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kent h

Low Towbar Height

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Hi all, not sure if anyone can help me. I have just bought a 2002 D4D RAV4 5 door 16" wheels . It has a genuine toyota fixed swan neck towbar (part 3289 made by Brink).

Reading other posts it appears this towbar is ideal for trailers but not caravans- they sit too low. I have found this out for myself. Just been away in the caravan and even with the jockey wheel completely removed I still managed to scrape the under side of the A frame getting over speed humps and over a small hump backed bridge into the caravan club site.

After reading other threads I thought I would measure the towball height - 350mm to centre (within recommended heights - 350 - 420?- is this applicable to 4x4's?). (Just for info I have sat in the back of the RAV4 and the towbar drops to 325mm ). Anyway I'm now reading the best way to level the van is to fit a Thule(was Brink) 4089 as this raises the ball height. I am now reading the Thule website that the 4089 is not suitable for tyre size 215/70/16, but ok for 235/60/16, and I'm being told it's because the towball falls outside the 350-420mm range. Reading a bit further elsewhere it says this range (350-420) is for a fully laden towcar without a caravan hitched. As I always load up the towcar and generally have 75kg on the nose of the caravan should this be a problem? Also does anyone know the design height and length of the towball of the 4089? Any answers would be appreciated.

On another note I have a full set of 15" mud and snow tyres removed from my previous 4 x 4 (freelander) does anyone know if you can fit a set of 15" MR2 alloys to my RAV - will they clear brakes etc?

Thanks Kent

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On the 4.2 the towball height of standard bar is set low to avoid fouling the rear door. Have a look at where the towbar is fitted to the chassis, there should be a second set of mounting holes above the ones used. If you mount the bar on these holes the ball height should be correct but the bottom of the door will catch on it, some people have raised the towbar this way and have cut away a small piece of the plastic trim at the bottom of the door so the door opens. When the caravan is hitched the rear door will be unusable. Major point to consider is the risk to resale value if you do this.

There have been several threads on caravanning forums about this problem in the past.

Hope this helps

John

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Hi Kent,

I had exactly the same problem. When I bought my RAV back in 2005 I had the Fixed Swan neck Brink towbar. While perfect for my small trailer it was too low for my new boat trailer.

I had the fixed one removed and a Witter TY123AR Detachable towbar fitted. This raised the height considerably and the boat trailer is now perfectly level. I have a few photos at home that show the massive difference between the two heights which I will post here later.

The rear door can't open very far (There's maybe a 9" gap to throw the odd item in/out) with the towbar attached but then if there is a trailer hooked up then you are unlikely to be able to open it far anyway.

When not in use the towbar is removed and put in the supplied bag leaving nothing to catch your shins on.

This was my previous towbar like you have now.......

post-105906-0-44864400-1375259108_thumb.

This is the Witter towbar with the boat attached which you will see the frame is well off the ground and level.......

post-105906-0-21090400-1375259127_thumb.

The photos of the actual before/after photos will be uploaded here later.....

Here are the before and after photos......

post-105906-0-05262600-1375288808_thumb.

post-105906-0-38825500-1375288971_thumb.

post-105906-0-73974700-1375289001_thumb.

post-105906-0-74597300-1375289022_thumb.

I hope that helps,

Lee

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A cheap option is to get spring assisters fitted to the rear coil springs - I use them to avoid the rear end squatting on acceleration, but they are actually designed to assist the springs when towing a caravan. That would save you swapping towbar and give the car a helping hand when piling high with all the gear.

Mind your car is 11 years old, and so will the springs be as well. I have adjustable heavy duty Konis fitted which help with stiffening the rear end.

Welcome to the forum too !

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I had exactly the same problem with my last (2003) model. As one of the previous posters stated, the problem lies in the height of the rear door. I cant remember which tow bar was fitted but it was just under the bottom edge of the rear door. I had a Sterling caravan with the jockey wheel fitted in the centre of the A frame and it was a major pain to remove. This was bad enough but my biggest problem was that the ALKO stabilsor made it extremely difficult to clear the spare wheel cover. I ended up every time i hitched/unhitched having to remove/refit the jockey wheel and the outer half of the spare wheel cover. I did this a few times and got fed up with it and changed the car. In my opinion, i also felt that it just wasnt geared right for towing. If i wanted to travel at 50 mph, i had to be in 4th gear and it ended up sounding like i was revving the nuts of the D4D. If i put it into 5th, it would hang at 50mph but if i was willing to take the risk of travelling at 60-65mph, the car pulled no problem. I now have the newer 06 2.2AD engined car and there are no issues with its pulling performance or gearing. The tow ball height is still quite low as mine is an XT4 spec with rear mounted spare but its manageable with care when going over speed humps. Reasonably easy on fuel when towing as well.

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Thanks to all those who replied to my query - your advice has been most useful

Thanks kent

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