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weight distributing hitch

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Technical Discussion' started by laird, Jan 30, 2024.

  1. laird

    laird Junior Member

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    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
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    I have a small Aliner ranger 10 trailer with electric brakes that's #1300 dry but has a fairly heavy tongue at #250. I've towed this trailer with my 2009 CR-V and my wife's 2020 rav4 hybrid and it's really painless except for mountain passes but I drove VW campers for years so I'm used to going slow with the semi trucks.

    I'm contemplating getting a 2016 or newer prius to get the TSS-P features and would add a Ecohitch, small lift and stiffer springs in the rear. I've towed trailers with weight distribution hitches before and looking at something like the Reese 66558 which could be flipped to give me the 2" rise I would like.

    It seems like this would help prevent sag and keep a nice tongue weight to help with tracking.

    I'm just a little concerned about increasing the tortion load into the body at that point and wondering if anyone has experience with a weight distributing hitch on a gen4 prius.

    Thanks,

    Alan
     
  2. Chitty Chitty Prius

    Chitty Chitty Prius Junior Member

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    2020 Prius
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    LE
    First, It seems the TSS-P package (Toyota Safety Sense) doesn't necessarily mean a Prius is equipped for towing.

    Second, From the 2020 Prius LE owner's manual:
    "Toyota does not recommend towing a trailer with your vehicle. Toyota also does not recommend the installation of a tow hitch or the use of a tow hitch carrier for a wheelchair, scooter, bicycle, etc. Your vehicle is not designed for trailer towing or for the use of trailer hitch mounted carriers."

    So let's imagine Toyota is being overly cautious. I would still not try to tow with my 2020 LE because there are some major factors in towing: the strength of the axles, the strain on the transmission (this is big with a Prius), the suspension, etc.
    I would not tow with a Prius because I believe doing so would risk expensive damage to the body, transmission and suspension.
     
    Tande likes this.
  3. laird

    laird Junior Member

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    Sorry but your post makes no sense in the context of a question about weight distribution hitches. Quoting the owners manual and offering your opinion on towing does not help anyone.
     
  4. Chitty Chitty Prius

    Chitty Chitty Prius Junior Member

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    Neither do smart-nice person replies.
    You're welcome.
     
  5. Doug McC

    Doug McC Active Member

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    FWIW I don’t have any experience towing with a Prius but I do have a lot of experience towing and with weight distribution hitches.
    Your trailers dry weight apparently doesn’t include the battery (based on the sales info) and your tongue weight indicates that your battery weighs 75#, making your actual dry weight 1375. The European version of the Prius apparently is rated for 1800# towing but limits the tongue weight to 4% (at least that’s what I understand it to be). If that is correct your tongue weight is 300% of what it is rated for, which makes sense when you consider the design philosophy of the Prius.
    EVERYTHING with the Prius is lightweight to reach the highest possible mpg rating.
    Once you add the water weight, any camping gear and personal gear, you will be hard pressed to stay under that 1800 pounds, especially when you add the weight of the WD hitch. I’ve never seen the Gross Combined Weight Rating for the Prius but based on what I know of the brakes and the frame, and the wheels, it can’t be very high and I would bet the dry weight of your trailer exceeds it. Good luck if you decide to do it. You will probably be shearing bolts in places you don’t even know there’s bolts on the car (not meant to offend just stressing how lightweight this vehicle is).
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I've towed with my Prius. It works okay for extremely light trailers at moderate speeds. I've used it to move 400lb yard machines across town to my in-laws place, that sort of thing.

    The extra load is quite noticeable, especially in braking.

    I've also got a lot of miles in VW campers, and a few miles towing in them.

    I think you're reaching too far in this case.

    The CR-V and RAV ought to be viewed as minimums for a rig like that Aliner. It's just too heavy for the Prius platform.
     
    Doug McC and vvillovv like this.
  7. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I looked at the class 1 hitches 10 years ago for the Gen 3 Plug-in. There was more interest in towing with a Prius, back then, than you'll likely see these days. And there is scattered threads about priuschat about what owners have towed and or seen being towed by a Prius. Some of them were eye opening, imo anyways.
    Pretty sure that having experience towing with a hybrid that the hit on mpg while towing is fairly well understood, but that again, thinking about exceeding class 1 towing specs with a regular Prius, especially for longish trips, could be an issue to track in the cars history data and all that applies to it in a Prius. Much less the concerns you're having already just thinking about it. ;)
     
    Doug McC likes this.