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Sleeper Sleeper: Toyota Sienna Campervan Build

Discussion in 'Quitters' Club' started by Boyink, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. May 2, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    First weekend out.

    Overall it works.

    We did an eight-stop wine tour on the Missouri river yesterday on a gorgeous day. After the last one we bailed into a shady church parking lot for a nap.

    Had to add a latch to the drawer - now that we have some weight in it, it was banging against the rear hatch when I took off from a stop.

    To dos:
    - Get a full-width rubber mat for in front of the bed. I used some spare floormats but something smooth/sweepable would be better.

    - The glue isn't holding on my window plugs so the fabric is pulling loose. Not sure if I used better glue or better fabric last time. Might just paint them instead.

    - The water/milk crates aren't working for me there. They take up prime space for stashing things under the bed. I might slide them in where I can fasten them to another ex-seat-mount.

    - Get working on a better between-seat console. This stock one is stupid. Why they didn't make the top flat in any direction so you could set something on it (like a to-go meal) is beyond me. But hey - drink holders in front! Drink holders in the rear! And more drink holders in a drawer!

    - Get command hooks for coats on the door pillars.

    - Check the cooler drain before loading it with ice....

    - Get some urinal bottles - easier than setting up the whole potty for a quick overnight.

    Pics from a MO Conservation area campground we checked out. 3:00 PM on a gorgeous Saturday and only saw two other cars just driving through.

    Decided against sleeping there as it was 30 miles to get back to it after the last winery, but kinda wish we would have anyway. Ended up at a Walmart and while we slept some it was a tough go.

    2021-05-02_1129.jpg 2021-05-02_11292.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
    SKT, Ol Fogie, Jw60 and 6 others like this.
  2. May 10, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
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    Spent two more nights in the van while visiting my inlaws in Branson. They live in a 5th wheel and can make room but it's always cramped. We just parked in front of their RV and slept there.

    I had just installed window deflectors on the front and side windows and they proved useful as it rained most of the weekend. Being able to lower the four front windows that 1" for fresh air was great.

    I trimmed up the Reflectix window plugs to match that 1" gap. Now the fronts won't stay in place, so I'll have to find some clips to attach them to the window at the top.

    The little Walmart fans work well - I just dangle them from the rear grab handles with double-sided velcro.

    We also learned that having separate blankets worked better than trying to share one.
     
    SKT, Jw60, bigbendhiker and 2 others like this.
  3. May 17, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    Did a three-night trip from MO to MI and back this weekend.

    Drove the whole distance, then spent two of the three nights sleeping in the van.

    It was colder than we like - low 40's at night. We took extra sleeping bags but never used them - just a couple of blankets was enough.

    Tried a truck stop. Couldn't sleep - turns out there are people who have loud parking lot conversations at 2:00AM. There were also signs that overnighting wasn't allowed, but some box trucks and sprinter vans (one with a generator running) obviously were there for the night.

    Still, the 1:00 AM parking lot trash guy with the flashing light woke me up worried a tow truck was getting into place.

    Ditched the truck stop for our second choice - a hotel parking lot. Much quieter and I finally got some sleep.

    The second night we found a different hotel lot. Parked in a row of 8-10 other minivans and had no issues.

    But I still have trouble sleeping in this this thing. We flipped around and put our heads amidships and that helped - the van is bigger there and I could pull a side window plug out and see outside.

    Have yet to use the camping potty we bought. I found a large water bottle easier to deal with for me.

    Cooler works well, although MsBoyink did freshen the ice when she was at her sisters.

    Still too much disorganization for my taste. I need to get some storage bins to hold all our packing cubes, re-work that useless center console, and re-think how we are carrying water.
     
  4. May 17, 2021
    jzeber

    jzeber Well-Known Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Morgan Hill, Ca
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
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    3,051
    After our recent road trip I think I am going to make a platform in my GMC Yukon XL for sleeping. There were 2 nights that having a place to sleep would have been better for our sanity and marriage! :madwife:
    How hard are the window covers to make and remove? I am not going to go full blown camper but more just a bed and maybe storage. How do you like the mattress?
    TIA
     
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  5. May 17, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    Window covers are super easy - you can cut the Reflectix with a good scissors. I just start with a piece that's too big, then press it into place and run my finger back and forth where it meets the window frame. The foil part of Reflectix will hold that line long enough to use it as a guide to trim. I do that a couple times getting closer each time. You want them a little big so you can scrunch them into place.

    The mattress is awesome. I could have gone 4" to save $, but we had the space and wanted to ensure we didn't bottom out when rolling over, etc.
     
    Ol Fogie, ITLKSEZ and jzeber like this.
  6. May 18, 2021
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    Camping and traveling takes a lot of practice to see what works and what doesn't. We went many trips before we got everything setup just like we wanted. Every trip we kept at hand a pen and note pad to keep a list of changes that needed to made for the next trip. With practice and experience the easier it became to pack and unpack for each trip. We have a dedicated storage area at home that has all our road trip supplies in one place ready to load and go. All we add is a few personal items, all listed on the ready made pre trip check list.
    When the decision is made to go we can be ready to roll in 45 min or less.
    The first secret to happy traveling and camping is being prepared so that every one is comfortable and everything is convenient for them regardless of the weather during the trip. Second is proper planning before you start if going to an unfamiliar area or driving a new route. We know before hand where we will spend each night and what route we will use to get there.
    We often use an internet site called ''RV Parkey'' to select overnight stays, all you need is a local zip code to get a list of local places where overnight stop overs or camping is permitted. As a rule of thumb we only camp in developed campgrounds or very remote areas. anywhere else usually brings up security issues. Happy Camping. Jim
     
  7. May 18, 2021
    Zoomer

    Zoomer eJeeper (walking) 2020 Sponsor

    Minnesota
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    Many ways to do it. Sounds like you are planners Ol Fogie, we are more nomadic on our site seeing trips. We usually make a list of what we want to see, how we get there and where we stay each night is determined as we go.
     
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  8. May 18, 2021
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    We are nomadic too sometimes, usually depends on the trip. We recently attended a family reunion where we planned the round trip there and back with all the overnight stays and routes. However when we travel for snowmobile riding trips we usually spend several days in one general area and move about according to snow conditions and road travel conditions. We make decisions when and where we go next with our mood and weather conditions as we feel like it.
    I would like us jeepers to get together for a cross country caravan type camping/site seeing trip.:flag:
     
  9. May 18, 2021
    Jw60

    Jw60 Perfectly Within Tolerance 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Sedalia MO.
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    I'm pretty thankful to have our 20foot bunkhouse for family camping. It's small enough to not be difficult at the typical gas station but big enough for everyone to have some room. Planning and preparation are definitely essential for everyone to be happy in the small space.

    I am taking notes for my solo trips. I found my overnight trip to the ozarks less than ideal in the Expedition. I'll be borrowing a truck for the August trip and that will hopefully make the nights more comfortable. I'll be making window plugs for both.
     
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  10. May 19, 2021
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
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    Taking notes, planning and modifying your equipment and supplies is part of the fun for us. We have tent camped, pickup truck camped with a cover on it, Jeep camped, and we also have an Alaskan truck camper for cross country trips. All with relatively good comfort even in winter. Cold weather camping requires a little more careful planning but we find it is the best time, much less crowded and cheaper in the off season. One of our favorites was a week long camping trip in December to Yosemite. including a cross country ski and snow shoe trip to the mariposa grove of the giant Sequoia trees with 2-3 feet of snow there. Only seen two other people there that day.
     
  11. May 19, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    We probably have a different perspective after 8 years of fulltime RVing.

    When we first left we had everything planned out.

    But when you fulltime plans actually get stressful. One little hiccup or change and all the plans go down like dominoes. Or the place sucks but you stay because it's easier than changing all the subsequent plans.

    We're much more laid back and adaptable these days. If we miss a turn and the route shifts, no big deal. We still get there. If we forgot some little thing its OK - we aren't staying in places so remote we can't buy what we need. Having said that, I do plan to stock the van such that we all we should need to add is clothes, meds, and food to get moving.

    Almost the whole point of this campervan is to be flexible enough to sleep anywhere so we don't have to plan it all out.
     
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  12. May 19, 2021
    jzeber

    jzeber Well-Known Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Morgan Hill, Ca
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    After our last road trip this is the main reason to add a bed to the GMC. We did not want to make reservations in advance and it would have been nice to pull over and sleep on BLM lands or somewhere else.
     
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  13. May 20, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    Possible plot twist.

    Took the van to the bank this AM.

    Came back to a phone call "You left a big puddle of oil in the drive through."

    Score one for small towns.

    No smoke. No low oil light. No anything but a moment of "that sounds different" while driving the 1 mile back to the office. Then it was OK again.

    Let it sit for a couple hours.

    Nothing dripping, but oil visible on low-down parts.

    A little oil shows on the dipstick.

    I just dumped 5 quarts in it and drove it four blocks to the repair shop.

    Nosing around online, sounds like these things had a recall for an oil cooler hose that went bad.

    Hoping thats all it is.

    Just glad it didn't happen at 75 MPH on I-70 coming home this weekend!
     
  14. May 21, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
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    Just picked up the van - it was the oil cooler lines.

    $285 including an oil change.

    Gonna send a card to the bank - the teller's phone call probably saved us an engine.
     
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  15. May 29, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    Lesson learned.

    When ordering, make sure it's ' and not ".

    So much for getting a smooth floormat cut for in between the front of the bed and the back of the front seats...

    :rolleyes:
     
  16. Jun 2, 2021
    DrDanteIII

    DrDanteIII Master Procrastinator 2021 Sponsor

    Milford NJ 08848
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    Whoops!

    Metric system doesn't have those problems.
     
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  17. Jun 3, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    Booked a campsite in a state park for the weekend. We'll see how we & the rig function in that environment.

    It's been a long time since I booked a campsite...;)
     
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  18. Jun 3, 2021
    Jw60

    Jw60 Perfectly Within Tolerance 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Sedalia MO.
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    We'll have the expedition and trailer out this weekend in a state park as well. Looks like it will be a bit warm.
     
  19. Jun 6, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    The only site available had electric hookups, which we hardly used. It was $23/night. We could only pay $13/night if we booked far enough ahead to get a tenting/basic spot.

    This was at Bennet Spring State Park in MO - a big trout fishing park. Might go back at some point for fly fishing lessons. It was interesting to watch them line the shores like during the fall/salmon snagging time up in Ludington, MI.

    I slept much better here than anywhere else. I didn't have to put all the window plus in, and we slept with windows wide open (bugs were way less of an issue than expected).

    Biggest issues was that pop-up you see next to us. Just no respect for others - loud talking at 6AM, playing music loud, and their kid whose name we well know now because they were shouting it every 5 mins...

    Ahh...camping with weekenders. Don't miss it. Gonna try to arrange work life so we can get out during the week again.

    Forgot to throw in some wood scrap though, so had to sleep slightly off-kilter.

    sp-1.jpg


    Here's how the rear is organized. I moved water storage from the side doors to the back. 4 Gallons fits in there nicely. Soft-sided box on the right has inserts with lots of loops and pockets to keep things organized. Space behind cooler works well for fresh fruits and veggies.

    sp-2.jpg

    At the side doors, I replaced the milk crates with storage tubs for clothes. Much easier to access than at the head of the bead. Packing cubes keep things organized.

    Had to buy a 2nd one storage tub....only found them at Lowes...for $16! Crazy.

    I just received a full-width rubber mat that will replace those nasty old floormats we've been using up front. The new mat is smooth so should be easy to sweep out the dirt.

    sp-3.jpg

    Our Saturday was a farmers market then some antiquing. Same on the way home Sunday. Found some nice vinyl for $1/each, and a cool 1942 ammeter for $5. Not sure what I'll use it for other than a cool office prop, but might make a fun robot body or something at some point. Looks like it used to be portable with a strap and hinged lid.

    sp-4.jpg

    Playing the albums now. Good bunch of music. Dinah Shore gets a bit distorted when she hits a high note - I think its a Mono album and I'd need a different needle to play it back correctly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
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  20. Jun 8, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    After mis-ordering a 5" rubber mat.....I got this 4'x6' exercise mat to put between the front seats and bed. That spot gets a lot of crap tracked into it, hoping that running this right to the door edges makes it all easier to sweep out. And it's much easier on bare feet than those crappy old floor mats.

    new-mat copy.jpg
     

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