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Toyota Highlander: Suspension Modifications

homershannonhomershannon Posts: 10
edited September 2014 in Toyota
No one seems to have made any attempts to change the basic Highlander suspension. As these cars get older they will need new struts and other suspension components. Can we start a list of modifications that will work, interchangable parts with Camry/Lexus, ect? There must be room for interesting improvements.


  • Have a 2001 V6. Recently replaced the stock rear anti-sway bar with a thicker 7/8" from Addco (#2109). Well, it does what it says it would--significantly less body roll when cornering, very noticeable improvement in overall handling. One problem though is the bushings that came with it poorly fit the existing mounts. Addco has been unresponsive to my e-mail with pictures showing them how squooshed the bushings look, this results in an annoying creaking sound under dry conditions. But I really love the way the car handles now, pretty much like cornering on a rail, so I plan to enlarge the holes on the stock bushings with my Dremel and have my mechanic install those.

    This only applies to the V6. On the I-4, the mounts are different--it uses the more common and aftermarket-available D-type bushings; the V6 uses the O-type ones.
  • Recently Iought my uncle's 2004 Limited because I wanted to tow a small travel trailer (1800 lbs, gross.) I had installed the genuine Toyota Highland hitch and tail light converter. The Highlanded did a nice job handling my little trailer as I tower her from the California shore up the Colorado Rockies to Denver, where I left her for refurbishment. For the record, I got 15mpg towing at 65 mph. But with the trailer hooked up, the rear end of the Highlander sags a bit. Tongue weight is about 150 lbs, and I had some gear in the car, not much. Is there an aftermarket "suspension helper" than I can turn to? Air lift Company doesn't provide a product for the Highlander. Pep Boys sells a little aluminum block to wedge in the coils for some extra lift, but I don't like their solution. Anyone have any advice for an adjustable aftermarket suspension helper? Thanks. Michael
  • Michael...I have exactly the same vehicle and trailer sagging concern. I'll be interested to see what kind of response(s) you get. In the meantime I'm going to be checking with the local suspension shop people who installed my hitch and wiring (they did a nice job and were very knowledgeable) as well as the local Toyota service manager and suspension tech in the next couple of weeks to see what their recommendations are. I'll post here if/when I get an answer.
    Regards, BGood
  • HERE IS FURTHER DISCUSSION on Equal-i-zer Hitch solution to rear end sag whilst towing a light trailer with the Highlander. I inquired whether the 250 lb tongue weight threshold (referenced in the earlier response) was critical for effective use of the Equal-i-zer Hitch. Here is the informed -- and almost immediate -- response:


    So given this information -- and absent any good reason NOT to use a weight distribution hitch on my Highlander -- the Equal-i-zer Hitch solution for easing the excessive rear end sag seems to be in my future.


    Replying to: webgood (Dec 12, 2007 12:04 pm)
    The Toyota Highlander is more of a car than a SUV and does not have a suspension system suitable for the use of Air Lift products. I am considering the Equalizer hitch. However, if you have any luck with your inquiries, please advise the forum; I'll track the thread. Meanwhile here is a copy of my correspondence with the Equal-i-zer people, who responded within a day to my inquiry. Right away I like their product.
    Your Question:
    “I have a small vintage 1955 Airstream-type aluminum airframe trailer, I think gross vehicle weight is 2000 lbs, could be higher after I finish modernizing the systems. My tow vehicle is a 2004 Toyota Highlander which is rated by Toyota (with tow package) at 3500 lbs. However, the coil over shock independent rear suspension disallows the installation of an Air Lift product. And I am suffering some rear end sag on the vehicle (which is really a car, not an SUV, irrespective of it's profile.) Would your lightest duty weight distribution hitch be a good solution for relieving the rear end sag on my Highlander whilst under tow? I appreciate that most Equal-i-zer hitches are used on bigger, heavier trailers. But is there a compelling reason why not to use one on a much smaller, lighter trailer such as mine?

    The Equal-i-zer hitch would provide you with sway control and the weight distribution you are seeking. However, the Equal-i-zer hitch has a minimum tongue weight requirement of 250 lbs. As long as you loaded tongue weight is at or over this 250 lb limit, you should be fine to use our 6,000/600 lb rated Equal-i-zer hitch. There is no downside to using an Equal-i-zer hitch on a smaller trailer. All it can do is give you good weight distribution, and the sway control goes a long way in keeping you safe while towing.
    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    Progress Mfg Inc.
    533 S. 500 W.
    Provo, Utah 84601

  • RE EQUAL-I-ZER weight distribution hitch.

    The 250 lb tongue weight limit is a critical component in the way that the Equal-i-zer hitch provides sway control. The Equal-i-zer hitch uses steel on steel friction to provide sway control, and our engineers have stated (through testing) that you need to have at least 250 lbs of tongue weight in order to have enough friction occurring to provide you with sway control. If you have less than 250 lbs the hitch will still give you good weight distribution, but we cannot guarantee what kind of sway control you will receive from it. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks,
  • I contacted etrailer about their REESE light tongue weight WDH, called Product Number 66041 a 350 lb WDH which seems more appropriate to the small trailer. Installation instructions select for conditions where tongue weight is above 200 lbs or below 200 lbs. I believe my little 15' aluminum airframe vintage trailer will prove to be in that range. (I hope my experience learning about how to improve the trailer towing characteristics of our V6 Highlanders will be helpful to others.) Here is the almost immediate reply by the customer service rep to my email inquiry. I have been very impressed with customer service reps' willingness to provide a prompt reply to a question.

  • I have a 2005 toyota highlander 6 cylinder and I am experiencing alot of body roll when making turns. Recommendation from my tire guy is that I replace my original equipment with after market equipment such as monroe sensamatic struts. He says they are better than the original equipment, will not leak as fast, and give me a better ride overall. My toyota service adviser disagrees and thinks that if I want to replace them I should stick with original equipment. He also says that he "has never had to replace struts on any highlanders under 90,000 miles. Does anybody have experience with this? What is the real recommendation? Thanks.
  • Back in October '06 I asked if anyone was making any modifications on the Highlander suspensions. Now I have 125k miles on the car and I'd like to replace the struts, as they are old and getting soft, and I'd like to lower the car at the same time. I've found some parts that will interchange from the Lexux RX300, but not enough to do the full job on a 4cyl, 2WD car. TRD-Japan does list the necessary parts but they cannot be obtained in the US and they would be an expensive option. Any ideas?
  • pcakerpcaker Posts: 2
    edited July 2010
    I did just that recently to an 04 V6, and I posted a detailed description of the work under "Safely raising 04 Highlander (Kluger) by 1 1/4" " on under Highlander forum.

    Alternatively, you might consider changing the rear coil springs from the standard (5 person seating) to the uprated springs (7 person seating), as these have about 300 lbs more load capacity with payload going from ~850 lbs to 1,150 lbs. Therefore, the stiffer coils will likely raise the rear suspension significantly on a 5 seat Highlander, or at the very least, will have reduced sag under load.
  • knght700knght700 Posts: 1
    edited May 2011
    I have a Toyota 2007 Highlander AWD V6, recently I installed a trailer hitch (factory) to this vehicle, and having difficult time with the rear sagging down. I was on multiple websites and saw some very interesting products , but none that are made for the Highlander. I would like some help in this situation since Toyota Dealer has been no help, to them the Highlander is what it is..

This discussion has been closed.