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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading all I can find on lifting our FWD Gen2 Sienna XLE a bit in an effort to improve the ground clearance and load carrying capability of the van to facilitate boondock camping and general outdoor exploration. We're not looking for rock-crawling, just the ability to better handle rutted, muddy roads like those found in the BLM and national recreation area lands of the western US while hauling a rear hatch kitchen and associated camping and outdoor gear. This forum has been a great help and I'd like to share what we have learned.

As many know, the ground clearance on the Sienna is poor, especially in back when loaded. To address that I've decided on three approaches:
1. Adding strut and spring spacers for a modest lift front (30mm) and back (50mm).
2. Swapping in 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey rear springs
3. Using the 8-passenger/AWD rear shocks

The lift parts (30mm front and 50mm rear) were sourced from the Russian supplier Tema4x4 on eBay that has been discussed here on SiennaChat previously. Shipping was slow but the parts arrived in good shape and look to be of good quality. I have all the parts on hand to install but have yet to do so. I will be doing this myself and will share the results here, minus the 4-letter words inevitably required. :) If buying from Tema4x4, be sure to share your VIN with them as the models the various parts will fit are not abundantly clear from the descriptions.
Tema4x4 link:
https://www.ebay.com/str/tema4x4

The Odyssey springs are nearly the same length and diameter as Sienna springs, but the Odyssey spring is 442 lbs/inch versus the 350 for the Sienna.
Specs on Odyssey springs:
https://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part-detail.aspx?brandId=MC&pNum=80661&partType=Coil Spring Set
Specs on Sienna springs:
https://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/part-detail.aspx?brandId=MC&pNum=81411&partType=Coil Spring Set

Evidence suggests that the stock Toyota springs for AWD and 8-passenger or mobility models are different (stiffer or taller or both) than the standard springs so I've decided to use KYB shocks in back from the AWD model to help handle the stiffer Odyssey spring. Specs on the two models show that the AWD shock is slightly longer with a longer stroke although valving information is not available. Time will tell how that works out.
KYB AWD/8-pass shock:
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/kyb-gas-shock-344480/20740413-P
KYB FWD shock:
https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/kyb-gas-shock-344308/19171741-P

To improve our boondock camping experience we are also building a rear hatch kitchen that will add around 150-200 lbs of permanent weight to the back, hence the lift and stiffer springs.
Rear kitchen for the Sienna:

Lastly, another aspect of the build is to accommodate a taller light truck tire in the future once the current tires wear out. After getting stuck boondocking on muddy forest service roads in AZ this spring and the hassle of getting pulled out we look forward to the increased ground clearance and traction. Additionally we are going to be welding on hard-points for recovery extraction as well as have assembled a recovery bag that includes tow straps and a manual chain hoist to pull the van out unassisted. I'll share those efforts once finalized.

Thanks for making this site a great resource, and stay tuned for more...
 

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I'm very interested to hear how the Odyssey springs work out. I haven't heard that idea before.

I was on a slippery slope with suspension upgrades on our 2007 FWD but decided to just stick with stock suspension and upgrade to AT tires either in stock size or close to stock size when the current ones wear out.

For front recovery points I was thinking of installing a towbar adapter like would be used for flat towing the van behind a motorhome.

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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I purchased a 3.5" lift kit from JourneysOffRoad. I had my mechanic install the kit, then put Yokahama Geolander A/T tires on. I have had the setup about 2 months now, driving on Forest Service roads of varying quality. The clearance is very good and I like the tires: good traction offroad, quiet on the highway. I run 40 psi. No significant change in mpg.



The kit is very well made, very solid on rutted, bumpy, and washboard roads.


The kit was $750, installation $1,000 (numerous corroded bolts = extra labor), tires $1,000. Total = $2,750.


I am very pleased with the setup. I would prefer Bridgestone Dueller A/T Rev 3 tires, but the smallest size still rub on the shocks.


I have a 2005 XLE AWD.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I certainly looked at the Journeys 3.5 lift kit, but decided to try the less aggressive and cheaper option. That kit looks like a great way to go though.

I'll be putting the Odyssey springs on in a few weeks after a long highway road trip. I'll report then with photos.

The towbar adapter sounds like a good idea! I'll look into it.
 

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Curious to see how it turns out. We have air bags in the rear springs of a 2006 8-passenger. I've carried a lot of weight in the van.
 

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I purchased a 3.5" lift kit from JourneysOffRoad. I had my mechanic install the kit, then put Yokahama Geolander A/T tires on. I have had the setup about 2 months now, driving on Forest Service roads of varying quality. The clearance is very good and I like the tires: good traction offroad, quiet on the highway. I run 40 psi. No significant change in mpg.



The kit is very well made, very solid on rutted, bumpy, and washboard roads.


The kit was $750, installation $1,000 (numerous corroded bolts = extra labor), tires $1,000. Total = $2,750.


I am very pleased with the setup. I would prefer Bridgestone Dueller A/T Rev 3 tires, but the smallest size still rub on the shocks.


I have a 2005 XLE AWD.
Got and pics?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just finished installing new AWD/mobility shocks and the Odyssey springs. It was kind of a bear. Uncompressed, the Odyssey springs were less than an inch taller than the stock ones. But getting them installed was quite difficult. The primary issue is the way the rear suspension pivots on a short moment arm and the way that when pivoted down the springs can interfere with the brake hardlines. Eventually after a lot of using the four-letter-wrench I had to resort to using coil spring compressors to get the springs short enough to fit. Placement of the compressors was important to allow tightening/loosening of the compressors and rotation of the bottom pigtail into the recess. Once installed, I rotated the tires and lowered the vehicle. The results were much more than I anticipated. I took before and after measurements at the trailer hitch and found that the new springs lifted the van by 3 3/4"

Before unloaded: 9"
Before loaded with 200lbs: 8.25"
After unloaded: 12 3/4"
After loaded with 200lbs: 12 1/8"

Some other lessons learned on the install suggest to me that the Russian made rear spacer would have been nearly impossible to add with the Odyssey springs and only the shortest spacer would have been feasible with the stock springs. I have a pair of rear spacers that are unused if anyone wants them at a discount and without the wait and cost of shipping from Russia. I still have not installed the front spacers (30mm) but will, especially now that the rear is so high.

I've taken the van around the block to test and "settle" the springs but the height was basically unchanged. The old springs had a good 160k on them so I expect they were riding lower than stock. As we gear up for a road trip out west, the van will likely slowly settle a bit as the springs break in and when loaded up with all our gear I'm looking forward to not scraping the bike rack on every pebble in the road. Time will tell how this all shakes out. I'll post updates as needed.
 

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Just finished installing new AWD/mobility shocks and the Odyssey springs. It was kind of a bear. Uncompressed, the Odyssey springs were less than an inch taller than the stock ones. But getting them installed was quite difficult. The primary issue is the way the rear suspension pivots on a short moment arm and the way that when pivoted down the springs can interfere with the brake hardlines. Eventually after a lot of using the four-letter-wrench I had to resort to using coil spring compressors to get the springs short enough to fit. Placement of the compressors was important to allow tightening/loosening of the compressors and rotation of the bottom pigtail into the recess. Once installed, I rotated the tires and lowered the vehicle. The results were much more than I anticipated. I took before and after measurements at the trailer hitch and found that the new springs lifted the van by 3 3/4"

Before unloaded: 9"
Before loaded with 200lbs: 8.25"
After unloaded: 12 3/4"
After loaded with 200lbs: 12 1/8"

Some other lessons learned on the install suggest to me that the Russian made rear spacer would have been nearly impossible to add with the Odyssey springs and only the shortest spacer would have been feasible with the stock springs. I have a pair of rear spacers that are unused if anyone wants them at a discount and without the wait and cost of shipping from Russia. I still have not installed the front spacers (30mm) but will, especially now that the rear is so high.

I've taken the van around the block to test and "settle" the springs but the height was basically unchanged. The old springs had a good 160k on them so I expect they were riding lower than stock. As we gear up for a road trip out west, the van will likely slowly settle a bit as the springs break in and when loaded up with all our gear I'm looking forward to not scraping the bike rack on every pebble in the road. Time will tell how this all shakes out. I'll post updates as needed.

pics?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, the springs when unloaded look funky, it's because of the short radius swing arm the top and bottom perch are like 45 degree out of parallel when at full droop.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Trip report:

We took a 2900 mile camping and road trip from MN to Yellowstone and back with stops along the way. Did a couple of backcountry camping nights including a road near the Tetons that was very rutted and rough that would not have been feasible without the lift provided by the Odyssey springs in back since we had a bike rack with 4 bikes on. Overall, we were very happy with the lifted rear and stiffer springs which didn't impact handling noticably but allowed the van to sit at just above stock unloaded height when fully loaded with the rear kitchen, cargo box, bike rack, bikes, gear, and people. Didn't scrape the rear bike rack once on the trip which was impossible to avoid previously. Pics of the kitchen in action in Yellowstone and parked fully loaded at Devils Tower.
IMG_20190728_184637005.jpg IMG_20190802_080133841_HDR.jpg
 

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Trip report:

We took a 2900 mile camping and road trip from MN to Yellowstone and back with stops along the way. Did a couple of backcountry camping nights including a road near the Tetons that was very rutted and rough that would not have been feasible without the lift provided by the Odyssey springs in back since we had a bike rack with 4 bikes on. Overall, we were very happy with the lifted rear and stiffer springs which didn't impact handling noticably but allowed the van to sit at just above stock unloaded height when fully loaded with the rear kitchen, cargo box, bike rack, bikes, gear, and people. Didn't scrape the rear bike rack once on the trip which was impossible to avoid previously. Pics of the kitchen in action in Yellowstone and parked fully loaded at Devils Tower.
View attachment 44295 View attachment 44296
I love your kitchen set up and would like to do something similar for my sienna. Are you willing to share more information from where you bought it or did you custom make it? Thnx - Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I love your kitchen set up and would like to do something similar for my sienna. Are you willing to share more information from where you bought it or did you custom make it? Thnx - Sam
I custom made the rear kitchen based on measurements I made of my van and this video. If you want more details, I'm happy to share.

We're replacing the passive foam cooler we made with a powered fridge this year coupled to a solar panel (100W) and separate battery in prep for a trip to Banff. Once I get that figured out I'll post an update. Additionally, the WiFi server has been widely applauded as a great source for streaming movies.
 

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Checking in on long term results. Have you had “top out” issues with the rear shocks?

I installed Custom Coil Springs in the rear of my 16’ FWD 8-passenger Gen3 and also ended up with a more than I bargained for lift of 2.25”. I’m getting some shock top out on occasion and I’m looking for a longer stroke shock. KYB offers a different shock for the “mobility” van and I’ve emailed them to see if the stroke is any longer.
 

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KYB got back to me right away, the mobility is an inch longer. Does anyone know the OEM shock length?

47597

47598
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi, Jengel,
Is there any update of the long term use of the Honda Odyssey springs on the Sienna?
Thanks
When the van is unloaded, just me driving up front i do get some shock bumping on top out. With passengers or gear it's not been a problem. I have threaded adapters to bring the stroke back to reasonable levels but have been too lazy. No problems so far. :)
 
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