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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking into buying a Gen 2 or 3 Odyssey and want to install 3 cargo boxes on the hitch (total of 40 cu.ft.) and a 4-bike rack on top. I estimate total weight to be 620-650 lbs, so let's say 700 lbs.

Is this possible? Would the problem be with the hitch structure itself? Or the attachment points hitch-to-chassis? Or chassis strength itself?

Since this will be a cantilevered weight on the rear axle - I guesstimate 1000 lbs -- will I be exceeding Rear GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) published at 2840 lbs? If not, I can try to address suspension geometry with air-bags.

As an option, I can mount a roof-top cargo carrier, and lighten the load on the rear hitch by 150 lbs. So hitch load would be 500 lbs = 800 lbs cantilevered.
 

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700 pounds of tongue weight is very heavy. You will need a Class III hitch. Even so, the van will sag a lot under this weight. Air bags will be a must for preserving suspension height and for maintaining vehicle stability and handling. As for GAWR, it depends on what else you carry inside the van. With that much weight on the hitch, you won't have the capacity for much else. If a trailer won't work, maybe you need a pickup truck?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, air bags would be a pre-requisite to these loads.

I am not sure if the hitch class is the only issue. Yes, theoretically I could put a class III or even IV (universal) and have the hitch capacity, but other questions remain -- will the chassis withstand that much weight hanging off the back, bouncing, inertia? What about axles/ bearings/IRS/ brakes?

I could try to put a roof cargo box, thus the hitch would be loaded with 500 lbs, which is more manageable (if possible).

On the other hand, Roof-Box would cost me a 2-4 mpg penalty on highway, which would make the van a 20 mpg runner, which is close to the full-size Ford Van I used to have (18 mpg), but which I am trying to stay away from.

I want the Odyssey A)- to be spacious for my family travel, B)- be efficient in MPG and footprint (parking issues); yet C)- carry these loads. P/U truck can't do (A) or (B).
 
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