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Old 08-30-2012, 01:52 AM   #21
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

My sister-in-law drives a 2010 AWD that has been a great vehicle - right up until last Thursday when just 2 miles from home the engine grenaded for yet to be determined reasons; and the warranty fight has already started. They were planning on replacing it with a 2013 and will still be doing so.

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Old 08-30-2012, 08:45 AM   #22
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

This has all been very useful. Thanks.

I wonder how well this guy did with his Sienna:

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Old 08-30-2012, 12:19 PM   #23
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

From what he says in the end of his post its bone stock.
Do you have places you want to try to go with one?
Maybe you should ask him where he has taken it?
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:27 PM   #24
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

I, for one, will not believe he drove that in places jeeps had trouble with. Now, if he could make it over Mengel Pass, then I'd be a believer.

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Old 08-31-2012, 10:12 AM   #25
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
I, for one, will not believe he drove that in places jeeps had trouble with.
Love that his braggadocio was accompanied by a photo of a dirt road a PowerWheels Jeep could handle. And I get idiots in Subaru flying past my Jeep in questionable conditions all the time- it's not embarrassing so much as annoying, not vehicle capability so much as off pavement experience. With no question of the immense capability of either the Jeep or my van, there is no reason to fly along babby level gravel roads like I'm a superstar... drive out of a ditch one time and I'll be impressed.

The whole thing (especially the Explorer failing video) reminds me of this, a good clip on the BMW X6 crossover:

Around :48 you'll also observe why I hate drivers who stand on the brake until actually exiting the vehicle, levering themselves out with the brake pedal in fact- always been a pet peeve of mine although more often observed in parking lots the illustration of why this is a bad habit, to me, is priceless.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:02 AM   #26
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

Found a lift for a Previa ... &sk=t&sd=a

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:29 AM   #27
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

^^^ basically an extended tophat. import car guys have been doing this for years with great results. not for lifting, but for extending travel range for struts on lowered cars. Ive got a few sets on my racecars and they work great.

another option is coilovers. as mentioned before that the suspension on the sienna is going to be very similar to a camry which is basically a run of the mill strut. makes custom colover kits for cars (normally for lowering), but i have contacted them about making me a custom setup for my rally car and they said np. they use eibach springs on all thier setups which have proven to be quality for years. you could just buy a taller spring so that when you install you can adjust exactly to the height youd want. thier setups are normally in the $400 range.

one thing to keep in mind though is wearing out cv's. if you go too high with the ride height, you will be plauged with cv issues. I know this from doing the opposite. i had an integra lowered 5" and it ate axles like crazy. lifted back to a 2-3" drop and all my axle problems went away.

another option is just having custom springs made. most spring shops can cutom make coil and leaf springs to cater to your specific needs. no idea on price though.

another thing you will need to consider is alignment. you lift that van up 3" and your going to get some major positive camber. most alignment shops will tell you it cant be fixed unless you spends gobs of money on a camberkit. kits for macphearson struts are generally in the $20-30 dollar range and are basically a camed bolt that you install in either the top or bottom bole where your strut meets the spindal to help bump the spindal in or out to achieve a perfect alignment. if your a cheapskate like me, you can also oblong your spindal holes and achieve the same results. just make sure you replace those bolts with some good hardware so you can really crank them down once its aligned.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:36 PM   #28
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

I've had the pleasure of previously owning a 1990 AWD GMC Safari (sister to the Astro), and more recently a 2004 fwd (Front Wheel Drive) Toyota Sienna. I have to agree with most of what has already been said in this thread.

Safari/Astro: We had an all-wheel drive version that we drove the wheels off of back in the mid-late 1990's. I did do some light towing, but I had an F350 back then, for the heavy work. I found the fluid coupling for the AWD to be problematic. Once they go bad, they are stuck in full-time 4 wheel drive. As the tire bills mounted, I found that if I just unbolted the front drive shaft, I didn't have to replace the $1600 sealed, non-rebuildable fluid coupling. Maybe the someone within the cult following for the AWD Astros has figured out a high reliability fix for that by now. At the time, I didn't do any off roading so I didn't care.

Sienna: I recently added a trailer hitch, brake controller and rear airbags to ours, with aid of a load leveler hitch and trailer brakes, towed our racecar on single axle open trailer long distances in comfort It is a homebuilt (by me) 900lb single axle open trailer w/brakes. Total weight 2500lb trailer w/car and generator (est.250lb tongue weight) plus 3 passengers and and 500lbs of race gear inside the van. It towed great on the 1200 mile trip we took in spring, netting 20mpg using my scangaugeII to tighten the loose nut behind the wheel.

After a couple trips tot he desert with our Samurai in tow, I too, seriously looked at our fwd Sienna to see if it would be feasible for me to do some fabrication to lift it, giving it more ground clearance to allow deeper access into the backcountry. My reluctance to using the doughnut spare had me plugging a punctured tire in Mojave Preserve a year ago. I didn't want to rely on a doughnut and plug kit again, if I could help it.

While doing some investigating of options, this is what I found:

*Bigger diameter all-terrain tires: A non-starter; as there's not much room, Toyota filled the wheel wells almost to capacity with factory rubber. The front strut spring perches almost touch the factory rubber as it is.
*Lift blocks, taller springs, anything?; I added air bags to the rear, gaining carrying capacity, and 2" more ground clearance, which was helpful. A guy might be able to add taller front springs, but gain would be limited to a couple inches at best. The up-stop travel limiters would have to be re-fabricated. I now see there are air-bag assisted front struts for some cars, but I couldn't locate a fitment for the Sienna. Adapting something from another model might be an option for a fabricator, but that stuff on modern Japanese cars is NEVER easy.
*Heavy mods; The Toyota engineers did their homework, built from a compact, efficient design. Ours was rock-solid and trouble free, did everything you could ask of a mini-van and more. But it's a uni-body car-like platform... raising the van for ground clearance front would entail MAJOR modifications, including lowering the engine and transaxle to keep the drive axle angle reasonable. In doing so, one would defeat the ground clearance he gained.

But some stroke of weird fate, the Sienna got clobbered by a San Fransisco muni-bus in August. Insurance company totaled it, paid off, we didn't need a mini van any longer, so we purchased something that better suits our needs today, our SMB Beast!
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:53 PM   #29
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

Before you buy an Astro of any sort, look over the crash test results. It appears they don't crash particularly well:

You can make a camper out of just about anything with a bit of creativity. I was given a camper converted Renault 4 many years ago. Granted it didn't have standing room but with a few pieces of plywood and some juggling it made pretty comfortable sleeping place and it did have astonishing fuel economy. I've seen a couple traveling the USA in a Citroen 2CV with an extended trunk for sleeping room and you can make a mean camper out of a Honda Acty. As far as what's available here though, check out this:

They've done a nice job with a minivan. Might give you some ideas for converting an AWD Sienna. And as for ground clearance, I understand it's complex but if you talk to the lowrider boys I bet there's some way of doing it. If Citroen could design a FWD car with multiple suspension settings in the 1940's and still use basically the same system now, it's clearly not impossible.

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Old 11-28-2012, 12:09 AM   #30
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Re: Toyota Sienna AWD Sportsmobile

Apparently a lot of people use vans other than full size GM an Fords for sportsmobiling.

Too bad they don't make the Vanagons anymore. That's what I'd really like to get. Too bad they quit making them for the US in the early 1990s when Vanilla Ice was popular.

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