Toyota previa suspension issues

I drive a 1992 Toyota Previa mini van. I am a jeweler and I live out of my van, driving all over the country selling my work at craft shows and other events. Because my van is full of metal and rocks, I cannot keep new shocks for bottoming out immediately (I replaced them 3 times in 2 years, and then stopped) SO, the van rides way too low and bottoms out very frequently. In the last year, these issues have led to my radiator release valve breaking off, my transmission pan springing a hole (i hit a rock)and most recently my read axle need to be replaced because a bearing got loose did some damage in there…

I wanted to get a the suspension beefed up, make it ride a a regular height and stop bouncing down teh road. Several people have said this is absolutely doable, but no mechanic will do it. My father says the fear is that I will roll over if I ‘ride at normal height with an abnormally heavy load’ Is this fear warranted or paranoid?

If I do need to replace my mini van with a real cargo van, what would you recommend? I cannot spend more than 8k, financing is not an option.

I think you should get a used full size domestic cargo van. These come in configurations that will handle the weight you are carrying around. I prefer GMC/Chevy full size vans with the 5.7 liter (350) V8, just because it is a workhorse engine that is generally easy/inexpensive to repair. It won’t get great gas mileage, but I guess that’s the price of having a mobile business.

Driving your Previa around being extremely overloaded is dangerous. In an emergency stop you risk loss of control and stability. Get a real van.

I think it’s time to get a cargo van. Part of the issues with the Previa would never be solved, I’m afraid, because it sounds like you have continually overloaded the van, and that is seldom good. Given its age, it is time to get a newer, more appropriate cargo van.

What are the other heavily-laden craft people driving, Previas?

You need a different vehicle, one designed to carry the loads you haul around with you. The cost to safely modify this old van to suit you needs would far exceed its value. Be glad you got the service you got from this van, but find a heavier-duty vehicle. You’ll be safer in the long run. The Previa’s brakes were not designed to stop so much weight.

thanks for all your advice, even though it’s not what i wanted to hear. i guess it’s the universal opinion.