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Toyota Sienna Towing/Trailer Hitch Questions

dohrmcdohrmc Posts: 14
I often carry a 1980 Honda 110 Trail motorcycle on the back of my 2002 Ford Expedition. I can't even tell the bike is back there. I am thinking of replacing the Expedition with a minivan in search of better mileage. Does anyone have any experience using a hitch carrier like this? I don't know if the Sienna can hack hauling an [approx.] 190-200# bike on a hitch. It will have to be a Class III hitch to fit my equipment. Any of you use a hitch on your Sienna like this?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Looks like 350 lbs tongue weight for class II, 525 for a class III hitch with weight distribution:
  • I had an after-market Class III hitch installed on my 2005 SLE AWD for my bike rack, but not the wiring harness. Thinking I might want to haul a small trailer, I picked up the OEM wiring harness from my dealer's parts department..YIKES! :surprise:

    Its a big bag of wires and parts with no instructions, and it looks like I have to pull off panels and hide wires all the way from the dash to the left rear interior panel
    Anybody attempt this on their own or should I let a pro do it, dealer or otherwise?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Search for instructions on-line. You'll probably find them in the forum I mentioned above.
  • odickmanodickman Posts: 1
    I installed a class III hitch from curt manufacturing and installed a 2" ball on a 4" drop hitch turned upside down (elevates 2 3/4") to prevent scraping the ground with my trailer. I works like a charm.

    I opted to not buy the ~$150 OEM wiring harness and decided to do it myself. I got a HOPPY #48845 Trailer Wiring Converter (cost ~$20) and watched the video on how to get to the brake and turn signal wiring on With that information, it was easy to wire the Sienna. FYI - on the 2007, the green with yellow stripe is right turn, green with black stripe is left turn, green with white stripe is brake light, and solid green is running/tail lights. Hope this helps someone out, as I couldn't find this info on the 'net before I installed it myself.
  • I am planning to add a hitch mounted bike rack to my 00 Sienna. I am not planning to tow anything. What aftermarket hitch should I get? Is there someone who sells them cheap?

  • We just picked up a new to us van. Have been towing our 2002 Coleman Sunvalley with our '99 Windstar previously. So on the new van which has the 3.3 engine, we have the class III hitch installed as well as the wiring harness. There have been differing opinions on transmission coolers. I have heard from a few that the Siennas already had an adequate tranny cooler on them?

    The rear end is a bit lower than the Windstar so we will probably opt to purchase a Wight Distributing Hitch as well to pull the rear end up.

    Anybody have any experience towing campers with the Sienna?

    Appreciate any thoughts and help!!
  • dnbqeednbqee Posts: 7
    This may help somewhat-we have towed our almost 4000lb 17' Starcraft all over the west with ..........a Honda Odyssey.....I know its not a Sienna but we used the weight distributing hitch with a very heavy 500 lb tounge weight and it worked like a dream. We also have a new to us 04 AWD Sienna but haven't installed the hitch/harness yet. I parked the Sienna side by side with Honda last night (both empty) and the rear of the Sienna is much higher so that helps a little. There are also aftermarket airbag suspension kits (installs fairly easily) available. Our experience with the Odyssey both with and without the weight distributing hitch: drives MUCH better, better traction and safer with weight dist. hitch. Hopes this helps a little. Let us know how it goes.
  • dnbqeednbqee Posts: 7
    Does any one know if the Siennas have transmission coolers already installed (going to be towing) or are they even required. I dont see any mention of them in the owners manual, so want to be sure. We will be towing a fairly heavy trailer. Had to install a cooler on our Odyssey. We have a 04 AWD Sienna. Wondering if the AWDs need more cooling etc. Any help appreciated. Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, up until the 2007 model year, the tow prep package was standard.

    For 2008, they made this an option, but most vans in my region still got it.

    I know 07s had them standard, though.
  • I purchased a Reese type hitch from NAPA and installed it myself on my 2006 Sienna AWD. Fairly easy to do since the nuts are already welded into the frame. Just a matter of bolting it on with four bolts. The right side is a bit of a pain because the exhaust pipe is in the way but it can be done with the proper tools. Bought the wiring harness through Ebay and it was a snap to install. Only had to remove both tail lights and the rear panel below the tail gate to connect the harness.

    Pulled a 1200 pound tent trailer to PEI and back last month. It was so easy I had to look back at times to make sure the trailer was still there. Great towing vehicle and I still got 18.5mpg on the trip while towing the trailer. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That sounds good, I know towing kills mileage.

    I had a 1998 Forester that averaged 25.1mpg over its lifetime, and I got about 18mpg on one tank while towing the whole time.

    I'm sure the big V6 simply handles the load better.
  • Thanks for the reply. Between you and the crowd, am definitely going to get the WDH (Looking at the Reese mini 400) and the air bags. We had our local hitch guy put a DrawTite on and with the bikes on the receiver hitch, it will drag on a steep driveway so definitely need a little lift there.

    Now if it will just cool down a little, it will camping around here a little more bearable.
  • I recently bought a Sienna 2009 XLE Limited with the EVP-2 package. I was also understanding that the van came with the tow prep (engine cooler, transmission cooler and wiring harness). This was not the case. The vehicle does not have the tow prep and the dealer is now telling me that it cannot be put in after the fact. I have researched the web and cannot find any after market information for this van. Can this be done after market and will it void my warranty?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It was standard in model year 2007, but in 08 they made it an option, a couple hundred dollars or so.

    I don't see why it could not be added, though, isn't is basically an oil cooler?
  • prs82prs82 Posts: 1
    I am looking at a 2009 Sienna. I am trying to decide if I need the towing package. Does anyone know if it is any more than the wiring harness and the hitch? For $220 it would seem no additional coolers, such as transmission, would be included but I have been unsuccessful in verifying.
  • mhierholmhierhol Posts: 4
    I have been looking at 2009 Sienna XLE's and LE and have had two dealers (Fred Anderson in Raleigh, NC and Mark Jacobsen in Durham, NC) both say the 2009's are not coming standard with the towing prep package. NEITHER DEALER could verify if you could put a hitch on the van. I guess it would be too much trouble to speak with the service manager to get the truth.

    I noticed when building a Sienna on the Toyota web site that it states the tow package is not allowed. I'm confused.

    Anyone know the truth on the 2009's? Do they have enough cooling to handle towing?

    It is looking like a Honda Ody for me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not so fast...Honda's towing kit includes and oil cooler (for the trans, I think?) and a power steering fluid cooler, plus a harness and the hitch itself, plus labor.

    I have the 2007 Sienna brochure, and here's what it says:

    Tow Prep Package - 3500 lb towing capacity with heavy-duty radiator, heavy-duty fan, 150-amp alternator and power steering oil cooler.

    I got it on my 2007, because I think those things are useful in other ways.
  • mhierholmhierhol Posts: 4
    You are right, the Ody requires those additions to be tow ready.

    According to the dealers, the 2009 Sienna's are not coming with the tow package option and therefore a hitch can not be added. This tow prep package was standard through 2008.

    Here is the response from the Fred Anderson Toyota
    "Unless it comes from factory with the tow prep package, it can't be added here unfortunately. So if you need one with the tranmission cooler and the ability to tow upto 3500lbs, then it might be out unfortunately. I still don't know why toyota removed it from the standard equipment back from 2006. My guess is that they put the 3.5L motor, stability control, etc in them and didn't raise the price, so something had to go."

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It was a $220 option for 2008.

    On my 2007 it was standard on the model I got, LE with package 3. Not an option listed seperately, but part of that model.
  • tomn3tomn3 Posts: 5
    Go over to There is extensive discussion on this very topic. Don't know about the 09's but the 08 has everything needed(less hitch and wiring) except the oil cooler. It can be added after the fact. Many on that forum are doing it.
    I'm adding the hitch myself for hauling bikes and will ad a cooler if I decide to tow.
  • jhschiffjhschiff Posts: 1
    My dealer had trouble finding what the package included. So they compared a Sienna with package to sienna without on adjacent lifts. The conclusion was that the package include an extra engine oil cooler ( not xmissin cooler), and that everything else was the same. In lieu of having the oil cooler, he suggested using synthetic oil which doesn't beak down at high temp.
  • I'm thinking about install a hitch on my 2010 Sienna. When I look under, the exhaust pipe is in the way on the right side. Will the frame slide in there, or I have to detach the pipe first? The pipe seems to be welded in place. No idea how to detach it.
  • Hi Airmanmj2001

    Did you find solution ??????

    I am in the same situation i just bought 2010 sienna LE and i need to add towing Hitch.

    Not for towing purpose, i need it to protect my car from stupid drivers when they try to park/leave behind my car.

    I had to repaint my BMW 325i bumper 2 times.
    the good thing that my insurance cover that.
    the bad thing, it will be registered in car carfax history.

    Thank you for reading and advices

  • No... But it looks to me there might be just enough room to just pull the pipe away to squeeze the frame in. At least from the hitch picture I was looking at, it seems so.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I installed one on my 98 Forester and had to remove an exhaust hook to do it (I put a jack under the muffler and lowered it slowly).

    Just a thought but be very careful not to damage the exhaust.
  • I got a U-Haul 78270 installed myself today in 20 minutes or so. The predrilled holes line up pretty well. I slided the right side flank in first from above the tail end of the exhuast pipe without any problem, and then the left side. After that, all I had to do was to tighten up 6 bolts. That's a snap!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How much did that cost you? I may do the same thing. Been debating it for a while.

    How much ground clearance did you lose at the rear? Departure angle I mean.

    Found it for $150 on-line, did that price include the wiring harness? Was that plug-n-play or did you have to splice wires?
  • You can buy it on eBay for $135 shipped. I didn't get the wiring harness, since for now I only got bikes to put on a hitchrack. I heard some folks had hard time installing other hitches (curt, etc.) because of the small margin of error for the predrilled holes, and uhaul one is the easiest to install. You don't lose much ground clearance either, since it won't be the lowest point of the undercarriage. I would admit though it certainly doesn't look as good as an OEM hitch, but that's what you expect from aftermarkets.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good price, though I'd want the wiring also. Did you ever find out how much extra that would cost?
  • aguerinaguerin Posts: 1
    Thanks for your info- I'm looking at purchasing the uhaul hitch you noted (78720)- what size bike rack can be used with it- the one I'm looking at says it converts from 2" to ! 1/4" easily. Haven't ordered anything yet- hoping to make sure sure the bike rack and trailer hitch work together first. Thanks to anyone who knows. Artie
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