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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here’s a progress report and photos of my 2021 Sienna XLE AWD part time camper conversion.

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First I removed the 3rd row seats and inserted an older Honda Odyssey plastic cargo liner into the back storage well. It’s not an exact fit but I like the deep sides for spills and protection. You can see the small black metal legs that will support the sleeping platform.

Next I removed both second row seats and attempted inserting airbag simulators but the airbag lights kept coming on so I reinstalled the seats, drove the van to the dealer and they reset the airbag system. I did not disconnect the battery while doing this so I’m assuming from reading other current posts that may be the next step towards solving the second-row seating roadblock. I’m still determined to remove these somehow!

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Then I built a simple sleeping platform in three sections using a 4’ x 8’ sheet of ¾ inch birch plywood and clear pine 1”x4”s underneath for support. Six metal legs inserted into metal flanges support the platform that is secured by aluminum turnbuckles.

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The view from the back and the view from under the sleeping platform.

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The legs and flanges are SteelTek brand structural pipe fittings purchased at Lowe's Hardware.

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The sleeping platform measures 48" wide by 72" long. It touches the second row seats and the rear automatic door closes perfectly.

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This is the side view from under the sleeping platform. Metal legs have rubber caps and sit directly on the carpet. Birch plywood is finished with water-based polyurethane and edged in black rubber weatherstripping to prevent scrapes to the interior.

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A set of 25” x 75” tri-fold 4" memory foam cushions fit snugly together to cover the entire platform perfectly. They are fairly comfortable, easy to fold up when not in use, and were approximately $70 each on Wayfair.

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While driving the sleeping platform is always folded up and secured with a nylon strap. This gives us room to use the second row seats and fully access the refrigerator and all cooking gear in the back cargo compartment.

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We use a ICECO refrigerator / freezer combo which gets plugged into our van’s 110w plug when traveling and then into our Jackery/500 12V plug when we are parked for longer periods of time, at our campsite, and all night long. The Jackery gets plugged into the vans 110w and charges while we drive. The ICECO is quieter than expected even while sleeping directly above it.

Another purchase that was well worth the money was a complete set of window covering by WeatherTech. I researched making my own on YouTube but was so happy I ordered the set. They look great, fit perfectly, provide protection and privacy. I also purchased front floor protectors from WeatherTech, which are fantastic.

The kinks that still need to be worked out are finding enough space for everything we want to take on our camping adventures. I am thinking of a rooftop cargo carrier since I’m still stuck with the second-row seating.

The mileage has been phenomenal with an average of 36 - 40 mpg. This is the first hybrid I’ve had. The van does not have the feel of a V-6 and often seems like it is struggling. I guess it’s just something to get use to. I’m very happy with my new 2021 Sienna and would enjoy seeing your camping conversion ideas.
 

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2021 XSE AWD PP Celestial Silver Metallic
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I like your bed design. Is it safe to assume you made it that height so the fridge would fit under? And of course operate the turnbuckles.

Is it easy to take out the 3rd row seats? Any airbag or seat belt warning issues doing that?

Thanks for the great photos and descriptions....keep them coming! I like to check out all of the varieties of van conversions out there, even if my managing editor won't let me do ours. She did agree we don't need the 3rd row seats or their weight. I hope they are easy to put them back in if they are needed.

PS I bet a roof top carrier will put a huge dent in the MPG. I had to laugh at a local Prius a few years back that had 2 big Thule boxes on the roof to carry 1/10th the toys I had in my gen2 Sienna, and probably getting the same MPG. Think big, travel small.
 

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Very nice. Our sienna is on order so I'm looking at design choices for my camper build. I've been looking at designs that are easy in/out and adaptable depending on what we need for the trip (e.g. chairs nor not). Seems this would store in garage well. How long does it take set up/take down? (ignoring seat renewal) an one-person setup or is it a two-person job? I see the connectors in the middle so the long pieces are separated. That is a lot of force on that one connector does it flex a lot?

I not sure your design would still work with chairs in but down but not obvious if you could tie down.. what do you think?

What is the height? can you sit on it with mattress and not hit roof? and how tall are you if it fits.

Not clear but I see a second tube mount on the section by the second-row. Is that intended to come out and be a table (with 4 taller legs)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very nice. Our sienna is on order so I'm looking at design choices for my camper build. I've been looking at designs that are easy in/out and adaptable depending on what we need for the trip (e.g. chairs nor not). Seems this would store in garage well. How long does it take set up/take down? (ignoring seat renewal) an one-person setup or is it a two-person job? I see the connectors in the middle so the long pieces are separated. That is a lot of force on that one connector does it flex a lot?

I not sure your design would still work with chairs in but down but not obvious if you could tie down.. what do you think?

What is the height? can you sit on it with mattress and not hit roof? and how tall are you if it fits.

Not clear but I see a second tube mount on the section by the second-row. Is that intended to come out and be a table (with 4 taller legs)?
dr. innovation, The set up is easiest with two people. The three pieces fit nicely stacked against the wall in the garage and it takes about 10 minutes to set-up or take out. There is not that much flex and yes, one piece comes out and converts to a camp table with longer legs. You cannot sit up in bed but it feels comfortable and safe. Thanks for your comments!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like your bed design. Is it safe to assume you made it that height so the fridge would fit under? And of course operate the turnbuckles.

Is it easy to take out the 3rd row seats? Any airbag or seat belt warning issues doing that?

Thanks for the great photos and descriptions....keep them coming! I like to check out all of the varieties of van conversions out there, even if my managing editor won't let me do ours. She did agree we don't need the 3rd row seats or their weight. I hope they are easy to put them back in if they are needed.

PS I bet a roof top carrier will put a huge dent in the MPG. I had to laugh at a local Prius a few years back that had 2 big Thule boxes on the roof to carry 1/10th the toys I had in my gen2 Sienna, and probably getting the same MPG. Think big, travel small.
PetTaxi, It was fairly easy to take out the third-row seats. It's a little more difficult to but them back in since they've got springs. I've done it a couple times. The only warning light that comes on is one to remind you to check to see if you've left anyone (a child) when you turn off the ignition. No airbag or seat belt warning other than normal. Thanks for the comments.
 

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PetTaxi, It was fairly easy to take out the third-row seats. It's a little more difficult to but them back in since they've got springs. I've done it a couple times. The only warning light that comes on is one to remind you to check to see if you've left anyone (a child) when you turn off the ignition. No airbag or seat belt warning other than normal. Thanks for the comments.
Toyota Sienna 3rd Row Seat Removal - How To - YouTube
this is very informative on removing the 3rd row seats
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
FloydP1324,Thanks for your interest. Since the floor in the Sienna is not completely flat the three pairs of legs are all different lengths. The height of the sleeping platform above the floor averages about 16 inches.
 

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Nice build!

If you'd disconnected the battery before removing the second row seat, would that have kept the airbag lights from coming on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Joshua, Disconnecting the battery may be the answer but I have not tried it yet. I'm hesitant to keep playing with the airbag system and have learned to work with the second row seats intact. Please let me know if it works for you.
 

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Joshua, Disconnecting the battery may be the answer but I have not tried it yet. I'm hesitant to keep playing with the airbag system and have learned to work with the second row seats intact. Please let me know if it works for you.
There's this guy on YouTube who did remove his 2nd row seats and he recommends detaching the negative terminal of the 12v battery. He had not problems!

 

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Seems like you have sufficient space with 1st row seats far forward and then 2nd shoved all the way up. I tested this in a Deakership lot. Seems ok- tho tight as I’m 6’
 
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