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Old 05-17-2010, 04:24 PM   #11
brulaz
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Don't just worry about the tow rating. Consider the GVWR of your tow vehicle. If you put 400# or more tongue weight on the hitch, your kayaks on top, two or more people with gear ... it adds up.

With our Tacoma the 6500# tow rating is not a problem. But we are very close to the Tacoma's GVWR with the kayaks and bikes and tongue weight and junk.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 4seasons View Post
Thanks; like everyone I enjoy adding the options. Watching the total weight gain is going to be a carefull study. After reading the posts I may keep the kayaks on the car instead of mounting them on the trailer. Of course now I'm looking at adding solar panels. So I'll be looking at either a fully loaded mini. Or maybe a stripped down 2720SL. I'm planning a trip to the Campmore dealership in Oregon in the next month to get some hands on looking at the models. This will be a long term purchase, so I'm taking some time in the research.
And yes the tow rating is 3500 with the tow package. Engine is 268HP double overhead cam. I'll ask about useing a WDH with the hitch (had to look it up).
Putting the kayaks on the car or the trailer doesn't change much, unless your trailer is at max capacity to start with.

It's important to ascertain the GCWR (Gross COMBINED Weight Rating) for that vehicle. That is the total weight that the vehicle is capable of handling, including passengers, cargo and fuel..

Different manufacturers have different ways of displaying this info. Often, they will give you a "Tow Rating" then make a statement like, "Any cargo or passenger weight in the vehicle must be subtracted from the "tow rating". In other words, if you have 150# of kayaks, 400# of passengers and 200# of other cargo in the TV, that weight must be subtracted from the 3500# towing capacity. This would leave you with a max tow rating of 2750#.

Your TV has to be able to pull and (more importantly) stop the total package under various conditions and weather. Where you place the weight matters only in the balancing of the load, not in the capability of the TV tow the entire package combined.
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:59 PM   #13
Mr. Adventure
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Most people don't know that a 3500# tow rating on a Toyota is in addition to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (most manufacturers make you subtract everything you put in the tow vehicle from the weight you are supposed to be towing. So, a Toyota 3500# is better than others by the amount of weight for drivers, dogs, kids, wives, kayaks, etc. that you put in the tow vehicle up to the limits of your GVWR (see you owners' manual for details).

Having said that, a Western camping trip weighs substantially more than an Eastern camping trip. In the West, people on this board talk about schlepping gear for generating electricity, fresh water in/gray & black water out, off road gasoline powered toys, mountain climbing, etc. totaling thousands of pounds for some who post here. In the East, we're typically staying in campgrounds with electrical and water hookups, with a grocery store nearby, where there is no need to haul much water around and where there are rules against a lot of the things those Western guys are planning to do when they get to the campsite. This is because most of our Eastern states are owned by taxpayers instead of the Western states which offer wonderful recreational opportunities which are substantially owned by the federal government. Further, you lose lots of engine power at altitude and there's a lot of vehicle wear and tear for towing trailers climbing and descending passes and going off road (visiting once every five years is a different vehicle wear and tear challenge from doing something every weekend).

So there are some excellent reasons why you get different answers from different people. I believe your combo can be on the road safely and legally. You need to decide if travelling light, packing carefully, loading your vehicle cautiously, driving slowly, and living within the limits of your tow vehicle meets your needs.

We have people from the plains who made wonderful trips to Alaska in Toyota Highlanders. But if you lived there, you'd be well advised to listen to what the locals tell you about what to drive.

For us, the great thing about TrailManors is that you can tow them with the vehicles you're otherwise happy to drive to work in the city and suburbs. If I lived in Seattle, I think I'd figure out how to make it work for a combo like the one you suggest. But, if I camped like lots of the Westerners on this board, I can see needing more tow vehicle than I currently own.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:54 PM   #14
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Mr. Adventurer - If you're Towing a 3023 with a '03 Highlander, I think you are making it work quite well!!! Good post....well said me thinks.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:19 PM   #15
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A quick check of the Toyota web site shows that the Venza has the same asterisk regarding tow capacity as any other vehicle. Specifically it says

"Do not exceed any weight ratings."

AND

"The maximum you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment."

In other words, both restrictions apply, and it appears that HarveyRV's comment is correct - if you start with a 3500 pound rating (which is attained only with the factory tow package), you must subtract the weight of cargo and occupants to determine the remaining tow rating.

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Old 06-07-2010, 10:21 AM   #16
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Default Toyota tow ratings

Bill,
I concur that there is nothing magic here. What you're missing is that Toyotas are rated with a Gross Combined Weight Rating that is equal to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating plus the max tow rating, unlike the way most other manufacturers do it, where the max tow rating plus the GVWR would come out well in excess of the GCWR. In other words, a Toyota tow vehicle loaded at less than it's gross weight rating towing a trailer that's less than the maximum rated tow capacity is within spec (potentially constrained further of course by load distributions, hitch loads, etc.). These things are on the door posts, the spec sheets, and in the owners manuals.

Figuring it your way instead of Toyota's way, my old reliable Toyota Highlander has a tow rating of only 3500#. But, there are 4700# between the empty weight of my TV and the Gross Combined Weight Rating, which is plenty of room for me, my bride, and a Trailmanor. I guess I could stick a Desoto badge on it and say that I have a 4700# tow rating, but the more important point is that when Toyota says you have a 3500# tow rating, you have a full 3500 pound tow rating unless you're overloading some aspect of the tow vehicle.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:25 PM   #17
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Bill,
I concur that there is nothing magic here. What you're missing is that Toyotas are rated with a Gross Combined Weight Rating that is equal to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating plus the max tow rating, unlike the way most other manufacturers do it, where the max tow rating plus the GVWR would come out well in excess of the GCWR. In other words, a Toyota tow vehicle loaded at less than it's gross weight rating towing a trailer that's less than the maximum rated tow capacity is within spec (potentially constrained further of course by load distributions, hitch loads, etc.). These things are on the door posts, the spec sheets, and in the owners manuals.

Figuring it your way instead of Toyota's way, my old reliable Toyota Highlander has a tow rating of only 3500#. But, there are 4700# between the empty weight of my TV and the Gross Combined Weight Rating, which is plenty of room for me, my bride, and a Trailmanor. I guess I could stick a Desoto badge on it and say that I have a 4700# tow rating, but the more important point is that when Toyota says you have a 3500# tow rating, you have a full 3500 pound tow rating unless you're overloading some aspect of the tow vehicle.
I'm not sure where you are getting this information but I have never seen that in writing. Do you have a link to an Official Toyota website or a Toyota Owner's Manual that has that statement in it. That would be valuable information and would put Toyota at the top of the industry in tow ratings. That would eliminate the apparent, "Magic here" .

Here is a copy/paste from the Toyota website on your Highlander:
------------------------------------------------------
Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner's Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment.
--------------------------------------------------------

Here's a note about the highlander tow hitch:
--------------------------------------------------------
Tow Hitch w/Ball Mount: Every Toyota tow hitch features a model-specific design that’s precisely engineered to achieve your vehicle’s safest maximum tow rating and is subject to an uncompromising design, testingand manufacturing process. Toyota tow hitches feature a dual-layer painting process for help protect against corrosion, the elements and from ultraviolet (UV) rays to maintain its longterm appearance. Disclaimer: Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner’s Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment.
-------------------------------------------------------
Addition of red lettering was added by me for emphasis......
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:27 PM   #18
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Mr. Adventure -

We've had this discussion before, and I respect the amount of research you've put into it. And Toyota isn't much help. Their on-line glossary has two different definitions of GCWR - one includes the trailer weight, and one does not, which is pretty confusing to start with. But I keep stumbling over the second definition, which includes two sentences of interest. The first is

"A vehicle usually can't accept the same load of people and cargo when towing a trailer as it can without the trailer." To me this implies that the load of people and cargo affects the allowable trailer weight.

The second is "GCWR is not the sum of GVWR plus maximum trailer payload." which I think is in opposition to your view of things.

I don't own a Toyota, though I have considered a Tundra on several occasions. But if I end up with a Toyota, I think I will work from the most conservative interpretation of these definitions, rather than the most optimistic.

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Old 06-07-2010, 07:45 PM   #19
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Default Toyota Tow Ratings

Harvey and Bill,
The attached .pdf file is a copy of page 207 of my owner's manual showing that the GCWR of my Highlander is 8495# and that it has a 3500# tow rating (please forgive their typo on the engine model number-- they DO know the difference at Toyota between a 6 and a 4 cylinder engine). The picture attached shows my driver's side door placard that identifies a GVWR of 4985.
4985 GVWR + 3500 Tow Rating= 8495 GCWR

All of the Toyota Owners Manual towing calcs I've worked through on this message board so far are conceptually similar (Sienna's, Tacomas, Tundras, Rav-4's 4-Runners, etc.), where the GVWR + the tow rating = the GCWR (but Toyota could change the way they report tow capacity someday for one/some/all of the models and I would never know, of course). "Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner's Manual..." sounds good to me.

When I posted earlier on this thread, I'd found a Toyota towing information resource which I wish I had linked for you, because I can't find it right now. But, here's the 2009 Venza ebrochure:
http://www.toyotacertified.com/ebrochures/09_venza.pdf

Hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Driver's side door label - 2003 Highlander.jpg  
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File Type: pdf 2003 Highlander Owners manual P 207.pdf (68.0 KB, 214 views)
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:52 PM   #20
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For my Tundra and Sienna, Towing Rating does not equal GCWR-GVWR. My Tundra has a GVWR of 7100, a GCWR of 16000, and a Towing Rating of 10300. My Sienna has a GCWR of 8700, a GVWR of 5690, and a Tow Rating of 3500.

What is the weight of your TV after you load it with people, cargo, and tongue weight? Are you pushing the 4985? Back when I was towing with a Sienna, I was able to lighten the TM to the 3500 range (eliminated all optional cabinets, no water, left optional things at home, etc) but I was so payload limited on the Sienna it was a pain. If I tow 3500 with my Sienna, I have to limit my GVWR to 5200. If the tongue weight is around 500 pounds, the Sienna, passengers, and cargo had to weigh <4700. The day I did a Sienna loaded for camping it came in at 4460 without me or any passengers. Ultimately I was able to downsize what was packed to meet all requirements but I was basically at the limit across the board and did not have the luxury of bringing my generator, pop-up, white water, and I removed two seats from the Sienna. It was doable but required a lot more bookkeeping, weighing, and calculation than one wants to do for a vacation.
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