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I removed the roof rack. For me it looks cleaner. It will reduce the weight a bit and be more aerodynamic and so should increase the gas mileage a bit. But that is just a side benefit. On our previous Sienna 2006, I never used the roof rack. That is what the nice big back area with the seats removed is for along with a trailer hitch. (Don't get me started on the stupid seat trolleys in the new one)

Thought I would go through what I did to accomplish this. See attached pics. (Couldn't get all the pics on one post so added to the thread)

1) Rail removal is fairly straight forward. Remove the caps on each end of the rack. I used a trim tool. Unbolt the two bolts on each end (torx bolt) and remove.

2) That leaves you with three holes at each of the attach points. I wanted to make sure that there was no chance for water leakage so filled all of the holes with silicone sealant.

3) Put a bit of plastic bag material in each hole to fill up a bit and also make access to the threaded holes easier if someone wants to put the rack back on.

3) A bit of masking tape and then cut out the holes with a razor cutter.

4) Fill the holes with silicone sealant and level with a razor blade and then let cure for a couple of days.

5) Got my local sign/trophy shop to make up vinyl letter material to make 4 1/2" by 1" strips with rounded ends. This goes over the sealed holes for a final finish and water proof. The closest match they had for my Silver Sky Metallic was "silver". Not an exact match, but close and you can't see it anyway unless you're over 6' 2".
 

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Whatever floats your boat but I suggest you hang on to the rails for the next owner who may require them as a condition of purchase. I can't imagine buying a utilitarian vehicle like a van or SUV that doesn't have roof rails - wish the Sienna cross bars would "hide" in the rails when not in use like on a friend's Chrysler van.

I'm about to buy two bike carriers that attach to the Sienna cross bars so I can carry a total of six adult bikes - four on the hitch rack and two on the roof. I suspect it is going to be a challenge to hoist bikes up to the roof but hoping that someone standing up inside through the rear sunroof will be able to help attach the bikes to the roof rack. Whoo Hoo! No more taking two vehicles on road/bike trips.

One never knows when a roof rack might be needed, LOL:

 

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I really like the way you approached this modification. You like it and it's completely reversible when you go to sell the car.

As for the utility of a roof rack, the only car I've used the roof rack on was my 1991 Ford Crown Victoria when I had to take 4'x8' sheets of wood home from the hardware store. It wasn't even a factory rack, just a cheap aftermarket one you attached to the top of the car when you needed it. With the Sienna, I just remove the middle seats and fold the back seats to make room for hardware store trips. I didn't buy the Sienna for the roof rack.
 

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Nice work, all that matters is if you’re satisfied with the end results. Thanks for sharing this with the community I may try this simply to give a cleaner look and reduce the wind noise at highway speeds.


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Very well done, have thought about it myself. I'm curious how much they weigh...removal from the highest point in the vehicle is always a good idea.

I run bike racks once in a while and would prefer to have zero anything up there when I'm not. My old BMW sedan had no OEM racks but had reinforced threaded holes in the roof channels (with paint-keyed flaps!) that were brilliant with my Thule rack. I was able to keep the entire rack/crosssbar, etc. set up in perfect alignment and do on/off in with 4 screws!
 

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Very well done, have thought about it myself. I'm curious how much they weigh...removal from the highest point in the vehicle is always a good idea.

I run bike racks once in a while and would prefer to have zero anything up there when I'm not. My old BMW sedan had no OEM racks but had reinforced threaded holes in the roof channels (with paint-keyed flaps!) that were brilliant with my Thule rack. I was able to keep the entire rack/crosssbar, etc. set up in perfect alignment and do on/off in with 4 screws!
The roof rails are featherweight compared the the Sienna's 4,500 plus-or-minus weight and are nicely aerodynamic so that there is no noticeable wind noise. Removing them isn't going to make the vehicle less top heavy to a useful degree.

It would be nice if more Japanese car makers installed the covered threaded holes for racks like a number of European car makers do. At least two of our Honda Accords had them although racks that fit them weren't sold in the U.S.

I doubt that I could wipe down the top of my Sienna after washing it or wax the top of the van if I didn't have the rails to hold on to while standing on my little portable step stool.

It's interesting that you're using bike racks on top. As I said in an earlier post in this thread, I plan to start carrying two bikes on top when the weather gets warmer so that more than four of us can go on extended road/bike trips. I'm wondering how feasible it's going to be to lift bikes up to the top of the Sienna. It was hard enough getting bikes loaded on racks on the tops of regular sedans when I was much younger and our bikes back then were lighter racing bikes instead of heavier mountain and hybrid bikes all of us use now. Any tips you have would be appreciated!
 

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Very well done, have thought about it myself. I'm curious how much they weigh...removal from the highest point in the vehicle is always a good idea.

I run bike racks once in a while and would prefer to have zero anything up there when I'm not. My old BMW sedan had no OEM racks but had reinforced threaded holes in the roof channels (with paint-keyed flaps!) that were brilliant with my Thule rack. I was able to keep the entire rack/crosssbar, etc. set up in perfect alignment and do on/off in with 4 screws!
The roof rails are featherweight compared the the Sienna's 4,500 plus-or-minus weight and are nicely aerodynamic so that there is no noticeable wind noise. Removing them isn't going to make the vehicle less top heavy to a useful degree.

It would be nice if more Japanese car makers installed the covered threaded holes for racks like a number of European car makers do. At least two of our Honda Accords had them although racks that fit them weren't sold in the U.S.

I doubt that I could safely wipe down the top of my Sienna after washing it or wax the top of the van if I didn't have the rails to hold on to while standing on my little portable step stool.

It's interesting that you're using bike racks on top. As I said in an earlier post in this thread, I plan to start carrying two bikes on top when the weather gets warmer so that more than four of us can go on extended road/bike trips. I'm wondering how feasible it's going to be to lift bikes up to the top of the Sienna. It was hard enough getting bikes loaded on racks on the tops of regular sedans when I was much younger and our bikes back then were lighter racing bikes instead of heavier mountain and hybrid bikes all of us use now. Any tips you have would be appreciated!
 

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Toyota has some of the best car minds yet it seems that the idea that some customers simply do not want a roof rack never occurred to them. I will never carry anything on the roof of my 2008 Sienna Limited, I have a pick-up for that. I much prefer the clean look. Without that ugly, bulky rack, the van is a lot sportier and attractive. In a perfect world, Toyota would have a nice little kit that you plug those roof holes with once the rack has been removed. They would accommodate for the different hole sizes with different size plugs that you simply press in and, viola, 'done in ten minutes. Since this kit doesn't exist (yet), it is left to resourceful people like those on this thread to come up with a solution. Mine has come through several car washes with no leaks so I wanted to add my two cents. I will outline the steps I took in a numbered checklist as others on this thread have done:

1. Buy six boxes of the "Assorted" press plugs (#453140) from AutoZone. Each box has six plugs, three flat-head and three tapered. The flat-head plugs sit the most flat and flush so I went with those. Only three flat-head plugs come in each box so you will need six boxes to fill the 18 holes.

2. Buy some "Marine" Loctite from Home Depot. This was the most waterproof adhesive I could find and is easy to work with.

3. The holes where the long rack screws came out of are easy to plug. Simply squeeze some Loctite in the hole, press a plug down all the way until flush with the roof, wipe off the excess adhesive and weigh the plug down with something (I used a vase with water) to dry overnight.

4. The round and oblong holes that accepted rubber plugs from the roof rack are more of a challenge to fill. I took the advice of the gentleman who started this thread (thank you!!) and filled those holes with pieces of plastic grocery bags. I added pieces of grocery bags until the hole was full and then I added small strips of cardboard in hopes that the stem of the AutoZone plugs would have something to grip. Aggressively squeeze as much Loctite in those holes and then press the plugs in. Hopefully, enough grocery bag and cardboard has been added so that it offers resistance to the push-in plugs and it grips long enough for the Loctite to harden to create a tight seal. Wipe down the excess adhesive and weigh the plug down with something to dry overnight.

5. Once all the plugs have dried for a couple of days, begin the painting process - one coat of primer, two coats of base paint and two coats of clear coat. Done!!!!

This was a tough job for me with lots of trial and error so I hope to save others time and headaches. The end results is spectacular, it looks awesome and I couldn't be happier!


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