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Can my Highlander 2020 XLE tow a Legacy Elite I ?


bbrault
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I have a 2020 Highlander XLE with updated Michelin Performance tires. 
 

I am hoping to purchase a legacy Elite with the Truma Heater and AC, the Lithium Pro Package, a generator in the front basket and a bike rack in the back and a full 32 gallon water tank. It will weight between 4500-4700. 
 

I will also install the Andersen weight distribution system and the best brake controller. 
 

I understand that I might compromise on performance in altitude and mountains but I don’t want to compromise on safety. 
 

I appreciate your advice in advance. 

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Let me reply to my own topic.  
If I were to upgrade my tow vehicle, I would go for the latest Sequoia that can tow 9000. 
That’s a long wait and it would migrate me safely into a Legacy II .

My two  biggest problems are that the Legacy II won’t fit in my garage but the Legacy  I would if I invest $8K to open up the garage door. 
 

 

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Looks like the Highlander XLE has a 5,000 lbs towing weight limit.  Based on your estimated loaded Elite I weight of 4,500 to 4,700 lbs equipped as you described (plus a loaded pantry and fridge, kitchenware, bedding, clothing, etc.) you need a bigger/more capable tow vehicle.   

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250 SuperCab 4x4, 6.2L Flex-Fuel engine 

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

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Please post your cargo capacity. 

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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7 hours ago, Frank C said:

Looks like the Highlander XLE has a 5,000 lbs towing weight limit.  Based on your estimated loaded Elite I weight of 4,500 to 4,700 lbs equipped as you described (plus a loaded pantry and fridge, kitchenware, bedding, clothing, etc.) you need a bigger/more capable tow vehicle.   

I am afraid that you are unfortunately correct. 
 

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So, Elite owner here..

It depends.  A lot. And, maybe you should not carry everything you "think " you need.

Where do you live? Where do you want to travel?

We picked up our Oliver with a Volvo xc90, tow rating 4900. It did fine in the flats. Hills, not so much. Green River gorge in nc, not great. After a few trips with the Volvo, we switched up to one of our trucks. (We have two.) The Volvo, notably, had the anemic t5, and, the Volvo weighed in excess of 6000 pounds. And, less horsepower than your highlander. 

I'd be concerned about tongue weight on your highlander if you add the basket plus genset,  plus gas can. I think you have a 500 lb max. 

Our 2008 elite weighed in (loaded for camping) at around 3900. Tongue, 420. No basket. Or stuff in nonexistent basket.  And, we are minimalists. Not a lot of extra cargo. Probably 1/2 grey, 1/4 fresh. 

With a basket, a genset, and gas can , you might very well exceed your highlander approved tongue weight. You will have to very carefully watch your loading,  imo. Or, you'll be overweight. 

As for an 8k upgrade to store a trailer inside, not necessary, in most cases. Our trailer has been outside,,24/7/365 since launched, in Florida sun. That marine gelcoat is great. 

So, basically,  yes, you can, with very  careful minimal loading.  And patience. And, maybe choosing secondary roads.

A more stout vehicle will give you better comfort, and safety, beyond the flats. Personally,  I'd recommend a different vehicle, or a lighter  trailer, for hilly and  mountain terrain.

One of our friends toerd for a number of years with a Honda Ridgeline,  mostly flat travel.

We could have managed fine in the flats with the Volvo. Just, don't limit yourself in travel, unless it is necessary.

Even the elite 1 is heavy, for its size, because of the double hull construction. 

I, personally,  wouldn't want to tow at the upward limit. It's not as fun, and if the tow vehicle weighs less than the trailer, not as safe, imo.

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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@bbrault, I've reread your initial post a couple times now, and I'm trying to understand how you come up with 4500 to 4700 pounds loaded weight.

I looked up Bugeyedriver's reported weights, (front basket, though he doesn't carry much in it) full tank fresh water, bike rack, solar, 3way fridge (heavier than the new electric) , two group 27 agm batteries (heavier than lithium), loaded for camping, and he weighed in at 3900 pounds, like us. 400 pounds tongue with bike rack and bike, 440 without the bike and rack. (I don't remember if he had his ebike then, or his mountain bike.) He has the standard 6 gallon heater, so there's an extra 48 pounds of water that he's carrying, as well, if you get the instantaneous Truma. (The water heaters are similar in weight.) He only has one solar panel, but it's older and possibly heavier than the new.

You could possibly lighten the tongue weight a bit by carrying one 30 lb tank instead of two 20 lb tanks, and shifting some storage to under the bed. 

Are you adding the weight of the lithium, instead of subtracting? Adding the Truma water heater and ac, instead of the swap? 

A full water tank will add around 250 pounds to sticker weight. Solar panels and brackets may add 100 pounds. 

I'd ask my Oliver rep if they've built a trailer similar to the one you're considering,  and see what the sticker weight really is, then add water, estimated gear weight, food, and see what you really might get for a real world weight. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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Our LE2 weighs in ready to camp at 4940 pounds with empty black, grey, & fresh water tanks. This weight includes full 6 gallon hot water heater. The reason our LE2 is so light we keep Ollie's spare tire in the truck bed, replaced lead acid batteries with one 100AH (35lb) lithium battery, and replaced LP 20lb tanks with smaller tanks. Our Ollie did not come with factory installed solar. Also load more gear in the TV to keep Ollie's weight low. Some trips we take a gen-set, solar panel, and golf clubs in the TV, normally not all on the same trip.

Reason I'm saying this is last year I experimented towing our Ollie with a smaller pickup that was rated to tow more than your Highlander. The test TV V6 normally aspirated engine had slightly more HP & torque than the Highlander. Emergency braking was fine with properly adjusted trailer brake controller (real experience), but because of engine performance we had to get in the slow lane with the tractor trailers going up grades. There had to be more accumulated stress on the engine due to higher RPMs constantly going up grades. The fuel economy was lower than our 1/2 ton 2022 Tundra with 3.5L twin turbo engine towing the same trailer. Our Tundra handles this trailer easily overall compared to the smaller pickup, too. Several folks here use larger trucks towing their LE2s, too. We are happy with the Tundra as a Ollie TV, but I still keep a close eye on rig weights with CAT scales.

We like pickup trucks, but if we were going to buy an SUV for towing Ollie, it would be the 2023 Sequoia.

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Tundra LE2

 

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@bbraultyou are probably close in your weight estimate of a new Elite. As Sherry mentioned, the original 2008 era Elites usually weighed in ready to camp at around 4000 pounds. We had Hull #026 and it always weighed about that or a bit more. 
 

However, the 2023 Elite’s dry weight starts at 3700 pounds which is several hundred pounds more than the early models. Remember, this weight is based on just the base camper with no options and not a drop of water in it. Add food, clothes, water, options and all the other essentials and you’ll be close to your prediction. If you choose to use the Andersen hitch, which many pulling with lighter vehicles do, know it weighs 66 pounds. This will not add to the tongue weight of the trailer but it does have to be subtracted from the tow’s cargo capacity. 

You would not be able to use a single 30 pound propane tank instead of 2 x 20 pounders to lighten the tongue as the propane housing on the Elite is not tall enough for a 30 pounder. As you probably know, DO NOT try laying the tank on its side. This would deliver the propane as a liquid instead of a gas (not good).

Not what you wanted to hear, but I truly believe this combination will be pushing safety to the max and I can’t recommend it. To paraphrase Chief Martin Brody “You’re gonna need a bigger truck.”

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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