Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm going to start throwing everything I do to my 2021 XLE Plus Sienna into this thread.
My goal is to make a nice weekend/week-long camper van that is capable of handling long distances, snow/mountain activities, and some off pavement roads. I might copy some stuff I already posted in other threads so it's all just in one central location.

To start off I'll say good bye to the old adventure van and hello to the new one.

Kiki (delivery service)
Cloud Tire Sky Car Vehicle

Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Trunk Hood


Brown Cow (name is still being decided)
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Vehicle registration plate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Flooring

I used this video to help me remove my middle row seats.
Removing 2021 Sienna's "Non-Removable" Seats (UPDATE IN DESCRIPTION) - YouTube

I bought some universal airbag emulators from Amazon. But they weren't very good. The plastic case is too big and the prongs are too think to plug into the plug. I just ended up breaking the case, pulling out the resistor, and taking a Dremel to flatten down the prongs. Then I used electrical tape to secure them to the plug. The creator of the video makes his own now and look really nice
Amazon.com: Delaman Auto Car Airbag Emulator Simulators SRS Fault Finding Diagnostic Repair Tool Universal Black : Automotive
Airbag Simulator for Toyota Sienna 90980-12697 - Brad's Hacks (bradshacks.com)


For this setup, I decided that I was going to keep my rear seats and make sure they are fully functional with minimal effort. Unlike my 2005 though, the flooring is very uneven and needs a floor to sleep comfortably. I also wanted a little space under the floor to stow stuff, but not so much that I lose headroom. I also had to noodle on how I was going to put in under floor access and maximize room. I ended up deciding to move the seat brackets back to the point where they could help support the floor and focus on the section behind the front seats as storage.

I started by creating a stable frame to mount the floor to. I used 4 inch 1/4" bolts and washers and the factory seat rails. Used a grinder to cut off part of the washer that would go inside the tracks. That way they can slide into the track, then twist them and they lock in.

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Flooring Plank



Cut some shims to the angle I needed to make the floor more even with back and give the floor a little room

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Product Motor vehicle


I ground off the extra length of the bolts and drew out a floor template with cardboard making sure I left cut outs for the rear seats to click down into place. I also measured out the size of my cooler so I can open the hatch without having to move it.
Wood Bumper Hardwood Wood stain Automotive exterior


I used 7/16" sanded ply. 3/4" would be much sturdier, but it's also a lot heavier, twice the price, and harder for me to work with (I'm quite new to all this). This also shows one of the hatches cut out. Left the passenger side longer to hold the cooler. I cut the floor shorter for the driver side for when taller people use the car (like taking it into the shop).

Hood Automotive design Wood Floor Flooring


Here's the result after finishing the hatches. Don't mind my rookie uneven cutting.
Motor vehicle Vehicle Wood Gas Automotive exterior

Wood Flooring Floor Automotive exterior Vehicle



Trunk Machine Automotive exterior Auto part Engineering


I decided to leave the factory floor mats in there. I could probably gain a little room, but it's also good protection incase I spill something. I'm still up in the air how I want to finish the floor. I like the look of the wood, but its hard on the knees. I'm thinking of putting eva foam on it since it's soft and won't get quite at gross as the carpet in my old van. Also debating if I want to close off the sides or leave them open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Suspension

3" Lift installed and 20mm spacers.

Plenty of clearance for the front and rear bumpers now.
View attachment 52819

The ground isn't quite even here with the drain, but a good visual of how much space between the tire and the fenders.
View attachment 52820

Behind the front tire, there is a couple inches of space to increase tire size.
View attachment 52821

Between the front bumper and the front tire with the wheels turned, this is closest point. Without the spacers you're likely to have a little more room. The piece that the tire would come in contact with when running a bigger tire is the plastic so it can pretty easily be trimmed or heated and pressed in. No very close to contact with any part of the body though. If I go with 255/65-17, I would likely have to modify the plastic. 245/65 might work without modifying. I can also play with the offset spacing here if needed.
View attachment 52822

With the spacers, there is about 2.5" of space between the edge of the tire and strut (measuring diagonally). No issues here.
View attachment 52824


The rear strut and spring are no where near the tire so that isn't an issue at all. But, with the 20mm spacers, there is barely enough room between the interior trim of the door and the tire. You have to be very careful with your offset if you're going wider tires.
View attachment 52823

Also did a quick and dirty photoshop of the wheels/tires that will be going on this winter. I've decided on going 245/65-17. It gives maybe a 1/4" lift and when I have to lower air pressure I will still likely be at stock ground clearance to the suspension components.
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Hood
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
I’ll have a Xse by December-
My plan is for a Roof rack that goes on and off- wknd warrior.
Arb Awning with enclosure room will be sufficient. Camper by wknd- kid carter by week. Add a Thule box and I’m good.
I may lift 2” from Journeys next year.
 

·
Registered
2009 Sienna LE FWD & 2021 Sienna LE FWD
Joined
·
144 Posts
I really like your floor & mini stow-n-go storage. Brown is one of those car colors that makes me say "ewww" when I first see it, but I'm starting to wish I had a brown one too 😊
Have fun on your adventures!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Suspension

3" Lift installed and 20mm spacers.

Plenty of clearance for the front and rear bumpers now.
View attachment 52819

The ground isn't quite even here with the drain, but a good visual of how much space between the tire and the fenders.
View attachment 52820

Behind the front tire, there is a couple inches of space to increase tire size.
View attachment 52821

Between the front bumper and the front tire with the wheels turned, this is closest point. Without the spacers you're likely to have a little more room. The piece that the tire would come in contact with when running a bigger tire is the plastic so it can pretty easily be trimmed or heated and pressed in. No very close to contact with any part of the body though. If I go with 255/65-17, I would likely have to modify the plastic. 245/65 might work without modifying. I can also play with the offset spacing here if needed.
View attachment 52822

With the spacers, there is about 2.5" of space between the edge of the tire and strut (measuring diagonally). No issues here.
View attachment 52824


The rear strut and spring are no where near the tire so that isn't an issue at all. But, with the 20mm spacers, there is barely enough room between the interior trim of the door and the tire. You have to be very careful with your offset if you're going wider tires.
View attachment 52823

Also did a quick and dirty photoshop of the wheels/tires that will be going on this winter. I've decided on going 245/65-17. It gives maybe a 1/4" lift and when I have to lower air pressure I will still likely be at stock ground clearance to the suspension components.
View attachment 53009
Did you do anyhting to bolster the rear suspension? I've noticed that the rear end is prone to "sagging" when loaded. I wanted to get airbags, but the AWD isn't compatible and I'm looking for alternatives. I plan to (haven't yet) get the 3" lift as well, but I also don't want to be bottoming out all the time when loaded. Have you had any issues with that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Did you do anyhting to bolster the rear suspension? I've noticed that the rear end is prone to "sagging" when loaded. I wanted to get airbags, but the AWD isn't compatible and I'm looking for alternatives. I plan to (haven't yet) get the 3" lift as well, but I also don't want to be bottoming out all the time when loaded. Have you had any issues with that?
I needed airbags in the old van, but those springs had 220k miles on them. I'm hoping I don't need stiffer springs for the new one since you can't bag it. So far no issues at all.

The middle seats removed prob weigh about -80 lbs. I expect about 140 lbs on the roof when the roof rack, cargo box, and awning go on. Maybe 30 lbs of wood for the build and I expect about another 100 lbs of various crap to go in. I think I'll be okay as it only adds up to about 2 small humans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I’ll have a Xse by December-
My plan is for a Roof rack that goes on and off- wknd warrior.
Arb Awning with enclosure room will be sufficient. Camper by wknd- kid carter by week. Add a Thule box and I’m good.
I may lift 2” from Journeys next year.
Let me know how you like the arb room
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Window covers

My old van I built my own 5 layer window covers with built in screen mesh for when I open the windows for venting. Starting from outside in they were waterproof black fabric, reflectix, poly carbonite, reflectix, and microfiber on the inside. On the poly layer I folded in some nylon mesh at the top to keep bugs out with the window cracked. They were super insulating and kept the windows completely dry even in the winter. But they were so bulky I never took them out of the window. Also this summer when it got to 110 degrees the glue started to give out.

This time I decided to save myself a lot of time and ordered the weather tech kit. Honestly it didn't cost that much more than all the materials for my last build. They fit pretty good right off the bat, just a bit of gap around the edges. They are substantially thinner and so far there is a lot of condensation when camping even in mild weather. This could be because it's wetter this season, lack of absorbing materials, or because the van is lacking ventilation. They also don't provide any airflow with the windows cracked because there is no nice way to vent air when installed. Just folding them down didn't really work as they really like to be flat.

I had the idea of adding grommets to the top of the covers and having mesh between the grommet layers. The holes would be up high behind the window visors so you still can't see in but would allow some fresh air.


Wood Office supplies Font Material property Nail

Got a cheap grommet kit from Amazon and tried it out. The mesh didn't work out as intended since the installation requires putting a tool into the hole. But the grommets seem to work out and was super easy to install. I'll find out soon how they work


Automotive lighting Glass Water Wood Transparent material

Automotive tire Tread Tire Couch Wood
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Wood Automotive tire Automotive exterior Tints and shades Facade


Here's the look with the shades in. Even with the stock tint, the reflectiveness of the black side of the shades still makes it very obvious that there is a shade there. My old homemade ones used black fabric and has zero reflectiveness so it just looked like black limo tint. When using a flash light or headlights it's is even more apparent.

I'm also not a fan of the shiny reflective surface on the shades. I might cover both sides with more of a soft touch material that is not reflective. Waiting until summer to decide if I should add ceramic tint also.

Window Tints and shades Glass Metal Transparent material


I didn't do the best job of lining up the grommets in a perfect row... but there're there. Unfortunately, from the inside they look pretty close in line with the interior of the window. But, the Well Visors do not follow the same line. If you look at the outside picture, you can see that the visors actually slant upwards as it goes towards the rear of the car. I assume for better aero dynamics. But, that also means there is very little window coverage for the sliding door windows. It's still enough to make it hard to peak into the grommets, but it also means you can't roll the windows down very much before water gets in and starts running down the shade and into the door panel. Red line indicates the angle of the visor.

Automotive lighting Wood Font Rectangle Grass


It is disappointing on how small of a opening it will cover. My brothers land cruiser can open the windows a good 2 inches and still be completely covered by his well visors.

The well visors look nice and the chrome was a nice touch to make it look like the stock trim. Installation was a test in patience as the little plastic rivets are very small and finicky. Luckily they give you plenty of extras. Overall the quality is very good and feels very secure.

There is a fitment issue though as they do not completely cover the trim. They're about 1/8" to 1/4" too short. I had to choose to either center them and have it short on both ends of each visor or slide them one direction or the other. I chose to have it look as good as possible where the driver door meets the sliding door as this will be the part I see the most. You can see in the picture below the fitment difference.

front of driver door -> driver door meets sliding door -> rear of sliding door.

Window Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire
Automotive lighting Window Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle
Window Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle Grille


My first week long trip in the van was fine though and I didn't have much of an issue with condensation even with the limited amount I could open the rear windows. If I need more ventilation in the future I may need to replace the well visors with something with more coverage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
To finish up the flooring, I decided on 1/2" eva foam. I wanted something that would provide a bit of comfort since sitting and kneeling on bare wood was a bit cold and uncomfortable. Also wanted something to act as a bit of support and protection since I used fairly thin plywood. And finally I wanted something easy to clean and maintain. Sand, spills and odor on carpet is just not something I wanted to deal with. Sweeping is so much easier than vacuuming. (note to self: I really should clean before taking pictures)

Automotive design Automotive exterior Tints and shades Auto part Composite material

I got a pretty good deal on the foam. $25 bucks for 12 squares. If you watch the price on amazon or walmart sometimes they dip down to half price unexplainably. You can bond pieces together with rubber cement, which I will do when the rain stops. Eva is really nice that it's soft, easy to clean, and super easy to work with. I just used a long straight edge, a box cutter with a pack of razor blades and a large kitchen cleaver with a honing /sharpener rod.

Surprisingly, its much easier to cut with a nice large kitchen knife when trying to make long straight cuts. Just use low pressure and take your time. After a couple passes you'll have a clean straight cut. And with a couple quick passes with the honing rod, the knife is sharp again... instead of burning through razor blades. Eva foam will dull a razer blade quickly.

Hand Hood Wood Finger Flooring


I decided I liked the idea of hiding my compartments and made it so you could lift out the foam to access the panels below, but there was no tell tale signs of something under the floor.

Kitchen appliance Automotive design Gas Machine Trunk
Hood Automotive lighting Bumper Motor vehicle Automotive design


* note: Notice how the foam lifts up a bit when I open the doors? I tried to cut the foam along the cut of the wood. Because I didn't get it perfect and the door rubs the foam on its way up it lifts. In retrospect, I should have cut the foam slightly larger than the hatch so there would be no rubbing and the foam floor could still lay flat with the door open. Oops.

For the back I had a couple decisions. I could stop the foam right where the board ended, which is where the seat clamps onto the floor. But, if I did that, there would be a noticeable edge between the board and the seats when folded down. Instead I laid the foam out all the way to where the seats fold into the floor and then the seat flaps lay right on top the edge.

I also needed to make sure there was an opening for the seat to lock into the u shaped bracket. I was thinking of just cutting that section out and have it open, but I thought I would instead make kinds of a hatch there instead. I cut the foam in a "H" shaped pattern and test fit with putting the seat up and down. When the seats are up, they just push the flaps down and lock into place. Then when I stow the seats the flaps would come back up and look flat.

Well that only worked in testing. In practice there isn't quite enough room in there to push the foam flaps down without squashing it. So with the seats up for the last few days, the foam flaps are now just smooshed into this form all the time. Oh well I tried.

Automotive tire Vehicle Floor Flooring Trunk


The whole floor in general is very comfy, cheap and easy to set up and maintain. And if I need too I have extra panels and can replace in a heartbeat. The floor itself doesn't move around much at all. But, I'm not doing yoga or anything crazy in my van when I'm in there. Even still I'm going to rubber cement the tiles and edges together so they'll be a bit more solid. No need to attach to the wood floor. Also need to finish up the edges next to the trim so it doesn't look like an incomplete puzzle.

Still to do or to finish:
Storage solution behind the drivers seat and maybe along the whole drivers side.
Lighting
Fan, ventilation, and screening
Curtains
Roof rack/awning
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Curtains

Last time I bought curtains I bought a really cheap set of blackout curtains from Walmart. I didn't realized that there was only colored fabric on 1 side and the other side was like a white vinyl material. So this time I made sure to buy a higher quality curtain so both sides would be the same fabric and color. Cut down the curtains to the length and sewed the hem on the bottom.

Brown Textile Sleeve Comfort Grey


One of my pet peeves of van curtains is when light leaks around the side and top. I don't always sleep in the woods or campgrounds, so I feel really exposed if light is coming from my van while I'm in the city. Since its challenging to put up a curtain rod due to the weird shape of the roofline, there is usually a large gap between the rod and ceiling. I sewed the curtain loops so the rod would pass through the lower part of the loop, leaving more material to sit above the rod and fill in this gap.

Hand Textile Sleeve Comfort Gesture


To keep the curtains closed I sewed on these Velcro tabs

Hand Tableware Wood Finger Material property


Wood Rectangle Automotive exterior Metal Auto part




As for the "rod", I happened to have a water tank install kit around to replace my water tank, but I ended up going with a tankless and never returned it. I had an idea that this might be flexible enough to shape to the form of the roof but still be strong enough to hold up the curtains. I used a pair of these, the ends slide into the interior panel where the seatbelts are and then I joined them in the middle with a zip tie.

Tire Body jewelry Automotive tire Wheel Auto part


Here you can see how easily it bends to mold to the shape of the roof
Auto part Composite material Font Metal Fashion accessory


Using a couple pair of pliers you can bend it into a V and it becomes much more rigid, capable of holding it's shape.
Sleeve Grey Composite material Rectangle Sportswear


For additional support I used a hammer and bent the L brackets that came with the kit and hung them from the interior lip of the sunroof.
Wood Rectangle Hardwood Composite material Wood stain


The back of seat pouches serve as a nice way to stow the curtains.
Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Automotive design


Got pretty dark so the complete photo and more detail to come...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Are the curtains only for blocking light from the front or do they also run down the side windows? Excited to see more pictures!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Shelving

My idea for shelving isn't very pretty... but it's modular, easily customizable, very light and easily removable. I use those DIY shoe rack kits. Again, more stuff I had laying around the house. I used this in my old van and it was incredibly versatile and functional so I used the same approach. Not exactly Instagram material though.

Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Terrestrial plant


Since it's modular you can sort of fit them in anyway you want. They come with these plastic corner brackets, but really you'll want to use zip ties and bungies to secure it after assembly. Here you can see the start of my building. Unfortunately I started with the seats folded down and realized that once I pop the seats up I was going to run out of room, so I had to start over. But that's the nice thing about this... you just snip any zip ties you used, pull it apart, and start again. I had a pair of snips and bolt cutters to cut them to shape on places where I wanted them to fit around the interior. It's handy to have a good file or a Dremel around to smooth out those edges after you clip them. I didn't catch that I had one rubbing against the interior trim for a couple days and it wore in a pretty good scratch on the plastic. It's also nice to get one of those enormous bags of black zip ties too. Mostly the small ones, but a couple large strong ones are needed also.

Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Mesh


I have the back panel go all the way up to the "oh shoot" handle and use some heavy gauge zip ties to fasten it. It's hard to really see any form of the shelf since you see right through the whole thing. I plan to put a solar generator at the bottom and a small induction stovetop above it. I also stole the cargo net out of my wife's Mazda and used it to hold blankets and pillows against the rear cup holder/window area.
Gas Auto part Service Machine Motor vehicle


As for safety, I went to YouTube and watched the crash tests for the car and paid attention to where the side curtain airbags come out (orange line in above photo). They fold down out of the seem between the pillar and the roofline, so I kept that space clear. I don't want wire shelving being launched at high speed towards my girls while they're in the back or the shelves possibly puncturing the bags before they fill.

I also attached the bottom of the shelf to the flooring and ran bungy through the whole thing to help secure it and things to it. In case of an accident I expect this shelf and any dangerous contents to crumple but be contained by having everything bungeed together. Anything that can fly, gets bungeed or strapped.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Gas


The tool crates are actually filled with food, spices, and misc camp gear like tables, tarps, grill grates, wood stove, wood pellets, stakes, tp, trash bags, etc. One cool thing about this is if you're at a camp site or a park, you can just take the whole thing out and wheel it to your destination. It's also water proof, rodent proof and odor proof. You can't smell the spices, food, or smoke from the wood stove in the car. That's huge!
Product Shelving Gas Retail Machine


The driver side sliding door area is my "garage". Although in the previous pictures it looks like a lot of the stuff is in the car, it's actually attached to the back. I have my hatchet, saw, 2.5 gallon water pumper, bottle jack, coolant, etc. Eventually when I get my roof rack and am able to mount my cargo box, a lot of dirty stuff can go up there.
Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior Vehicle door Gas


Well that's it for now. I'll post back with more later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Are the curtains only for blocking light from the front or do they also run down the side windows? Excited to see more pictures!
It only separates the front from the rear. The sides I use window shades because it saves a lot of interior space.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top