6) and wanted to purchase a bambi - but only if our car can pull it safely
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:58 PM   #2
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There's a lot more to making a vehicle tow a certain weight than just the hitch.

If it didn't come with the tow "package" you don't have the transmission cooling, extra engine cooling, and probably the right gear ratios. There's probably other stuff that you get in the tow pkg that I haven't touched on, also.

So, your answer is no, it won't tow a 5,000 lb Bambi. (IMHO, anyway.)
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Old 11-13-2014, 03:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennysievers View Post
Wondering if anyone has experience towing a 16' bambi with their Toyota Highlander where the hitch was installed after market as opposed to at the factory. I have been told the stated 5000 pound towing capacity is only when the tow package is factory installed and without it being factory installed the car can only pull 2000 pounds. We have a 2014 Highlander (front wheel drive, V-6) and wanted to purchase a bambi - but only if our car can pull it safely

From what I can tell, there is no Highlander "tow package". The transmission is supposed to have an auxiliary cooler as standard equipment, and the 5,000 lb towing recommendation applies across the board.

I don't believe that Highlanders actually come from the factory with receivers installed. These are accessory catalogue items that are dealer-installed, and I would say that they are overpriced. I see from the Toyota Canada website that the dealer price is over $900 Cdn for a Class III receiver and just a flat four pin wiring connector - which is insufficient for towing any trailer with brakes. This is far more than it should be, even with a couple of hours of labour factored in.

There are various options for Class III receivers online (Curt, Hidden Hitch, Draw-Tite, etc.) advertised online for less than $200, which bolt to the factory mounting points. The designs look pretty good to me, and are rated for loads in excess of the 5000 lb trailer/750 lb tongue weight limits (with a weight distributing hitch) recommended by Toyota. An aftermarket flat four pin wiring harness is less than $50. Of course, you will also need a trailer brake controller and a charging line for the trailer battery.

The 3.5 litre V6 is lots of engine for towing a Bambi. From my perspective, the car is ideal for what you want to do with it; just be sure to get a suitably rated weight distributing hitch (WDH) to move half the tongue weight to the front tires, and keep everything stable.

I have my own thoughts about the best WDH, but I'm sure others will weigh in!

Let us know how this turns out!
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:31 PM   #4
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Yes the Highlander will work fine as a TV for the Bambi.

The secret is to get the setup correct. Refer back to Albert's post for the good advice.

PS... we tow our 23' with a 3.5 V6. More power than we need but not complaining.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:50 AM   #5
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It's actually a 2015 Highlander

Thanks for the feedback. It's actually a 2015 highlander (my mistake). Owners manual says it will pull 5000 pounds but only with factory installed tow package which includes a heavy duty radiator with engine oil cooler, 200 watt fan for coupling, transmission oil cooler, 150-amp., alternator and pre wired harness. According to the owners manual without the tow package it only tows up to 2000 pounds. Wondering if I need to make modifications to engine or transmission if I put on an aftermarket hitch to pull the Bambi?
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennysievers View Post
Thanks for the feedback. It's actually a 2015 highlander (my mistake). Owners manual says it will pull 5000 pounds but only with factory installed tow package which includes a heavy duty radiator with engine oil cooler, 200 watt fan for coupling, transmission oil cooler, 150-amp., alternator and pre wired harness. According to the owners manual without the tow package it only tows up to 2000 pounds. Wondering if I need to make modifications to engine or transmission if I put on an aftermarket hitch to pull the Bambi?
If you want to keep the engine and transmission from overheating, yes you need to make those changes. Toyota knows what they are doing when they engineer a package, and when they post a rating on a vehicle.

However, if you always towed in the North country where it rarely gets over 75 degrees, you might get by with it. But, you are in California, and if you would like to visit Southern California, Death Valley, or Arizona, well you know where I'm going with this.

And, there's also your new vehicle's warranty to consider.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:12 AM   #7
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When we were at the Mother Ship in September, a lady had just bought a Sport 16' and had a Lexus RX300 outfitted to tow it. When she got home to Auburn, AL she started shopping for a Tahoe...
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:32 AM   #8
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Jenny... Post #43 below is a must read for you. The poster is a very well known towing specialist and forum member.... QUOTE:We have several customers with the same Highlander that you own as well as a large number with the Lexus version and Sienna's which use the same drive train. Most are towing 25-30' "

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...r-91496-4.html

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Old 11-14-2014, 12:34 PM   #9
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That is the same car the lady in Jackson Center was towing her 16' Sport with. The trailer pictured looks like a 23'.
The new Higlander should have a bigger engine/more power than the Lexus RX300. Even a new RX330/RX350 has a bigger engine/more power.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:47 PM   #10
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Highlander Tow Capacity

This is my first time so I hope all goes well

My wife and I are about a year behind Jenny but have decided on the FC20. We're still doing homework on the TV's but have focused on the Durango and two Highlander models.

Looking at the 2015 Highlander Brochure it appears that two models (LE/LE Plus) are only rated at 2K as they do not have the tow pkg. as OEM. However the XLE/Limited models have the two pkg. (HD Rad, oil cooler etc.) as OEM with a tow rating of 5K. Personally it doesn't make sense to aftermarket the tow package. I'd prefer to pay a few shekles more & buy the model with the tow pkg. as OEM so I have the rated lbs. and its warranty

Bob
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:03 PM   #11
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From the looks of the picture, that tail will wag the dog!!!!
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:51 PM   #12
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My 2013 Highlander towed my Flying Cloud 20 really well. Now, it was the 4WD version, and the tow package came with it. I did have to install a trailer braking system after market.
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:52 PM   #13
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From the looks of the picture, that tail will wag the dog!!!!
Here we go....

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Old 11-14-2014, 02:30 PM   #14
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Excerpt From:
Stability and Control Considerations of
Vehicle-Trailer Combination
Aleksander Hac, Daniel Fulk and Hsien Chen

Delphi Corporation
"In contrast, stability with respect to the
snaking motion depends on the parameters of both the
towing vehicle and the trailer. More specifically, the system
becomes unstable beyond a certain speed. This speed
decreases, thus rendering the system less stable, as: 1)
the mass of the trailer (relative to the vehicle’s mass)
increases,"i.e., the heavier the trailer reference the tow vehicle, the less stability. conversely, the heavier the tow vehicle reference the trailer, the more stable.
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