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Suspension Solution for Low Ground Clearance from Hitch on 2018 Toyota Sienna


So we put a hitch on our Sienna. It seems to scrape on our driveway half of the time, such as when my husband the soccer coach comes home with the van full of the neighborhood kids. We needed the hitch to use our cargo carrier that holds all the soccer gear. Is there anything we can do? We need the hitch, period. What can be done to help avoid the scraping?


Expert Reply:

The popular Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey passenger vans share the trait of having a pretty low stance with not much ground clearance - even before you bolt on a hitch like the Draw-Tite # 76112. By the time you add the weight of passengers and a hitch-mounted cargo load you can end up with several inches less clearance.

The solution to stiffen the van's rear suspension to reduce this sagging is an air bag kit # AL60732 from AirLift. This fits both 2WD and 4WD versions and installation is actually a pretty simple no-drill process. The air bags literally slip inside your rear coil springs to help support them. You can refer to the linked photo, and review and installation videos, to learn more about the kit works and how it will install in your Sienna. Air springs are adjustable. You can add or release air pressure over a range of 5-psi to 35-psi to stiffen or soften them as needed for any given passenger or cargo load.

The kit has all parts for installation and manual inflation using a service station air hose or portable air tank, as examples, but there is a way to get much more benefit from the kit, which is to also install an onboard compressor that lets you adjust the stiffness even as you drive! This automation not only saves you time but it means you can really dial in the springs to the exact pressure you need, without stopping, getting out and messing with the pressure. Touch a button, find the sweet spot, and you're done. I recommend the Air Lift Load Controller II Compressor System # AL25592 which will control both air springs at the same time.

Another thing you can do when entering your driveway is to approach it at a sharp angle, rather than straight on, to reduce the chance for the hitch or cargo carrier contacting the ground.

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