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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey folks... I have a 2015 XLE AWD which I've frustratingly come to learn only has a 1500lb tow rating. If relevant, I did swap the tires to non-runflats - they're Nokian WRG3. I just bought a boat and need to tow it from NJ to MA. The boat, engine, and trailer will weigh right around 1500lbs (boat = 730lbs, engine = maybe 250-300lbs, trailer = maybe 400-500lbs). I installed a class 3 hitch, ran the wiring, installed a 6" raise ball mount arm, etc so I'm ready to go with all that. So I'm looking for tips / suggestions for my journey 250 mile adventure. This will be the first time I've towed anything. Some things I've been thinking about...

1. not exceeding 60mph
2. taking it easy on hills (not allow rpm to much above ~3k?)
3. should i use the manual simulating shifter instead of putting the car in drive so as to avoid the van going into overdrive?
4. bringing a spare tire for the trailer
5. bringing all my tire-changing and tire inflation goodies (portable air compressor, jack stands, etc)

I'm all ears and hoping for some solid tips / suggestions here. Whatdya think? Thanks!
 

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It sounds like you have it covered.

If your boat trailer isn't new, you might want to check the date codes on its tire sidewalls and check the side walls for cracking. I've noticed that small trailer tires seem to deteriorate faster than automotive tires - even on trailers parked indoors. I've gone through a lot of tire sets on my 1,500 pound gross weight utility trailer over the 38 years I've had it. When I replaced the tires still again a year or two ago, I was surprised that the tires Costco had in the size I needed didn't have the required load capacity. I had to go to a dedicated tire store to get what I needed.

Be sure to carry a lug wrench that fits your trailer wheels - probably a different size than for your Sienna. You might need a different scissors jack for your trailer. Assuming your portable compressor is DC or AC/DC, verify that it's power cord is long enough to reach your trailer tires or carry an extension cord. You don't want to have to disconnect your trailer in order to air up it's tires using your Sienna's electrical power.

Backing up even a small trailer can be a challenge if not experienced. You might want to take your trailer to an empty parking lot to practice. It can help to have someone stand behind the trailer guiding you as you back up. Are you going to be launching this little boat on a boat ramp? You need to be good at backing if you are going to do that. You don't want to have a bunch of angry people waiting on you so they can launch their boats. At least your AWD will be useful if the boat ramp is slick.

Pretend you are driving a "big rig" and park with the semi's if you stop at highway rest stops.

Call me paranoid but I lock my draw bar to the receiver with a locking pin and my trailer to the hitch ball with a padlock ... and even lock the safety chains with padlocks. If the boat motor is easily removed, I'd lock it to the boat. Amazing how many trailers quickly "disappear". Of course, motivated thieves are going to have bolt cutters so all you can do is make it harder for the amateurs. You must have an awfully unusual boat/motor combination if the motor for a 730 pound boat weights over 250 pounds!

1,500 pounds isn't much to tow with a Sienna. You'll find yourself checking your rear view mirror to verify it's still there.
 

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The oil cooler is there because the 2GR-FE engine reportedly tends to run hot internally. Earlier vans had tons of VVTi issues believed to be related to oil breakdown (varnish, coking, etc.). So while revisions in the assembles greatly lessened the incident of engine failure, you don't want to be the poster child for a new wave.

Take it easy on your van, and change the oil more often during boating season. This is NOT the time to skimp.
 
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You would also probably do well to consider running full synthetic motor oil as it will have a higher temp that it breaks down.

Just out of curiosity... does your van have the oil cooler? I know certain AWD trims in certain gen3 vans don't have a 3500 pound rating, but it's never been clear to me if they don't have the oil cooler and so aren't rated to tow or if they have the oil cooler but Toyota doesn't rate them to tow for some other reason.

If it has the oil cooler and Toyota just isn't putting the 3500 number on it, I would be much less inclined to worry about it.

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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Just out of curiosity... does your van have the oil cooler? I know certain AWD trims in certain gen3 vans don't have a 3500 pound rating, but it's never been clear to me if they don't have the oil cooler and so aren't rated to tow or if they have the oil cooler but Toyota doesn't rate them to tow for some other reason.

If it has the oil cooler and Toyota just isn't putting the 3500 number on it, I would be much less inclined to worry about it.
I'll weigh in here...while researching trailer light wiring harnesses here, I found a thread where Geezer and others posted info and pics regarding which generations and trim levels came with the oil cooler, and how to tell by looking in your engine bay. I read that the only 2015 AWD trim level that came with the oil cooler was the LE. Sure enough, I checked and my Limited does not appear to have it, kind of disappointing. I know the previous owner towed a boat, I'm hoping it wasn't too big, although the engine seems to run just fine. I'll be towing a river raft, which is pretty light.

I'm guessing the higher trim level AWDs didn't have the oil cooler for the same reason they didn't come with electric folding 3rd row seats- the van is heavy to start with and was near some kind of limit in AWD trims.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey folks! I didn't end up buying that boat because the motor wouldn't turn over when I got there. Nothing like a fun little 10hr roundtrip drive to central Jersey for nothing!

I found a new boat. It's PERFECT, but the boat is 1200lbs, engine another 250lbs, trailer probably another 400lbs? That adds up to ~1850lbs. Am I seriously risking killing my transmission by exceeding my towing capacity by 350lbs (or so)? I'll only be trailering it about 5-10mins to my local boat launch (in town, flat roads, etc). I have good tires (non-RFT), solid new brakes, etc). Or am I overthinking it and I'd be fine?
 

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Hey folks! I didn't end up buying that boat because the motor wouldn't turn over when I got there. Nothing like a fun little 10hr roundtrip drive to central Jersey for nothing!

I found a new boat. It's PERFECT, but the boat is 1200lbs, engine another 250lbs, trailer probably another 400lbs? That adds up to ~1850lbs. Am I seriously risking killing my transmission by exceeding my towing capacity by 350lbs (or so)? I'll only be trailering it about 5-10mins to my local boat launch (in town, flat roads, etc). I have good tires (non-RFT), solid new brakes, etc). Or am I overthinking it and I'd be fine?
All gen 3 Sienna have a transmission fluid cooler. It's the "engine oil cooler, plus heavy-duty radiator, fan and coupling" that your 2015 XLE AWD doesn't have. I think you would be fine even for towing that amount of weight long distances. I've towed with several vehicles that didn't have the similar towing package that was available in other countries where the rated limited for those vehicles with the package was 2,000 kg (4409 lbs). I kept the weight down to no more than what you have with your new boat and never had any problems.

It would be nice if Toyota provided a recommended towing capacity for both with and without the tow prep package like some car makers have done. Just saying "no towing" when there is no tow prep package isn't realistic.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
All gen 3 Sienna have a transmission fluid cooler. It's the "engine oil cooler, plus heavy-duty radiator, fan and coupling" that your 2015 XLE AWD doesn't have. I think you would be fine even for towing that amount of weight long distances. I've towed with several vehicles that didn't have the similar towing package that was available in other countries where the rated limited for those vehicles with the package was 2,000 kg (4409 lbs). I kept the weight down to no more than what you have with your new boat and never had any problems.
THANK YOU. This really put my mind at ease. I've been thinking if I exceed that 1500lbs towing capacity my 2015 XLE AWD is rated for I would be at serious risk of blowing the transmission/engine. Thank you again and again.

It would be nice if Toyota provided a recommended towing capacity for both with and without the tow prep package like some car makers have done. Just saying "no towing" when there is no tow prep package isn't realistic.
Indeed. And aren't there other factors at play here, like the tires and brakes? If you have non-RFT tires that are rated for a higher load than the stock RFT tires and if you have beefed-up high-end brakes shouldn't that perhaps tip the needle a bit on the towing capacity? I'm out of my element here, so I'm just guessing/hoping...
 
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