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Old 07-03-2014, 10:20 AM   #1
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Question Suspension Upgrade

I don't like the way my TV (2007 Toyota Sequoia SR5) rides low when I'm pulling my rig. Maybe it's just optics, but I would think that a better suspension would help pull the rig more efficiently and maybe even get better gas mileage. Should I upgrade my suspension, and if so...to what? Rear/Front/Both?
I have no clue about how to beef this up. Here is a pic from last weekend on Lake Superior. The TV has nothing and nobody in it...it's completely empty. I would think that it should sit more level. Your thoughts and expertise are appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:56 AM   #2
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What is the tongue weight of your trailer and what is the payload capacity of the Sequoia?
It looks to me like you have too much tongue weight or not enough weight distribution. Can you raise the ends of your WD bars or rotate the head to add more tension?

You shouldn't need a suspension upgrade unless you are overloaded. But airbags would be my suggestion if you go that route.

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Old 07-03-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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SUVs typically have squishy rear suspension. Pretty much the only thing you can do about it (assuming you've adjusted your WDH and hitch weight to optimal settings per instructions and weighed it to verify) is add airbags or beefier springs. I added Roadmaster Active Suspension to mine, and it helps a lot, but it's designed for leaf springs. For the Sequoia, you might be left with Timbrens, air bags, or HD shocks. The Timbrens are VERY popular in this application and deserve a serious look.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:43 AM   #4
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Some squat is normal, even if it it looks too low it might be OK. I'd be more concerned about the amount of weight being taken off the front wheels than about how much squat there is. Not enough weight on the front wheels can dangerously diminish steering control. Its hard to tell from the photo but the front looks high. In your manual there should be a specification about how much distance is allowed for the lip of the front fender. Without the trailer, you need to measure the distance of the front wheel lip from the ground at the center of the wheel. Then put the trailer and and without the w/d hitch on and measure again. Every manufacture had their own spec about where the w/d hitch needs to be adjusted for proper front end height (which is actually the weight on the front wheels).

For example, GM says when using a w/d hitch it must be adjusted so that the wheel lip is back to its unhitched height. Ford says it can be half the distance. Hopefully that makes some sense and you can find that spec for your Sequoia.

Using air bags or other suspension enhancements will improve your ride but will not add weight back to the front end. So before you go that route you need to get the w/d hitch dialed in correctly.

My Sierra drops about 1 1/2 full inches in the rear when hooked up making it look low in the back. But the front is back at stock height and it tows and steers just fine. Note how high your back end is when not having a load on it. That height is to compensate for loads.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:08 PM   #5
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Try shortening the chains on your WDH and it will push down on the front end of your truck. The way that looks I doubt your getting the braking power or steering stability you should.

Is that picture truck and trailer loaded with stuff as well? Anything in the trunk and in the trailer front of the axle will cause more tongue weight effectively squatting your truck. Airbags can greatly help but if the weight is not distributed well the front will still rise.

Measure from wheel well to ground with the trailer off the truck on all four wheels. Then measure with the trailer attached and WDH on. The drop in all four wheels should be within 1" or so of each other. This should be with an empty truck and trailer.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:30 PM   #6
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To the OP.. All of the advice to "try this" or "tweak that", ignore it. That's not how you adjust WD. The trailer should be level or close to it before beginning the WD adjustment. That's done by moving the hitch head up or down on the shank. Once the trailer is level, measured from the four corners to ground, leave it alone. The WD is not going to level the trailer, and it shouldn't be used to try to level the TV.
With the trailer loaded like you are going camping, use the hitch head tilt and chain tension to get the front end returned to the spec in your owners manual. Toyota says return it to the unhitched height. Once you are there, leave it alone. At that point you have returned the weight to the front that is removed by hitching the trailer and that's where you stop. Resist the temptation to tweak the hitch to make the truck "ride better" or make it look right. The rear is going to sag and that's normal. If it sags too much for your taste, then you can always add air bags or helper springs. Keep in mind that adding these items are not going to change the ratings of the TV, and you'll have to readjust the WD after adding them.

You'll do well to follow the installation instructions for your particular hitch, ignoring any reference to measuring the rear or trying to change it's height. That is old school from when the family station wagon was used to pull travel trailers and it doesn't apply to current thinking. Get the front right and let the rear take care of itself. A sagging rear is not going to affect the way the rig handles.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeG View Post
The drop in all four wheels should be within 1" or so of each other
That is not correct. Nowhere in any current hitch installation instructions will you find a reference to how the rear should sit relative to the front. This has been discussed ad nauseum on RV.net.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:53 PM   #8
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Also keep in mind that once you have your hitch dialed in according to the instructions, if you decide later to add suspension parts to your truck (like air bags or springs), you will need to start the WDH setup process from scratch; re-measuring all your fenders (front AND rear), adjusting head tilt, adjusting spring bar tension, etc...

Then always verify your setup by weighing it; that's the only way to truly tell if you're dialed in, regardless of what it looks or feels like.

And remember, the key here is transferring weight, NOT getting it to ride level.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Landry View Post
To the OP.. All of the advice to "try this" or "tweak that", ignore it.

....

Get the front right and let the rear take care of itself. A sagging rear is not going to affect the way the rig handles.
Your post is spot on. But this is exactly what I said. I didn't advise to "try this" or "tweak that". Or did you just skim my post?

BTW, I am glad you found the part about Toyota's front height spec. I couldn't find that anywhere.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:42 PM   #10
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Your post is spot on. But this is exactly what I said. I didn't advise to "try this" or "tweak that". Or did you just skim my post?

BTW, I am glad you found the part about Toyota's front height spec. I couldn't find that anywhere.
I don't think I was referencing your specific post. The point I was making is that there are many threads on all of the RV forums on adjusting WD and too many times we will read something that says try another link and see if it drives better, or you need more tension to get the rear up, or some other nonsense like that. Many people just get their instructions on how to do something off the Internet, third party, blogs or the old standby, "my cousins's friend's brother on how to do something and we all know how good a lot of that information is..

On the Toyota spec, the manual for my Tundra said go for half the distance. I could be wrong by assuming the Sequoia would be the same since it's built on the Tundra chassis.
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