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Highlander Hybrid The first hybrid SUV from Toyota, the Highlander Hybrid!

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post #31 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 06:58 AM
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Boat Towing: ok - boat launching: use something else

I have a 2009 Highlander Hybrid. I need to tow my boat from storage to the lake. The Hybrid tows the boat on the road easily - handles nicely, even pretty decent mileage. Launching the boat was no problem either.

This weekend, I had to help a friend get his boat out of the water (same size as mine) and the HH could not pull it out of the water. The boat launch is well packed gravel but a very gentle incline - and the HH was not able to pull the load out. The front wheels would spin a little and then the traction control would just shut the power down. The rear electric motors (or maybe the traction control) prevented the rear wheels from even spinning - and it seemed like they were getting zero power/torque - so essentially it was 100% front wheel drive. My previous vehicle was an MDX, and it handled this launch SO easily, I just never considered that it would be a potential problem.

In the end, I put the tow hook in the front bumper and another SUV pulled the whole load out.

It's a disappointment, but not a huge problem for me since I usually only need to launch and pull out once or twice a year, and will be able to borrow something. But would not recommend this vehicle for anybody with a boat, even a light one. It's OK for towing, but boat launches are another matter entirely and the HH just isn't up to the task.
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post #32 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarMtn View Post
I have a 2009 Highlander Hybrid. I need to tow my boat from storage to the lake. The Hybrid tows the boat on the road easily - handles nicely, even pretty decent mileage. Launching the boat was no problem either.

This weekend, I had to help a friend get his boat out of the water (same size as mine) and the HH could not pull it out of the water. The boat launch is well packed gravel but a very gentle incline - and the HH was not able to pull the load out. The front wheels would spin a little and then the traction control would just shut the power down. The rear electric motors (or maybe the traction control) prevented the rear wheels from even spinning - and it seemed like they were getting zero power/torque - so essentially it was 100% front wheel drive. My previous vehicle was an MDX, and it handled this launch SO easily, I just never considered that it would be a potential problem.

In the end, I put the tow hook in the front bumper and another SUV pulled the whole load out.

It's a disappointment, but not a huge problem for me since I usually only need to launch and pull out once or twice a year, and will be able to borrow something. But would not recommend this vehicle for anybody with a boat, even a light one. It's OK for towing, but boat launches are another matter entirely and the HH just isn't up to the task.
I don't have the links to the threads handy, but go over to the 08+ Highlander forum and do a search using "VSC" and "TRAC" which should pull up a couple of threads relevant to your issue. In short, what you'll find there is a recommendation for turning off your HiHy's VSC/TRAC system to improve it's traction in those conditions. I've had my Highlander in snow and ice, obviously very slippery conditions, and all forward motion was killed by the VSC/TRAC system dethrottling the engine. But by turning off the system, I'm able to immediately move across ice that was impassable with no problems. Check it out.




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post #33 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailDust View Post
I don't have the links to the threads handy, but go over to the 08+ Highlander forum and do a search using "VSC" and "TRAC" which should pull up a couple of threads relevant to your issue. In short, what you'll find there is a recommendation for turning off your HiHy's VSC/TRAC system to improve it's traction in those conditions. I've had my Highlander in snow and ice, obviously very slippery conditions, and all forward motion was killed by the VSC/TRAC system dethrottling the engine. But by turning off the system, I'm able to immediately move across ice that was impassable with no problems. Check it out.


Thanks. If there is a way to defeat the VSC/TRAC system, I would welcome the information. But as far as I know, this feature is not available in the Hybrid. The frustrating thing, is I have a feeling the rear traction motors generate enough torque that they would have been able to help - but the traction control system is too intrusive.
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post #34 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 04:34 PM
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You're correct--in the Hybrids, there is no way to disconnect the VSC/Trac system. We don't have an override switch.
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post #35 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 06:22 PM
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thats no good...
one of the reasons i stay clear of hybrid SUVs

my friend's HiHy did the exact same thing at the boat ramp when we were attempting to move my 23ft cobalt from one marina to another...i was shocked since its not a large boat...


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post #36 of 204 Old 06-29-2009, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lawfarm View Post
You're correct--in the Hybrids, there is no way to disconnect the VSC/Trac system. We don't have an override switch.
You know what, that's right I totally forgot about that. I still don't understand why they don't have that kill feature in the hybrid? It's too bad, because in poor traction situations it's the difference between night and day.



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post #37 of 204 Old 07-14-2009, 04:55 PM
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Smile Traction

I've been using my Hybrid(08) to launch my boat(17ft) for the past year with no problems, until this spring. I was on a steep inclined ramp with loose gravel and ended spining the wheels and then the hybrid refused to move. I would guess because of traction control. Fought with it for awhile with no success. Meaning I would hold with brake, shift to drive and slowly push the gas pedal with no reaction from any of the wheels. Then while shifting gears I saw the EV control and decided to try that. Worked like a charm, pulling me up with all the torque I needed. When in EV your limited up to 5 mph so you aren't going to speed anywhere but at least you can move. I would think this would work in most situations where the traction control has locked out the wheels when it feels they are skidding.
Hope this helps.
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post #38 of 204 Old 07-14-2009, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarMtn View Post
Thanks. If there is a way to defeat the VSC/TRAC system, I would welcome the information. But as far as I know, this feature is not available in the Hybrid. The frustrating thing, is I have a feeling the rear traction motors generate enough torque that they would have been able to help - but the traction control system is too intrusive.
And electric motors have LOTS of torque!

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post #39 of 204 Old 07-14-2009, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfisher49 View Post
I've been using my Hybrid(08) to launch my boat(17ft) for the past year with no problems, until this spring. I was on a steep inclined ramp with loose gravel and ended spining the wheels and then the hybrid refused to move. I would guess because of traction control. Fought with it for awhile with no success. Meaning I would hold with brake, shift to drive and slowly push the gas pedal with no reaction from any of the wheels. Then while shifting gears I saw the EV control and decided to try that. Worked like a charm, pulling me up with all the torque I needed. When in EV your limited up to 5 mph so you aren't going to speed anywhere but at least you can move. I would think this would work in most situations where the traction control has locked out the wheels when it feels they are skidding.
Hope this helps.
Good thinking! BTW, you are limited to ~25 MPH in EV mode BUT if you accelerate too hard it pops you out of EV mode so easy does it to use the torque of the two electric motors.

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post #40 of 204 Old 07-16-2009, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingfisher49 View Post
I've been using my Hybrid(08) to launch my boat(17ft) for the past year with no problems, until this spring. I was on a steep inclined ramp with loose gravel and ended spining the wheels and then the hybrid refused to move. I would guess because of traction control. Fought with it for awhile with no success. Meaning I would hold with brake, shift to drive and slowly push the gas pedal with no reaction from any of the wheels. Then while shifting gears I saw the EV control and decided to try that. Worked like a charm, pulling me up with all the torque I needed. When in EV your limited up to 5 mph so you aren't going to speed anywhere but at least you can move. I would think this would work in most situations where the traction control has locked out the wheels when it feels they are skidding.
Hope this helps.
Thanks - I might try this out with just the trailer on a grassy hill to see if it makes a difference. But the bottom line for me is that I probably won't be using the Highlander to pull my boat OUT of the water anymore - the last thing I need is to get stuck pulling my boat out in the Fall on a cold empty boat ramp - I was lucky there was another truck to pull me out the last time. The boat ramp is close enough that I can drive a tractor over to pull the boat out - then hook it up to the Highlander to tow it to storage.

The Highlander has enough good qualities that I'm still satisfied with it - but the boat launch/traction control with no over-ride issue is a disappointment.
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post #41 of 204 Old 02-25-2010, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarMtn View Post
Thanks - I might try this out with just the trailer on a grassy hill to see if it makes a difference. But the bottom line for me is that I probably won't be using the Highlander to pull my boat OUT of the water anymore - the last thing I need is to get stuck pulling my boat out in the Fall on a cold empty boat ramp - I was lucky there was another truck to pull me out the last time. The boat ramp is close enough that I can drive a tractor over to pull the boat out - then hook it up to the Highlander to tow it to storage.

The Highlander has enough good qualities that I'm still satisfied with it - but the boat launch/traction control with no over-ride issue is a disappointment.

Just as a late followup to this - I tried the EV mode and it did not work out. First of all had to warm up the truck before EV mode would even engage, then it would disengage almost immediately upon pulling. This was on a grassy incline which matched the boat ramp. I ended up driving a tractor to the boat ramp to pull the trailer out.

The intrusive traction control bothers me - just the thought that this is an "SUV" that I'll have to drive like a front wheel drive, and I have to say that the dealer experience hasn't been great either. So I've soured a little on the car.

After going to the car show in Toronto last week, I decided to see about trading the HH towards something else. Current problem is that the market for used Toyota's is really terrible now - I was shocked at what the dealers were offering and even private sales look pretty soft. I knew it would be bad because of all the problems, but trust me - you would be shocked if you're trying to trade into another vehicle - even another Toyota.

So I'm keeping it because I'm not going to take that big a hit on a one year old car. Stuck in more ways than one...
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post #42 of 204 Old 02-26-2010, 07:32 AM
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Canada Try removing the TRAC / VSC fuse

Anyone try to see if they can benefit with removal of the related TRAC / VSC fuses?

If that works, maybe we can make our own bypass switch.
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post #43 of 204 Old 03-04-2010, 01:42 PM
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CedarMtn,

Have you tried the TRAC/VSC deactivation yet? Its not a real solution, as it will deactivate the rear wheel altogether, but you'll be able to spin your front wheel all you want with it.

With the car off, turn the key to on/run (without starting it). Hold down the brake peddle throughout this process.

Step on the gas peddle 2 times in Park
Step on the gas peddle 2 times in Neutral
Step on the gas peddle 2 times in Park
Start the car
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post #44 of 204 Old 05-14-2010, 01:11 PM
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P0A78 ecu/scan code, HH had to be towed

ECU/Scan code P0A78 - does anyone know what this means?
Upon hearing a deep thunk under the front hood on my FWD 2006 HH, I could not drive this HH anymore. I rolled this vehicle off the road into a parking lot. I called a tow truck. I had this HH towed to the Toyota dealer. They state the inverter failed.

I have a Scangauge II. It read this code. When I cleared this code, it immediately came back.

The HH will start. The combustion engine runs, although faster RPM than normal. When I put this HH into reverse or forward, nothing happens. This HH does not move.

I was sudden accelerating when the thunk occured.

All is under warranty. I purchased Toyota Extra Car.

- End -
- End -
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post #45 of 204 Old 05-14-2010, 07:19 PM
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POA78 is the "Drive Motor A motor inverter".
Just as your dealer said.

It would appeat that that is only half the code though. There are about 20 different PoA78 codes. The manual has them as P0A78-XXX, you're missing the XXX.
Most deal with shorts & overvoltages.

It is possible the scanguage only reads the first half of the code.

You need the other half of the code to know what is wrong with the inverter.

Obviously, if there is something really wrong with the car, clearing the code won't help, as the code will just set the code again.

Due to the way the car opperates, both the regular engne and the main electric engine must be working to go anywhere, not just one or the other.( ie you can't just get by for a while on the gas engine) which is why you would have needed a tow

Last edited by JSTCD; 05-14-2010 at 07:25 PM.
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