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Hello,

I have a 2010 (purchased in Feb. 2010) Sienna AWD with which I recently started towing a small travel trailer (less than 3500 lbs).

I've noticed that the rear wheels are now splayed, and the rear tires are wearing unevenly, becoming scalloped on the inside.

Can the rear wheels on the AWD Sienna be aligned? Have I damaged my rear wheels / drive system, and if so...is thi repairable, or am I screwed?

Thank you.

CD
 

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tsaheeka said:
I have a 2010 (purchased in Feb. 2010) Sienna AWD...
This problem is interesting and I look forward to responding to it... but it should be in the 2004 - 2010 (Dec 2009) 2nd Generation Toyota Sienna section. The Dec 2009 / Jan 2010 division between the two forum sections refers to the manufacturing date, not the purchase date, so all 2010 model year Siennas (which were apparently built until Dec 2009) are "2nd Generation" and all 2011 model year Siennas (which were apparently built starting Jan 2010) are "3rd Generation".

Moderators, can we move this topic? Maybe pulling the dates out of the forum titles would make sense too, since model year makes the distinction clearly enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello Sienna Owners,

Just an update on my 2010 AWD and the "splayed" rear wheels.

I just found out from the body / alignment shop that indeed I have bent something on the "rear axle beam," most like the not the beam/cross bar, but the flanges / housing for the wheel hubs: Bummer! $2300 to replace!

The Jayco Jay Feather 165 I towed weighed in at 2900 lbs, dry, so by all calculations I didn't exceed "towing" capacity, but "may" have exceeded either the tongue weight or rear axle rating. I have a load leveler, but the tongue weight of this trailer is 405 lbs, which comes in at just under 12% of the 3500 lbs towing capacity / weight, and the Sienna manual says with a load-leveler, 15% tongue weight should be OK!

It's possible, that I bent something going too fast on rough roads...

So, now I'm in a real pickle:

1. Sell this rig once I get it repaired, and upgrade to something beefier.
2. Sell the travel trailer (one month old!)
3. Take a risk that if I drive more conservatively I won't bend the darn thing again (and incur another $2300 repair!)
4. Attempt to have the new part beefed up at a local machine shop (which would be easy on the cross bar, but not so perhaps on the wheel housing).

Argh...I sure which Chevy/GMC hadn't stopped making the AWD Astro / Sierra Van!

Life moves on...

Take care all of you Sienna owners about pushing the envelope on what you're towing!

CD
 

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This still doesn't belong here in the 2011 (January 2010+) 3rd Generation Toyota Sienna forum...


tsaheeka said:
I just found out from the body / alignment shop that indeed I have bent something on the "rear axle beam," most like the not the beam/cross bar, but the flanges / housing for the wheel hubs: Bummer! $2300 to replace!
That really sounds like serious overloading of the axle to me.

tsaheeka said:
The Jayco Jay Feather 165 I towed weighed in at 2900 lbs, dry, so by all calculations I didn't exceed "towing" capacity, but "may" have exceeded either the tongue weight or rear axle rating. I have a load leveler, but the tongue weight of this trailer is 405 lbs, which comes in at just under 12% of the 3500 lbs towing capacity / weight, and the Sienna manual says with a load-leveler, 15% tongue weight should be OK!

It's possible, that I bent something going too fast on rough roads...
Were the axle loads checked on a scale? Were the front and rear ride heights at least checked, as per the weight-distributing hitch ("load leveler") installation and use instructions? Without some sort of measurement, there's no way to know how much load was shifted from the rear axle to the front by this system.

405 lb is within the Sienna's rated hitch weight capacity, but is that a real hitch weight, or the weight at the tongue of an empty trailer without optional equipment or anything in any tank? Travel trailers are notorious for having a significantly higher actual operating weight - and a much higher tongue weight - than the advertised specification.

The wheelbase of the Sienna is 3.0 m (120"), and the distance from rear axle to hitch ball is at least 1.2 m (48"), so planting even 405 lb on the ball levers 40% or more of that (or at least 162 lb) off the front, so the rear carries at least 567 lb more than without the trailer... plus the weight of the WD hitch hardware. If there are a bunch of passengers in the van (largely carried by the rear axle) and cargo behind the third row seat (entirely on the rear axle), it would be easy to exceed the rear axle capacity if the weight-distribution system is not appropriately setup. This would be the same problem with any vehicle.

From Re: 2011 Sienna with a Travel Trailer:
tsaheeka said:
I've been a Toyota owner before, and was very happy with the two Tacoma's I bought new many years ago. But I would have preferred to buy a new AWD Chevy Astro Van last year--built on a truck frame--but since Chevy doesn't make this model anymore (or GMC / Sierra), I went with the Sienna AWD...
By the way, the Chevrolet Astro / GMC Safari was not built on what most people would call a truck frame: it was a unibody in the rear, with a partial frame in the front, sharing some parts with other GM cars and trucks, but not sharing structure with anything, let alone something like a pickup truck. It did have a leaf-spring live axle rear suspension, as is typical for a truck... and for most cars for decades. An Astro has smaller tires, less power, and a shorter wheelbase than a Sienna.
 

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I am still hoping that a moderator/administrator will move this entire discussion...


tsaheeka said:
Can the rear wheels on the AWD Sienna be aligned?
My understanding is that Toyota's technical manuals specify replacement of the axle beam assembly as the only fix for misalignment, since misalignment means some part of this component is bent.
On the other hand, the hub carriers are bolted to the arms of the axle beam (as are the sealed hub/bearing/spindle units of most modern vehicles), so shims are available to correct minor misalignment.

There have been previous discussions of this in SiennaChat.

tsaheeka said:
Have I damaged my rear wheels / drive system, and if so...is thi repairable, or am I screwed?
It seems unlikely to me that excessive suspension load could do any harm to the drive system, unlike a traditional live axle.
 

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tsaheeka said:
1. Sell this rig once I get it repaired, and upgrade to something beefier.
That's a potential choice, but the trailer is within the Sienna's capacity, and any vehicle can be damaged by misuse or a bad enough road condition (or a combination).

tsaheeka said:
3. Take a risk that if I drive more conservatively I won't bend the darn thing again (and incur another $2300 repair!)
This may not be about driving - it may be about loading. Without checking the rear axle load any operation is a shot in the dark.

If "more conservatively" is only about speed, that may not be enough. A WD system transfer load dependent on the angle between tow vehicle and trailer, so if the rig is driven over a severe enough hump (at any speed) the WD can slack off entirely and leave the whole non-WD load on the rear suspension. Briefly and slowly that should not be an issue, but combined with moving at a speed which is otherwise reasonable and hitting bumps, some very high forces could be applied. WD systems are not used off-road.

tsaheeka said:
4. Attempt to have the new part beefed up at a local machine shop (which would be easy on the cross bar, but not so perhaps on the wheel housing).
Personally I would not consider doing that. If the rear suspension is overloaded, reinforcing one part will just mean a different part breaks. I also would not trust a shop to design and construct a suitable reinforcement without adverse consequences. That axle beam seems like a simple thing, but it is a sophisticated structure.
 

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Hello Sienna Owners,

Just an update on my 2010 AWD and the "splayed" rear wheels.

I just found out from the body / alignment shop that indeed I have bent something on the "rear axle beam," most like the not the beam/cross bar, but the flanges / housing for the wheel hubs: Bummer! $2300 to replace!

The Jayco Jay Feather 165 I towed weighed in at 2900 lbs, dry, so by all calculations I didn't exceed "towing" capacity, but "may" have exceeded either the tongue weight or rear axle rating. I have a load leveler, but the tongue weight of this trailer is 405 lbs, which comes in at just under 12% of the 3500 lbs towing capacity / weight, and the Sienna manual says with a load-leveler, 15% tongue weight should be OK!

It's possible, that I bent something going too fast on rough roads...

So, now I'm in a real pickle:

1. Sell this rig once I get it repaired, and upgrade to something beefier.
2. Sell the travel trailer (one month old!)
3. Take a risk that if I drive more conservatively I won't bend the darn thing again (and incur another $2300 repair!)
4. Attempt to have the new part beefed up at a local machine shop (which would be easy on the cross bar, but not so perhaps on the wheel housing).

Argh...I sure which Chevy/GMC hadn't stopped making the AWD Astro / Sierra Van!

Life moves on...

Take care all of you Sienna owners about pushing the envelope on what you're towing!

CD
I know this is an old post, but curious what you ended up settling on?

I’ve just developed a 3/4” driver side lean and .38 right rear toe after towing 400 tongue weight with an AirLift 1000 in a 2016 Sienna. I’m hoping I’m not in the same situation...
 

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They are playing you, get another opinion. I have really pushed my Van and it handled the popup camper weight beautifully. I have the airbags and electronic braking on the trailer. NO WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION system though.

It would be just bent rims or defective tires. I am very proud of the Van's capabilities on pushing the envelope of towing capacities.

I have done 2 trips one was 12 hr one way and the other 7 hrs one way and no problem or issue what so ever. Mine is a 2015 XLE FWD.

javvy
 

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They are playing you, get another opinion. I have really pushed my Van and it handled the popup camper weight beautifully. I have the airbags and electronic braking on the trailer. NO WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION system though.

It would be just bent rims or defective tires. I am very proud of the Van's capabilities on pushing the envelope of towing capacities.

I have done 2 trips one was 12 hr one way and the other 7 hrs one way and no problem or issue what so ever. Mine is a 2015 XLE FWD.

javvy
That’s encouraging to hear! I had an 06’ we towed with quite a bit last year and it was a champ.

Any idea what your tongue weight is?

I actually rotated the tires and swapped the struts left for right to rule those out. Unfortunately a 3/4” sag remains on the drivers side.

Firestone actually offered to install a rear hub shim to correct the toe for free once I get my new Coil Spring Specialist custom rear springs installed. This was after I came in to get the rear sag corrected. They didn’t let me know that they don’t adjust the back end on a basic alignment. I had purchased the lifetime alignment and was no too thrilled that any rear end work would require parts and labor. I’m really impressed they are going to make it right though!
 
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