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Discussion Starter #1
It's time: my daughter is off to college. At the end of August, we are going to embark on a cross country, round trip odyssey of probably more than 6500 miles to take her to school in our trusty 2010 Sienna van. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have to prepare our vehicle for this journey.

The vehicle has about 175k miles on it, but I think it has been pretty well maintained. I recently replaced the fuel pump, and changed all the fluids at 150k miles (pink coolant, 11 quart transmission fluid change through the cooling lines as described in this forum, power steering fluid flush). Oil and filter were just changed, and have been changed every 5k miles since we purchased the van. I changed the air filter, cleaned the throttle plate and MAF, and had all 4 tires replaced at 162k miles.

Given this history, what actions should I take to prepare our van for our summer trek? Are there things that I should replace now, before the trip, to minimize the risk of a calamity? Is it worth bringing the vehicle in to the dealer and having the maintenance department look it over (and take the risk that they try to sell me service that I really do not need)? While I know that --it happens, I just want to be sure that I am not overlooking anything.

Thank you for your recommendations.
 

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Do you have an engine oil cooler (tow package)? If so, are the lines all metal? If not, replace those ASAP.

Other than what you list, check the brakes. How are the rotors? How thick are the pads? When was the last time the brake fluid was replaced?

Also, get underneath and check for any leaks or torn boots (axle/CV and steering).

Have fun! I will be doing a shorter trip (~4000 miles round trip total for both kids back to back) for the same reason in our 2007 (~148k miles).

I also purchased a shifter bushing repair kit and will have it along with a set of tools with me.

-Mike

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If you're getting good gas mileage and the brakes and suspension are in decent shape, the only other issue I could see is the AC refrigerant level. If it blows ice cold air, it's probably fine. Having done cross-country trips, both east/west AND north/south, a lot more cars perform a lot better than you would imagine. From the looks of it, you put a decent number of miles on the van each year, so you might want to replace the oil a few days before you leave. Otherwise, you will put 6500 miles on top of 1500 miles, which would be fine, but would exceed your "every 5k miles" by 3k miles. Oh, a good set of wiper blades are essential and have someone verify that all your bulbs all around the car are working.

Aside from those things, make sure the tires are properly inflated (including your spare) and ensure the washer fluid is totally full before you pull out of the driveway. You have no idea how many bugs will be splatted on your windshield every few hundred miles. It's totally likely that you will have to buy a new jug of fluid before you get home, given the time of year you are driving.
 

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Good tip on the spare. You will want to drop that down and inspect it sooner than later as it may need to be replaced. My 2007 is starting to show signs of dry rot. I have full-sized spare that I'll be taking with me so am not worried about it. I also carry a tire plug kit and 12V compressor as I would rather drive on a plugged full-size rather than an intact donut for any length of time.

-Mike

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Maybe someone here knows if the AC can be bypassed. My brothers Civic AC went on the fritz a thousand miles from home. Acting up, on or off, it had to be fixed. Cost time, big money and a motel. Five years later it went on the fritz again but this time at home, so the pressure was off. He found a shorter belt and just bypassed the AC. Kept the car from being "repair bill totaled". Keep a spare belt, and if you can, an AC bypass belt, if it's possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Do you have an engine oil cooler (tow package)? If so, are the lines all metal? If not, replace those ASAP.

Other than what you list, check the brakes. How are the rotors? How thick are the pads? When was the last time the brake fluid was replaced?

Also, get underneath and check for any leaks or torn boots (axle/CV and steering).

Have fun! I will be doing a shorter trip (~4000 miles round trip total for both kids back to back) for the same reason in our 2007 (~148k miles).

I also purchased a shifter bushing repair kit and will have it along with a set of tools with me.

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Thank you for the advice. Yes, we did have the engine oil cooler line replaced about 40k miles ago when my wife was driving the van and the line blew. Fortunately, she immediately pulled over when the oil pressure light came on but there was no apparent damage to the engine. It also appears that the VVTi oil hoses are also the full metal ones, and do not have the rubber section. I did get a P0015 code on a long trip a couple of years ago, so I replaced the little VVTi filters and switched from dino oil to a synthetic blend. I have not seen the CEL since that incident. All axle and steering boots look to be intact.

Would you elaborate a bit on the shifter bushing repair kit? Is this something I should keep in the van?

OT: Congratulations on your kids success and future tuition payments!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you're getting good gas mileage and the brakes and suspension are in decent shape, the only other issue I could see is the AC refrigerant level. If it blows ice cold air, it's probably fine. Having done cross-country trips, both east/west AND north/south, a lot more cars perform a lot better than you would imagine. From the looks of it, you put a decent number of miles on the van each year, so you might want to replace the oil a few days before you leave. Otherwise, you will put 6500 miles on top of 1500 miles, which would be fine, but would exceed your "every 5k miles" by 3k miles. Oh, a good set of wiper blades are essential and have someone verify that all your bulbs all around the car are working.

Aside from those things, make sure the tires are properly inflated (including your spare) and ensure the washer fluid is totally full before you pull out of the driveway. You have no idea how many bugs will be splatted on your windshield every few hundred miles. It's totally likely that you will have to buy a new jug of fluid before you get home, given the time of year you are driving.
Thank you for the advice. I did the pads, rotors, changed the brake fluid, struts, and shocks at about 140k miles. I like your idea about changing the oil and filter right before we leave - quick and easy to do. I did not think about the checking the lamps, wipers, and wiper fluid level - thank you for the reminder. AC is working fine, but is there a way for me to check the coolant level myself? Or is this something that I should have done by a service technician?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good tip on the spare. You will want to drop that down and inspect it sooner than later as it may need to be replaced. My 2007 is starting to show signs of dry rot. I have full-sized spare that I'll be taking with me so am not worried about it. I also carry a tire plug kit and 12V compressor as I would rather drive on a plugged full-size rather than an intact donut for any length of time.

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Yes, indeed - I will check the condition of the spare. Several years ago I had a small emergency compressor that came with a tool kit, but it got destroyed when our prior van was rear ended and the whole area behind the seats was crushed (BTW, that was a 2004 Sienna which did exactly what it was supposed to do - it collapsed completely, absorbing the energy of the collision so that both my kids and my wife walked away completely unharmed). I think I should probably pick up a new emergency toolkit - do you have any recommendations?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe someone here knows if the AC can be bypassed. My brothers Civic AC went on the fritz a thousand miles from home. Acting up, on or off, it had to be fixed. Cost time, big money and a motel. Five years later it went on the fritz again but this time at home, so the pressure was off. He found a shorter belt and just bypassed the AC. Kept the car from being "repair bill totaled". Keep a spare belt, and if you can, an AC bypass belt, if it's possible.
Thank you for the advice. I am not positive, but I think that the serpentine belt has never been replaced on this vehicle (I will have to check my old service records - I know that I have never done it). Would it be wise to have this replaced before we leave? How long do these belts usually last? Do they fail catastrophically, or will there be a period of squealing alerting me of impending failure?
 

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I would also replace the PCV valve and take a glance at the vaccum lines have a safe trip
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would also replace the PCV valve and take a glance at the vaccum lines have a safe trip
Thank you for your recommendation. I will have a look at the vacuum lines. I actually replaced the ventilation valve when I did the spark plugs at 120k. Do you think I need to replace it now?
 

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Thank you for your recommendation. I will have a look at the vacuum lines. I actually replaced the ventilation valve when I did the spark plugs at 120k. Do you think I need to replace it now?
No, If you replaced it at 120k you should be good
 

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Would you elaborate a bit on the shifter bushing repair kit? Is this something I should keep in the van?
I've heard more than a few instances of shifter failures (can move shifter but no movement at transmission). The bushing failure is almost always the culprit. I don't think you can get the bushing alone from Toyota. Here is the link to the repair kit:


It meets all of my requirements for something to carry in the van at all times, and certainly for a long trip:

Small in size
Hard or impossible to find at an auto parts store on the road
Easy to fix/replace on the road
Not an uncommon failure
Can immobilize vehicle if/when it fails

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If you don't know when the serp belt was replaced, it may be a good thing to replace ahead of time. It will usually start squealing or your AC light will flash in the rain if the belt has stretched too much. I replaced mine at 120k miles.

-Mike

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I don't have a specific recommendation for a toolkit. Mine started life as a cheap Black Friday sale kit and I took out what I didn't need (SAE stuff) and added to it (trim panel tools, multi-meter, tire plug kit, compressor, silicone tape, duct tape, etc). I also carry a quart of oil, coolant, PS fluid (Dextron III), ATF (and a funnel).

I like my compressor which is a SuperFlow MV-50. It fills the tires pretty fast for a 12V. I got it as a lot of the 4x4 crowd used it for airing up. After 12 years in the van, the air hose did become brittle and disintegrate, so I replaced that with a standard air hose. I am also a fan of the Stop and Go tire plug kit. It uses mushroom plugs and a special insertion tool. Used it a few times on motorcycles and cars and it created a pretty permanent repair.

-Mike


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Discussion Starter #17
I've heard more than a few instances of shifter failures (can move shifter but no movement at transmission). The bushing failure is almost always the culprit. I don't think you can get the bushing alone from Toyota. Here is the link to the repair kit:


It meets all of my requirements for something to carry in the van at all times, and certainly for a long trip:

Small in size
Hard or impossible to find at an auto parts store on the road
Easy to fix/replace on the road
Not an uncommon failure
Can immobilize vehicle if/when it fails

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Sounds like good, cheap insurance. Thanks for the recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you don't know when the serp belt was replaced, it may be a good thing to replace ahead of time. It will usually start squealing or your AC light will flash in the rain if the belt has stretched too much. I replaced mine at 120k miles.

-Mike

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Yeah, I think that I have a job to do this weekend - thanks for the advice. Anything else that should be changed while I am over there? Tension pulley?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I don't have a specific recommendation for a toolkit. Mine started life as a cheap Black Friday sale kit and I took out what I didn't need (SAE stuff) and added to it (trim panel tools, multi-meter, tire plug kit, compressor, silicone tape, duct tape, etc). I also carry a quart of oil, coolant, PS fluid (Dextron III), ATF (and a funnel).

I like my compressor which is a SuperFlow MV-50. It fills the tires pretty fast for a 12V. I got it as a lot of the 4x4 crowd used it for airing up. After 12 years in the van, the air hose did become brittle and disintegrate, so I replaced that with a standard air hose. I am also a fan of the Stop and Go tire plug kit. It uses mushroom plugs and a special insertion tool. Used it a few times on motorcycles and cars and it created a pretty permanent repair.

-Mike


Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Yeah, I already have a set of jumper cables and a few other things I keep in the back. I think I may just put something together bit by bit, and pick up a duffel or something to keep it from rolling around back there. I will check out your suggestions. Thanks!
 

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Good advice from the other guys. Don't forget flashlights, emergency flares or strobe light and a small fire extinguisher. Better to have everything mentioned and not need it than to need it and not have it.
 
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