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What are the worst Gen2 rust zones to look out for when van hunting?

:unsure:
I'm currently trying to find a Gen2. I'm trying to determine what spots I should be poking or jabbing with a chopstick or wooden spoon before making a purchase (I also think maybe a good scrub brush is a good idea).:cool:
The worst I've seen so far have been a few Siennas with rotted rocker panels and a few with Toyota-typical wheel-well exterior rot. Where do I need to be extra careful? Where are the Sienna-specific structural trouble areas?

My price range contains a lot of "one small rust spot" Siennas. I have seen "one small rust bubble" turn into "no rocker panel" in four years; I have seen good-looking Previas with "one small rust spot" quickly joined by heartbreaking "control arm about to fall off" spots.:mad::cry:

No inspection can reveal everything, but some knowledge is better than none.

HiaceEnvy
 

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Check out Craig's List ads in NM/CO/AZ,UT. CA too but Siennas there tend to be expensive. It may be worth paying $150 for a flight and a couple hundred for a rental car and hotel night or two just to get a rust-free car from a desert climate. Having left a Midwest state as a young adult, I know that dealing with rusty cars in a PITA. It would be worth it to me to buy one that's spent 15 years in arid conditions.
 

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2nd gen's are entering the age where "rusty" won't save you much. Of course if your looking to drive five years for no money a low mile, slightly rusty Sienna's the way to go. Plus it's kind of nice to be able to modify without worrying about losing value.
 

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I am in the midwest and my 2007 with 173,000 miles has surprising held up well considering I live in the rust belt. The worst area is in the rear on the axle beam and shocks/springs area.
 

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I purchased a 2010 Sienna XLE (113,000 miles, one owner), near Boston in June. I brought it to my mechanic who put it up on the lift. He was really impressed, actually amazed at how little rust was underneath. He told me the Sienna's all tend to start rusting in the rear, we used flashlights to look up in the area between the 3rd row seat well and the rear bumper. He also carefully went around the rear wheel wells, and the seams in the rocker panels under the sliding doors.

I trust this gentleman who has helped me countless times over the years. After going over it top to bottom he told me to buy it, or he would.... I also looked for vehicles from southern and south western states. I was hesitant to try and purchase a vehicle I didn't really know that much about from a remote area.

Now that I own one and have already done a bunch of work upgrading front disc brakes and calipers, flushed the tranny and added an ATF fluid cooler, flushed out all the brake fluid and Power Steering fluid and I have driven it about 6,000 miles since I bought it in June, I might be more inclined in the future to do the airline ticket route. I'd be asking a ton of questions and looking for documentation before flying to see a "far off" location vehicle. Having said that Roader is absolutely correct, it's really hard to solve rust corrosion issues..... I walked away from 3 vehicles that just had too much rust underneath.
 

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My stock 04 has 253K on it, central NY area so lots of salt exposure. No exterior body/panel rust at all. Just replaced the lower control arms and ball joints for the first time. Control arm bushings were shot and while working on the van we noticed that the sub frame that holds the engine and lower suspension had heavy rust at one of its 4 bushing mounting points. This was the rear passenger side, the other 3 bushing mount areas were solid, both the subframe and the corresponding body frame. Opted not to replace the subframe. Van drives tight like new with the control arm replacements. Rear area structural rust not bad except for the rear wheel back plates. Just enough metal left to hold the parking brake components. Last spot to eyeball would be the AC condenser up front.
 
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