07-18-2011, 06:02 AM
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Brassring - the particle board on top of the folded down seats sounds interesting at first, but because of the gaps between support points I worry that you'll end up with a sagging sleeping surface. A little sag might be OK but it might feel more like a hammock. It's worth investigating, of course. During overnight road trips I've slept on the back row while my wife drove, and that's fine for a nap but not for a good night's sleep. On our most recent road trip I looked over my shoulder from the driver's seat to find my teenage daughter had folded the middle seat forward and was laying on top of it - her head was just behind the front row passenger seat, and her feet were on the back row. Imagine a recliner in the fully reclined position. You might try that, but again, it might be good for a nap but that's all. I think Black Sunshine presents the best option -- try taking out the middle row and back row seats on just one side and see how that works. There's enough room to set the removed seats on top of the adjacent seats.
I just went out to the garage with a tape measure and found the distance from the front seat support rails (where the seat mounts to the floor) to the back hatch is 7' 6". Unless you are hauling a lot of gear, you just may find you have enough room to set up a sleeping area.
Movester makes a good point about the connecting points for the seats that you're going to remove. Fortunately, they aren't real deep so you may find they're not a problem. You'll want to test your set-up before setting out on your trip.
Regarding the gear that you might be hauling, and addressing the questions about the luggage rack, we have used our rack on every summer road trip except one since we got the van in December, 1998, and with good results. The sticker on the rack says you should only put 110 pounds up there, so load accordingly. However, you'll find this is a GREAT way to free up space inside your van. Years ago we bought a canvas / nylon type of carrier that straps to the luggage rack, and we're still using it. It cost about $35 back then. One trip to Florida found us driving through Tropical Storm Arlene and our luggage got a little wet, but not thoroughly soaked, so plan for the worst and expect anything you put up there to get wet, but in our experience stuff stays dry except in the most severe weather conditions. If you spend a little more perhaps you can find a hard shell plastic carrier, but back when we were shopping we couldn't find one to fit our Sienna. That was years ago so you may have better luck.
If you need some more measurements, let me know. Keep us posted!
P.S. The sales brochure for the '98 Sienna says vehicle's empty weight is 3,891 pounds (if equipped with sliding doors on both sides). The sticker on the driver's door says vehicle max gross weight is 5,250 pounds with each axle to carry no more than 2,725 pounds.
Last edited by TierOneSupplier; 07-18-2011 at 06:10 AM.
Reason: Weight information