Any performance modifications that you can recommend? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Highlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Any performance modifications that you can recommend?

One of my big gripes with my '18 Highlander is the 8-speed transmission. I know it gets great gas mileage but it manages this with clever gear changes.

Has anyone ever noticed that it takes off in 4th gear? At a stop sign, move the shifter over into manual mode and you'll see on your dash that the gear selected is 4th.

I just want my highlander to have a little bit more power, or utilize the power that the V6 engine is capable of.

Does anyone recommend any DIY performance mods that aren't too expensive? Obviously, I would only consider those mods that had no affect on the warranty.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 09:53 AM
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It's a fuel efficient family hauler. Don't think you're going to have much options, other than selling it and getting a more performance oriented vehicle.

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post #3 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by train21reb View Post
One of my big gripes with my '18 Highlander is the 8-speed transmission. I know it gets great gas mileage but it manages this with clever gear changes.

Has anyone ever noticed that it takes off in 4th gear? At a stop sign, move the shifter over into manual mode and you'll see on your dash that the gear selected is 4th.

I just want my highlander to have a little bit more power, or utilize the power that the V6 engine is capable of.

Does anyone recommend any DIY performance mods that aren't too expensive? Obviously, I would only consider those mods that had no affect on the warranty.

Thanks!
Just a heads up. When you go to manual mode it shows '4' because initially 4th is the highest gear it will now go to. If you push forward on the gear lever again and again, it will progressively read out 5,6,7,8. I don't find manual 8 to be different than Power Mode which can be selected more easily from the center dash display.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:38 AM
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It shows S4 in S mode but that doesn't mean it's using the 4th gear. It just means that 4th gear will be the top gear to be used when the transmission logic selects its gear. In the HL display, there's no way to tell for sure what gear it is currently using.

I use pedal commander to improve the throttle response. Set it to "city mode" and I can feel the difference immediately. It doesn't add any HP, just amplify the throttle signal to the ECU. But I like the improved throttle response which fits my driving style better.

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post #5 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dchobo View Post
It shows S4 in S mode but that doesn't mean it's using the 4th gear. It just means that 4th gear will be the top gear to be used when the transmission logic selects its gear. In the HL display, there's no way to tell for sure what gear it is currently using.

I use pedal commander to improve the throttle response. Set it to "city mode" and I can feel the difference immediately. It doesn't add any HP, just amplify the throttle signal to the ECU. But I like the improved throttle response which fits my driving style better.
Last time I saw the Pedal Commander it screwed up someones... Venza? or was it a Corolla? But they ended up returning it. Also not helping is when the Pedal Command Support told the person to modify their connector...

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post #6 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by train21reb View Post
One of my big gripes with my '18 Highlander is the 8-speed transmission. I know it gets great gas mileage but it manages this with clever gear changes.

Has anyone ever noticed that it takes off in 4th gear? At a stop sign, move the shifter over into manual mode and you'll see on your dash that the gear selected is 4th.

I just want my highlander to have a little bit more power, or utilize the power that the V6 engine is capable of.

Does anyone recommend any DIY performance mods that aren't too expensive? Obviously, I would only consider those mods that had no affect on the warranty.

Thanks!
Yep, not much you can do except remove the useless charcoal filter in the airbox to allow air to flow slightly more freely into the engine, while also installing a less restrictive air filter, and last but not least drop weight from the vehicle. That's about the best you can do.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 AM
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You'd need to find somebody willing to look into the Highlander's TCU. The new V6 has plenty of power but it's not readily accessible due to the throttle mapping and transmission behavior. There is a company doing it for the Tacoma. They might be willing to look into the Highlander if there's enough of us that want this.

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post #8 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TrailDust View Post
Yep, not much you can do except remove the useless charcoal filter in the airbox to allow air to flow slightly more freely into the engine, while also installing a less restrictive air filter, and last but not least drop weight from the vehicle. That's about the best you can do.
Get rid of the family and it will perform better .
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Vangm25 View Post
Get rid of the family and it will perform better .
Well, in my 2nd Gen I didn't need the 3rd row seat and eliminated that (50 pounds), and also unloaded the center seat/console from inside the front row console storage bin since I virtually never use that (15 pounds), and right there reduced the weight by that of an eight-year-old kid.



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post #10 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 11:07 AM
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I use S8 all the time..
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TrailDust View Post
Well, in my 2nd Gen I didn't need the 3rd row seat and eliminated that (50 pounds), and also unloaded the center seat/console from inside the front row console storage bin since I virtually never use that (15 pounds), and right there reduced the weight by that of an eight-year-old kid.
I wonder if I should remove my spare tire (donut)... I've wanted to get a full-size spare but I usually keep tire plugs (I ran out), rubber cement, lighter (somewhere), and a electric air pump in my emergency bag. I would also have more trunk space...


Last edited by Vangm25; 07-12-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Vangm25 View Post
I wonder if I should remove my spare tire (donut)... I've wanted to get a full-size spare but I usually keep tire plugs (I ran out), rubber cement, lighter (somewhere), and a electric air pump in my emergency bag. I would also have more trunk space...
I do that. Why haul around a 55-pound spare when in forty years of driving I've only ever needed a spare three times. I have a plug kit, air pump, and a AAA card in a worst case scenario, and so I actually have dropped total vehicle weight by 120 pounds, the weight of a small adult. My mileage and timed acceleration prove small but measurable gains for both. Of course, when driving out of the area on road trips I mount the spare.



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post #13 of 19 Old 07-12-2019, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent Hardy View Post
I use S8 all the time..
Curious why S8 over Power Mode?

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post #14 of 19 Old 07-14-2019, 11:27 AM
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S8 turns off start/stop. Everytime I get in, i just slide the shift lever over to manual mode, and hold it forward until it reads S8. No need to bump it 4 times to get it to S8. I still will use Power Mode occasionally..and I notice a difference between manul mode and power mode.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-14-2019, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Craig3277 View Post
..and I notice a difference between manul mode and power mode.
What's the difference? I tried just S8 for a week and then just Power Mode for a week and could not tell the difference between the two. Dunno if my mind was playing tricks on me...
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