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Old 09-29-2016, 07:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
...I wonder if they lower the engine cradle?
Wondered the same thing. If so, that can't be cheap. Regardless, I'd contact them and ask what methods they use to lift and align. Alignment is key... a lift is worthless if you have to constantly replace tires due to irregular wear.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:28 AM   #12
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Lowering the engine cradle would also retain suspension geometry in conjunction with taller struts, since the lower control arms attach to it.

But maybe a simple rear air ride would be enough for you? Just crank up be rear as needed? It'll give you a little more break over and departure clearance without harming the fuel economy or driving dynamics the rest of the time. Approach clearance can probably be improved with a saws all
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
I've read a lot of threads about AWD Chevy vans..I'd say 17 is probably realistic if you don't beat on it or lift it and add larger tires...
Yup that's what we saw in ours _before_ we did all those blingy things you mentioned : )
We get ~14/15 around town and ~15/16 on the highway just a tad under GVWR. But honestly to have all the fun-convenience factor in a rig where ever we are is worth it, and we've only put ~6K miles on the rig annually over the first 6 years of ownership so fuel cost is nothing major for us.

: ) Thom
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Old 12-02-2016, 02:18 PM   #14
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This project moves on. We bought a off lease 2014 Sienna AWD Limited with 28,000 miles for about $30k. So far we have a one week long trip from Salt Lake to climb at Red Rocks outside Vegas. About 1,000 miles of driving and 6 nights slept in the van. The wife loves it so that is a big check.

We only had it a week or so before the trip so I didn't have time to do much of anything. So I just removed the 2nd row seats, folded the 3rd row into the floor, and laid out 4" bouldering pads with a 2" full size gel memory foam topper on them. Shoved our bags and stuff in the 2nd row space behind the driver's seat.


A few thoughts so far:
Limited Model: I have to say all the features of the Limited were impressive with blind spot monitoring, heated seats, rear camera, and dual sunroofs.


Driving: it hammered down the road and our 1000 mile trip and got around 20 mpg rolling at 70-85 mph for most of the miles.


Tires: the run flats are BS. It is winter in Utah so it just got new Blizzak DM-V2 tires put on 235/60R18 107S XL. This is an up size as our stock was 235/55R18. It raised the ground clearance about 0.5". At the moment I have a donut spare and an inflation kit.



Poptop: going Limited means I will not ever go poptop with this rig. GTRV wants LE models without sunroof. I can imagine sunroof would pose a challenge when cutting in roof.


Rear Sunroof: its big and lets in lots of light in when the shade is opened. I also can standup through it. Will I make coffee or cook on the roof at some point? Yes likely.


Pull down DVD player: One night we were out alone in a remote area without any friends camping with us so we watched a movie. It was kind of nice. The rig did shutdown after a little bit (?30 minutes) so I started the ignition for a bit.



Things to work on:

Bed: The sizing and space worked well for us. 48" at head with tapper to 42 at feet. I've got to build a proper bed platform and I'd like it to convert to a bench. That is next on the list. Post trip I've removed the 3rd row seats. Loads of space there! Still thinking a layout like this guys. Just going to build something. Wood is cheap.




Ground Clearance: I still want more for sure. I'm looking at getting some custom coil springs made to lift it 1.5"-2". I've got a local shop which said they would swapout the springs.



2nd row windows and sunroof: I'd like to be able to open the rear sunroof from the back without touching the ignition. This seems tricky as I'm not electrical expert. If I can do the add a fuse trick to back power the fuse box circuit that work work but might be too space limited for that. If you have ideas I'd love to hear them.


Electrical: Charging cellphones was a struggle and I'll have to find a solution. At the moment putting in a plug and play lithium ion solution is the most attractive too me. Leader right now is the Bioenno Power M400 $489 10"x6"x10" with 400W from Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. I've looked at Goal Zero Yeti 400 but they are Lead Acid and LiFePo seems to make more since. Others out there to look at? I'd love something more around 500 watts.

LED lights working on converting the interior lights to LED. It is nice the accessory lights work with the ignition off.


Couple pics from our first night in the van above I-15.



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Old 12-02-2016, 02:40 PM   #15
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Nice! Did you ever look into coilovers from ground control?
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:42 PM   #16
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Thanks, I sent them an inquiry but they don't do Siennas.

Found Gecko Suspension; looks like they do Sienna lowering kits. Maybe?

Coil overs have intrigued me, as they seem like ideal for my use. I could run at stock height for 95% of driving and I'm guessing ?30 minutes to raise?
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrasclimber View Post
...Electrical: Charging cellphones was a struggle and I'll have to find a solution. At the moment putting in a plug and play lithium ion solution is the most attractive too me. Leader right now is the Bioenno Power M400 $489 10"x6"x10" with 400W from Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. I've looked at Goal Zero Yeti 400 but they are Lead Acid and LiFePo seems to make more since. Others out there to look at? I'd love something more around 500 watts...
Here's what I think is the identical twin to the one you linked, and cheaper too.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M260BAN...5HYSHXKK&psc=1

I also looked at this Anker one. Ive had good experience with Anker but it is significantly more expensive. When they come down to $300 I'll probably snap one up.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0196GQAKM...I1XKEHQSE7I5QA


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Old 12-05-2016, 09:54 AM   #18
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Hey thanks for the suggestions! From my research it is imperative I do not buy a lithium-cobalt oxide battery so any company which doesn't state which type of lithium battery is in it I have to eliminate.


I've had great experience with Anker products also. However, the Powerhouse uses thirty six 18650 Batteries (basically AA) soldered together. They are not user or manufacturer replaceable and no info on the lithium type. AA batteries are roughly 2"x0.6" so that is about 26 cu in of battery volume. It seems to me that just must be the highest density lithium-cobalt oxide battery.

The Suaoki looks great but really poor info so I'm not sure of the battery type? I wrote them to ask.

I contacted Bioenno Power and they replied and said "It is comprised of 26650 LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) cells, but arranged in the pack. The battery is manufacturer replaceable." They seems like a good US company looking to stand behind their product. More and more I'm willing to pay an extra 30% for this sort of quality and service.

Probably I will wait til the spring and see what products Goal Zero enters into the market space. I don't think I need the battery this winter so may as well wait a bit.
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:18 PM   #19
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Anker PowerHouse is now down to $425, from just $499 when I first posted it.


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Old 12-08-2016, 06:14 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Sierrasclimber View Post
...I've had great experience with Anker products also. However, the Powerhouse uses thirty six 18650 Batteries (basically AA) soldered together. They are not user or manufacturer replaceable and no info on the lithium type. AA batteries are roughly 2"x0.6" so that is about 26 cu in of battery volume. It seems to me that just must be the highest density lithium-cobalt oxide battery...
Anker responded to an e-mail that I sent them. The good news is that the 18650's that they use are Panasonic brand (who make outstanding batteries), but they couldn't provide more info than that. Panasonic has numerous 18650's and I really didn't want to explore all the different possibilities.

FWIW, Tesla uses Panasonic 18650's (no idea which particular battery) as the basis for their vehicle batteries.


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