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Salinger

Trailer Hitch For 400H

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I have an 07 400H and needed a trailer hitch. Lexus quoted me $645 for just the hitch, without installation. The Lexus part number is PT228-48045. I went to Toyota and bought a hitch for an 07 Highlander Hybrid, part No. PT22869045, and only cost $275. It fit perfectly, and is probably the same part as the Lexus item. The only difference that I can tell is that the plastic plug that goes into the receiver (when you don't have the arm and ball inserted) says "Toyota" instead of "Lexus". Hey, for the difference in price that works for me. I believe the same hitch will work for RX 330s and 350s, but check the part number.

The installation is pretty straightforward, and there are limited instructions included. Generally, you remove two plastic air deflectors that are behind the rear wheels by removing 4 or 5 screws on each. You then remove the two tow hooks or tie-down loops, whatever they're called, by unscrewing two bolts on each. You then bolt two plates onto the frame on each side, and use a torque wrench to tighten them. You are now ready to install the hitch itself. It's pretty heavy, so it would be useful to have someone help you. I did it alone by putting a milk crate under the center of the hitch and another on the passenger side of the hitch. A box or a toolbox would also work. The directions tell you to start by hand-starting one of the bolts to connect the hitch to the passenger side plate, but I found it was easier to start on the driver's side. The driver's side has a threaded stud sticking down, and all you have to do is connect the hitch to the driver's side plate with a nut. That was easier than trying to start the threads on the bolt on the passenger side. You then install several more bolts, torque them to 37 lbs, and it's installed.

The electrical connection is installed on the hitch. Once the hitch is installed you pull a rubber plug out of the bottom of the vehicle, stick the hitch wiring up into the hole, and fill the hole with a new rubber plug that is included. You then need to open the cargo hatch and remove some of the decking to have access to the receptacle you plug the hitch wire into. The directions did not say how to do this. First, remove the carpet. Then, fold down the rear seats. Remove the big part of the cargo deck by pulling back the lower layer of carpet where it abuts the backs of the rear seats. Be careful when you do this so that you don't break the Masonite that the carpet is attached to. Sliding a flat-bladed screwdriver or a putty knive under the carpet would help. You just have to pop out about 6 or 7 of those plastic connectors. Once you've done this, you will see two hinges. Remove the 10 mm screws that hold down the hinges, and remove the entire deck. This will still leave the two spring-loaded decks at the rear of the cargo area in place. Next, remove the tray with the jack and tools. Next, remove the plastic trim where the buttons are for the spring loaded decks by pulling up and forward on it, and remove the black tray beneath it (where the cargo cover sits when you don't have it installed). Remove a 10 mm plastic nut at the bottom of the driver's side plastic well, and remove the plastic connectors that hold it in place. Use a putty knife and your fingers to do this so you don't damage anything. Open the driver's side spring-loaded cargo hatch, and then wiggle the driver's side plastic well up and sideways a bit so that you can see underneath it. You don't need to remove the small deck lid or even completely remove the well. Just get it raised and twisted sideways a bit. You will then see the wiring you pushed up from below. Plug the white male piece from that wiring into the white female piece on the cable harness that's right there. Make sure you plug it in all the way until it clicks. Then just reassemble everything.

This took me a couple of hours to do, but I didn't have any instructions about how to remove the decking. No special tools needed other than a putty knife, socket set with 10, 14 and 15 mm sockets, and a torque wrench.

Have fun.

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Salinger -

Thanks much for the detailed description. Was your 400h outfitted with the tow package? Do you know if the 2006 400h is set up the same way? I have a 2006 and am a bit confused about it. Lexus at first said I don't have the tow package and then, with a bit more digging by a persistent parts man, provided me a printout saying that my particular vehicle does have the tow package (at least it said so on the report he downloaded from a Lexus site). However, the mechanics could not find any sign of the typical tow package features when they put it up on the lift. On the other hand, I didn't get the impression that they had much experience with tow packages and may not have known what they were looking for. The vehicle does not appear to have transmission cooler hardware that typically comes with a tow package. I plan on towing loads less than 2,000 lb, which is the typical cutoff on tow weights for vehicles without the full-up tow package, so the transmission cooler is not important to me. What I think should be important is that the wiring harness is set up to mate seamlessly to that on the hitch as you have described for your 2007. Would you happen to know if the wiring on the 2006 400h is set up the same way as your 2007? Your comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Yes, mine is outfitted with the tow package, but I read somewhere on this website that all of the 400H vehicles have the tow package. I don't know if that's the case with your 2006. A couple of suggestions: you've undoubtedly thought of this, but do you still have the window sticker that lists the options? In any event, I'd take out the jack tray in the cargo compartment and see if you have the connecter there. I posted some instructions, but the first person who replied actually posted the real Lexus instructions for how to access the connector. Check out his instructions, which are better than mine, or read both. You should be able to remove the large deck platform (the one which is toward the front of the vehicle from the two spring-loaded cargo hatches). I removed my platform entirely by unscrewing the hinge screws, but the guy who responded was apparently able to raise the platform and remove his tray without taking the platform out, which is all you really need to do. From there, look in the bottom of the driver's side storage well. There is a plastic 10mm nut. Remove that, and I think there are a couple of plastic bolt-like connectors that you can pry up and out with a plastic putty knife. You should then be able to jimmy the driver's side well back and a bit sideways to see the wiring harness underneath it when you have the driver's side spring-loaded cargo hatch in the up position. You might have to remove the rearmost plastic piece that has the buttons on it for the spring-loaded hatches, and the tray that stores your cargo cover when it isn't installed. Once you can see under the driver's side well, look for a black rubber plug in the floor, which is about 1 1/2" in diameter. Directly above that is a wiring harness which is attached to the driver's side wall. If you have the tow package, there will be a white female connector there which doesn't have anything plugged into it. As I recall, it's about and inch long and about 3/8" square. That's your target. Make sure you plug the connector in thoroughly, until it clicks.

Good luck.

Salinger

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Salinger,

Thanks again for the detailed discussion. You mention that the first respondent to your thread provided even more detailed instructions. I don't see a link or posting of that on this site. Can you tell me where to find it or forward it to me.

Thanks,

Chris

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The transmission cooler should be on the driver's side. Just below the fog lamps, you'll see a small grill in the bumper. Look in there. If you have the tranny cooler, you'll see the little radiator behind the grill. It vents to just in front of the driver's side front tire (you'll see little slots in the wheel well liner). I was under the impression that all 400h came with the tranny cooler.

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