What do we need for Sienna hitch? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-07-2009, 08:43 PM   #1
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Bought our new-to-us Sienna van today, it is at the RV shop, plan to tow our Escape to the Oregon gathering Friday, and the RV guy said the hitch is low (we could see that) but we should try it. Since it is at the shop over night, I don't know the clearance, he said we could buy a new tow kit with an adjustable ball from him - it is of course pricey.

We just got our hitch in March in BC when we bought the Escape, it has weight distribution bars, the kit he has does too, but I read on a Sienna forum something about air bags or air distribution kits, which we would not be able to buy locally or by Friday. Mike says we'll be fine even though we will be so low since we are doing highway driving and staying in a State Park, not likey to run into low spots.

I am totally confused - do air bags do a better job than weight distribution bars? A different job? Which is better? The kit he has would raise the ball, but use same weight distribution idea.

We need some education here and suggestions on whether to go with the low clearance would be okay - better than buying something that is not the right solution.

Penney
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:16 PM   #2
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My Honda Odyssey also has the hitch receiver mounted low.
That is compensated for by having an adjustable height ball mount (the black part) as part of the Weight Distributing Hitch System (the red part.)

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Weight Distribution Bars leverage the tongue weight up from the tow vehicle's rear axle and push it to both the tow vehicle's front axle and the trailer's axle(s).

Air bags do a different job than weight distribution bars. They just lift the tow vehicle's rear, but the tow vehicle's rear axle still carries the full tongue weight.

Some people use both weight distribution and air bags.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:32 PM   #3
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thanks Fredrick - that makes sense, we understand how weight distribution bars work, it didn't make sense that air bags could do the same job - I think we'll get the new tow kit with adjustable ball, if we find over time we 'hit' a lot maybe consider the air bags in the future.

Your Odyssey does ride low. Mike said he did measure the clearance to the hitch - 9", as compared to 11" on our 'ole Previa.

Are there good brands and bad brands of tow kits? The one the RV guy has in stock as same red bars as yours (the one we got in BC as heavier looking black bars)

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:36 PM   #4
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Are there good brands and bad [b]brands of tow kits? The one the RV guy has in stock as same red bars as yours (the one we got in BC as heavier looking black bars)
I don't think so... I read somewhere once that all of the retail brands are supplied by the same wholesale manufacturer.

I have a personal preference for Reese... simply because it is available at Camping World with the President's Club discount.

They do come in different tongue weight sizes though... A lot of the commonly found 2 bar systems (with the heavier black bars) are rated for 600 pound tongue weight or more... way overkill for a 16 or 17 foot, 3000 pound trailer...

My lightweight bars (I painted them red myself, they used to be black) are rated for 350 pounds.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:38 AM   #5
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I put a Curt 13256 hitch on our 2006 Sienna. I purchased it from etrailer.com. I also added Airlift 1000 airbags to stop the hitch from bottoming on the pavement. I purchased it from Amazon. There is a very good forum for Sienna owners - SiennaChat.com.

http://siennachat.com/forum/index.php?board=10.0

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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thanks Tom for the info. I looked at the hitch you have, looks like ours but not sure of our brand. The Sienna came with the hitch, it may be factory installed, or at least dealer installed, by the previous owner. It's the ball mound we are thinking we need differently - the one we used for our Previa was not adjustable. The one the local RV place has is a kit that comes with the weight distribution bars, etc. I will look at it to day when I pick up the van and see which brand it is.

Siennachat has been a great source of into for me, got a lot of helpful feedback while deciding to buy this Sienna.

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