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Old 10-16-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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Toyota Highlander as towing vehicle

I have a 2010 Toyota highlander and am looking at a 1972 23 foot Tandem wheel Airstream. I live in the mountains. Will I be able to tow it okay?

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Old 10-16-2013, 01:47 PM   #2
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1) What is the GVWR of the Airstream trailer? and its dry tongue weight?
2) What is the tow capacity of your Highlander? and its hitch weight limit?
3) Is your highlander V6 or V4? what are its horsepower/torque?

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Old 10-16-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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Post #43 here......

should answer your question.
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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You might try reaching out to these folks regarding their experience. We met them while camping at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. They have an older safari (might be a little lighter), but they use a Highlander.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:27 PM   #5
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Most of us have seen discussions on tow vehicles AND negative opinions about forums members (commercial or otherwise) go south in a hurry.

Please keep the discussion factual and civil.

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Old 10-16-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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I was told that my Mercedes 2007 ML 320 CDI diesel could tow our proposed 2013 25FB International Serenity if I got the factory hitch reinforced. I made a one week, 4,400 mile round trip drive to CanAm from Phoenix and got the hitch reinforced. The drive from Los Angeles through the mountains to Phoenix with the new trailer in tow attached via a Hensley hitch went well considering it was new and empty.

I crossed the CAT scales when I returned to Phoenix and all was well weight wise, except for the weight of the trailer alone exceeding the maximum recommended towed trailer weight by about 10%.

Then we put in our camping "stuff", filled up the fresh water tank, put a couple of items in the back of the car and we went across the CAT scales again.

This report was not so good, the front axle rating was overloaded and the GVW of the car was exceeded. We did not have a generator set or any other heavy gear in the car. The engine and driveline seemed to complain with different noises as we went to and from the scales over nearly level ground. The trailer was now nearly 40% over the rated towing capacity of the car.

Thus we ended up with a higher rated tow vehicle.

I would consider a Highlander capabilities within their specifications could be challenged by the 22' Bambi or 19' Flying Cloud. By weight, the 20' Flying Cloud would have been the legally appropriate model for our Mercedes even after the hitch modification at CanAm.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:06 PM   #7
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Weight is weight and while you can make structural improvements in a vehicle to better support the weight, you still are at the mercy of at least 4 things. The power of your motor, your axle gearing, your hitch, and the weight and size of the tow vehicle vs the size of the trailer.

I pulled a 30' SOB lightweight trailer with an Astro extended van. Technically the van, engine, hitch system, and axle could deal with the weight of the trailer and was rated 6,500 lbs. What the van could not deal with was the 30' sail that was behind it. A typical 300 mile trip in windy conditions was an adventure as that trailer and its length put an extreme amount of force on the van itself. It took a lot of effort and concentration to keep things pointed in a straight line and usually at the end of the tow day I was beat.

I changed out the mini van for a full sized half ton van. The difference was like night and day. I had the same towing limitations as far as weight, but the bigger wheels, mass of the van itself made a complete difference in the towing experience. I kept the same hitch so no performance improvements came from that side.

I'm down in Branson right now with my 30' Classic slide out and as I climbed the Ozark hills with my 6 liter 4.10 axle 3/4 ton van, and then hurtling down the back sides, I thank my stars for the beefy frame, brakes, engine/axle combo, and again the mass of that van.

Unless you live in the flatlands and limit your travel to those kinds of roads, those of us in the larger vehicle camp understand what it takes when you get into extreme towing where mass and muscle of the vehicle become paramount in getting to your destination in a safe and reliable mode. As we traverse the roads I shudder to think about being on that same road with a smaller tow vehicle.

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Old 10-17-2013, 12:30 PM   #8
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Towing long distances is stressful enough without coping with the problems of a marginal tow vehicle.
Usually, we tow about 350 miles a day but recently, we had to make almost 700 miles in a day. We were driving two vehicles and I was driving the Airstream rig solo. About a third of the drive was through the mountains on a narrow two lane road and the other two thirds was on the interstate with a kicker--a 25 mph crosswind.
My AS is 6300 pounds and the tow vehicle is rated to tow 10,000. Both are in top condition. The rig tows like an arrow at speeds up to 75 mph. Even though everything is setup as it should be, I do feel crosswinds when passed by a bigger faster vehicle throwing a bow wave of air and can feel the trailer pushing me down steep hills and around tight corners. I know if I put the trailer wheels off the road, I might have handling problems straightening everything out. Trailering is a high concentration activity.
I am in my late 60's and was exhausted at the end of the drive. I had a knot between my shoulder blades that felt as big around as my head.
I have had lots of trailers and tow vehicles. When I was a Newby, I tried to tow a 4000 pound trailer with a 2000 pound tow rated trucklet. It was real handful; at least double the stress to drive. After I burned up a clutch, pressure plate and flywheel, I realized the trucklet was false economy and purchased an adequate tow vehicle.
If your high dollar SUV burns up a transmission or has some other expensive malfunction possibly due to overweight towing, how sure are you that the manufacturer won't stiff you on the warranty? Maybe it will work out O.K. but there are bean counters in every corporation trying to save money.
The point I am trying to make in a long winded way is this: set up your rig to handle extreme towing conditions not the average jaunt down the interstate. If you tow enough, you will get caught where you have to drive lots of miles in the mountains or in bad weather if so you will be glad you properly geared up.
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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Andy, my trailer brake set up is fine

I will be the first to admit, that some of my opinions are based on just plain being nervous. I have no scientific data at my disposal to support some of my opinions.
I do feel strongly about not wanting my trailer to be able to push my tow vehicle around. I feel safer with a heavier tow vehicle, and I believe that a tow vehicle with a longer wheel base, also limits the trailers ability to bully my tow vehicle.
Could it be a fluke that many of my friends burned out their small SUVs transmissions, or that I ruined my 1500 van's rotors twice. Maybe not.

I just don't understand why you would want anyone to take the chance of towing a larger trailer with a smaller tow vehicle. I guess it is human nature to reinforce to yourself that you made the right decision. I have a Jeep GC in my driveway. I would NEVER try to encourage anyone to tow with it. I would just not want that responsibility.
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:25 PM   #10
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Meador, looking at the Airstream spec sheet I don't see where they made a 23' tandem axle model. Is your model one of these shown on the sheet?

As for all the silly warnings and advisories, let's get some details first, he might be just fine when properly hitched.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:21 PM   #11
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<<Mod Mode>>

This thread is closed for clean up.

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Old 10-17-2013, 08:14 PM   #12
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<<Mod Mode>>

A new member asks a simple question and within the span of a few posts the thread is overrun with a multitude of replies arguing the merits of the TV and off topic posts about negligence, intent, fact vs. fiction, warranty voidance, lawsuits, etc. In less than three hours from inception we managed to run this thread in the ditch and largely depleted the thread of any value. This is especially troubling given an earlier request by one of the moderators to keep things on topic.

Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
Most of us have seen discussions on tow vehicles AND negative opinions about forums members (commercial or otherwise) go south in a hurry.

Please keep the discussion factual and civil.
We removed a significant number of posts in an attempt to revitalize this thread. The material in question was significantly off topic, argumentative, accusatory, or downright condescending and as such they have been removed. In 24 hours we will re-evaluate this thread and make determination as to reopen the thread.

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Old 10-18-2013, 08:17 PM   #13
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<<Mod Mode>>

We are reopening this thread. We prefer that threads run their course and expect some topic drift to occur as that is the nature of most threads. We have a passionate and well informed group here who are very knowledgable in all things "tow vehicle". Let's show some professionalism going forward and not sacrifice credibility.

Be aware that posts of an argumentative, chiding, or "Not Nice" nature will not be tolerated, so let's abide by the site rules please.

Now can we get back to the original poster's question?

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Old 10-18-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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Is your Highlander a 4 or 6 cylinder? The 4 has a 3500# capacity and the 6 has a 5000# capacity. So we'd have to know more information about what you're towing to answer the question.

According to this chart:

none of the 78s seem to be above 5000 # (that's a quick look on my part :-) ). So if you have the 6 cylinder you might be ok but there's still the question of how loaded it is for camping, tongue weight on the hitch, capacity for people, pets, tools, etc...

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