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Hi Nigel,

I've towed heavy caravans often, but not with our RAV (4.2 D4D) - just well-laden trailers!

Good you've done DMF (and presumably clutch) - hopefully a permanent repair - and w/pump.

At your sort of mileage, and if you haven't towed before, and are going to be doing some serious journeys, then I'd check...

- Drain, flush and replace coolant: clean system out with a flushing agent. Renew with good quality coolant, diluted (if necessary) with distilled water (NOT tapwater). Use one mix only; don't mix brands or types; keep some spare.

- Check that air filter is clean or recent.

- Tyre pressure (rear) may need increasing to cater for increased rear-end load. Slightly harder rear tyres (even just by 2-3psi) gives additional lateral rear-end stability, but don't overdo it.

- If any of your rear-end suspension bushes are getting a bit squidgy, then towing will show these up. Check (normal driving, not towing) by gently swinging the steering from left to right while at c.30mph (on a clear road!) to make sure the rear end does not flail about, or feel uncontrolled. (It will if rear tyres are soft.)

- Run on good quality diesel fuel, not supermarket stuff.

- Check all fluid and Oil levels, and brake pad condition.

- Stick to the max towed weight ruling: The loaded van should not exceed 85% of the weight of the vehicle towing. Keep caravan heavy contents on the floor, and over the caravan axle.

- Do not exceed the specified noseweight on the RAV's towbar (see owner's handbook; typ.75-100kg). Avoid very light noseweight (less than 40kg), as this causes instability. Check noseweight with bathroom scales under the tow-hitch!

- If using a single-axle caravan, it's worth investing in some reinforced (5-ply) tyres. The strain put on a van's tyres exceeds that on most cars. Avon do some good reinforced rubbers, at not much more than normal tyres.

- When parking up with a van, don't rely solely on the car handbrake (even though the 4.2's handbrake is good). Apply brake on the van, and chock its wheels.

Hope useful. Have fun!


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Hi Nigel

Not that I can give you any technical info like Chris, however, just to let you know that I previously towed a caravan with an 04 Rav which had 80k on the clock without problems. Now using the T180 when the weather picks up again.



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