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

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post #91 of 204 Old 06-07-2014, 07:06 PM
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My 06 HH had been towing fine. Then last fall when we took out pontoon boat out, it refused to pull the boat out of the water. I eventually got it out with 1 extra man power (my buddy in back pouching on the car). It was very disappointing.
Hybrids are for light towing. The 1st gen need a LSD, but is stuck with a open diff. I don't know if the 14'' has better diffs.

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, 3.3L V6 4WD-i, 135K miles and going strong
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post #92 of 204 Old 06-10-2014, 10:12 PM
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The pleasant, patient tech at Tekonsha told me that the safe bet for installing a trailer brake controller is to pick up the brake signal at the brake lamp. This was easily done at the blue wire in the left rear light cluster access panel. Half an hour of carefully routing a wire to the controller plug gave me working trailer brakes.
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post #93 of 204 Old 07-22-2014, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeneyp View Post
I can't be certain as I just don't know much about the first gens, let alone the first gen hybrids, but you can look for a transmission cooler. It would be a sure tell way of finding out if you have any kind of OEM towing equipment. It should be somewhere behind the bumper cover, likely on the lower driver side. It will look something like this (without the plastic air-redirect mounted on front):

It will be a radiator about 2-3" by 7-8"
Dredging up an old Topic, since it's the exact question I have.

My story is the exact same. Need to tow a small camper (approx 2400 GVWR).
  • Researched the internet, found nothing
  • Found press releases (on this site) that state the tow package is standard on the 2006 Hybrid
  • Spoke to my dealer. Was told (without them looking at the vehicle) that no hybrid has a tow package. When I asked what the small radiator behind the bumper cover was, I was told it was for the inverter.
  • Called Toyota, waiting on hold, and the "Technical Expert" basically said they couldn't see it on the VIN, so it can't have it. I described the press release, and he gave me the direction of "Go back to the dealer, have them put it on a lift and look to see if it's there"


So, what do you guys think, Is the radiator for the Transmission, or for the inverter?

*EDIT* I did have the tow HITCH put on a few years ago, and the Highlander was prewired to accept the convertor to make the 4 pin.


Last edited by mpking; 07-22-2014 at 08:52 AM.
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post #94 of 204 Old 07-22-2014, 11:19 PM
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no way of knowing what that radiator is for without tracing the hoses unfortunately. I don't have the docs for the hybrid.

List of Mods ---->>> 2008 FWD Highlander Limited
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post #95 of 204 Old 03-24-2015, 09:13 AM
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Towing 3500 lbs -- is it realistic?

I'm shopping for a new SUV. I tow a 3500 lb trailer about 6 or 8 times a year, in the Northeastern U.S., mostly small hills but some longer climbs through the Appalachians. Overall, I drive about 20,000 miles/yr, of that about 3000 to 4000 miles is towing. Have never had a hybrid before (never had a Toyota, for that matter). The MPG ratings are obviously attractive, and the Highlander seems like a very comfortable vehicle. Also considering the non-hybrid Highlander, and other non-hybrid mid-sized SUV's.


My questions:
1. Does anyone have experience towing 3000 to 3500 lbs with a 2014 or 2015 Highlander Hybrid? Any problems?
2. How will the CVT transmission handle towing? Is it strong enough? Will it keep the engine at the proper RPM when towing up a hill?
3. How well will the regenerative braking work? Any concerns about the effectiveness of this system, with a 3500 lb trailer behind? (the trailer has 4-wheel electric brakes and I will install a brake controller in the Highlander).
4. I have read reports that the hybrid system on older (pre-2014) Highlanders "shuts down" if overloaded (e.g. on long, steep hills) or if traction is poor (snow, steep/wet areas) ... is this still the case with the 2014-2015 models? Any remedies?


I have searched the Forum and read previous posts on towing, particularly CedarMtn's problems with boat ramps, and the guy who towed a U-Haul from Ohio to Texas. Most of the posts are about earlier models (pre-2014), and I don't know if the 2014-2015 models are any different. It appears that very, very few people tow anything with a Highlander Hybrid, which worries me.


Any advice (or better yet, actual real-world experience) much appreciated. THANKS!
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post #96 of 204 Old 04-28-2015, 06:03 PM
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Best for towing...

I have two Highlanders: A 2001 V6 Limited and a 2008 Hybrid Limited and need to tow a 7x12 cargo trailer from CA to the Colorado Rockies. Which do you feel would be best for this purpose?
Thanks ahead of time...

HHO
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post #97 of 204 Old 04-28-2015, 06:24 PM
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If the 2001 has a towing package on it. I would use it. I tow with my 2009 Highlander Hybrid and while it does a good job towing a 3,000 lb trailer I would feel more comfortable towing with a gas engine over the Hybrid because you can down shift if needed going down the Rockies. I remember the brakes on my old Land Cruiser feeling a little mushy by the time I reached the bottom of the mountain. It doesn't seem to take too long for the generator to start to hum when the display shows fully charged on my HH. And I am talking a 3,000 foot mountain not the Rockies.
But then again your regular Highlander is 7 years older so it is a toss up which one is better. Enjoy your trip whichever vehicle you choose.

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post #98 of 204 Old 04-28-2015, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fj62 View Post
If the 2001 has a towing package on it. I would use it. I tow with my 2009 Highlander Hybrid and while it does a good job towing a 3,000 lb trailer I would feel more comfortable towing with a gas engine over the Hybrid because you can down shift if needed going down the Rockies. I remember the brakes on my old Land Cruiser feeling a little mushy by the time I reached the bottom of the mountain. It doesn't seem to take too long for the generator to start to hum when the display shows fully charged on my HH. And I am talking a 3,000 foot mountain not the Rockies.
But then again your regular Highlander is 7 years older so it is a toss up which one is better. Enjoy your trip whichever vehicle you choose.
Thank you for your quick reply. I have the towing package on the 2001 Gas Highlander but it has 200k miles and might not have the pep. I'm leaning toward getting a brake controller put in the 2008 Hybrid (the trailer I bought has brakes). From what you describe, the HH handled your 3000# trailer going up hill... I will monitor the dash for temp readings. My trailer will be maxed at the HH 3500# limit. PS My HH has 120k miles on it. I will post results after said trip...
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post #99 of 204 Old 04-28-2015, 11:41 PM
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How tall is the trailer?

I pull a 7x16 v-nose cargo trailer that's 2' taller than my car, and I can say aero drag is one of the biggest issues. In fact it limits me to about 70mph (not that i'd want to go much faster) If the hybrid system makes 270hp like it says, you shouldn't have an issue with power. I pull mine at or slightly above 5klb and can still do 60-65mph in hills reasonably well, 55 in mountains. Trans temps will be interesting though, I've added a 2nd cooler (so 2 transmission radiators now) to compensate and it still gets toasty (260F). Might be worth looking into.

But yeah, I'd use the hybrid, brakes will be better, power will be better, and the overall size of the vehicle will help in how it handles the trailer. +1 on trailer brakes though. I've run without them, it will stop, but its not fun.

List of Mods ---->>> 2008 FWD Highlander Limited
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post #100 of 204 Old 04-29-2015, 12:17 AM
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If you are pulling 3,500lbs that far, you need a brake controller if you use the 2008. Most states legally require at 1,500lbs/2,000lbs.

Another thing that makes towing A LOT easier is if you get a weight distribution hitch. They can be pricey; I got a used one off Craigslist for a great price and it makes towing heavy loads a real breeze in comparison - balancing the vehicle and trailer as well as stabilizing the trailer. It will track directly with the tow vehicle and not sway or push - especially a taller trailer (I used to tow horses frequently). This is what I am talking about:

http://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx

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post #101 of 204 Old 05-02-2015, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oro-o View Post
If you are pulling 3,500lbs that far, you need a brake controller if you use the 2008. Most states legally require at 1,500lbs/2,000lbs.

Another thing that makes towing A LOT easier is if you get a weight distribution hitch. They can be pricey; I got a used one off Craigslist for a great price and it makes towing heavy loads a real breeze in comparison - balancing the vehicle and trailer as well as stabilizing the trailer. It will track directly with the tow vehicle and not sway or push - especially a taller trailer (I used to tow horses frequently). This is what I am talking about:

http://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx
Thanks a lot for the ideas. I put a Prodigy P3 brake controller on today and it's a dream. Looking forward to the trip now. I didn't know about state's having a law about trailer brakes, so thanks for that. I will post once trip is done in June-ish.

HHO
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post #102 of 204 Old 05-02-2015, 03:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeneyp View Post
How tall is the trailer?

I pull a 7x16 v-nose cargo trailer that's 2' taller than my car, and I can say aero drag is one of the biggest issues. In fact it limits me to about 70mph (not that i'd want to go much faster) If the hybrid system makes 270hp like it says, you shouldn't have an issue with power. I pull mine at or slightly above 5klb and can still do 60-65mph in hills reasonably well, 55 in mountains. Trans temps will be interesting though, I've added a 2nd cooler (so 2 transmission radiators now) to compensate and it still gets toasty (260F). Might be worth looking into.

But yeah, I'd use the hybrid, brakes will be better, power will be better, and the overall size of the vehicle will help in how it handles the trailer. +1 on trailer brakes though. I've run without them, it will stop, but its not fun.
My trailer is a Haulmark 'Low Hauler' so it isn't too tall and shouldn't be an issue. Thanks again.

HHO
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post #103 of 204 Old 06-30-2015, 06:16 PM
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Can hybrid transmission handle towing?

I have a 2006 Highlander Hybrid and would like to get a teardrop trailer, app. 1680 lbs curb weight. I talked with a local dealer who does a lot of business putting on hitches and he is concerned that the transmission may not be able to handle it. Says the hybrid transmissions are light weight, not like a normal transmission, that it could burn up. He put one on for a couple with an a Lexus hybrid and it burned up within a few miles. Opinions?
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post #104 of 204 Old 10-23-2015, 01:26 PM
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Towing a boat with HL HI 2016

Hi, I went through previous posts about towing with HL HI and I am slightly confused, so need additional info. I have a small boat (about 1750lbs with trailer) Sales person at Toyota dealership said they are warned during training against using hybrids for towing because of the potential battery issues. Toyota itself said she cannot provide this info (?!) when directly asked this very question. I see, however, that quite a few people do tow something with hybrid. My problem is that 90% of the time I drive in the city and hybrid seems natural choice. However, if I will have problems over weekends with towing my boat, I would rather stay with regular gas model than risk getting stuck on the ramp with my boat and hybrid. Is there anybody out there who has hybrid and about same size of the boat? Any comments/suggestions/ideas? Model 2016 comes with standard tow package (or so they claim, not sure if Canadian version will have that) Will it include weight distribution hitch or a regular one?

Thank you for your reply,

Shimon
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post #105 of 204 Old 10-23-2015, 02:11 PM
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It does not make much sense but here you go:

The Toyota Highlander

While the Toyota Highlander remains one of the most popular hybrid SUV vehicles on the road because of its quiet ride, reasonable fuel economy and spacious interior, it is only average in its towing capacity. The rated towing capacity for the Toyota Highlander is 3,500 pounds; however, many Highlander owners complain that the vehicle cannot really pull that much weight without the electric engine cutting off completely. Many people complain that when trying to pull a trailer and boat uphill, the electric engine simply shuts off and there is no way for them to get the vehicle to move except to disconnect the trailer. People have stated that weights of 2,000 or 2,500 pounds are more accurate descriptions for the towing capacity rating of the Toyota Highlander.

It's illiterate description as our cars do not have electric engine. I don't really see how this can happen but who knows. HSD is one quirky thing.

Go figure:

I have a Toyota highlander hybrid when I take off on a hill with a trailer attached, even with less than 2500 lbs. On gravel or snow or ice
UV shuts down and will not move. The engine will not rev or spin the tires. It just sits there until the trailer is disconnected. One time I was pulling a trailer and hit an icy section on the road. The car lost all power and coasted to a stop. There was nothing I could do. My 2nd car drove right up. I had to disconnect the trailer and drive the car up the road and have the trailer towed. Another time I have a small 5’x8’ utility trailer of 1000 lb max capacity with 12” tires. I loaded it with 1000 lbs of firewood. It was on a packed gravel hill. The SUV would move about 1 foot and loose power. I had to go get my gutless ’96 Ford Ranger 4 cyl 2wd to pull it up the hill. Now they seem to take the position that the hybrids are designed to shut down. I purchased this hybrid because it had a towing capacity of 3500 lbs and had a third row seat. It is my concern that this problem represents a safety concern. I know most people are not aware of this problem. The dealer told me they are aware the problem exists I do love the power and comfort of the SUV, but be warned if you stop on a hill on wet pavement. The above is my personal opinion and experience.

http://www.hybridcars.com/forums/sho...owing-capacity


I have a 2009 Highlander
I have a 2009 Highlander hybrid, I tow a 16 foot Smoker craft. Much less than the 3500 pound rating. I tow on the highway, through loose sand. I have had absolutely no problem, it is a champ!!

I have a 2007 highlander
I have a 2007 highlander hybrid. I tow my pop up camper with no problem whatsoever. It is rated at 3500 towing capacity. My pop up is about 1500 empty. Never a problem.







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