Tow Prep Package for 2008 Sienna - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-03-2010, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Tow Prep Package for 2008 Sienna

This is mostly intended for those towing with a 2nd generation Toyota Sienna (2007 thru 2010) with or without a tow prep package, but anyone else who wants to weigh-in is welcome to.

I have a 2008 Sienna Limited AWD that I bought without the tow prep package since I had no intention of towing. Then last year we bought our R-POD travel trailer. The 2008 Sienna sales brochure as well as the local dealer told me that the tow prep package consisted of a heavy-duty (HD) radiator, HD fan, 150-amp alternator, and a power steering cooler. Further discussions with the parts and service folks at the dealer determined that all 2008 Siennas came with these items – whether or not they had the “tow prep package”. This package was a $220 factory option, and no one could tell me why Toyota was charging $220 for items that were standard on the vehicle. The service manager said he thought I would be good-to-go if I added an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, which I did.

It never set right with me that my Sienna was officially rated (according to a VIN lookup) to tow only 1200 pounds, but apparently had everything it needed to tow 3500 pounds. So about 6 months ago, I e-mailed Toyota corporate (numerous times) asking about this discrepancy. They kept sending me replies apologizing for the delay in getting me an answer, and I had to keep e-mailing them over and over. Finally yesterday I get an answer from Toyota corporate. Yes, the four items previously identified as being part of the tow prep package were standard on all 2008 Siennas. And the e-mail said the tow prep package consisted of only an engine oil cooler.

I called a local Toyota dealership, and the parts person thought that all 2008 Siennas came with an engine oil cooler, so he speculated that the one in the tow prep package must be heavier duty. The parts person also said that he could find two engine oil coolers for my vehicle, and one of the two was described as being for the 3500 pound towing prep package. However, both of the engine oil coolers had the same Toyota part number. He is going to contact his district manager for help in sorting this out.

I have also found comments on forums saying that you probably don’t need the engine oil cooler if you don’t tow at high speeds on level highways or tow up hills with the metal –to-the-petal. (The theory being that the engine would only produce excessive oil temps if you were at 80% or more of the rated HP.)

Other posts speculated that one could run with a full synthetic engine oil in lieu of an engine oil cooler since engines run cooler on synthetic oil, and the oil doesn’t breakdown at high temps. (I do this now.)
If you have a 2008 Sienna with a tow prep package, and know for sure what it consisted of, please let me know. Or if you can shed any light on this fiasco, please do.

Thanks
gepaine is offline  
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-03-2010, 09:07 PM
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Re: Tow Prep Package for 2008 Sienna

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
The 2008 Sienna sales brochure as well as the local dealer told me that the tow prep package consisted of a heavy-duty (HD) radiator, HD fan, 150-amp alternator, and a power steering cooler.
Wrong. This is a description of the 2004-2006 tow prep package.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
Further discussions with the parts and service folks at the dealer determined that all 2008 Siennas came with these items – whether or not they had the “tow prep package”.
Right. In 2008 (actually 2007 and later) the tow package has nothing to do with these items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
The service manager said he thought I would be good-to-go if I added an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, which I did.
Wrong. The lacking component has nothing to do with the transmission.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
And the e-mail said the tow prep package consisted of only an engine oil cooler.
Right. Too bad it took so long for Toyota people to get their act together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
I called a local Toyota dealership, and the parts person thought that all 2008 Siennas came with an engine oil cooler, so he speculated that the one in the tow prep package must be heavier duty.
Sigh... Wrong again. As usual, the ignorant locals undo what the authoritative source did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
The parts person also said that he could find two engine oil coolers for my vehicle, and one of the two was described as being for the 3500 pound towing prep package. However, both of the engine oil coolers had the same Toyota part number. He is going to contact his district manager for help in sorting this out.
I have yet to find a knowledgeable and useful dealership parts person or manager.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
I have also found comments on forums saying that you probably don’t need the engine oil cooler if you don’t tow at high speeds on level highways or tow up hills with the metal –to-the-petal. (The theory being that the engine would only produce excessive oil temps if you were at 80% or more of the rated HP.)
This seems reasonable to me (I may have been one of the people who posted this earlier).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
Other posts speculated that one could run with a full synthetic engine oil in lieu of an engine oil cooler since engines run cooler on synthetic oil, and the oil doesn’t breakdown at high temps. (I do this now.)
No and yes. I see no reason for synthetic of the same viscosity (grade) to run significantly cooler, but it should survive better and lubricate better when too hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gepaine
If you have a 2008 Sienna with a tow prep package, and know for sure what it consisted of, please let me know. Or if you can shed any light on this fiasco, please do.
Already done... please see the topic Sienna Gen-II Towing Capacity. in the Towing & Hauling forum here in SiennaChat; it even has photos of the engine oil cooler hardware.
brian_bp is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-03-2010, 10:46 PM
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Re: Tow Prep Package for 2008 Sienna

I don't know if there is a "right" answer to the amount the van can pull without the engine oil cooler. The usual solution would be to add a aux. oil cooler using a kit that sandwiches between the oil pan and the spin on oil filter. But, the sienna has a cartridge filter so this isn't an option.

The next best solution would be to replace the intermediate oil pan with the one from vans equipped with the towing package. This would give you two ports to add your own oil cooler. The part is about $225 at the dealership, cheaper online.
happycamper is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-04-2010, 07:17 AM
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Re: Tow Prep Package for 2008 Sienna

LOCKING/CLOSING this topic to avoid duplication and confusion.
Please reference the subjects and continue relevant discussion at the links provided by [brian_bp] up above, or post a new topic/question.


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