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Hello All,


Forgive me if I missed any previous post but I did a search and nothing came up. I want to tow my boat with my 2018 FWD Sienna, and I cannot find definitive instructions in the manual. I have heard different things from different folks, especially about towing in OD. My boat motor and trailer is just under the 3500 lbs, so I was hoping someone with towing experience could give me the best options on which gear to tow in, both at highway speeds, well as in town.


Thanks so much for your replies, I certainly do not want to ruin this new transmission, so any assistance would be appreciated!
 

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I think everything you need to know starts on page 210 of the 2018 Sienna owners manual: https://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/om-s/OM08019U/pdf/OM08019U.pdf

If the owners manual doesn't say to avoid or use a particular gear then I have to assume that is not necessary.

I haven't towed nearly 3,500 pounds with my 2014 Sienna FWD but the boat/trailer I towed with a RWD sedan back in the 1980's weighed nearly 3,500 pounds.

I don't know how the boat ramps are where you are going to launch but I would be concerned about using a FWD Sienna to pull a 3,500 pound boat/trailer out of the water on the algae slickened boat ramps here in the Midwest. I had so much tire slippage with my RWD sedan that I had a marina service pull my boat out of the water with a 4WD truck. Maybe I'm paranoid! How well does this work with a FWD Sienna?
 

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Thanks Jim, hope that is correct as I have seen other info saying folks ruined transmissions over time, and not to tow in OD, which I assume the final gear is. On my other non Toyota van I could switch off OD when I towed, but there is no way to do so of which I am aware on this vehicle. As for pulling out of the water, I am in the 1000 Island area of upstate NY and so far so good, but our ramp is not slippery
 

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Thanks Jim, hope that is correct as I have seen other info saying folks ruined transmissions over time, and not to tow in OD, which I assume the final gear is. On my other non Toyota van I could switch off OD when I towed, but there is no way to do so of which I am aware on this vehicle. As for pulling out of the water, I am in the 1000 Island area of upstate NY and so far so good, but our ramp is not slippery
Maybe the only benefit of the invasive zebra mussel is that it keeps your boat ramps free of algae. Our lake boat ramps down here are green and slippery with algae.

The concept of "overdrive" has become muddied in modern transmissions. An overdrive for many years was a separate 2-speed gear box that was usually mounted behind a manual gearbox and in a few cases behind an automatic transmission. An overdrive gear box was sometimes optional like it was on the Volvo 242 I bought in 1978. My 242 had a 4-speed manual transmission with a 2-position (on/off) overdrive switch on the top of the shift lever. After I shifted into 4th gear and had increased speed to the minimum necessary for using overdrive, I invoked overdrive with the switch. These separate overdrive units were often fragile. The Laycock de Normanville overdrive units used by Volvo were troublesome.

In modern vehicles, what could be called overdrive is provided by additional gears in the transmission or transaxle. The top two gears in both the Toyota 6-speed and 8-speed transmissions are overdrive gears in that they provide an output "speed" that is greater than the engine crankshaft speed.

So ... if you wanted to stay out of "overdrive", you would use only the gears one through six of your 2018 Sienna's transmission. If you are towing 3,500 pounds, your transmission will probably do that without your intervention even on gentile uphill runs.

If you want to see the gear ratios for your Sienna, look under UA80E in the following Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_U_transmission#UA80E
 
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