Can I tow this safely with my Sienna? - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

Hi Everyone. First time poster here. Not sure if I'm doing this in the right place or not? I have been trying to figure out if I can safely tow a 2011 Gulf Stream Innsbruck M-15BH (specs as follows: dry weight = 2496, Payload Capacity = 1232, Hitch Weight = 230) with my 2006 Sienna XLE (AWD) (which according to manual has a towing capacity (trailer weight + cargo weight) of 3500). I'm really confused about the different weights and whether I need to modify my engine, use synthetic oil etc in order to pull it. Or whether it's ok as is? Or whether it's a bad idea altogether! Would I need a WDH to pull this? And how much cargo weight would I likely add with 2 adults and two kids plus bicycles, bedding, cutlery, water, propane and battery? I really have no sense of this!! Sorry for all the questions! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 07:40 AM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

Assuming your van has the towing package, then you should be able to tow the trailer...

In general, you will need to add the following:
- weight distributing hitch
- towing brake controller
- air bags for rear suspension

There are a ton of posts on this site that should help.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 10:02 AM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

You can tow it, but can you stop it?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Trailer has electric drum brakes?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Will I still have trouble stopping with electric drum brakes?
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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happycamper - as far as I can tell the towing package came standard on models before 2008. Then it became optional. So I'm assuming it's all set. Anyone like to weigh in on that to confirm?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 02:16 PM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

The electric drum brakes will help a lot, but you are almost doubling the weight of your vehicle. You will have to drive differently.
As already noted, electric brakes don't work unless you have a brake controller wired in and wires run to back of van to connect to trailer.
Drive safe.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback ?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Huh! My emoticon turned into a question mark! No question mark intended above!!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 12:26 AM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

I tow a 2005 17' Hybrid trailer with my 2007 AWD. Loaded it weighs in between 3200-3400lbs. I won't win any races. I don't like the big climbs, but it does the job. Is photo was befo adding airbags.


2007 Sienna LE AWD
2005 Trail Lite Trail Cruiser C17
Curt Hitch
Prodigy P2 Brake Controller
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks rckymtnsienna. Looks great! People keep telling me I won't need those airbags but seems like a good idea to me...
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Another question: mechanic says he won't put WDH or sway bars on the rig as it will make the tongue weight too heavy. What do you make of that?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 12:26 PM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

If you were already maxed out in your weights, adding more equipment would push you over and maybe then you should reconsider the trailer. But if your weights are as you stated, you have plenty of allowable tolerance, especially for added safety equipment that's going to help manage pulling that weight safer! You could try hooking up your trailer without any equipment and see how the van is affected. You may not need airbags or WDH depending on how well you load all your weight (cargo, batteries, fuel etc.) Sway you may not know you need it until you need it and that could be a bad day. My experience was I definitely noticed I needed sway control when I got up to highway speeds. When I crested any small hill and started to descend at all, the trailer wanted to try passing me, and would start sway left and right. They say having proper tongue weight would minimize sway, but I had a tongue heavy pop up trailer with the extra cargo box on the front over the tongue and it still swayed.
Next I noticed the need for WDH. The front end of the van was definitely lighter due to the leverage of the tongue weight behind the rear axle. The front end felt like it wanted to float and wonder a little and I would have less traction, especially since I only have FWD. When I saw that the front end could be brought back down with WDH but the rear end still sagged, I got the airbags. The springs in the rear were pretty tired already with out the trailer, so the airbags have been nice to have all the time.
My current WDH setup has integrated sway control, mostly due to simpler set up. Also opted for straight bar trunnion style (see here:https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Dist...2-00-0600.html) because it would allow for better ground clearance than most round bar styles. Most trailers that we're pulling in our weight class ride lower to the ground as it is so any WDH that installs lower than the tongue is getting pretty close to the ground!
Oh, and as an after thought...some hitch receivers are rated different. Some may not be rated for use with WHD and only allow tongue weights of 350lbs. where as others are rated for 500lbs. with use of WHD. Your mechanic might be taking that into consideration. You can still get sway control only easily enough, they're light and simple, even if you don't get WDH.

2004 Toyota Sienna XLE 170,XXX miles
Yokohama YK580 Tires
Gen III front brake upgrade with cross drilled rotors
Thule roof and bike rack
Firestone airbags
Valley hitch, prodigy P2 brake controler,12V charge line
GROM USB, RCA aux and Bluetooth adapter
Magnovox ceiling mount DVD

Last edited by n8dogg; 08-19-2016 at 12:35 PM.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your detailed response n8dogg. Super helpful. I haven't put a hitch on at all yet so can still make choices in that regard...
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 02:06 PM
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Re: Can I tow this safely with my Sienna?

I definitely recommend the air bags and a brake controller is a no brainer. Pretty sure you need the brake controller anywhere by law. I bought a weight distributing hitch, but I have yet to use it. My trailer tows great handling wise. Maybe it's got the right tongue weight. To be honest I have no idea what my tongue weight is at. My only complaint is my gas mileage overall and the lack of power on the hills or bad wind. You have the 3.3L motor so you'd notice that more. Since loaded I'm closer to 3300lbs. Possibly right up to 3500lbs on some trips I don't want the add weight of the weight distributing hitch. That all said I don't haul any more water than I need since I don't want weight. I fill up when I get there.

That all being said we are going on. Camping trip this coming week. Just my boys(8&10) and I. We are tenting it as its a 4-5hr there then 4-5hrs back and the extra gas isn't worth it. That and they've been hounding me to tent camp.

2007 Sienna LE AWD
2005 Trail Lite Trail Cruiser C17
Curt Hitch
Prodigy P2 Brake Controller
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