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Recommended Trailer Hitch and Weight Distribution System for Hauling With a 2004 Toyota Highlander


I have a 2004 Toyota Highlander tow package which has a tow capacity of 3,500 lbs. I will use my Highlander to pull a travel trailer. The travel trailer UVW is 2,800 lbs with a 350 tongue weight. I expect the fully loaded travel trailer to weight 3,200 lbs with a 375 tongue weight. I am interested in purchasing your Curt Class III Hitch part number 13530 which has a weight rating as follows: Towing Capacity: 350 Pound Tongue Weight 3500 Pound Towing Weight Distribution Towing Capacity: 400 lbs WD TW Pound Tongue Weight 4000 lbs WD GTW Pound Towing I am also interested in purchasing your Blue Ox SwayPro Weight Distribution w/ Sway Control - Clamp On - 6,000 lbs GTW, 550 lbs TW. Part number BXW0556. My question is whether I am within the weight rating of both of these items if the tongue weight of my trailer fully loaded is 375 lbs and I also have 150 pounds of cargo behind the rear axle of my tow vehicle? I assume the maximum tongue weight of the hitch 400 lbs if using a WD system only counts the tongue weight of the trailer and does not count the cargo in the tow vehicle that is behind the tow vehicles rear axle. I further assume that the maximum tongue weight of the Weight Distribution System counts the tongue weight of the trailer 375 lbs plus the cargo in the tow vehicle behind the rear axle 150 lbs. Please advise if my understanding is correct. Thank you!


Expert Reply:

You are right; when considering the Tongue Weight of a trailer hitch, we only count the Tongue Weight of the trailer. Tongue Weight, when looking at Weight Distribution Systems, is determined by the tongue weight of the trailer plus any cargo that will be sitting behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle.

In the case of your 2004 Toyota Highlander, I looked up your owner's manual and it looks like your total load capacity is 860 lbs without the third seat, and 1159 lbs with the third seat. Toyota calculates total load capacity by adding the weight of occupants, cargo, luggage, and the tongue weight of any trailer that you might be towing. You will want to make sure that you do not exceed those weight limits when towing.

Weight distribution systems have a weight range and you will get the best results out of your weight distribution system if you pick one that has your tongue weight in the middle of it.

The Curt trailer hitch that you referenced is a good choice for what you are trying to do, but I recommend using the Reese Strait-Line Weight Distribution System, part # RP66086, which has a weight range of 200 lbs - 600 lbs. The Blue Ox system # BXW0556 that you mentioned is rated for 350 lbs - 550 lbs.

expert reply by:
Jon G

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