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End of the Sienna

Although I knew the Sienna showed signs of a leaky head gasket, the exhaust system needed some attention, and a sporty used car recently put it in the shade, this still came as a surprise:

I’m trying to get a crew … together and live the demolition derby dream

By the time I arrived, the dashboard trim had vanished and the air bags were safely out:

Demolition Derby - Sienna dashboad prep

Demolition Derby – Sienna dashboad prep

Diligent application of a Harbor Freight “Professional Windshield Removal Kit” cut through the side window seals, but the rear window rested on four impossible-to-cut locating studs:

Sienna - rear window locating stud

Sienna – rear window locating stud

I managed to pry the glass off using a Gasket Scraper and considerable muttering.

With all the exterior trim, lights, and mirrors gone, the Sienna was in fine race trim:

Sienna - Demo derby race trim

Sienna – Demo derby race trim

But, being no longer street-legal, it required trailering. For the record, not all huge pickup trucks have bulky guys with pot bellies behind the wheel:

Demolition Derby - Tow Vehicle Rental

Demolition Derby – Tow Vehicle Rental

A few hours later, it was in the Short Track Full Size pack at the Upperco Volunteer Fire Company’s Demolition Derby:

Sienna at Upperco VFC Demolition Derby - start

Sienna at Upperco VFC Demolition Derby – start

The driver required a few laps to shake off years of safe-driving indoctrination:

Sienna - Demolition Derby - running alone - 2018-04-28

Sienna – Demolition Derby – running alone – 2018-04-28

But eventually the spirit of the thing took over:

Sienna - Demolition Derby - right crunch - 2018-04-28

Sienna – Demolition Derby – right crunch – 2018-04-28

We now know the transmission oil cooler sat just ahead of the left front wheel, where it was exposed to damage by a glancing collision:

Sienna - Demolition Derby - left crunch - 2018-04-28

Sienna – Demolition Derby – left crunch – 2018-04-28

The Sienna finished the race and made it almost all the way to the trailer before bleeding out through the ATF cooler.

The driver emerged in fine shape, although the door didn’t work nearly as well as it had fifteen minutes earlier:

Sienna - Driver exiting Van - 2018-04-28

Sienna – Driver exiting Van – 2018-04-28

A race staffer in a Bobcat aimed the carcass in the right general direction and shoved it onto the trailer for the return to base:

Sienna - Final Trailer Tiedown - 2018-04-28

Sienna – Final Trailer Tiedown – 2018-04-28

You can find shaky low-res camera action documenting the event, because video-or-it-didn’t-happen.

We piled the windows / parts / detritus into the back, a scrapper hauled it away the next morning, and that’s the end of our Sienna’s story.

Toyota sold a lot of Siennas, which means the Hot Topics list over on the right will show a need for Sienna ABS trouble codes long into the future.

In fact, the adjacent motel slot had a disconcerting sight:

Yet Another Sienna

Yet Another Sienna

I think it was a 2001 model, but …

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  1. #1 by Hexley Ball on 2018-05-08 - 11:20

    “I managed to pry the glass off using a Gasket Scraper and considerable muttering.”

    So your rear windows did not want to come off, eh? That’s pretty amusing to me, since our 1999 Sienna had both rear windows fall down and hang by a thread during some highway runs. Duct tape to the rescue, as we were many miles from home.

    Oh, and another time one of those rear windows just shattered into a million fragments, again while we were on the highway. A youngster was in the wayback, and she was pretty lucky to have escaped without a scratch.

    I think all the troubles probably relate in some way to the power open/shut option we had on those rear windows, which went out like the old fashioned vent wings we used to have in the front doors, except in the Toyota they were pointed rearwards. Maybe the tightening mechanism was misadjusted and it over stressed the window glass.

    What is next for your budding racer — The 24 Hours of LeMons, perhaps? https://24hoursoflemons.com/

    • #2 by Ed on 2018-05-08 - 12:36

      Well, I’ll never admit it in public, but I managed to over-bend the left-rear window and stood amid a pile of dark gray Chiclets in the parking lot. Sounded like a gunshot, brought people to their balcony rails, and, if the van hadn’t already been deep in race prep, would have brought me to the attention of the constabulary. [sigh]

      Don’t suggest LeMons! I fear the consequences …

      • #3 by RCPete on 2018-05-08 - 21:41

        Any race series that offers credit for the most inappropriate* engine choice can’t be all bad. I’d fear those consequences, too. Glad the venues are way too far away to even consider it. (The unofficial local motor sport is mud bogging. No way, no how.)

        (*) The Kinner R5 radial in a Toyota MR2 is my personal favorite

        • #4 by Ed on 2018-05-09 - 07:39

          Lack of a shop puts a crimp on building roll cages and suchlike, although I hear tell of nearby makerspaces with good equipment. There’s always next season!

  1. Littelfuse Automotive Fuse Tester | The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning

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