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deerfield
07-15-2009, 11:23 PM
Hey, I have a question for you guys who self-installed a trailer hitch and wiring harness on your tow vehicle:

From what source did you buy the equipment and what brand of hitch did you buy?

I recently bought a Toyota Highlander with "Tow Package". Given that it's a bolt on and plug in application, installation of hitch and wiring harness will be pretty much a breeze.

While price is important, I'm willing to give up a little to keep the purchase experience just as simple and easy as the installation.

There are a number of online suppliers. I found one called eTrailer from which I can get a Class III Valley brand round tube 3,500 lb. hitch and plug in harness for around $200 including shipping.

By the way, my Moomba tow vehicle will continue to be a Chevy Suburban. The Highlander is for towing a light duty utility trailer.

Please let me know about your sources and brand. Thanks! - Deerfield

brain_rinse
07-15-2009, 11:40 PM
Are you saying a Highlander with a tow package DOESNT include a hitch or wiring harness?

As far as brands, especially for light duty trailers, I don't think it much matters. I'd go with the custom built variety over the universal type, but assuming it meets your load requirements it's just aesthetics. I found a used one on craigslist for super cheap.

deerfield
07-16-2009, 12:11 AM
Brain Rinse - You are right. The Highlander "Tow Package" does not include the hitch. "Tow Package" means the factory wiring runs to the cargo area and is ready for a plug in harness. No cutting, taping, etc. The hitch on which I have my eye on the eTraler.com site is a custom application -- not universal. - Deerfield

danimal365
07-16-2009, 12:16 AM
That is kind of weird. Ford and chevy include a tranny cooler and reciever with the "tow package. From what I know the tranny cooler is most important. IMO lighting should be the last of your concerns.

danimal365
07-16-2009, 12:17 AM
By the way... How do you like the Highlander? I would like to have a light duty SUV for myself, Jen drives the Expedition.

Razzman
07-16-2009, 12:41 AM
Just go to Uhaul and buy the hitch. I always get them there and they've always been Valley Hitches overtagged by a Uhaul sticker. Didn't need one for the GMC as it came with the full tow package ... hitch, HD wiring, cooler, etc. Added rear air bags & compressor to round it out.

jester
07-16-2009, 01:23 AM
That is kind of weird. Ford and chevy include a tranny cooler and reciever with the "tow package. From what I know the tranny cooler is most important. IMO lighting should be the last of your concerns.

YOu have to remeber it is a Toyota and everything is optional. The running joke is the doors and seats are optional.

I second just going down to Uhaul and getting a hitch. I would also say you want to get one that you can use to back up the boat because you never know when you will need to pull the boat forward a little or back it up a little. A little more money now could save you alot of pain later on.

Hoopskier
07-16-2009, 01:32 AM
Bought my trailer hitch from etrailer.com for my sport trac. Good price and free shipping on 150+. My hitch was a few bucks short so i bought a ball right away other wise shipping was more than the cost of the ball.

kaneboats
07-16-2009, 11:25 AM
I have purchased hitches off ebay and paid more for shipping than for the hitch. I'll sit down and have a few Yeungs and rub it with sandpaper for a while. Then i clean it, hang it up and paint it. After the install it's like getting a brand new hitch and it's the one made specifically for the vehicle. Nothing wrong with Uhaul though. For lighting, RV suppliers have everything you can think of.

flex
07-16-2009, 11:57 AM
reese, valley, hidden hitch are all great and will do the job and are fairly simple to install.

i'm sure toyota can order one that will be flush with your bumeper if you want that look; most suv's have a section of the bumper that can be cut out. i opted not to cut the bumper seciton out.

I did what Razz did; went to uhaul. i would defiently get one that is strong enough to pull the boat as a backup option.

deerfield
07-17-2009, 12:06 AM
The V6 Toyota Highlander tows up to 3,500 pounds. The factory "tow prep package" includes an upgraded radiator, transmission oil cooler, 130-amp alternator, and trailer pre-wiring. My additional cost to get it ready to tow is the hitch and wiring harness (plugs direct into factory pre-wiring) purchase. I'll take pics and post. Project is slated for next weekend.

deerfield
07-17-2009, 11:26 PM
Today got a price from my Toyota parts guy for the hitch, plug and play wiring, and drawbar: $418. That does not include tax, which is around 9.5%. U-Haul for the same items is $240. Through online retailer eTrailer the price is $235 (no shipping fee since over $150). Because he is a local merchant, I may go with the U-Haul dealer. Again, hope to do this little project next weekend.