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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all. I purchased a used 2015 Highlander LE w/3.5L V-6 recently specifically because I wanted a vehicle which could tow my and my son's motorcycles occasionally. I have ordered the Curtis model 13200 and wiring kit and an adjustable hitch and 2" ball.

I will be hauling a Uhaul 5x9 utility trailer (do not want to own one) which weighs 1,240 lbs with 2 motorcycles on it, roughly 500 lbs each, wet, so gross weight of 2,240. This might be twice a year, very occasional use, and not in desert-hot environments normally.

Now I'm reading about towing packages with transmission coolers and bigger radiators. Yeesh! I never thought of that, I thought it was just hitch up a trailer and go. My question is do I need to have those modifications done? What we will do is drive the bikes to a National park, then ride around for a few days then head home. I don't know with that weight and such infrequent use are they necessary?

I'll do the mods if needed, I take very good care of my vehicles. I'm hoping to hear that it's not really necessary. I suspect if I wanted to tow a small camper or something a lot I would definitely do this, but hoping I can get away without it for this. I'm not willing to risk doing damage to the vehicle towing though, so I will take the advice I get.

Thanks, in advance.

-John
 

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Although I do not tow, have been through much research and installed 2 coolers myself on our vehicles. You would need class III cooler (choose either B&M or TruCool) and PS cooler (like Hayden 679). If you search the net (I was searching earlier to see what Toyota OEM looks like), there are several good DIYs for Tacoma and Highlander. That will give you good info for knowledge, even if you are planning to have it installed at a shop. More you know, the better. This subject is not specific to brand-model-yr. Its just about size, type, and application.

You will need something similar to LPD4544 or larger. Not saying use it, but it is like minimum size. Get the largest one you can fit (which is what etrailer officially says)... By the way if you go to their site and look up by vehicle, you can then see the recommended ones for each class.

http://www.trucool.com/products/tru-cool-lpd (see pic illustrations)
LPD4589 gvw 24.000
LPD4590 11 x 11 x 1 1/2 GVW 28.000

Here is mine:
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/1...iy-transmission-cooler-install-magnefine.html

It also has link to one for Sienna. I am sure you will find a Tacoma one here too.
 
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Rather than spend money on aftermarket parts, I would shift the transmission. With an eye on engine temp and RPM's, you will be able tow the bikes without hurting anything. Downshifting on hills will help keep your drive-train and brakes at safe operating temps.
Consider adding a transmission temperature gauge and have fun.
 

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^^. He says
I will be hauling a Uhaul 5x9 utility trailer (do not want to own one) which weighs 1,240 lbs with 2 motorcycles on it, roughly 500 lbs each, wet, so gross weight of 2,240.

Vehicle wt + 2240 minimum is what he is looking at, not just couple of bicycles. Actual towing. When you consider AT temps bad in a car with people, this is little bit more than a few folks in car. Its worth adding some protection as diy for less than 200 or about 400 by a small shop.


Edit: Added this link
http://www.landerfan.com/archives/towing-capacity-toyota-highlander/

Max towing capacity

The towing capacity of your Highlander depends on the trim level. At the lowest level (LE), the max towing capacity is listed as being 1,500 lbs. This is limited by the 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine that comes standard at that level.

Note: The vehicle occupants, cargo, and any added equipment count against the max towing capacity, so be careful. And if you’re hauling a trailer full of stuff, don’t forget to account for the trailer itself.
Stepping up the the LE Plus, which has a 3.5 liter 6-cylinder engine, the max towing capacity is listed at 2,000 lbs. That’s a little better, but still pretty limited. Beyond that, however, things improve dramatically…

Note: As of model year 2016, all 6-cylinder Highlanders have the tow prep package and a 5,000 lb towing capacity. See below for details.
Edit2:
@rob27ma asked the "exact" same question as the OP so adding this link though it is for 2014 LE.
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/333-3rd-generation-2014/1041633-towing-le-plus.html
 
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Sweeney can weigh in when he can, but from reading his advice and experiences, as well as others...
You might be fine without it as you are around passed the max. And as Sugeon general warrning points out, you will have stuff and people in the cabin, and not sure how that effects tow, BUT, it really is a small price to pay for a $200-400 for an aftermarket install.

If you do a search, you will see a couple different recommended coolers and what prices some have paid for install.

I want to say that the tow package for 5K# is with beefier radiator and alternator, but to this DAY, no one has been able to verify the LE model alternator vs the tow package difference(alt they say is for additional braking of trailer and lights, etc).
Not sure about the radiator either.

But, if I was hooking anything like a trailer, I would surely pop a cooler on, It can't hurt when not towing.
 

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After looking at some more info, added links to post 4. So +2250 is on borderline of oem recommended towing without additional measures. XLE, no issues. Having gone through tranny issue on a van of model-yr that did not have a great tranny, I added ext cooler just as safety measure without tow. I am guessing that spending 100 (thats what my diy total) to add a cooler is not worth it as compared to closely monitoring vehicle load, type of drive with load (terrain, hills, stop-go traffic) with such load. If it were my truck/van/suv, I would add a medium cooler to avoid having to spend more down the road. Right now my 1mz v6 could probably pull this load same as the suv. I would carefully reconsider buying a vehicle with tow hitch and no cooler, not knowing how much the tranny was pushed to limits.
 

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After looking at some more info, added links to post 4. So +2250 is on borderline of oem recommended towing without additional measures. XLE, no issues. Having gone through tranny issue on a van of model-yr that did not have a great tranny, I added ext cooler just as safety measure without tow. I am guessing that spending 100 (thats what my diy total) to add a cooler is not worth it as compared to closely monitoring vehicle load, type of drive with load (terrain, hills, stop-go traffic) with such load. If it were my truck/van/suv, I would add a medium cooler to avoid having to spend more down the road. Right now my 1mz v6 could probably pull this load same as the suv. I would carefully reconsider buying a vehicle with tow hitch and no cooler, not knowing how much the tranny was pushed to limits.
That sounds almost exactly in line with what I thought/posted above. So that's 2 people for the OP. (since you are said "I will take the advice I get).
Any links to trans fluid monitoring gauges that are precise?
I should caution for the obvious, that adding another link in the cooling chain does add a layer of monitoring and if need be maintaining that cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the helpful advice, gents! My mechanic (who owns two Toyota SUV models in his household) felt I should be OK without mods given the frequency I expect to do this, but he suggested doing transmission maintenance at the dealer every 40,000K miles. But based on my being borderline on whether anything more is needed based on my load, and being somewhat OCD about vehicle maintenance and liking to drive my vehicles 10 years or more, I think adding a transmission cooler is good advice. No sense in being penny wise and pound foolish, as they say. I suspect fiddling with the radiator and alternator is likely not needed.

So, I will investigate your links and look to add a tranny cooler! Thanks again, to all who posted these very thoughtful responses, I appreciate it very much. My first inquiry and this indicates to me this is a really superior online community. Glad to be here!

-John
 

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Just put a medium (or large) size transmission cooler inline with the radiator passthrough. You'd likely be just fine without it, but it never hurts and its not that big an investment. These transaxles run hot when under heavy load...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
JCinPA, aside from all the great feedback/comments from members, just a thought if your 2015 HL is still covered by the Toyota factory warranty before you install the aftermarket ATF cooler?


Yes, it is still covered by the warranty, I had not thought of that. I will have to look when I get to the glove box again, but I believe it is 3 years, 36,000 and mine is at 22 months and 15,000. I am thinking after that the power train goes 5 years, 70,000, I don't remember. Maybe that indicates I should pay up to have the dealer put one of these in? I'm no expert, but I'm thinking if I use an after-market part and have my preferred mechanic do this it would void the warranty??

Thanks very much for the fact sheet, by the way! I have the LE Plus with 3.5L V6, that is very handy to have all that at your fingertips. Preesh!


-John

Edit: Correction

Powertrain Coverage: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel-drive system, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and airbags).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah, answered my own question over on etrailers.com


Expert Reply:
As long as the aftermarket part that you install on your vehicle is both installed correctly and operates within the parameters of the intent, consumers of aftermarket products are protected by the Federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. The Act states that if something breaks on your vehicle and you take it in for warranty repair, the dealer must honor your warranty unless whatever modifications you have added to your vehicle actually caused the problem in question. So bottom line, installing an aftermarket transmission cooler would not automatically void the factory warranty on your 2013 Toyota Tacoma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Final questions.

Changed

I'm going with the Tru-Cool Surgeon suggested because apparently it will self-regulate so it does not flow until the transmission come up to operating temperature. Probably good for those cold Chicago winters!

I don't see a photo that is my exact application, but am considering the 11" wide x 7.25" tall model LPD4543, sound good?


Thanks again, gents!

-John
 

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Ah, answered my own question over on etrailers.com
It's not completly about installing the ATF cooler, but also has to do with the HL transmissions are sealed system; as you installed a new ATF cooler, you will need to add additional WS ATF. To accurately fill the proper amount of ATF based on a specific ATF temp range (i.e. 108 degrees F) is where cause warranty related concern of mine (finger pointing and etc from the dealership). If you have the specific procedure which is available online, tool to fill the ATF (in the event if asked by Toyota) and most important of all the tool to properly measure the fluid and temp then you are Golden; otherwise, see your dealership for guidance before installing the cooler and ATF.
 

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My 2014 LE AWD came with a V6 and in Canada all V6 got the "tow prep package" as standard equipment. Had an OEM hitch and aftermarket wiring harness installed. Can tow maximum of 5000 lbs. but if i had to tow that i'd buy a pickup. My HL does tow my 2500 lb. boat well. The "tow prep package" includes transmission cooler as well as a higher output altenator and even without the package i could tow 2000 lbs. There was a thread here somewhere that talked about the package as well as how to tell if you had it and what it included. Also another thread about Toyota now including the package with all V6s, might want to do a search.
If you don't have the package, a transmission cooler would be a good idea and if your worried about the warranty, have the dealer install it !
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well crap! My mechanic said because of the new transmission complexities he'd go to the dealer. So I go,to the dealer and THEY WON'T INSTALL IT! Great. Since Toyota doesn't have a part for it they can't "stand behind it". They said find a transmission shop. This has turned into a royal PITA. Yeesh!
 

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Sounds like you have a solution but this link might help. I was researching Sienna towing capacities in the past and the kicker was the engine oil cooler supplied with the towing package. It would seem to be a simple add-on like a transmission cooler, but it is not - it is an expensive collection of Toyota only hardware. In any case, I'd suggest getting a scanner adapter that plugs into the OBD port and sends data to an app on your smart phone to monitor transmission and oil temperature. These devices are inexpensive and it would allow you some piece of mind if you got into a marginal situation where you were concerned about overheating.

These come in Android and Apple flavors. https://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Product...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7GVM95NXKJ20JV21ZS6J

http://www.landerfan.com/archives/towing-capacity-toyota-highlander/
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Why not ask the dealer to install the trany cooler used in the towing prep package ? Its a toyota part with a number and the cooler lines should fit as well ! Or find another dealer !
EDIT: Well, for whatever reason that dealer lied about it. Sweeneyp posted part numbers, now I'll just find a dealer who will do the work.
 
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