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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I haul heavy things, about 400-700 lbs worth of things often and I'm considering between a Suburban and the gen 3 Sienna.

I love the mpg of the Sienna, and have 2 kids which the sliding doors would be awesome to have, but not sure if carrying so much heavy things would destroy the rear shocks/springs of the Sienna. I figure the Suburban might handle the weight better, but I'm really trying not to spend too much on gas at 10mpg for the Suburban.

Also another thing is, I would love to fix up the Sienna if I were to get one. Rims, maybe lower it a bit, bodykit, etc...

Is the Sienna gen 3 the right car to get? Can the suspension handle constantly several hundred pounds of cargo? (I have a 2015 odyssey which I use to haul things, and just told today by alignment shop my struts and springs are shot, and need to get a camber kit ,etc...)
 

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I used to have an 05 Tundra and a 12 Tundra. I sold the 12 in 2020 and bought my Sienna. I bought a 4 x 7 utility trailer when I got rid of the Tundra.
I didnt like watching big articulating loaders drop 1000 lbs of rocks or dirt in my truck bed half an inch away from the back glass or the roof, but I sure didnt give a damn watching them do that to my trailer. Even hooked up to the van its almost 4 feet away.
The trailer has a better weight rating than my truck at 1700 lbs. The van is tow rated for 3500lbs so I'm not going close to overloading it.
If you have the space to keep a trailer you're going to get the same load carrying capacity as a full time truck, or in your case a Suburban, and all the benefits of the van.
Something to think about.
 

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Hello, I haul heavy things, about 400-700 lbs worth of things often and I'm considering between a Suburban and the gen 3 Sienna.

I love the mpg of the Sienna, and have 2 kids which the sliding doors would be awesome to have, but not sure if carrying so much heavy things would destroy the rear shocks/springs of the Sienna. I figure the Suburban might handle the weight better, but I'm really trying not to spend too much on gas at 10mpg for the Suburban.

Also another thing is, I would love to fix up the Sienna if I were to get one. Rims, maybe lower it a bit, bodykit, etc...

Is the Sienna gen 3 the right car to get? Can the suspension handle constantly several hundred pounds of cargo? (I have a 2015 odyssey which I use to haul things, and just told today by alignment shop my struts and springs are shot, and need to get a camber kit ,etc...)
Lowering a vehicle and hauling heavy loads don't mix well. So pick heavy loads or pick bling it up, but not both. Same for the Honda.
 

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I just traded my 2015 GMC SUV for a 2020 Sienna LE. I Will never look back. The Sienna throws candy corn at the GMC. It is easier to load, carries the same and with seats down can load 8 foot stuff on the floor. Gained at least 10 MPG to boot. I also believe the build quality is better.
 

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Agree, don’t lower with heavy loads. The Sienna already has the ground clearance of a lot of sedans.

Handles loads just fine if it’s not too much in the rear. This is my van today, grabbing free wood on the side of the road. It was noticeably heavier but handled fine with all the weight in the middle.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lowering a vehicle and hauling heavy loads don't mix well. So pick heavy loads or pick bling it up, but not both. Same for the Honda.
What if I lowered it 1.5" all around, then added air bags in the rear for heavy weight to avoid going lower? Does anyone have such setup? Seriously considering it. Want the bling and the towing capacity.
 

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What if I lowered it 1.5" all around, then added air bags in the rear for heavy weight to avoid going lower? Does anyone have such setup? Seriously considering it. Want the bling and the towing capacity.
We regularly load a ton (literally) of wood pellets in a trailer and tow it home. The Sienna Gen 3 does fine with that. Inside the van I think you'd hardly notice.

However, I highly recommend you do not lower the van, especially if you're going to add a tow hitch. We have the standard suspension, but we traded for smaller rims and got all terrain tires, so the diameter is about the same overall. We bottom out the hitch receiver on driveway aprons all the time. If you lower the van, you'll have even more problems scraping that hitch receiver around town.

The van isn't a truck. It's not that high off the ground to start with.
 

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400-700 lb , should be fine imo. That's like hauling 4 good size adults.

But if you plan to carry it in the rear then get some air bags. So your vans rear doesn't sag .
Yeah, the payload capacity is 1,100 lbs. or more for any Gen 3 year and trim I believe. I can say that loading 26 bags of 2 cf mulch spread evenly behind the second row tumbled forward in my 2014 FWD causes meaningful rear sag. At 20 - 30 lbs. per bag, that's 520 - 780 lbs., well within the payload capacity counting myself in the driver's seat.

In fact, the vehicle feels unsafe with noticeable diminished contact of the front tires to the road. I wouldn't do this except the drive is only 10 miles on surface roads and I wouldn't do it if it was raining. I just can't pass up Home Depot's $2 per bag specials. ;)

This kind of hauling is a lot different than hauling 1,000 lbs. of people spread across 2 or 3 rows.
 

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I've always been a big fan of vehicles for specific uses. Trying to make one vehicle do everything makes sure that it is compromised in all situations. If I were you I'd get a real truck to haul loads and then whatever kind of Daily fits your fancy. Lower/stance you daily and keep your truck jacked so that it can carry the loads to finance your passions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've always been a big fan of vehicles for specific uses. Trying to make one vehicle do everything makes sure that it is compromised in all situations. If I were you I'd get a real truck to haul loads and then whatever kind of Daily fits your fancy. Lower/stance you daily and keep your truck jacked so that it can carry the loads to finance your passions.
That arrangement might work for some people. However I live in a city with lots of rain, so I need a covered van rather than a pickup (or one with a top installed), and I need the flexibility of hauling people. I only bring around maybe 700-900 lbs of boxes and stop by a few stops 2x a week for a couple of hours for business (I need it covered to prevent theft too).

Anyways, primarily want to enjoy the sienna (thus the lowering) but still want some extra weight support when I make those infrequent trips of carrying around some boxes.
 

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Hmm. So I was curious. Since you previously had an Odyssey:
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So the Sienna has 2" more ground clearance than the Odyssey. So it may indeed be practical to lower the Sienna, if that's what you really want to do.

However, ground clearance alone is not enough. What's often more important is approach and departure angles. This the maximum angle of pavement you can drive over before scraping part of the vehicle on the ground. Like many here, I've scraped the bottom of my Sienna, both the front and the hitch I have on the back. Mostly this was limited to early in driving the van, as I was previously driving a 2020 Silverado 1500 and before that a 2013 Honda Pilot, both of which could handle large angles at much higher speeds than the Sienna could, so I wasn't used to driving such a low clearance vehicle. I can't immediately find this information for the Odyssey and Sienna to compare though.

If you do really want to lower it, and carry up to 700 lbs of cargo, you'd almost certainly going to require at a minimum air bags in the rear to stiffen the suspension and minimize sag, if not stiffer springs all around. I'm already planning air bags in the rear for heavy loads to minimize sag, and I'm at stock ride height. I totally understand why people raise Siennas too when they want to drive on forest roads and similar unpaved surfaces.

Before you get a lowering kit, perhaps get the Sienna first, and try driving it around a bit first. If possible, stop at various places that have large changes in angle, get out, and look at the actual ground clearance to determine if lowering it is practical.
 

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I previously ran air bags in the back, with 5 - 15 PSI. I ordered replacement rear springs from Coil Springs Specialties. I asked for 25% stiffer spring rate, or plus 750 lbs load capacity. After running the stiffer rear springs I am not going back to airbags or stock springs on any future vans. The ride is better loaded and unloaded, and control is much improved, especially on the highway. Website is coilsprings.com, cost was about $350 w/shipping and tax.
 

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I am another one who is puzzled by the lowering fad.

That said, HOW you lower your vehicle has a lot to do with how practical it remains. Since you have lowered it, the suspension will probably have a shorter travel. To prevent constant bottoming out, the spring rates will have to be stiffer. Stiffer springs make for a rougher ride. Taller rims with lower-profile tires do the same thing. There is less sidewall to absorb bumps, so they ride stiffer. Yeah, they might handle a bit better, but my name tag does not say "Mario Andretti", so it does not matter all that much.

In my daily travels for work, I might have up to three other people with me, along with over 100 lbs of test equipment and up to 300 lbs of calibrated steel weights. I have never bothered to measure the sag at the rear, but my trailer hitch has never hit the road and nobody is uncomfortable. I had Air-Lift bags on a previous van and appreciated what they did, but have not bothered with them in the last two vans.

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Well... don't know about a gen 3, but my '04 gen 2 has spent the last 18 years switching back and forth between bus duties and dump truck duties! I haven't loaded any loose materials like rocks or bark or anything (hate the mess & cleanup!), but have transported as many as 5 MGB engine/transmission combinations at one time - including once with a fully assembled engine (500+ lbs) sitting in a tire on a piece of 3/4" plywood on top of the stowed 3rd row seats from Seattle to San Diego down Highway 101. I regularly fold/stow the seats and load up with lumber, pavers, stone etc. and power tools. My van is completely stock, the shocks, springs etc are as installed at the factory. There are no rattles, squeaks or unhappy vibrations or noises. Alternatively, there is always the 4 not-so skinny 60 somethings and all of the gear for a weeklong crabbing trip... nary a peep from the dead loyal and reliable van... I guess that it boils down to how careful you are when loading and unloading.
 

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Rather than lower your sienna, get the tighter suspension in an SE model. Also get one that is 2017 through 2020 as it has the higher 296 horsepower engine. It's quite peppy little ride. I haul a nice 4x8 box trailer behind mine on occasion loaded with whatever I might need to move around with what seems like a little effort. Also I recommend getting a low clearance hitch on the back if you're going to get a trailer.

Personally I'd rather have my lifted slightly and put some stouter tires to accommodate my occasional off-road urges. However I would also assert the factory ride likely keeps me out of trouble.
 

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I just bought a 2015 Sienna AWD and am surprised how much less ground clearance it has that the non-AWD. The exhaust hangs very low. Don't lower one of those.

I use a Costco trailer (very light) to haul my motorcycle everywhere. Works out well.
 
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