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Discussion Starter #1
Installed rear air bag suspension on the HL few weeks ago. Significantly improved rear suspension when towing by greatly reducing rear sag due to the weight of the trailer. Installation was straight forward. I'm not aware of specific kit made for the HL, so I used the kit for Toyota Sienna made by Air Lift. Last photo shows where I put the driver side air valve on bottom of rear bumper. Here's the Amazon link to it:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CFS028/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Yeah. Those work great. Install is straightforward. Here is etrailer video for sienna just for ref: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjI9ToaUFrw

I installed them on my old honda van (sold) and one my current van. I run between 25-30 psi and a bit more with cargo or on long road trip.

Did you combine the air lines or keep separate? I kept them separate.
 

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Nice! Thanks for sharing.
So you don't need a separate compressor for these - just fill it / measure it same way as the tires?
I'm guessing the pressure will fluctuate with the temperature, similarly to the tires?
Pardon my ignorance, but did these completely replace the stock struts or you left the stock ones in place? (I haven't looked under my car recently so don't remember how it's designed. :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have separate lines with separate fill valves. I wanted to keep the lines as short as possible and not use any fittings to minimize potential leakage. Thank you for posting that link. I watched several youtube videos on air bag installation on various cars before attempting the installation on my own.


Unlike the previous generations, current generation has the rear shocks outside of the springs. The only thing you have to remove is the hard rubber cone bumper inside the spring. This cone is bolted to the top spring mount, but can be easily unbolted by removing the nut that holds it. Getting the cone out of the springs is tricky but can be done without removing the springs. Yes, you fill up the air bags through the air valves like you fill up tires. As surgeon0 mentioned above, 25-30 psi is the pressure you want to fill up to when carrying heavy loads - this is pretty much the pressure range recommended by the manufacturer.


Without any loads and at 25-30 psi, the bags raise the rear about 1/2-1", and also make the ride bouncier in the rear. I keep the air pressure about 5-10 psi (5 psi is the mfr's minimum recommended pressure) when car is not loaded and reduces the bounciness significantly.


We have a 2500 lbs (dry) travel trailer that we tow 5-6 times a year with the HL. With the trailer hitched and trunk loaded with stuff for camping, the rear factory suspension sags badly, which led me to extensive research on means to improve the rear suspension. Air Lift offers non-car model specific kits that can be ordered based on inside dimensions of the springs. My research showed that the air bag size used in the Air Lift Sienna kit matches the air bag size recommended for the inner dimensions of the HL springs. The Sienna specific kit is also cheaper. Ride-rite by Firestone is another manufacturer that has good reviews.
 

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Thank you for sharing this information and for adding the pictures. Once I get a utility trailer and I consider this, I know where to look up this information now. Thank you!
 

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Adding info. These air bags are great way to strengthen or prolong life of the coil springs. Although default instructions and videos take the easy way of combining lines into one, having two separate lines allow you to adjust your load to level according to the stance. With one valve, its all-or-nothing. I routed my lines to the gas filler area to make it clean and convenient; also acts as a visible reminder to fill/check.

For no-spring, shock absorber type, the only option is to check on Monroe sensa-trac load adjusting shocks. Even with this, not available for all brand-model-yr choices unfortunately.
 

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I don't really tow, but I use a hitch rack, which I load up and likely hit the max load of 500# of tongue weight over bumps and such. This looks like it would help a lot for such situations, AND I really like the idea of keeping them on at a lower PSI setting to help prolong the stock shocks.

What do you experienced folks think?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I took that picture at a bad angle.

The air bags would definitely help with leveling the rear when you have the bike rack on the hitch.

Here's a picture of my trailer hitched up the HL with the air bags fully inflated. Last photo is a close up of the rear quarter panel wheel gap.
 

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htioki, likewise with members on "Like" and Thanks for sharing!! Great decision to have the left/right bags with separate/independent line & air valve.

Not sure where you reside, if you will have to face winter climate/snow/etc. With regards to the location & position of the air valve (being almost directly behind the rear tire splash zone and the valve is placed facing downward), you may want to relocate the valve(s) to inside the cabin and position it side way.
Happy Towing!
 

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Why do you think there is no specific kit for the Highlander? Seems like it would be a popular candidate as it has a higher tow rating than the Sienna.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I live in So Cal, where there's no snow. I agree that in areas where there's snow, you may not want to expose the valves.

I think the question should be "when", not "why" there's no HL specific air bag kits. And that's the question for the air suspension manufacturers (Air Lift, Firestone). I am guessing that they probably will come up with these kits, but it's just a matter of when. In my case, I couldn't wait.
 

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I live in So Cal, where there's no snow. I agree that in areas where there's snow, you may not want to expose the valves.
That's nice! Yes, I am in the Chicago area, so winter slush and ice will always be something to be concerned with when installing something on the exterior; even the OEM mud guards I had to strength a few of the anchoring screws/fasteners to make sure the mud guards stay in place in case I missed as I sometimes kick the accumulating slush between the mud guards and the tires... :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just did a 120 miles round trip carrying 4 bikes with a hitch mounted bike rack. Air bags were inflated to 25 psi. If I remember next time, I'll take a picture with the air bags deflated for comparison.
 

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Cone Bumpper Removal

The only thing you have to remove is the hard rubber cone bumper inside the spring. This cone is bolted to the top spring mount, but can be easily unbolted by removing the nut that holds it. Getting the cone out of the springs is tricky but can be done without removing the springs.
I installed this same kit in our Sienna twelve years ago and it has worked great towing a heavy boat and loaded up van on our annual 600 mile trip every year.

My plan is to install them in our 2016 Highlander, but removing that nut that holds the cone bumper - I am finding not so easy. With the top of the spring covered by a plastic piece, and the frame covering half of that, how in the world did you get tools in there to loosen the nut? I tried different combinations of sockets, universal sockets, extensions, etc. with no luck yet. It would help if I knew exactly what size nut it is. I assume metric (14mm)?

Any help is appreciated!
 
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