Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After several years with Astros, I bought a 2013 Sienna with 50K late this January. The intention is to have a decade-lasting car and camper for the two of us and our pup. We camp year round -- mostly to facilitate skiing and backpacking. I'll be using this thread to share progress and no doubt solicit advice.

The interior goal is a simple, stealthy build that quickly converts between three configurations: seating 5 with seat belts, hanging out facing each other, and sleeping two + a pup. Hope to also have a small kitchen-esque space in the rear.

Outside the internal build things will be pretty simple. Upsized 3PMSF-rated AT tires (done), 3.5" lift from Journeys (I've been happy with their kit on my Astro) and a roof box. The lift is to give us just a bit more height for accessing more trailheads around the mountain west. After build is complete may add some airbags to help prevent sag when loaded up.

A few intro shots:

Fresh rubber and roof box mounted. (This was the morning of a 700mi ski trip to Silverton, and my first time driving Red Mountain Pass ever. During a big snow event. At night).


Some sketches of the folding bed setup. Current draft plan which will no doubt see a lot of modifications. It will hang off the rear seats and be divided in two so one of us can move about if we get up early. A box/cabinet in the rear will complete the bed and act as storage space.


The plywood for the build (and for a few other house projects). Love being able to carry 4x8 full boards in the back without issue except moving drivers seat a touch forward.



And the only sticker that's going on this one to keep it a bit more stealthy.




More to come. Look forward to all your thinking and adivce!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Got some drawings mostly done, time to start cutting some foam to test fit -- then wood!

View looking in passenger sliding door. Box under closest panel is cooler which will be an option to use as a bed frame support if you don't want to pop out the legs.

46034


View from rear with cabinet/box for the last 18" of the sleeping platform. Will be building this to size after the main platform is build. Supports to level the seat-portion of the platform peaking through.
46035


All folded up and stored behind the rear bench. Plan to use folding metal support legs a bit smaller than the ones pictured. Exact positioning on the seat is tbd once we start playing with foam.
46036
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
964 Posts
I am following this for sure! Your plan is almost identical to one of the ideas I thought of for a seat 4/sleep 2 camper. I'm very excited to see what you come up with and to follow your progress!

-Mike

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After a day of test fitting with foam and making a few adjustments, main platform pieces are all cut and partially sanded. Using 3/4 birch ply for the main platform. Pop out legs will be metal as it'll mount in a smaller space.

The curves by the foot of the bed help the platform clear the ceiling as it's folded out. You could also make this same design w/o the cut down the middle. But this way gives us the flexibility to only use one side if camping solo.
46048


We are thinking of a solution to make the wedge supports foldable for maximizing space when the bed is stored away. Thinking possibly just folding brackets mounted on opposite sides of the supports may be enough to resist the relatively small amounts of side-to-side force may work.
46049


Here's draft idea of the rear cabinet. Also birch ply (mix od 3/4" sides and top and 1/2" front/rear cross braces). Construction will be pocket holes + glue. Longer term plan is for a shallow flush-mounted sink on right side, and a shallow drawer on the left for kitchen basics. Underneath we plan to leave relatively open to allow for gear storage. May or may not include the folding front as seen. This could act as extra prep space, but would mean an additional opening/closing step to get gear out each time.

This is as if you're looking in from under the tailgate. Overhangs minimize the gaps between our platform and the sides. This has been a source of annoyance (esp for my partner) in our current rig.

Plan is to assemble all but the top, then test fit foam for the best location and dimensions for it in relation to the platform folded and unfolded before securing.
46050

Not having a solid rear back will give up a bit of rigidity, but will allow better maximization of storage space (and reduce weight.)
46051
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just mocked up a notched tie-beam for the supports. The final version is going to be made shorter and installed further back on the supports.

The main supports will fold inward on piano hinges. So when the platform is lifted up they will flip down and the cross-beam will be slipped in. One extra step, but should be about 5 seconds per side. If I was living out of it it'd be annoying, but for 30-40 nights a year, no biggie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the hinges all mounted, and the first bit of strap-work done. This is the platform folded behind the rear seats and hanging off the headrest supports. The beds take up about 2.5in of space behind the rear seats.




Nice and sturdy when deployed.




Now time to build the rear cabinet.
 

·
Registered
2006 LE
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
Me neither, cant see pics
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not sure what caused pic failures -- but it is update time (with fresh photos.)

Got out this weekend for the first couple nights testing the bed setup with the dog and myself. Worked as expected! which is about all one can ask for. I've made a few changes to this version 0.1 of the build. I'm sure it can be improved but need to live with it for a while to see the real flaws that bother me.

Biggest change is that we decided to forgo the fold-out legs for the final portion of the bed. Instead, we are using a cooler and a pop-up table for support -- one of each side -- each at 18" tall. This made sense for us because it is a bit more modular, re-uses things we carry for camping anyhow, and also allows for a larger rear-deck with less gap between it and the middle section when folded down. The only obvious downside is that one can't use both the cooler and table while the other person sleeps -- but this seems like an edge case not worth solving for yet.

Setup was sturdy and comfortable. Drove it over 40mi of washboarded dirt (including some pretty exciting narrow roads) and all stayed in place well and didn't rattle noticeably. Transition to/from bed mode takes about 1min per side with one person. It is a sequence that needs dialing to do smoothly.

Anyway, photos.

Each portion hangs off the rear headrests. I used some D-anchors and old ski boot power straps.
46362


In "stored" mode for travel or hanging out inside the van. The folding sections are secured with two cam strap that run over and through the seat to snug the boards up to the rear seats and keep them in position. Worked well but I think this strapping could be improved. Once the seat is folded down, I loosen the straps enough to slip them off the edge of each board (in order to then raise the boards into a flat position).

Rear cabinet design got slightly updated -- spacing the supports closer together to allow easier access to the the jack area and the jump-seat storage. I also shortened the length of the supports by about 1/2" to allow installation of adjustable feet to level it more exactly and fine tune height.
46363


Post trail-run breakfast making.With one seat up and one seat down, I could pass through breakfast to the flat seat and use it as a table to avoid eating out in the rain. Mental note: need an awning setup.

We plan to add a large drawer directly under the top on the left side for kitchen supplies. And perhaps a small flush-mounted/recessed sink on the right side.
46364


Or if it's not a side table, it's a spot for the pup to have a nice view and rest.
46365


Inside, eating breakfast out of the rain with one table down as a side table.
46366


I plan to take fuller pictures of the beds deployment method once we get the final pop-up table ready this week. Along with pictures of the strapping solution which I feel is one that could certainly be improved but need some thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A few long overdue updates:

Got married in a COVID friendly way, and slept in the van for our week long camping/backpacking first honeymoon.
49504


Got lots of fall camping in. The 6'x8' ARB awning is pretty clutch in rain and sun.
49505


Current project: a kitchen/power/water cabinet. It'll hold a little lithium battery generator that powers a 12v water pump and will provide recharge of phones/laptops/etc when we're on the road. Fold out 100w solar panel tucked away when not in use. Also will be building a little table top that can attach either inside or outside (adjustable leg)
49506
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Congrats on the marriage and thanks for the update photos.
Our sienna is on order so I'm getting more serious about design choices.
In this setup can you fold up/down bed/back-seats from inside or do you have to remote the rear table and insert notched-tie-beam from outside first?
I want a setup where we can sit and eat, so was wondering how hard to use the back seat for that vs building a camping box with table in it. (My other design ideas include something similar to Arches | RiverLeaf Camper Con and ) but using the actual seats would be way more comfortable for sitting if the bed can be taken up/down easily. Then I could build the "kitchen" on the side for easy access inside and use the area where you have the kitchen to store the cushions and luggage when the inside is "up"

In the new addition, does the kitchen interfer with the bed? seems wider than those I've seen in other designs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Congrats on the wedding! I'm enjoying seeing the mods. I have a 2012 the same color as yours and just ordered the Journey's kit and airlift 1000's. We (wife and four young boys) pull a pop-up around Wyoming forest service roads etc. Did you install the lift yourself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Congrats on the wedding! I'm enjoying seeing the mods. I have a 2012 the same color as yours and just ordered the Journey's kit and airlift 1000's. We (wife and four young boys) pull a pop-up around Wyoming forest service roads etc. Did you install the lift yourself?
A pop up makes total sense for a family! Enjoy. I did not install the lift myself. It was installed and aligned at the Aamco in Longmont CO on recommendation of Journey's.

Congrats on the marriage and thanks for the update photos.
Our sienna is on order so I'm getting more serious about design choices.
In this setup can you fold up/down bed/back-seats from inside or do you have to remote the rear table and insert notched-tie-beam from outside first?
Thanks!

Obviously, the Gen 4 Sienna will require slightly different configuration. I can fold up and down from inside (including the notch/tie/beam insert, it is easier to do from the outside.

I want a setup where we can sit and eat, so was wondering how hard to use the back seat for that vs building a camping box with table in it. (My other design ideas include something similar to Arches | RiverLeaf Camper Con and ) but using the actual seats would be way more comfortable for sitting if the bed can be taken up/down easily. Then I could build the "kitchen" on the side for easy access inside and use the area where you have the kitchen to store the cushions and luggage when the inside is "up"

In the new addition, does the kitchen interfer with the bed? seems wider than those I've seen in other designs.
The arches setup is pretty slick. Every time I see a different design it'd be better than what I have...but mine is mostly* built. The interior kitchen does interfere with the foot of the bed -- it'll cut off about 6" of the last 18". Not a big deal for us, perhaps for others. The wife was insistent that if we were going to have a sink, it be large enough for dishes. That necessitated a wide-ish cabinet.

Once the kitchen is in and we get our new mattress -- I plan on doing a walk through video.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Joining the party....(following a certain YouTube design...credit to Bruce Parks)...a pandemic boredom buster.
Sweet dude -- this is really nice. Very close to Bruce's rig -- which I got to see in person a few weeks ago when he drove through Denver and we compared rigs. Even got a shout out from him in a recent video.

My cabinet is still not quite finished, but it's been camping a few times and is quite functional. Running water is super nice. Since the most recent pic I've got the drawer/cover in front of the sink on, and have drawers built just not mounted yet.


Before starting a patrol day --
50168
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Lookin' good.

I tried to copy Bruce as much as I could in concept. I didn't want to go full out on the electric, or at least I don't have the time right now, so I spent more (lots of critics) but decided on a Jackery 1000 (and I have portable solar panels). My decision was based on the idea I could use it outside the van as a backup power source for power failures.

I didn't go with an electric pump for the sink, but the manual...I had to add a piece of tubing on the end of the spout to keep the water from splashing in the sink and add a little more focus (easier to rinse toothbrush, etc. while manual pumping). I love the location of the sink on the side. We can open up the door and use the counter as an outside coffee bar. The Jackery allows us to power our knock off K-Cup brewer and make a coffee in not much more than a minute.

I will post more pics later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I really like your whole weekender set up, kudos on the creativity and execution. Do you have any pics of how the bed fits along the kitchenette and cooler? Also, would you mind sharing a parts list for the kitchenette? I also live in the Front Range and am aiming to do build like yours, thank you for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I really like your whole weekender set up, kudos on the creativity and execution. Do you have any pics of how the bed fits along the kitchenette and cooler? Also, would you mind sharing a parts list for the kitchenette? I also live in the Front Range and am aiming to do build like yours, thank you for sharing.
Sorry I missed this. I can work on a parts list -- anything in particular you're interested in? You're welcome to come take a look sometime -- it's also at Loveland most weekends.

Here's a photo of the bed in sleeping mode, along with the nice mattresses my wife made. We went with an upholstery foam 3" thick, random cloth and some beefy zippers. Cut to fit around the cabinet. As you can see, the color acts as a support for the last bit of our bed.
Car Vehicle Motor vehicle White Light


This summer we also added a road shower. Pressurizes off a air compressor, and provides nice warm water when baked all day in the sun.

Train Sky Cloud Hood Transport hub


Recently just build a new center console as well. This allows us to easily move it behind the passenger chair, and use it as a seat when we play cards/eat dinner while camping inside in the winter. Being able to move it out of the way also makes moving front to back easier when it's cold outside.

Motor vehicle Car Vehicle Automotive design Vehicle door

Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Wood

Motor vehicle Car seat cover Automotive design Car Mode of transport

Motor vehicle Car seat cover Car seat Car Automotive design
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top